How to Keep Your International Employees Motivated | Teami

How to Keep Your International Employees Motivated

Expert guidance on motivating and retaining international employees through tailored strategies and cultural awareness.

Motivating international teams poses unique challenges with diverse needs across borders. This article provides targeted guidance to optimize engagement and retention for global employees.

Learn proven compensation strategies calibrated to local norms, safety best practices adapted for regional risks, and techniques to foster an inclusive environment embracing cultural differences. Get actionable advice on providing adequate leisure time catering to cultural perspectives, while introducing flexibility into roles to prevent burnout. Gain insights from surveys and research on international teams. With care and intention, any multinational organization can motivate their global workforce. 

The Role of Salary in Motivation

Compensation is a complex but critical factor in motivating and retaining international talent. As companies expand their global footprint, they must rethink compensation strategies to attract top talent worldwide and account for vastly different salary norms and living standards across countries.

Importance of Competitive Pay

Offering competitive pay is key to attracting the best global talent. International candidates assess job offers not just by the role but by how the salary compares to prevailing local rates for similar positions in their country.

Underpaying based on global HQ standards leads to lower applicant interest. Once hired, underpaid international staff often have lower engagement or high turnover as they find better local offers. Competitive salaries signal a company values its global workforce and understands local market dynamics.

Beyond just base pay, international hires look at the overall compensation package - bonuses, equity, benefits, and perks. These must be calibrated to local practices. Bonuses tied to global revenue goals may not incentivize those in emerging markets. 

Equity should account for lower salaries in some geographies. Premium healthcare, retirement benefits and perks like remote work show investment in international team members.

Getting pay right also enables access to specialized talent like engineers, designers and digital marketers that command premium salaries globally. Candidates with niche skill sets have options and won't consider roles not meeting their expected compensation.

Adjusting Salaries Based on Living Standards

Multinational companies often misstep by paying international hires an equivalent salary to domestic staff. But this ignores huge variances in living standards and typical pay by country.

For cost of living adjustments, firms should benchmark local pay norms for each role. Software engineers or product managers in Berlin or Barcelona expect very different base salaries than their counterparts in Bucharest or Bogota. 

Salaries must be adjusted upwards for roles based in high cost of living cities like London, Tokyo, or San Francisco.

Typical pay norms also vary by country - US tech salaries outpace Europe. And within countries, pay scales differ between roles and sectors. Companies need to thoroughly research prevailing local compensation for each position in the countries where new hires are based.

The goal is to calibrate international salaries so team members enjoy a similar standard of living. Undercompensating based on false equivalency breeds resentment. Overcompensating strains budgets. Nuanced alignment to local pay reality optimizes motivation.

Employee Perspectives on Salary

Surveys consistently show competitive pay is among the top factors influencing job satisfaction for international employees. They want salaries matching their experience and credentials - even if absolute amounts differ between countries due to economic variations.

Workers taking overseas assignments want to know the pay properly accounts for the added complexities of an international move, like culture shock or separation from family. Underpaying risks poorer performance or early departure back home.

No employee, at home or abroad, wants to feel undervalued. Salary signifies how organizations value individual contributions. When the pay feels misaligned to their role, international team members question their worth. On the flip side, fair pay spurs loyalty, engagement and retention.

For multinational teams, perceptions of equity also matter. Properly calibrated local salaries help avoid rigidity or animosity between global peers. Getting international compensation strategies right has symbolic significance beyond purely financial motivations.

Ensuring Employee Safety

For multinational companies, safety is both a legal and ethical obligation that encompasses physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. Fostering an environment where international employees feel protected should be a top priority.

Creating a Safe Work Environment

Providing a safe work environment means assessing facilities, equipment, policies, and protocols with the diverse needs of a global workforce in mind.

Start with the basics - ensure all office spaces and machinery meet local safety laws, corporate safety standards and ergonomic best practices. Facilities teams should proactively inspect for risks while providing proper ventilation, lighting, protective gear, first aid, and fire prevention.

For remote employees, offer guidance on creating a safe home office. Conduct virtual safety reviews. Provide stipends for ergonomic equipment if needed.

Look at operations and equipment through the lens of different cultures to spot potential gaps - are safety signs universally comprehensible? Are machines designed for people of all sizes? Involve international employees in safety reviews.

