How to Manage Multilingual Remote Teams: Best Practices

There are tips for those looking to set up practical remote work while managing a remote multilingual team

How to Manage Multilingual Remote Teams: Best Practices

We all know the advantages of multilingual teams as well: you can hire employees from anywhere in the world, work from anywhere, do not waste time traveling to work and money for renting an office. So why don't all the companies happily switch to remote work? It's simple. Remote is a plus and a real minus, but all of the difficulties can be dealt with quickly with a great plan. There are tips for those looking to set up practical remote work while managing a remote multilingual team.

How to Control the Team?

Conduct weekly one-on-one meetings with employees. It is helpful to discuss:

  • What from the planned for the last week the employee had time, and with what tasks there were difficulties;
  • List of tasks for the next week;
  • Complex tasks. You can help the employee find a solution;
  • The employee's well-being. This is an important point. Do not forget to ask how your colleagues live, how easily they cope with current jobs.

Be open to feedback and honest with the team.

  • How easy is it for employees to share ideas with you? Ask for help with problematic issues. Be open to new suggestions, criticism, questions, and then your team will become even more united than it was;
  • Be honest. Speak through the actual state of the team when the company is going through hard times. It is crucial in times of crisis. Tell your team what is happening, what risks the situation entails. This will help the team understand the management decisions you make.

How to Install Communication Rules?

Remote work with a multilingual team requires specific rules of interaction. First, there are the ones that help set up communication:

  • Good Internet quality. Stable Internet and work meetings without clutter and loud music in the background;
  • All meetings are required with video communication. It is crucial not only to hear but also to see each other;
  • Enable screen sharing when needed. This is much more convenient than explaining on the fingers or listening to the numbers;
  • Record everything that was agreed on in general and personal meetings.

You also have to remember that all the team members have to speak at least one common language in the multilingual team. It means that before hiring, everyone has to determine their foreign language proficiency level. This problem can be solved simply: if the recruiters themselves are weak in the language, then it is possible and necessary to invite a competent person for an interview. This position requires the knowledge of a foreign language, which can be checked by the head of the purchasing department. There the employees can communicate with the native suppliers daily. It was them who could competently evaluate the answers and analyze whether the person sitting in front of her would solve work problems in a foreign language.

How to Make Tasks While Managing Remote Team?

Use online tools to organize your team.

  • Slack. It is a program for communication between employees. It is convenient to send individual messages and documents, create groups to discuss various issues, make audio calls;
  • Planfix is a task manager. It is convenient to set tasks and monitor their implementation;
  • Google documents. You can organize documents into folders, open access to a team, leave comments and edits to several users at the same time;
  • Google calendar. You can schedule general and individual appointments;
  • Notion. This one is an excellent wiki with a knowledge base;
  • Zoom, which is analog of Skype, convenient for video calls and meetings with the whole team;

Do not forget to duplicate the main agreements in writing if you discuss tasks orally.

  • Set deadlines;
  • Plan intermediate control points. It makes sense to break large tasks into several iterations to ensure that the performer understands the job correctly and moves in the right direction.

Wrap Up

Managing a multilingual remote team is hard if you do it for the first time. Therefore, it is better to have a great mentor or team leader who can help a manager cope with the task. The most important thing to remember while managing this kind of team is that everyone should feel safe and equal.