Global HR 8 min

5 successful management strategies for global teams

Written by Amanda Day
April 19, 2024
Amanda Day


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Building a global team isn’t easy. Managing time zones — not to mention cultural differences — takes time, energy, and resources.

The good news? It’s well worth it.

Businesses that expand globally can tap into a worldwide talent pool and build a diverse team that fosters innovation, resilience, and growth. 

We'll take a look at the benefits and challenges of managing global teams. We'll also share five strategies to help you build a stronger global team.

Benefits of having global teams

Businesses that expand globally reap several rewards:

  • You can work with a bigger talent pool. Looking outside your local market means you have access to the brightest candidates worldwide.

  • Employees from different cultural backgrounds bring new perspectives and insights you might not have considered otherwise. Most employees think that diversity, equity, and inclusion is important. Diverse organizations can also outperform their competitors.

  • You can expand your business into new markets. This means you’ll reach a broader customer base, boosting your profits and growth. Expanding into international markets is also an opportunity to bolster your reputation overseas.

  • You benefit from the local knowledge and expertise your team members bring to the table. Understanding the nuances of each local market puts your business in a better position to develop your customer base and scale success.

What are the challenges of global teams?

You'll want to stay ahead of potential challenges to successfully manage global team. Here are some common obstacles you can expect:

  • Time zones can be challenging to navigate for teams spread across different countries. Asynchronous work, clear communication, and shared calendars can help team members work around time zones.

  • Cultural differences can cause misunderstandings, especially in a remote setting that lacks context. Create a culture that values inclusiveness through training sessions and team building activities so employees can learn from each other.

  • Isolation can be a problem for many global teams, especially if more employees are located in one geographical site than in another. Members in locations with fewer team members can feel less connected with their global team.

  • Maintaining security and compliance with differing tax, labor, and employment laws is challenging, especially if you’re not working with a global HR partner.

The good news? With thoughtful planning and clear processes, your international team can thrive. 

Here’s how to do it.

How to build global teams that work

Building solid global teams boils down to five key strategies: clear communication, cultural awareness, strong collaboration, robust technology, and a positive employee experience.

1. Establish clear communication

Start by establishing consistent, accessible communication channels, like the following:

  • Video conferencing for team meetings, 1:1 check-ins, presentations, webinars, and more. Don’t underestimate the importance of this time with your team. Meeting in person, even if it’s over the Internet, provides you and your employees valuable face-to-face time to build trust and rapport. Examples: Zoom or Google Meet.

  • Group chat spaces for informal check-ins, quick questions, status updates, and small group discussions.  Examples: Slack or Microsoft Teams.

  • Email for more formal communication needs, including meeting agendas, project status reports, and customer inquiries. Examples: Gmail, Microsoft Office 365

Once you have your communication channels set up, commit to a consistent schedule for team meetings. Consider time zones, and send out an agenda in advance to stick with a planned time frame.

For more tips on synchronous communication, check out our article on how to run successful remote meetings.

Active listening also builds trust and a positive work culture. Be open to different perspectives, ask open-ended questions, and paraphrase to check you're understanding other people correctly.

2. Embrace cultural awareness and appreciation

There’s no better way to cultivate strong cultural appreciation than by starting with inclusive hiring practices. Promote diversity and inclusion from the get-go by focusing on building a diverse team. Recognize the different cultures and backgrounds of your team members. Take note of each country’s holidays and religious observances so you know when your employees will be out of the office and why.

Note differences in your employees’ workday approach and how it will affect their meeting schedules and deadlines. For example, a typical work week in India runs from Monday to Saturday. In Saudi Arabia, the work week starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday.

Body language also varies by culture. For example, maintaining eye contact in the US shows interest and engagement in the conversation. In Japan, however, too much eye contact comes across as disrespectful.

Inclusive practices show your employees that they are part of a cohesive team. 94% of people in the workforce say a sense of belonging is important, so make sure it remains a top priority to maintain a strong global team.

3. Encourage collaboration and teamwork

Only 25% of employees believe their opinions matter at work.

Make your team members feel heard through regular collaboration. Regular team meetings provide lots of opportunities for employees to share their perspectives, thoughts, and concerns.

Clarify the team’s common mission, goals, and objectives. Consider crafting a new mission statement with your team to boost their sense of belonging. 

You want to make sure your team members are working together and not in silos. Strong collaboration and teamwork lead to better employee engagement, which, in turn, leads to a better bottom line. In fact, engaged employees can boost profitability by 23%.

4. Ensure compliance with technology that works

Managing international teams comes with its own set of challenges in terms of security and compliance. For example, the average global costs of data breach was USD 4.45 million.

Regularly check if your organization is employing best practices when it comes to protecting your company, your team members, your customers, and yourself. If you're working with a Global HR partner, inquire about the robustness of their data security and compliance measures.

Choosing the right software partner is only one part of managing a global team. You’ll also need to stay on top of labor laws in different countries, including the below:

  • Labor, tax, and employment laws. You’ll need to know the minimum wage, local currency, and right-to-work expectations. For example, in Australia, the minimum wage is $21.38 per hour. Compare this to India, where the wage varies from 160 to 750 rupees per day, depending on the state.

  • Benefits. Giving the right benefits to employees can directly impact compliance. You’ll need to determine if your employees are eligible for medical, dental, vision, life insurance, and pension plans.

  • Leave time. Sick leave, family leave, and paid time off varies between countries. In the US, for example, the amount of paid leave averages seven days for private corporations. In other countries like Bangladesh, you'll have to expect at least 10 days of paid leaves annually.

  • Employment contracts. Make sure your contracts clearly differentiate employees and independent contractors. Not understanding the differences between the two could lead to costly fines and misclassification risks.

5. Emphasize the employee experience

The employee experience starts the moment they are hired until the time they decide to separate with a company.

Employees normally decide to join or stay with your business based on their overall job satisfaction.

To create a good employee experience, set up an easy onboarding process that gets your employees up and running quickly. Once employees join the organization, give them frequent opportunities to share their ideas, thoughts, and concerns. 

Make sure you continuously pay attention to your employees. Ask for feedback during informal 1:1 check-ins and performance evaluations. Provide forums for employees to share their thoughts and concerns. Send out surveys and reflect their comments to your company's daily operations.

Don't forget to celebrate and recognize success with specific shout-outs. When your company culture values recognition, employees are 3.7 times more engaged.

You can also offer team members with bonuses, stock options, and other incentives to increase employee satisfaction.

Lastly, provide opportunities for career development that are easy for employees to access. About 41% of employees leave their jobs because they have no opportunities for career development or advancement.

Inspiring global teams

Wave offers professional coaching services to clients worldwide. Headquartered in France, Wave is a fully remote company with employees spread out in 15 different cities. Since partnering with Remote’s Employer of Record (EOR) platform, the company increased its headcount by 50%.

Now it’s your turn.

Strengthen your global team with Remote

Global expansion isn’t easy, but a strong global team can help you make a mark in international markets.

To build a strong global team, practice clear communication, celebrate cultural differences, and encourage teamwork between teams. Stay on top of compliance in every country, and don't forget to make your employee experience as good as possible.

For even better results, turn to Remote. Our Global HR Platform streamlines the hiring, onboarding, and payroll processes for your international business. Our seamless platform makes sure that your employees have a smooth experience while you stay compliant in every country you hire in.

Get started with Remote today.

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