It isn’t easy having to manage employees, especially for bosses and managers who don’t play as well with others. Thankfully, with enough time, experience, and work victories, even the most socially elusive or introverted boss or manager can establish a good working relationship with their team members.
But working with team members abroad is an entirely different ballgame, especially if these employees come from altogether different cultures or contexts. If your job description entails working with and managing employees abroad, here are some best practices you can employ to ensure that your working relationship goes as smoothly as possible:
Master the Art of Communication
How often do you get into misunderstandings with employees you face physically? Poor communication is already rampant in face-to-face settings—how much more when everything is online? And with your co-workers on the other side of the world to boot.
It might sound simple. But when it comes to managing employees abroad, proper communication is critical. Here are some ways to ensure that communication is optimal for all sides:
- Establish communication channels: Do not settle for less than the best communication platforms, virtual office tools, or chat apps. They are your business’s lifeline; if your channels of communication die, so will your day-to-day operations. These tools will help you, as boss, manager, or team leader, to make formal announcements and check in with your team members to ensure that they understand your instructions.
- Talk it out: Allot a few minutes of your day to communicate with your team. No matter how busy you are, it is always a good thing to remind them that they are not entirely alone in work and that it is a team effort even if you’re in different parts of the globe.
Partner with Third-party Agencies to Improve Payroll
Suppose there are specific components of your business that are starting to feel overwhelming—like payroll, for example. You should consider hiring a third-party agency that specializes in providing services for everyone in the world, and not just the United States. One example is onbe.com, a company that assists businesses in connecting with payment recipients all over the world. Firms like this can help your business simplify specific processes in your company, including communicating with and paying your team members abroad. This strategy can be especially helpful for your financial transactions. This way, you can be more sure about the level of security and safety of the services you’re getting instead of relying on financial services with a history of cybersecurity issues.
Another thing to consider is that if the employees are from a developing nation, they might be more dependent on their monthly salary. Ensure to improve this aspect of your employee management to the best of your ability.
Address Cultural or Language Barriers
If you’re thinking of hiring a team from a specific country, try to learn their etiquette basics. That way, you have a general idea of where they’re coming from. However, refrain from judging a whole nation of people based on what you’ve read on the internet.
Remember, Time Zones Exist
One of the biggest pitfalls of working with foreign team members living on the other side of the planet is forgetting that they don’t exist in the same time zone. People live in a time when employees are becoming savvier about their boundaries and rights as laborers. Therefore, calling them in the middle of the night for a work-related chat is a big no-no. Here are some ways to remind yourself of time zones:
- Wall clocks with time zones: Invest in some wall clocks and set them towards the time zone of where your employees are located. Label those wall clocks accordingly. That way, every time you’re thinking about contacting a particular employee, you can immediately check what time it is in their location before you make the call.
- Setting meetings: When scheduling a meeting or a big group assembly, make sure you set it during a good time for all parties. Don’t expect your employees to clock into work earlier than they should or to stay later than they should unless you tell them beforehand or they were informed when they were hired that this could happen from time to time.
Hiring employees overseas can be beneficial for your company because there is a wealth of knowledge and skill in the world’s labor force. It can be financially advantageous for your company as well. Just make sure to rest your overseas employees with the dignity and respect they deserve and work hard to create a mutually symbiotic working relationship for the both of you.