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Globalization 14 min

How global businesses can establish clear company-wide goals 

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When you run a global business, it's easy to lose count of all the tasks you have to juggle. Establishing clear goals does not always get the time and attention it deserves when every day brings new and unexpected challenges.

Organizational goals are strategic objectives set by the company to achieve measurable results. They might relate to strategy, tactics, or operations and can range from high-level, long-term goals to daily, short-term ones. 

Goals are crucial in aligning every employee with the unique company mission. Done right, setting company-wide goals can provide direction to workers at all levels, increase productivity, and boost revenue. Aligning the team with the goals ensures that everyone in the company is working toward the same thing.

Setting and communicating goals can be tricky for global and remote teams, where employees may be spread all over the world. That's precisely where goal-setting and alignment are the most important, though.

Many companies still use outdated and ineffective goal-setting methods, struggle to implement goal measurement standards, or aren’t aware of the right goal-setting strategies and how to put them into practice. This article is designed to give global businesses, particularly those with remote teams, a clear roadmap to setting company-wide goals in 2022.

Read on to discover how establishing company-wide goals can help you achieve your desired growth and how to structure your goals for your global remote team. Here’s what we'll cover:

  • Strategies for defining company-wide global team goals
  • Strategies for achieving goals in a cross-border environment
  • How to monitor compliance and maximize performance 

Strategies for defining company-wide global team goals

When creating goals, it is vital that you focus your attention on the right areas of your business. It can be hard to analyze your opportunities and identify what your goals should be, particularly with a remote team. But don’t worry: we will provide you with simple and effective techniques to establish a foundation for setting your company’s goals.

SWOT analysis 

Performing an SWOT analysis is a great way to clarify your company’s goals. A SWOT analysis breaks down what is working, what isn’t, and what could work better, so you know which aspect of your business is most in need of attention.

SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths: Here, you should identify the things your business does well. Which parts of your internal business, tangible or intangible, are strong? What are your assets? What are your advantages over the competition? What adds value?
  • Weaknesses: Here, you need to take an honest look at what isn’t working internally. What parts of the business detract value? What do you lack? Where are you limited? 
  • Opportunities: Here is where you look for external opportunities that can help your business prosper. Are there growth opportunities in the industry? Are there changes in the market you could capitalize on? Is there an opportunity to build your company’s reputation?
  • Threats: Here, you should identify external factors that could threaten the success of your business. Are there troubling trends in the market? Competitors making big acquisitions? How are consumer trends and behavior patterns evolving?

Once you have identified these critical items, you can use the insights gained to guide your goal-setting exercises based on simple facts. Keep these details in mind as you brainstorm ways to do more of what’s working, improve weak areas, move towards opportunities, and combat threats.

Once you nail your company’s high-level goals, it becomes much easier to break down the process and create smaller goals aligned with your company mission.

SWOT for remote teams

Having remote employees radically alters company dynamics, mostly for the better. You will need to consider both benefits and challenges of having a globally-distributed team when doing your SWOT analysis.

For example, remote-first teams can often be strong at developing new ideas and innovations through their access to top talent around the world. How can you maintain communication and bring employees together to make the most of this asset?

A remote-first team might struggle with communication delays between workers in different time zones. The answer to this might be setting a company goal to move towards an async work system, allowing workers more autonomy and responsibility in their work. Embracing the post-pandemic trend of workers desiring remote positions, a remote company might choose to create, outsource, or optimize systems like payroll to facilitate easy employee management globally. 

With more remote jobs available today than ever before, it is easy for employees to change positions, so employee retention may be difficult to achieve. An interesting goal could be to build a close-knit, communicative, and positive remote work culture.

Soliciting employee input from a global team

Another way to get genuine data to help guide your new strategy is to ask for employee feedback across all departments. Employees have great insights to share, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

For remote global teams, asking employees for feedback has never been easier or more effective. You can gain important insights into every aspect of your business via a simple survey. At Remote, for example, our People team regularly conducts internal feedback surveys to capture employee sentiment and identify areas for improvement. (Remote is particularly proud of our consistently strong results related to employee belonging!)

