How Cultural Differences Can Improve Your Business Results
Is the pandemic pushed you to look for global opportunities? But do you understand cultural differences in workplaces and how they can affect your transformation? It doesn’t matter if your business is small or large, intercultural differences will occur. In generally it is a great thing – cultural exchange can be even more rewarding if teams focus on maintaining culture in the workplace. Let’s talk about five benefits and challenges of cultural differences.
Prejudice can become a barrier
Though employees from different cultures can bring original ideas and different approaches to the organizations, some cultural stereotypes and preconceptions still exist. The main challenges in the workplace can be a further understanding of professional etiquette and incompatible working style across teams. Also, it can be hard to keep appropriate professional communication – it can be misinterpreted or difficult to understand because of the language and culture barrier.
Cross-cultural teams are more productive
Despite that, there are many benefits to organizations. Working in a diverse workplace includes an opportunity to increase creativity and innovation. Also, because of the same reason, diverse teams are more productive and can perform better – by combining various skills and talents from all over the world, organizations can achieve the best results and offer a more adaptable range of products and services.
Helps the intention to understand each other
Cultural differences are things that separate people from different countries. They can be significant or barely noticeable and come out in simple topics such as food, language, clothing style, traditions, beliefs towards right or wrong, and many others. When seeking healthy and effective connections inside the business organization (as well as overall business success), understanding one another plays an essential role.
Five ways to win from cultural differences
- Look for a personality who can work in a culturally diverse environment
That could be people or internationally operating companies, which have a proven capability to work in a culturally diverse environment. One of the examples was the wholesale Swedish electronics system. In times of two clashing challenges – rapidly growing e-commerce and shortage of IT developers in Sweden, a Lithuanian company, „Adeoweb“ with an office in Stockholm, was chosen to solve the challenges. It worked well; a good understanding of local challenges helped develop functional solutions needed to simplify many daily processes.
- Discover unique employee talents
Even in the most challenging cases, all people do have their unique talents. Try to focus on finding those and employing the strengths of each team member, even if it requires re-shaping the ordinary structure of work. It will take pressure off from unnecessary cultural clashes and will give extra space for better team results.
- Advantage – culturally similar country
Choosing an employee or a partner from a somewhat culturally similar country creates fewer reasons for misunderstandings. In Sweden’s case, worth considering the Baltic Sea region or specific countries that Swedish companies have quite an experience with, like banking, customer service, and IT in Lithuania or Latvia.
- Make sure the colleagues understand you correctly
Communicating with people using simple words and avoiding slang may not always be as easy as it seems, especially under pressure. However, it’s crucial in building mutual trust and ensuring people understand things just the way it is. If in doubt, whether team members follow the information adequately, double-check my asking and explain again, if needed. These efforts will lead to mutual trust and the capability to work as a team later on.
- Get to know and respect traditional holidays
Culture plays a tremendous role in people’s identity. Therefore, acceptance and respect toward traditional holidays are also signs of inclusion, which is vital for satisfying business results.
Unicorns Lithuania–the association uniting start-ups–estimates that there are 766 start-ups operating in the country. Their total number increased by 4% in a single quarter.
‘Start-ups operating in Lithuania have been growing steadily and make the whole system grow. The fact that we are witnessing growth even during these tense times–the ongoing pandemic and the war that has broken out–shows that the whole community is sustainable. The number of employees is growing steadily every quarter and so does the amount from taxes going to the Lithuanian budget. The average salary in start-ups has increased by 15% in a year and has reached EUR 3026’, says Inga Langaitė, head of the association Unicorns Lithuania.
Space is one of the areas where Lithuania has made a strong entry. Today more than 30 Lithuanian companies participate in space supply chains, a number that is expected to more than double within the next five years. The space sector is one of the fastest growing with an annual growth of 6.7% per year. ‘By participating in international Space programmes, Lithuania proves it has a strong tech sciences ecosystem and high-tech industry needed for participation in the global space market’, says Aušrinė Armonaitė, Minister of Economy and Innovation of Lithuania.