5 Tips and Tricks to Smoothly Manage Your Global Workforce
Published October 21, 2022.
Previously, it was not uncommon for a company to maintain a global workforce. However, in the last couple of years, with the rise of remote work, it's more common than ever for businesses—large and small—to maintain an international team. Because of technological advancements and widespread adoption, it's easier than ever to put together staff located worldwide and in different time zones.
The primary challenge might be managing a workforce that's not locally based, but there are several measures you can employ to smoothly manage your global workforce.
1. Implement Software
One of the biggest hurdles when working with a global workforce is the lack of in-person communication and interaction. This can often make task management and performance evaluation difficult. However, various online solutions and software are now available that can help train, manage, and monitor a global workforce.
This includes a broad array of task and time management tools and communication apps that are user-friendly and automate many tasks to not only save time but also boost productivity. From tracking hours worked to project management functions, the marketplace of apps is enormous.
At the same, it's important to ensure that all employees have an in-depth understanding of these tools and are able to access them in their respective regions. Employees should be provided adequate training and manuals to become familiar with the workings of these applications.
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2. Facilitate Open Communication
Communication is the key in any professional work environment and is even more important when working with a global workforce. Since workers are from diverse backgrounds and cultures, the way they're accustomed to communicating with one another and with their colleagues might be different. For example, there are often situations where something that's considered polite in one culture may seem rude in another.
Additionally, transparency is another critical factor in advancing an organization's communications and actions. A successful organization with a global workforce needs to implement and facilitate open communication where employees are encouraged to give their input, share feedback, and express themselves confidently with their supervisors and colleagues. This can prevent misunderstandings and miscommunication.
3. Simplify Workflow and Collaboration
Working with a team spread across the globe can become challenging in terms of managing different time zones, cultural differences, and language barriers. Plus, it might not be easy or convenient to schedule meetings, and project handovers may not be smooth.
Workflows can be designed with consideration of the different time zones of employees so that they don't feel overwhelmed or under pressure to work or finish tasks during odd hours, as this can negatively affect their performance and productivity. Indeed, employers must be flexible and accommodating to find the best solution for their employees.
4. Create a Positive Company Culture
While time zones might be the primary factor in constructing company culture, addressing cultural differences and language barriers might be the ultimate solution to manufacturing a positive digital environment. This does not need to be a losing proposition because all it takes is respecting these cultural differences, whether it's understanding that staff members might require a day off for a religious holiday or accepting that personnel from non-English speaking countries may not be 100% proficient in English. Even if an employee dresses a certain way, which is demonstrative of their culture or religion, their decision to do so should be respected by everyone.
These measures can help create a positive company culture and make global employees feel welcome and supported, which will feed directly into increased productivity and a bolstered bottom line.
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5. Ensure Employment Regulations Are Correct
Lastly, this may seem like a clerical issue, but maintaining exceptional compliance surrounding employment law is imperative. From salaries to benefits to tax compliance, these laws and regulations differ in each country. Therefore, it's up to your team to ensure all employment rules are adhered to. Apart from being compulsory, if you don't comply, employees may feel they're being exploited or are not receiving what is rightfully due to them based on their local laws.
Depending on the size of your global workforce, it might be a prudent step to outsource human resources and payroll functions by hiring one of the many types of PEOs (Professional Employer Organizations) so that your firm can guarantee compliance in these particular jurisdictions. It might not be your intention, but it can be easy to mistakenly engage in employee misclassification or offer incorrect minimum wages.
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From startups to multi-national corporations, it's clear that more companies are embracing a global workforce. What might have seemed like an experiment a couple of years ago is now the go-to solution for businesses that maintain employees from across the globe, thanks to communications apps, time management solutions, and automated task management tools. But it's crucial that organizations also add the human touch to their management efforts, be it sympathizing with cultural differences or understanding time zones. It may appear daunting at first, but having and managing a global workforce has far more advantages than drawbacks.