Globalization has brought about more diversity in the workplace. This has led to the challenge of making sure that the communication strategies and tools being utilized and tapped into are effective even if the workforce is made up of staff members from diverse backgrounds.
Here are some tips and suggestions leaders and managers can opt for when communicating with a diverse workforce:
1. Make sure to train international employees early and often.
Whatever communication tool or method you may opt for – whether it be mass notification systems, email or face-to-face meetings – remember to avoid misunderstandings and cultural confusion. One of the ways of preventing confusion is training international staff members early and often through orientation seminars and ongoing training programs. These inform employees what the company expects of them, and what they can expect form the company. Making expectations clear from the get-go help avoid misconceptions and define rules and policies.
Make sure that the information given during orientation seminars and training programs is not ambiguous. And while you will want to accept and celebrate the cultural nuances of each employee, make sure to that these do not adversely affect your own company culture.
2. Don’t forget to train local employees as well.
Even your local employees need to understand and celebrate the significance of diversity within the company and among the clients of the organization; therefore, it is important that they be trained as well.
Train your local employees to look at the world from the eyes and the mindset of those who are not like them. The biggest mistake a lot of people make is seeing the world only from their own points of view. Diversity in the workplace should not only be tolerated, but should be accepted and embraced.
3. Remember that different cultures like receiving information in different ways.
Different people are more comfortable receiving information in particular ways.
For example, while others are okay with receiving information through SMS or mass notification systems, some will only be comfortable receiving information in person. While others don’t trust information that is relayed directly by a manager, they may prefer hearing messages from the leader of their employee group. On the other hand, while some people take pride in being praised for their good work in public, others may prefer being acknowledged in private and find public praise embarrassing.
4. Assign mentors.
This is especially relevant when it comes to new hires. It helps the new employee ease into his or her new role, and assures him or her that there is someone he or she can lean on and ask questions to. This allows foreign and international workers to feel more at ease when it comes to integrating into the company and adapting to change. If the old employee is of the same background as the new hire, it makes the transition even easier and smoother.
When mentoring is effective, an experienced employee can help a new hire through mediation and by giving him or her the necessary information he or she needs to succeed in his or her role.
5. Encourage open communication.
Whether you integrate group chats, mass notification systems, email, or even newsletters into your organization, open communication encourages a more dynamic workplace.
However, some employees may hesitate to approach their managers for guidance and support due to culture. Other cultures may see this accessibility and open communication as a sign of the manager’s weakness. In cases such as this, you may opt to ask your team to elect a representative who will speak on the team’s behalf especially when you want their feedback and ideas.
6. Avoid jargon and slang.
While some culture-specific jargon and slang words may be understandable to your local employees, foreign and international workers may not understand what you are trying to say. This lack of understanding may lead to confusion, frustration and even offense. Avoid using jargon and slang. Use simple and clear language instead whether you are sending messages through a mass notification systems, email, group chat or during a team meeting.