Quote EndQuote Cross-Cultural Strategy

Corporations can help move Canadians from Cultural Tolerance to Cultural Acceptance

Posted by Vanessa Vachet | 11.09.16


MOSAIC BC- 2016 Cultural Festival, Dr. Mohamad Ismael Ali, a Syrian Refugee, gave thanks to Canada for giving him the chance to Succeed!

Though some Canadians might Disagree, Acceptance of Newcomers will Strengthen our Communities- At MOSAIC BC’s 2016 Cultural Festival, Dr. Mohamad Ismael Ali, a Syrian Refugee, says he Looks Forward to Helping others in his Community!


We have to ask ourselves: As Canadians, are we merely tolerant of other cultures, when we should be accepting? According to a new 2016 Angus Reid Opinion Poll, 68% of Canadians would prefer to see minorities doing more to “fit in” to mainstream society. Immigration is also an issue that has Canadians split down the middle, with 39% of respondents believing that immigration is having a negative effect, while 39% think the opposite. It’s an issue worth exploring for this year’s United Nation’s International Day for Tolerance.

But you’ve got to wonder: As Canadians, can we do better? Instead of cultural tolerance, could we promote cultural acceptance? Canadian businesses may hold the key and here’s why…


Businesses in Canada can encourage and promote the acceptance of other cultures and ethnicities.


They can:



  • Reach a wider audience with your marketing messages — inclusive of other cultures and ethnicities. The use of ethnic languages and ethnic media can help bridge cultural gaps. Or think about simplifying your messaging to make it more universally understood. Would your English communications pass the Globish test?


  • Dispel myths about new Canadians. Encourage your workforce to volunteer or donate to societies that aid immigration and those that help with resettlement services such as ISS BC. Form corporate partnerships with charitable organisations such as MOSAIC BC, that offer educational workshops and English classes to help transition newcomers


QEQ TeamLearns about Making Roti at a Hindu Temple or Mandir

Our Diverse QEQ Team is Always Encouraged to Learn About Different Cultures – Here they Visit a Hindu Temple, or Mandir, to Learn About Making Roti


  • Show other Canadian businesses that language doesn’t have to be a barrier to employment. One of the biggest misconceptions about immigrants and refugees is that they can’t contribute in the workplace, or even in Canadian society, because of language barriers. But with technology such as Google Translate, that barrier is no longer insurmountable. Even employees who are still learning English can use these instant translation tools to communicate at work, among coworkers, in meetings and via emails. With technology, new Canadians can now make their transition to a new work environment much faster and more easily than ever before! (CASE STUDY:  A small business uses translation technology to improve team effectiveness, from QEQ’s President, Alisa Choi)


But make no mistake. Diversity isn’t just something to be flaunted for good PR. It can also benefit your business in so many ways!


 DIVERSITY means… A Diversity of Languages at your Disposal!


Ever had a customer ask for someone who can speak Cantonese? What about Punjabi or Hindi? With Canada’s high density of visible minorities — 1.3 Million Chinese and over 1.5 Million people of South Asian descent — the requirement to provide consumer touchpoints in a variety of languages has increased. Corporations who can fill these needs have a greater chance of increasing their market share.


 DIVERSITY means Valuable Marketing Insights!


Canadian businesses often underestimate the influence of culture on purchasing decisions. But as outlined in a 2010 study on the Cultural Effects on Consumer Behaviour, cultural values, norms and traditions often alter and influence the way different groups buy, especially when it comes to recently immigrated populations. And it is often those subtle cultural differences that will determine whether your product or service will be a hit or a miss with Canada’s ethnic consumer segments.

A diverse workforce, one that includes recent immigrants, will help you target Canadian newcomers — what they want, how they buy, what they value and how they consume media. If you want to reach the next generation of Canadian shoppers, these insights are invaluable to the marketing of your brand!


 DIVERSITY meansRetaining and Attracting Top Staff!


Global companies like Sodexo have already reaped the rewards of a diversified staff. They have seen how their employee engagement scores are directly tied to diversity and inclusion. It’s one of the main drivers of employee satisfaction and engagement.

QEQ staff who are Canadian newcomers learn about Canadian Pastimes like Football, which drives employee satisfaction!

Attract Top Staff and Keep Employees Engaged with a Diverse Workforce! At a QEQ Team-Building Event, Canadian Newcomers on our Staff Learned about our version of Football


In fact, organisations that effectively capitalize on the strengths of ALL their employees, and their unique values, have the most engaged workforce. And highly engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave an organisation. This leads to savings in training and even recruitment, because a diverse workforce sends a message to potential recruits, and even customers, that your organisation values diversity.

A culturally diverse staff may also facilitate the opportunity to execute public outreach, communications, market research and event promotion in various languages, and among various ethnic segments, without always resorting to outside suppliers or contractors.


Diversity can provide a variety of language capabilities, valuable marketing insights, the ability to retain and attract top staff and so much more!


Because, when corporations take the lead and embrace acceptance — acceptance of cultures and beliefs different from their own – they encourage other Canadians to do the same.

That’s why diversity is good not only for business. It’s also good for Canada as a whole.


Whatever motivates you to diversify your staff, QEQ can help you recruit as well as create a smoother on-board experience by providing cross-cultural training for both new recruits and your existing team. Contact QEQ today to get started!



References and Resources:


*All images courtesy of Quote EndQuote

2011 National Household Survey, StatsCan. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-010-x/99-010-x2011001-eng.cfm#a4

The Houston Chronicle, ‘How Does Diversity Impact Employee Retention’: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/diversity-impact-employee-retention-48670.html

Skills Connect Immigrants Program, ‘Top Reasons to Hire Immigrants’: http://www.skillsconnect.ca/need-to-hire/top-reasons-to-hire-immigrants

Government of Saskatchewan, ‘Why Hire Immigrants?’: http://cs.gov.sk.ca/why

HR Council.ca, ‘Diversity at Work’: http://hrcouncil.ca/hr-toolkit/diversity-workforce-matters.cfm#2