Business transactions have changed quite a lot in the past few decades. Much of the development may be attributed to the availability of the Internet and networks, which make business-related dealings much easier to do. The recent changes have given rise to wider reach in market scope for any kind of business.
Another trend that has gained in popularity in the field of business is the development of a multi-racial workforce. This is common in companies and industries that have set up shop in several countries with varying languages and dialects. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, multinational companies in the country have employed more than 34 million workers in 2011, which goes to show that differences in regional backgrounds of employees have not been a hindrance for the U.S. economy.
Hiring bilingual or multilingual employees is a common process for multinational companies. Whether the need is for Chinese translators, Spanish accountants or Russian-speaking employees, mother companies with regional offices have to deal with all sorts of languages and cultures. However, the good news is that employing locals and targeting local markets lead companies to effectively spread their wings into untapped potential.
Alas, this comes with a price: language barriers in the workplace. Company executives feel the brunt of handling a variety of languages in a single pot, to the point that this barrier may cause internal conflicts and administrative issues. “Managers have a responsibility to affirmatively determine where language and cultural differences in the workplace can be accommodated and where they cannot.”
If you are currently handling a multi-racial workforce or managing the accounting section of a multinational firm, here are some tips on how to deal with potential problems associated with company diversity:
Review work requirements in relation to cultural backgrounds
Is your employee refusing to shake hands with clients because it’s against his cultural beliefs? You may have discovered these kinds of cultural quirks only months after you’ve hired your employees, but it’s not too late to remedy this.
You have two options here: (1) ask the employee to do the task that they’re supposed to do, or (2) assign them to other responsibilities that don’t clash with their cultural background.
Be prepared to spend more for better communication
Dealing with multilingual employees may require you to prepare documents according to their respective languages. Sure, this will entail a lot of money and effort, but this will already do wonders to inter-office relationships and effective communication.
Remember that being too cheap may hurt your business instead of helping you earn more. Use this same principle when it comes to shelling out for improved communication in the company.
Adjust to the local setting
Multinational companies usually carry an umbrella set of objectives and policies that may not fit the regional locations where they set up. Company owners must accept the fact that they might need to adjust to the culture and laws of the country where they are operating. Some world governments, for example, require standard templates for business documents, which multinational companies will have to comply with.
CEOs and financial managers working in multinational firms need to accept the fact that the world is already getting smaller, and it’s pretty standard fare to experience problems and issues related to language and culture. However, with patience and passion to reach the locality, people who manage multinational companies can turn things around to their advantage – and hopefully make the company profitable and successful.