Working from home has become increasingly popular over the years, and many companies have had to adjust and hone their skills in order to prosper. The benefits of this new setup are well recognized: remote work enables access to a wider pool of talent who were previously penalized by logistics, or not able to relocate. Additionally, from the employee’s perspective, it led to an improvement in work life balance.
However, one of the key challenges of managing a remote workforce is engaging your employees who work from different locations or time zones, making sure they feel connected and included. The cost of overlooking this problem is high: a recent study by the Conference Board on workplace engagement discovered that companies may lose up to $450-500 billion annually due to low employee engagement.
So, what can you do to turn your online meeting in a success? Here are our Top 5 tips.
1. Consider Culture
When working with a diverse team, it’s important to remember that culture plays an important role in communication, as well as understanding what is being said during a meeting. Different cultures may interpret words differently, so it’s always best to be aware of this when communicating with people from different backgrounds and cultures during your meetings.
2. Take Your Remote and Hybrid Events Multilingual
If you want to make sure everyone in the meeting understands what is being said, then you should consider taking your meetings multilingual. This allows each person in the meeting not just to listen or read along in their preferred language but also – more importantly – to actively participate and share their views.
One option is certainly to add human interpretation to your meetings. There are many certified translation services that can provide remote simultaneous interpretation in virtually any existing language. KUDO’s community of interpreters, for example, offers professional translation services in over 200 spoken and signed languages.
But while human translation may not always be an option it does not mean there are no options at all. An AI translation software (like KUDO AI) is a fantastic and cost-effective solution when human interpretation is unpractical or unaffordable, democratizing access to language services for everyone.
3. Set (and Communicate) Clear Objectives
Before each multilingual meeting, make sure you set clear objectives so everyone knows what is expected from them and how they can contribute towards achieving those objectives. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and keeps people focused on what needs to be done during the meeting itself rather than getting side-tracked by small talk or other distractions.
If you want someone to speak up during these meetings, make sure to let them now in advance so they have time to prepare. And while you’re there, let them know they won’t have to worry about practicing their presentation in English: they can feel comfortable speaking whatever language they prefer.
Will this be enough? Maybe not at the beginning – but this is where a solid company culture, championed by emphatic HR professionals, plays a big role. It’s not enough to tell your team you want to hear from them: they must feel you want to hear from them, and that you care about their views.
4. Make Sure Everyone Has Access
If you plan to use a video-conference platform or any other app, you must make sure that everyone who needs access has it before the meeting begins. This could mean providing access codes or links ahead of time, or simply making sure that everyone has downloaded any necessary software or apps beforehand. And of course, if your meeting is password-protected, don’t forget to share login details with your team. This will save time during the meeting and help keep things running smoothly.
5. Make It Fun
Even though meetings need structure, don’t forget to add some fun to them too! Adding activities like icebreakers or team-building exercises can help break down barriers between different cultures. Additionally, it will make remote team members feel more comfortable speaking up in front of others from different backgrounds or countries of origin.
Conclusion: How Language Is Key for Remote Workforce Engagement
Learning how to engage a remote workforce takes practice but can go a long way towards building trust among team members while improving communication overall within an organization, with positive effects on productivity (+14%) and sales (+18%) too.
As we have seen, language can be a huge enabler to create a work environment where all employees feel welcome regardless of their background. All that takes is to make it fun, consider culture, set and communicate clear objectives, ensuring that everyone has access, and select the translation service most tailored to your needs.
With these five tips in mind, you should have no problem having engaging meetings with your remote staff!
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