How to build a successful global team

Last updated:
December 15, 2020
March 23, 2022
min read
Brendan McConnell
build a successful global team
Table of contents

A common issue faced by recruiters today is the tight competition for talent. This can be particularly true if your organization is located in a booming geographic market, or if you’re looking to hire in-demand jobs. To combat this challenge, more and more organizations are venturing beyond their own cities, and building global teams that fill their skills and productivity needs.

The benefits of a global team are plentiful, as will be outlined later in this article. But, hiring international candidates brings with it certain challenges that you may not have considered when you decided to hire abroad.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at why you should hire global teams, and lay out some recruitment tactics you can use to hire the best talent globally.

But first, the benefits of global teams.

The benefits of recruiting globally

As you can probably imagine, global teams bring with them a set of benefits that often extend beyond what is possible with locally-based talent pools. That’s because you’re able to target and hire the best talent from anywhere in the globe, rather than being constrained to who is available in your own city.

With that in mind, here are some core benefits of recruiting globally:

  • It gives your company and employer brand global exposure.
  • It can lead to a diverse set of ideas, cultural backgrounds, and values.
  • It helps with scaling the size of your team by enabling expansion without borders.
  • It exposes your recruitment team to larger talent pools than local only.
  • It can improve operational efficiency by forcing you to streamline your processes for a global audience.
  • It allows you to make your job postings more attractive and appealing to a global audience.
  • Overall, it can improve your quality of hire by allowing you to target the best people possible.

While the benefits are many, global teams can be challenging to build and maintain. It requires a new way of thinking: a global perspective on recruitment, communication, and process management.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some recruitment tactics you can use to build your global team.

8 recruitment tactics for building global teams

The number one factor you should have in mind when expanding your recruitment activities globally is that you need to think, speak, and act differently than you would for a purely local audience. Global audiences are varied in their values and how they like to communicate.

Flexibility, open mindedness, curiosity, and continuous learning will serve you well as you expand your recruitment tactics abroad. Here are some recruitment techniques you should consider when recruiting global teams.

1. Establish a global employer brand.

If your plan is to hire internationally, then you need an employer brand that appeals to a global audience. If you’re a larger company who already does work abroad, then it’s likely that you already have a global employer brand. If you’re in expansion mode, then this is one area that your recruitment and communications teams should spend some time on.

Think about how your employer brand might appeal to a global audience. Where do you want to hire, and what do those people look for in a company? Go through the exercise of analyzing the wants and needs of a global audience, and tweak your employer brand accordingly.

2. Create a strong end-to-end candidate experience.

A great candidate experience is something that all recruiters should strive for whether they’re recruiting locally or internationally. If you don’t think your candidate experience is up to par, or if you consistently hear feedback that it can be improved, then it might be time to do some analysis and tweaking of your recruitment process.

Once you have the candidate experience working locally, you should then strive to scale that to a consistent process around the globe. Your candidate experience should be the same regardless of whether you’re hiring in your own city, hiring remotely, or hiring via a satellite recruitment team.

3. Spend more time getting to know your target candidates.

Understanding your target candidate persona is critical to finding the right talent globally. If it’s tough to find the ideal candidate within your own city or country, it’s exponentially harder when you go global.

It’s important to go through the process of working with hiring managers and teams to understand things like job requirements, desired soft and hard skills, and what level of experience and education a candidate will need to be successful. You should also pay attention to what these types of people want and value.

Once you have these candidate personas in place, then you can look into international sourcing platforms, job boards, and recruitment ads to target them.

4. Identify new sourcing avenues and channels.

Knowing your candidate personas are also critical to knowing which sourcing channels you’ll use to find applicants and promote your job openings. Different countries and regions will have different job boards, social media preferences and habits, and networks that you’ll need to identify and tap into.

Do research into things like international job boards, universities and colleges abroad, industry networks, and social media usage around the globe. If you’re looking to hire candidates from a specific geographic area, then use the sourcing avenues that are common in that area. If you’re taking a more borderless approach, then look for platforms that promote remote positions, or have an international reach.

5. Leverage employee networks and referral programs.

As with local recruitment, networking and referral programs are a handy way to find qualified candidates on a global scale. As mentioned earlier, global recruitment can bring exponential challenges in finding qualified candidates compared to local recruitment. That’s because, simply, you’re dealing with a much larger potential audience.

Establishing a referral program within your company that encourages remote workers to put their contacts forward for consideration is a great way to find and engage talent from those locations. Expanding your networking activities to each of these remote locations will also add extra talent pools that can be mined when branching out into the global talent market.

6. Acquire regional knowledge and sensitivity.

Hiring global teams means that you need to understand the employment laws and customs for a variety of locations and cultures. It’s important that your recruitment team is aware of how certain messaging and communications may be perceived by an international audience.

Likewise, hiring managers and recruiters should be aware of things like visa requirements, notice periods, benefits and leave expectations, and regional compensation. Each of these factors can and will impact how you engage and negotiate with candidates, and how your team manages them once hired.

7. Plan for future skills needs.

Having a solid handle on where your company is going strategically, and what skills you’ll need to fill future roles is critical for any recruitment team. This planning is even more crucial when you add global teams into the mix, as you will need time to identify which roles can be remote ones, and which localities may yield the best candidates.

Always ensure that you’re aware of your future recruitment needs, and who your target candidates will eventually be. This will help you establish a recruitment strategy to fill those roles, and plan how you’ll integrate new hires into your global team.

8. Establish a consistent onboarding process.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s critical that your company has a thorough and consistent onboarding process in place for your global team. Remote workers often feel detached from the rest of the team, especially if they are one of the only employees not located at the head office.

Standardized onboarding that spans company overview and role-specific activities is an important way for remote workers to feel like they’re part of the team. Failing to do so can lead to lost productivity and engagement or, worse, low retention rates among global teams.

5 techniques for working as a global team

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of global team, and some tactics to recruit globally, let’s look briefly at some ways your international team can work effectively together.

Here are five ways you can work more effectively as a global team:

  1. Commit to working internationally. This may sound obvious, but it’s important that everyone on your team buys into this global mindset. Ensure that you engage and value all of your international employees equally, as if they were all in the same location.
  2. Have the right tech stack in place. Standardize the technology you use across your team for things like project management, video conference, and performance management.
  3. Be flexible. Your team will be operating in various time zones. Being flexible with when and how tasks are done will serve you well, and empower team members to do their best work.
  4. Understand the local and global markets. Stay up to date on what’s going on in your industry and in the talent community in your core markets. Always be in the loop of market fluctuations and risks.
  5. Understand the needs of global employees. Take the time to talk to and understand your global team’s needs. Alter your processes and policies appropriately to ensure everyone feels valued.

Global recruitment is a new frontier for many companies, and one that can often involve a steep learning curve. By employing a global mindset, and an international approach to recruitment, you too can reap the benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

- How do you manage a global team successfully?

You can use multiple tactics to manage a global team, such as increasing communication, building connections through virtual talks and events, and creating a schedule for meetings and discussions with the entire team.

- What are the benefits of building a successful global team?

Some key benefits are: a diverse company with multiple ideas and values, large talent pool, and higher quality of hire.

- What are the main tactics to build a global team?

First, a global employer brand needs to be established, followed by creating a strong candidate experience and leveraging employee networks and referral programs.

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