Expert Tips on Creating Cultural and Language Diversity in the Workplace

A successful company will never exist without the strong backbone and foundation of its employees. The people who work in these kinds of companies are productive, efficient, and loyal, contributing to the brand’s growth and success.

Logically, it then follows that employees who are less motivated and disengaged see no worth in staying behind, and thus more likely to leave their workplace.

For companies who want to achieve prolonged existence and success in their markets, this is a crisis that must be averted at all costs.

Let’s check with various experts in different fields to know what’s involved in employee engagement, and how businesses and corporations can effectively increase and manage it.

Disengagement from cultural and language diversity in the workplace

Before delving into the factors of disengagement and how to minimise it, it is crucial to define what employee engagement is.

Employee engagement is “an essential element of successful business operations. It involves creating an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and motivated to do their best work.  To achieve this, it’s important to monitor engagement on both a technological level (e.g., tracking metrics such as attendance rates or performance scores) and on a personal level (e.g., through one-on-one conversations with each team member).”

– Lucjan Suski, CEO and co-founder of Surfer

Logically, it follows that employees who are less motivated and disengaged see no worth in staying behind, and thus more likely to leave their workplace. This is called “disengagement.” Even if employees do not leave, they are not motivated to do any work.

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Though satisfied, disengaged employees “get distracted during zoom calls, do not communicate with leaders and colleagues, as well as have an overall drop in productivity and quality of work.”

– Allan M. Siegel, Practitioner at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata Siegel, P.C.

Employee disengagement is a common problem in many workplaces, but especially more prominent when it comes to multinational companies. Left unattended, it can have serious consequences for both employees and the organisation as a whole.

So a brand must get to the root causes of disengagement and seek to minimise or eliminate it altogether. Realising the root causes of disengagement is crucial, as it allows organisations to take targeted action to address the problem.

Depending on the issue, changes to management practices, training and development programs, or creating new opportunities for career advancement might be undertaken. And by addressing the underlying issues that are causing disengagement, organisations can help employees feel more valued and appreciated, and ultimately improve retention rates.

What are some strategies that help focus on and improve employee engagement? Experts from different industries share their experiences and thoughts on the matter.

“I personally monitor my employee engagement and address any concerns employees have to ensure that everyone works in a collaborative and positive environment. I conduct one-on-one meetings with my employees once every two months to address their concerns and ensure high engagement levels.

Other than that, we take employee engagement surveys monthly and encourage employee participation. We follow up with questions regarding our engagement index and then address and enhance aspects of our employee experience that adversely affect satisfaction levels.”

– David Cohen, CEO of Flower Station

“As a company that thrives on results to make sure our clients are getting the best from each of our employees, something like Weekdone has been a great way to help us. Weekdone offers a complete performance tracking tool. Based on the OKR (objectives and key results) approach, it allows teams and individuals to specify goals and break them down into quantifiable outcomes, and then it follows up with a variety of data and metrics to track and assess the progress.

The platform includes all of the tools required to guarantee openness and clarity in the working process as well as to streamline and automate tracking and reporting. It is complete and detailed, loaded with tools to look at staff productivity from every imaginable viewpoint.

This feature could be its weakness to some people because of the volume of information that can appear overwhelming, but after you become familiar with the settings and filter out the information that is most pertinent to your company, it might be a tremendous benefit.”

– Martin Gasparian, Owner/Attorney of Maison Law

And it’s not enough just to listen. Take action based on the feedback received. One expert emphasises the importance of managers when it comes to engagement:

“I strongly believe that mid-level employees like project managers are key players in increasing employee engagement and productivity. It is crucial to hear from everyone on the team and generate solutions. Once project managers are delegated a task, they are expected to create a clear and coherent path toward delivering the final product.

It is best if these managers involve all members of the team, hear them out, and craft the best possible solution. They are also responsible for crafting the most efficient team possible. A good project manager can increase employee engagement with ease.”

– Marc Hardgrove, CEO at Thehoth

How translation and multilingualism play a crucial role in language diversity in the workplace

In the past, companies and workplaces tended to be insular, comprising local people who lived within or around the area. But with the market and the economy globalising, workplace diversity has become more crucial to businesses than ever before, for no small reason other than that a multicultural workforce can bring a variety of perspectives and experiences, which can help drive innovation and creativity.

How can you support diversity and inclusion in the workplace? The clearest and most straightforward method is through translation and multilingualism. Providing multinational translation services and encouraging multiple languages to be spoken at work can help break down language barriers and ensure that everyone can communicate effectively.

This is especially important in organisations with companies and subsidiaries in different countries and continents, where local employees speak the native tongue alongside the language used for work.

A few experts share their thoughts on the matter:

“We are fortunate to have a culturally and multilingually diverse team, and I feel that this greatly benefits our business. This diversity ensures that there is always a fresh perspective to learn from and helps us to avoid falling victim to confirmation bias. Being a remote business, we have employees based around the world, from southwest India to Sweden, so engagement can be a challenge.

