Our digital society, cloud-based technology, and the rise of the remote workforce have contributed to businesses becoming increasingly globalized. The number of U.S. workers employed by international companies increased by 22 percent between 2007 and 2015, according to recent research.
For those looking to grow their career with an international company, it can be an extremely valuable opportunity. However, it can also come with unique challenges. Use the following quick and easy tips to successfully work for an international company.
Get Equipped for the Global Workforce
If you want to get ahead in a competitive international company, it’s important to equip yourself with a global mindset. Being able to develop a global viewpoint is a powerful advantage. While it might sound complex, it really comes down to simple shifts in your work style. Many daily occurrences such as running a meeting, your working hours, or even how you address coworkers can be completely different with an international team.
For example, you might have to plan ahead because emails or messages won’t be answered on the same day. Conversely, digital meetings or collaboration might be different than what you’re used to. Bottom line—a flexible attitude, willingness to learn, and patience will go a long way when you work across borders and timezones.
Understand Culture Differences
You don’t necessarily have to be fluent in a foreign language (even Skype has robust translating options). It’s far more valuable to make an effort to understand the culture. An enhanced cultural awareness can also translate directly into management skills that can help you work with and lead internationally diverse teams.
Make an effort to develop cross-cultural understanding. Even just an hour’s research on cultural differences or specific communication cues will go a long way when interacting with your coworkers. Observing respect for a diverse culture is an invaluable business tactic. Refer to this guide from FastCompany on running meetings with international colleagues for even more tips.
If you want to take it one step further, consider seeking out a cultural mentor or coach. Try asking around to find a fellow employee that is well-versed in the different locals that your company operates in. Buy them coffee and pick their brain.
Learn The Art Of Negotiation
The ability to be a master of negotiation is a critical business skill. More times than not, a negotiation begins on a level playing field. However, since both parties have every intent to win, what is the best way to proceed successfully?
Try bolstering your negotiation skills with games like poker. Mats Johnson, Executive Director for Global Poker, explains: “Poker is a strategy game. The idea behind poker is to play each hand as perfectly as possible—and sometimes that means driving your opponent to play their hand as imperfectly as possible.”
Using poker as your training tool, try the following additional tips to apply the art of negotiation to your international workplace.
- Establish the relationship: Before ever moving into negotiation talks, always establishes the relationship first. By doing this, you can get a proper read on the person you are dealing with.
- Build trust: Establishing respect early on in a meeting allows the negotiating party to see you as a valuable counterpart and lays the foundation for building trust. Trust is the key to a successful negotiation in any culture.
- Become A win-win negotiator: If you walk into a negotiation only thinking of yourself, your efforts will be unsuccessful. Having a clear understanding of what all parties need and working towards an agreeable consensus is crucial. Working out of a win-lose mindset stifles creativity and creates limited thinking. At the end of the day, all negotiating parties should find themselves on the same side of the fence.
Work Effectively With Your International Team
There’s definitely a learning curve when working for an international company, especially the first time. If you approach your new position with patience, willingness to learn, and establish skills (like negotiation) that translate across cultures, you’ll be much better prepared to succeed.