Hybrid and remote working has long been the norm in the localisation industry, but the post-pandemic spotlight is shining brighter than ever on the need for connection across distributed workforces.
This is not just from a technical perspective (after all, we have more ways to communicate virtually than ever before) but also a connection in a deeper sense of the word.
How do you build a strong sense of company culture when your team members are hundreds or thousands of miles away from each other? How do you overcome language barriers and the challenges of maintaining productivity across different time zones?
This article will explore the significance of building company culture in the localisation industry, as well as looking at ways to build and maintain it over time.
Company culture is a priority, not an after-thought
Workplace culture is the foundation on which the rest of the organisation is built, affecting everything from employee satisfaction and productivity to staff retention.
According to PwC’s 2021 Global Culture Survey, ‘strong cultures drive better business outcomes’ and 67% of respondents believed that ‘culture is more important than strategy or operations’. In Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index Report, 46% of employees cited ‘positive culture’ as their highest priority when looking for a new job.
In a previous article, we discussed the pivotal role of the HR department in building company culture and promoting a positive working environment for all.
Human Resource departments are responsible for balancing the organisation’s goals and priorities with the ever-evolving needs and expectations of its employees. To bridge this gap and enact positive change, managers must be given the appropriate authority, resources, and training to do so effectively.
How global companies build strong cultures from a remote perspective
Global companies like Google and Microsoft are renowned for having a workplace culture that everyone wants to be a part of. It’s one of the primary reasons that they can attract and retain top talent from around the globe.
So how does a company with offices in over sixty countries manage to build a thriving, unified workforce? How do they align teams across different time zones, languages, and perceived cultural barriers?
The secret lies in their ability to establish and maintain a culture of trust, connection, and flexibility regardless of location.
Building company culture in the localisation industry
Having a positive workplace culture is important for any organisation, but it’s particularly relevant for those in the localisation industry, where multicultural teams are the norm.
Communication, collaboration, and trust are the cornerstone of strong, positive company culture. Once you have these solid foundations in place, you can then start to build on them by focusing on aspects such as:
- Encouraging team members to actively participate in meetings
- Getting people to work together on lots of different projects
- Hiring people with diverse backgrounds, languages and skillsets
- Supporting employees’ desired work styles, trusting that the work will get done
- Hosting in-person meet-ups whenever possible (e.g., once a year conference in a central location)
Creating a sense of connection in remote teams
This building and shaping of company culture is not a once-off thing, but rather an organic, constantly evolving process that requires careful attention and maintenance. When team members are geographically disconnected from each other, you must seek to create a sense of connection in other ways.
This article from Harvard Business Review highlights the importance of creating virtual spaces and rituals for celebrations and socialising. It all comes down to human connection and how companies can compensate for the lack of physical interaction across distributed teams.
The challenges of building company culture remotely
It is important to be aware of potential issues that may arise due to intercultural differences, even if everyone speaks a common language. For example, when team members come from different cultural backgrounds, context and meaning can very easily be misinterpreted or misunderstood entirely.
This is particularly true when people are communicating via instant messaging since the subtle nuances of speech and body language cues are missing from the equation. You can anticipate and avoid this by having regular video calls with the team, ensuring that everyone can understand and be understood clearly.
You should also experiment with different ways of collaborating to find what works best for your team, whether it’s commenting on a Google Doc or virtually scribbling on a whiteboard in Clickup.
When it comes to meetings, being organised and following a structure is the key to ensuring that nothing gets lost in translation. This might include:
- Establishing a process that ensures everyone can understand, participate, and share ideas.
- Creating an agenda and having a designated leader to keep things on track.
- Assigning someone to take notes and ensure that relevant information is accessible to everyone after the meeting.
Supportive, progressive company culture is essential in the localisation industry
Hybrid working poses unique challenges, primarily around communication, boundaries and expectations.
This is where a supportive and progressive company culture can make all the difference. Organisations that embrace diversity in all its forms and prioritise the health and well-being of their employees are the ones that will thrive at both local and international levels.
Some crucial elements of a supportive company culture include:
Managers have to trust their staff to get their work done, providing the necessary support, training, and resources to facilitate efficient remote work. Team members also have to trust each other to pull their weight and ensure that everyone is on the same page, working towards a shared goal where everyone reaps the benefits.
Some people work best in the office, while others can focus more at home. Interestingly, 58% of Microsoft employees who plan to spend the most and least time in the office plan to do so for the same reason: more focused work. What’s important is that employees are given the support they need to get their work done, wherever and whenever suits them.
In any remote or hybrid working environment, managers should prioritise relationship-building and allow time and space for this to happen as naturally as possible. Focus on facilitating easy communication and collaboration between employees, enabling the development of a healthy culture and a sense of shared purpose in the workplace.
Building company culture with the right people
International Achievers Group specialises in providing localisation recruitment services to international candidates and companies that are expanding in the global market.
We understand just how important the right candidate can be to enhancing workplace culture, and we pride ourselves on matching the right people and building the best teams.
Our team has over 100 years of combined experience providing premium recruitment solutions for many of the world’s leading companies and we have developed an exceptional reputation that you can rely on.
Get in touch with our team of localisation experts today to find out more.