One thing which I find helpful is scheduling regular check-ins and virtual meetings. This helps to create a sense of community. I am also a big advocate of collaboration. I encourage this across departments, and endeavour to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to work together, or to provide feedback on one another’s projects.

I also take care to recognise, celebrate, and embrace the wide variety of languages, cultures, and experiences which our team contributes to the company. I feel it’s important to be proactive, rather than passive with this.”

– Alex Mastin, CEO & founder of Home Grounds

“Companies can promote multilingual diversity depending on the organisation’s specific needs and resources. This can include language training for employees, translation services for important documents and communications, and hosting cultural awareness events. These demonstrate [the company’s] commitment to keeping their workplaces diverse, accepting of different points of view, and making their employees comfortable and respected despite their unique and varied experiences.”

– Jerica Amores, Head of Human Relations and Vendor Management at Tomedes

A workplace that celebrates and supports language and cultural diversity is one that’s built for a stronger, more engaged workforce. It is also one that is better equipped to meet the challenges of a global economy.

Connection and collaboration strengthens cultural and language diversity in the workplace

With such cultural and language diversity in the workplace, is it even possible to reach a mutual understanding across the board, from the head honchos of the management to the part-time workers and interns?

Of course. To help usher in a culture of collaboration and connection, organisations can implement various strategies. For instance:

“… providing cultural sensitivity training, promoting diversity and inclusion, and encouraging cross-cultural communication and collaboration. To increase engagement and productivity in a team, some tips and advice include: clearly communicating the company’s goals and objectives. Providing employees with opportunities for growth and development. Recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions.”

– Anthony Bautista, Founder and CEO at Pure CBD Now

This approach helps break down silos and instead encourage knowledge and expertise sharing across the organisation. Another effective way to inspire relationship building is through creating a  healthy work environment.

“In my opinion, the working environment and the infrastructure are significant contributors to boosting the effectiveness of the team and the amount of work that they produce. In my opinion, the employees’ feelings, thoughts, and overall performance in the workplace are all significantly impacted by their physical surroundings.

As a consequence of this, many companies are paying attention while they are creating the interiors of their offices. They ensure that there is adequate lighting, that the arrangement of the furniture is comfortable, and that there is a touch of the outdoors brought in by the use of plants and flowers.

The atmosphere that prevails within the office itself is another factor that contributes to the overall level of productivity among teams. The general productivity and efficiency of a business might suffer when there are dominant leaders, employees who are condescending to one another, and office politics.”

–Emir Bacic, co-founder of Pricelisto

Organisations can leverage technology to facilitate collaboration and communication among employees. Video conferencing tools can be used to enable virtual meetings and remote teamwork. Project management tools can also be used to help teams track progress, assign tasks, and collaborate on projects in real-time.

By providing employees with the right tools and resources, organisations can create a more connected and collaborative work environment that fosters engagement and productivity, no matter when or where people are working.

Programs and training opportunities for the growth and development of cultural and language diversity in the workplace

Apart from making multicultural employees feel welcome and included, one of the most critical factors for retention is that employees should also think that they are able to develop more and improve within the company, both in career and personal life. When employees feel that they have the chance to learn and grow within their roles, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work.

One expert prefers team reviews and side-by-side to assess the needs of his team.

“This allows [the team] to feel heard, and it also gives them a safe space to discuss their grievances. Another good way to help employee engagement is to work alongside the employees for a short period of time, as this allows the employee to show you how hard they are working and any difficulties they might have that might need addressing.”

— Shawn Richards, Expedition Coordinator of Ultimate Kilimanjaro

When offering training and development programs, organisations should first assess the needs of their employees. Growth and development can come in many forms, including on-the-job training, mentorship, coaching, and more, so organisations should take care to understand the value of providing these opportunities for their employees, and provide the effort of creating plans for specific individuals.

Once their needs have been identified, the organisation can then create a training plan that is relevant to the employee’s job skills and development opportunities. Make sure that the programs are aligned with the organisation’s goals and objectives, and that they are tailored to meet the needs of each employee.

Another way of developing employee skills is to encourage advancement and give people new challenges. Employees who are given the opportunity to take on new responsibilities and tasks are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work.

This can include offering promotions or opportunities for lateral moves within the organisation. An expert gives some advice:

“A manager who takes the time to recognise their staff and encourages them to do so as well will likely have a more engaged team, as their employees will know they are appreciated and their contributions are recognised.”

– Robert Zeglinski, Managing Editor & Researcher at BreakingMuscle

However, remember that advancement and new opportunities should be based on merit, and that the employee has been given adequate support, training and knowledge to pursue their new roles.

By showing that they can climb the corporate ladder through their own efforts, employees will be inspired to work to their best abilities, accelerating the culture of growth and development that allows everyone within the company to relate more with each other. It also lessens the chances of resignations and burnouts.

The effects of silos towards cultural and language diversity in the workplace

However, despite implementing these strategies, there can still be other problems that might come up within the company. One of these issues is the silo mentality, where there is a reluctance to share information within different departments or divisions in the business. When employees work in silos, they tend to become disconnected from their colleagues and the larger goals of the organisation. This can lead to a lack of collaboration, duplication of efforts, and a decrease in productivity.

