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In its study titled “Culture at work: The value of intercultural skills in the workplace“, the British Council has researched the importance of intercultural competencies for organisations and – together with more than 360 HR managers from 9 different countries – tried to find the answers to this topic.

The Importance of Intercultural Competencies

More than 50% of the organisations interviewed regularly work with foreign clients and business partners, and two thirds of interviewees report that their employees are in frequent contact with international colleagues.

The extent of these international interfaces suggests that intercultural competencies are of critical importance for these organisations – which is confirmed by the participants in this study. Almost all of the HR managers consider these competencies to be important or very important, in particular the ability to adopt new and different ideas and mindsets.

Managing the Potential

Intercultural competencies are seen as crucial for the efficient cooperation of teams, for building trust with clients and for developing relationships with new clients. In fact, according to the respondents, intercultural competencies play a greater role than job-specific qualifications and expertise for these and many other tasks. The HR managers agreed that their employees’ intercultural skills carry significant monetary value for their organisation.

However, many organisations do not yet adequately manage this potential. This is mainly evident in two areas: the recruitment of staff with the necessary intercultural competencies and the development and strengthening of these competencies with existing staff.

Measuring Intercultural Competence

As an example, only one third of the HR managers interviewed actively screen for intercultural competencies during their recruitment process. Why? Is it a lack of time or financial resources? With the right tool, intercultural competence can be measured cost-efficiently and within a short space of time. Do you know our tool SISA (Scale for intercultural self-analysis)? Using a web-based questionnaire, you can test the intercultural competencies of your recruitment candidates within 20 minutes.

Developing and Strengthening Intercultural Competencies

With regard to the development and strengthening of these competencies, even though almost all of the respondents consider these to be critical for the global success of their organization, only 50% of them support their employees with relevant measures. This is another area in which we can support you and are happy to work with you to find suitable measures for your employees.

Do you want to maximise your organisation’s potential? Then contact us on info@intercultures.de to arrange an appointment.

We look forward to your contact!

Photo Credit Title Picture: Getty Images.