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Training for a Multicultural Business Environment
by Bill Walsh

Diversity training is a popular and frequently requested training option for many companies and corporations. Improving employee and customer relationships is crucial to the success of a business. As companies try to compete in a rapidly changing market place, diversity training and sensitivity training for managers gives these companies and their employees the competitive edge.

Diversity training allows business people to utilize the differences that are part of personalities, communication styles, and characteristics of people and respect those differences. Recently, there's been a huge increase in the immigrant populations. That's why the trend towards diversity training is including an approach to multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism is an aspect of diversity training that addresses specific cultural concerns. This means understanding and accepting the differences and appreciating the cultural differences of others. When people of different cultures interact, it's common for certain behaviors to be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

As an example, an employee from another culture may continually ask a manager for direction, "What should I do next?" The manager might interpret this behavior as lacking in initiative, while the employee may be reflecting a cultural action of deferring to a manager -- keeping the managerial hierarchy in place.

Cultural groups are based on several characteristics including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, language and nationality. Diversity training and sensitivity training for managers uncovers some of the cultural differences than can affect job performance and may be critical to understanding how to interact with a multicultural customer base.

Sensitivity training for managers allows companies to address the fact that multiculturalism is an increasing factor in business. Merely adopting an attitude of "ignoring differences" won't produce an effective or productive work environment. It's more likely to lead to disgruntlement and an attitude of unwitting consent to harassment or discrimination. Diversity training brings the issue to the forefront so that it can be properly addressed and company policies set in place.

Within these cultural differences, it's equally important to provide appropriate sexual harassment training, as harassment is viewed so differently within varying cultures. The more pro-active a company is in regards to diversity or sexual harassment training, the lower the occurrence of employee incidents. Employee training assists companies in establishing a safe environment for all employees, increasing productivity, and building a foundation of understanding.

On-site employee diversity training and sensitivity training for managers is a cost-effective training solution that saves businesses time and money. With proper training, you create a positive work environment for your employees.

Bill Walsh, managing director of Proven Training Solutions, has developed and delivered over 2500 training engagements throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. With over 25 years experience as a management and training consultant, he has appeared on radio, television and has been quoted in Fortune Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. For additional information and proven solutions to your training problems visit


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