Everything and everybody communicates. Each expression of communication is a vital element of a brands identity and personality. Sharpen the communication with your internal team before distributing your message to the masses.
Corporate communication is crucial to driving company objectives and ensuring a cohesive strategy. Effective communication builds employee engagement, enhances the culture, provides training, builds teamwork and ultimately, helps achieve strong top- and bottom-line results.
Organizations must have effective internal communication for external communication to be properly transmitted. This article will cover communication challenges, how to overcome them, and how language and culture come into play in a big way.
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Typical Internal Communication Challenges
- Geographically + culturally diverse workforce. Large geographical distances and cultural barriers may corrupt the transmission and reception of messages due to language, and cultural differences.
- Finding the right style. Everyone has a different communication style. How can you flex your communication style to be more effective?
- Increase employee engagement. How can you motivate employees to be more engaged with the company culture? How can you support and encourage multiple office locations to collaborate as one team?
- Internal brand communication. Getting employees on board with the brand can be a challenge in many large organizations.
Overcoming Communication Challenges
- Flexible communication style. Become mindful about your own and your employees styles to most effectively reach them. Long, formal meetings may work for many while some younger employees may prefer shorter, informal style meetings. Different countries have different corporate culture styles so be sure to immerse yourself in that culture or hire a local manager to be the buffer to help you understand how to lead in that specific culture. No matter the office location, be sure to garner an understanding of your employees and communicate accordingly to be sure the message is funneled down effectively.
- Two-way communication. While top-to-bottom communication is necessary to spread a message throughout a large company, it’s also important that leaders and managers embrace two-way communication throughout the implementation process. Employee feedback is invaluable and conversing with your employees, especially when they span multiple time zones/countries/cultures, is crucial to ensure the message is being received properly and correctly.
- Variety of training styles. One method to solve the ‘internal brand communication’ challenge is to offer consistent trainings in a variety of methods to encourage employee engagement with the brand as a representative of the brand. Just as individuals’ communication styles vary, so do their learning styles. What resonates with one employee may not engage another. Give options, utilize technology, and encourage team bonding activities.
- Embrace technology. There are so many different technology platforms to bring digital teams together it’s almost overwhelming. There are communication tools and collaboration platforms galore. But how do these contribute to teamwork when the team speaks multiple languages. Consider conference call providers designed for multilingual calls. Conference interpreting services, or simultaneous interpreting, can be done remotely and work flawlessly with the correct call platform. These types of services enable you to seamlessly communicate across multiple countries and languages.
- Clear, simple, and jargon-free. Communicating in a clear, simple, and jargon-free way is crucial when communicating through interpreters or to someone whose English is a second language. It’s also wise to communicate this way to those who speak your same language! Leave less room for error and be concise.
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The way people from different countries communicate and perceive the world around them is directly correlated with the culture and environment they are used to. As an example, German people tend to be direct and straightforward when expressing ideas. What may come off as direct and rude to some Americans should really be interpreted as an expression of sincerity and cordiality.
Another example, as explained by Alina Vashurina in Forbes: “Russian employees don’t always inquire about consent. They do whatever they feel is necessary in order to achieve goals. Americans are expected to follow management’s direction even though employees often ask questions about their duties and collaborate with supervisors”
We use these examples to demonstrate how cultural differences affect both communication and working style and to reiterate the importance of understanding your employees and simplifying communications. Don’t let linguistic, cultural, and geographical differences slow down your strategy. Internal communication is the glue that holds an organization together. With it, a company is a powerful unit that knows no bounds.
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Updated for content and readability April 7, 2021.