Multiinats Can Stand Communications Improvements

January 31, 2006 ( - Many US-based multinational corporations are falling down on the job when it comes to effectively communicating with all of their business units around the world - and they know it.

According to a Watson Wyatt Worldwide news release, the survey of 325 multinational firms found that fewer than half said they are doing an effective job with their global communication. Only three out of 10 global companies have designated communication resources in other countries, and even fewer (18%) have a formal, documented global communication strategy.

Respondents reported that their communications strategy:

  • requires business unit or local manager to customize corporate messages – 31%
  • designates communication resources in other countries – 30%
  • shares best practices with global communication colleagues – 21%
  • maintains global communication committee/advisory group – 20%
  • establishes documented global communication strategy – 18%

“With more companies becoming global, the challenges of communicating effectively with workers have become much more complex,” said Robert Wesselkamper, director of international consulting at Watson Wyatt, in the news release. “To be truly global, employees throughout the world need to feel like they are part of the company’s overall strategy. Making sure all employees receive the same information is crucial to that effort.”

The study also found that fewer than 20% customize their corporate communication messages for workers in other countries. Instead, many companies rely on their local managers to interpret and deliver messages, with little communication training or support.

“One way for organizations to make sure their messages are heard in all offices is to integrate the global communication programs into the company’s overall communication strategy,” said Kathryn Yates, global director of communication consulting at Watson Wyatt. “Companies may also want to consider forming a global advisory group to identify and voice local needs, customize the message and make sure local managers are up to speed.”

Copies of the study are available here .