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5 things I learned while building a team of over 1000 people

Managing a talented international team with 1200+ members is one of the greatest privileges of my career. Building such a big and diverse team is a challenging task. Like with any other challenge, I see it as another opportunity to learn new things and gain new skills. 

Through 12 years in the customer service industry and countless hours spent building my team, here are a handful of things I have learned. 

1. Collaboration never goes out of style

Collaboration is the key to an efficient and working team. Establishing and maintaining collaboration for a small team that works from the same space is easy. The challenge comes when it starts growing and working from different locations and countries. 

Before establishing team collaboration, a leader needs to take care of efficient communication. For that, set up regular team calls and encourage everyone to join in as often as possible. Promote open team communication and create an atmosphere where everyone is free to voice their thoughts and ideas. This will promote collaboration and ensure the best and most creative ideas for future projects. 

2. Our strength is in our variety

We live in a world of intercontinental collaboration, where a diverse team is one of the best assets a business can have. Yet, some leaders fear that an international team may face cultural challenges and come across communication barriers. 

Members of international teams are prone to opening up new horizons and learning something new. A diverse team with members coming from different countries and having different backgrounds is a good foundation for promotion of different values and goals. It is also a good catalyst for creativity and innovation. 

My team works from 4 offices in Central and Eastern Europe and 7 hubs around the globe and all we do is grow, develop, and find new interesting niches to work in. All thanks to our diverse thinking and the different approaches we take to reach the same goals.

3. Building a trustworthy team is time- and effort-consuming, but so worth it

Those who have built a team know — the process takes several steps. One first needs to understand which markets to turn to. Then comes a long and effort-consuming process of interviewing, selecting, hiring, and onboarding new team members. 

As soon as newbies start working, a company should offer them the ability to grow, a sense of security like competitive compensation and medical insurance, and decent working conditions. Setting all this up takes a lot of effort and investment. 

Once everything is said and done and starts running smoothly, the effort starts paying off, and a leader ends up with a trustworthy, motivated, and loyal team. That is when teamwork begins to shine. 

4. With a great team, it is possible to overcome and achieve anything 

Together with SupportYourApp, we have survived the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity in 2014, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and are now living through the Russian war against Ukraine. Despite every challenge that came our way, be it external turmoil, or internal roadblocks that any business inevitably faces, I knew — I could lean on my team. I could lean on it when it consisted of 10 people and I can lean on it now, when it has 1200+ people all around the world. 

Having a good, hand-picked team is also a good base for a leader to achieve any goal and reach any heights as it allows them to focus on their development and growth while taking care of all tasks and processes. 

5. Listening to one’s gut is vital

To build a team of 500 people, a leader has to meet over 2000 people. This happens during interviews, negotiations, and client meetings. And sometimes, combined with our experience, our intuition can tell us whether a person will be a good fit for our teams, whether they will be able to grow, and whether they will be a suitable addition to our teams’ culture and atmosphere. 

‘A gut feeling’ is often underestimated and dismissed. It is also often right, as it is one of the mechanisms given to us by nature. Combined with extensive, decade-long experience and expertise, it can tell us a lot about a person, a potential business partner, or an endeavor we are about to start.  

Building a 1000+ team is an experience in itself. The things it has taught me will stay with me forever and will help me meet even more talented professionals as I continue to develop my company and grow as a professional and a person.

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