Managers are quick to assume that baiting their employees with benefits is sufficient to boost productivity and retention. Occasionally slap on some bonuses to a paycheck and you’re good to go, right? Not really. This is a type of extrinsic (external) motivator, which is great in the short run but diminishes in the long run. A much better approach is intrinsically (internally) motivating your employees to care about what they’re doing at work, such that they foster a deep sense of connection with it. In other words, engaging one’s employees is a better predictor for long term orgnaizational success.
If you’re among the faction of business leaders that believes employee engagement is simply about whether your employees like their job or not, you’re in trouble. There is so much more to employee engagement than merely being satisfied with one’s job. So what exactly is it? Investopedia defines employee engagement as a feeling of dedication and enthusiasm toward one’s work. But let’s capture what good employee engagement looks like.
For one, it is the feeling among teammates of being internally motivated to work hard toward a singular goal; one that aligns with your company’s values and mission. Employee engagement also involves your employees having a crystal clear view of your company’s short-term objectives and long-term goals. And most importantly, employee engagement arises when a team experiences a feeling of interconnectedness within their organization.
How important is employee engagement?
Here is how impactful good employee engagement is. This 2022 research paper found that engaged employees have a productivity rate that was 51% higher than those without well-engaged employees. The research paper was a meta-analysis of multiple studies that linked the employees’ levels of engagement to their sense of well-being. In other words, it supported the idea that employee engagement involves experiencing feelings of interconnectedness and happiness in one’s workplace.
And the more of those feelings your employees experience in their workplace, the more often they’ll show up. A poll conducted by Gallup in 2011 found that, on average, those that are more engaged within their workplace show up 3.5 times more than those who aren’t as engaged. And finally, a review by the Conference Board in 2006 found that engaged employees are more likely (28% of the time, to be specific) to outperform non-engaged ones.
Hence, engagement is the fuel that your organization runs on for its long-term success. The takeaway? A lot of this is in your hands. Things like the way you structure your organizational leadership, how often and well you communicate your workplace values, and the extent to which you validate your employees’ contributions, all boost engagement. So, before you assess whether or not your employees are engaged, ask yourself:
- Are the goals and visions of your company clear and concise? More importantly, does every employee fully understand these goals?
- Do you acknowledge how well your employees’ work contributes to the success of your business?
- Are your company supervisors equipped with the skills needed to keep their employees consistently engaged?
How to effectively engage your global employees?
With most companies today having teams operating cross-culturally, it is essential to address the tools needed to support employee engagement within a global context. There is a lot that goes into keeping your employees engaged whether you’re a small startup or a global behemoth. A language barrier is merely the first hurdle. And translating your onboarding documents to the native language of your global employees simply won’t cut it in the long run. With that said, here are a few ways to keep your employees across multiple cultures consistently engaged.
1. Work on your internal communications strategy
A collaborative culture is the cornerstone of a connected workforce. But when your team is scattered across multiple different time zones, fostering collaboration can feel like a logistical nightmare. To counteract this, managers can create an internal communications plan that involves open channels for contacting them at any point. Such openness ensures that team members feel a sense of connectedness. It can also prevent employees that work remotely from feeling siloed off.
One essential skill you need while keeping these open channels is effective cross-cultural communication. This involves learning active listening skills, being mindful of non-verbal communication in different cultures, adding a personal touch to your communication, and simply keeping an open mind. Additionally, having multiple different channels of communication can be a bonus. Employees in some countries are more likely to use different culturally-acceptable channels of communication to reach their team members.
No matter how many channels you choose to keep, engagement is likely to get stronger with regular team check-ins. Checking in regularly can ensure that the information you are trying to spread is flowing evenly across teams in different time zones. Casual check-ins with teammates that are done one-on-one are also a great way to boost engagement. They encourage employees to feel comfortable sharing their concerns and thoughts by creating a judgment-free space.
2. Free up your time by partnering with mobility forces
As a company expands into foreign markets, choosing to work with third-party services, also referred to as mobility partners, can help ease a lot of the logistical hurdles that come with it. Working with mobility partners frees up your time to focus on global employee engagement. For example, a mobility partner like an employer of record can help your company not only launch within a foreign market but also help you begin acquiring new talent instantly, without the need for a physical office to be set up first.
