Bringing Positivity to a Global Team Despite Challenges

Bringing Positivity to a Global Team Despite Challenges

Keeping the focus of a team of more than 25 employees, especially ones spread out across the world, facing their own new, unique working circumstances, is a tough job. That’s in addition to our daily tasks of supporting the business and our customers. Retaining our talented people has always been a top priority for me, but now, it’s more important than ever to keep them energized.

My team is fairly diverse from tenured managers who have a history with Jabil to entry-level employees a couple years out of college. It’s important to make sure everyone, regardless of tenure, location or situation, feels included and important. They are spread across Penang, New Zealand and the United States with diverse family, governmental and customer situations.

I don’t like to dwell on the negatives, though. This is a time for positive actions to boost morale, keep employees engaged and bond your team, regardless of where they’re located.

So what did I do to accomplish this? 

We have a Microsoft Teams site that everyone is part of, where we share updates, status reports, and ask questions to one another. However, about a week into the official lockdown in Penang where many of my team members are currently located, I decided we need something fun to start the day!

Every day, I post one or two challenges that are meant to stimulate my team’s creativity and give them a small mental break. A few of the things we’ve tried so far are:

  • A scavenger hunt where I post photos of 10 things that can be found in the house and see who has the most
  • Emoji Movie Trivia is another one in which I post a set of emojis and they have to guess what movie it represents
  • A ‘Moment of Zen’ challenge to help everyone refocus their thoughts and mentality before the day’s work begins

While these may sound quirky or silly, we have learned a lot about each other in the process. Personally, I have learned how creative some of our team members are with the way they approach these challenges and the unique ideas that stem from it.

"The best thing that has come from these activities so far is that I am getting to learn about people that I haven't had the opportunity to meet face-to-face. But with the challenges, I am getting to know their personalities, and how cool and energizing is that as far as teamwork goes?" exclaimed Michael Moran, business systems analyst.

It’s hard to stay motivated with any job when a lot of things are unknown and out of your control, so the main advantage of this daily practice has been keeping the team from feeling disengaged. And it’s been a success so far! “I can feel the team’s strengthened bond,” said Shirlyn Oh, social and environmental responsibility compliance manager. “Everyone seems more focused and works effectively during the day after we have some fun first.”

As a non-creative person, this has been a fun challenge for me as well. It’s really rewarding when someone on the team who doesn’t typically participate much in a meeting is now jumping in to join the conversations and carries that over in their work dealings. Everyone is opening up more, benefiting from the team morale and their own communication skills, which they can use with other teams within Jabil and our customers.

Do you have any ideas I can use for my team? Email me!

Kelly Witherspoon
Article Contributed By:
Kelly Witherspoon
Material Compliance Director

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