The reality of today’s work environment in not only North America but in many places around the world is that diversity is here to stay. As a result of immigration over the years, we are finding many of our communities more and more diverse each year, which of course is directly related to local businesses. Whether it’s inside offices, factories or on the outside with retail or corporate customers, you will likely encounter more people from different cultures than ever before. Arming yourself with some skills in the form of diversity exposure and education will definitely help you function better in today’s working world. In fact, here are two major benefits you can realize as a result.
Diversity Education Includes People Skills Development
It is generally accepted in many business circles that the most important set of skills required for long term career success these days involves people skills. The ability to deal with many types of different people within companies as well as customers or business partners, is a very desired talent. Today, people skills are considered to be even more important than technical skills in terms of career advancement. Notice that the top people at companies are usually those with superior people skills rather than just pure technical skills. Those with subpar people skills will likely be held back from promotions. Good people skills, which include working with cultural diversity, will allow you to climb that corporate ladder more quickly than others.
Part of people skills is being able to deal with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds given the evolution of our domestic and global society. With the influx of even more immigration, it can be expected that both employees and customers will include people from many different ethnic backgrounds. So diversity education is very much part of developing overall people skills now.
Direct Education Of Other Cultures
Diversity exposure makes you more knowledgeable about different cultures out there. In addition to just watching TV travel shows or reading National Geographic, you can have a more direct exposure on different cultures by talking and interacting with different ethnic people during your travels or maybe right in your own community. This will help make you understand our world better and make you as a person, appear more ‘worldly’. A lot of companies will perceive you to be more valuable especially if they are doing business with a diverse market.
Interestingly enough, in addition to boosting your career, there might be some personal benefits from diversity education as well. Quite often, the opposite sex will see you as more attractive if you are more internationally inclined. Just to prove this, think about how many ladies consider guys with some knowledge of different cultures and languages to be sexy? Probably quite a few. Picture the guy who could help you order in a foreign language in some ethnic restaurant. Of course, the same could be said with the other way around when a lady adopts the same type of international skills as well.
Cultural diversity exposure and education can be thought of as a form of upgrading your personal skills to adapt to the changing work environments of today. But I wouldn’t leave diversity to be limited to only ethnic cultures. There is also diversity in lifestyles as in sexual orientations and religions. Even differences in attitudes from people coming from different geographical regions of the same country can be considered diversity. For example, think about the differences we observe with people from different parts of the USA. Even spoken accents are different.
Being able to function well with people from all walks of life is a skill that will take you far in your career and possibly social life as well. This type of skill can be developed through organized diversity training or even by just immersing yourself with more diversity exposure starting in your own community and of course with travel.
Clint Cora is a diversity and motivational speaker, author and Karate World Champion. See his free 3-part Personal Development Video Series to help you expand your comfort zone to conquer even your most daunting goals in life.