Updated: Aug 10
PREFACE FROM THE FOUNDER, SEEMA JAIN:
I trust this newsletter finds you and your loved ones in good health and spirits.
During the third quarter, I spent quite a bit of time attending in-person events and conferences. It was wonderful to connect with people face-to-face once again, while fully vaccinated and adhering to the necessary safety precautions. My travels included:
Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Convention & Trade Show (Dallas, Texas)
International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Conference (Atlanta, Georgia)
The Lodging Conference (Scottsdale, Arizona)
As you receive this newsletter, I am currently at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, presenting a customized workshop, “The Threads That Bind Luxury Culture.” Thank you to General Manager Arjun Channa for inviting me to present at this beautiful property. A special thank you to Brandi Charles and Gabby Goulet for collaborating with Seva Global to ensure a memorable event. In July, we presented to Envestnet, a wealth management company, and conducted a cross-cultural training for its U.S. and India offices. How we communicate across cultures is key to successful and effective business interactions. Thank you, Noonie Aguilar of DuPage County Visitors Bureau, and Michael Jacobson and Jennifer Chase of Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association (IHLA), for inviting me to present to your members. We were very excited when Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook, Illinois, signed with us right after the event. In addition to being on the road, Seva Global has also expanded its portfolio of offerings to include a complimentary 20-minute webinar. Through Seva Global: Why Cultural Competency Matters, I share my insights on cultural understanding and how cultural competency impacts sales performance, enhances the customer experience, and elevates employee engagement. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in learning more. Enjoy the beautiful autumn weather (or the seasonal changes you are experiencing in your part of the world!). And don’t forget to take advantage of our promotional offer: Fall into Cultural Immersion, which ends October 31. Be safe. Travel wisely. Be culturally competent.
THIS EDITION'S TIP: Virtual meetings have made it easier for us to connect with so many different people. But have you ever thought about how you can make your meetings more inclusive and accessible? On virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, you can use live captioning and transcript features to be more accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, as well as those who speak different languages. To do this, you can start by logging into your Zoom account through a browser. In the navigation panel, click on “Settings.” Then, go to the “Meeting” tab. Under the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section, enable “Closed Captioning” (as well as the sub-features under it) and click “Save Captions.” Then, in a Zoom meeting, tap the “Live Transcript” button on the bottom and select “Enable” live transcription. Participants can then click on the arrow next to the button to display subtitles or view and save the full transcript. Utilizing this feature will make your meetings more engaging and inclusive for all!
NEXT CHAPTER: Seva Global is proud to offer a new service to our customers: Cultural Comparison. Do you have colleagues or customers in two countries that you work with often? Do you have office locations in different countries where employees interact frequently? Do cultural differences sometimes hinder communication? Allow Seva Global to provide a Cultural Comparison of two countries to highlight similarities and differences and understand the “why” behind each culture. We include a comparison document that drives home key takeaways and overall practical tips to further understand the differences that make a difference and help enhance your success.
TRAVEL SAFELY, TRAVEL WELL:
Seema’s travel calendar is booking up quickly! If she is in your city and you’d like to schedule a coffee visit or a socially distant walk outside, please let us know! • St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands: Monday, October 18 – Thursday, October 21 • Oak Brook, Illinois: Tuesday, November 30 • Washington, DC: Wednesday, December 15 – Friday, December 17
In each newsletter we share a story of selfless service, or seva, from one of our subscribers. This quarter, we are highlighting Arushi Sinha, Editor of Indian Weddings magazine. Seva Global partnered with Indian Weddings magazine to fulfil the needs of a customer. Seva Global owed Indian Weddings $500 in return for the services provided. Instead of collecting the payment owed, in an act of true seva, Arushi asked if, in keeping with the mission of Seva Global, it would be possible to send the payment directly to her local food bank. Arushi then provided a donation link to the food bank in San Francisco, California. This gesture was so unexpected and compassionate, and we were touched to honor this request and remit payment in the form of a generous donation. Bravo, Indian Weddings magazine!
Please continue to share how you practice seva and let us know how you are helping a customer, colleague, community, family, or friend through cultural competence! You can send your “#mysevastory” to Elizabeth Vukovich.
SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT, ED ROSHEIM:
In our newsletters we feature an expert from a different subject area to provide us with recommendations on how to increase our cultural competence. Whether we’re in the office or working from home, good communication is important to improving workplace culture and success. For insights into how we can inspire more effective communication in the workplace, we spoke with Ed Rosheim, Chief Executive Officer at Workplace Languages. Below are some of his tips and recommendations to ensure you are practicing effective communication at work:
Learn simple phrases in the languages your employees speak. Often, employees who don’t speak the native language feel left behind or left out of the conversation, thus creating communication discrepancies that can lead to larger issues. Learning and speaking common phrases help these employees feel more included and overall boost morale.
Ensure confidence in next steps. After a meeting, some employees may feel confused or unsure of what they should do next but may not feel comfortable communicating it. If you’re getting the sense that some employees may be unclear on the instructions, follow up and spend the extra time ensuring they feel confident in their next steps.
Use visual aids where necessary. This is particularly important for safety-related topics. Using visuals to communicate safety instructions or precautions helps all employees understand how to avoid accidents and hazards.
Provide mentors where possible. Pairing new employees with more experienced, long-term employees can help get them acclimated to the workspace. This way, the new employee can share any concerns they may have with their mentor rather than their boss.
Meet your coworkers halfway. Whether you’re speaking in a language they’re not fully familiar with, or colloquial language commonly used within your company, you want to have understanding and patience with your coworkers. This will help them feel more welcome in the work environment and will promote more effective communication.
Seva Global offers a wide array of services to foster cultural competence across organizations. Through our customized solutions and consultations, we can help to increase employee engagement, enhance customer experience, and drive bottom line results. Our goal is to help teams become more culturally competent when engaging with people from different backgrounds. We would love your feedback on this newsletter. Please share with anyone you think it may interest!
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