Overcoming Cultural Differences In An Evolving Workplace

April 21, 2020
by David O'Connell
Overcoming cultural differences

Client: Global Cosmetics Retail Firm Experiencing Problems with Cultural Differences
Participants: 45
Format: 1 day team building event
Location: Deas Island Park, Delta, BC

The Challenge: This company was in a growth phase and the need for increasing production was critical. However, due to the differences among employees from varying cultural backgrounds, the group dynamics experienced communication barriers, cliques, misunderstandings, disharmony and divisiveness. Disagreements and negative behavior among staff were becoming toxic with personal health & safety, production results and product quality were at risk.  

The Purpose: Consult on, design and facilitate a program that indirectly and directly addressed these challenges and create an employee working culture focused on community, understanding, acceptance, inclusivity, belonging, harmony and respect.

Our Approach: Through a preliminary series of consulting sessions to understand the culture and exact need, the program approach was crafted to include a mix of progressive social mixers and ice-breakers, fun collaborative problem-solving exercises, personal leadership assessments and sharing exercises. These were designed for participants to gain new perspectives and learning and practicing a simple communication tool to reduce conflict. We finished with some competitive games and trust-building initiatives before a very rich debrief to share new understandings and tools for taking forward. The program sought and delivered was a custom consulting and group facilitation event.

The Results: By the end of the day people were laughing together, sharing personal stories, depending on one another in trusting situations and spontaneously taking photos of their team and achievements. The HR director and team managers also took our frameworks and posted them in their factory so they could refer to them to help overall communications and harmony. What were cultural differences became areas that staff wanted to learn more about. Upon a post-event debrief meeting, the HR department was very happy with the results and looked forward to introducing similar experiences to proactively support work wellness and flow in other parts of the company.