How to Manage Internal Communication in an International Company

Caroline Duncan - Sep 15, 2017 2:10:07 PM

Managing internal communications in organizations spread across different offices in different cities can be complex at the best of times – and even more challenging when you add different countries, cultures, languages and time zones to the mix!

internal communication in an international company

When communicating with employees spread around the globe, you will need to factor these issues in and perhaps tailor your messages and communications delivery channels accordingly.

Language barriers

It’s important to be aware that your messages to your employees could get lost in translation very easily.

Don’t be tempted to use automated tools such as Google to translate information – it can be worth hiring an interpreter to ensure your messages to staff in other countries are delivered the way you intend and do not leave them offended or confused.

Similarly you should look for ways to measure whether or not your overseas employees understand the information you are sending them.

Cultural barriers

Language isn’t the only thing that varies between countries – sometimes cultures can be extremely different. This is evident in the things people value, etiquette, behavior and approaches to work. And while your organization will have its own unique culture, the predominant culture in a country will tend to over-ride that and dictate the preferences of the workers in that country.

Distance and time zones

Whether your company has staff scattered in English speaking countries around the world, or if you have staff in multiple countries with many different languages spoken, one of the communications challenges you will come up against in the tyranny of distance.

When you work across global time zones, it isn’t uncommon for employees on one side of the world to be at work while those on the other side are in bed asleep – and vice versa. This can make it almost impossible to communicate live, in real time, to all staff, to ensure they all receive important news simultaneously.

Infrastructure and technological barriers

In some locations, technological and telecommunications infrastructure isn't as robust as it is in the USA, which can pose lots of difficulties staying connected to staff.

An “us vs. them” divide

If your internal communications aren’t handled effectively, you can help to foster an attitude of “us vs. them” where employees who do not work in the home country – or the head office – feel disconnected and disenfranchised. These employees can feel undervalued, unappreciated, unable to feel as though they can embrace the company’s culture. They can become jaded and cynical and, in short, this sort of toxic environment is a recipe for disaster when it comes to productivity.

This can be mitigated by putting effective strategies in place to help all staff, regardless of location, feel valued and like an important part of the organization.

Different messages for different locations

While you may have overarching information that needs to be communicated globally, there will be city, region and country specific information that needs to be delivered to the relevant employees. You can use DeskAlerts to help manage this by sending targeted messages to entire groups of people by office or by country. You can even schedule messages ahead of time so they appear on those users’ desktops during office hours in the time zone they work in.



Topics: Internal Communication Best Practices


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