Speedy globalization has had a huge impact on work environments, employees and organizations, bringing them in proximity with clients and peers all over the world. This cross cultural teaming can lead to organizational growth and development around the globe, resulting in an increased demand for a qualified, but diverse workforce.
Most organizations now have a cross-cultural workforce. As a result of this globalization and technology has further accelerated cross-cultural teams to work together. Whether it’s on the phone or through video conferencing, getting people across the world in one meeting has become simpler than ever.
Benefits of Cross-Cultural Teaming
Having a varied global workforce can have many benefits:
- It can motivate creativity and drive innovation because people of different cultures exchange views and produce out of the box ideas.
- Having a cross-cultural team can give knowledge and insight of the local market which will elevate a business and give it that competitive edge, which eventually results in it becoming more profitable.
- Finding candidates from a more varied talent pool also means that an organization can not only attract, but also retain the best talent. In a competitive job market, a business showing they are a multicultural company can make them stick out to the right contender.
- Having direct meetings can avoid misunderstandings between team members and build more trust.
- Furthermore, if a workplace is more diverse, the workforce will be more faithful because they feel respected for their differences.
The Challenges of Managing a Cross-Cultural Team
However, there are some challenges that arise with cross-cultural teams.
- Language Barrier – Firstly, there’s the language and expression barrier. For some, English might not be their first language, and even though they speak it well, certain forms of expression may not be clearly understood and could lead to misinterpretation.
- Work Style – No culture has the same work style. Some encourage individual thinking, some foster teamwork and others prefer the decisions to be made by the employer. These different styles could mean that some people come across extraordinary, while others flow into the background.
- Information Gaps – Everybody should be on the same perception to stay on top of data and process flows. Every team member needs to have approach to the right resources at the needed time for teamwork and completing their tasks. This specifically becomes a challenge with virtual cross-cultural teams. Having a common software with access to a shared database and making it possible to share files, online conversations, scheduling and jointly pursuing projects becomes very important. Effective means to share and access resources appropriately is a challenge.
- Influences – It might be possible that a section of the team has similar cultural identity. They may try to dominate the process and influence the entire team to move their way. This can result in needless tensions and a disturbing environment for other team members. Team and group elements can be a major concern in a cross-cultural team, leading to unnecessary group politics and conflicts within a team.
- Motivation Factors – Normally, companies have a motivation and rewards system that is largely regulated by the norms and values of the company. It does not account for the different motivational factors of a cross-cultural team.
While there are many merits and demerits of a diverse workforce, it means that having knowledge of the best way for a business to manage cross-cultural teams has become more important than ever, to ensure that they make the best out of their team and have that competitive edge.
As globalization continues to rise, cross-cultural teaming will increase in organizations, making it more necessary to manage them properly. Maintaining a diverse workforce effectively will only benefit an organization. Most of the times understanding and accepting cultural differences is all that is needed to successfully manage a cross-cultural team.