Building international teams, how do you do it?

A joke at the coffee machine, an invitation to an afterwork drink or going over meeting notes. At work, we are constantly communicating with each other, so a nice chat will also contribute to team strength. But as teams become increasingly international and not everyone shares the same native language or culture, it is even more crucial to invest in building your team. Discover our 7 tips on how to build international teams and outsmart the language barrier.  

The multicultural society fuels the emergence of international teams while the availability of new talent pools brings opportunities. When skilled, international workers fill the shortage of local talent, the team diversifies and increases its resilience.With an expanded view, you simply see more. But how do you get everyone on the same cart? How do you bridge differences in culture and what to do with that language barrier that seems like an impassable hurdle for some? For 15 years we have been at Link2Europe working on linking foreign talent to local companies. So we do have some experience building international teams. That's why we're happy to give you our best tips & tricks to make your team as efficient as possible

1: Accept the challenges 

Yes...it won't always be easy. The start-up of an (international) team has challenges and denying or laughing them away will only slow down the process. But by being open, you can really boost your team. Accept that some of your current employees may not see an international colleague. But if they have to choose between an increased workload or a word of English here and there, the noses will soon all point in the same direction. So as an employer, be transparent. 

2: Everyone's cultural background 

The whole Soot Pieten discussion shows once again the importance of traditions. To keep all traditions alive, a calendar with the festivals of the different nationalities is a nice idea. Write down Christmas, St. Nicholas, Orthodox Christmas and New Year, Sugar Festival or other events and then celebrate them appropriately in the workplace. 

3: A good start is half the battle 

At Link2Europe, we sometimes employ several people at one company to cover a peak moment. Are there several employees of one particular nationality at such a time, Then organize a startup day in your company and arrange for an interpreter. This will ensure that employees understand the important information. When doing so, of course, invite the other team members as well to promote group spirit. 

4: Personal communication style 

Even in Belgian teams, different communication styles cause friction. In international teams, the differences in communication can be even greater. A good team workshop can already solve a great deal. Programs such as Insights Discovery teach you about your own and others' communication preferences. Your team's effectiveness goes up, and it's also a fun team building exercise.  

5: Availability of key information 

It is not up to the local staff to translate things for their international colleague. That can even lead to frustration in the long run. Therefore, ensure that work instructions are translated into the employee's native language. Important documents are often available in English but to fully understand them, a translation into the native language is not an excessive luxury. Especially when it comes to manuals and safety regulations. 

6: Use visual aids 

Icons and simple, easily recognizable images are visual messages that you pick up much faster and are usually not language specific. Clear instructional videos can also help, and they are easy to translate thanks to already integrated features on sites such as YouTube. Images are more universal than words, So be sure to take advantage of this! 

7: Use technological tools 

We live in the 21ste century. So use the technology at hand. Learning languages is easier with helpful apps such as Duolingo, Mondly, and Mango, but even speaking a language without knowing them is possible thanks to Google Translate. You just speak Dutch and an automatic transcription with translation does the rest. Also deepl is a great translation service that will take you a long way with the free version.  

No longer be put off by the language barrier that international recruiting entails and call on Link2Europe to fill your vacancies with talent from across the border. Contact us with your open jobs and we'll do the rest!  

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