Managing a multicultural team can be rewarding, yet challenging. When you’re creating such a team, you need to work to break down the inevitable differences, conquer language barriers, and learn to respect the various cultures. Growing your company to an international level can help transform your business into one that’s inclusive, diverse, and forward-thinking.
Importer of Record, IOR, Explained
What’s an IOR? If you want your business to be international, and you import products, you might want to get an IOR, or Importer of Record. A lot of drop shipping businesses use these. Places that import into the US will need one of these, which is an organization or person responsible for all formal entry requirements or paperwork for any imported goods. The IOR will make things infinitely easier because they also arrange for customs clearance and take care of any relevant permits.
Avoid Artificial Divisions
It’s recommended you avoid speaking any foreign language in the office unless each person on the team is fluent in that language. When expanding into international operations, it’s also a good thing to stay abreast of any current political situations in countries you’re expanding to or operating in, especially in terms of war, regime change, foreign intervention, and ethnic conflict. As with everywhere else, try to avoid any discussion of politics. All of these things could cause or create division in the workplace and that’s counterintuitive to a successful workplace.
Minimize Language Barriers
If anyone in your office speaks a language fluently, they should be placed in the role of mediator in order to ensure there’s a mutual understanding. You need to have at least one person who speaks the language of the area you’re expanding into in order to break down the language barrier. Another helpful tip is to make it the norm that someone being asked to repeat themselves isn’t offensive, especially when accents can be thick. You may also want to use visual aids to assist with illuminating the conversation.
Businesses with multicultural teams should try to work around a variety of work schedules – this includes time off for holidays that are country-specific. Also, attempt to keep cultural customs in mind when going to meetings in restaurants or when planning catered events. This can go a long way toward creating an inclusive and warm work environment while also accommodating those used to certain types of working conditions.
If you have employees who are comfortable with this, encourage conversations with their co-workers in informal settings, like a lunch. All of us want to feel as if we’re heard and seen, and when you encourage a multicultural team to take control of the reins, so to speak, discussing their individual cultures can go a long way.
Finally, in addition to everything you’ve just read about, if you want to expand your business into international charters, open communication is critical. Let each of your employees know that they can come to you and that you’re welcome to feedback. Host meetings with members of your teams where they’ll feel comfortable sharing feedback. This is also a suitable time for you to congratulate them on things done well or even to offer constructive criticism for improvement. Rephrase what they tell you so that they know you’re paying attention to each of their comments and concerns. By doing all of these things, you’ll be well on your way to a successful multicultural, international company.