How to promote collaboration across global teams

How to promote collaboration across global teams

Facilitating collaboration across disparate and far-flung teams is a challenge. But organisations really can join everyone together. All they need is the right approach – and the right tools.

Communication is the key to creating a successful team but it isn't always easy in today's increasingly scattered workplace. More people are working from home, or in multiple offices at home and abroad. And this means that multi-location teams face the challenge of communicating in ways that are consistent, effective and timely.

How to manage global teams?

How to manage global teams?

So, how do you manage global teams? Here are some tips.

1. Create a shared space

For communication to be effective, everyone needs to feel that they have access to the same facts wherever they are. An easily accessible shared space, such as a dedicated Workplace group, can help join everyone together and keep them on the same page. In this way, updates and information come from within the team and not just from the top down. That creates a better sense of interconnectivity between members.

2. Make meetings virtual

Meetings can help build trust and cohesion and help break down barriers. So it can be important to have the right meetings – even when team members are in different parts of the world. Fortunately, with modern video-enabled collaboration tools, physical distance is no longer a barrier to team meetings or one-to-one sessions.

3. Break down language barriers

Teams in global organisations speaking different languages can suffer from misunderstandings and slower teamwork. This can be a difficult ( and costly) hurdle when trying to connect global teams – but it doesn't have to be that way. Using a collaboration tool with a translation facility means that team members from all over the world can preserve language and culture and still communicate effectively with each other.

4. Facilitate sharing

Being able to easily share ideas and offer creative solutions gives every team member an equal opportunity to add value. Instant screen sharing on Workplace, for example, allows collaboration to happen naturally. Unlimited storage and seamless integrations with document storage tools such as Box enable people to collaborate in real time and within ongoing conversations – so everyone can play their part.

5. Make the most of the knowledge mix

Having a global team is a huge opportunity. The deep knowledge of local markets gives organisations big advantages when looking to outflank the competition. But it's important to keep this critical IP out of silos so that people can use it. Having effective collaboration tools allows you to create a global pool of up-to-date, dynamic and easily accessible information. And that's an enormous asset to any organisation.

6. Build trust

According to Tsedal Neeley of Harvard Business School, one of the challenges for multi-site organisations is that there will usually be one site that is perceived as the base of power and decision-making. This can result in negative perceptions in other locations and give rise to feelings of "them and us". To challenge this, it's important to remind team members that they're all valued as part of an equal team. Giving everyone clear opportunities to have group discussions and share ideas is a way of engaging global teams across locations.

7. Encourage friendships

Engaging global teams isn't just about working on projects together. Small talk and social interactions via group chats can build shared knowledge – such as finding out about local places to eat when visiting a sister-site – not to mention real friendships.

The move to mobile and messaging has changed the way people talk to each other. And now, consumers bring new expectations of fast and fluid conversations into the workplace. The best collaboration platforms recognise this. And they offer tools that enable deeper and more meaningful relationships between people at work.

Tools that change everything. See how Workplace Chat can get your global teams talking.
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