6 characteristics of high-performing global HR teams

CommunityWorking in virtual global teams is the new way. Spread across various geographies, global teams collaborate, gaining from each other’s perspectives to deliver superior results. This way of working offers consistency, efficiency and superior results, while leveraging talent.

Some teams succeed at this better than others. Below I have listed  some characteristics of teams that are more successful:

1.        Move beyond cultural differences to establish common ground
Great global teams move beyond cultural differences and work on the  similarities. This helps to focus on not what is different but what is similar and common. People who travel and have worked across cultures  know that while there are many external differences across cultures;  there are essential human similarities underneath: need to be  recognized; need to contribute positively by utilizing talent; need to make a difference; need to understand and to be understood. This is the raw material on which the fabric of success is built for successful cross-cultural teams. Specially among young people, this is more true than ever before. As Steve Jobs said, “The world is the same for young people now, regardless of location”.

Great teams are often able to build their own culture and “ways of doing things” that take prominence over national or local ways of doing things and sentiments. This means that the team is building its own identity and is able to set norms towards high performance.

 2.        Establish frequent contact – both formal and informal
Great global teams know that there is no substitute for frequent  communication. Specially when working across geographical boundaries.  There is no such thing as over-communication. In fact, communication in  great teams happens not just on a need-to-know basis but more than  that, and both informally and formally.

 3.        Better work processes
Effectiveness of global HR teams requires establishing formal work  processes. This makes workflow smooth and predictable and reduces the possibility of bad surprises. Work processes involve:
–        Formal reports
–        Schedule of updates
–        Meeting and conference calls
–        Online simultaneous work sessions
–        Clarity of objectives and outcomes
–        Mutual discussion and consensus
–        Process of working, reviewing and formal approvals
–        Openness and sharing

 4.        Use of technology
 Technology can benefit greatly in this process of building high performing global HR teams. Great teams typically use more than one technology to stay in touch, collaborate and get things done:
–        Conference calls
–        Instant Messaging
–        Skype, Facetime, calls over internet
–        Google Hangout
–        Google Drive, Dropbox and other forms of shared workspaces
–        Webex

5.        Distribution of work and role
The earlier ways of working involved centralized command and control.  This meant that policies were formed in one place and implemented in other geographies. Decision making rested with a few folks in the HQ.  Truly high performing global teams are able to leverage the diversity of talent across the globe and distribute leadership and roles based  on talent. This results in better work output and results.

6.        Respect
Underlying all this is the foundation of respect. All great teams are  founded on respect. Respect makes things easy, dissolves differences and provides a “rhythm” to the teamwork. Here are some important  examples of respect:
–        Respect for time zones
–        Giving a benefit of doubt to others in case of misunderstanding
–        Sharing workload
–        Rising to the occasion, making a sacrifice
–        Respect for others’ viewpoints, especially when they are different
–        Understanding and respect for diversity
–        Investment of effort and time – results in patience, listening,  acceptance, encouragement and eventually great performance

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Sharad Verma is the head of Talent Engagement and Development for SunGard Global Technology, supporting more than 3,000 employees in the company’s Global Solution Centers in India, Shanghai and Tunisia. A post graduate from the prestigious XLRI, Sharad has served as Head of HR for Berkadia (a subsidiary of Berkashire Hathaway), Monster.com, and BNY Mellon. Read his blog here. Connect with him on LinkedInFacebook and on twitter at@iSharad.


1 Comment

  1. Ruchi Gupta says:

    This is an extremely beneficial article. Thanks for sharing it!

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