Yiju offer advice for investment and living in New Zealand. Their staff often felt they didn’t understand why a situation had failed when dealing with Kiwi customers and businesses. Cue English Language Partners!
Auckland Central manager Eve Price ran a cultural competency workshop with Yiju staff. The focus was on looking at what culture is, what features we share, and what features set us apart.
Once the workshop participants had established why certain behaviours were important, and what values were being displayed in action, they then looked at the language used to express these ideas, and at how expressing ourselves reflects important cultural values.
For instance, because Kiwis very strongly believe in an equal footing for everyone, they find it very hard to give direct orders, so might express them in a way that makes them sound like an offer. “Would you mind doing the report by Tuesday?” does not give the choice of doing on Wednesday if you feel inclined!
Two of Yiju’s staff members, Abby and Jiayu, reported they felt the workshop had made a real difference. They were able to make people feel more comfortable and felt they had a better understanding of what people actually meant. Both felt they could be more polite in their communication and felt more at ease expressing themselves and their ideas. They reported the training helped to change their way of thinking to better match the thinking their customers displayed.
If you are interested in exploring how your staff can communicate better across cultures, please get in touch with your closest English Language Partners’ centre to discuss how we can tailor a workshop to suit your needs.