These days astute CEOs, business owners, executive managers and HR personnel understand that to stay competitive in the global markets they must have cultural competency.  They must also learn how to motivate their diverse staff from different cultures and languages to stay competitive as they face new challenges and opportunities.

What are  cultural competencies? Well, here are three  main cultural competencies.

Language: Language is the way we communicate with each other, but if not done properly,  then it can lead to misunderstandings.  For instance, avoid using slang or colloquial words such as “raining like cats and dogs”. This might be fine if you are a native English speaker, but if some of your colleagues are non-native English speakers,  then they likely will not realize what is being said.

The other method of communication is non-verbal. Various studies have shown that over  65 per cent of the message  is communicated through nonverbal skills such as body language, vocal variety, etc. In certain cultures not looking directly in the eye of another person is a sign of respect, however, in the western culture this could be viewed as one not telling the truth.

Authority/Power: If your organization is conducting business abroad, it is  important not only to know whom to approach first, but also  how. In many cultures, during  a meeting it could be the oldest person who might be the first to be greeted. He or she probably is the highest ranking individual, and is the one who has the final say in that organization.

Perspective: When it comes to perspective, it can be very difficult because many of us have certain unconscious biases towards others who are different. When biases such as “laziness” “slow to make decisions” are not in  check then it can lead to misunderstanding.

One method to attain cultural competency in the workplace is to   have diversity/cultrual sensitivity training on a regular basis. Many organizations bring in facilitators to deliver workshops on various topics from bullying in the workplace to effective communication.