As we delve deeper into an international economy and more companies continue to rely on a distributed workforce, working across global teams have become part of the norm.
The advantages that come with it are seemingly limitless as well.
Employers can build remote teams and hire the best talent without batting an eyelid over geographical boundaries. Companies can also bring together individuals from various backgrounds to encourage inclusion and diversity within their organisational structures.
This meeting point of distinct experiences and perspectives is fuel for encouraging unique and progressive ways to take on strategic challenges.
However, managing global teams involves more than just hosting regular virtual team building sessions. It involves recognising that your culturally diverse employees are made up of individuals. All of whom may have very different ways of solving problems, interacting, and collaborating.
In order to ensure that such diverse expectations are being met and that employees feel valued and are engaged, managers must establish new systems of communication whilst dismantling standardised structures traditionally reserved for in-office teams.
What is employee engagement and why is it so important?
Employee engagement is a fundamental step in ensuring that workplace conditions provide employees with the resources they need to feel committed and passionate about their role and the company.
An engaged employee is someone who is enthusiastic about their contribution to the company. This means that they are able and willing to take action towards furthering a company’s efforts and goals.
The same study also theorised that highly engaged employees are less likely to leave a company. It recorded that highly engaged business units have 59% less turnover in high turnover organisations and 29% less turnover in low turnover organisations.
As companies continue to invest in their growth, many business leaders have come to recognise the importance of people-oriented factors and how high-levels of employee engagement can directly impact a business’ success.
Harvard Business Review supports this view. It notes that “having a highly engaged workforce not only maximises a company’s investment in human capital and improves productivity, but it can also significantly reduce costs, such as turnover, that directly impact the bottom line.”
Not only does improving engagement contribute to revitalising your company’s growth strategy but amidst an increasingly competitive business ecosystem and a more discerning workforce, it will also allow you to rise above the noise and stand out from the crowd.
Information sourced from Harvard Business Review's report: The Impact of Employee Engagement on Success
We identify five criteria to focus on to improve global employee engagement.
Provide your employees with open communication channels
An open and collaborative culture is the cornerstone of a connected workforce. When employees are scattered across territories and time zones, this becomes far more complex.
Managers must create a strategic internal communications plan to ensure their teams are engaged and prevent remote employees from feeling siloed off.
This might involve regular team check-ins to ensure that information is flowing continuously across all levels. For teams working collaboratively, it also determines that each individual is clear on their responsibilities and that of the colleagues’.
Casual one-to-one check ins are valuable as well. Encouraging your employees to feel comfortable with sharing their thoughts and concerns without judgement can be a wonderful gesture and assures employees that their well-being and humanity are being prioritised.
When an employee feels that they are being trusted with privileged information and that they too are able to speak sincerely, trust comes full circle. This of course, is a valuable asset for any company and department.
Sharing important information about company decisions and as managers, sharing little details about yourself on a personal level helps to create a more relaxed corporate culture built on honesty and openness.
Set your employees up for long-term success with effective onboarding strategies
The sooner a new employee feels like they are part of the team, the better. This often means finding the sweet spot between providing them with the autonomy and tools they need to find their footing whilst supporting them along the way.
For many companies, partnering with a third-party company to manage their onboarding plan can be a lifesaver. This is especially so for global businesses or those with plans to expand into new markets.
As it often involves an ongoing hiring and onboarding process, the early stages of international expansion comes with the added responsibilities of adhering to international labour policies, updating compensation structures, personnel training and filing the accurate documents to government authorities.
Working with a specialist can help you streamline your onboarding process even when your new employees are completely remote and scattered across multiple territories.
Experienced onboarding specialists can help you create custom training components, oversee self-onboarding systems and much more while ensuring the entire process is handled in a timely and consistent manner.
It allows business leaders to focus their attention on other aspects of the company's growth while providing them with the reassurance that their new hires are being equipped with the knowledge and guidance they need to effectively perform their responsibilities.
Maximise employee well-being with great benefits
A well thought out benefits plan can have significant influence on your employees’ quality of life. Directly impacting their productivity and engagement.
It tells your employees that you are invested in their well-being and sets you apart from your competitors. Serving as an additional avenue to attract and retain talent.
Salesforce for example, provides its staff with wellness, travel, and educational programs. Their employees receive commuter benefits with reimbursements of up to $270 a month in pretax dollars on public transport and parking expense. They also offer 100% reimbursement on the costs of fees, tuition and textbooks for employees who take up a pre-approved, job-related course at an accredited academic institution.
Depending on the type of organisation, role or location, employee benefits packages can vary. Benefits for full-time employees can look very different from the packages offered to independent contractors.
For international companies, benefits provided to employees based in their Singapore office for example, would not necessarily match what is being offered to staff in the United States.
Providing your employees with a package that aligns with their circumstances can ease their day-to-day challenges and improve their welfare. This makes a huge difference in their satisfaction levels.
There is no one-size fits all plan when it comes to employee benefits. For many international companies, an experienced global mobility partner can be extremely useful.
Their familiarity with local culture and lifestyle needs can help you make the most informed decision when deciding on the types of benefit schemes to implement for a distributed workforce.
Not only can a mobility partner step in to help you assess, customise and manage your benefits package according to the needs of employees in different locations, it can also protect your business from any liability risks. Giving you the flexibility to make changes as your company evolves.
This ensures that your benefits plans remain effective and sustainable.
Facilitate employee growth with learning & development programs
Hiring from within presents a positive feedback loop for the whole staff to observe. Employees see that you reward loyalty and dedication, and the team feels more engaged and likely to put in extra effort to stand out and succeed. Your best assets are already present in your company. – William Craig. Forbes.com
Whether it is career development programs in the form of upskilling, education sponsorships or leadership training, investing in the personal and professional development of your employees is essential to building a culture of innovation and progress within your company.
Finding great talent can be difficult, and retaining them? Even harder. If you have high-quality employees, why not invest in them and foster a talent pool of loyal, motivated leaders who already know the ins-and-outs of your company and are poised for upwards mobility?
These types of opportunities not only encourage employees to look forward to their future within the company and remain engaged, it also help managers identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team members.
However, some employees may be happy and satisfied with the position they’re currently in. Presenting them with too many opportunities and responsibilities before they’re ready might come off as overwhelming instead of encouraging. This is the time to communicate and pay attention to the needs of your employees and act accordingly.
Partner with mobility services to work with global employees
Versatility and attentiveness are two key components that managers must have when addressing the nuances of leading global employees.
For companies with an existing presence in or are planning to expand into foreign markets, working with local partners and third-party services (also known as global mobility partners) can take a lot of the stress off of international expansion.
An Employer of Record (EOR) for example, will be able to help your company launch its business activities in a new country and start hiring talent almost immediately. Without having to set up a physical entity.
In addition to that, they are responsible for overseeing payroll, employee screening, managing benefits rollout, conducting new hire training and much more. All while ensuring your expansion plans are compliant with local regulations.
Furthermore, by leveraging on their expertise of the local culture, companies can gain insight into managing the expectations of foreign employees whilst being respectful of their social norms and cultural practices.
Being mindful of these elements whilst finding ways to incorporate new ideas and concepts is integral to maintaining effective employee engagement for the long-term.
Learn more about Airswift’s global employment and mobility services
From global HR consulting to payroll outsourcing and visa sponsorships, Airswift’s global mobility services are designed to help businesses of all sizes simplify their international expansion. We provide a full range of services that can be customised to a business’ needs and adapted along the way.
A global company with a local touch, we have successfully supported businesses around the world during various stages of growth. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can work together.
This post was written by: Leanna Seah, Content Marketing Coordinator