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How to Foster Better Communication Between Cross-Border Teams

Post liberalization and globalization of major world economies, businesses across many sectors are expanding like never before. It also means that more multinationals are springing up each year and that in turn translates to operations being active in many countries for businesses. Hence, cross border teams are deployed by many corporations for effective operation. Now, it is pertinent that these teams should be managed in a way that ample productivity from them can be achieved and it can happen only through meaningful communication and effective conversation.

Teams are made up of people and people must collaborate with each other in an organization to achieve its goals. Moreover, a cross-border team can pitch in with a fresher perspective and that can help build up deeper insights on a topic. There are some ways in which teams could be kept motivated on their task. Here, we will take a look at some of those ways that can help in building up a cross-border team in the best possible manner.

A mentor and up-line matter a lot

Recently, there was a Harvard Business Review report that stated 3/4th cross-functional teams are non-functional and fail to meet three out of the following five criteria – (i) working on a planned budget, (ii) meeting a deadline, (iii) sticking on specifications (iv) achieving customer confidence and/or (v) being in line with the company’s objective. However, the same report also goes on to state that cross-functional projects led by team leaders from various departments or by a top-level executive have a success rate of 76 percent. Hence, it goes on to highlight the importance of a mentor or team leader.

Mentors or good leaders can be the difference between an average and highly praised job and hence it is important that they stay accessible as well as visible to all team members at all times. It is also imperative that leaders should be there at routine weekly/monthly meetings or similar progress reviews of cross-border teams to get a project status. They should also encourage communication and feedback from team members via email, text, video conferencing or any other suitable method.

Mutual connection amongst team members

While working with cross-border teams, it is important that they gel around with each other well, across all departments. Trust is a factor here that needs to develop within them and to develop that trait, more time may have to be spent understanding each other. A video conferencing session with remote team members can be an ideal way that can surely be recommended for the same so that one can see each other face to face and converse easily getting across different viewpoints.

Additionally, creating a slam book of team members during the first meeting can also be helpful so that there can be a picture of each member, expertise area, personal statistics, and the desired contact method. A personal statistic like a favorite game, hobby and family details can help in being more personal that can strike the right chord at times for businesses. During leisure times, playing a team game or hosting an event like a catchphrase or trivia can also work wonders as team members can meet each other and bond well. For remote employees, video conferencing can also be used to include them in the event.

Centralizing all communication channels

To ensure that cross-border teams stay focused on a goal, a centralized communication process using the latest IT infrastructure can be used. A PBX system can be highly desired for such an operation. It can help team members to stay in touch with each other and can also foster camaraderie within them. Moreover, it is a scalable telephony system that can help in simplifying the communication within members. A Cloud-based PBX solution can also offer many amazing and attractive features that can help a process.

Additionally, there are also many project management apps that a Project manager may use for the purpose. State-of-the-art apps like Clarizen and Asana can help in sharing and posting messages from team members, and settle queries regarding a project. These are also real-time collaboration tools that are personalizable and safe to operate. Additionally, a project in-charge can show a particular project aspect in logos, colors, etc. and any sensitive information may also be regulated through an access level.

Recognizing and suitably compensating the achievers

When a project is launched, there is usually an enthusiasm among team members but as it progresses, the momentum may be lost due to certain challenges on the way. To keep it going at all times, a team in-charge should ensure rewarding and recognizing members or a team for reaching milestones or achieving some important breakthroughs. A smart initiative from a Project manager can also be to invite a team member to nominate an achiever. This way, there can be a better sense of understanding amongst members and can be more helpful in building a well-cohesive team.

While making a team charter at the beginning of a project, suggestions can also be sought from team members at exactly the ways in which members may want to get recognized for their efforts. There are some conventional ways of appreciation like tickets for sporting day events and group lunches that are already in vogue in many enterprises. Other innovative ideas can also be tried and tested.

We have seen here some ways of fostering effective communication between cross-border teams. There are some soft ways as well as various technical interventions that can help in leveraging the best results from a team. Using them effectively can definitely help in improving the aspect of communication between cross-border teams.

Written By

Apoorv Bhatnagar is a Digital marketer at Freshworks Inc. He generally writes about software that improve your marketing, sales or hiring process.

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