Intern Diaries: Reflections on Intercultural Communication and Diversity

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Fostering cultural diversity and inclusion in the workplace has become a major initiative for organisations hoping to take the world stage by storm. With globalisation continuing to define the modern world, an increasing number of companies are realising the benefits of having a multicultural team that thrives on cross-cultural understanding and mutual respect. 

Our PRecious interns share insights around the value of cultural diversity, the power of intercultural communication, and why organisations should strive to promote inclusion in the workplace.

PRecious Intern Diaries: May 2021

 

Effective global campaigns: The importance of understanding local nuances

Lim Cheng Sing - PRecious Communications

The fact is that our work in PR is very globalised; our clients are based in multiple regions, most outside of our own scope of lived experiences. That is and has been the case of an increasingly globalised business landscape and simply having diverse teams that are based all over the world is not enough to deliver the quality of work we strive to produce as professionals.

Intercultural communications is not only a matter of the kind of message you intend to deliver, but also about how it gets delivered. Cultural sensitivities are often the first thing that comes to mind, but it cannot be overlooked that different markets behave differently towards media, and even how the different regional media operate. Having had the privilege of working with our teams in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, I was able to glean insights I would otherwise not have had about the local media and their own quirks, from the wider reach of radio in Indonesia to the different preferences of Chinese media in Malaysia. 

I was only able to learn these nuances through our diverse teams, and the insights gained can greatly inform a team’s approach to maximise returns on campaigns, improving a team’s efficiency, and even our own team bonding.

Contributed by Lim Cheng Sing, Junior Client Executive, PRecious Communications (Sparks)

 

Openness: A key ingredient in cultivating a diverse workplace culture

Daniel Chang - PRecious Communications

Diversity has become both a movement and a way of life. We are commonly taught to diversify our investment portfolios. We are taught, early on, to build a diverse skill set. And we even indulge in different hobbies when we have time to spare. 

In recent years, workplace diversity has become a key focus area in organisations globally, as businesses increasingly view diversity as a competitive advantage. It’s seen to drive innovation, creativity, market expansion and business growth (as local colleagues provide insights on effective local market strategies). Cultural diversity in the workplace provides an opportunity for employees to grow in their personal and professional lives as they become more exposed to diverse cultures, develop a truly global mindset, and learn to respect differences – which in turn, allows them to build and strengthen relationships.

Openness is the key ingredient behind cultivating a diverse workplace culture. And being open about, and accepting of, colleagues’ differences is the only way to build a truly resilient workforce founded on a “team” mentality.

Contributed by Daniel Chang, HR Intern, PRecious Communications

 

Intercultural communication: Reducing friction across a culturally diverse workplace

A culturally diverse workplace celebrates employees across different religions and races. It is founded on the belief that everyone brings different skills and views to the table – which can be a competitive advantage to any company. However, differences in working and communications styles would also increase the probability of clashes and misunderstandings among teams. This is where the value of intercultural communication comes in. Imagine team members as gears that enable the company to function properly, and intercultural communication as the lubrication that reduces the friction among colleagues from different backgrounds.

Knowing how to communicate verbally and non-verbally with people across cultures is of course key to making cultural diversity work. And being mindful of each other’s communication styles and manners can go a long way in delivering the right message, which is essential for driving productivity with teams.

Effective intercultural communication may take time to cultivate, and it is a team effort: Everyone has to consciously eliminate cultural biases, listen to each other’s views, and be observant of non-verbant cues. The most important thing is to never give up. Every day, we can grow together with our team and work towards making diversity our competitive advantage. 

Contributed by Megan Lim, Junior Client Executive, PRecious Communications (Edge)

 

Being authentic: The only way diversity can be an asset

Tania Seah - PRecious Communications

In this day and age, any company claiming that diversity is not important will limit its ability to pursue growth and innovation. Being open about different perspectives and cultures is an important first step towards understanding different markets’ needs and wants – which is key for organisations looking to expand across borders. By having a culturally diverse workforce, organisations can better tailor their products and services to local markets, translating to greater customer satisfaction and revenue growth. 

Many brands have jumped on the diversity and inclusion bandwagon, so much so that those failing to do so face backlash and criticism. But many brands fail to realise the true purpose behind the cause – which is to strengthen solidarity within communities. 

I urge all brands to reflect on their campaigns and products – and rather than being merely cookie-cutters capitalising on a popular trend, be authentic and practice what the movement truly stands for. Only then would diversity prove to be a valuable asset.

Contributed by Tania Seah, Junior Client Executive, PRecious Communications (Inc)

 

Keen on embarking in a career in PR? Contact us around our 6 months internship programme at PRecious Communications to gain exposure at one of Singapore’s leading PR firms. We welcome graduates and students from universities, polytechnics or junior colleges from all backgrounds who are passionate about communicating in an impactful way.

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