Multinational corporations have a lot to juggle—everything from opening new offices and making new hires to considering time zones when it comes to logistics and communications, and even to simply how to communicate between the main headquarters or office and those overseas. Just like in any company, clear and proper communication is a key to success. Here are our top tips to maintain excellent internal communication with your company’s offices/locations abroad.
· Identify current barriers. First and foremost, it is important to determine the types of communication issues you may currently have with your international locations so that you know the right game plan to move forward. In what areas do these locations excel? Where do they struggle, and could internal communication be part of the cause? Do employees understand the corporate vision? Once you can pinpoint the areas to improve, it is easier to move forward.
· Translate content to local languages. If the foreign office is located in a country where English is not the primary language, it is highly beneficial to have human resources documents and communications translated. These include employee handbooks, job training materials, and even announcements and memos that will have an impact on how these employees perform their jobs. This way everyone can be on the same playing field and interpret the information as it was intended. It also helps to eliminate the “gray area” that could otherwise be caused by language barriers.
· Consider an interpreter for conference calls and site visits. If leadership at your international locations do not have a high level of fluency in English, it can be extremely beneficial to use a telephonic interpreting service for important conference calls or an on-site interpreter for site visits. These services ensure the information exchanged at your meetings is rendered and understood correctly among everyone present.
· Promote relationship building to encourage communication. When your company’s offices are dispersed across different countries, it can feel nearly impossible to have a strong connection or company culture among employees or managers who work in the various locations. This could result in issues where managers and employees abroad do not feel that they can ask questions when something is unclear. Certain projects can become delayed or neglected. To avoid these pitfalls, try to carry out regular videoconferences, or use an intranet team page for project collaboration. You could even have a “virtual coffee room” for employees to chat while on a break so that team members can get to know each other better.
Although internal communication among multinational sites can sometimes feel complicated, there are lots of ways to make these interactions run more smoothly. If you’ve got best practices for how you communicate with your international locations, let us know! We’d love to hear what works for you.