Black doctor with black patient

Why Cultural Competency is Key to Building a Successful Healthcare Team

Cultural competency is a critical component of providing effective healthcare services to diverse patient populations. Racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the healthcare workforce, making up only 12% of physicians and 19% of nurses in the United States.

Cultural competency involves understanding and respecting the beliefs, values, and customs of different cultures, as well as tailoring healthcare practices to meet the unique needs of each patient. This approach is increasingly important as healthcare organizations strive to reduce health disparities and improve patient outcomes.

It is important to explore the benefits of diverse teams in the healthcare industry and develop solutions on how to recruit, hire, and retain employees who bring a range of cultural perspectives to the workplace.

Benefits of Diverse Teams in Healthcare

Diversity in healthcare teams can improve patient outcomes in several ways.

First, diverse teams can help reduce healthcare disparities. Studies have shown that patients from racial and ethnic minority groups often receive lower quality healthcare than white patients, even when accounting for factors such as insurance coverage and income. By hiring a diverse team, healthcare organizations can ensure that patients from different cultural backgrounds receive culturally sensitive care that meets their unique needs.

Second, diverse teams can improve communication between healthcare providers and patients. According to a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, patients who did not speak English well were twice as likely to report poor communication with their healthcare provider. Healthcare providers who are fluent in multiple languages can help bridge this gap. When healthcare providers share a common cultural background and language with their patients, they may be better able to understand and serve their patients.

Third, diverse teams can help healthcare organizations better understand the needs and preferences of different patient populations. This can lead to the development of new healthcare practices that better serve diverse patient populations and improve patient outcomes.

Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Employees with Diverse Cultural Perspectives

Recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees with diverse cultural perspectives is essential for building a culturally competent healthcare team. Healthcare organizations should actively recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds. This can be done by partnering with community organizations, attending job fairs targeted at diverse populations, and working with an industry-specific recruiter like Berkeley Search.

Healthcare organizations should also provide cultural competency training to all employees. This training should cover topics such as cultural humility, bias awareness, and effective communication with patients from diverse backgrounds.

In addition, employee resource groups (ERGs) can provide a supportive community for employees from diverse backgrounds. Healthcare organizations should offer ERGs that cater to different cultural groups, such as Asian American, African American, and LGBTQ+ employees.

Create an Inclusive Workplace Culture

Healthcare organizations should include career development opportunities for employees that come from diverse backgrounds. This can include mentorship programs, leadership development programs, and opportunities for continuing education.

Furthermore, promoting diversity and inclusion in company policies, providing opportunities for employee feedback, and celebrating cultural holidays and events can lead to a vital inclusive workplace culture that will boost office morale and lead to better levels of productivity.


Cultural competency is essential for providing effective healthcare services to diverse patient populations. Healthcare organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion can improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare disparities, and better understand the needs and preferences of different patient populations. By recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees with diverse cultural perspectives, healthcare organizations can build a culturally competent team that delivers high-quality care to all patients.

For more information on setting up a diverse team for your healthcare group, please contact us here.