Your employees feel heard and more connected when you ask them to take an active role in defining company goals. Doing so may also help them understand their roles, embrace their responsibilities, and take pride in their contributions toward shared goals.

For a global team, having the right tech stack is critical. Making sure communication is easy, instant, and efficient is essential to keep remote employees active and engaged. Slack is one great tool, but remember to let employees work asynchronously! Tools like Loom (for async video communication) and Notion (for company-wide documentation) are great resources.

Competitor analysis 

Checking out the competition is another way to gain important strategic insights that can help you define your goals. 

First, you must identify who your main competitors are. Then you can evaluate their strategies, determine their position in the industry, and see what they are doing right and wrong. You may even discover that a company you thought was a competitor has substantially different long-term goals than your company.

Performing competitor analysis is a great way to get some clarity on defining your goals. However, don’t let the actions of your competitors drive your mission. Listen to your customers and their needs, then build solutions for them. Understanding the competition is important, but it can’t be the foundation of your company.

Companies with remote teams that have a wide global spread can use this to their benefit. Global reach will give your business an edge over competitors, as you will have: 

  • Regional expertise
  • Strength in local markets
  • More trust and assurance as a global brand
  • Access to a diverse pool of talent

Armed with this knowledge, you can look for ways to capitalize on the opportunities this brings. Things like:

  • Round-the-clock service
  • Access to top candidates 
  • Greater operational efficiency due to fewer fixed expenses 
  • More innovative working methods

The same logic can be applied to the other unique aspects of your business and guide how you translate your insights into actionable goals. When you go global, your remote team really is your greatest strength.

Strategies for achieving goals in a cross-border environment

We have looked at a few methods you can use to define your company goals. Now let’s look at strategies to achieve those goals for global companies. 

Leaders of globally distributed teams face a number of unique challenges different than those of a fully in-house business, including:

  • Communication challenges
  • Technological challenges
  • Feedback and support challenges
  • Company culture challenges

Therefore, setting and achieving goals needs to be intentional and may require the use of structures and technologies that aren't necessary for fully in-house businesses. Keep in mind that managing remote teams is not actually more difficult than managing in-office teams — it simply requires you to be more deliberate about some things you took for granted.

Establish benchmarks 

Once you have defined your company’s high-level, long-term goals, you need to find realistic ways to execute them. Breaking big goals down into smaller, incremental benchmarks can help you define your implementation strategy. Assigning tangible metrics to your goals also makes it easier to track work and results in a clear, trackable way. 

Assign responsibilities 

With remote teams, there is no leaning across the desk to ask your boss or colleague what you are supposed to be doing. Because of this, remote teams depend on clear assignment of duties and transparency in execution.

Make sure employees all understand their specific tasks and how their work is connected to a broader goal. Assigning tasks comes with several benefits for employees and contractors:

  • More impactful work toward larger goals
  • Greater work satisfaction through connection to the company’s mission
  • Clearer responsibilities and communication

So how can employers actually track the output, performance, and results once these responsibilities have been assigned? Tracking can be difficult with remote employees. Many managers can fall into the trap of micromanaging workers or losing trust in their workers to keep in control of tasks, but don’t allow yourself to think that tracking employees’ time online or mouse movements is a good idea.

Micromanaging is actually the worst thing you can do for remote teams. Not only is it ineffective, but it also reduces trust instead of improving productivity. People who are micromanaged quickly lose autonomy and pride in their work. Giving employees more trust and measuring their performance based on output, instead of time, is the smarter solution.

Identify the resources and people required

Remote teams have greater flexibility than in-office teams, but that does not mean you can leave your resource planning on the back burner. Companies must be ready to set up new and improve old processes to effectively run and scale. 

Businesses hiring remotely, for example, need to set up operational processes in advance. This could involve opening a legal entity in the country they wish to hire in, or using a global payroll partner that offers employer of record services

When you can’t see each team member every day, it's important to keep on top of hiring and managing staff with care. Leaders must be able to budget and forecast effectively to eliminate bottlenecks (slow processes) and bloating (over-hiring or mismanaging talent).

Hiring plans are critical to deal with HR administrative tasks and can snowball fast — especially when hiring employees in different countries. Leaders may consider streamlining HR processes like onboarding, compliance, and payments through an employer of record service that can manage global hires all from one platform. If you want to hire in other countries, you need to consider all your options when evaluating employers of record.

