Cross-Cultural Collaboration in Global Teams: Innovecs teammates’ stories

April 17, 2024 6 min read

In today’s interconnected world, businesses increasingly rely on global virtual teams to harness diverse perspectives and talents from around the globe. Embracing this diversity is not just about tolerance but recognizing its inherent value. It fosters innovation, creativity, and a broader perspective that can lead to better problem-solving and decision-making.

At Innovecs, our corporate culture is founded on the principles of empathy, collaboration, and respect, intertwined with our core values of INNOVATE, INSPIRE, and CARE. We understand that our global virtual teams thrive when each member feels valued and supported, regardless of their cultural background or location.

We prioritize clear and transparent communication, ensuring every team member has a voice and feels empowered to share their ideas and perspectives. 

Here I want to pass the mic to our colleagues from around the world so they can share their experience and the main tips on building friendly and effective communication in cross-cultural teams.

Joshua Shulman, Head of B2B Marketing, Austria

“My work methodology is very global at the outset. While I grew up in the US, I was born to a Ukrainian family and have lived the past 7 years in Europe. With that context, I’ve found that I need to learn the nuances of communication and do my best not to dig deeper than what’s said to me at face value. When something is uncertain, just ask.

Coincidentally, it’s the working culture from my home country (USA) that’s taught me how not to approach working with a global team. When I last worked in the States, work, especially remote work, was built on the values of delivering at all costs, and company success rather than personal balance. 

Joining Innovecs as a full-remote manager (and having worked under similar circumstances at previous roles), I found that I need to apply a simple frame of mind: ‘Be Compassionate’.

As remote workers, we have to find the balance between focus and managing our personal lives. We’re given back time from traveling to and from an office, but we’re also held accountable for better communication and equal deliverability.

I’ve learned to give my team the time they need to handle their personal responsibilities. I’ve been rewarded by colleagues who want to deliver high-quality work within timelines to ensure that they can balance their lives well.

Communication is the most important aspect of cross-cultural collaboration. If you don’t understand something, if you have a problem, if you have an idea. Ask. Speak up. 

The crux of cross-cultural communication is when someone keeps a thought to themselves and believes that everyone understands and agrees with their POV. I found it useful to end chats with a recap and ask people to repeat their perspective on a line of communication.”

Wojtek Szczerbinski, Senior Technical Support Engineer, Poland

“In Poland, we have a working culture that values hard work, professionalism, and quality. These traits influence my approach to working within a global virtual team by making me reliable, efficient, and respectful of the rules and expectations of the team.

One of the lessons I have learned is to adapt my communication style and language to the preferences and needs of my colleagues. For example, I have learned to communicate more indirectly and politely with colleagues from cultures such as the United States.

One memorable experience highlighting the value of cross-cultural collaboration was when I worked on a project with colleagues from the US and UK. We faced many challenges, such as different time zones, languages, and technical requirements. However, we also had many opportunities to learn from each other’s skills, perspectives, and experiences.”

Isabel Reyes, Content Strategist, Romania

“Well, I am from Honduras, so if you have heard about Latin people, you might know we are a bit of workaholics; also, we usually work 6 days a week 12-hour shifts. Working remotely from a European country is awesome; plus, in my team, leadership, teamwork, and task assignments are very well communicated and flexible!

Well, as I’ve always worked with the American market and my Latino working culture, I never prioritized my well-being. From my colleagues, I learned how to balance life and work. Also, I’ve dropped the idea if I don’t reply within 2 seconds the world will end.

Clear and transparent communication helps bridge cultural gaps, fosters understanding, and minimizes misunderstandings or conflicts. And that is something I love about my current team!”

Alina Horai, Delivery Manager, Ukraine

Ukrainians are very ambitious people. We are used to working in a highly competitive environment. Therefore, if you want to achieve success, you must put in a lot of effort, stand out, be responsible, and do everything on time. This is a good school, our partners and colleagues from other countries are often positively surprised at our efficiency, creativity, and responsibility. Therefore, when working with teams, we are demanding but always ready to help.

When it comes to my learning from colleagues, it’s the culture of small talk. Ukrainians are used to talking to the point and discussing pressing issues. We even had to conduct training for the team, but we never learned how to do it easily and natively.

Accepting the fact that teammates’ style of communication may not be the same as ours is crucial. All of us perceive things differently, such as criticism, advice, or praise, which is normal. We must be respectful of the culture and perceptions of other people with different experiences.

Adam Bozsoki, EU Director of Sales, Hungary

“In Hungary, the job market is pretty competitive. As a result, you can expect well-skilled people and great language abilities at any given workplace. Therefore, quality, respect, and participation are all important to pay attention to if you want to excel at work.

Managing expectations and setting boundaries of cooperation will surely save you some headaches, so at the beginning of every task, project, or cooperation, it is vital to set the norms.

Once, I happened to manage a team member from another region, where standards and norms about feedback and evaluation were literally non-existent. It took me a while to get through to this person with some valuable message, but shortly afterward, I saw this person thrive and open up. Soon he was asking for more feedback and managed to change in some aspects he needed improvements.

To me, respecting the time and motivation of others is of vital importance. If you have the ability to listen to (and hear) explanations of others, it will be easier to work together.”


Rocky Osborn, Chief Business Officer, USA

“I have learned the power of active listening and open communication. Working across cultures can be challenging due to varying communication styles, values, and expectations. One of the most valuable lessons is the importance of active listening. This means not just hearing what someone is saying but truly trying to understand the meaning behind their words, considering their cultural context and perspective.

Additionally, open communication is crucial. Clearly expressing your thoughts and intentions while also being open to feedback and different viewpoints can help avoid misunderstandings and build trust.

And another important insight – avoid stereotypes: treat each individual as unique, and avoid making assumptions based on their nationality or cultural background.

It’s important to note that cultural awareness is an ongoing journey, not a destination. It requires continuous learning, open-mindedness, and a willingness to adapt our behaviors and assumptions. I am trying to use experiences from difficult situations to learn and grow professionally.”

Teodora Cristina Trif, Business Development Representative, Romania

“I am not really familiar with the Romanian working culture and mentality as I always worked for international-multicultural companies – being integrated quickly into the international business environment and becoming an international professional.

I truly enjoy a multicultural workplace environment. I resonate very well professionally and personally with people from various cultures, ages, and with diverse life and work experiences, both professionally and personally. I learned many things from my foreign colleagues: how to enjoy life, tips for traveling, culture knowledge, life and work tips, real friendship, and support.

There are many things I lived and experienced that helped me to value the cross-cultural work environment, rather than a national work environment: diversity of culture, mentality, lifestyle, and life approach. I met people from Seychelles, New Jersey, London, Manchester, Berlin, Dublin, Poznan, Venice, Barcelona – all over the world with whom I developed a really nice work collaboration and friendship in time. Each one of them is unique and has different experiences.

The paramount things of cross-cultural collaboration in the global-virtual teams are to be open, kind, understanding, to have patience and mutual respect.”

We embrace flexibility and adaptability, recognizing that different cultural norms and working styles exist within our teams. We encourage open dialogue to establish clear norms and expectations, promoting understanding and cooperation across borders.

By actively listening to each other and considering diverse viewpoints, we foster innovation and creativity, driving our collective success. Our commitment to the value of INNOVATE never ceases to INSPIRE us to push boundaries while demonstrating CARE for one another. This is our way of ensuring a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.

In essence, our corporate culture at Innovecs embodies the spirit of cross-cultural collaboration, enabling us to achieve our goals and drive meaningful impact in a globalized world.


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