Developing Cultural Competency in the Workplace
Through Diversity Management

Providing Health Services for Multicultural Visitors

The projected increase in the number of international events hosted in its largest market brought a heightened awareness of HCO’s need to care for visitors from other countries. Providing for these visitors required a shift in both the perspectives and the demographic makeup of the staff in surrounding counties. It also created the need for everyone to become more knowledgeable about differences in areas such as culture, ethnicity, language, family patterns, and health practices, as well as the needs those differences created.
Senior leaders & board members sensed that there would be significant business benefits (competitive posture) in developing a diversity initiative. At the same time, they acknowledged that management had no expertise in diversity management and was, in fact, uncomfortable even speaking about the topic.


  • We conducted research to understand the challenges associates and managers faced and how diversity proved to be a support or hindrance in their daily work lives. Our findings allowed us to lay the foundation for an organizational diversity management initiative.
  • Additionally, we consulted with the Director of Organizational Improvement and Development Councils.
  • The Diversity Plan was updated periodically, and at each phase of implementation.


  • HCO developed a data repository for cultural communications and education. The data included the patient and family, as well as their community.
  • We also developed an Organizational Diversity Management Scorecard. This guided leaders in the development of a Diversity Business Case & Organizational definition of Diversity, which in turn supported a training initiative that included members of all levels of the organization.
  • HCO further established a Diversity Champions Council (Steering Committee), and a Diversity Resource Council (Advisory Committee).
  • It also created a mechanism for solicitation of Diversity Ideas, Themes, Needs & Suggestions. This helped managers/supervisors identify and handle serious diversity issues more effectively.


The Organization became well-informed (both management and individual contributor) on the status of diversity, both internally and externally through a system of oversight and guidance for an evolving diversity management process. Through the Diversity Management effort, management developed a greater awareness of potential diversity pitfalls and minefields to avoid.

Today, they are a “best diversity practice” healthcare organization that is sought out by others in the healthcare field. Other area/regional healthcare organizations frequently point to them, call on them and request information about diversity management practices.