Cultural training a ‘two-way street’

Understanding cultural biases helps employers overcome conflicts
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/21/2006

On Canadian streets, the sight of a police officer doesn’t usually inspire fear in citizens. After all, police officers are there to ensure safety and inspire confidence in the people they are charged with protecting.

But when a worker comes to Canada from overseas, from a nation where the police force is corrupt and not to be trusted, the sight of a police officer can spark fear. That’s one barrier ExxonMobil, an Irving, Texas-based oil giant, faced when it brought workers from the war-torn African nation of Angola to Nova Scotia for technical training and to improve their English skills

“With the civil war in Angola, the police were not to be trusted,” said Sterling Feener, manager of customized training at the Nova Scotia Community College in Sydney, N.S.