Iowa Equity Challenge Day 18

Day 18 of 21


Cultural competence is the ability to positively and respectfully interact with people across cultures, identities, and communities to achieve a shared goal.  

Workplace cultural competence includes culturally respectful policies and procedures and an openness to feedback about how the business can do better for all its employees — to increase job satisfaction, retention, and productivity. 

We are all in different places in our equity and cultural competence journey. Explore these resources, and reflect on where you and your workplace are in that journey.


Learning Objectives

  • Identify aspects of workplace cultural competence. 
  • Learn how a lack of cultural skills can negatively impact the workplace.
  • Determine what steps you can take to establish and maintain an inclusive culture in your work environment.


Today's Activities


Choose one or more of these daily activities to learn about today’s topic. Plan to set aside 15 to 30 minutes to complete the activities and journal about your thoughts and feelings. 


Watch Accenture’s “Inclusion Starts With I” (3:27) to hear from employees about how bias can affect workplace culture and what happens when we all do our part to build a better culture.


Watch the TEDx Talk “Why Corporate Diversity Programs Fail & What to Do Instead” (14:48) from Joan C. Williams about focusing on fixing systems rather than trying to fix people.


Read “Why Cultural Competence Matters to Business” (3 min) from JER HR Group about the impact of cultural competence on the workplace and how management is critical to success.


Listen to “How to Talk About Race at Work” (34:51), an episode of the Harvard Business Review’s Race at Work podcast, to hear Fran Katsoudas, Cisco’s Chief People Officer, discuss racist comments from several Cisco employees days after the murder of George Floyd and the company’s  response.


Capture what you learned by writing down your thoughts and feelings about today's content.

  • What was your “aha moment” (moment of surprise or new information)?
  • Does this information change your perspective?
  • How will you use what you learned today to create more equitable spaces? 
  • Where are you in your personal cultural competence journey?
  • Where is your workplace, school, or community in its cultural competence journey?

Download a free journal page for today.


Additional Resources & Activities


If you would like to dig deeper into this issue, check out these additional resources. We encourage you to revisit this material when you have more time. Feel free to come back to this topic as often as you’d like!



Share your reflections on today’s topic on social media using the hashtag #IowaEquityChallenge.



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