Cultural Sensitivity and Employee Recognition

June 16, 2014
Cultural Sensitivity and Employee Recognition
We’ve all heard the urban legend about the Chevy Nova: the popular car didn’t sell well in Spanish-speaking markets because “no va” in Spanish means “doesn’t go.” While the validity of this cautionary tale is highly questionable, the lesson remains. In the corporate world, it’s imperative to understand the norms and preferences of the culture surrounding your business dealings. You’ve got to do your research and be prepared.
 
Companies that hire employees from around the globe and operate branches in foreign markets are realizing the importance of cultural sensitivity in the work place. This extends to every part of their operations, including and especially employee recognition. By understanding employees and their cultural influences and expectations, companies can make sure that they recognize employees' achievements in a way that is the most flattering to them.

Showing Employees You Care

Williams Recognition knows that recognition programs are an ideal way to retain great employees and help a business establish a reputation as one that values good people and good work. But when you’re dealing with international markets and employees from other countries, it’s essential to take step back and think about cultural sensitivity before presenting awards. What is an honor in that employee’s culture? What is an embarrassment? These things are not consistent from one part of the world to another.
 
For example, employees from one culture may truly appreciate a public show of recognition, while employees from a different culture may be more modest. They might find such a spotlight uncomfortable and would instead prefer a more subdued show of appreciation. Or think of gear given to employees for instilling company pride. Logo sweatshirts, for example, may be appreciated by many of your team members, but if you have offices in more tropical climates, those employees may wonder why you handed them an item that they can't use.
 
Corporate gifts also need to be reviewed. For example, in many cultures, a watch may be a generous and appreciated way of recognizing many years of service. However, in some Asian cultures, watches and clocks are a symbol of time wasted, and are therefore an insult to an employee. It’s up to you as the employer to learn about your employees and their cultural norms so you can decide on the best way to recognize their efforts and achievements.

Williams Recognition Can Help

You know that Williams Recognition is a leader in service awards, corporate gifts, and employee recognition programs. But did you know that when you work with us, you work personally with one of our account managers who can help you with all the details?
Whether you’ve got one office in Canada or offices around the world, Williams Recognition can tailor a program that will make all of your employees feel like their work is valued. We recognize that accepting and embracing diversity is the key to success in international markets and an integral part of making your company stand out. Give us a call today at 877-562- 6501 to find out how we can help you.
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