Corporate India has gone through a sea change in the recent past, with several international companies investing and setting up offices here. Similarly, even Indian businesses have made a mark for themselves on foreign shores.
These advancements have made ‘cultural integration’ a highly important and an indispensable aspect of organisational ethos in recent times.
Globalisation is a trend that will have a major impact on the leaders of the future. Not only would leaders need to understand the economic implications of globalisation, they will also have to understand the legal and political implications. Globalisation puts a premium on how well an organisation can build a bridge between different cultures and geographies. The challenge is one of building a value-creating mindset. Leadership, in today’s scenario requires a person to be cross-culturally competitive and be able to navigate the complex nature of culture and understanding of businesses functioning in a global market.
Globalisation has shrunk the world and has brought geographies closer to each other. With more and more organisations setting up offices in different parts of the world, the employee base too has become an amalgamation of different nationalities, religions, ethnicities and cultures.
This is where workplace diversity and cultural integration come into place. So, how exactly would one describe cultural integration at the workplace? Kamal Karanth, managing director, Kelly Services India opines, “Essentially, cultural integration is an integral aspect in current times when businesses have transcended the geographical barriers across the globe. These days, in almost all MNCs, you will find people from different nationalities converging to attain business goals set forth.”
Similarly, Anurag Shrivastava, managing director, Xebia India points out, “Cultural integration is the amalgamation of different cultures found throughout the organisation and the dispersion of a ‘dominant culture’. This not only leads to a reduction of the cultural differences of employees, but also dilutes local cultures. It promotes unity in diversity among all co-workers to function in a very healthy environment.”
Though cultural integration has been a very important aspect of organisational vision and values, it is gaining even more momentum in recent times. So how did cultural integration gain such impetus at the workplace? “Cultural integration is an extremely significant aspect for an organisation to flourish in a competitive environment and create a successful name for itself and its workforce,” expresses Shrivastava. According to Karanth, it makes great business sense to have a workforce with diverse nationalities as the collaborative synergies and expertise at various levels would definitely enhance the efficiency and culture, thus leading to higher productivity.
Many organisations are working across borders. With this comes the challenge of having integrated mindsets and management styles. Organisations, which are able to cope with these challenges and integrate the workforce culturally are the ones that can minimise the risks and maximise the opportunities present in the global marketplace.
When you enter a workplace, differences in working styles and lifestyles do impact your functioning. While some adapt naturally, others do need help in going through the entire process of ‘fitting in’. Organisations, today, are making sure that there is cultural integration at the workplace. “It could be best achieved by giving employees a platform where they can step out of their set of beliefs and working styles and experience change. This will not only enable them to decide what works best in a particular scenario, but also set them free of their cultural limitations.
The best way to ensure cultural integration at the workplace is to give opportunities to people to mingle together by organising informal sessions internally and through developing newer ways for people to be articulate and reach their potential in a fun and high performance organisation. Employees should enjoy a unique working environment that provides fun, knowledge enhancement and overall personality development by providing a flat hierarchy.
Hence, it goes without saying that cultural integration is the latest buzzword in India Inc. these days and creating a balance in cultural variations is a key challenge facing companies with global ambitions. However, organisations are doing every bit they can to ensure a culture and environment that befits all, irrespective of where they come from.