As a Global HR consultant, my job is to support the implementation of HR solutions anywhere in the world. We usually carry out this process with a multicultural and multidisciplinary team that will guide the company through all stages. But before starting, people experience very different emotions like curiosity, concerns, excitement and fear of the unknown.
To ensure the project success my experience tells me that it is necessary to guarantee the work effectiveness of each person and empower their good skills and abilities not only individually but also collectively. Furthermore, the key to start the project is BUILDING A TEAM.
The first step in building a team is to identify the team members together with the client. In principle, most of the tasks will be undertaken by the HR department, our usual partner, although the professionals of this area will work in a collaborative way with other areas: IT, finance, external consultants, sponsors, etc.
Therefore, it is very important that the various representatives of these areas feel as true members of the team and HR should also recognize them as team members. They should be able to achieve the project goals working together.
Once team members have been identified, team building activities should be performed before starting the project. We can’t take for granted that a group of people form a team per se, moreover when they have never worked together before.
Some project managers have the wrong idea that team building activities are a waste of time, but these sessions conducted at the right time have been proven to be effective for cost reduction and time saving. During these sessions, the team develops various skills in a different environment to the workplace and they will facilitate the work to be done during the project. Some of these skills are the following:
- Flexible thinking: respect others' ideas/opinions
- Improve team communication
- Ability to solve problems inside the team
- Recognition of team member contributions
- Develop trust in the group
- Develop motivation and commitment in the group
The best team-building experience I have gone through was during the phase prior to the start of a new Global HR Project with a North European customer. The activities took place in Sweden and representatives from 6 different countries attended the meeting.
Given the global scope of the project, team building techniques had to address additional challenges such as having members of different countries within the team, with cultural differences, speaking different languages and different ways of working or a different notion of the key concepts for the project success such as deadlines dates or punctuality.
The learning process for these aspects was really smooth during the team building activities. It allowed us to avoid a lot of barriers that often are detected too late: normally, when the project is already up and running.
After a city treasure hunting, cooking sessions and other team building techniques, together we were able to create a real team and we were all motivated to start working together regardless of our geographical, cultural and professional differences. The result... the project was a complete success!