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8 Tips for Communicating with Your Global Workforce

Jun 28, 2018

Communication is a key element for employers who want to keep their global workforce motivated. Creating a sense of belonging through a shared mission – with regular communications – is critical for employee satisfaction. It can go a long way towards promoting productivity and increasing employee engagement. For multinationals, it’s critical to devise a strategy that connects teams across locations and cultures. This helps produce a consistent on-brand internal voice and project the company image you want your employees to have. Follow these 8 tips to make sure you’re communicating as effectively as possible with your global staff.

1. Define your mission and goals

A comprehensive corporate communications strategy can’t be effective without a defined mission statement. If you don’t already have one, take some time to write up the mission of your company, firm or organization. Clearly explain what you’re about and state some short and long-term goals. Then think about what you need to achieve those goals, how to measure progress, and how an effective communications strategy can help you. For example, do you want to encourage teamwork? Gratitude? A little healthy competition? The more specific you can be about your goals, and the more you can quantify them, the easier it will be to measure success and failure down the road.

2. Know who you’re talking to

Familiarize yourself with the culture of each of your foreign offices and make sure to communicate with your employees there in a way that respects that culture. One simple example is the holiday season: not everyone celebrates the same holidays at the same time. Instead of sending a generic “Merry Christmas” greeting to all company offices, send holiday-appropriate cards to overseas employees for Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah or Chinese New Year, for example.

3. Mobile accessibility

In today’s world, more people view content on their phones than on desktop computers. As such, corporate communications should be designed to work optimally on mobile platforms – especially if your organization has remote workers or employees who are often traveling on business. To ensure an optimal mobile viewing experience, make sure your content is responsive and let your employees know about any relevant mobile apps they need to download for proper viewing (e.g. Outlook, Salesforce, etc).

4. Snackable bites go down easy

Try to write and send content that’s snackable: “short, sweet, and extremely filling,” per branding and marketing agency The Halo Group. One great way to accomplish this is via infographics. Why? Because research shows that 65% of people learn better visually and tend to process images up to 60,000 times faster than text. As such, corporate communications have the potential to be a form of marketing the company to itself, also known as ‘internal marketing.’ This means you should invest in making your internal resources as visually pleasing as possible. Think like a marketer and try using bright, colorful and professional-looking graphics. Tip: Check out these these tools for assistance creating awesome infographics and here is an article on the psychology of colors when marketing.

5. Keep it simple

Don’t waste employees’ time with company-wide communications that no one really cares about. Make sure every communication is relevant and targeted to your audience. Employees will probably welcome insights about how the business is doing overall and regarding specific company goals. A report of industry trends and competitors can help employees place their own efforts within a larger context. Of course, you’ll also want to announce any special events you’re planning, such as seminars, professional development opportunities or social gatherings. Talk to team leaders to see if they’d like the chance to regularly update the rest of the company on their department’s activities and accomplishments. Bottom line: In a multi-site company, put an extra premium on identifying content that interests all of your employees, and not just those who work out of HQ.

6. Call to action

Where possible, implement calls to action in your communications. Asking an employee to do something — ideally something easy — helps get them invested in the content. For example, when you post a new blog, share the link internally and ask your employees to like or share it on social media if it speaks to them. If there is an important seminar or update to company policy, a survey or quiz is a great way to get employees engaged—and ensure that they review and understand the new rules or policy.

7. Speak their language

Work with a Language Service Provider to ensure that employees in all offices understand your communications, especially critical communications like updates to the employee handbook.  In fact, translating important employee communications is legally required in many countries. An LSP can also help assess the appropriateness of text, images and colors for different cultures. Sending out culturally appropriate content in your employees’ local languages will ensure compliance with local language laws, and make everyone feel valued and included in the company culture.

8. Communication is a two-way street

If an employee responds to your communication, you need to have a mechanism in place for responding quickly. Employee feedback can be a fantastic way to identify unseen opportunities for collaboration between teams or sites — which also strengthens company unity — and to spot issues brewing below the surface. You should also consider setting up a way for employees to provide feedback anonymously. You can address anonymous comments or suggestions during internal global calls or via internal all-office emails.

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