The landscape for executives in the consumer goods industry is becoming increasingly stressful. According to recent survey data, a staggering 70% of respondents - including those in food and beverage, household goods, personal care, and apparel companies - believe that being an executive today is more demanding than it was just five years ago. For three in 10, the level of stress has increased significantly, according to a study conducted by Deloitte.
These challenges are coming from all directions, including record levels of inflation, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, geopolitical tensions, environmental concerns, and the potential for a recession. Many executives believe that these issues will continue to be major factors in the industry throughout 2023 and beyond.
Consumers, too, are facing a constantly changing landscape. In a relatively short span of time, they've experienced a dizzying array of shifts, from lockdowns to re-openings, from fear to freedom, and from job security to potential layoffs. As a result, it's becoming increasingly challenging for executives to keep pace with the evolving needs and expectations of their customers.
Overall, it's clear that the consumer goods industry is navigating a period of significant change and disruption.
How can intercultural communication help with reducing biases?
Intercultural communication is much more than the verbal and non-verbal skills between those from different cultures, it is about an awareness of many different factors; beliefs, values, views, how messages are delivered and even the differences in body language, such as eye contact and gestures. An individual’s cultural values impact how they think, act and speak. So, it is vital that employees learn to be aware of their own cultural biases in order to effectively communicate with others in the workplace.
By understanding the needs and expectations of diverse consumer groups, companies can stay ahead of the curve and develop strategies that meet the needs of their customers. This is particularly important in today's global marketplace, where companies are operating across multiple regions and cultures. In addition to better serving customers, intercultural communication can also improve employee engagement and productivity. Employees who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively communicate with diverse colleagues and customers are more likely to feel valued and motivated in their work.
Why should your business provide training and courses to develop intercultural communication?
HR and Learning and Development managers have a critical role to play in fostering a culture of intercultural communication and ensuring that employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate this complex and ever-changing landscape.
Courses and training in the workplace are becoming increasingly common and for good reason. The benefits that they provide are far-reaching and businesses are seeing an improved work environment and increased sales as a result. Language learning helps improve customer service in the consumer goods industry. Customers leave feeling satisfied with their experience and are therefore more likely to return, helping to increase revenue and growth. Language learning also works to build stronger relationships between new clients and customers. When you are able to communicate successfully, stronger relationships are formed and consumer goods businesses can be much more productive.
Those who receive language training at work will gain in confidence and will therefore perform better at work. Research shows that 70% of employees feel more confident within their role and interactions with colleagues and clients improve significantly when language training is part of their role.
Language learning courses have also been shown to improve employee retention. Employees who are given language training feel engaged and rewarded in their work because they will feel like their company is invested in their professional, as well as their personal growth, leaving them reportedly more likely to remain with their current company.
Why is intercultural communication so important?
The benefits are clear. Employees gain communication skills; empathy, respect, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, adaptability and patience. Once an individual has perfected these skills, they will feel more confident when interacting with clients or customers from different cultures, therefore adding a huge benefit to the consumer goods business. This will mean creating stronger partnerships and achieving business goals with greater success. Companies will gain a competitive edge when expanding into new markets, staying relevant and approachable.
Of course, by focusing on development you will also see an increase in productivity. Improving efficiency and job satisfaction is essential for a thriving business. Understanding how different cultures work is an invaluable skill. Employees will pick up on new ways to approach challenges and arrive at more innovative solutions to problems.
Intercultural communication is the key to success in business
The landscape of the consumer goods industry is an evolving, fast-paced one. If you want your company to stay one step ahead by providing your employees with the best training, check out our guide,- ‘Intercultural communication and language: A guide to what consumer goods companies need to know’.
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