4 ways globalization is affecting your teams


Globalization is having an impact on many things in the workplace, including your teams: How they communicate, support each other, and their performance. Here’s why.

Global business concept. Communication network.

Image: metamorworks, Getty Images/iStockphoto

We often hear about globalization and the impact it has on our personal lives, our finances, how we make purchases, and our access to information. But it also has an impact in the workplace and how our teams interact. Globalization is the way businesses operate around the world. It’s how every business is connected to other businesses and how they trade goods and services with other countries. 

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Globalization has an effect on teams in these four fundamental ways.

Coping with change

Globalization generates change, and these days, there’s much more of it than most people are comfortable with. Change is all around us, at home, and in the workplace. Where we do our work, how we do work, meet, and collaborate has changed. Some of those changes are temporary, but many may be here to stay. Changes can create a significant amount of uncertainty and fear that may not be easy for team members to grapple with–especially as it relates to their jobs. 

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When changes occur, your teams may be shifting their focus from the tasks at hand to their anxieties. Their angst can be quashed with open and transparent communication from business and project leaders. It’s also wise to involve change management and human resource experts in the dialogue so it can help your teams cope better with change. 

Remaining compassionate

As changes take place from globalization, news has a way of stirring up emotions—even those that are destructive to your teams. These feelings can decrease compassion among team members and threaten even the strongest relationships. As events around the world unfold, it will take a conscious effort from your business, project, and human resource leaders to continue to strengthen team bonds. This can be done through in-house training and active two-way team or one-on-one discussions. Without it, compassion can quickly turn into resentment and derail projects and processes. 

Maintaining a team connection

Teams that are able to build and maintain a strong connection to each other and how they affect one another are far more likely to achieve success. Globalization can come between team members through fear of the unknown. It could be that team members feel their jobs are at risk and might be outsourced. Maybe they think their jobs may become more difficult to do because the competition is coming up with new ideas that might change the status quo. 

SEE: How team diversity can improve project success rates (TechRepublic)

Regardless of the reasons, change increases fear, and fear can disrupt the connection between team members. Similar to maintaining compassion, maintaining a connection within teams requires deliberate effort by leaders. It means leaders will need to help teams focus on what they have in common rather than their differences. What they can achieve and how they can win as a team. Productivity and innovation can only take place when teams are working together toward a common goal. 

Communicating effectively

Communication is the single most important element in maintaining a solid and cohesive team. Yet, it is often the first thing to fall by the wayside as globalization sheds light on differences among team members. When teams struggle with their differences, their communication style and frequency changes—and not for the best. It’s during times of change that more care should be taken. Project managers can help team members maintain respect for one another by setting team and communication rules and guidelines. It’s equally important to communicate changes on the horizon and how those changes might affect your teams. 

SEE: How team diversity can improve project success rates (TechRepublic)

Globalization will continue to impact businesses and projects around the world. By helping your teams effectively cope, communicate, stay connected, and maintain compassion for one another, your projects, people, and the company will benefit. 

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