Building Cross-Border Teams

Building Cross-Border Teams

Table of Contents

What is a cross-border team?

A cross-border team is a team comprised of people from different places around the globe, and they are all working remotely on the same project.

Cross-border teams depend on digital communication for efficient performance. Businesses that figure out a way to effectively communicate with all their members from different places around the world have the chance to exponentially expand their opportunities.

Communication is key, if an organization is able to clearly and effectively communicate with a cross-border team they can then handle cross-border business transactions.

Why are cross-border teams valuable?

When cross-border teams are formed, the organisation acquires access to a wider range of talent, diversity, and networks beyond current geographical boundaries. If a business wishes to expand into an unknown foreign market, who better to advise them on the nuances and complexities of that market and culture better than a local.

If the organization gets past the technological obstacle and decides to recruit a trusted local to join their team, they immediately gain access to the foreign employee’s expertise and perspectives which are usually completely dissimilar from your own.

Sometimes it’s easier to recruit top talent from other countries as compared to hiring within certain geographical boundaries. Also, recruiting talent from different countries can often be considered more cost-effective and affordable.

Here are 6 strategies to an efficient cross-border team:

  • Be flexible

You must ensure to adapt your schedule to accommodate other people’s schedules not just your own. In addition, the adjustment process involves adjusting to differences in time zones, work weeks, and holiday periods.

  • Do your best to understand the people who work with you or join your team

It is not expected that you fully grasp every cultural aspect, but empathizing with distant team members shows you are willing to learn, which contributes to building trust. When appropriate, social media is an effective way to connect with your team. Aside from putting a name and a face to the name, it promotes curiosity about other’s thoughts and beliefs.

  • Treat everyone as an individual

Some employees feel the need to talk and check in everyday, other require a weekly talk, and some people require less frequent interactions. Depending on the type of employee, you may feel like some employees require more structure than others and that’s completely normal.

Different types of employees utilize different tools while working, and these different tools work in different settings. You must ensure you adapt your style to each individual employee to make sure each individual feels supported and comfortable. This can be perceived as more of an art than a science.

  • Ensure the team has a clear mission and clearly defined objectives

Before ensuring your team has set clear objectives, you must verify that your schedule is organized and sorted out. If you’re lost and confused about what you should be doing, the rest of your team is going to be just as lost as you.

It is absolutely crucial that both yours and your team’s objectives are clear, and although this is an important reality always, it’s even more critical for cross-border teams. When creating guidelines, make sure you emphasize a collective goal that motivates people to collaborate regardless of their location.

  • Understand that the common language is not as common as you think

 The common language of business may well be English, but its use varies from country to country. It’s therefore important to convey information in a way that ensures understanding, regardless of the technology used. If you are using English as a second language, use “ESL English,” avoiding slang, jokes, and complicated sentence structures.

  • Choose the best teammates for your cross-border project

People with independence, adaptability and a results-oriented mindset should be hired. When team members are located on different continents, the amount of time they spend at the office is no longer relevant. People should be trusted to get their work done wherever they are, without being directly supervised.

In conclusion, a growing number of businesses are relying on distributed teams of people living and working thousands of miles apart rather than traditional organizational structures in response to increased globalization.

In order to successfully integrate your team and their diverse viewpoints, you must cultivate a trusting, flexible and consideration-based environment. An international team that increases productivity and achieves organizational goals is a challenge, but it’s well worth it  and it’s critical to the future of business.

Interested in learning more? View Online MBA in Human Resource Management. Speak to a Higher Education Consultant for a consultation.

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