Four out of five businesses that trade overseas plan to grow their global footprint further in the next five years with a fresh focus on recruitment and people, according to new research.
According to the findings, a quarter (23%) of UK-based businesses that trade internationally have experienced an increase in overseas activity, and a further quarter have increased their targeting of new international markets since 31st January 2020 – when the UK left the EU.
And recruitment and workforce development are at the heart of that growth with 71% of businesses saying that remote working has presented an opportunity to expand recruitment in the regions they operate.
The research, has revealed that UK businesses operating overseas have embraced the changes to their operations since Britain left the EU and following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the impact the pandemic had on operations, more than three quarters (77%) said remote working has made them realise they don’t need to travel internationally as regularly, and as such 65% of businesses are actively reducing air travel to lower their carbon emissions. However, this has put greater reliance on online communications channels and services which allow companies to easily liaise with overseas teams.
Remote working has helped recruitment and retention but brought obstacles to be overcome with 66% saying training and development is a challenge with teams overseas due to language and communications barriers. The study revealed that 78% of businesses believe it is important to produce e-learning modules in employees’ home language to achieve staff morale and engagement. With 80% of businesses planning to implement translated e-learning in the next 12 months, it’s sure to be high on the agenda of many training managers.
As a result, almost six out of ten businesses (57%) now use multilingual voiceovers and subtitling for staff-facing content and meetings, and a further 16% will use it for the first time in the next 12 months, with 84% saying they believe employee wellbeing is increased when staff have access to content in their own language. Meanwhile, a fifth of businesses said that over the next 12 months they’re going to explore tools and services like remote interpreting and live captioning for the first time, with over half of respondents already using these services.
Alan White, business development director for The Translation People, said: “The last few years have seen a plethora of challenges for businesses. Brexit, the Coronavirus pandemic, war in Ukraine, rising material costs, cost of living crisis and the effects of climate change have combined to create a particularly turbulent landscape.
“This might have left many business owners wondering what their next steps should be to protect their people, their profits and the planet – but the results of the research actually paint a fairly positive picture of business intention today.
“Despite all the challenges they’ve faced, businesses appear to have adapted and are making clear plans for growth in the coming years, utilising different services – like translation – to achieve their targets. Whether it’s reconsidering travel, training their teams or improving their marketing materials, businesses have strategies in place to continue capitalising on all the benefits international trade brings with it.
“Our role now is to continue providing insight and guidance on how different approaches to translation can support operations so businesses can navigate these uncertain times and achieve their overseas objectives. Doing so will help ensure the UK remains at the epicentre of international trade.”