Human resources is one of the most important departments of your organisation.
They are the communicator between employer and employee, and play a key role in the developing, changing and structuring of your company culture.
With such an important role, why would you let their messages not resonate with everyone in your organisation? This is where translation comes in. Translation is a bit of a funny thing; while we may have access to Google Translate and other machine translation tools; time and time again we see professional human translation trumping AI, why?
Nuance is an incredibly delicate and integral attribute of any communication. Nuance is the little subtleties that are woven within words, and they steer the understanding of a message. It’s a very humanistic element and therefore, programs that utilise AI are most of the time unable to pick up those slight meanings. Being unable to notice them, the message can be altered, subsequently changing the tone of the message and potentially leading to bigger misunderstandings.
With HR playing such an integral role in your company, in order to resonate with teams, divisions and branches across the world, their communications need to speak their respective language – both figuratively and literally. These messages must also use the voice and tone of the company, which cannot be obtained via machine translation. Which is why human resources and translation need to work together.
The advantages of undertaking human resources translation are enormous. You can remain in control of your company culture, foster a sense of belonging, increase retention, keep all your employees better informed, and attract top talent. It can be hard to control those things remotely – especially when you have country borders to contend with. However, with a dependable HR team working with professional translators, your communications can transcend borders.
1. Control Company Culture
Culture is an important part of your organisation. It has been credited by 69% of senior leaders as integral to their business success during the pandemic. Culture is what connects, drives, and helps retain your employees, which is why it is incredibly important to maintain control of it.
The added complexity of global branches makes this even more essential. Border and language barriers can wreak havoc on your culture if it’s not translated and understood well. Culture plays a key role in guiding your organisation and is instrumental to your company’s success, and failures. It is present in every step of a project, a conversation; the moment you step into the office, it’s there.
Company culture, while no doubt controlled by everyone in your organisation, does start with leadership messaging. Communications from all parts of management and leadership need to be understood, within the lines and between them. As mentioned earlier, nuance plays a key role in how a message is understood and resonated with.
No matter what your brand and values are in your company’s manifesto, they don’t matter if the messages communicated and the way your employees conduct themselves aren’t reflecting that. Which is why your company’s values must not just be in all communications but also translated well into other languages.
The subtle nuances that are within the original text must be present within the translations to ensure complete understanding. By not doing this, you are allowing your company culture to be misconstrued, which eventually would result in a lack of global office cohesion.
2. Foster a Sense of Belonging
With 40% of US employees feeling isolated at work, and a reported 7% increase in loneliness brought on by covid, belonging is a massive issue… and an opportunity. Although remote working, which had increased during the pandemic, has in some regards been well received by employees; the physical distance has affected the sense of company belonging, making it more crucial than ever.
Connection is incredibly important, and the positive effects are clear: feeling included has been linked to a massive increase in job performance, and a decrease in sick days taken. These benefits add up to your bottom line.
By communicating in different languages, you are including all of your employees. Rather than ‘tuning-out’ to messages that take time and effort to translate on-the-fly and digest, employees are able to quickly read, understand and move on with their day. This is especially important for remote workers. They can easily miss out on important messages that are communicated poorly, especially with different languages at play.
By having communication lines professionally translated, you can reach employees and have them easily understand. Which keeps them informed, an integral part of belonging. By having access to the same information as everyone else, they are included in the conversation, and bigger than that, the organisation.
Belonging allows people to feel comfortable in expressing their opinions, ideas, and in interacting with their colleagues – creating a cohesive team. A team mentality aligns values, and while there may be differing opinions within the group, the ease of belonging makes it a better environment to express them. This alignment is crucial, especially when 97% of employees and executives believe that a lack of it impacts the outcome of a task or project.
3. Increase Retention
Globally we are in the era of the ‘Great Resignation’. Workers dissatisfied with their companies are leaving, in extraordinary numbers. Keeping an employee is cheaper than replacing one. Retention has always been important, but now more so than ever.
By tailoring your communications to the various countries and regions where your offices and branches are based, you are increasing the likelihood of an engaged employee. And an engaged employee is more likely to stay. In fact, a study found that they are 75% less likely to look for another job. With a higher retention rate, your company can maximise profits by up to four times.
Retention can also be increased through training and development. We are in a new work era; employee experience is leading the way. Workers want more from companies, and with a new generation of employees entering the workforce, we are seeing an upward trend in the want and need for training and development.
It’s no small trend either; a whopping 93% of young professionals left their last employer due to feeling unchallenged. Generations aside, on a broader scale, 74% of employees felt they weren’t reaching their full potential in their workplace due to an absence of development opportunities.
With that in mind, by offering training materials in different languages, you are giving your employees, first, accessibility, and second, value. These factors are both key to retention.
4. Keep Employees Better Informed
Employees need to know their expectations, entitlements and more. While in some countries it’s not legally required, it’s in your best interest to have those documents translated. Especially when it comes to legal or heavily jargoned documents, you should provide a translated version to ensure a thorough understanding. These texts are difficult enough in your own native language, let alone in your second or third!
You should also make sure documents that detail the job description and role are in the native language of the new hire. Having a clear job directive and purpose will guide your employees in what needs to be done to achieve the organisation’s goals. With 74% of employees finding they are missing out on the most important company information, it’s essential to adopt measures to lower that number.
This also applies to meetings. To ensure everyone understands what is happening and being said, it would be advantageous to have translated documents available for everyone. This prevents avoidable questions, minimises confusion, saves time, and again, makes your employee feel valued and included. With a massive 97% of employees feeling that communication affects their task efficacy daily, any way to mitigate that, is a positive.
5. Attract Top Talent
Finding candidates isn’t easy. Globally we are finding ourselves in a predominantly tight-labour market. With more companies than talent, it’s essential for companies to undertake whatever they must to gain a competitive advantage. One way is by advertising your position in multiple languages.
When looking for a candidate overseas, job seekers might not necessarily be searching for jobs in your language. They will more than likely look for positions using their native tongue. So, by not having the job posting in both languages, you could be missing out on potential top talent, from the get-go.
A job description in the company’s operating language can help you check the competency level of the candidate, and assess their ability to speak the language required for the role. But, by not having the target language as well, you are potentially allowing for misunderstandings in the requirements of the job role, wasting your time and their time in the hiring process.
In addition, this inclusivity shows that your company is accommodating to those who have a differing native language. This can in turn quell a potential candidate’s hesitancy in joining a company that operates in a different language.
Don’t let language barriers impede your organisation. While the organisation might have their own expected common language; it is important that the small things, whether it be documents or training programs, are accessible to all. By having this flexibility, you are opening yourself up to a myriad of benefits.
We have to remember that there is always going to be miscommunication. It’s the same problem that every company faces, whether their employees are all native speakers in one language or whether they all share a common second language. Miscommunication can’t be prevented entirely, but it can be mitigated.
The role HR plays is significant in company cohesion; however, if their messages can’t be understood effectively by all employees across the world, their reach is diminished. The power that HR and professional translators have combined is a force to be reckoned with.
A diverse workplace is a privilege. It should be nurtured.