Some businesses may work with international freelancers and contractors. This can be an attractive solution for many employers, as it allows them to onboard new workers quickly and easily. However, working with remote contractors could run the risk of misclassification, which can have serious legal and financial consequences. A global contractor management company can help you navigate your risk and convert contractors to employees should the need arise.

Maximize productivity for globally distributed teams

Maximizing productivity in remote teams is key to being able to implement your company-wide goals. But this, too, can be a challenge if you don’t plan ahead.

Watching employees over their shoulders is not an option. Employee tracking tools are invasive and counterproductive. No matter how smart your tool may be, employees will always find a way around it — and waste time and energy in the process. There are plenty of better, kinder ways to engage workers and boost productivity.

This is where async work, which is a great productivity booster, really shines. Asynchronous work, as opposed to synchronous work, allows workers the freedom and flexibility to work according to their own schedule. After all, if your employee creates great work, does it really matter when the work happened?

Done properly, async leads to better results for your business. Async is perfect for remote teams where micromanaging is not an option, allowing workers to make progress on their tasks without waiting for meetings or for other colleagues to come online, which is a huge timesaver when your team is scattered across different time zones.

Of course, some teams will always need to have some level of synchronous work, like customer service or sales. However, this is an easy fix. Simply establish minimum coverage standards and allow the team to work their own schedules to find the best way to meet demand. If you need more coverage, you can always hire more workers from different time zones!

How can you help your global teams work efficiently using async work?

  • Ask workers to create documentation instead of sending direct messages to answer questions.
  • Host discussions in public channels instead of emails or direct messages.
  • Encourage employees to decline meetings that would be better as asynchronous collaboration.
  • Respect the boundaries and “interruption-free” work slots of your employees.
  • Be considerate of others to create an inclusive and respectful work environment.

How to monitor compliance and maximize performance 

When you manage a global team, there are a number of legal implications to consider in the countries you hire in. Even temporary noncompliance with regulations could derail our company goals or threaten the security of your data and intellectual property.

Once you start hiring workers abroad, you need to consider factors such as:

  • Permanent establishment risk: Permanent establishment is a tax designation referring to companies doing business in another country. Hiring workers abroad does not necessarily mean you will owe corporate taxes abroad, but if you’re not careful, you could accidentally trigger permanent establishment and incur penalties. 
  • Misclassified employees: Are you hiring an employee or a contractor? While contractors are more flexible and straightforward to hire, if a worker is misclassified, you could end up with expensive fines and serious legal issues. 
  • Loss of intellectual property: If the classification or contract of a worker is unclear, or if you use an employer of record that relies on third parties instead of in-house IP protection, it can be hard to protect your intellectual property rights abroad.

But how can companies monitor their operations, ensure compliance, and allow their workers to focus on achieving the company goals? 

Using a global payroll provider is a simple, straightforward, and effective way to ensure total compliance across the company, no matter where your workers live. Remote offers a number of helpful global HR services, including employer of record services, payroll outsourcing, and remote employee onboarding. Our legal entities in 60+ countries, local HR specialists, and automated payment systems protect your business from risk when you hire abroad. We even offer global contractor payments and management to help you scale all around the world.

Remote also ensures total data security and protection, keeping your employees' personal information — and your company’s data — safe and secure.

Smart goal-setting and clean communication helps global teams scale

Establishing ambitious goals for your company is exciting. Goals can help focus your business at all levels and achieve extraordinary things. 

However, setting goals comes with challenges for global teams with remote employees. So, if you are struggling to define and implement goals at a company-wide level for your global business, remember to follow these steps:

  • Do your research: Use SWOT analysis, ask employees for feedback, and assess the competition to define the right goals for your business.
  • Create measurable strategies to achieve your goals: Determine ways to break down and track your goals in small bite-sized pieces. 
  • Stay compliant: Make sure you are compliant with all legislation wherever you hire and choose the right tools to streamline this process.

With the right processes, the right people, and the right tools, your company can achieve any goal. Ready to start hiring abroad? Sign up now with Remote and start onboarding employees around the world in minutes.