And mobility partners can help with a lot more than just recruitment. They can also assist you in overseeing your employees’ payroll, screening new hires, conducting their training, and managing the rollout of benefits. For example, regulatory compliance is also a faction that a mobility partner can help with. In other words, all the aforementioned expansion procedures can be carried out while you are assured that your growth plans comply with the regulatory bodies governing new locations.
As your team can leverage its expertise within a local culture, your organization will gain insight into how it can support the expectations of its foreign employees while remaining courteous of cultural norms. Over time, you can get better at employee engagement while you delegate the chores of setting up your business in a foreign market to a third party.
3. Offer your employees location-oriented benefits
Depending on the role of your employee, the type of organization, and so much more, employee benefits can differ vastly. The benefits that independent contractors receive tend to look nothing like those that full-time employees are likely to get. For international companies, another caveat is added to the mix: location. For example, the benefits that are provided to an employee in the United States would not necessarily work for an employee in India. Hence, ensuring that you give your employees benefits that fit their circumstances makes all the difference.
Remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for engagement. Find out what your employees’ day-to-day challenges look like, wherever they are in the world. Next, find a way you can ease these circumstances and improve their well-being. Learning how to cherry-pick the right benefits for the right global team requires a fair bit of familiarity with the lifestyle and culture they reside in. Ensure you assess these needs, and customize your benefits for your global employees. This is a game-changer for employee satisfaction and engagement.
4. Implement strategic onboarding practices
Onboarding is the process through which you let employees assimilate within your organization. The better your ongoing strategy for employees, the longer they’ll likely stay with you. Here’s proof: This survey cited that a well-thought-out employee onboarding strategy boosted the rate of retention by 82%. A good onboarding strategy can help set the tone for the experience your employees will have in your organization, such that they can feel more connected to organizational values, their teammates, workplace culture, and more.
Aspects of onboarding that might need switching up in foreign markets will vary with the location you are attempting to penetrate. The key, as with rolling out global employee benefits, is customization. You will likely need to create unique training components for foreign markets, adhere to international labor policies, keep your communication channels ready to go, and oversee the onboarding process from start to end to ensure it is timely. With customized onboarding, you can ensure your global employees are aligned with your mission from the get-go. Here are a few ways to onboard non-English-speaking global employees with ease:
- Customize your content to that of the language preferred by the user.
- Pass on documents and policies in the language that your new hires can easily comprehend.
- Create predefined steps for managers to communicate with new hires that speak different languages.
5. Foster learning with developmental programs
If all your employees do is routine work daily, they are likely to feel depleted in their engagement levels in the long run. One way to prevent this burnout is through regular developmental programs that create help with upskilling. This form of training can not only help your employees pick up more skills, but also shift their perspective from ‘doing’ toward ‘learning.’ The more you foster a growth-oriented mindset with learning programs, the more participation you are likely to get from your employees. Upskilling programs are also a great way to keep your employees long-term.
These classes or workshops can help your team feel part of a community, get something in return for their contributions, and engage in new ways with their work. Global employees can be better engaged with programs that help deal with their day-to-day challenges and respect their cultural norms. Moreover, managers can instantly get a feel for their teams’ strengths and discover areas of improvement within their staff. If you plan on adding learning workshops to your roster, ensure you don’t burden employees with them, but frame them as an opportunity they can choose to opt for.
How multilingual content can foster engagement
One surefire way to improve employee engagement globally is to make your content multilingual. It is both possible and valuable to offer multi-language content for your employees right from the onboarding process scaling up to internal communication. So how to go about this? Although translating the same policy documents and training programs is usually the first thing that comes to mind, it often isn’t enough.
The main goal of employee engagement is met when you have won the hearts and minds of your team members. To do this in a global context, localization of content to different cultural needs is key. One way to localize your content for your employees is to find their regional market’s requirements. Then begins the process of reframing content to fit these local challenges while also adhering to your global brand image. Dubverse’s AI dubbing platform can serve as an effective tool to power your content production in different languages.
Here are a few examples of how. AI dubbing can not only make your content production for global employees incredibly time and cost-efficient, but it can also be customizable using Dubverse. Dubverse offers its users a range of 100+ AI speakers across gender, ages, and styles. Looking for an empathetic and educational voice to dub your product information videos with? We’ve got it. Want a professional-sounding serious voice for your training videos? We’ve got that too.
Ultimately, employee engagement boils down to how much you are willing to put yourself in the shoes of your team members. no matter their timezone. By prioritizing engagement, you’re working toward creating a healthier and happier community that will help your organization actualize its goals.