Workflow of the Week: Workflow Automation for Managing Global Teams
Looking to cultivate a consistent, cohesive brand experience for employees and customers worldwide using workflow automation?
Global teams provide organizations with tremendous opportunities to support their customers around the clock and around the world, but a decentralized or extended team also produces its own unique challenges. After fifteen years researching global teams, HBR’s Tsedal Neeley explains that managing employees from varying geographic and functional backgrounds can present gaps in communication, understanding, and cooperation – sometimes even resulting in distrust.
His research further reveals that the biggest challenge with global teams relates to social dynamics — and these are exacerbated by clumsy technologies, time zone differences, and divergences around the perceived identity of the organization for whom these various actors work.
Enter Workflow Automation: Your Go-To Solution for Managing Global Teams
While strong leadership is critical for navigating the unique challenges that arise among global teams, leadership depends on a cohesive company culture and consistent communication across the organization. One way leaders navigate a loose collection of teams across time zones and cultures is through workflow automation. Workflow automation standardizes operating procedures while also providing opportunities to accommodate and adapt to differences.
For example, workflow automation saves HR teams hundreds of hours by creating logically interdependent pathways for new hires to travel down. When someone is hired, their paperwork is automatically routed through HR, legal, and their soon-to-be manager for reviews, approvals, and a perfect first day. When teams are global, rules and regulations for onboarding can change, but with workflow automation, these changes can all be accommodated automatically and on the back-end. This not only saves HR managers time and prevents errors (and non-compliance) with legal requirements, but also ensures a consistent, branded onboarding experience so that all employees, regardless of their location, know that they are part of the same team.
Workflow Automation for round-the-clock problem solving
Globally distributed teams offer the advantage of round-the-clock problem solving, whether on customer-facing tickets or internal projects. But one downside to distributed time zones is that sometimes a crucial office is based in the headquarters and not as accessible to satellite branches. It can be frustrating for teams to wait 24 hours before getting a response from the legal department in HQ, and this delay can lead to the feelings that Teeley outlines in his article as a “power imbalance,” or insiders and outsiders.
With workflow automation, requests made in one location can be routed to the appropriate team member based on logic-informed triaging and time-based escalations, so that employees can direct their questions and requests as efficiently as possible. Workflow automation supports a cohesive and synchronized diffuse team by bringing players together with opportunities for collaboration, feedback, and self-service models of support.
Additionally, workflows serve as portals for frequently-asked questions, giving users quick access to the information they need, when they need it. Some other examples of workflow automation benefits include:
- Access to self-service templates so that users can easily download boilerplate copy, letterheads, logos, and more.
- Options and opportunities for feedback so that users can offer insight into what is working and what can be improved.
- In-process data to assign tasks based on workload and eliminate bottlenecks.