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I would wish to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who made it possible for me to complete this report. Special thanks to my professor Mr xxx who guided and encouraged me through the compilation of this report.
I would further like to acknowledge with a lot of appreciation the essential role of the Emirate NDB Bank staff who gave me time to conduct an interview at their head offices despite working on a tight schedule. I give special gratitude to the senior relationships manager Mr. Ahmed Al Ali for permitting me to interview him and providing me with relevant information to complete this report.
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Cross-cultural matters within the employment sector have been a hot topic of discussion across the globe and people are paying high attention to strict cultural countries such as the UAE. For the longest time, Tolerance in the UAE has been a trending topic due to the fact that it is mainly an Islamic region (Suliman & Hayat, 2011, p 110). The UAE has become a metropolitan region to its first growing economy. Currently, the nation plays host to millions of people from all walks of lives. Interestingly, most employers in the UAE today, look for intercultural skills from candidates when hiring. These skills include the ability to understand and get along with different cultures, flexibility, and being open to new ways of thinking. This can clearly be seen in the employment sector where big institutions recruit thousands of employees from different races, cultures, and religious beliefs. A perfect example is the employment pattern at the Emirates NDB Bank which has thousands of employees from all over the world. The purpose of this report is to record the results of an examination and findings on cross-cultural matters at the Emirates NDB Bank. This was achieved through conducting a live interview with senior bank management, reading journals about the bank’s employment routine, and interviewing the local customers about their cross-cultural encounters at the bank.
The Emirates NDB Bank has been one of the leading banking groups in the UAE since its shares were listed on the (DFM) Dubai Financial Market. It became the region´s consolidation blue, print when it merged with the second and fourth leading banks in the UAE and formed a banking service that delivers value to retailers, corporates, Islamic, and private investors across the region. For being socially responsible, the bank engages in several activities that highly focus on charity, culture, environment, sports and art. Currently, the Emirates NDB Bank has over 7000 employees representing up to 70 nationalities making it one of the most culturally diversified employers in the UAE. As champions of banking services, the NDB Bank is an ambassador of social and economic progress for the UAE to the world.
- Cross Cultural Management at the NDB Bank – The NDB Bank has recorded a successful cross-cultural management structure which emphasizes on formality and respect to every employee. The top management is represented by people from different nationalities despite with English being the official language of operation. This has seen the bank operate smoothly, gain much success, and expand to other countries and continents.
- Language barrier- The NDB Bank spends a great deal of time on relationship building. Things seem to take longer than they should and it is mainly because of the language barrier. For Instance, it is likely to take several meetings to solve issues that can easily be sorted on phone. This is because of miscommunication between employees and at times extended to clients due to different accents, thus patience is a necessity to cross-cultural communications. According to the relationships manager Mr. Ahmed, NDB Bank only hires according to personal qualification and not one’s country of origin. Although most of their employees are qualified, the language barrier is still taking a toll in the organization.
- Blending employees– One of the biggest challenges faced by the NDB Bank is the ability to blend employees from different cultural backgrounds. When employees from different cultures interact on daily basis, it results into multiculturalism. Helping employees to settle and fit in the host country has not been easy for the bank as most of them take time to adjust. Cultural fusion plays a major role in the bank’s development thus, making it a top priority. Individualism and ethnocentrism are, however, slowing down the adjustment process.
- Cultural Shock – Like any other cross-cultural organization, most foreign employees at the Emirates NDB Bank experience cultural shock upon arrival at the work station as most of them arrive unprepared. Although the NDB bank hires based on personal records and qualifications, some of the employees tend to have little or no interest at all in becoming a part of the local community. Some employees choose to isolate themselves while others opt to go back home. The most common reasons for cultural shocks are language, local food, local currency, and attitude towards word and productivity.
- Incentives and Guarantees – New employees at the Emirates NDB Bank seemed to suffer intensified need deficiencies whereby their needs are not s satisfactory as the employees back home. Naturally, a move to another country is supposed to be exciting; however, it comes with financial difficulties, insecurities, and separation from loved ones. Some of the employees lack motivation due to these issues and they tend to ask for leaves or resign from time to time.
