Cultural differences in the office

Employers must be seen to be celebrating their employees’ diversity. [iStockphoto]

Culture refers to the values that control behaviour in a social setup. Cultural diversity in the workplace is a result of practices, values, traditions, or beliefs of employees based on race, age, ethnicity, religion, or gender.

Employers have realised that workforce diversity provides a wide range of benefits. In order to reap the benefits of cultural diversity in the workplace, they must communicate their commitment to addressing the challenges of a diverse workforce.

They must be seen to be celebrating their employees’ diversity to avoid workplace issues, like awkwardness and hostility.

Let’s see some of the differences in a work premise:


People come from diverse backgrounds. Someone’s origin is greatly influenced by the kind of influence experienced as one grows up. Traditions may limit certain behaviours in the office space.

For instance, some cultures prohibit certain levels of dress code or ornaments. any breach of such beliefs is considered taboo.


New millennials are motivated by progressive results. Baby Boomers are loyal to the system for the purpose of growth and recognition.

They believe in working through the leadership structure in the company as they build their professional portfolio for growth and promotion.

A very empowered employee may quit one job for another or pursue a passion as a result of experience gained.


Religious beliefs can affect behaviour and priorities in the work environment.


Positions in the workplace are distributed on the basis of academic qualifications and experience.

High management roles require highly educated candidates with vast experience to handle complex challenges.

Workers with disability

Special needs persons are a resource in an organization. They are equal participants in the daily running of an organisation.

This huge spectrum ranges from visually impaired, mental health and other forms of disability.

It’s however a very sensitive topic when an organization fails to recognize many employees, which may tarnish the brand name.


According to World Economic Forum, it will take 208 years to reach gender equality.

It's the traditional norm to accord men more positions than women. Policies have changed over the years to empower women in the competitive job market.


A sensitive topic to discuss, the underlying factors make it a present-day deal breaker. A brand may lose its reputation if associated with racial discrimination.

Employees of colour face discrimination when it comes to being hired, accepted by coworkers or any promotion.