Increasing Intercultural Competence: Maximizing a Diverse Workforce

Skilled immigrants have valuable experiences and skills that help organizations succeed but cultural differences among employees can lead to misunderstandings. This can affect communication, integration, performance management and productivity at work.

On November 30, 2011, hireimmigrants.ca hosted a webinar examining the importance of developing employees’ intercultural competence (IC) and what should be included in IC training. Then two RBC branch managers talked about what they learned from their training and how they applied it in their jobs.

Speakers: Ritu Bhasin of bhasin consulting inc. and Sue Santoni of RBC in Ottawa.

What Employers Need to Know:

  • Intercultural competence leads to inclusive work environments, helps employees work more effectively across differences on teams and helps employees advance in their careers.
  • Every person in an organization can benefit from IC training but content should be tailored to the audience.
  • Culture impacts how people manage relationships, perceive hierarchy, communicate, express emotion, resolve conflict and perceive gender roles. These cultural dimensions manifest in the workplace and should be examined in any IC training.
  • Everyone has a different cultural background and perception. Managers need to understand these differences and pick up on cues to better interview candidates and manage employees.

To learn more, watch individual sections of the webinar, view the full recording or download a PDF of the slides. There are also additional resources, such as a cultural competence toolkit and a test to help you assess your own cultural biases.

Section 1: Elements of Intercultural Competence Training

Listen to Ritu Bhasin, People Strategist and Diversity Expert at bhasin consulting inc., talk about how Intercultural Competence affects all aspects of employee development and organizational effectiveness. She also gives tips on how to select an IC trainer and what elements should be included in training. (Length: 15:30)

Section 2: RBC Managers See Value in Intercultural Competence Training

Listen to Sue Santoni, Branch Manager at RBC in Ottawa, talk about diversity at RBC and why she decided to have all the branch managers in Ottawa take part in cross-cultural training through Hire Immigrants Ottawa. Then listen to one of those managers talk about what she learned and how she has applied it in her job. (Length: 11:55)

Section 3: Questions and Answers

Listen to the Q&A portion of the webinar to get more specifics on IC training. (Length: 26:35)


Full Webinar


Additional Resources: