Sunday, 21 February 2016

Cultural Diversity and Facility/ Owners Association Management

In most cities today, it is normal to see people of different cultural or ethnic groups living and working under the same roof or in close proximity. This increasing trend in cultural diversity influences how people interact, live and work together. It also has a significant impact in the Facilities Management (FM) and Owners Association Management (OAM) industries. To stay competitive and to improve service standard it is important that the FM and OAM industries embrace this fact and adapt its services to cater to a more culturally diverse customers, tenants, service providers and employees.  

Managing people in a culturally diverse setting can presents its own set of challenges and the FM and OAM industry is largely about managing people. 

One of the major challenges that a Building Manager may face is communication. As a Building Manager you need to communicate effectively with people of different cultural or ethnic background. Get your message across clearly without any misunderstandings and misinterpretations. A Building Manager’s cultural competence in other words his or her cultural awareness plays an important role. Understand what is acceptable and what is not in different culture.

In some culture, they are used to very direct and blunt way to express what they feel and think. While some people may think this as rude to another it is quite the norm. How you speak affects how the other party react.It is important to note this when you are resolving  problems with tenants/residents or service providers. It is also important to take note of this when you are communicating with a team of culturally diverse staffs or service providers. Communicating effectively is often the first step to resolving a problem and how you say something is just as important as what you are saying. Accents, slangs and pronunciation affects effective communication. 

Non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. As research shows, a large component of communication is usually non-verbal. Non verbal communication can give off mixed signals if you are not aware of the other party’s cultural background. Understanding body language is an added advantage when dealing with people. 

It is important to realize that different people from different culture have different expectations from a Building Manager. They may have different expectations on the level of cleanliness and security in a building. It is therefore important to be aware of these different expectations in order to improve your service standard. 
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