A Fortune Global 50 company with presence in countries around the globe, the corporate headquarters is in the United States but only about 20% of the workforce is based in the United States. The practice in place is to use best-shore resources where appropriate for call centers as well as internal financial transactions. Communication takes place across many time zones and many different languages. Employees are expected to conduct all business in English.
State the Problem
Language and cultural barriers can impede business. Not every employee has a good grasp of the English language. Sometimes because of local laws English can’t be used on agreements or contracts. Cultural differences can create problems as well, some of the employment practices are considered unacceptable in many countries. Frequently requests are received with attachments that take hours to translate with the tools available at employee’s disposal. Meetings can be difficult when all participants don’t have a common language. Three examples that of the lack of communication and knowledge about specific countries have created a problem follow.
Early 2009, the company made the decision that all employees will take a cut in pay. It varied by level but the vast majority was to be reduced by 5%. The communication came on a Friday evening about 7 pm EST via email. The reason given for the pay cut was to salvage jobs. The announcement made it to the media over the weekend, and because of timing many employees learned this information from a third party. It was later discovered this pay cut couldn’t be legally enforced in many countries. A follow-up email a week later indicated the expectation would be that employees in these c...
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...on been found?
Yes, the solution did come in under budget $361,000 in total cost. The results from the survey indicated that the Wikis helped avoid revenue recognition issues of $400,000 within the first three months.
Has there been an evaluation of the results? Has the project been deemed successful?
Yes the counts and comments indicate that the Wiki’s were well received and used. The survey also indicated that the costs for implementation were recovered in three months. The translation tool is not being utilized to full capacity, so the number of concurrent users should be evaluated prior to annual renewal.
Change, E. (2006). New frontiers in employee communication. Third Annual examination of internal communication channels, Retrieved from http://change.edelman.com/newfrontiers/Edelman_newfrontierscomms.pdf
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