Tips for Building Great Global Teams
Diversity and globalization are a key part of many companies’ growth strategies, and for good reason. Not only can your organization benefit from diverse skills, expertise, and cultural insights, you get people who reflect your customer base in experience and values — not to mention sharing their time zones. Of course, the concept of a global workforce is nothing new at ModSquad; we’ve been doing it since our 2007 founding.
Along with the business advantages of globalization, it creates a better workplace for your employees to grow. We chatted with Digital Strategist & Community Manager Jenny Young about her passion for global teams. Jenny has spent her career working with multilingual and multicultural groups from around the world and has a history in international recruiting. For the past five years, she’s helped assemble ModSquad’s international teams covering multiple languages and regions, which makes her the perfect person to dive deep into global teams.
We all know the basics about a global team, but what’s an element about the assembly process that might not be immediately apparent?
The personality of the team members is a big component. You want to know what the person’s interests are, even outside of work. What gets them excited about life? This is especially true when you’re working remotely — it’s important to take the extra effort to seek out your team members and make them feel welcome.
How do you build camaraderie within your groups?
When I interview people, I try to understand where they are in their current life, and not only see how they can help ModSquad, but how ModSquad can help them. I engage with my teams inside and outside of work as a way to better understand who they all are as individuals.
I push to develop a work culture in various ways by making time for it. Whether it’s a quick game at the beginning of a meeting or a meme in our group chat, the community is successful when everyone puts in the work to be “together.”
Even before COVID made traveling difficult, I always felt like I could go on a global experience without leaving my house. I am exposed to other cultures and languages, which means a lot to me, but going through the last two years with people worldwide with the same experience was inspiring. That’s why I love working with international teams, and why I spend so much time making sure everyone who works with me is also achieving what they want to in their work. No matter where you are or what work you do, you’re still a part of ModSquad.
What are some hurdles to overcome when working together worldwide?
At times, it can be hard to get out of that America-centric thought process, since so much of our consumed media comes from Hollywood. It’s important to pull away from that and listen to the events that may be happening in the countries of your coworkers. There could also be other things, like major weather events or celebrations that you’ll want to keep in mind.
My summers are winters in the Southern Hemisphere, for example. So be aware of what things look like for your team members. Be empathetic and understand that your team may be experiencing different things than you are. That’s really key. That way, you can come to them from a place of understanding.
Languages are another important thing to think about. As Gloria points out on Modern Family, it can be difficult to be expressive when using a different language. We’ve brought these people together because they’re the best at what they do and bring unique cultural insights to the table. That breadth of knowledge may span many languages, so give your teams time to respond with asynchronous options. This will help everyone communicate more effectively.
Cultures differ no matter where you are. Even within the U.S., New York and Seattle are very different places. It’s important to keep that in mind and do a bit of research before speaking to someone from a new place, as even their interview culture may be a departure from what you’re used to. It also helps you provide better feedback and motivation to each individual. We do that on a macro level — take the insights and consideration we need for that kind of one-on-one interaction and replicate it on a grand scale throughout the larger team.
Any final thoughts to add?
One of the things I’m most excited about is ModSquad’s ability to offer people the flexibility to create their own path. I encourage all of my coworkers daily to go out and live their best, and I always want to learn more about those desires. That’s what makes a global team truly successful.
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