3 HR Trends in Successful Multinational Teams

As workforces become increasingly globalized, cross-border communication has become a critical challenge for HR teams to address. According to a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), people management is among the top current challenges for senior and C-level executives, second only to slow growth in key markets.

In the 4th annual Speexx Exchange survey, respondents expressed that their organizations had some challenges around multinational integration:

  • 24% of respondents cited intercultural differences as a negative influence
  • 21% mentioned lack of foreign language skills as a problem

New HR trends reflect the need to tackle these topics through a number of solutions directly related to multinational communication. From technology to culture, here are some effective tactics that are on the rise.

Employee Relationship Management

In many cases, a multinational team means a widely distributed team. Cultural differences aside, there are simple logistical problems that can get in the way of communication, such as time zones and inefficient tools. The HR department cannot be there to answer every urgent call.

To eliminate delays and barriers to getting work done, information must be centralized and easy to access. If CRM was the focus before, employee relationship management is now just as important. Clear, personalized internal content is vital. Combined with other new tools for working online, it allows employees to collaborate with ease, even across international borders.

Foreign Language Training

According to an EIU survey, cultural sensitivity is an essential skill for a successful expat employee. Adjusting to a new culture often requires language skills. This is also the case for companies who are looking for ways to succeed in a new market. As a result of increased globalization, language skills are quickly becoming necessary for businesses as part of their overall strategy.

Not everyone needs the same foreign language knowledge or level, so the approaches to training them should also be different. Speexx caters to individual needs by offering personalized language learning for executives and employees. For example, an executive communicating exclusively with business clients may need a different vocabulary than an employee in sales, marketing or customer support.

Fostering Company Culture

In a world where the workforce is scattered around the globe, perhaps the single most important trend is the increasing importance of a healthy company culture. With millennials estimated to make up almost half the workforce by 2020, it is no longer enough to expect employees to work for just a paycheck. The values of a company must align with the values of its employees.

Developing a strong office culture will also ensure your diverse, multinational pool of employees can all develop a sense of belonging, rather than being separated by cultural divides. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]When employees share a common purpose and understand the values of the organization, they can begin to work together and communicate more effectively.[/clickandtweet]

As Jim Burns, the president of Ceridian, says, “people are the only company asset that increases in value.” Therefore, initiatives like Employee Relationship Management, foreign language training and strong corporate culture are direct investments in your business. They simultaneously increase the value of an employee and boost their enthusiasm for remaining with a company.

For more on fostering communication, read our post on how to prioritize corporate communication skills. 

Photo: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author:

Marije Nieuwenhuis is Senior PR Manager at Speexx. She holds an MA in Business Communications from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and has lived and worked abroad for more than a decade working within international teams. Marije has worked in the fields of international PR, promotional marketing, B2B promotions and events, and project management.