The company’s work culture is crucial to the success of any organization.
It depicts the organizational way of life as it relates to your employees, vendors, and clients. Positive work culture will improve healthy relationships in the company, create the company’s identity, and differentiate its values.
A survey by Rajgopal and his team, which was published in Forbes, revealed that 92% of company executives believed that improving work corporate culture would improve the value of the company.
Also, more than 50% said that the corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates of the company.
The work culture of a multilingual team is important. Not paying careful attention to it could lead the company astray. This is because the language barrier and cultural background might skew the positive work culture and lead the company to fail.
In this post, I will share five ways to improve the work culture of a multilingual team.
What is a Multilingual Team?
Multilingual teams work together to advance a company’s mission but speak different languages aside from the company’s official language. They could be working from different locations, which means that some work remotely, or they all work in similar locations.
If the team works remotely from different countries, there is a likelihood that they would belong to different cultures. So, they show differences in values, ideals, and beliefs.
5 Ways to Improve the Work Culture of a Multilingual Team
1. Have a Company Official Language
A workplace where more than one language thrives is bound to create confusion. Other employees will feel disconnected when they don’t understand the language everyone is speaking.
Aside from that, there could be room for frivolous chit-chat to bully another employee. Fix the communication issues by maintaining an official language that all employees will understand right from the onboarding process of new hires. This should also be your priority task when creating official paperwork, an employee handbook, documentation, etc.
This will ease your workplace culture, policies, and processes as you will strive to create every document in a single language. Also, the tools and devices used, especially digital, will be set to the language that everyone understands. This will also improve inclusivity in the company.
2. Open All Communication Doors
Removing all communication barriers is a must for every multilingual team. Since the cultural background is bound to be dominant due to language differences, many employees will likely be reserved. This could be worse if the company is not inclusive enough.
An open-door communication policy will solve this problem. So, you’ll need to double-check that all team members are aware of this policy. That way, they can work into any office room, and choose to email anyone they feel comfortable around to ask for help or air their thoughts.
You can step this up by genuinely asking for staff input in improving the workplace culture and operations so that everyone is easily carried along and they are all confident and appreciative of the company’s values.
3. Develop a Togetherness Framework
A togetherness framework binds teams together. This is very effective when a team is diverse and multilingual. It pulls everyone together, instills trust, and helps them identify as one irrespective of the disparity.
You should create an all-inclusive program where employees can share ideas, network, have a close room discussion, and take part in fun games. This can be done either remotely or via in-person events, depending on the structure of your team.
You can also have sessions where the employees train in intercultural communications with specific recognition for your workplace minorities.
In these events, you not only state your company’s value but also apply it. When this continues for a few months, it will boost employee productivity, trust, reliance, and credibility for the company.
4. Synchronize Employee Activities
To make sure that you improve the work culture of a multilingual team, pay attention to ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Close the doubting gap.
Since employees are working around different time zones, it is human nature to feel that someone is not responding to the urgent message you sent via Slack or WhatsApp.
You’ll need to break this barrier by creating a policy document that specifically states individual working time differences and agree on the number of hours allowed for recipients to reply to messages.
In addition to this, make sure that you have official communication channels by levels that employees can reach one another based on urgency.
5. Develop an Accommodative Work Process
Since your employees are scattered around the world, you must develop a work process that factors everyone in.
Do you want to create a work process where employees move tasks to the next in action by changing work status, move to another board, or actuate the next level via email?
Don’t make the choice. Carry everyone along in the decision-making. Search for what works, and meets global standards, then stick to it.
Doing this will reduce bottlenecks to zero, minimize distraction, and help employees achieve more in less time.
Smooth organizational operation is situated on the foundation of effective communication. And when your team is diverse, this becomes difficult.
To build an agile and stress-free workplace for your team where everyone effortlessly aligns to the vision, stick to these five ways to improve the work culture of a multilingual team.
In the end, you’ll improve your employee retention and motivation, customer engagement and loyalty, and attract quality talent.