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Tips for SMEs in building and managing international teams

Australian business leaders prioritise growth over financial savings, yet face hurdles in securing skilled talent within existing markets.

While there is a strong inclination to work globally, language barriers, time zones, and tax and legal concerns emerge as potential obstacles to these aspirations. Globalization Partners (G-P) released its inaugural ‘Global Growth Report: The Rise of the Everywhere Workforce.’ The report sheds light on employee sentiments, expectations, and challenges faced by Australian businesses in their quest for international talent.

Key Findings

Employee Aspirations: Approximately 79% of Australian respondents express a strong interest in joining global corporations, with 69% actively seeking or considering new job opportunities in the next six months.

Executive Challenges: 75% of Australian executives encounter difficulties securing skilled talent domestically, prompting exploration of global opportunities. The National Skills Commission reports shortages, particularly in the IT sector.

Global Talent Acquisition: Despite a tight labor market, 46% of executives are actively exploring the recruitment of global talent. With impending immigration system changes, 70% are open to hiring talent from other countries.

Growth Focus: In the face of economic pressures, 73% of Australian executives remain committed to growth, surpassing the global average of 65%. Concerns include market competition, leadership mindset, and inflationary pressures.

Strategic Measures: To address talent shortages, Australian businesses consider enhancing compensation packages, expanding global recruitment, and investing in upskilling initiatives.

Australia is facing its tightest labour market in decades resulting from a confluence of factors including a post-pandemic slump and immigration constraints. The National Skills Commission has reported shortages across several professions, while the IT sector in particular is impacted; the Tech Council of Australia projects an additional 600,000 people are required in the sector to achieve its goal of 1.2 million people in tech jobs by 2030.   

“Significant talent shortages have impacted the Australian workforce in several sectors, including IT, construction, healthcare and more. This requires employers to take strategic actions to attract and retain the talent at risk of leaving in favour of global opportunities. These measures include enhancing compensation packages, expanding their global recruitment reach and investing in upskilling initiatives,” saidCharles Ferguson, General Manager, G-P Asia Pacific.

“Embracing a global mindset, thinking beyond geographical boundaries, and creating a workplace culture that fosters international teamwork will not only help overcome talent limitations but also position businesses in Australia for sustainable growth and success in an increasingly interconnected world,” he said. 

Employee Perspectives on Global Companies

Attractions: Australians are drawn to global companies for diverse work environments (51%), travel or work abroad opportunities (48%), and better pay and benefits (45%).

Concerns: Potential obstacles include language or cultural barriers (43%), time zone challenges (39%), and tax/legal considerations (28%).

Work Preferences: 21% of Australian employees are open to team location flexibility, showcasing a progressive approach to an everywhere workforce.

Leadership in Global Teams

Clear Boundaries: For teams across multiple time zones, 92% emphasize the necessity of clear boundaries, with 51% preferring leaders online during some working hours.

Inclusive Leadership: Half of respondents expect leaders to tailor company updates to diverse time zones, and 44% emphasize leaders making in-person visits to global regions.

Management Attributes: Australians value leaders’ adaptability (56%), creativity and problem-solving (51%), and empathy and compassion (51%) for effective global team management.

AI Integration Concerns

Reluctance: While 68% of Australian businesses integrate AI, 82% of survey respondents express reluctance. Concerns include fears of devaluation (41%) and potential extra workload (33%).

Generational Views: 52% believe AI benefits employers, while 48% think it benefits employees. However, 85% of boomers believe AI primarily favors employers.

Improvement Areas: Employees see AI improvement potential in predicting business challenges (43%), understanding new laws (42%), and identifying legal or compliance risks (42%).

How to foster global team integration

Encouraging and integrating overseas employees is crucial for the success of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) expanding globally. Here are some strategies they can employ:

Cultural Sensitivity Training:

Provide cultural sensitivity training to both local and overseas employees to foster understanding and respect for diverse perspectives and work styles.

Clear Communication Channels:

Establish clear communication channels to bridge language gaps. Ensure that all employees have access to tools that facilitate effective communication, such as language translation software or interpreters if needed.

Remote Onboarding Programs:

Develop comprehensive onboarding programs specifically designed for remote employees. Provide virtual tours of the workplace, introductions to team members, and thorough training on company culture, policies, and procedures.

Global Collaboration Platforms:

Implement collaboration platforms that facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among team members, regardless of their geographical locations. Tools like video conferencing, project management software, and messaging apps can enhance connectivity.

Cross-Cultural Mentorship:

Establish cross-cultural mentorship programs where local employees mentor their overseas counterparts, fostering a sense of belonging and providing guidance on company norms and practices.

Flexible Working Arrangements:

Embrace flexible working arrangements to accommodate different time zones. Allow for staggered work hours or flexible schedules to ensure that overseas employees can participate in team meetings and activities.

Inclusive Policies:

Implement inclusive policies that consider the needs and cultural differences of overseas employees. This includes policies related to work hours, holidays, and other benefits.

Regular Check-ins:

Schedule regular check-ins between local managers and overseas employees. These meetings can help address concerns, provide feedback, and ensure that overseas team members feel connected and supported.

Global Team Building Activities:

Organize virtual team-building activities to strengthen relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie among team members. This can include online games, virtual coffee breaks, or collaborative projects.

Recognition and Rewards Programs:

Implement recognition and rewards programs that acknowledge the contributions of overseas employees. This can boost morale and create a positive work environment across different locations.

Training and Professional Development:

Offer training and professional development opportunities for overseas employees to enhance their skills and stay aligned with the company’s goals. This can include virtual workshops, webinars, and access to online courses.

Global Employee Resource Groups:

Establish employee resource groups that connect employees with similar backgrounds or interests, providing a sense of community and support for overseas staff.

Download the G-P Global Growth Report here to learn more about the opportunities and challenges of global growth. For more information on how global growth technology can help achieve business goals, visit:

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