Our Intercultural Approach

We use an intercultural approach to our interactions with people.  This means that we acknowledge that each of us is a member of various cultural groups, we accept that culture influences how each of us views the world, and we learn skills to mutually adapt our behavior so that we can meet shared goals.  Inside the City organization, our shared goal is to use our differences towards more effective service for all members of the public.  Out in the community, our shared goal is to build intercultural skills amongst more people and to support collaborative efforts to more effectively deliver services around basic needs to all members of the public.

Our interactions with residents and departments indicate many people are interested in:

  • reducing assumptions and stereotypes based on limited or false information about individuals and groups
  • increasing acceptance of peoples' differences and learning ways to adapt to each other when living and working together
  • working across boundaries to identify and address structural barriers that limit opportunity and access to city and community services
  • providing ways for staff and community members to be integrated and contributing to the workplace and community
  • maintaining safety between people who have deep differences in cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors
We work towards these interests in several ways:

  • We have a diverse internal staff group that is working to identify needs within the organization related to recruitment and retention of staff. This group works to create short and long term plans for improvement.
  • We have employed a Training and Workforce Development Coordinator with expertise and skills in this area who provides the following services to staff based on council goals and priorities and data that has been gathered regarding needs:
    • Providing intercultural skill building workshops and opportunities to integrate new employees into the organization
    • Coaching staff with suggestions and resources related to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce
    • Guiding staff in planning and preparing for their recruitment and retention efforts
    • Supporting staff by facilitating diverse workgroups around special projects designed to improve delivery of City services to all segments of the population
  • We also work with community partners to build intercultural skills out in the community and to identify and address structural barriers that limit opportunity and access to city and community services.
As we do our work, we continually keep in mind that culture change is a process that must take into account the following things:

  • current staff and public resources
  • ability and skills of the individuals involved
  • the overall system and context in which we are operating
You can learn more by browsing our resources.