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How do you create the best remote workplace culture for your company? Establishing a strong remote company culture (also known as organizational culture or workplace culture) means addressing many complexities — and building a global remote culture can be even more challenging.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when going global is assuming that what is true locally is also true internationally. Many companies fail at creating a global remote workplace culture because they fail to adapt. But if you put in the time to understand what makes an excellent remote workplace culture, your entire company and your bottom line will benefit.
The first step to taking your remote company culture global is to understand it.
What is company culture, and how is a global remote company culture different?
According to a Great Place to Work, “company culture is how you do what you do at the workplace.” It is the sum of your systems, behaviors, and values. All of this reflects directly on the employee experience and customer experience.
A remote company culture is vastly different from a traditional in-office company culture. For example, when new team members join a company in a physical work environment, it is easier to understand the work culture by observing the atmosphere around them.
Remote onboarding is more complex because new team members can’t observe your company culture. Remote work can be challenging even within the same city, so the obstacle is even more significant when you are working to create a global remote culture with team members in other countries with cultural and language barriers.
How can you recognize your company culture?
If your team members can’t identify your company’s organizational culture, they’re not alone. Gallup data shows that 60 percent of team members don’t know their workplace culture, even without remote work as a factor.
As a team leader, you should have a firm grasp on your remote workplace culture, but if you don’t, you should get insight from those who experience it daily. Your team members will be able to describe their experiences and perceptions of your company. Distributing surveys is the easiest way to do this, and it allows your team members to be honest anonymously.
Does your remote workplace culture impact your company?
According to Harvard Business Review, an organization’s cultural norms have far-reaching effects. They determine what’s encouraged, accepted, discouraged, and rejected within a group. A well-defined organizational culture can provide team members with a shared purpose and help a company thrive.
The same research shows that leading with culture may be among the most impactful strategies companies can use today to gain a sustained competitive advantage.
Your remote workplace culture affects every aspect of your company, including your team members’:
According to a recent global survey of 3,200 workers in over 40 countries, 67 percent said that culture is more important than strategy or operations. In addition, 69 percent credit company culture for their success during 2021.
Tech site Built-In highlights that 47 percent of active job seekers say that company culture is their “driving reason” for seeking a new job.
Many companies sometimes think culture should take a backseat and that their main focus should be on profits. But you should know that team member satisfaction directly affects your bottom line.
According to Fortune, companies with strong cultures have experienced a “4x increase in revenue growth.” In addition, companies in Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list “see higher average annual returns as high as 495 percent.”
Why is a positive global remote workplace culture important to long-term success?
Your company culture involves every aspect of your company. If you have fostered a good company culture, even remote team members on the other side of the world will reap the benefits. On the other hand, if you have not looked after your company culture, it can create negative ripple effects felt by your teams across the globe.
Your remote work culture needs to mirror your company values and goals. The tricky part is learning how to take what you’ve created in an office and adjust it for your remote local and global team members.
How can you transition a traditional company culture to a global remote company culture?
During Globalization Partners’ annual conference, Allie Kovalik, Senior Community and Culture Manager for Globalization Partners, posed this same question to Lanie Denslow, a cross-cultural expert who trains companies and teams to work across borders.
“The mindset has to change, the details have to change, and it’s a company-wide process. The person or group responsible for leading this shift is really the senior management, because the shift has to start at the top, and then it will funnel all through the company, if and when it’s done well,” said Denslow.
Those executive teams that are able to shepherd their organizations through a successful international expansion do it with a new awareness, acceptance of different cultural norms, an adaptable working style, and the simple ability to be curious.
What are the biggest challenges of building a solid international remote work culture?
Cultural differences shouldn’t be an afterthought if you want to foster a positive remote workplace culture for your international company. Navigating cultural differences is one of the top HR considerations for international expansion. However, according to Denslow, one of the most significant issues entrepreneurs run into with international relations is failing to anticipate any cultural differences at all.
Consider the following ways culture can impact individual employees and companies:
- Communication: How people greet each other, how direct they are, the body language and nonverbal cues they use, how they communicate in writing, and more are all influenced by linguistic and cultural heritage.
- Working styles: You may also notice differences from culture to culture regarding typical working styles. For example, some cultures tend to emphasize individualism, while others value collectivism, leading to working styles that are either more independent or more collaborative.
- Values: A country’s religious ideals, political movements, folk tales, famous philosophers, and many other influences embed specific values and priorities into a culture.
- Management: Organizational hierarchies and management styles often differ between cultures. Some team members may respond better to a more authoritative leadership style, while others may be more accustomed to a more egalitarian style.
- Time perception: The way people perceive time likely has a lot to do with their culture. Attitudes toward time can influence whether people stress punctuality, deadlines, and short-term goals, or follow a more flexible schedule with a focus on longer-term goals.
How can you nurture a remote workplace culture while dealing with the complexities of global business?
Fostering an excellent remote company culture can have a profound and long-term positive effect on your company. However, there are several issues specific to building a global workforce that companies must overcome before they can accomplish this.
To have a global remote workplace culture, the first hurdle to tackle is hiring global team members, which involves:
- International entity setup.
- Following country-specific laws.
- Ensuring global compliance.
- Navigating an international talent pool.
As if these challenges were not enough, these steps repeat in every country, which makes global growth a colossal undertaking that usually leaves companies unable to focus on shaping and enhancing their remote culture.
These obstacles are why working with global partners is ideal. A trusted partner can help you put aside these concerns and related expenses, particularly those associated with setting up international entities and finding global talent.
How can a global employment platform help you improve your remote work culture?
Simply put, Globalization Partners’ global employment platform removes the obstacles between you and global talent, significantly reducing your time to market.
Our AI-enabled global employment technology is fully compliant with employment, tax, and licensing laws in 187 countries, enabling companies to hire internationally in seconds instead of months. Once you are free from global logistics and have access to technology that makes international ventures more affordable and accessible, your experience is enhanced significantly. A global employment platform allows you to focus 100 percent on building and managing your remote teams. More time with your teams translates to better communication and engagement and, ultimately, the best global experience.
To gain an edge on your global growth, we invite you to learn more about our global employment platform and managing global remote teams.