As a human resources manager in a large company, you’ve probably already wondered how to manage a multicultural expat team. While they bring undeniable richness to the company, differences can sometimes be the breeding ground for poor communication and integration problems.
They may concern different types of issues, such as:
- work-life balance;
- sexual identity and orientation;
- ethnicity and culture;
- religious affiliation;
- age and intergenerational relations.
Numerous studies demonstrate the priority values of Millenials and Generation Z when it comes to their work environment, including: fair treatment of all employees of different ethnicities and genders, followed by quality of life, employer flexibility/adaptability and corporate social responsibility. According to a survey conducted by Monster, the job search site, 83% of Generation Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer.
Let’s take a look at how to manage a multicultural team.
Intercultural management: Fostering social ties with your new team
Fostering social ties between each member is the first essential step in integrating your new multicultural team coming from the four corners of the globe. First and foremost, because without links between employees, integration is impossible! According to a study by the Brandon Hall Group, a successful staff integration process improves the retention rate of newcomers by 82%, and their productivity by over 70%.
This means that the language and habits of your employees should never be a hindrance – on the contrary, they’re a real strength for your company.
That’s why it’s essential to set common objectives, with the aim of rapidly creating links within your teams. To do this, you can organize group events within or outside the workplace, such as team building, company parties, escape games and afterworks. These initiatives will considerably strengthen the spirit of cohesion and the sense of belonging among your employees, as well as the adaptability of your multicultural team.
The essential factors that help foster social cohesion within a multicultural team are: the practice of active listening, attentive consideration of team members, fluency in English to facilitate communication, clear expression of ideas and needs, and the adoption of an objective, non-judgmental approach.
Set up reading and anticipation grids
To manage a multicultural team, it’s important to offer customized resources such as reading and anticipation grids, to help your new resource integrate smoothly into your company. These invaluable documents will enable your new employee to become familiar with the various internal processes, as well as the elements required for successful integration. To make it easier for everyone to understand, it is preferable that these grids be written in English.
Enhance the value of everyone’s knowledge within the company
In a multicultural company, recognition of each team member’s skills is essential to foster collaboration, growth and competitiveness. HR plays a key role in valuing the unique knowledge of these professionals from diverse backgrounds. This recognition helps create an environment of mutual learning and strengthens the long-term commitment of expats to the company, while opening up new perspectives for collective success.
Intercultural management: a continuous process
Misunderstandings and problems linked to different cultures and traditions can arise long after a new employee has joined the company.
This means that both HR and managers need to be constantly on the lookout to anticipate crises and maintain the well-being of their teams. This can be achieved through a variety of actions, such as
- Regular individual and group meetings;
- Proposing discussion groups;
- Setting up suggestion boxes or surveys.
Norway, an example of gender equality
Multiculturalism in your company also means promoting gender equality, and Norway stands out as an exemplary country. In fact, gender is deeply rooted in the formation of HR policy. Norway is recognized as a forerunner in Europe when it comes to gender equality, and occupies a prominent place among countries that encourage the participation of women in the workplace. Following the observation of a low number of women in management positions within companies based in Norway, the country’s government encouraged these companies to develop human resources policies aimed at granting more opportunities to women and increasing their presence in management roles.
So if you too are convinced of the social and environmental well-being of these Nordic countries, Foyer Global Health can help you prepare for your expatriation to one of these countries.
Diversity and HR: respecting your teams for greater efficiency
Integrating and respecting diversity is essential both for the employer brand, as it improves the company’s external image, and for the company itself, as in an environment where everyone is free to express their diversity, employees inevitably feel more at ease. In concrete terms, the direct benefits of improving multicultural team management practices can be as follows:
- Improving the company’s external image;
- Reduced absenteeism rates;
- Improved ability to attract qualified personnel;
- Improved corporate climate;
- Increased staff motivation;
- Ability to better face global market challenges;
- Improved relations with local communities;
- More innovation and creativity;
- Greater attractiveness, involvement and loyalty of younger generations;
- Greater customer loyalty.
If further convincing were needed of the need to implement a diversity-focused HR policy, Business Wire reports that 81% of workers say they would leave their job if their employer was not committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Diversity management, a priority for Foyer Global Health
For Sophie, HR Business Partner at Foyer Global Health, as the company specialises in insurance for expatriates around the world, “it is natural that there is a multicultural richness within the Foyer Global Health teams”.
“We have found that multicultural teams bring many benefits such as varied perspectives, innovative ideas and a better understanding of the global markets in which Foyer Global Health is developing or expanding. In addition, a team made up of people from different backgrounds stimulates innovation, creativity and efficiency.
In our human resources governance, whether in our communications, recruitment, internal mobility, career development or many other areas, diversity is at the heart of our concerns.
Valuing the cultural, ethnic and gender differences present within the company is a real competitive advantage. Training, awareness-raising and inclusive HR policies play a fundamental role in developing an organisational culture that actively promotes diversity.
In terms of recruitment, the candidates we bring on board often come from diverse multicultural backgrounds and possess real adaptive intelligence, making them invaluable to our global business.
To recruit effectively, we diversify the channels through which we seek candidates beyond our borders, and we promote an inclusive corporate culture that respects all our employees.
Foyer Global Health has clearly taken the decision to embrace and value multiculturalism within its teams. All the more so since it recently acquired an international company, Globality, and will be welcoming around a hundred new employees from October 2023. We’re looking forward to some great multicultural challenges!“