Insights

Building a Global Team
 

Fostering collaboration, communication, and a unified company culture is crucial, especially when hiring top talent from all over the globe. While remote work tools help in this effort, they also introduce challenges.

Companies in every industry grapple with issues like facilitating efficient communication and collaboration across dispersed teams, bridging cultural divides, and fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose among employees who may never physically meet. Failure to address these challenges can lead to disconnected and disengaged workers, hindering productivity, innovation, and overall organizational success.


How Do You Know When Your Workforce Is Engaged?

An essential part of achieving any objective is clearly understanding of measuring success. Gartner defines engagement based on three criteria:

  1. Employees feel energized.
  2. Employees find purpose in their work.
  3. Employees feel empowered to do valuable work.

Engagement is the emotional and motivational link that binds employees to their roles, colleagues, and the organization. According to these criteria, engagement is more than a marker of individual satisfaction; it is a crucial factor in fostering a sense of belonging and commitment within a team.

11 Performance Outcomes Correlated With Engagement

Over the past decade, Gallup has done 10 iterations of a study looking at the impact of employee engagement on business success. Each version of their study further solidifies the correlation between a cohesive and engaged workforce and the following 11 performance outcomes. Companies with engaged employees statistically have:

  1. Increased profitability
  2. Better customer loyalty and engagement
  3. Improved employee productivity
  4. Reduced turnover
  5. Fewer safety incidents
  6. Less shrinkage (theft)
  7. Lower absenteeism
  8. Fewer patient safety incidents
  9. Decreased numbers of product defects
  10. Increased employee wellbeing
  11. Higher organizational citizenship and participation

The modern business landscape is defined by constant change and disruption. A cohesive, engaged global workforce is healthier, more productive, and better equipped to navigate these turbulent waters with resilience and agility.

Building a cohesive and engaged global workforce is an investment in any organization’s long-term success and competitiveness. There is immense potential in a unified, borderless workforce.

Challenges To Bridging Remote Teams

While offering many advantages, transitioning to remote and asynchronous collaboration introduces complexities. Understanding these challenges is the first step in bridging the gaps created by geographical dispersion.

Here are typical challenges to bridging remote teams.

Cultural Differences

Diverse teams are more innovative and effective, but only when employees successfully bridge gaps in cultural understanding. A study of over 5,700 individuals working on 804 consulting projects found the following:

  • A diverse team was substantially more effective.
  • Contextual diversity was correlated with positive task outcomes.
  • Personal diversity had a negative effect on psychological outcomes.

Differences in knowledge, skills, and experiences result in effective task outcomes. However, without sufficient cross-cultural training and open dialogue, these ingrained dissimilarities can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts, prohibiting cohesive bonds between teammates.

Simply having diversity is not enough. Organizations must intentionally promote cross-cultural competency to mitigate stressors.

Time Zone Management

Spread across time zones, finding mutually convenient meeting times, real-time collaboration, and timely feedback becomes a juggling act. One significant challenge is the limited window for real-time communication. When team members operate in time zones several hours apart, communication delays can slow decision-making and project progress.

Communication Barriers

It’s easy enough for team members speaking the same language and working in the same location to have varying communication styles. Language differences and reliance on virtual communication platforms raise additional barriers to understanding and collaboration.

Communication is fundamental to smooth collaboration, productivity, and engagement at every level of an organization. Employees surveyed in a recent report rated their managers a seven out of 10 for effective management of remote or hybrid teams. Better communication was at the top of their list of needed improvements.

Technology and Infrastructure Variances

Inconsistent internet bandwidth, lack of access to essential software or equipment, and outdated legacy systems can make seamless collaboration unwieldy. Cybersecurity protocols may restrict the use of certain tools in specific regions.

These infrastructure gaps hamper productivity and breed frustration. In a recent Gartner survey, 66% of the workers agreed that universally accepted and supported applications and devices would lead to better business outcomes.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

As companies expand their global footprints and virtualize their workforces, they must navigate a complex web of legal and regulatory requirements that vary across borders. Failure to achieve full compliance can expose organizations to significant risks and penalties.

Mitigating this escalating risk requires partnering closely with legal experts, implementing robust compliance training for remote workers, carefully vetting third-party contractors, and monitoring regulatory changes worldwide. Unified workforce management systems can help.

Remote Onboarding and Training

Integrating new hires is challenging enough in traditional office environments. The difficulties are amplified when teams are dispersed across the globe. Replicating the immersive experiences of in-person onboarding and hands-on skills development in the virtual realm requires innovative thinking.

Building Trust and Team Cohesion

Without the rapport-building experience of regular in-person interactions, remote global teams can become siloed individuals. The absence of face-to-face engagement can make it difficult to foster a spirit of collaboration and shared responsibility. This disconnect can undermine the team’s cohesion and impact its ability to innovate and problem-solve effectively.

Performance Management and Feedback

Regular feedback fuels performance. Gallup found that companies prioritizing fast and frequent feedback have more agile, motivated teams that stay longer.

The fundamentals of effective management are the same for in-person and remote teams, but implementing them may require adaptation and extra effort.

Thriving in a Global Environment

While building a cohesive, engaged global workforce presents many challenges, the potential rewards make the investment well worth it. By harnessing state-of-the-art technology, nurturing a culture of adaptability and inclusion, and employing progressive strategies, organizations can shatter barriers and unite their international talent into an engine of innovation and growth.

At ZRG, we’re at the forefront of this mission. As a leading global talent advisory firm, we collaborate with our clients to attract, integrate, develop, and retain top-tier teams designed to excel in today’s dynamic cross-border environment.

We specialize in crafting talent pipelines filled with experienced and culturally astute leaders. These individuals stand out for their flexibility, ability to foster trust over any distance, and skill in managing complex global challenges. Our approach helps clients transition from traditional, location-dependent talent models to a boundary-less future where the world’s elite innovators, strategists, and operators unite as one high-performing team.

Building a cohesive global workforce is achievable with an experienced, technology-enabled partner who removes friction at every step. Connect with our experts today and get started.

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