Don’t Work on a Global Team? Here’s Why You Are Missing Out
The last few decades have seen the rise of multinational companies and the globalization of business, thanks largely to technology.
Working on a global team presents a valuable professional development opportunity. It strengthens your empathy and communication skills. It also helps create more well-rounded individuals through cultural exchange.
“Most companies are going global, especially in tech, so if you don’t develop these skills you are not going to be as marketable,” said Victoria Lowe, senior counsel at Riskified. “By having that experience here, we are all going to be better performers in our roles.”
Riskified has a global presence, with major hubs in New York City and Tel Aviv. Teams work together across oceans to provide fraud-protection services to their clients.
Since joining Riskified, Lowe feels much more attuned to global events. There is a lot of cultural exchange that helps her feel more connected to the global community.
RISKIFIED AT A GLANCE
Riskified was founded by Eido Gal and Assaf Feldman in 2013 to empower businesses to realize the full potential of e-commerce by making it safe, accessible and frictionless. The company has major hubs in Israel, the United States, China, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., Singapore, Japan and Australia. It began publicly trading on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2021.
Lowe is not the only one who has grown in their time with Riskified.
“Working in a global team has helped me become more thoughtful, intentional and receptive. All around, it has helped me become a better leader. I take more time to listen,” said Global Head of Sponsorships and Events Tavar James. “From a leadership perspective, it’s changed how I view the way people work in general. It’s different — and sometimes human beings assume different means wrong or bad, but this role specifically has taught me more than ever that different is not bad. If you’re open to learning, it makes you a more well-rounded leader.”
To learn about the unique nature of working with global teams at Riskified, Built In talked to U.S.-based employees Lowe, James and CRM Team Leader Ana Jenkins about how this work has impacted their careers so far.
At the close of business in New York City, it’s already tomorrow in Tel Aviv.
Time management takes on a whole new layer of meaning when your colleagues are six hours ahead of you. For example, the five-day workweek between countries doesn’t line up. On Friday in the United States, it’s the weekend in Tel Aviv.
Ana Jenkins always keeps a time zone converter handy, since the rest of her CRM team is in Tel Aviv. To bridge the divide, the company also leans on a lot of asynchronous tools such as shared docs and project management software. It’s a Slack-heavy organization. There are only a limited number of hours (and days) in a week when colleagues can meet and collaborate live, and the team takes advantage of that precious time.
But there are guardrails in place. To protect employees' schedules, there are Zoom-free blocks. Employees are encouraged to set up Slack boundaries.
THE BEST PART OF WORKING AT RISKIFIED, ACCORDING TO ANA JENKINS
“Riskified really encourages personal and professional growth. We have access to courses, but the learning team does a lot of workshops, such as improving presentation skills or time management. There are also clear goals and expectations here; we are good as a company about communicating the goals and how each team is going to contribute.”
Tavar James, a Floridian, describes his natural communication style as “kumbaya.” Harmonious. Peaceful — maybe even to a fault.
Since joining Riskified in June 2022, James has encountered a bevy of new communication styles. One of James’ first company calls involved teams from both Tel Aviv and the United States. On the call, he misinterpreted a colleague's direct, elevated style of speaking as conflict, and his natural impulse to make peace kicked in. “I said, ‘OK, let’s all breathe,’” he recalled.
It wasn’t until debriefing with another colleague that he realized he’d misread natural differences in communication styles. It was a humbling experience, but one that’s helped him evolve.
“It made me realize that’s another way of communicating,” he said. “It has forced me to get to know people better to understand their nuances. It helped me grow as a leader to take a step back and recognize different styles of communication.”
THE BEST PART OF WORKING AT RISKIFIED, ACCORDING TO TAVAR JAMES
“Access to so many different people, mindsets and ways of working. The talent is insane. That’s because we are able to tap into so many different markets, regions, education levels and cultural backgrounds. It makes the organization stronger.”
Victoria Lowe’s uninterrupted work time is sacred to her, and reinforcing that boundary is something she’s been empowered to do in her work as senior counsel at Riskified.
“You need to be flexible, and acknowledge that you may have to compromise. When you’re dealing not only with a global team, but global clients, sometimes you just need to prioritize being a good teammate and helping someone accomplish a task, even when it’s not convenient for you,” said Lowe. “Tech is not a ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ kind of job, but we need healthy boundaries.”
A lot of Lowe’s knowledge is geographically specific, with specialties in certain jurisdictions. But if she’s in a situation where knowledge of European data privacy laws is necessary, she’d have to reach out to a colleague who operates in that market. Collaboration is a critical skill for a global team.
THE BEST PART OF WORKING AT RISKIFIED, ACCORDING TO VICTORIA LOWE
“This is a great place for people who want to work with smart, detail-oriented people. A lot of the people here have a strong work ethic and are really smart. It’s made me a better lawyer. People really understand our products and services. They are serious about their work while enjoying their co-worker's company and being social. People here actually tend to want to socialize with their co-workers and learn about their personal lives. I love that.”
Working on a global team provides valuable personal and professional opportunities to grow. As globalization spreads, working at multinational companies such as Riskified offers tech talent opportunities to stay ahead of the curve.