With remote work, businesses are able to hire talented workers regardless of their location. In remote-first organizations, building and scaling a globally distributed team is even a key part of the hiring and recruiting strategy.
While having access to global talent might sound very tempting and promising, managing a remote team whose members are distributed all over the world on a daily basis is not without challenges. But what makes managing global teams challenging? Let’s look at the problems managers face when overseeing a distributed team.
The challenges of managing global teams start well before the actual day-to-day management. First of all, the organization needs to source remote talent and hire the most promising candidates.
Remote hiring comes with many additional challenges, such as not meeting candidates in person. Plus, applicants not only need to be assessed based on their skills and experience, but also for remote team fit and remote-readiness.
After hiring a new remote employee, the next challenge awaits: the onboarding process. Businesses need to find a way to balance the conveying of information and important documents such as NDA’s, contracts, and compliance, with welcoming the new employee as a new part of the team at the same time. A smooth remote onboarding process is crucial to make sure new hires have a good start at the company.
Check out this chapter of the Lano Employment Academy to find out more about onboarding remote employees.
Good communication is vital for successful remote work. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Finding the right balance between oversharing and undersharing can be difficult. Communicating too much could result in important information going missing in the flood of messages. Not sharing enough information, on the other hand, could prevent the team from collaborating effectively and slow down progress on important projects. That’s why communication guidelines should be part of every remote work policy.
In order to make remote work work, organizations need a different mindset, meaning that they really need to make remote their DNA and develop an effective remote work culture. A company’s remote work culture assembles the values, guidelines and behaviors that define how the organization operates and how team members interact. This also includes creating a time and space for team members to get to know each other. Establishing a welcoming company culture and keeping it alive when working with a global team is not easy.
Finding an efficient project management system that makes it possible to share projects and tasks and track progress is probably one of the most universal challenges for both remote employees and the business they work for. Efficient project management is already a difficult task when the entire team is located in the same building. But with a distributed team, workflows need to be adapted to the remote work context, which may mean having to account for different time zones and managing various communication channels.
Managing global teams not only involves keeping tabs on their daily activities and overseeing projects, but it also includes HR management, more precisely managing global payments and benefits. Paying a globally distributed team is complex because it involves different currencies and because cross-border payments are slow and expensive—unless the organization uses a global payment solution like a digital wallet that is set up to send payments to a variety of countries in different currencies.
But there are also many tax and benefit requirements associated with adding a new country or currency to the business’s payroll. Expectations for benefits and local regulations concerning tax and other payments vary greatly by location, which makes global benefits management particularly challenging.
Payroll management is always complex and requires a lot of attention, but managing payroll for a globally distributed team is particularly challenging. Payroll regulations differ from one country to the next and putting all the payroll data for different locations together into consolidated reports is a time-consuming task.
What’s more, remote teams not only consist of full-time employees, but are often composed of independent contractors and full-time employees, which means that the chosen payment system needs to allow for flexible payrolls and an ever-changing workforce structure.
Learn everything you need to know about managing payroll for global teams in the Lano Payroll Academy.
Keeping team members engaged and nurturing their feeling of belonging to the company is a major challenge when it comes to managing remote teams. Employees that only interact with their colleagues virtually and never set foot into the office are prone to losing touch with what’s going on at the company. In the long run, this can have a negative impact on their engagement and performance.
HR teams have access to a lot of sensitive personal information, and ensuring this data doesn’t land in the wrong hands should be a top priority for any company. With a globally distributed team, keeping personal data safe becomes a lot more complex. That’s because data has to be transferred between different entities and their respective systems, which increases the risk of data breaches. Not to forget that transferring data between different countries also means having to comply with different data protection laws.
The Lano Academy is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Lano Software GmbH disclaims any liability for any actions you take or refrain from taking based on the content contained in this article.
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