Promote Microcultures and Build Cultural Competence and Resilience in the Workplace

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it’s more important than ever for global mobility professionals to stay on top of emerging trends and adapt to new cultural shifts for the talents and companies they work with; one trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years is the rise of microcultures.

Microcultures are small, niche communities that are united by shared interests, values, or identities; in contrast to the more broader concept of cultural diversity, which emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and respecting differences in the workplace.

A microculture can be a marketing team that values creativity and innovation. A sales team might have a microculture that values competitiveness and performance.  A group of employees who share a passion for fitness might have a microculture that values health and wellness. 

These microcultures can have a significant impact on the workplace environment and employee experience. In the workplace, microcultures can emerge based on various factors such as departmental affiliation, geographic location, or shared interests. 

Why is encouraging microcultures a good thing?

New research suggests that promoting microcultures in the workplace may lead to improved employee wellbeing.  

Benefit for employees as much as it is for companies

Creating small groups or communities of employees who share similar values, interests, backgrounds, or experiences can have several benefits for companies as well.

Microcultures can foster an environment that promotes creativity and innovation, enhance engagement and retention, and improve problem-solving and decision-making. By leveraging diverse viewpoints, companies can approach challenges from different angles and come up with more effective solutions.

Moreover, microcultures can help employees develop better cultural competence, a valuable skill for companies with a global workforce or those operating in diverse markets. By intentionally creating microcultures or supporting existing ones, companies can also build greater adaptability and resilience in their workforce.

Global mobility specialists can play a key role in helping companies leverage the benefits of microcultures. By considering the individual needs and preferences of employees and supporting the development of microcultures, they can create a more dynamic and inclusive workplace that benefits employee well-being and productivity.

Breaking down barriers

Creating microcultures can also help break down barriers between different cultural groups by encouraging employees to share their unique perspectives and experiences. This can promote a more open and collaborative work environment that values diversity and fosters innovation.

While microcultures may seem like a small and insignificant trend, they can actually have a big impact on businesses. Companies that are able to tap into these communities and understand their values and interests can develop more effective marketing strategies and create products that are better tailored to their customers’ needs.

Put in the research

To do this, companies need to be willing to do the research and put in the time to understand these microcultures. They should be monitoring social media platforms and online forums where these communities gather, paying attention to the language they use and the issues that are important to them. They can also attend events or meetups where members of these communities gather in person.

Once a company has a better understanding of a microculture, they can start to develop marketing and product strategies that speak directly to that community. For example, a company that sells outdoor gear might develop a marketing campaign that targets urban explorers, highlighting the features of their products that are most important to that community.

Those that are able to embrace this trend and understand the needs and values of these niche communities will be better positioned to succeed in an increasingly complex and diverse marketplace.

Business value of microcultures

To capture the business value of microcultures, companies must first identify them. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or informal conversations with employees. It is important to understand the factors that contribute to the formation of microcultures and the values and beliefs that define them.

Once microcultures are identified, companies can leverage them to achieve their business objectives. For example, a company might identify a microculture of employees who are passionate about sustainability. 

The company can leverage this microculture by implementing environmentally-friendly practices and initiatives that align with the values of this group. This can help the company reduce its environmental impact and attract customers who value sustainability.

Similarly, a company might identify a microculture of employees who are passionate about innovation. The company can leverage this microculture by creating an innovation lab or incubator that encourages employees to develop new ideas and technologies. This can help the company stay ahead of the competition and drive growth.

To effectively leverage microcultures, companies must also ensure that they are inclusive and diverse. Microcultures that exclude or discriminate against certain groups of employees can be detrimental to the workplace environment and employee experience. 

It is important to foster an inclusive culture that values diversity and encourages employees to share their perspectives and ideas.