Many organisations have multiple offices or worksites across the world. The popularity of remote and flexible working means that staff might also not even be tied to designated sites anymore – so a global workforce could be based from home in lots of different countries.
Managing a global workforce – especially if people aren’t site based – isn’t without its challenges. How do you ensure employees across the globe are engaged and don’t feel left out of the company ‘family’?
Communicate – it’s a two-way street
It’s important employers communicate important news and updates about what’s going on in the business to ensure employees feel included and in the know, wherever they are. Not only will this allow for more effective policy implementation across the business, but it can also help employees to be more aware of the impact of their own and colleagues’ work on the wider company.
But communication shouldn’t just travel top–down!
When employees feel like they’re just being talked at and not listened to, it’s very easy for them to become disengaged, especially if those communications are coming from a department or area of the business they don’t have many interactions with – for example, when HR comms come from a different office or even a different country. So, when considering big changes within your organisation that will greatly affect your workforce, such as implementing hybrid working, make sure employees have the means to share their opinions.
Encourage discussions with workspaces
Workspaces, like those offered by Cezanne HR’s HR system, are a great way for HR and employees to view and share news, and discuss issues that affect the whole workforce.
But just having a place to post comments is not enough. It’s important for HR or line managers to respond to concerns or worries raised on these platforms, so employees know they’re heard, otherwise they will wonder about the point of their input.
It might take time for employees to feel confident about sharing information this way. You may want to find some more outspoken ‘role models’ in your company that will help their colleagues to get involved in the conversation.
Uncover hidden sentiments with employee surveys
Employee surveys are another great way to gauge how effective your engagement initiatives are. If people are hesitant about sharing thoughts publicly, surveys can deliver insight into previously hidden employee sentiments.
Make sure your surveys are simple and quick to fill in, as employees will then be more likely to complete them. HR can then easily see how the business is feeling worldwide, delving into results from different countries as needed.
A workforce distributed around the globe – with diverse cultures, languages and customs – should be celebrated. It’s widely acknowledged that a diverse workforce has a range of different benefits for a business. Being global gives an organisation an instant advantage as it can hopefully draw on a naturally diverse employee pool to gain a competitive edge.
Establishing respect and pride in workforce diversity, and acknowledging local/religious/cultural etc. events, such as Lunar New Year for offices/employees who follow the Chinese calendar, or Eid for Muslim colleagues, can ensure people in different offices feel recognised and valued.
Encourage cross-team collaboration between different sites/offices
Break down barriers by creating projects that involve people from different locations working together. Work with your senior staff to get teams out of their departmental silos, exchanging ideas and experimenting with different ways of doing things. This will allow employees to possibly gain a new perspective on a problem or issue they’ve been struggling with, and to build camaraderie with others by solving problems together.
And it doesn’t have to be just about work, either. Your company could organise social clubs that span the globe (thanks to the online working tools that have especially helped with homeworking over the last 12+ months), for example, for sports, books, or films. These groups of employees could then collaborate to organise bigger social events that everyone in the company could be involved in.
In addition to work-related conversations as mentioned above, workspaces can be a great channel for your employees to talk about more informal/non-work-related events or activities, too. Setting up different workspaces for specific topics/clubs, and laying out guidelines on what content should go where helps remove any hesitation people may feel about posting on these platforms.
Overcome admin hurdles
Administratively, having a global workforce can present some headaches for HR: different employment legislations, data sharing and security concerns, multiple payrolls and unique terminologies to name a few.
An HR system like Cezanne HR can help relieve these headaches by making it easier to manage different rules in different countries, including facilitating having multiple public holiday calendars. HR software like Cezanne HR will also help you stay on top of data security, siloing data access as required. Read our article, 4 things that a true global HR software system will provide for more information on using an HR system to support a global workforce.
If you’re looking for a better way to bring your people across the globe together, see how Cezanne HR’s global HR software can help.