Cultural differences in a team spark unique inspiration that drives organizational excellence. As different minds drawn from different geographical backgrounds come together for a common goal, you can expect more innovation and creativity. When you understand how to leverage these differences to make your team better, you can achieve an optimally productive team.
On the other hand, the same differences can pose a challenge in team management and motivation. It can be easy to separate team members based on where they come from, which can be fatal. However, with well-thought leadership, motivation, and management techniques, you can have an easy time as a manager. Here are 5 tips that can help you lead, manage and motivate your multicultural workforce.
1. Build a robust recruitment strategy
Successful employee management starts by recruiting the right fit for your team. Besides establishing that the candidates are qualified for their positions, you need to go a step further when hiring foreign workers. There will be cultural variations that might cause future complications in some instances. If you want to recruit foreign workers to your local office, you need to make sure that they are ready to work in a new culture. They should be open-minded and ready to learn about the new culture for them to fit better in the team. In this case, ask relevant questions to establish their readiness for a cultural transit during the interview. In addition, if you want to hire remote workers to work from their countries, you need a recruitment strategy that can establish if people are self-driven. You will have an easier time managing remote workers who can work independently as opposed to those that have to be pushed.
2. Cultivate strong communication skills
Clear communication is the backbone of good management. It is common not to share a common native language with your foreign workers. In such a case, you need to be as clear as possible when communicating with them. It is good to avoid slang and idioms when speaking or in emails.
In addition, when it comes to foreign remote workers, it is good to keep in mind the different time zones. Instant responses to texts or emails can be hard. You need to write effective emails, well detailed with clear instructions and expectations. This will limit the number of clarification requests coming from employees, expediting task delivery significantly.
3. Be mindful of the cultural differences
Cultural beliefs shape who we are and how we respond to situations. When dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds, it is paramount to keep in mind and respect their cultures. For instance, when you want to use recognition and rewards to motivate your workers, note that the expectations vary from one culture to the other. American workers want to be singled out and praised in front of others, while Hispanic cultures want rewards that include family such as family picnics. If you insist on ignoring such details, you end up motivating just a fraction of your workers and leaving all others out.
4. Foster an inclusive culture
Fostering an inclusive culture is important in creating a positive work environment where everybody involved feels valued and a part of the greater good. To do this, you will need to bring everyone together through facilitating socialization and connections between team members. Hold team-building events with everyone on board to bring employees closer to each other. You can also use communication tools to establish water cooler channels where remote workers get to talk about other things rather than work.
It is also important to celebrate each other’s cultures. For instance, the whole team celebrating holidays that your foreign workers mark in their countries can go a long way in creating an inclusive and happy culture.
5. Connect with your employees
While it is necessary to create a culture that everyone feels valued, it is important to connect with your foreign employees at an individual level. Seek to know them better both at work and in their personal lives. At a professional level, conduct internal surveys to understand things like the best schedules, work styles, and conditions for your employees. Ask whether they prefer face-to-face or web-based meetings when it comes to receiving feedback
Outside work, be interested in your workers’ quality of life. Ask them how you can support them to attain an improved balance between work and personal duties. Your workers will feel valued and motivated when you make an effort to foster a connection with them.
Managing and motivating foreign workers can be equally exciting and challenging. However, with a good strategy, you can manage to limit the challenges and build a happy and productive team. Start by hiring the right fit for your team and being ready to connect with team members on a personal level. In addition, build an inclusive culture but also bear in mind cultural differences. Lastly, don’t forget clear communication at every step of the way.
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