Skift Take

Yet another business risk that wasn’t really present before the pandemic: the challenge of bridging the gap between so many different nationalities.

Series: Future of Work

Future of Work

As organizations start to embrace distributed work and virtual meetings, the corporate travel and meetings sectors are preparing for change. Read Skift’s ongoing coverage of this shift in business travel behavior through the lens of both brands and consumers.

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Corporate retreat booker Moniker has seen it all over the past nine years. Organizing Fiat 500 races through Tuscany’s cobbled streets for top-selling execs, then shifting to the virtual world with court case thrillers and space rescue missions during the pandemic. But as travel returns, its most requested type of team building is a much tamer affair: intercultural communications. Many companies, particularly technology startups, grew too fast during the pandemic. It’s partly because remote work became universally accepted, so rather than hiring top developers in, say, Silicon Valley, suddenly they could recruit for a fraction of the price in countries like Ukraine. Long-distance relationships are never easy though. Catch the Warning Signals The first sign a company’s distributed employees may not be gelling together is a drop in activity across chat channels in communication platforms like Slack, according to Moniker’s CEO, who is increasingly being asked to bring in cultural coaches to speak at corporate retreats.

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“The most common theme or objective right now is intercultural communications,” said Sean Hoff, who recently sat in on one of his customer's workshops. “The facilitator taught people that when you say something, how does a Brazilian interpret it, or someone from Spain, or Germany. They teach how three people can interpret the exact same sentence completely differently,” he said. [caption id="attachment_435125" align="alignright" width="300"] A typical Moniker corporate retreat, before the pandemic. Picture: Moniker[/caption] The importance of culture shouldn’t be underestimated.