5 min read
If your organisation is anything like Reward Gateway and you have offices in different countries, in multiple timezones and packed with talent from diverse backgrounds, then you know the challenges of helping your offices feel connected. I've felt these challenges firsthand: as a member of our Melbourne team, it's easy to feel a whole world away from my peers in the UK and US.
Each location can have its own culture, but you may have to work a little harder to make global culture feel just as impactful to those you may not see every day.
Over the years, we’ve had a lot of experience with connecting our people, with eight offices in five countries, and as a member of the Culture Team here in Australia, I wanted to share some of these ideas with you.
|1. Celebrate the uniqueness of each location|
|2. Appoint champions to drive collaboration|
|3. Remember to socialise|
|4. Recognise success across the globe|
|5. Practice open and honest communications|
|6. Acknowledge time differences|
Celebrate the uniqueness of each location
We love having a reason to celebrate in our office – and trying new foods of course. Our experience managers have taken on the task of integrating holidays from other offices into their own. So far this year we’ve celebrated Pancake Day, shared each country’s favourite chocolate, .
All you need is a little idea-sharing and a calendar to make things happen – planning your events ahead of time will not only save you time but help you collaborate with the other offices in your company. Everyone felt like they learned or tried something new, helping us improve the employee experience with employee feedback.
Appoint champions to drive collaboration
Does your office have culture champions? The most important element while creating a team of champions is making sure there is representation from every office. You can nominate members or ask for volunteers that are willing to set aside some time at least once a month to work with their peers located around the globe.
These conversations can be centred around events, communications and activities that will happen in every geo.
Your champions are in charge of creating excitement for the activities and getting the word out to their local colleagues. The group can also play a role in gathering and communicating feedback to leadership.
Your champions can take form as a culture team or as experience managers, the name isn’t too important as long as they are championing a connected culture.
Remember to socialise
It doesn’t have to be all about work, work, work. Allowing some time to connect about topics outside of work deepens connections among your people. At work, we are all busy but prioritising asking someone how their weekend was will tell you about their hobbies, family and even travels.
Make a goal for yourself and try to set aside a few minutes during your meetings to socialise with your colleagues, especially those that you don’t normally see in person. You may be surprised that it encourages expression and actually benefits productivity.
Recognise successes across the globe
At Reward Gateway, employees can head to our employee engagement platform for their daily dose of success. Employees can find announcements, moments of recognition and company targets being smashed, all front and centre.
Making wins visible to everyone creates a celebratory atmosphere where colleagues, no matter what office they sit in, are all steering the boat in the same direction.
Another way to celebrate your people is by taking advantage of upcoming holidays or special moments. Our Experience Managers produce video messages and push them onto large screens in our different offices, to recognise birthdays, anniversaries, and welcome visitors – all this increases visibility.
We keep events and initiatives rolling on the screens in our offices. This keeps the content the viewers are receiving current and exposes them to the things happening in every office to reinforce celebrations and connections.
Practice open and honest communications
How do you get employees to communicate? We recognise that continuous communication removes office silos, allows our employees to keep in touch and fosters better connections.
Even if you aren’t communicating directly with a colleague at the time, you can take advantage of communications to stay in the loop.
Maybe you decide to join a Slack channel created by another office or if you have an employee communications platform, you can stay up to date with posts made by colleagues in different countries.
This allows the reader to feel part of their organisation outside of their office and who knows, you may become privy to a new idea or opinion you wouldn’t have had access to before.
Acknowledge time differences
Time differences always get in the way of busy schedules when collaborating across offices but it is important to make sure that there isn’t just one person bearing the burden of late night or early morning meetings.
You want your employees to be excited about working with their peers near and far, so if it is possible to trade off the inconveniently-scheduled meetings, the person on the other end of your call will be more than appreciative.
Connecting your global workforce isn’t something that happens overnight, but with the right tools in place and a lot of collaboration, you will begin to nurture your office culture and foster deeper connections. I’d love to hear some of the ways you connect your employees in the comments section below!