Build a culture of safety through training on workplace protocols and emergency response in multiple languages. Set clear, widely communicated policies around harassment, discrimination, violence prevention and health standards. Empower and encourage employees to report issues without fear of retaliation.

Addressing Unique Safety Concerns

International team members may face distinct safety considerations that companies need to identify and address.

For expats or short-term assignees, help arrange safe, comfortable housing and transportation. Share emergency contact info and community resources. Have HR check in regularly on their experience. Facilitate introductions to local staff.

Provide cultural training to build understanding across geographies and prevent workplace discrimination. Unconscious biases may be exhibited even with good intent. Foster an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds.

Research any unique security risks for staff abroad such as crime, political instability or health epidemics. Develop contingencies like emergency evacuation plans and health safeguards as warranted.

Proactively survey international employees to surface unforeseen safety gaps and identify areas for improvement. Empower people to raise concerns without judgment.

Feedback from International Employees

In surveys, international employees consistently rank safety as a top priority - both physical security and emotional wellbeing.

Many report language gaps and cultural misunderstandings resulting in workplace harassment or discrimination. They emphasize the importance of culturally sensitive training and reporting policies.

Others cite concerns about inadequate health and safety protocols or equipment. They want more transparent communication and assurance from leadership that any safety incidents will be addressed seriously, with learnings applied globally.

The core takeaway is international staff want to feel companies prioritize their wellbeing equitably across regions. Dedicated efforts to safeguard all employees are recognized and valued. Proactive safety measures foster engagement, productivity and retention.

Importance of Leisure Time

For multinational organizations, enabling a healthy work-life balance means respecting cultural attitudes around leisure time and providing adequate paid time off. Companies that support satisfying lives outside of work reap rewards in employee engagement, morale and retention.

Balancing Work and Leisure

International employees may be accustomed to more vacation days, greater separation between work and life, and different cultural norms around appropriate work hours.

Companies should clearly communicate paid time off policies and expectations around work hours and availability to set the right expectations with global team members. Be flexible within reason to accommodate varied needs – sabbaticals or holidays specific to different nationalities demonstrate care for global teams.

Enable employees to completely disconnect while on vacation or off duty. Discourage off-hours contact except in true emergencies. Model work-life balance behaviors starting from the leadership level.

Foster a culture that recognizes leisure time as essential for mental health and sustained productivity. Burnout from overwork often leads to turnover, while well-rested teams perform better over the long run.

Cultural Differences in Leisure Activities

Leisure preferences differ based on an individual’s cultural values and norms. Europeans may prize multi-week holidays while Americans take shorter, more frequent breaks. Some cultures favor public activities while others prefer home-based relaxation or spiritual practices.

Make efforts to understand the specific leisure interests that matter most to international staff. Foster connections between global peers around shared hobbies or pastimes. Enable participation in cultural traditions.

Allow flexibility where possible in granting time off for major holidays and events specific to different nationalities. Acknowledge culturally significant dates and encourage celebration.

Benefits of Leisure for Employee Well-being

Leisure activities provide diverse physical, mental and emotional health benefits. Pursuing hobbies they enjoy allows employees to manage stress and return to work feeling energized and engaged.

Studies demonstrate leisure boosts life satisfaction, learning and relationships. It stimulates creativity that individuals can apply back on the job. Down time allows the mind to process experiences and solidify memories.

The collective result is higher performance, morale and loyalty from international team members. Supporting balanced, fulfilling lives shows employees they are valued as more than just workers. A global workforce renewed by leisure becomes a competitive advantage.

Fostering a Friendly Working Environment

For multinational teams, creating a positive, inclusive workplace culture is vital for engagement, innovation and retention. Companies should make concerted, ongoing efforts to build an environment where all employees feel welcomed, valued and empowered to do their best work.

Building a Positive Workplace Culture

A friendly, caring workplace facilitates collaboration, trust and productivity. Start with the basics - provide comfortable, inspiring workspaces and helpful digital tools. Empower employees to customize their spaces to feel “at home”.

Promote team bonding through frequent social events, mentorship programs, and peer recognition. Celebrate group and individual wins, milestones and achievements to build momentum.

Set clear guidelines on mutual respect, while maintaining zero tolerance for discrimination. Encourage candid communication and transparency from leadership. Quickly address any sources of negativity or toxicity.

Onboard international hires with care - introduce them to key contacts and resources. Check in regularly to address any issues. Assign local mentors to provide guidance.

