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Happysparrow’s guide to cross-cultural teambuilding

Team building for a cross-cultural team can help build personal bonds whilst allowing everyone to understand each other’s cultures.

Understanding cultural backgrounds can help address conflict immediately and improve communication styles.

Organizing social events can help a multicultural team to get to know each other better as team-building events have also been proven to have trust building benefits that build unity in the long run.

When handled successfully, interpersonal relationships fostered in the work environment that practice inclusion and create room for additional diversity, result in an increase in company revenue that comes from a culturally diverse team.

As intercultural teams often have issues understanding each other’s cultural differences and group dynamics, it can be great to have various perspectives as teamwork with extreme differences often struggle with effective communication.

It can also be challenging for them to:

  • build and maintain a friendly atmosphere in the group;
  • nurture positive interpersonal relationships with their teammates;
  • avoid and/or resolve conflict at the workplace. 

‍How to communicate organizational cultural norms?

These are a few team-building activities that can be done to promote diversity and inclusion while participating in an event that should bring everyone together.

This team-building event works best for organizations with well-established cultures and processes.

You can make the workshop interactive and engaging, so the participants don’t just hear about your expectations but actively exercise them. 

Start by developing a team identity

The team leader can work together with other members to find values and goals that best represent everyone’s cultural diversity.

Allow this process to be creative and inclusive and make sure every team member contributes.

As a result, everyone will see how important their colleagues’ work is, and personal differences won’t be as significant.

Host an afternoon tea session

Everyone loves a break during working hours.

Hosting an afternoon tea filled with all sorts of cakes and desserts to fit the taste buds of multicultural teams can help create a cross-cultural environment.

If your workplace doesn’t have enough room for this kind of activity, renting an event space will open new possibilities for team bonding.

As long as the space has room for drink preparation and tables for snacks, your team will have a positive experience that becomes their new favourite monthly event.

Plan a Heritage Potluck

Food is always the best way to introduce everyone to each of their cultural differences.

As everyone grew up a little differently, you can plan food themes from different cultures or just do a potluck where everyone brings a food item that best represents their culture.

You’ll celebrate your workplace’s diversity over plenty of delicious food.

Start a Book Club

Sometimes people feel uncomfortable when asked to talk about diversity and inclusion.

They could feel spotlighted as a minority group in the workplace.

Organizing a book club creates a safe space to address sensitive topics as everyone can pick inclusive storylines with LGBTQ+ protagonists or memoirs by authors with disabilities to discuss themes that may otherwise be awkward in the workplace.

If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community then you can pick books that highlight queer and non-binary people of colour as launching points for productive diversity conversations.

This will help leaders and team members redefine and broaden their idea of inclusivity because they listen to and talk about perspectives from underrepresented communities.

Host a privileged walk

People often forget how privileged their lives are and it can be very challenging to recognize their privileges.

A privilege walk can help bring cross-cultural teams together.

It starts with everyone standing in line and taking a step forward when they hear a privilege they identify with, like having white skin or coming from an upper-class family.

They can then discuss why those privileges help them get ahead in life to have a productive group discussion.

Volunteer in the Community

Team members can also learn about privilege by volunteering in the community.

Volunteering comes in all sorts of methods to build personal connections.

This includes serving food to the local unhoused population, building houses with donation groups, or managing a charity event which will cause everyone to reflect on what they have and appreciate the people around them.

Volunteering can help instil core values and also create empathy that confirms diverse mentalities in professional spaces.

Employees will open their minds to people of different backgrounds and life experiences, teaching them how inclusion and diversity strengthen relationships.

Celebrate every team member’s cultural holiday

There are so many holidays throughout the year, so why should the workplace only recognize federal holidays?

Take a survey to see which holidays everyone celebrates according to their cultures or religions.

The workplace can plan events in accordance with those dates so that everyone feels equally valued.

Watch Cross-Cultural Movies

Start a film club if your team members are more interested in movies than books.

Pick a cross-cultural film each month and post a discussion question in a private social media group.

Everyone can chat about what they thought while watching the movie and use it to open conversations about diversity and inclusion.

You can also rent an event venue with large walls and a projector where you can hook up the laptops so everyone can watch a projected movie in a fun space.

This is an excellent way to make this team-building activity happen.

They’ll look forward to the event and remember it more than simply watching a film in their standard conference room.

Visit an Art Museum

Art is a wonderful way to learn about different countries and cultures.

Take everyone to an art museum to value those differences in person.

It’s impossible to deny that each piece is worthy of a museum spotlight.

Their differences will highlight why diversity in the workplace is also worth celebrating.

Compare Generational Perspectives

Age gaps in the workplace can make people feel excluded from conversations or friend groups.

Cross that generational divide by asking questions for each age group to answer.

Once they answer questions about their favourite band growing up or which type of car they first drove, everyone will be able to bond over what once made them feel distant from each other.

Promote Diversity and Inclusion

It is important for the management teams to discover team-building activities to promote diversity and inclusion.

After bringing up sensitive topics through fun games, activities, or lively books, everyone will understand that the differences they bring to the table are all worth celebrating.

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