Some organisations appear to only make approaches for support from what could be sees as the main segment of the community, those they’re most ‘comfortable’ approaching. What they seem to be ignoring, or putting in the too hard basket are those they’re not sure about approaching, that they’re not familiar with.
Some organisations have indicated that they struggle to understand how they can connect and engage with ethnic communities. Some haven’t thought about how important it can be to connect with other community leaders to seek their support in connecting.
Organisations have also said they’ve tried employing people from other communities in an attempt to connect, but that this hasn’t shown the success ‘expected’.
Perhaps this has been for a number of reasons, but one common reason has been that these staff haven’t been able to vary the ‘language’ used in their approach for support – they’ve not been able to use the ‘language’ that would be understood.
These staff have had to continue to ask for support in a way that is not understood in their own communities.
Perhaps a solution to this problem – a communication breakdown, could be for organisations to approach local community organisations; such as local Chinese, Indian, Korean etc, to ask for the opportunity to talk of the work they do, and how they could perhaps help each other.
There’s also a number of business trade groups such as New Zealand – German Business Assoc, the Japanese-New Zealand Council etc that could be approached for assistance. These organisation can be valuable as they not only offer the opportunity to connect at a business level, but also have the ability to open doors at a more grassroots – community level.
It’s important for organisations to “talk the language” that is understood by those they’re approaching, it’s not a one size fits all.
Can you afford to not connect with, to ‘ignore’ a segment of your community? Make the connections – don’t alienate a sector of your community through not understanding that they too may want to connect with you, someone has to make the first move and do it in a way that is understood by both.
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