Great internal comms have the power to boost global employee engagement, but how do you balance the communications to your regional team with broader messaging to your global workforce?
Internal communications can be so much more than a weekly round-up of company events. When done well, they have the power to connect your workforce, build a culture of inclusivity and drive employee engagement. If you’ve decided to translate your internal comms for your multilingual employees, you’re off to a great start. But there’s not much point in translating your internal comms if the content isn’t relevant or engaging for that audience in the first place. The key is creating localised AND relevant content.
Of course, some internal communications are purely practical. Legislative information and company-wide updates leave little room for localisation – although they still need translating. But what about regional, nuanced messages? From emails that celebrate regional holidays to local employee engagement campaigns and charity fundraisers, these all need to be considered as part of your global internal communications plans.
If you want to create engaging internal comms, step one is understanding what content is relevant to your global and local audiences. Step two is translating these comms so that they’re understood properly. You can find out more about the translation and localisation process in this guide – creating internal communications that engage and connect in every language – but for this blog, we’ll focus on finding harmony between your local and global communications.
4 ways to create engaging and relevant multilingual internal communications for your regional teams
Involve in-country colleagues
We interviewed global communications experts to find out how they manage internal comms translations. Across all the interviews, one message was common: involving local colleagues in the development of communications is critical for success.
Your ‘local champions’ can help you by providing local content which will be of interest to their teams, as well as provide you with invaluable feedback on messages you want to communicate. They will be aware of any local issues or sensitivities and will be best placed to shape how messages are transmitted. These relationships are often built from having regular two-way communication and involving your colleagues early in the process.
“The solution isn’t to mandate that all content comes from Headquarters. That won’t work. No one knows a region as well as the people who live there. The solution is to reach out to all your locations and involve them in the plan.” – Val Swisher, Global Content Strategy.
Trust people on the ground
Alongside having a good regional network, it is also important to trust local colleagues and managers. These are the best people to determine how a message should be communicated or which channel to use. By trusting them to use their judgement, they may pick up on opportunities you are simply not aware of or, by using a different channel, they may tap into a group that would have otherwise been missed. The best approach will vary from region to region and audience to audience, and so it makes sense to trust the people in those positions who will do everything they can to get the message out.
Segment your content and know how to approach each segment
Grouping content types and requirements together can help you to know how to approach your content when delivering local communications. For each grouping, you can establish a standard approach and process which helps to localise the content and guarantees a level of engagement. Consider these potential segments and what might work for your specific organisation.
- Local messages such as local community activity, stories about local colleagues,
- or campaigns that are specifically important for that site or office.
- Central content, such as leadership communications, corporate narrative, and company-wide changes.
- Hybrid content might include corporate-level messages that need to be locally adapted, such as branding, new product launches, and/or company-wide events.
Make it easy to use and adapt global content
Understandably, one of the key challenges for a global internal communications manager is ensuring that global standards are applied consistently. It’s important, though, to encourage local adaptations of global messages, to ensure they’re both relevant and understood.
Enabling this can be as simple as making sure that local colleagues have time to make changes that might be required. This might involve translation or creating subtitles to a video or potentially could just be adjusting any time-based references so that they make more sense in their region. Whatever change is required, it will involve making sure that local communication contacts are given material in advance to avoid individual regions rolling out messages later than others.
By giving local colleagues the time and the tools, they are much more likely to be able to effectively reach their local audiences with global messaging.
If you want more detailed information about how to translate and localise internal communications, then download our guide here.