Surprise and delight with small gestures like welcome gifts, snacks or mementos from home countries. A little extra thoughtfulness makes a lasting impression.

Addressing Cultural Sensitivities

Proactively addressing cultural sensitivities is key for a harmonious workplace. Ensure domestic employees complete training on collaborating across cultures. Refresh periodically as the team evolves.

Show international colleagues they are valued by acknowledging important holidays and events. Be flexible with time off requests. Provide resources to celebrate diverse occasions.

Regularly assess language needs to optimize access and inclusion. Offer interpreters for meetings when needed. Localize communications using plain, universally understood language.

Intervene quickly to resolve any conflicts due to cross-cultural misunderstandings. Use it as a coaching opportunity to improve cultural fluency.

Feedback on Workplace Environment

Surveys consistently show a caring, welcoming environment is a top priority for international staff.

Global employees appreciate efforts to facilitate social connections and team bonding. Mentorship and buddy programs provide valuable guidance while forging friendships.

Many emphasize the significance of sensitivity training and zero tolerance policies on discrimination or harassment. Any perceived inequities or slights are demoralizing. Proactive education and swift response to issues is warranted.

The key takeaway - a little extra care in nurturing an inclusive culture makes international team members feel valued and excited to bring their best selves to work. A friendly workplace becomes a competitive advantage.

Addressing Job Monotony

Introducing greater variety and flexibility into work helps engage international employees and prevent burnout. Individuals from different cultures often have diverse perspectives on job roles and responsibilities that multinational companies should aim to understand and accommodate.

Introducing Variety in Tasks

A key strategy to reduce monotony is job rotation, either through informal arrangements or structured programs. Give employees exposure to multiple functions by letting them cycle through different projects, teams and disciplines.

Facilitate lateral career moves to prevent stagnation. Support stretch assignments, sabbaticals and internal transfers to roles aligned with employee passions.

Vary daily tasks by blending solo focus work with brainstorming sessions. Have cross-training programs where employees teach others their skills to diversify perspectives.

Empower staff to occasionally work from different locations or adjust hours. Even small changes of scenery keep things fresh.

Gamify monotonous tasks by introducing competitions, social incentives or personal goals. Reward those who go above and beyond to master mundane responsibilities.

Cultural Perspectives on Job Roles

Cultural norms and values influence how employees perceive job functions and attitudes toward responsibility. For instance, some Asian cultures prize collective effort over individual recognition, while Nordic countries value work-life balance.

Strive to understand nuanced differences across cultures in perspectives on collaboration, autonomy, risk-taking, work ethic, leadership styles, recognition, work-life integration, process adherence, decision making, quality over speed, and more.

Discuss role expectations transparently during the hiring process and onboarding. Encourage staff to share preferences and concerns. Compromise where possible to optimize engagement across geographies.

Feedback on Job Variety

Surveys consistently show international hires value variety as a key job satisfier and driver of engagement. Monotony is commonly cited as a top dissatisfier.

However, opinions differ on the ideal amount of variety based on cultural norms. Employees from collectivist cultures may resist too much autonomy. Those from rigid hierarchies expect direction.

The key is understanding individual motivations and optimizing job design accordingly. Blend consistency with flexibility.

With care, listening and willingness to customize roles, companies can provide the diversity global team members seek to stay challenged and invested across geographies.

In Summary

Onboarding international employees requires dedicated effort, but done right it enables organizations to build globally inclusive and high-performing teams. This article provided comprehensive, research-backed guidance on getting international employee onboarding right.

Several key themes emerged across the sections. First, competitive compensation calibrated to local standards is crucial for motivation and retention. Ensuring workplace safety meets global norms while addressing unique regional risks also remains paramount.

Additionally, providing adequate leisure time aligned to cultural norms, and nurturing an inclusive environment sensitive to diverse backgrounds, emerged as vital for engagement and satisfaction. Finally, incorporating variety and flexibility into work roles can help prevent burnout across geographies.

In summary, when onboarding global talent, aims to understand cultural perspectives, customize the experience, and proactively address sensitivities. Invest time upfront to set international hires up for success. The payoff is accessing the best talent worldwide, and building cohesive multinational teams positioned for innovation and impact.

With care, intention and respect for differences, any organization can onboard international employees effectively. Heed the guidance in this article, and avoid common missteps. Commit to continuous improvement as challenges arise. The reward is unleashing the full potential of your global workforce.

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