Cross cultural communication – is this another buzzword or a vital part of your globalization strategy?

When you think about globalization, the first thing you tend to think of is a translation (well…in our case that’s definitely true!). But what about when you have an organization that communicates purely in English? While the language barrier may not be an issue, cultural differences may well be. So, what do you have to do to avoid this?

With 51% of companies saying that they’ve experienced issues because of cultural differences, cross-cultural communication is definitely more than just a buzzword. Making sure that everyone is on the same page is vital – and this is where management strategies come into play. As a manager, it’s your job to put together processes to ensure everyone knows what’s expected. If everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet, it’s going to make life a lot easier.

Just because you’re a global company doesn’t mean that everyone can act as they like – that can’t be further from the truth. What you’ve got to do is spend a bit of extra time with team members explaining to them what the company stands for, and explain how you expect your team to behave because what may be very normal for say Americans, may be slightly out of character for Brazilians.

Don’t judge too quickly

Another tip when it comes to cross-cultural communication is not to judge too quickly. If you have an issue where team members are behaving differently, or even causing offense to colleagues who are based somewhere else, take a step back and look at it with an open mind. It’s easy to blame the person in question, however, this may not be the case at all. Some cultures are simply more direct than others so while Brits may find Eastern Europeans rude for not sugar coating things, it’s not the employee trying to be rude on purpose, it’s simply a cultural difference everyone needs to be aware of.

Provide training

If you’ve got teams who are going to be working together a lot, it’s important that you put on cross cultural training for everyone. Teaching people what to expect when they’re dealing with different cultures not only increases their understanding, it also means that you’re far less likely to receive complaints and grievances caused simply by a misunderstanding. Also, teaching your team about your clients’ cultures can also help them learn to serve them better, creating a better customer satisfaction rate for all.

As you can see with the world getting smaller, it’s vital that companies start to expand their mindsets. If you’d like some help with dealing with French speakers all around the world, you know where to find us.