GDPR: the importance of communicating new procedures clearly with your global workforce

Yes, another blog post about GDPR! How many have you read in the last 12 months or so? I hope that this one provides some useful insight from the perspective of a language service provider (LSP). In this post I’m going to explore how GDPR affects your global workforce and the importance of communicating policies and processes, clearly and memorably, with employees in different countries.

First, let me remind you that GDPR does not only affect multinationals operating in the EU. If your business processes personal data on EU residents, whether you do this in the UK, mainland Europe or outside of the EU, all areas of the business that handle this data, wherever they’re located, must be compliant. That applies to both your customers’ personal data and also your employees’. Therefore, if your marketing department in Hong Kong handles the personal data of EU customers, they must comply with GDPR policies and processes. So too should your HR department if they process data about EU employees, even if they’re based in Bogota!

Translating GDPR communications for a global workforce

With GDPR taking effect from 25th May 2018, most companies and organisations now have a clear picture of how the regulation affects their business operations and have developed processes and systems accordingly.

Now our attention is turning to training and exercises to raise GDPR awareness, to ensure that employees understand new procedures and the importance of protecting personal data. Here at Comtec we work with a number of e-learning providers, many of whom are developing training materials for their clients both here in the UK and overseas.

Ensuring that staff understand their obligations can be tricky, even if you’re only communicating with native English speakers. Factor in employees working in other EU member states, or those further afield and it can be challenge. In a digital age, most departments within a company process data in some way. As a result, most employees come in contact with personal data or have access to systems holding personal data.

GDPR goes a long way towards protecting this data, in many cases removing personal data altogether or protecting it with pseudonymisation. However, many breaches are a result of human error. Employees unwittingly allowing malicious actors to access systems through phishing emails and social engineering or simply not being aware of their own responsibility to personal data, such as emailing people who have not opted in to being contacted. This is why it’s so important to educate the workforce about the threats, the consequences, and what processes are in place to protect personal data and how to use the data responsibly.

Create engaging and memorable compliance training content

Therefore, my recommendation is first to explore how you can get this message across effectively to your native English speaking employees in the UK, such as by working with an e-learning provider to develop engaging and memorable compliance training content. Then secondly, get a clear understanding of how GDPR affects your global workforce, and how to get this message across to them.

In my experience this requires a tailored approach to translating and localising e-learning content, along with using native translators experienced in e-learning and compliance content. To convey your message effectively, the content should first be reviewed to understand how relevant it is to employees in different countries, and then translated in an engaging, memorable, and even fun way.

Our experience in the translation of compliance training content, elearning modules and Code of Conduct means we have the right translators ready to translate your key GDPR messages to your global staff.

If you need support, or have any questions about translating compliance content, please get in touch. Call me on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email

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