Global businesses face a number of challenges. As with anything on such a large scale with many moving parts, this is expected. One such area where many international businesses may struggle to strike the ideal balance is the management of worldwide workforces.
For teams with multiple locations across the globe, managing a variety of teams in any number of countries can leave leaders scratching their heads. The issue has only become more complex in recent years, with technological advancements and the pandemic meaning that we have more and more people working from remote locations on a regular basis. But leaders who are keen to manage a strong and thriving global workforce can take heart – there are plenty of ways to address and overcome the most common challenges.
What are the biggest challenges facing the management of global workforces?
While every industry, every business, and every team will face a unique set of challenges, there are usually a few common themes that can be found.
The Language Barrier
Worldwide companies managing global workforces face the struggles of language barriers daily. Not everybody is multilingual, and you’ll often find people from different countries and backgrounds working in the same office. In many cases, there will be a common or shared language like English or French, but this cannot always be guaranteed.
Cultural and Religious Differences
In the same way that not everyone speaks the same language, not everybody comes from the same background, either. While in many ways this is a very good thing, there can be some growing pains with people from different walks of life having different outlooks and life experiences.
While more locations make for an exciting and dynamic global company, it does present a certain set of logistical challenges. From arranging travel to dealing with branches located in different time zones, the logistical issues for managing a global workforce are considerable.
Tax and Employment Regulations
Every country has its own unique set of rules and red tape when it comes to employment laws and tax requirements. This can affect holiday allowance, benefits packages, pay, and more – meaning that each country will have a separate set of HR requirements and tax laws your business will have to not only understand, but comply with.
Tips for Managing a Global Workforce
Challenges are designed to be tackled. So while yes, there are a number of challenges facing brands with global workforces, there are also solutions. Every business will have to find an approach that works for them, but there are a few key factors you’ll want to make sure you include when managing your worldwide workforce.
Nurture Diverse Workforces
Workplace diversity should be seen as a good thing. Global brands must prioritise a management style that accepts and delicately handles cultural, religious and racial differences in the workplace. Promoting a team approach that encourages others to be accepting is also going to be key. Clearly written and shared policies, training schemes and team-building exercises are just a few ways to approach this.
Support Employee Development
Whether it means paying for your employees to learn languages that will help them in the workplace or engaging in some form of local education, supporting your staff’s development through cross-cultural training will go a long way in helping to ease some of the biggest challenges. Helping employees find a way to better relocate to a place with other languages and cultures can help achieve the type of diversity and acceptance that’s necessary for businesses with a global workforce.
Invest in Your HR and Legal Talent
When dealing with employee and tax regulations on a global scale, it’s vital that your business does everything right. By making sure you not only hire the best HR and legal talent but give them all the tools they need to manage a global workforce, you’ll eliminate a huge part of the challenge. Ensure they attend all necessary training and industry events to make sure they can stay up to date on all requirements and changes.
Find out more about how we support worldwide workforces through our global mobility services.