7 Ways To Facilitate Engaged Global Teams

Creating engaged and cohesive global teams is more achievable than ever. With technology and intention, companies can transcend geographical divides, time zones, and cultural differences to realize the incredible innovative capacity of their dispersed teams.

Here are seven ways to facilitate a cohesive and engaged global workforce.

1. Leverage Technology To Optimize Communication

Dispersed teams need the right tools and protocols to share information, exchange ideas, and build rapport. Unified communications platforms that integrate messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and virtual whiteboards into one dynamic hub reduce the confusion and missed communications caused by multiple platforms. A centralized approach replaces scattered, fragmented conversations with rich multimedia options to replicate in-person interactivity.

Enabling team members to post updates transparently, pose questions, and share work allows for asynchronous collaboration while keeping all stakeholders in the loop. However, providing the technology alone is not enough. Companies need clear communication protocols around response times, meeting practices, and designated platform usage.

Implementing strategies for regular feedback is also essential. In a recent Quantum Workplace study, 45% of highly engaged and 63% of not highly engaged employees said they want more feedback.

2. Foster an Inclusive and Adaptive Culture

Understanding is foundational to successful communication and collaboration. Proactively nurturing an environment of understanding, psychological safety, and appreciation fosters an environment where personal and cultural diversity is an asset rather than a hindrance to teamwork.

Cultural competency starts from the top down. Effective solutions include:

  • Offering onboarding and training that explores cultural contexts around communication styles, workplace norms, hierarchy perspectives, and other dimensions.
  • Adjusting communication protocols to account for cultural nuances.
  • Creating forums for open dialogue where employees feel empowered to share cultural views and experiences.
  • Establishing structured virtual check-ins with defined criteria for cross-cultural feedback.
  • Providing ongoing training for remote managers.
  • Establishing cultural mediators or ambassadors within global teams.
  • Recognizing contributors who embody inclusive mindsets.
  • Gather feedback regularly and take visible action to address significant concerns or innovative ideas. (Less than half of employees think their feedback is taken seriously.)

Unifying diverse teams under a shared organizational mission nurtures a thriving, engaged, and cohesive workforce.

3. Implement Flexible Working Arrangements

An adaptable approach to workflows enables heightened productivity while promoting work-life harmony. In a 2023 survey, half of the employees said they wanted more flexibility about when to work.

Alternate scheduling, compressed workweeks, and accommodating flex-time requests help teams operate at peak collaborative capacity regardless of location. Wherever feasible, allow employees to structure their days around personal obligations and regional norms.

However, dedicated overlapping windows for synchronous meetings remain vital for tasks demanding real-time input, group brainstorming, or collaborative problem-solving. Establishing set “collaboration cores” ensures these crucial connective moments occur during reasonable hours for everyone, while schedule transparency and rotating meeting times prevent any single region from bearing the brunt of very early or very late hours.

4. Strengthen Team Bonds

Virtual team-building activities can spark interpersonal connections in a fun, low-pressure environment. Online games, icebreakers, and virtual water cooler sessions allow teams to connect outside work roles. These casual hangouts facilitate the informal rapport building that is sorely missed in the remote context.

Virtual social events, such as online celebrations, talent shows, or family-inclusive gatherings, cultivate cohesion. Ideally, the offerings are wide-ranging enough to cater to various interests and comfort levels. Examples may include a virtual 5K for fitness fans, a book club for literary lovers, and community service projects for civically-minded teammates.

Mentorship programs and buddy systems provide another powerful avenue to mitigate isolation and strengthen relationships. Complemented by virtual coffee meetings, these mentorship circles create a supportive ecosystem for cross-pollinating ideas uninhibited by power dynamics.

5. Invest in Training and Development

A commitment to training yields incredible returns. More than half of employees in a global survey said company culture is more important than salary in choosing a position. Teams become united by genuine cross-cultural understanding, innovation emerges from deepening skills, and a growth mindset permeates the workforce’s DNA.

Effective cross-cultural training is more than just a one-and-done. It must be an ongoing initiative to equip teams with the required skills to bridge differences. Developing the proficiency that translates into psychological safety and team cohesion takes time and repeated efforts.

Leadership and management training supporting remote professionals at all levels. Developing coaching capabilities, providing effective virtual feedback, and enhancing emotional intelligence ensure managers can nurture thriving teams.

6. Align on Common Goals and Values

Employees who see their professional goals as aligned with the organization’s goals are more than three times more likely to be engaged. Aligning dispersed employees around inspirational goals requires vivid, emotionally resonant narratives.

Town halls, executive blogs, and video content can animate the organization’s mission and vision and bring it to life.

Other effective strategies include:

  • Monthly or quarterly contests celebrating employees exemplifying company values.
  • Service recognition ceremonies honoring career milestones.
  • Reenacting the company’s origin story at significant events.
  • Embedding the organizations’ values in performance evaluation, employee feedback, and compensation structures.
  • Financial incentives and advancement opportunities that explicitly reward actions aligned with company values, regardless of geographic location.

7. Implement Effective Onboarding for Remote Employees

Effective virtual onboarding lays the groundwork for employee success while orienting them to the company’s culture and values. It goes beyond familiarizing new hires with workplace tools and logistics to create connective tissue with colleagues.

Virtual “office tours,” meet-and-greets with team leaders, mentorship programs, and question-and-answer sessions provide windows into the company’s DNA. Activities like digital storytelling sessions, where veteran employees share their journeys and advice, initiate new employees into the organization’s ethos.

The experience should underscore how the individual’s role ties back to overarching company goals and how they create impact. This embeds purpose.

On the cutting edge of remote onboarding are hyper-immersive tools like virtual reality, augmented reality, and gamification. An engaged, cohesive workforce starts with effective virtual acculturation and skills-building from day one.

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