Solutions and Recommendations
In spite of the need to understand and adapt to local cultures, most newly recruited employees arrive unprepared. Their selection is always based on their academic credentials and job performance back home (Thomas & Peterson, 2011, p 17). But due to their ethnocentric, parochial belief, and individualism, they may not pay much attention to the fact that they will be working with people from different cultures. In addition, most new employees do not have an interest in learning the language or becoming a part of the community. However, understanding different cultures is an essential need to avoid minor mistakes and misunderstandings that may be costly to the organization. Below are a number of measures that the Emirates NDB Bank can take to reduce the impacts of these barriers.
The Emirates NDB Bank is a highly reputable organization due to its flexibility and representation of a dozen nationalities. Apart from hiring based on qualifications, the organization should consider recruiting employees with low ethnocentrism and other troublesome characters. The company should assess a person’s desire to live and experience a different culture in the host country (Al-Esia & Skok, 2011, p 6). A small interview with the employees spouse to assess their attitude towards relocating to a foreign country will also enable the company to know whether the employee has enough support to work and serve in a foreign country.
The first international assignment given to an employee plays an important role in adjustment (Thomas & Peterson 2011, p 13). NBD Bank should use this method on their newly recruited employees to assist them in adjusting to different ways of life.
The Emirates NDB Bank should offer a pre- departure training by encouraging the recruits to learn the local language prior to arrival. The company should also offer orientation to the customs, geography, political environment, and culture in which they will be living. They should also be encouraged to do researches on the basics requirement to avoid confusion upon arrival.
Orientation and Support in the New Countries
NDB Bank should make special efforts in helping their recruits to settle in the country. This includes giving assistance with transportation, sopping, and housing. Additionally, the company can provide a mentor to help in the transition.
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Managerial Guidelines to a Cross-Cultural Success
The Emirates NDB Bank managers should acquire interpretative and factual knowledge about their employee’s cultures. Being an international company, the management team should familiarize themselves with the political and economic waves of their target countries (Bealer & Bhanugopan, 2014, p 302). In addition, they should undergo a cultural training to improve their observational skills and relationship techniques to avoid offensive behaviors when interacting with individuals from different cultures (Thomas & Peterson, 2014, p7). This will enable the management to earn the trust and respect of their employees. The ability to converse in multiple languages will be a bonus for the managers as they will be able to successfully negotiate and have positive business interactions with their employees and other foreign partners.
One of the main causes of culture- related problems is the ethnocentric assumptions that the managers might unknowingly hold. The NDB bank is likely to face challenges when the managers assume that their foreign employees think and act the same as locals. This will only lead to poor planning and execution of business strategies. It is hard for any manager to explain the behaviors of foreign employees thus; they ought to avoid cultural bias (Bealer & Bhanugopan, 2014, p 307). It is also the employee’s responsibility to assists the managers to understand them and their needs. Cultural bias can be a great hindrance to successful interpersonal communication and this could be bad for business (Thomas & Peterson, 2014, p 8).
Working with people from different cultures requires a lifetime investment in professional development (Almazoruei & zacca, 2015, p 4119. Every employee has his own way of doing business transactions and negotiations; therefore, the NDB bank should develop cross-cultural skills to enable them to understand their employee’s way of doing business. Furthermore, the company should have tolerance for ambiguity, perceptiveness, flexibility, and value for personal relationships.
The Emirates NDB Bank has played a major role in representing a cross-cultural tolerance in the UAE organizations. The organization´s ability to recruit, retain, and appreciate individuals from all walks of life has earned the organization a great advantage in structural cost through the maintenance of a high human resource quality. Moreover, by capitalizing on the possible benefits of cultural diversity, the Emirates NDB Bank has gained a modest advantage in problem-solving, creativity, and flexible adaption to change. Multiculturalism is becoming the norm in every organizational workforce. Therefore, all managers should be sensitive to the different cultures represented at the organizations to enable them to achieve organizational goals. This can be achieved through motivation and flexibility in management.
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