Methods of accommodating cultural diversity in the workplace

Cultural diversity in your workforce is a significant asset to an organisation.A culturally diverse workforce assists an organisation to achieve cultural safety for service users. An organisation wanting to move with the reality that Australia is an increasingly culturally diverse nation will need to be prepared to engage in cross-cultural dialogue and to change culturally, as much as it is trying to influence others culturally.

When encountering cultural difference, it means recognising that it is the client’s cultural view that prevails, and the worker and organisation need to make adaptations.Planning service adaptations based on adjustments such as language and food relies an unspoken assumption that the ‘mainstream’ is static and largely monocultural (Anglo/Celtic).In fact, the mainstream is increasingly culturally diverse, and cross-cultural environments are ‘the norm’ in everyday service delivery.A 2012 report by the National Institute of Labour Studies identified that one in four workers in community care is fluent in a language other than English (this includes second generation Australians who speak their parent’s first language as well as English).This adds to the complexity of cross-cultural contexts within community aged care.

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