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How an Employee’s Culture Affects Their Motivation

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As you know, your employees do not fit inside of a “one size fits all” mold. When you add in cultural differences for those employees born or raised in another region or country, the contrasts can be stark. Knowing how to engage with your employees to ensure they are properly motivated for peak job performance can really make a difference for both your company and your employees. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your multicultural workforce:

  • Set expectations and do not assume they know U.S. standards. It is important not to assume that your employees are comfortable with the standards we may take for granted in the U.S. Be sure to explain your expectations clearly. Whatever your desires as a manager, communicate those clearly. Employees from other cultures may have such respect for their managers that they feel complaining is inappropriate and a sign of disloyalty. If you expect feedback for improvement, make sure your employee knows you want to hear from him/her and to bring issues to your attention.

BONUS TIP #1! Not everyone will feel comfortable speaking up in an open-forum type of meeting, especially if they are not completely confident in their English-language skills. A Hispanic employee, for example, may be hesitant to share opinions in this type of setting for fear of perceived confrontation or disrespect for management. If you are looking for feedback on ways to improve certain areas of your company’s culture, you may have more luck with one-on-one conversations with these employees.

  • Employee recognition preferences vary from culture to culture. In the U.S., we often recognize individuals directly for their performance and contributions. Titles like “Employee of the Month” work well for American or Australian employees, for example, but they can lead to embarrassment for employees from Asian cultures who prefer to be praised as part of a team.
  • Figure out what is important to the employee, and base incentives on this. Many American and Asian employees prioritize their career accomplishments and advancements first and may be incentivized more by monetary bonuses or the possibility of a promotion. However, employees from other cultures, like Western Europe, often prioritize family time, so they may be more motivated by the ability to earn extra vacation days or time off than the typical American or Asian worker. That’s not to say that both incentives won’t work for all employees in different scenarios, but it’s important to recognize that some incentives may work better over others for your multicultural workforce.

BONUS TIP # 2! Survey your employees. Finding the best ways to motivate your employees is difficult sometimes. If you are able to survey your employees anonymously to find out what would work best in your particular company, this may be highly effective for you. It is also a sign to your employees that you care about them and want only the best for them.

The Value of Hiring Multilingual Employees

The Value of Hiring Multilingual Employees

With ever-increasing globalization in the marketplace, having multilingual employees in your workplace can be of great benefit. According to recent Census reports, the population of non-English speakers in the United States has continued to rise over the past 20-30 years. Having one or multiple employees who speak a language other than English can give your business a definite edge in a competitive atmosphere.

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The Value of Multilingual Employees in the Workplace

With the ever-increasing globalization of the marketplace, having multilingual employees in your workplace can be of great benefit. According to recent Census reports, the population of non-English speakers in the United States has continued to rise over the past 20-30 years. Having one or multiple employees who speak a language other than English can give your business a definite edge in a competitive atmosphere.

Top Five benefits of hiring a multilingual employee:

  1. If you are looking to expand your business to a new market, a multilingual employee can be a great asset. Let’s say this client base does not speak English natively. They may feel more comfortable speaking to someone in their native tongue, trusting your company more, as a result, and increasing your chances of gaining them as a client.
  2. Building a multilingual customer service department means drawing in a customer base who feels confident in their ability to do business with you. They know that if they do have any questions or concerns, they will be able to address these things seamlessly in their native language. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to buy.
  3. Someone who has taken the time to learn another language has often learned about the cultures where the language is spoken in the process. When working with clients and customers from other places, understanding a few nuances about their culture and what may or may not be important to them can make a difference in how they perceive your brand.
  4. A professional translation agency is key to handling translation and interpreting services, since it already employs translators and interpreters with the proper experience, education and training for these skill sets. An employee who knows another language will likely be able to assist with smaller language-specific tasks, but it is dangerous to assume that he or she is as comfortable in writing as in speaking. The two skills are quite different, and when your brand is on the line, it’s vital to ensure a professional translation. In addition to speaking verbally with clients and customers as previously mentioned, if you receive an email or mail correspondence in another language and need a quick understanding of the gist of the message, or if you wish to set aside time for an employee to review translated content through the eyes of your customers, multilingual employees would be quite effective.
  5. The benefits are not simply linguistic in nature. Studies from the National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University have shown that individuals who speak multiple languages typically have a stronger ability for both multitasking and processing information more quickly and efficiently than monolingual individuals.

What has your experience been like with your multilingual employees? We would love to hear about benefits you’ve encountered that we may not have mentioned. Feel free to leave a comment below!