Managing Employees Globally Comes With Its Own Set of Challenges

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

Managing employees from around the world has a unique set of challenges thanks to a global economy. Communicating and collaborating with remote teams, whether they're in another office or working from home, means you need the right tools to handle these situations. Discover what it takes to be an international business leader with a rapidly expanding global workforce.

1. Communication

Solving language barriers represents the most obvious challenge to managing employees around the world. Even if everyone on the team speaks enough of the same language for basic understanding, the nuances and subtleties of different languages could get lost and lead to misunderstandings. Translation software, especially ones that have free online tools, can lead to inaccuracies for written communication. Inaccurate communication is unprofessional and sloppy, and it can lead to reduced productivity. Free tools may also have security risks that expose your private communications and sensitive data to hackers.

One way to solve this issue is through artificial intelligence. More and more global companies are turning to enterprise machine translation software to solve language barriers when managing employees. This kind of software produces fast, accurate translations of data, and it solves the language barrier problem on local computers and with overseas employees.

2. Culture

Different countries have different cultures, and you may face hurdles when it comes to working with teams. For example, you already know you have language differences among staffers in China, Egypt and Italy, but you may not understand that people from these cultures have different cultural ideologies and expectations. How someone responds to another person in one country could be seen as an insult in another. Various countries may have different religious beliefs, cultural themes and normal ways of doing business.

Managing employees in this setting means learning cross-cultural competencies as a business professional. It doesn't mean you have to become an expert on a particular country's way of doing things. But you should learn to localize communication so it's culturally fluent beyond just having an understanding with language. For example, people in China may refer to others by their last names first rather than their given names first. It's a subtle and seemingly minor thing but knowing this kind of cultural norm can make a difference in how members of your team perceive you.

3. Collaboration

Time zone differences can make collaboration exceedingly difficult when it comes to communication across many countries, especially if you want your team to work together to solve problems. Cross-cultural misunderstandings, technology failures and incompatible schedules can all lead to missed deadlines, lost productivity, downtime and less profits.

When talking to your team, stress commonalities as your people reach specific goals. Despite language barriers and cultural differences, everyone you speak to has a common goal. Make sure everyone uses similar workflows, follows the project utilizing the same productivity tools, and shares project goals when they meet them. Invest in a project management platform that lets you individualize work and tailor the software to each person's needs when managing employees across the globe.

Despite challenges facing communication, cultural differences and collaboration, managing employees at global offices can be a rewarding experience. What tips and tricks do you have for working with a global team?

Photo courtesy of Image FS at


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • You Might Also Be Interested In

Jobs to Watch