by Tommey Liang, Program Manager, Daytona Beach Campus
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the global/multicultural fluency competency denotes: “Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individual’s differences.” Essentially accepting, learning from, understanding and treating people from all backgrounds as they individually would like to be treated.
Data related to the competencies include these two NACE figures:
Based on a 5-point scale with 5 being the most essential to 1 being not essential, this competency ranks last out of the eight. The wide variety of industries and companies may play a role in the rankings. Out of the employers who responded, in figure 2 they rank recent graduates’ global/multicultural fluency as higher than career management. Although these figures do not display the competency as one of the top, they do not diminish the significance of this crucial competency at all.
You may have read my article about the showcase and benefits of global opportunities. It does not have to be a glorified experience such as a study abroad or working abroad to appreciate and value the diversity of other cultures and people in the world. It could be as simple as interacting with a peer, a colleague, a family member, or someone you may not know yet.
The daily interactions and communications between people can foster and facilitate this competency. It can be adhering to cultural sensitivity and awareness; being mindful of one’s actions and behavior and how it can impact or influence another individual; and becoming a sponge and learning about the differences in others’ values, cultures, religions, personalities and every other element that embodies them.
In the workplace, you will be interacting with people with different characteristics, leadership and management styles, perspectives, communication and working styles. Being aware of and kind to people who may wear particular clothing or a specific, yet professional hairstyle to work. Being open to the idea that some individuals may be more punctual, or lack punctuality. Being cognizant that some individuals may take off a few days of the year for religious reasons. Being appreciative that individuals may run a staff meeting differently than others. Additionally on a practical level, it can include going to a cultural or religious event you do not usually attend.
It is also important to be aware of implicit biases, mental shortcuts, and to acknowledge them and respond in an appropriate manner when collaborating and interacting with people. Global and intercultural fluency is a core, transferable skill through life, and it is necessary to develop in order to be current with the social climate of the world and be a respectable human being toward others.
Build and strengthen this competency through a plethora of ways. Embark on a study abroad experience, internship abroad or both. Participate in a leadership and diversity workshop, retreat or conference. Join and get involved in student organizations and activities – all kinds of personalities, working styles, perspectives and mindsets embody the organizations. Learn from others, seek out mentors, ask many questions, truly get to know and understand all kinds of people, and not just assume, or simply learn only what is on the surface level.
Ultimately, global/intercultural fluency has been and remains to be a critical and prominent competency – and it is growing to be more important over the years as humanistic, social and political climates continue to evolve. It is also critical to be cognizant and accepting of people in all parts of the diversity spectrum. Whether it be race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, faith, treat people and each other – individually and holistically, with kindness, considerateness and respect. That will go a long way – not only in the workplace but for life.
A graduate of the University of Florida and master’s graduate of University of Central Florida, Tommey Liang is a program manager for aerospace engineering and computational mathematics students at Career Services – Daytona Beach. Prior to Embry-Riddle, he served as a City Year AmeriCorps Member in Jacksonville, an ESL teacher in China, and a graduate teaching assistant at UCF Experiential Learning. He enjoys watching anime, playing videos games and spending time with his partner. Feel free to connect with him on social media: Twitter | Instagram