I have noticed that many people talk about how recruiters look for emotional intelligence. I have also seen the rise of something called cultural intelligence. This is very interesting to me.
In the past recruiters or hiring managers would say that they have a diverse or global workforce, and ask if working with people of other backgrounds was an issue. It has never been an issue for me. I love working with people of different backgrounds.
Apparently being able to be sensitive to and aware of other cultures is a new requirement in the global workforce. Since many companies are having an international presence, having an open mind and not pushing your own cultural values is helpful to have.
Let’s talk about an example of this. There are cultures that have different values and beliefs and people in those minority cultures might feel disrespected if we do not honor the differences. I shared before how I worked with someone who didn’t eat meat if it wasn’t Halal. He was given gift certificates to a restaurant and they had no Halal meat. I spoke with HR about this and he got an alternative cash gift.
Another example. I worked with a woman who was Hindu and who felt uncomfortable because there were no other Hindu workers. So I read up on Hindu beliefs and cultures and greeted her with a culturally appropriate greeting. She was touched and was going to cry that I made an effort to understand and appreciate her culture.
Another example is someone who was Baptist and felt very strongly about the Bible. I listened to her and while I didn’t agree with her, I showed her she was respected and that it was ok to live your values. She said that I helped her find her voice and with my encouragement, she spoke to her manager about her concerns. I felt great that I was able to demonstrate and encourage someone to live their truth.
Appreciating other cultures is as easy as listening to people and seeking to understand their reality. Or it might include doing some research and reading. Either way, when you can understand and talk their language people always appreciate it and respond.