As companies continue to grow and expand their global workforce, managing and working with people from around the world is becoming the new reality. While international growth and team diversity may pose unique challenges, such as time-zone differences, cultural differences and communication differences, working in multicultural teams can also offer many rewards and benefits. 

8 ways to successfully manage international teams

As companies continue to grow and expand their global workforce, managing and working with people from around the world is becoming the new reality. While international growth and team diversity may pose unique challenges, such as time-zone differences, cultural differences and communication differences, working in multicultural teams can also offer many rewards and benefits.

“When we engage with people from around the world and with different backgrounds, we’re exposed to different ideas and perspectives. Not only can this benefit the workplace relationships we develop, but it can also lead to improved productivity and business success,” says Jennifer Piliero, senior product manager for Ceridian LifeWorks.

Whether you have employees working in one country or 100, as a leader you are responsible for ensuring your team’s individual and group success. When team members are dispersed around the world, maintaining team focus and ensuring that everyone is working toward the same goals can be one of the greatest challenges managers face.

Below we discuss effective strategies from Ceridian LifeWorks for bridging communication gaps across multicultural teams. Piliero says, “Helping managers better coach and motivate their diverse employees can go a long ways in creating a stronger sense of team unity, employee engagement and workforce effectiveness.”

 

8 tips for successfully managing international teams
  1. Communicate frequently and regularlyFrequent communication is important for all teams. It's especially important for international and global teams. Regularly scheduled meetings can be an important time for team members to exchange information and knowledge, to learn from one another's experiences and to keep people current on organizational and team developments and updates.
  2. Avoid making assumptions"In every country, you find that 'yes' means something different, 'maybe' means something different, 'I'll do that right now' means something different," writes Scott Kirsner in a Fast Company article. Keep this in mind as you communicate with employees and customers across the globe.
  3. Build trust among team members. Define and discuss core team values. Discuss how you will work together to achieve both individual and team deadlines and milestones. Help people get to know one another as individuals.
  4. Experiment with different ways of getting things done. With a diverse, multicultural team, you may discover many new ways for getting the work done.
  5. Make room in your budget for international travel. Face-to-face meetings are an essential component of building trust and good working relationships for all teams. This is even more important for global teams.
  6. Ask questions, be a careful listener and approach your work with an open mind. Ask questions to help both you and others clarify and better understand, and listen carefully with an open mind. Getting out of your comfort zone and having an open mind can help you experience things you may not be familiar with and expose you to new viewpoints.
  7. Promote and support diversity initiatives. Attend diversity training classes for managers if these are offered. Also, look for opportunities to assign global team members shared projects so they can learn from each other while getting to know one other.
  8. Increase awareness of resources available to help with personal and work issuesResources like an employee assistance program (EAP) can help employees find child care and elder care, balance work and family responsibilities as well as deal with culture shock, stress, emotional health and other important issues.

 Managing global teams comes with its own set of unique challenges, but finding ways to connect across borders and leveraging a diverse skill set can strengthen team cohesion, employee engagement and boost workforce productivity.

 

For more information:
  • Learn more about Ceridian LifeWorks EAP solutions
  • Read tips for managing employees across the generations
  • Stay connected with Ceridian LifeWorks Mobile