“I want to meet the guy who speaks 14 languages.”
The year was 2007 and that was the first thing I heard when I walked into our Montreal office. I was there to help our local team transition a variety of multi-language projects, and word had spread that I had worked on several global implementations.
Next I was tested with a flurry of French greetings which my 9th/10th grade French classes did not prepare me for. At that point, I had to blow the super-human reputation that preceded me and fess up that my French was rudimentary at best.
What I was able to convey was that you do not need to know every local language to deliver global personalized total rewards communications.
5 things you need to know
What you do need, are these 5 things:
1. A global structure
Establishing a global framework for your total rewards communications is the key to simplifying it. A global framework allows companies to present a global message with locally relevant content all within a consistent structure.
2. Regional leads
When going global, it is key to have regional leadership to maintain consistency within their regions. They can ensure that their countries are working within the global structure appropriately and also manage any adjustments that are only relevant to their region.
3. Executive leadership
Even with a global structure and regional leads in place, there will still be stakeholders who push the boundaries. This is where a single executive sponsor can ensure that all countries align with the communication strategy and enforce it when needed.
4. Governance policy
Maintaining global content can be a challenge. However, you can minimize the challenges by having a documented governance model in place and limited content authors. This is a key to using your global platform in a consistent and timely manner.
5. A commitment to timing
This is where most companies fail. They want to start slow and phase in additional countries over time. What typically happens is that a few countries get implemented and the other phases never get started for a variety of reasons. If the organization is going to communicate globally, then a timeline must be adhered to in order to achieve that goal.
In addition to these items, one other thing will always hold true. No country has more data or is more complex than the United States. If you are able to communicate total rewards to your employees in the U.S., you can do it globally too.
And let’s face it, there are very few people who are experts in every language. Even NBA legend and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo only knows 9 languages.
You don’t have to have to be the global linguist in your organization to make it happen, you just need the right plan in place.