For many business leaders today, running a company means managing an international team of workers. In 2015, U.S. multinational enterprises employed 14.1 million workers abroad, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Last year, 55 percent of U.S. companies planned to hire foreign workers, an increase of 21 percent from 2016, a Harris poll found. Hiring workers from other countries gives you a wider talent pool to choose from, makes your business more agile and can help open up new markets.
But running a globally distributed team also presents some challenges from a managerial standpoint. Here are some tips on how to build, lead and motivate a tight-knit global business team.
Use Informed Hiring Strategies
Hiring workers in other countries can involve some more complex legal and tax issues than hiring domestically, so it’s important to be informed about the applicable regulations. To minimize these complexities, it’s smart to focus on hiring in one country first rather than trying to expand into multiple countries at once, says TransPerfect. Law and accounting services are frequently combined in other countries, so either find a U.S. company that can handle these functions abroad or ask your business contacts for referrals to foreign companies that can assist you. Getting your legal paperwork done can take up to three months before you’re ready to actually start hiring, so plan accordingly. Many countries make it harder and more expensive to fire an employee than it is here, so ask your legal team to explain applicable hiring and firing laws to you.
When it comes to the actual hiring process, the procedure is essentially the same as you would use here. Your legal and accounting support team may be able to recommend recruiting companies to you. Use video interviews to give you a more complete view of candidates than you would get on paper. Payroll can also have some complexities, and you may face obstacles if you havenâ€™t registered to do business in other countries, so make sure you research applicable requirements.
Use a Centralized Cloud Communications Solution
Communications can be an obstacle to managing a globally distributed team. When your team members are located in different countries, your ability to communicate face-to-face in real-time depends entirely on technology. Tools such as instant and messaging and video chat can help bridge geographic gaps, but this creates the new challenge of coordinating these communications channels with more traditional channels such as phone conversations and emails without conversations getting lost or duplicated.
The best way to address this issue is by coordinating your communications through a cloud-based contact center. A cloud contact center gives your team a unified platform that all of your workers can use to communicate over any of your channels regardless of where they are located physically. This allows you to coordinate all communication channels for both team collaboration and customer service.
Take Proactive Steps to Motivate Your Workers
Keeping your workers engaged can be another difficulty when running an international team. This becomes doubly difficult if your overseas workers are working remotely rather than checking into a physical branch location. Employees who work remotely all the time are less likely than other workers to feel connected with their companies due to lack of face-to-face communication and personal bonds. Workers who donâ€™t see opportunities for career advancement are also likely to feel disengaged from their companies.
You can address this by using proactive strategies to motivate your team. To make up for lack of face-to-face communication, you can schedule periodic video conferences and performance reviews. Encourage camaraderie among your workers by providing social discussion groups on your internal network or your Facebook page where employees who have similar interests can hold virtual water cooler sessions. Supporting worker skills development and career advancement is another way you can make employees feel more connected to your company. For instance, you can set up mentoring relationships, or offer tuition reimbursement or certification workshops.
Using informed hiring strategies, choosing a centralized cloud communications solution and proactively motivating your workers are three steps you can take to build a tight-knit global team. Following these steps will make your hiring process more efficient, keep your communications more productive and keep your workers more engaged.