Assessing intercultural competence: Measurement is a powerful tool for building inclusive workplaces

Measurement tools are often a key part of an organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy. They can help you identify were you are and prioritize areas for growth.

There is a range of tools available for professionals working to create an inclusive workplace. One of these is the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)®, which focuses on intercultural competence.

TRIEC’s Anna Kostecka, Senior Manager, Learning Initiatives, and Rachel Crowe, Manager, The Mentoring Partnership Learning Projects, recently became certified to use IDI. They share why they think assessing intercultural competence is essential for any organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy and management toolkit, and what they have learned from the IDI certification process.

 

Why is it important for TRIEC to offer intercultural competence assessment to organizations?

Rachel: It fits in with all of the professional development opportunities we already offer. Measurement helps individuals and teams identify their professional development goals. IDI takes it to another level, allowing a very nuanced understanding.

Anna: TRIEC’s mission is to help immigrant professionals integrate into the labour market. Part of how we achieve that is to offer organizations learning opportunities, and this includes immigrant employees, to grow their skills and create inclusive workplaces. Intercultural competence is critical for this, and measuring it with a workshop or individual session delivered by TRIEC is a great intervention for both organizations and individuals.

 

Would you recommend an organization make measurement their first step towards diversity and inclusion?

Anna: Definitely. When organizations are developing their diversity and inclusion strategy, it helps the people involved understand what diversity and inclusion is, and how as an organization, they navigate cultural differences. It can also help organizations go from having inclusion in their values statement to understanding how to practice it every day.

Rachel: I would add that using a tool like IDI is valuable for any organization at any point. It’s a powerful way to see where an organization has developed, where people are at that time, and how they can grow further. Perhaps early policies and processes are starting to get things going. An IDI workshop is an opportunity for an organization to evaluate what they have done, and find new ways to create a more inclusive environment.

 

What is the Intercultural Development Inventory, what insights can it provide?

Rachel: IDI is a validated assessment tool that measures individuals’ intercultural competence.  It helps identify someone’s ability to recognize and navigate cultural difference. It provides a structure to work with someone and create a learning plan to further develop the skills they already have.

Anna: What I like about IDI is the fact that it’s developmental in nature.  If people within an organization are able to measure their intercultural competence, it helps them understand how they can grow. For example someone at the beginning of their journey doesn’t see cultural differences.  For them, the next step is to acknowledge these differences exist. I also appreciate that the individual results of the IDI are confidential, and intended to support individual development.

 

How does measurement using the IDI help an organization structure and develop their diversity and inclusion strategy?

Anna: This is one goal of the group workshop with colleagues from the same organization. The group IDI workshops involve a four-hour training and debrief on group results. During the conclusion of the session, the group decides on their goals. It helps identify challenges to work on, it helps plan the process, and it helps generate interest and commitment from the participants.

Rachel: It’s helpful to see the aggregate results from a group IDI. It gives leaders and champions a sense of how to share messages about diversity and inclusion within the organization. It shows the effects of the strategy and policies, and helps people see the change and the impact of the strategy, and generate support for the policies.

 

Beginning in June, TRIEC is offering the IDI as an individual or team workshop for organizations, whether you’re beginning or established in your diversity and inclusion journey.

Reach out to our team to book a session, or to learn more about the program.

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