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What does bicultural mean? 

In today's increasingly diverse world, it is essential for organisations to be bicultural. Biculturalism has become essential in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion as it helps experts examine bias and understand the unique experiences of various groups. 

Biculturalism is the ability to function effectively in two different cultures, often blending the values, traditions, and customs of both cultures.  

It is not solely about speaking two different languages or having lived in different countries. Biculturalism is a state where two cultures merge, leading to a solid understanding and appreciation of both cultures. 


The importance of biculturalism in the workplace 

The representation of different cultures and nationalities in the labor force can positively impact the workplace environment, foster an inclusive culture, and increase business success.  

Bicultural individuals have a unique perspective that can help organizations navigate foreign markets, language barriers, and cultural differences more effectively. 

  1. International Communication Skills

Bicultural employees have the advantage of speaking at least two languages fluently. They can quickly communicate with colleagues and clients who speak different languages, making communication more efficient and less painful.  

They are also confident in their communications, which leads to a better understanding of global markets. 

  1. Cultural Awareness

Diverse backgrounds can enrich the workplace environment in many ways. Culture is a fundamental part of any society, and awareness of it improves communications and cooperation among employees.  

A bicultural employee can bring a wealth of knowledge about their heritage and other foreign cultures, allowing them to understand and navigate other cultures' norms. 

  1. Creativity and Innovation

Bicultural workers have greater insight into different perspectives, which can boost creativity, productivity, and efficiency in the workplace.  

They embrace the differences that result in innovative solutions to complex problems. Bridging cultural gaps and working through diversity can lead to fantastic results. 

  1. Flexibility

Bicultural employees have a unique ability to move between different cultures fluently. This skill is key to work across cultures and adapt to different situations.  

As a result, bicultural workers are more flexible, adaptable, and can quickly fit in with other cultures in the workplace. 

  1. Breaking Barriers

Bicultural workers have a unique position in bridging the gap between foreign employees and local colleagues. They can be liaisons for understanding differences and breaking down language and cultural barriers.  

Biculturalism can help a company become more welcoming and inclusive by promoting diversity, creating an excellent image, and improving overall relations among different employees. 

  1. Improved Customer Relations 

In a global economy where businesses are becoming more spread out, it is essential to have employees that understand the nuances of customs, beliefs, and attitudes in different countries.  

Clients appreciate it when employees take the time to understand their local culture. Bicultural employees have a unique ability to build rapport easily with clients and customers from different cultures due to their extensive experience. 

  1. Career Growth

Bicultural employees bring a unique set of skills to the table due to their cultural experiences in different countries.  

These skills include improved communication, leadership, diplomacy, flexibility, and inclusion. These attributes make them attractive candidates for promotion and entry into management positions.  

Companies that value diversity, equity, and inclusion have a competitive edge over others, and promoting bicultural individuals is a great way to show this commitment. 


Fostering biculturalism in the workplace 

There are several steps that companies can take to foster biculturalism in the workplace: 

  1. Encourage Mentorship Programs

One of the most effective ways to foster biculturalism in the workplace is by encouraging mentorship programs.  

A mentorship program can pair up employees from different cultural backgrounds to share their experiences, learn from each other, and build relationships. This can help break down barriers and promote understanding and respect for different cultures. 

  1. Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion

Another way to foster biculturalism is to celebrate diversity and inclusion. This can be in the form of cultural events, awareness days, or diversity training workshops.  

By celebrating different cultural backgrounds, you signal to your employees that diversity is an important part of your organization's values.  

Employees feel appreciated and engaged in the company's mission when they feel their cultural backgrounds are acknowledged and respected. 

  1. Create an Inclusive Environment

Creating an inclusive environment is another important step towards fostering biculturalism. This means creating policies and practices that encourage inclusivity, such as flexible working hours, remote working options, or accommodating religious and cultural practices.  

Inclusivity goes beyond just policies and should translate into day-to-day behavior, such as using inclusive language, listening actively, and showing empathy. 


Promote biculturalism with inclusio 

Inclusio is a D&I platform that companies can use to foster biculturalism and inclusivity in the workplace. It offers gamified learning experiences and powerful diagnostics, allowing organizations to better gauge overall effectiveness of different DEI initiatives.