So you’ve recruited great multilingual talent for your team. Now, how do you keep them? Analyses from a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers a comprehensive blueprint for how employers can promote goodwill with their employees by the use of seven elements that — when present in the workplace — boost morale and retention. The data, gleaned from their 2016 National Study of the Changing Workplace, polled participants to assess what factors make employees effective (and by extension employers) and the trickle-down effect those factors have on their health, sleep and family. Here at Fluency Corp, we’re especially interested in how multilingual teams can benefit from the findings and reduce the possibility of a failed relocation.

Effective Workplaces Pay Dividends

In an increasingly frenetic world, employees are finding themselves pulled in all directions. 51% of employees in the U.S. answer job-related emails after work hours and 46% of men and 43% of women experience work-family conflict on a regular basis. This spills over to their health, too, with 37% stating that they have sleep problems that then affect their job performance. 44% say they are given too many tasks to complete at the same time.

A wise workplace tries to stay ahead of these pitfalls by making sure their employees get their needs met. The components of an effective workplace, defined by the index, include: Job Challenge and Learning Opportunities, Supervisor Support for Job Success, Autonomy, Culture of Respect, Trust and Belonging, Work-Life Fit, Satisfaction with Wages, Benefits and Opportunities to Advance, and Co-worker Support for Job Success.

The rigor involved in creating an effective workplace is well worth the effort. 55% of employees in highly effective workplaces are highly engaged, versus 20% of employees in moderately effective workplaces and 7% of employees in the least effective workplaces. This naturally has a positive outcome on retention as employees in more effective workplaces have a much higher probability of remaining with their employer. 77% of employees in highly effective workplaces are not at all likely to leave, compared with 30% of employees with low levels of workplace effectiveness.

42% of employees in highly effective workplaces report excellent health, compared with 12% in the least effective workplaces. Additionally, employees in highly effective workplaces have no signs of depression, compared with 42% of employees in the least effective workplaces. They also cite low levels of work/family conflict and perceived stress.

Sensitivity to Multilingual Teams is Especially Important

Balanced and healthy workplaces are important for everyone, but expats — who are adapting to many changes at once — particularly benefit. A few of the index suggestions to boost workplace effectiveness are critical for multilingual teams (and are no-cost or low-cost to boot):

  • Provide learning opportunities as a part of everyday work life
  • Foster workplace belongingness
  • Recognize and reward the importance of supportive co-worker relationships

Employees learning English for business and fitting into a new culture will benefit from knowing they are welcomed and included. Opportunities to learn on the spot, day to day, will promote a greater sense of ease and fend of possible depression as they cope with their inevitable learning curve. Consistent and positive interactions with co-workers are good for all of us, but especially expats who may be inwardly struggling with isolation in the midst of all the changes they must navigate in their new home and work environment. If these needs are not met, there is likely to be a lower level of effectiveness. By understanding the unique requirements of expats and multilingual teams, employers can ensure greater engagement and job satisfaction, and thus, create a more productive and peaceful environment for both employers and employees.