TO: ALL STAFF
FROM: JO BLOW
SUBJECT: SOCIALLY DIVERSE CUSTOMERS AND COLLEAGUES
Working in the hospitality industry requires us to develop sound communication and management skills to interact effectively at various levels with internal customers and external customers. In order to achieve this all employees need to be culturally aware. Culture can be defined in many ways, but usually includes the elements that are important to a group of people. Culture means the way we do things - our way of life, the way we dress, the values we uphold, the beliefs we foster, the way we prepare and serve food and the way we greet people, it makes us who we are. Being culturally aware enables us to:
- Be more tolerant and understanding of differences.
- Appreciate, anticipate and respect the needs and expectations of our colleagues and customers.
- Avoid cultural stereotyping which assumes that all people in a particular culture or group are the same.
- Minimise possible cross-cultural misunderstanding, embarrassment, offence or conflict.
Misunderstandings can arise if the cultural differences of customers and work colleagues are not anticipated. Often these difficulties occur because of poor communication, lack of patience, lack of empathy or judgements made based on someone's own cultural values. Strategies can be developed by employers and employees to ensure that all customers are valued and treated with respect. As individuals, there are measures that can be employed to assist and promote effective communication and understanding within the workplace. Some suggestions include:
- Being familiar with local cultural sites and religious centres.
- Have empathy with others' views on ethics.
- Use simple gestures to ease language barriers.
- Avoid discriminatory jokes.
- Avoid cultural stereotyping and inappropriate body language.
- Use training sessions to educate staff.
- Learn celebrations...