How diversity can help build trust

You are currently viewing How diversity can help build trust

This is the final part of an ongoing Brain drain series. Check out  “The Great Indian Movement” in Part I and Struggle of Indian Immigrant students in US in Part II, How did I handle Culture shock in Part III and Handling cultural diversity at workplace in Part IV. Glad to share that the Part IV of the series is published at

Part V of Brain Drain Series – How diversity can help build trust!

Throughout the brain drain series I talked about the constant transition faced by people who migrate from all over the world to US. When people think about US, the things that usually come to their mind may be a white person with blonde hair and luxurious life style, burgers, cities with skyscrapers and a land of excess.

And I agree that such factors genuinely add colors to the big portrait of United States, But what makes this land attractive to me is truly the people here. People from diverse cultures all over the world.

There were 37.6 million foreign-born people living in the United States as per the US Census Bureau estimates in March 2010. A Recent study done by Fiscal Policy Institute found that there are 900,000 immigrants among small-business owners in the United States, accounting for 18 percent of the total. This percentage is higher than the immigrant share of the overall population, which is 13 percent. Immigration as a whole has increased the US Gross Domestic Product by $37 billion each year.

From Top positions in White House to CEO’s of Multi National companies to their countless resources of skilled employees, immigrants have proved that they are an incredible talent and asset.

“These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am  proud to have them serve in this administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” Obama said in a statement when he appointed two more indians to key white house jobs.

“Everywhere Immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American Life”- John F. Kennedy

Immigrants have contributed in building this nation and continue to do so. Thus the diverse culture is the glue that binds us together. But since we come from diverse cultural background, chances are there that our actions can mislead people or create mistrust between us.

So here I would like to highlight a few points that would help avoid possible mistrust and miscommunication when you interact with people from diverse culture at workplace and in life.

Stress the usage of English language: Avoid using a different language that people can’t understand. e.g If you are an Indian working with a team consists of people from your country and Americans, avoid using your native language when you are at work and especially when sitting among a group. People might feel insulted when someone sitting next to them uses a different language that he can’t understand.

Dress for the culture: When you are in another country dress for the culture of that country. Look at the dressing style of local people around you for hints. Dressing differently might place yourself in an odd situation that may cause people to feel that you don’t belong there.

Hire people from diverse culture: I have noticed a few employers hire only those candidates who belong to their own culture. Avoiding this and hiring candidates from other cultures will help create a well rounded team and help grow your business.

Follow Social etiquette and gestures: In America wishing someone a ‘Hey’ or ‘How are you’ is a very common thing. Even if it is a stranger, people smile and wish when they meet. Another thing is if you are exiting out of a room or building people will hold the door open for others that come behind. That shows a respect to each other. Understanding these social etiquette and gestures will help improve your interaction skills.

Know how your body speaks:For example, nodding your head means ‘YES’ in America but in some countries like Nepal and Bulgaria it means ‘NO’. Another example is when someone says mm-hmm in response to something it means Yes here,  but it means No in India. Also here people show respect to you, when they talk to you, by looking directly into your eyes. So when you interact with people make sure your body speaks what you intend to communicate.


Leave a Reply