With operations spread across multiple countries and continents, it can be challenging for global companies to engage distant employees. Companies with a global workforce face many challenges when it comes to employee engagement. After all, communicating company news and policies in multiple languages can be complicated.
However, research shows diverse and inclusive company atmospheres deliver tangible benefits. According to Gartner, they accelerate innovation and improve the bottom line. Meanwhile, a recent survey by Globalization Partners found that embracing multilingualism helps organizations achieve better results overall.
At the same time, though, Globalization Partners discovered that three in 10 employees don’t feel a sense of inclusion or belonging in their organizations. Just as translation of marketing content helps companies connect more effectively with customers, translation of critical internal documents helps global businesses make all workers feel as if they’re a part of the same organization.
6 Reasons you Need to Translate Internal Communications
It may be tempting to simply declare English as your official company language. It can certainly be a faster and less complicated way to disseminate information. Yet, there are many reasons why global companies should, and in some cases must, translate internal communications.
- Foster Diversity and Inclusion: According to Gartner, 75% of organizations whose frontline decision-making teams reflect a diverse and inclusive environment exceed their financial targets. Translating critical documents ensures universal understanding of, and higher engagement with, your organization’s mission and vision.
- Promote Ethical Behavior: While no organization is immune from corruption or misconduct, global corporations are especially at risk. Almost half of companies have experienced economic crime and fraud, according to a 2018 PwC survey. In addition, problems are more likely to occur in subsidiaries or joint ventures far from headquarters, writes Mary Jo White, former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in Harvard Business Review. Leaders, more than compliance programs, set the tone for ethical behavior, White noted, underscoring the need to translate both messages and policies.
- Ensure Legal and Regulatory Compliance: In some countries and states, the law requires certain internal communications to appear in the employee’s primary language. The best way to avoid legal issues is to err on the side of caution and translate all important communications. For additional insight on the types of workplace language laws in various countries, the Association of Corporate Counsel covered a number of examples here.
- Attract and Retain Better Talent: Global organizations can’t be sure the best employee for a given role will be a native English speaker. When they fail to provide internal communications in a preferred language, employees are more likely to feel undervalued and misinformed. That makes them more inclined to look for a job somewhere else. Also, companies risk missing out on hiring future top performers if compensation and benefits materials aren’t available in local languages. Simply put, a person who can’t fully understand what comes with the job is less likely to accept it.
- Reduce the Risk of Misunderstanding: When companies provide materials in the staff’s preferred language, everyone is sure to understand the organization’s goals and expectations. When they know what to do and how to do it, employees are more productive.
- Improve Worker Safety: If employees can’t understand your safety procedures, they’re at much greater risk of on-site injury. Such incidents not only lead to downtime, but could result in lawsuits or possible legal penalties. While safety should be top of mind for all organizations, it’s especially important when employees are working in factories or operating machinery of any kind.
A reputable translation services vendor can work with you to ensure accurate translations of critical internal communications and help create a more inclusive, diverse environment across all locations.