Congratulations! In your role as a manager (or as an HR pro helping new managers), you’ve successfully recruited and onboarded a high-potential multicultural employee. And at year-end review time, you’ve carefully aligned the employee’s development needs with job competencies and future career objectives…but is that annual process enough to help them succeed? Not according to experts Beverly Kaye and Julie Guilioni, who advocate in Help Them Grow or Watch them Go that employee development works best when it’s top of mind all year round. And while this observation holds true for all employees, it is especially critical when it comes to employees whose cultural norms and communications skills present challenges that the once-a-year performance review conversation may not adequately address (see my post “Performance Evaluations of Multicultural Employees: Three Things to Keep in Mind”).
It’s hard to believe we are already well into fall. In New England, that means colder weather, apple picking, pumpkins, and football. For many organizations, the season is also filled with a flurry of talent management activities, from onboarding and training to gearing up for the annual performance review process… Definitely a busy and potentially daunting time for most HR professionals.
Intersectionality is key to breaking down barriers, increasing trust and fostering open, honest communication that supports all employees. This, in turn, leads to tangible business benefits.
“We don’t just have one identity — our identities are made up of many things, both physically and culturally, and the intersections matter.” — Elise Birkhofer, global lead for Google’s largest employee resource group
Have you ever encountered a performance review in which a manager criticizes a behavior that’s tied to an employee’s cultural norms rather than to performance issues?
SpringBoards Consulting CEO and founder Nadia Nassif talks about her experience working in Tokyo, the challenges that multinational workers face and how to coach them for successful careers.
The future of work is collaborative. With increasingly multicultural workforces, how do organizations overcome cross-cultural challenges to collaboration?
Most HR leaders I’ve met are well aware that the increasing diversity of the workforce is driving demand for cross-cultural training and development. But company management isn’t always equally aware. And today, to compete in the talent marketplace, professional development efforts must not only address the needs of multicultural employees, but also help managers to understand the language, cross-cultural, and communications challenges that an English-speaking and often American business environment presents to those from other cultures.
Have you ever avoided giving feedback to a foreign national employee for fear of appearing prejudiced or insensitive? Managers are obliged to provide thoughtful, candid feedback as a core component of professional development. Yet managers, often representatives of the dominant or “majority culture,” may not always feel comfortable or confident in addressing foreign national employees with regard to cultural disconnects. They may not be fully aware of how misunderstandings related to social and behavioral differences can lead these employees to disengage. As Professor Erin Meyer put it: “Stereotyping people from different cultures on just one or two dimensions can lead to erroneous assumptions. Even experienced, cosmopolitan managers often have faulty expectations.”