Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the day-to-day decisions we make have ripple effects outside of the office. On the Salesforce web team, we make conscious efforts to ensure that we are always thinking bigger than the United States. As we continue to expand as a company, the importance of organizational alignment and global collaboration among remote, regional, and headquarter-based teams is imperative to having a successful global website. There’s a lot we can share and learn from each other — whether it’s overcoming project obstacles or launching a top-performing campaign.
I’ve summarized into three steps how you build trust and foster relationships between your international and remote teams for better collaboration.
Treat your international counterparts like an extension of your team. If a communication process hasn’t been established already, reach out and create one. It can be as simple as a biweekly meeting or a formal weekly call with members of both teams. That way, teams can stay up-to-date on relevant projects and provide different perspectives during brainstorm discussions.
“If we didn’t collaborate, we would need to reinvent the wheel every time we do something. This would mean wasting a lot of time,” says Olivier Lacroix, Campaigns Web Experience Manager at Salesforce for the EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa) region. “Being able to plan more, anticipate issues we are going to have, and foresee resources we are going to need helps minimize negative impacts on the business.” By creating a relationship with international counterparts, you can establish greater trust, making knowledge sharing easier and more enjoyable in the process.
There's a clear difference between working with people you’ve met before and working with someone you’ve only contacted over the phone or by e-mail. Different countries speak in a variety of tones and styles. In some cultures, one email could be seen as too straightforward, offensive, or even rude while it would be completely normal in others. Whenever possible, I recommend getting on a plane and meeting the team in-person. This will make it easier to get a full picture of the culture in context. Most importantly, it allows you to gain insight into your global counterparts’ priorities and goals, team dynamic, and how their processes may differ from yours — something that can't be observed through online meetings.
When remote workers visit you, make an effort to be a good host. Spending time with teams outside of work allows you to foster relationships beyond superficial conversations. In fact, it brings everyone closer together and allows greater collaboration to happen naturally. From personal experience, being mindful of cultural differences and trying to understand how a decision may impact the international team is key in helping you become a more trusted partner.
Building relationships with remote team members means exchanging ideas, collaborating, and communicating regularly, even when you’re back at home. We work in such a fast-paced environment that e-mails or online collaboration tools simply are not enough to keep up with the speed of our business. Therefore, we have regular calls, meetings, and check-ins to ensure we continue to stay aligned. The frequency and the method of communication really depends on you, and it’s important to learn how remote workers prefer to communicate, especially if they are from a different culture or background. Perhaps certain teams like using email and Chatter posts, while others benefit more from a 30-minute conference call. Understand what works best for your situation and create an comfortable environment where communication flows easily.
Creating trust and developing relationships is at the heart of all that Salesforce does. Reinforcing that ethos with our fellow employees, regardless of time zone or region, only helps strengthen that culture of trust and respect. By staying engaged and growing together, you can act as one global team and take your company to new heights.