A multi-country, multi-cultural workforce makes for a well-rounded team that is capable of winning despite and inspite of the differences. But it also brings with it the challenge of managing a team that speaks different languages and rejoices at different cues.
More often than not, it comes down to the Human Resource/recruitment team to manage the cultural differences during recruitment and even after that, when teams may be locking horns in different languages.
Let’s talk about the common differences that you may come across at the workplace and how to successfully navigate them as a recruitment in-charge/head or a business owner.
1. Job Description and Expectations
Job descriptions and expectations are different written and expressed differently across the globe. Therefore, the very first issue that may pop up in your multi-country team is what you wrote in the job description and what the candidate understood.
The solution for this one is to make different job descriptions for different countries. Use local languages as much as possible and write as detailed or as precise the country demands for. Go out of your way to explain a role if that particular role is not common in the country. This will ensure that the candidates are not too confused and you meet only the right ones or atleast the ones who are not too off track.
It will be for the best if the job description and expectations mismatch are sorted at the interview level itself. At a later time, this type of misunderstanding may lead to bigger and more complicated problems that might leave a bad taste on both sides. Imagine having a fallout with a foreign candidate just because you could not explain your job description to him/her. Bummer!
2. Cultural Sensitivity in Language and Behavior
Working with multi-cultural team means that everyone says hello differently and gets offended at different things. People from different countries are also inherently different. For example, Japanese people talk less and may not appreciate small talks. On the other hand, Americans may find you rude if you don’t say Howdy and do not chit-chat about the latest baseball match.
So, how do you balance such a huge gap? The first step will be to educate everyone in the company about the customer’s culture. Customer is the boss, so if he is from another country, the team has to learn the nuances, no questions asked. At the team level, every single person in the hierarchy should be aware of culturally sensitive words, gestures and language.
Respect is the keyword here and teams must go above and beyond to learn the basics. When it comes to multi-country teams, excuses like ‘I wasn’t aware’ or ‘I did not know’, aren’t good things to say and should not be encouraged. As a recruiter or business owner, it is your responsibility to take ice breaking initiatives and work with the understanding that often just breaking the ice won’t be enough, some melting might also be needed.
3. Language Differences
Language difference is one of the most obvious and basic issues for multi-country teams. But thankfully, language problem is now easy to solve. Technology has blessed us with a number of tools of that can come in handy in everyday translations. Do remember that Google translator is not accurate. A business should consider investing in good, highly-rated translators for both written and verbal communications.
At the interview level, the recruiters must be accommodating of language barriers and need to walk into a conversation with patience. Simple gestures like, making the candidate comfortable and giving him/her time to express can go a long way in finding the best talent in a multi-cultural setup.
4. Communication Style Mismatch
Communication is done differently across the globe. Some people like to make a point in a few, precise words, while others may use a 50-slide presentation and elaborate on a small point. Who is to say which method is appropriate. To some people, the first person may feel nice and professional while they may consider the 50-slide presentation as too much information or even aggression.
To avoid such confusions and misunderstandings, the management must define communication protocols. They must also take initiatives to educate all the parties about each other’s language, gestures and general attitude. This approach will ensure that both precise communication and 50-slide presentation find their right place and audience.
5. Working Style Differences
Working style differences can easily cause issues at workplace. It is common for multi-culture teams to question each other’s methods and find it difficult to collaborate. There are nations where employees are known to be hands on with very short turn around times. Then there are countries where people do not answer work emails and phones after office times. So, how do you bring both types together?
The best way to solve issues that may arise because of differences in work ethics is to build a strong communication channel along with a robust work strategy. Both of these will help multi-country teams to collaborate efficiently. Transparent and quick communication can go a long way in taking care of issues, right at the beginning and save businesses a lot of time, resources and money.
Effective Communication is the Key to Navigating Cultural Differences in Global Recruitment
Communication has been mentioned and highlighted time and again in this writeup because it is the only way multi-cultural teams and can work together efficiently. It’s the responsibility of key management personnel to establish strong communication ethics which will eventually make way for the establishment of other connected business processes.
An experienced recruitment team is often enough to take care of cultural differences. This team can establish clear regulations that can help employees across the borders and work positively to bring them together for the company’s good. Do you wish to hire recruiters skilled in multi-cultural recruitment and management? Find global recruitment solutions and more at GEx Search. Call us today to build your winning team.