Multiculturalism in the Aussie Workplace: An Irish Perspective

Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is the secret sauce that many global businesses are moving towards. Coming from a European country, that is a member of the European Union, I have a great appreciation for companies that think both globally and locally when it comes to their employees. Lux Everyday is committed to this mindset. We have team members from all corners of the world. There is a worldwide debate over whether being open to immigrants is truly beneficial. Obviously, as a foreign national, I am biased in that debate. However, I feel that it cannot be denied that there is an inherent benefit to including and encouraging multiculturalism in the workspace. In an increasingly international population, Australia is fast-becoming a larger melting pot than ever before. Bringing together people from a diverse set of cultures and ethnic backgrounds in the work environment can be beneficial for many reasons.

1. Multiculturalism Encourages Creativity

The culture and mindsets that surround you in your formative years inform your attitudes and perspective as you enter the workspace. This easily leads to the assumption that people of different cultural backgrounds will approach problems and obstacles differently. Meaning that the likelihood of success increases with more perspectives. Everyone is looking at the situation through their own unique lens. A wealth of viewpoints brings in a wide array of solutions that would benefit any team or business. Workplaces with different cultures, especially across time zones, encourages employees to think outside the box and be creative in finding solutions to problems and to also think creatively in communicating their personal perspectives to their co-workers effectively.

2. Improve Communication

Just like different cultures give rise to different perspectives, language does the same. Whether it’s speaking to someone in their own language or speaking in a particular cultural style, there is value in crafting your communication to suit your audience. In Europe it is very common – and is often mandatory – to learn a second language. This is due to the fact that not only do foreign languages broaden your mindset and communication skills, we have freedom of travel and trade in the European Union. So, there is a strong likelihood that a second language will benefit your career.

Personally, I studied French, but I had classmates that studied German, Spanish, Japanese, and more. On top of that, most Irish students learn our own language, Irish/Gaeilge. Our population includes many foreign nationals which increases the spoken-languages on our small island on the edge of Europe. This multi-lingual society feeds into the notion that Ireland is a very welcoming country as we try to communicate with people from all walks of life. It was quite surprising to discover that most Australians I worked with did not have a second language unless they chose to study one. This was surprising as so many foreign nationals work here. No doubt this could change in the future, and it should as a workspace can only benefit people sharing their languages and viewpoints with one another.

3. Improves Customer Service

Not only does multiculturalism improve your internal communication, it can improve your communication with your customers. Logically, if the pool of potential employees features a range of nationalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds, then your customer pool is likewise filled. No matter what business your company partakes in. Having a multicultural workplace and staff presents a more open front to the public. I know from my own experience that whenever I come across another Irish person at work or in my personal time, there is a kinship that garners positive interactions. Whether it is sharing the same language or simply understanding holidays specific to their culture, a multicultural workforce connects even a small business to the global marketplace.

4. Multiculturalism Encourages A Positive Company Culture

As a former colony, Australia is home to a wealth of ancestry from other countries. Additionally, many people, like myself, emigrate here for work. This can lead to two things: respect and disrespect. People can often say things or do things that are disrespectful of others out of ignorance or fear. Only through exposure to different cultures and nationalities can one educate themselves. For instance, people often ask me about life in the U.K… but Ireland has not been part of the U.K. since 1922, when the Republic was democratically formed.

In order to curb the possibility of accidental offence, having an open culture where questions are encouraged inevitably leads to a more respectful internal company culture with a deeper understanding of appropriate interactions and comments. A positive company culture is paramount to us here at Lux Everyday. Embracing multicultural concepts at work makes workers feel valued. Valued employees tend to be happier. Happier employees are generally more productive. It’s a win-win-win.

Interested to learn more about the Lux Everyday culture? Why not check out our Facebook or Linkedin profiles.

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