To further encourage cultural and language diversity in the workplace, managers should support employees who share their thoughts and opinions freely and assist others in doing the same.

“Thing is, this can be hard at times, but it can be made easier if you encourage effective communication and allow everyone to share their thoughts and opinions on something because the whole point of having a diverse team of people from different backgrounds is that they’ll probably have some experience which is more linked to or insightful for a project at hand and can help your company be more culturally sensitive.”

–  Alex Alexakis, Founder and CEO of PixelChefs

Managers can also lead by example, by being open and transparent in their own conversations with employees:

“However busy you are, taking a moment to check in, recognise, and respond to your team is crucial. A simple sentence such as ‘I see how hard you’re working, keep it up,’ can make a big difference. People need to feel acknowledged and appreciated to maintain motivation.

It’s important that any praise is sincere and specific, as this will carry more weight than a generic “good job”. Rewards programs can be a helpful way to reinforce this, as you are showing your appreciation through actions as well as words.

Paying attention also shows that you value and respect your team as individuals, and this can foster a sense of belonging, which is crucial for engagement. Remembering someone’s birthday, for example, or asking after their pets or children. It’s important to be consistent in your actions. Small, positive, regular interactions are more effective than occasional grand gestures.”

–  Fran Haasch, Founding Attorney of Fran Haasch Law Group

“In my opinion, there are a lot of employees who are seeking chances to talk to their managers, but unfortunately, those kinds of scenarios aren’t always available. That can change if employees are encouraged to interact with their supervisors and with you. Another useful piece of advice is to host virtual office hours or casual happy hours online for people who are interested in chatting with others.”

– Tia Campbell, Director of Marketing at Practice Reasoning Tests

These opportunities allow employees to express their opinions and concerns in a secure and non-judgmental environment. It also provides a chance for leaders to address and take action to improve the workplace culture. This type of collaboration not only promotes open communication but also helps break down silos and create a more cohesive workplace.

Celebrating and recognising success for cultural and language diversity in the workplace

Once these multiple strategies are explored and executed within the company, it won’t be long until people see the results. If everything goes well, those results will be positive, and recognising and celebrating it as such also plays an essential role in a multicultural company.

There are several steps that employers can take to recognise and celebrate team success.

“Employee engagement starts with company leaders. A poor management style from emotionally unstable leaders will cause employees to become unmotivated. Under no circumstances should a leader micromanage his employees. That’s a great way to discourage them, leaving them feeling unmotivated. Giving employees recognition and rewards for their hard work is a great way to motivate them, especially if the reward is a raise or extra vacation time.”

– Kamyar K.S, CEO of World Consulting Group

“I would recommend that you permit staff to socialise and have fun outside of work. Ensure that the events are inclusive by including a variety of activities; not everyone wants to go to the pub every night, so a quiz, bowling, or games night could provide alternatives.

Or even ask your staff for suggestions, other than that. Employees like the opportunity to contribute to the company’s overall goal and objectives. If they can utilise their own abilities and knowledge, they are more likely to feel involved and enthusiastic about their work.

Enthusiasm can be contagious in a positive sense, and employees that are enthusiastic and optimistic can often help to disseminate the sentiment throughout the organisation. Managers have numerous opportunities within their power to promote employee engagement.

And, given the current status of the labour market, it is more crucial than ever to have engaged employees, since this will improve retention rates and attract new talent to the organisation at the same time.”

– Joe Troyer, CEO & Head of Growth of DigitalTriggers

“ If you want to keep your employees engaged with the workplace, ‘allow some informality.’ I would love to know what my employees really think about their work, their organisation, seniors, colleagues, and what can be improved. But it’s evident that they will hesitate to speak directly about these things and hence, anonymous feedback is the answer.

It’s a great way, actually. Organise some parties, reward your employees when they do something good, and make them feel valued. That’s how you motivate your employees and grow together!”

– Jennifer Park, Chief Editor at Amerinote Xchange

Not only does it boost morale, increase motivation, and improve employee engagement, but it also gives employees the chance to relax and unwind in the workplace, which isn’t a traditional activity for the location. It helps employees feel that their hard work and well-being is valued and appreciated, which in turn increases their loyalty towards the organisation.

When employees feel acknowledged, they are more likely to work harder and produce higher-quality work. Overall, a positive and supportive work environment can help organisations achieve their goals and create a successful and sustainable future.

In Summary

Improving employee engagement is critical for the success of any organisation. By addressing the root causes of disengagement, promoting a culture of connection and collaboration, offering training and development opportunities, and celebrating team success, organisations can create a positive and supportive work environment that fosters stronger bonds of loyalty, which helps set up the foundations for future and potential global success.

These will have a large impact when it comes to engagement, and organisations should strive to promote cultural and language diversity in the workplace. So, implement a mix-and-match of these strategies, so the workplace can create a more engaged and motivated workforce that is ready to take the workplace by storm.

About the Author

Raphaella Funelas is a content creator and copywriter who specialises in the education, human resources, and marketing industry. A graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a degree in English Studies, she has been writing professionally for six years.

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