The importance of cross-cultural management in multinational companies

One of the top reasons behind relocation is a great job opportunity. These relocations often surpass the country-of-origin borders, which implies getting used to the entirely new environment. Sometimes, people have difficulty adapting to the new culture and way of life. This is a perfectly normal and expected experience. However, it’s always wise to find ways to help adjust to the new. One considerable aspect of people’s lives is their work. Therefore, companies who have welcomed their new expatriated employees should provide support to help them adapt to the new professional environment. The primary goal is to make them feel at home. Efforts that those in charge make to achieve this will make a world of difference in the entire company climate. And this is where the importance of cross-cultural management in multinational companies becomes evident.

With many years of experience and numerous corporate successes behind them, SIT Spain has developed “Welcome” services to help big multinational companies in their efforts to implement cross-cultural management. Investing in employees is never a wrong choice and almost always guarantees a return on investment. Moreover, cultural diversity can only be an asset in a company, which we will discuss later.

The importance of cultural adaptation

SIT Spain organizes on-site and online cultural education programs to help ex-pat employees and their families adapt to the new environment. The success of the employees will, besides their expertise, depend on their satisfaction in life. For this reason, they must have a positive outlook on the change they have gone through. Getting to know the new environment is the best, if not the only way to learn how to adjust to it and begin to accept it as your own.

Acclimatizing to the new and learning to adapt to new situations invariably involves resilience. In terms of a work environment, this means that a person can work both independently and in a team. Furthermore, it means they are open to new ideas and changes. An employee that possesses such qualities can only be an invaluable addition to the team. Therefore, it’s wise to help them get there by assisting on their journey to becoming an assimilated member of your company.

To begin with, the journey of acculturalization should start with learning about the new country’s culture, traditions, customs, and values. Along with the personal benefits ex-pat employees will experience, awkward situations will be reduced to a minimum. All that combined will only work towards outstanding professional successes.

Overcoming the language barrier

Another point SIT Spain can help with. If necessary, new employees should take language courses. One of the few advantages of monocultural company climates is unimpeded and efficient communication, unobstructed by language barriers. Therefore, companies should offer language training to their new employees. It would also be advisable to provide various options. For some, individual training is an optimal solution. Others will thrive the most in a group. Some would prefer online classes. So, to facilitate progress, make sure you give your new employees a range of options.

Needless to say, speaking the language is of tremendous importance when it comes to adapting to new cultures and environments. When you can easily communicate with people around you, everyday activities and meeting new people will be much easier. Furthermore, the frustration caused by misunderstandings and inability to get a message across will be eliminated. Overall, it will significantly improve the quality of life and general satisfaction.

Help with labor integration for the partner

One of the biggest challenges families face when relocating for work is the uncertainty regarding their partner’s job possibilities. This may prevent some from taking the leap, thus missing possibly excellent career opportunities. For this reason, multinational companies should make an effort and provide assistance with labor integration for the partner.

SIT Spain provides professional and educational guidance programs aimed towards the partners. The goal of these programs is to familiarize them with the local labor market. They will learn about the various techniques and search methods they can utilize while job hunting, ensuring more success. Moreover, they will receive guidance for developing and brushing up their CVs and interview preparation. They will also be given information about the education programs available. All of this will help partners search for a job, provide them with some peace of mind and generate a sense of confidence that the decision to move was the right one.

Helping new employees prepare for their international relocation

International relocation is not a simple task. Companies should also ease the process by providing their soon-to-be-expatriated employees with all the necessary information regarding visa requirements and required documentation. Furthermore, multinational companies often offer to help employees relocate by providing the necessary funding in the form of relocation packages. Still, employees should know that moving abroad requires careful planning, from calculating costs, preparing their belongings for the move, hiring reliable international movers, and finding a new home in the destination country.

The benefits of cross-cultural management

Cross-cultural management teams’ efforts to help their expatriated employees assimilate in the new environment result in satisfied and thriving business professionals ready to add value to the team. And there are many advantages of the multicultural business climate. To name a few:

  1. Better insights in foreign markets. Teams that foster cultural diversity will possess greater knowledge and understanding of the political and social peculiarities of various foreign markets. Consequently, these teams have a better insight into a particular market’s consumption patterns. They also keep track of any changes in these markets better.
  2. Enhanced communication with stakeholders and better credibility. Culturally diverse teams in multinational companies are able to maintain better communication with stakeholders from other countries, as they are likely to have a representative of that country on the team. Cultural diversity also gives teams greater credibility when attending meetings outside the borders. 
  3. Diversity is a powerful motivating factor. In such companies, career advancements happen based on merits. 

Final thoughts

Multinational companies are bound to have employees from all the countries they operate in. For that reason, cross-cultural management in multinational companies is of utmost importance. We have seen that having culturally diverse teams on board can only be an asset. However, to enjoy all the benefits such teams can deliver, management teams must orient their management style towards fostering cultural diversity. The way to do that is primarily by helping expatriated employees adapt to the new business and cultural environment.