5 Steps to Foster Communications in a Cross-Cultural Workplace

September 24, 2015

in Staff + Space

Authored by Christophe Vanackère

Sponsored by Sage X3

5 Steps to Foster Communications in a Cross-Cultural Workplace

To most, the UK and the US are separated by nothing more than an ocean and distinct accents. But, despite our common mother tongue, there are countless cultural and professional differences that could interfere with effective communication during your expansion.

Here’s how to successfully navigate cultural difference to maximize communication and productivity during stateside expansion:

1. Establish a Collaborative Cross-Cultural Environment from the Outset

Managing culture can present issues without proper planning. There are myriad factors to be taken under consideration and a lot of decisions can be directly affected by them. A successful manager should try to identify any such issues from the very beginning of the expansion process, and be prepared, so that no such issues could cause delays or any other problems.

2. Strategize Communications

With the advance of technology, one would assume that communications would be simple, especially considering the common threads between UK and US culture. But, while many of the traditional international roadblocks—language, professional practices, etc.—are removed from the UK-US equation, you should always account for potential gaps.

First, investigate the means of communication delivery that would be available to all team members, regardless of their status within the team and place of work.

Plan to have a number of sessions with all team members concurrently. A short teleconference or web conference where all team members are available can strengthen team dynamics and provide for much better and cohesive team morale.

Be careful of the way information is communicated throughout the team. It may be the case that only the higher echelons of the team receive some of the information, according to the communication plan. However, it is in your best interest to try to confirm delivery of all information to the expansion team.

3. Introduce a Culture of Interactivity

One of the most beneficial tools to have in your arsenal is interactivity. By encouraging the need for transfer of knowledge and skills, you’re promoting a collaborative environment within the team. It may be that even a simple mention of something new (an exciting new piece of software, for example) can ignite a discussion that can only make team bonds stronger.

Don’t forget that the transmission of knowledge and skills is not limited to just those working on the expansion. It should be extended horizontally in order to encompass the whole of the company.

4. Be Ready to Adapt With the Team

Always be prepared for change. It is very rare that the environment in any project remains constant, much less with a major expansion to a diverse new marketplace. More often the overall situation changes, both in t team resources, but also due to other reasons, such as political and environmental.

This is a group effort—one you’re in together. Be ready to adapt, prepare for change, and allow people to be human. In other words, realize that performance cannot be measured by this task alone. Sure, it’s good to take into account performance and have contingency plans ready. But it’s more important that the team works together to overcome any obstacles.

5. Promote Relationship and Transparency

One of the most important parts in aiming for success when working within any team is to promote a culture of transparency and trust among the individual team members. All the individual members should be made to feel a part of the team, regardless of the amount of time they contribute to both the expansion and their organizational standing.

Needless to say that a culture of trust is not something that is imposed on team members by management, instead it is something that should be instilled within the very fabric of each corporation. What must be stressed is how planning for cultural management and communications is becoming more and more important in today’s globalized marketplace.

As your expansion progresses, your teams become more extended, both in terms of national diversity as well as ethnic diversity. It is up to the successful leader to integrate all team members, regardless of their origins, into a cohesive unit that will contribute to overall expansion success.

Get free, unlimited access to the content that helps ignite your expansion!

Next Up in Market Your Brand
1 Min Read

Map Compelling Messages for New Audiences

View More Articles

By using our site, you agree to the use of cookies. Click here to find out more about cookies on our site and how to delete cookies.