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StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Managing Your International Team Without Letting Go Of The Reins

Many business owners understand the enormous benefits of having sales teams based in their international territories. Unfortunately, there are also a large number of disadvantages to recruiting internationally. Global operations can feel too distant and remote. Soon you may feel like you have to let go of the heart of your business and allow these international offices to become their own entity. That simply isn’t the case, if you know how to tackle the challenges of remote working effectively.

Managing your international teams can be easier than you think. The situation calls for you to manage your own time so that you can be available to them as they need you. That’s challenging enough in your own territory without having to worry about time zone differences as well. If you hate to travel, or you simply don’t have the time, you need to find other ways to personally communicate with your teams. Fortunately, technology has the answers.

Video conferencing gives you the chance to view the room and better measure the reactions and mood of your distant team. When you summon the entire office to a meeting, it confirms you’re the one in charge and you’re not letting go of the reins. Do this weekly, so you are continuously and reliably available to discuss issues. Try not to treat it just like a meeting, but instead make it less formal. Chat about local issues both there and here. Catch up on a personal level with the key members of your international team.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article
Photo courtesy of Andreas Gohr via flickr

Personnel challenges are common when you’re not there in person. It can be too tricky to route all your HR function through your local head office. Instead, you might find it useful to consult experts in global payroll to ensure you are meeting local requirements at home and abroad. You should also outsource your recruitment drives to local providers to ensure you don’t make any cultural or legal faux pas.

Training your remote team can be particularly challenging when you’re not there. You will need excellent resources to guide the team (potentially in their local language) through your preferred business practices. Their understanding and compliance must be tested, so don’t be afraid to set up a couple of exams or practical tests. Again, video calls are very useful here. You can set up a webinar that offers the opportunity for feedback and interaction while you present your ideas. Contracting an educational video production company could be very useful here.

Ultimately, you’re going to need someone to take the lead in your overseas office. This individual may be a sales manager so helping them to become a good leader as well takes some careful planning. They may need your guidance and coaching. You may even become their mentor, but you need to clearly draw the line when it comes to their limitations. You’re the boss, and the buck ultimately stops with you. Make it clear which issues they can seek to resolve themselves, and which must go over their head directly to you.

Managing an overseas team has its challenges, but it’s not impossible. A global presence can help you reach the territories you need with success. How do you manage yours?

How Project Management Apps Are Fostering Remote Working

The inclusion of remote workers into your team is as advantageous as it is challenging; perhaps what we can find particularly interesting is that this trend is not just restricted to successful conglomerates with international interests but early stage companies who are still trying to find their feet. The inter-connectivity of computers worldwide and the advent of project management apps and time-tracking software has made this possible.

It’s also pertinent to note that remote working not only solves the problem of access to highly skilled personnel but it has come to be seen as the perfect solution for employees who have to brave the long-hour drives to work, thereby reducing their stress levels. They are less exposed to the drama that comes with working in a “traditional” workspace, leading to greater productivity on the long run.

The benefits for telecommuters also include a significantly lower monthly gas bill, the opportunity to keep an eye on the kids, job satisfaction, peace of mind etc. To buttress this point, The New York Times, reports on an experiment carried out by a Stanford Economic Professor – Nicholas Bloom; with results that should not be ignored by the H.R department. The experiment showed that remote workers worked 9.5% longer than their office colleagues but that’s not all. There was also a 13% increase in productivity from the virtual team. As you can clearly see, it’s not just workers who get to enjoy the benefits, corporations have a lot to gain by instigating work-from-home policies.

The obvious benefit for companies would, of course, be the significantly reduced cost because they are no longer limited by distance in sourcing for skilled workers. The internet has made it possible for managers to recruit workers at an affordable rate. John Meyer, in a Forbes article, puts the total savings for companies at 30%.The job of the human resource manager becomes a lot easier as employee turnover rates are down and the constant battle with absentee employees becomes a non-issue.

As the years go by, the tradition of working from brick and mortar offices seems less and less attractive to millennials especially but like was stated in the opening paragraph, the remote-working trend also brings with it, its set of challenges.

Project managers want to be able to keep tabs on the progress of all team members, they want to know where everyone is at with respect to tasks assigned to them and if you are managing a team of 30-50 people, that’s no mean feat. They owe a depth of gratitude to apps that have made the process of managing virtual teams less complex. Project management software helps keep the entire process not just organized but ultimately promotes greater efficiency. What’s not to love about collaborative software that allows you send and receive documents from team members, or time tracking software that helps you stay on schedule?

Collaborative management tools have gone further to shorten the distance between virtual team members in addition to fostering productivity and efficiency.

Infographic courtesy of nutcache.com

7 Tips for Managing a Remote Team