9 Simple Tips for Managing a Multicultural Team

Sep 28, 2021 | Culture, Communication

Simple Tips for Managing a Multicultural Team

Having a multigenerational workforce allows you to leverage insights from various perspectives.

The older generation can offer experience and long-term cognizance. Meanwhile, the younger generation is all about modernization and streamlining your process.

However, having employees from different generations can be challenging. As such, we have listed nine ways that can help you in managing multigenerational workforce.

Have a Clear Vision

When you have a multigenerational team, you need to take a proactive approach. This is to avoid constantly facing a brick wall every time you try to communicate with them.

That’s why before anything else, it’s best to draft a plan and have a clear, strategic vision of how you’re going to manage your team.

If your multicultural team isn’t staying in the office and operating in different time zones, you should still plan things out. What’s important is to ensure that everyone’s on the same page.

Encourage open communication

Communication is the biggest challenge there is when you’re working with a multicultural team.

For one, each generation has its way with words. And what sounds casual for the younger ones may seem disrespectful for the older ones. On the other hand, talking formally does not necessarily mean that a person is stuck up. Thus, it would help if you encourage open communication.

An excellent way to prevent communication issues is by having an open and understanding environment. Encourage open dialogue. Let your team know that you are interested in learning more about cultural and linguistic differences.

The sooner you get to having constant open communication with one another, the easier it is to understand them better.

Overcome language and cultural barriers

When managing a multigenerational and multicultural workforce, there are various barriers that you should overcome. You have to be conscious of some language and cultural barriers that you have to overcome to get a better working environment for everyone.

A simple way to do that is to use plain language as much as possible. Avoiding jargon, slang, and other terms that may have multiple meanings can help reduce any confusion.

As for overcoming the cultural barrier, you first start by getting to know one another’s culture first and not just one side. Doing so makes it easier to accommodate and combine each other’s cultures to create a more open working environment for everyone.

Pay attention to various culture customs

It doesn’t matter whether there’s only one Muslim or ten in your company. What matters is that you are open to learning and respecting their culture and customs.

Doing your research can help, but it pays to ask them first to know what they’re comfortable with. You should also be wary of the holidays that matter to them and how they prefer to commemorate them.

You have to know that some can’t skip holidays like commemorating the end of Ramadan. Preparing in advance will ensure that you can give your team the respect their culture deserves while still not missing out at work.

Plan and delegate according to time zones

Many multicultural teams have to work with different time zones. As much as you want everyone to work during reasonable times of the day, it might be impossible for some people.

Although you can ask some to work based on your time zone, if it’s not anything important, their usual working hours can be based on their time zones instead.

You can have them clock in, and you can track their working hours using an app that’s readily available nowadays. However, if you need to set a meeting, that’s when they can accommodate you and your time zone so that it’s a give and take between everyone.

Provide cross-cultural training

To ensure that you have a healthy multicultural work environment, you should provide cross-cultural training. For employees who haven’t worked with people from outside a culture familiar to them, there might be situations where this could cause rifts.

By providing cultural sensitivity training, you’re teaching your employees to understand other cultures. If being open-minded doesn’t come naturally to them, you can at the very least train them. That way, they are more open-minded so that there are no cultural clashes that happen in the future.

Avoid stereotypes

Stereotypes are a way for our minds to create shortcuts on our understanding of people. It might be convenient, but there should be zero tolerance for stereotyping people in a professional setting.

To do that, you first need to start within. Work through your biases before you ask that of your employees.

Sure, joking about stereotypes is prevalent in many countries. But that doesn’t mean you should do the same. If anything, you should discourage it.

Even if you didn’t mean to offend, some do not take stereotypes as jokes. Thus, as much as possible, avoid dealing with and talking about stereotypes, even when joking around.

Provide honest feedback

Honest and constructive feedback is vital, whether you’re managing a multicultural team or not. Just because some team members are of a different culture from you, it doesn’t mean that you should be lenient with the work quality.

As a leader of a team, you want to ensure that you give them constructive feedback. After all, everyone wants to do a good job, and providing honest but not cruel feedback can help people enhance their work quality.

Encourage team building activities

Team-building activities are a great way to let your team know each other better. This includes understanding their culture and looking at them beyond the color of their skin, gender, age, or accent.

It’s a time for everyone on the team to have fun and get out of the office. It can help improve coordination and communication between the group.

It’s also an opportunity for everyone to get to know one another more, which is harder to do when in the office.

Conclusion

The nine employee management tips listed above should help you get everybody in your multicultural team to open up more. Doing so creates a positive working environment for everyone.

Not only will it help everyone in their career, but it will also help the company grow to new heights. Thus, you should always try your best to ensure that you are sensitive to the needs of your multicultural team.