Managing your business in Europe

Maintaining good communications between branches

If your business operates in different countries, it is vital that you maintain a high level of communication and motivation across all offices. Although individual countries have their own unique business environments, your business will only grow if your staff all work as part of one organisation.

Poor communication between staff in different countries can have serious results, including:

  • legal or taxation problems
  • poor cash flow and accounting
  • duplication of work load
  • unnecessary expenditure on equipment and resources
  • low morale

Building strong international teams

If you are getting a new business up and running in another country, you might assume that your business in the UK will carry on as usual but it is important to maintain a focus on your core business.

It is likely that you will need to spend considerable time abroad in the early days of any expansion. Your employees in the UK need to feel that they are part of your business's new growth.

Be as inclusive as possible and make sure that staff in every country have access to the same benefits. If employees feel that their colleagues in other offices get better treatment, it will have a negative effect.

If possible, try to organise your business so that teams include employees from many different offices. Virtual teams can work together online or by video conferencing, which builds stronger relationships within your organisation.

It is a good idea to:

  • provide regular updates about the progress of your overseas operations
  • involve staff with their new colleagues from an early stage
  • use virtual teams to build relationships - virtual teams will however work better if members know each other or have previously worked together
  • ask for regular input from your employees

Be aware of cultural differences and use them to differentiate your business, but don't drive a wedge between yourself and local competitors. Local workers should feel they are working for a business that is investing in their country and not just a branch of some distant organisation.