Manage A Global Workforce Efficiently
Manage A Global Workforce Efficiently

With globalization pretty much as its peak, it’s not uncommon for an organisation to break through international barriers and work on a more global scale. In fact, this is becoming a common practise among both small businesses and larger corporations. There’s the money factor, of course, with exchange rates often saving a good dime or two, but there’s also the convenience of having a diverse workforce that could potentially increase a client base across the numerous countries.

Having such an intricate workforce comes with many perks but there are also challenges. From trying to schedule Skype meetings across different time zones to keeping within the boundaries of cross-cultural sensitivities, the significance of having streamlined global HR systems in place is becoming the core of every successful company. This is because leading employees who you can relate to and see every day is very different from managing a team where the individuals are situated in various locations. You will have to negotiate with members whose working culture bears little resemblance to your own and you will be required to put your trust in individuals who you might not even have physically met, nor ever will.

While constant communication is a key component of managing a global team, there are also many other vital aspects that need to be considered. For instance, you need to keep your team motivated while at a distance and work ethic is often monitored by instinct. Now, while this might seem like an almost impossible feat to tackle, it’s by no means the be all and end all. By integrating the latest generation of Human Resources software into your management process and keeping to a protocol that is not confined by cultural restraints, you can successfully manage employees no matter where they are in the world.

So, if your team is dispersed across the globe or perhaps you are planning to expand overseas, it will be of your best interest to familiarise yourself with a HR system that works efficiently. Together with knowing your company’s management software like the back of your hand, we also encourage you to consider the following advice for effective global management.

1. Get to Know Your Global Team

While no one expects you to remember the name of your accountant’s pet goldfish and what car each branch manager drives, you should be briefed on who works where and in what capacity. Putting faces to names is an important part of Human Resource management and can be an effective tool for streamlining processes and refining time management. This tool should also not only be kept to managing departments but must be shared throughout the global workforce. By connecting a face to the members who you deal with telephonically or over email, you can build valuable internal relationships that set the foundation for a solid globalised working environment. Many software programs can assist with creating organisational charts that give a breakdown on the different departments within a company, offering detailed information on which person to contact when an issue or opportunity arises. If you use the correct software to its utmost ability, then you can easily get to know your global team on a more personal and connected level.

2. Understand Local Cultures

A global HR system cannot work if it does not incorporate a clear understanding of the local cultures that move within the workforce. This means that management needs to be effectively equipped to guide corporate decision-making processes by understanding the local environment and business practices in each region the company operates in. This often means that the protocol needs to be customised to incorporate the diversity of many cultural practices. At the same time, integrity and human rights policies need to be considered and protocols might also need to be continuously modified to accommodate different demographics. To help employees adapt to varying cultural norms and so that they have a better understanding of the global company protocol, we suggest that you implement programmes that highlight cultural-awareness.

3. Think Local, Act Global

For HR systems to work, they need to be just as accessible and useful to colleagues in Africa and India as they are to those in fully Westernised countries. This means that they should be able to accommodate everything from multiple languages and different currencies to taking varying public and religious holidays into account. The point being is that a middle ground needs to be reached where your organisation can serve its purpose while meeting diversity and streamlining systems that work for everyone, no matter where they are based. While it takes a community to make something work, the world is what will make it prosper.

4. Encourage Collaboration

Socialisation in the workplace has always been a cornerstone of innovation and more importantly, collaboration. To encourage collaboration in a global setting, you first need to break down barriers. This can be done by setting up projects and programmes that bring employees from different locations together. Again, putting faces to names is a good starting point and will help teams to build strong and engaging networks. You can encourage workers to use these networks to share ideas, seek advice, and offer support.

5. Share News

With numerous communication portals at our fingertips, sharing information across borders, state lines, and oceans is easy. Encourage your people to use social portals to share their latest news and views. This will not only help individuals across the globe to connect, but it will also make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture. Employees can share the latest news on who sealed which deal, what goals have been reached, and your team might even be willing to share their more personal gains too. Of course, this type of communication does have to come with regulations, especially where cross-cultural differences occur. It’s a good idea to familiarise teams with what’s OK to share and what should be censored.

6. Choose Your Tech Wisely

Technology is key to effective global recruiting and management. The trick, however, is to first conceptualise a blueprint of what you need before you fall for software and processes that “would be nice to have”. From keeping tabs on departments to integrating accounts with sales, the technology you rely on to run your global organisation needs to cover all of the basics. You will also need to keep in mind that the system you choose to deploy around the world will have to comply with the various immigration and privacy rules in different countries. Without the right technology, globalised HR is seemingly impossible.

7. Have Fun and Socialise

Last but not least, encourage your dispersed team to have fun and socialise! Discourage the formation of cliques and instead create opportunities where individuals can have internal and global get-togethers. It’s important that relationships are not only built on business but also on a more down-to-earth and personal level. This way employees are more likely to stay motivated and inspired. While you might not have the budget to fly everyone to meetings and events, you could set up virtual “meet and greets” where employees can get to know a little bit more about each other.

Sources:

  1. The structure and implications of global workforces. Wikipedia
  2. Global Human Resource Management – Meaning and Objectives. Management Study Guide
  3. Global HRM: Functions & Challenges. Study.com