Feedback and onboarding across borders

Feedback and onboarding across borders

How are you interacting with your teams in other countries?

To make your company work you need a good product, yes. A good strategy and marketing materials. Yes. And a strong company culture. 

Now, that last one is not as easy as it seems. It’s important because process makes perfect. If all teams involved work under the same spirit, if they understand the core values of the company, if they work under similar structures… things are easier. Guidelines always make things easier. There’s less room for far-fetched interpretations, it sets a standard, and it enables questions and optimization. And it talks about who you are. 

Now, usually, you start local (though not always), and building a small team, is easy to keep track of. But as you expand and land on new territory, HR, for example, tends to be centralized and not present in every country. Not all areas need to be everywhere when working remotely. But you still need them to work. 

Processes need to be translated into other languages and cultures. On-boardings need to happen. Feedback is key. Safety procedures, training, how-to manuals, compliance… how are you making interaction with teams happen across borders? 

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash

The four C’s

The main interactions that need to happen no matter where you are the Four C’s. This stands for compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.

Compliance is the lowest level. It means basic rules, policies, and paperwork should be set straight. Simple translation and proofreading can get this done since it tends to be more of a bureaucratic matter. 

Clarification questions if employees understand their roles and responsibilities. And later on, it helps measure. According to clear roles and expectations, you can set KPIs and stay alert for opportunities to improve. 

Culture describes how things work, fit and impact within the larger organization. It’s the how we do things

Finally, a connection is the highest level. When people can relate to and trust others in the organization, they work as a team. It gives purpose, motivation, and insights into the company. 

All of them, but especially these last two, are extremely present during feedback and onboarding processes.

The impact of onboarding 

This scenario is not uncommon: A survey of 1,000 employed U.S. workers by BambooHR found that 68% of them left a job within the first three months of being hired. The first three months of employment are critical for retaining new hires. And according to Glassdoor, organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. 

What does a good format in-role onboarding plan include? Things like an in-person (or video call!) warm welcome, manuals and formal guidelines so remote employees can understand style and expectations, key documents such as company strategy and org chart. Even specific training on tools and apps used in a company. 

All of this can be done remotely and in new languages. With multimedia material, blended learning, quick video and audio clips, some graphic and written docs, you’re good and off to go. And all of these can be dubbed or subtitled in cost-effective ways, no need to re-do them each time a new HQ appears. 

And once all of this is done, ask for feedback. Schedule surveys, and use a rating scale as well as comments. There’s always room to improve and evolve. (These can be easily translated too).

Why feedback? 

Feedback is a great thermometer. Are people happy? Are they improving? Are leaders doing a good job? Are we sending across the right message? 

It’s not an easy task, but it creates connections, which was the difficult C. And it can be especially difficult at distance. Cultures vary. How we give feedback should also adapt. For example, countries have tendencies. British people tend to be less direct than Americans, both when complimenting or criticizing. And if there are different languages at play, the more careful we have to be. Or at least, we should provide more than one medium for employees to express themselves. 

One-on-one meetings, but also somewhere they could send written feedback, for example. And the chance for it to not always be to their direct boss and for them to trust there is room for conversation. In the end, it creates a much healthier environment and significantly more engagement. Since the people are engaged in what is happening and are active players in what will happen. 

How do we tackle this?

The answer? You localize all the material you can. Employees at every level should receive and understand the same consistent message and be part of the same carefully constructed, cohesive company culture. This goes from the little things, like using local formats for addresses, zip codes, currencies, dates, phone numbers, etc examples; to creating training in every language needed, by native speakers who can transmit the message in the most faithful way possible.

To be cost and time efficient, animated videos are a great choice. You can maintain the same visuals (which are the more costly percentage of creating content) and simply dub or subtitle for other countries.

For webinars and instructor-led training, you can either hire someone different in each country. Or centralize and provide interpreters conference style. You can do that live. And of course, localize handouts, instructor materials, and so on. 

Gather enough webinars and material, and you have an eLearning platform. This approach is typically cost-efficient and scalable for companies launching across multiple countries. There you can localize the platform, organize and centralize content, and make for a happier goal-oriented team. 

If your e-learning is still at the planning stage, why not contact our language experts at LST and the design is ready to scale? 

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