Many companies today have an international presence, with employees around the globe. While companies try and leverage the geographical and cultural diversity and local expertise to attain a competitive edge, it is also a fact that geographically dispersed teams face huge challenges with cultural differences, social distance and lack of emotional connect, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and mistrust.
While global teams are not new anymore, companies should understand that the associated challenges are ongoing ones. Given below are some tips that can help bridge the gap between culturally and geographically diverse teams:
Understand and respect the difference in time zones
When you have an international presence, it is almost impossible to find a common meeting time for team members from offices that fall in different time-zones. It is highly recommended that such meetings are planned well in advance and that all who need to attend the meeting understand the time zone difference and schedule a time that is convenient for all.
Communicate clearly and frequently
Frequent communication is the key to success for international teams. Global teams should make conscious efforts to communicate frequently to exchange ideas and knowledge, to learn from the experiences of other team members and to keep others updated with the latest developments.
Trust among members is extremely important for any team, and an international team is no exception. Core team values should be well-defined. Also, deadlines and milestones should be discussed and defined well in advance to ensure that all projects are completed on time.
Approach work with an open mind
More often than not, professionals look down upon colleagues who work from home or from a remote location. When you are a part of a global team, you need to approach work with an open mind and ask questions whenever you have to find answers. Also, you need to understand that work can be delivered professionally irrespective of time-zones or location.
Promote diversity initiatives such as shared projects
As an employer, you can offer diversity training to managers across locations. Opportunities to mingle with global teams in the form of shared projects should be provided to all team members so that they can learn from each other.
Managing global teams can be quite challenging. If you are not sure of managing global teams and projects efficiently, which is very likely if your projects are very technical in nature, then you can consider outsourcing your projects to global outsourcers with a local presence across geographies.