All companies should be aiming for growth to some degree. For a small business, 15% to 25% annually is ideal, and with the right approach, your business may reach a point where you’re ready to expand internationally.
While this can bring a lot of benefits, it also has some drawbacks. Global workforce management is significantly more challenging than managing an organization within a single country. As such, you’ll need to make some adjustments to maintain a successful business.
One of the most difficult things to do is build and maintain a culture that resonates throughout your entire organization. In this guide, we’ll go over a few global workforce management strategies that can help you curate the culture you’re after throughout a global company. Keep reading for more.
1. Acknowledge Differences and Maintain Commonality
When growing a company in a single country, there may be some cultural differences between employees based on their backgrounds, but this likely won’t be too significant. As soon as you expand into other countries, however, these differences can become quite substantial.
The range of employees will increase dramatically, and in these new countries you enter, people might expect things to be a bit different when they head to work. You need to be able to understand how the identities of people differ and the impact it can have on the workplace.
For example, in some places, people will focus a lot more on individualism. In others, they may concentrate on achievement. You need to be able to see how things go in different countries and work out the best way to implement it into your workplace culture.
This may involve adjusting HR policies as well as your communication style. It’s important to not push people too hard to change who they are just to fit in with your work culture as it could affect employee happiness. Ideally, you want to form a balance that allows people to be themselves while still curating the culture that you envision for your entire organization.
Communication is vital, and establishing a common language is key here. For most companies, this means English. It’s very widely spoken, and if your company originates in an English-speaking country then it makes a lot of sense.
Bear in mind that this should be for things like memos and business documents, but (as with employee culture) you don’t want to prevent people from speaking their native language. When working within their country, it will usually make things easier anyway, so it should be encouraged where suitable.
2. Invest in Collaboration
Collaboration is vital for the success of any business. It’s important to note, however, that this generally becomes more tricky when you introduce international expansion.
Workers in different countries are likely used to using different tools and software, even for the same type of work. This can make things difficult if you’re trying to get teams in different places to collaborate. As such, you want to invest in quality collaboration tools that are suitable all over the world.
There are plenty of applications out there for things like scheduling, project management, accounting, and more. Many of these are used globally, so it’s worth taking the time to look into the various options you have.
When you find suitable tools, you can start introducing them to your workers all over the globe. It may take some time to get everyone used to these new tools, but it will be worth the effort.
The rise of remote work has made this far more viable. Tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are great for communication so that everyone can stay in the loop.
Cloud computing solutions can also prove very useful. This is especially true if you have employees who may travel for work as they’ll still be able to access the tools and files they need from anywhere.
Ensuring everyone can collaborate with their colleagues in any country with ease will make everyone’s job easier. This type of thing will help you maintain a happy workplace and can improve employee engagement throughout your entire organization.
3. Hire the Right Managers
Leadership is another crucial element of any organization, and the leaders you choose could be the difference between success and failure for your company.
When selecting leaders, bear in mind that they don’t just need to have the ability to manage a team. They also need to be able to work with each other in a way that helps keep your organization on track to your business goals.
One key trait you should look for in leaders is cultural competence. As mentioned above, the growth of your company will mean the introduction of workers from a range of cultural backgrounds. Your managers need to be able to appreciate this so that you can trust they’ll treat all employees fairly and with respect.
If your workers don’t feel like they’re being treated right, it will have a huge impact on how likely they are to stay with your company. Retaining employees isn’t always easy, but it’s far better than needing to recruit replacements.
In line with this, conflicts may arise between employees based on cultural differences. Managers need to be capable of resolving disputes fairly and effectively. For this, they need to be able to see things from both sides and avoid having any kind of bias.
Your managers should be open to embracing cultural differences and ensuring they can still manage a diverse team efficiently. They may need to adjust their communication style based on the specific situation they’re in so that they can engage with all employees effectively and help coach them through any challenging situations they’re facing.
Improving Global Workforce Management
Global expansion is a major goal for any business, so if you’re looking toward it, it’s safe to say you’re doing things right. With that in mind, there will still be various challenges that you need to be prepared to face.
Bradford Jacobs is dedicated to helping organizations implement effective remote working solutions. This can help your transition into an international company significantly easier by improving your global workforce management capabilities. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.