Building Cultural Humility - Definition and Explanation

Building Cultural Humility – Definition and Explanation

Building Cultural Humility

Building Cultural Humility in the Workplace: Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In today’s interconnected world, fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage for businesses. One key aspect of DEI that has gained traction in recent years is the concept of building cultural humility. But what does it mean to build cultural humility in the workplace, and why is it essential?


Cultural humility goes beyond mere tolerance or appreciation of diversity. It involves a deep recognition of one’s own cultural biases and an ongoing commitment to self-reflection and learning. At its core, cultural humility acknowledges that no individual can fully understand or experience the breadth of human diversity. Instead, it encourages individuals to approach interactions with a sense of openness, curiosity, and respect for different cultural perspectives.

Building Cultural Humility in the Workplace:

In the context of the workplace, building cultural humility entails creating an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and included regardless of their cultural background. This involves several key practices:

  • Promoting Awareness: Employers can organise workshops, training sessions, and discussions to raise awareness about cultural differences and biases. By fostering a culture of openness and dialogue, employees can learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives.
  • Encouraging Self-Reflection: Individuals should be encouraged to reflect on their own cultural identities, biases, and privileges. This self-awareness is crucial for fostering empathy and understanding towards others.
  • Actively Listening: Cultivating cultural humility requires actively listening to the experiences and perspectives of others without judgment or defensiveness. This means creating space for marginalised voices to be heard and valued.
  • Embracing Feedback: Organisations should welcome feedback from employees about their experiences with DEI initiatives and be willing to make necessary adjustments. Constructive feedback is essential for continuous improvement and growth.
  • Taking Action: Building cultural humility is not just about awareness; it also requires concrete action. This could include implementing policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as diverse hiring practices, mentorship programs, and affinity groups.


Imagine a UK-based tech company that wants to foster cultural humility among its employees. They start by conducting cultural competency training for all staff members, addressing topics such as unconscious bias and effective cross-cultural communication. Additionally, they establish an employee resource group where individuals from different cultural backgrounds can come together to share their experiences and perspectives.

The company also revises its recruitment process to ensure diversity and inclusivity at every stage. They implement blind resume reviews to mitigate unconscious bias and actively recruit from underrepresented communities. Furthermore, they offer cultural sensitivity training to managers to ensure equitable treatment of all employees.

Over time, these efforts result in a more inclusive and respectful workplace where employees feel empowered to bring their whole selves to work. By building cultural humility, the company not only enhances employee satisfaction and retention but also fosters innovation and creativity through diverse perspectives.


Building cultural humility in the workplace is essential for creating a truly inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected. By promoting awareness, encouraging self-reflection, and taking concrete action, organisations can cultivate a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion that benefits everyone involved.


Mosher, D. K., Hook, J. N., Captari, L. E., Davis, D. E., DeBlaere, C., & Owen, J. (2017). Cultural humility: A therapeutic framework for engaging diverse clients. Practice Innovations, 2(4), 221.

Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., Owen, J., Worthington Jr, E. L., & Utsey, S. O. (2013). Cultural humility: measuring openness to culturally diverse clients. Journal of counseling psychology, 60(3), 353.

Gallardo, M. E. (Ed.). (2013). Developing cultural humility: Embracing race, privilege and power. Sage Publications.

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