Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight
Quarterly Observances 2019
LGBT History Month: U.S. observances started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay-rights movement.
November 11: Veterans Day is a U.S. federal holiday honoring military veterans. The date is also celebrated as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, in other parts of the world and commemorates the ending the World War I in 1918.
November 28: Thanksgiving in the United States. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.
December 3: International Day of Disabled Persons was designed to raise awareness in regards to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.
D&I Tips of the Quarter
October is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month in the United States. It was first observed in 1994. October was selected because it coincides with National Coming Out Day on October 11, and because it is the month of the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979.
The Veterans Day Ceremony is held each year on November 11 at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony begins precisely at 11 a.m. with a wreath lying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries.
7 Essentials for Cultural Competence
1. Beliefs and Worldview: People have fundamentally different ways of seeing the world, and their role in it. In the West, people tend to believe they’re in charge of their fate. But most other cultures are more fatalistic: either it’s meant to be — or not — which has significant impact on multicultural teams.
2. Communication Styles: Different people have wildly different ways of communication, especially regarding context and directness. In North America, people tend to say what they mean. But in most other cultures, people are more indirect, which can seem confusing or even misleading.
3. Formality: Cultures differ greatly in greetings, manners and etiquette. In the United States, people tend to be casual, both in dress and behavior. But in most other cultures, formality is more valued, and is an essential sign of respect.
4. Hierarchy: Cultures differ in whether their societies are horizontal or vertical. In the West, people are generally seen as equals. But in Asian, Latin, and Middle Eastern cultures, there is much more emphasis on — and comfort with — hierarchy and strong leadership concentrated at the top.
5. Perceptions of Time: In addition to diverse religious and cultural events, people differ greatly in their perceptions of time. Americans tend to be short-term and fixed: deadlines are deadlines. But in many other cultures, people tend to think more long-term, and dates and deadlines are more flexible.
6. Values and Priorities: In North America, there is greater emphasis on the individual and career, and less loyalty between employer and employee. But in Asian and Latin cultures, there is greater emphasis on the group, and long-term business and work relationships.
7. Everyone’s Unique: Finally, it’s important to remember that cultural guidelines are only that — guidelines. Every person is as unique as their singular fingerprints, and it’s important to perceive the individual.
In summary, we all need different skills in order to effectively do our jobs. And today, as our world becomes ever more interconnected, cultural competence is an essential skill for almost every workplace.
* Permission to reprint from Erich Toll, Chief Executive Officer, diversityresources.com/workplace-cultural-competence/