Hybrid Technology Teams in a Global Marketplace
The globalization of the world’s economy, coupled with the ever-increasing competition for global talent and an increase in remote workers has led to one notable shift amongst companies — expanding recruitment efforts beyond the location of their physical headquarters. Companies are turning to global talent for a host of reasons, most notably as a catalyst to expanding into new markets and remaining competitive in recruiting talent.
Even before our “new normal”, flexible work arrangements were already in high demand among the workforce and new applicants. Now in the post-COVID era, many companies are operating, out of necessity, in a remote work environment. While some have returned to the office, many companies, including major multinationals like Mondelez, Morgan Stanley and Google, are embracing a digital model that allows their teams to work from home across the world. For many companies, working remotely is now the new normal, as they don’t plan to return to a physical office or are significantly reducing office space.
Businesses are testing the waters in response to the growing demand for flexible work arrangements with hybrid teams. A hybrid team is a partly distributed workforce made up of flexible workers, where employees have the option to choose whether to work from an office, remotely or both. In the current digital age and during this new normal in particular, companies have the flexibility to expand their recruitment efforts globally — during a time when the physical location of employees holds even less importance.
However, the question of how hybrid teams can effectively work together remains for both employers and employees. And, while global talent offers companies many benefits, companies are likely to encounter several challenges along the way — such as keeping globally distributed teams connected, and more.
Hybrid Teams in the Digital Economy
The long-standing definition of a hybrid team has been a mix of co-located employees and remote workers. In the current digital economy however, this term has evolved to also include workers who want to split their time between working at the office and working at home. As discussed earlier, the increase in demand for flexible work arrangements has given rise to hybrid work environments amongst many companies.
With hybrid teams in place, companies are able to expand their recruiting efforts globally — better positioning themselves to expand to new markets and find the best talent. Furthermore, companies are also able to realize significant cost savings, as hiring globally often allows companies to acquire top talent for less than those resources might cost in local markets.
With the most qualified talent to do the job, and growing success in new markets, companies are delivering better results for their clients and customers, amongst other benefits related to the global shift to remote work.
Working with Global Talent
Companies that hire global talent can take advantage of significant cost and efficiency savings. Outsourcing work is often associated exclusively with cost savings due to differences in wages from country to country. While this is certainly true, cost savings are not a byproduct of lower wages alone, but are also closely linked to the high quality and efficiency of talent that global recruitment efforts can help identify. When companies expand their recruitment efforts beyond just one or a limited number of talent pools, they are able to reap the benefits of being matched with the best talent for their needs.
Often, companies navigating new markets encounter many external challenges to do with producing, marketing, and selling their products or services. However, with a roster of global talent, companies are better placed to expand to new markets. These employees bring their language skills, cultural aptitude, and general knowledge of the landscape of a particular market — competencies that are difficult to find amongst individuals who have not lived or grown up in a specific part of the world.
While hiring global talent allows companies to stay competitive in new and existing markets, it also serves to better position companies as high-ranking employers in the globally competitive search for talent. Greater global recruitment efforts translate to better employer brand recognition and as a result, the ability to attract and retain the best global talent.
Finally, companies that hire global talent operate with a diversity advantage. Companies with diverse workforces benefit from the many and varying perspectives of their employees that inform product and service decisions. Further, companies that employ diverse talent better understand and show empathy to their customers — thanks to the breadth of experiences and different lenses that their employees apply in day-to-day operations.
While hiring global talent translates into many benefits, it may also present companies with various challenges along the way. While many of these challenges are often unavoidable, companies that are able to identify them at the outset are better positioned for success.
The Potential Pitfalls of Hiring Abroad
Above, we mentioned that companies that hire global talent benefit from a diverse pool of language skills and cultural experiences. While this is certainly true, this can also present challenges for companies, particularly where language and cultural differences are profound — or a company is facing this challenge for the first time. Language and cultural barriers within a company can impact employee relationships, as well as productivity and employee satisfaction. Therefore, companies must consider how to incorporate more inclusive and sensitive practices into the day-to-day.
Next, recruiting global talent may very well be a challenge on its own. Companies may be unaware of where to find the best employees, or discover that the resources that are reliable in familiar markets may not be as effective in new target markets. For example, research shows that the most common strategy for new talent recruitment is using job boards, however these job postings were also found to be the least effective recruitment channels in 2018. Companies must therefore pursue customized solutions for hiring global talent, including customized campaigns and professional recruiters.
It comes as no surprise that teams that operate in different parts of the world must regularly navigate time zone differences. Depending on where talent is located, these differences may be more or less of an obstacle to navigate. As a result, it is vital that companies invest in creating and managing workflows, as well as company culture across multiple locations, countries, languages, and time zones.
Finally, in a remote work environment, there will inevitably be less social connection between employees, where regular social interactions are difficult or impossible to replicate virtually. Where this is the case, a weak company culture and little social interaction within the company may impact employee morale, as well as potentially exacerbate underlying issues related to the language and cultural barriers discussed earlier. A recent study shows that virtual teams often report feeling left out and that their colleagues don’t treat them equally. Similarly, companies that work with global talent are much more likely to encounter these challenges. As a result, employees who feel connected and valued is of utmost importance, as is ensuring that these sentiments can be communicated in a remote work environment.
In today’s volatile markets, particularly in light of recent events that have shifted workforces to remote work environments, companies must compete on a global scale. As such, companies that hope to remain competitive need to think global, particularly as it relates to their recruitment efforts.
When it comes to working with global technology teams, going with the lowest bidder in the lowest labor cost market has proven to be unproductive for many companies. From startup to the Fortune 100 there are stories about project delivery deadlines being missed, budgets blown, and even complete abandonment of code due to unresolvable quality problems. The market has now evolved to reinject the fundamentals of good project management, local leadership, proper process, and acceptance of the multi-faceted considerations of building a high performance hybrid team. Some companies take this complexity on internally and others find technology partners which can work alongside internal teams.
How the Hybrid Model Empowers Teams to Make Efficient Global Hires
A hybrid model gives companies greater flexibility and opens the door to an easily-manageable, global pool of talent. By letting a local, US-based contractor manage the relationship and workflow with talent from all over the world, you can get all the benefits of a talented, international workforce, without any additional management complications, hold-ups or potential misunderstandings. Essentially, you only have to work with one contact who optimally manages everything for you. In today’s digital age and the new normal, where many organizations want to tap into the international workforce but aren’t sure how to do so efficiently, combining a hybrid model with local management is a natural choice.
Despite the challenges highlighted above, companies that have hybrid teams in place can take advantage of significant opportunities in new markets and become able to hire the best global talent. A global workforce enables companies to not only reach new customers, but allows them to stay competitive as a global employer, and communicate with the audience in any market.
At the same time, it is critical for companies to address the potential challenges with accelerating and perfecting their execution by accessing global talent in order to be successful in today’s digital economy. To find out how to make the most out of hybrid teams and accelerate your technology project execution, contact us today to speak to one of our experts.