Cultural diversity can create barriers among call center employees. Open Access BPO, a leading provider of inbound customer service in the Philippines, explains how call center managers can handle cultural diversity in local call centers, especially with the increasing number of foreign employees joining the outsourcing workforce.
The Philippines, being a multinational business hub, is home to many cultures. Especially since there’s an increasing demand for multilingual customer support agents, a quick tour to any Philippine call center can reveal how diverse the call center workforce has become.
The introduction of foreign cultures to the already diverse call center population is a byproduct of the globalization-fueled expansion of the Philippine outsourcing industry. Because of the aim to include as many globally-competitive services as possible, it’s no longer rare to see call center managers, team leaders, and agents of different nationalities working together.
With the increase in cultural diversity, managers of call center companies in the country face the challenge of transcending cultural barriers. Here are some ways to manage the cultural diversity in your call center:
As a call center manager, you can only start an advocacy if you show your people that you are wholeheartedly committed to it. Hence, you must set aside any prejudices over race, religion, gender, skin color, or any demographic trait. This must be manifested in the policies and management practices you implement in your call center. Agents must be hired based on competence and experience and not on irrelevant or unfair standards.
Your goal in managing cultural diversity is to spread equality and respect to all members of your call center community. It’s useless to start making changes if there is no ripple effect that would let everyone other than the head become part of the advocacy. The company’s rules and policies involving cultural sensitivity must be highlighted during new hire orientation. Team leaders must also focus on reinforcing work relationships among employees regardless of their cultural background.
Cultural sensitivity is not just a mindset; it’s a course of action. It’s not enough to only use words when encouraging respect towards co-employees who are of different culture. Cultural barriers must be transcended by coming up with concrete actions such as evaluating current practices in your call center. Posters or office decorations that may be offensive to certain cultures must not be present in the workplace. Employees must also be free to follow cultural practices such as wearing of traditional clothing or observing dietary restrictions.
Culture sensitivity training is another way of formally encouraging equality among agents. It ensures that all employees understand the different cultural makeup of their colleagues. This creates a foundation that will reinforce the different practices and policies you have already established. It’s also a good opportunity for agents of different cultures to establish rapport and build friendship. Since culture training ensures that agents understand the cultural context of a spoken or written message, it can also serve as one feature that you can use in attracting outsourcing clients of multilingual support.
Your efforts in transcending barriers set by cultural diversity can result to a more cohesive workforce. By encouraging your employees to respect each other’s cultural background, you transform your workplace into a positive work environment that can lead to you’re a successful call center operation. It can also establish a good branding that you can use in proving global clients that your call center should be their provider of choice.