Part 3 - The Inclusive Workplace


Different cultures appreciate feedback in different ways. As a manager, itt’s always helpful to have a conversation with your staff about how best to provide feedback.

Cultural practices impact how people work and interact with each other:

  • Concepts of time. Some cultures may be punctual and time-oriented, while others are more flexible and casual.
  • Physical contact and personal space. Inhibitions about physical contact or engaging in public displays of affection may differ; also the size of comfortable personal space may vary significantly.
  • Styles and patterns of communication. Communication styles vary – some cultures are more accepting of silence during conversation or they might prefer continuous conversation and ‘small talk.’
  • Self-identity or self-orientation. In some cultures, people are more focused on meeting their individual needs; in others, the community’s needs could take precedence.
  • Dealing with conflict. In some cultures, conflict could be dealt with immediately and directly, while in others, the favoured approach is to avoid confrontation to preserve personal and group honour and dignity.

This graphic shows you the importance of being attentive to what’s under the surface – attitudes, concepts, communication styles, etc.




Diversity training is helpful as part of new-hire training programs, programs for staff or for managers. Such programs help people to recognize their own prejudices and cultural assumptions, while teaching them skills to respectfully seek to understand other cultures they come in contact with. Diversity training can also teach employees effective intercultural communication skills as well, helping them to speak clearly with and fully understand co-workers who speak English as a second or third language.

Diversity training can be costly. Consider partnering with similar organizations to share a workshop; or suggest such a program to your local community arts council. Your town may have low-cost training available through local recreation centres, the Y, or a volunteer centre.



Diagram of the Cultural Iceberg - This graphic shows you clearly the nuances, styles, motivations and assumptions that lie beneath the surface of any cross-cultural encounter.


Dig Deeper

Thoughts on Diverse Hiring Practices in the Arts - Interview with Seema Jethalal,  Managing Director, Daniels Spectrum, a cultural hub in Regent Park in Toronto.


Consider the following:

We have:
Specific outreach strategies to expand our recruiting networks and opportunities
Processes to ensure our job descriptions are clear and free of bias
Procedures to ensure bias free interviewing and selection
Facilities and other work environments which accommodate all workers
Regular feedback opportunities for employees on staff satisfaction and on efforts towards inclusion
Opportunities to discuss diversity and inclusion topics
Opportunities for skills training and professional development support in areas such as cultural competency
A mentoring system to support our employees within the organization