The United States and Mexico, while close neighbors, have vastly different work cultures, making it an important consideration for American companies looking to launch a Nearshore operation with Mexican teams.
Despite the cultural alignment between the two nations growing stronger all the time, certain aspects of their individual work cultures will almost certainly stay the same, so companies must understand how to infuse the two to get the best of both worlds.
These tips explore some of the culture-merging methods that US companies have successfully adopted within their Mexican operations to keep their teams (and their CFOs) happy.
Create a Family-Oriented Workplace
In the United States, workers will often prioritize the advancement of their career, sometimes even ahead of their family lives. Comparatively, Mexican workers traditionally see their families as the number one priority at all times, which is important to remember when building Mexican teams.
By creating a work culture that promotes a family-oriented balance within a workplace that takes a familial approach to team-building, your workforce in Mexico will be more motivated and will help your operation run more smoothly.
Companies that have found success in Mexico have made their teams feel like one big family, organizing group activities or events and inviting spouses, children, parents, and even grandparents. It is normal for Mexicans to celebrate Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day, and Dia del Niño (Childrens’ Day) in the workplace, so try using those opportunities to bring people together and build your company’s family.
Develop a Young, Vibrant Workplace
Overall, the Mexican workforce is younger than the workforce in the United States. Young people between the ages of 15 and 29 are the largest age group in the country, with the median age in Mexico projected to be just 29.3 in 2020. Comparatively, the American median age was already 38 in 2017 and continues to rise.
Any newcomer to Mexico should be prepared to hire, support, and work closely with a younger team, which comes with its own pros and cons.
On the plus side, you can mold and develop your teams to immediately embrace the US style of working, but, that might take more time and training costs money. Young workers are also hungry to learn and eager to impress, despite their relative lack of experience, which is a massive plus.
By supporting and developing your teams from the moment you arrive in Mexico, you can better infuse the US work culture into your new Nearshore operation.
Manage Hands-On and Encourage Collaborative Criticism
When it comes to telling superiors that something about the company could be improved, workers in the US will generally not hesitate to speak up. This kind of constructive or collaborative criticism is encouraged by organizations in America, but is not yet too common in the Mexican workplace.
There are many opinions as to why this is, but the most common is that the country’s traditional style of management – a “top-down” style of leadership – creates a sense that regular employees don’t have much of a say in how the company should be run.
This is not universal, however, as many US companies have settled in Mexico and are helping to shift the status quo, giving their workers ample chance to share their valuable opinions. They are also adopting a more “hands-on” approach to management, which, while not too common in the US, is helping to develop stronger relationships and trust between workers and upper management.
Try blurring the lines between authority figures and entry-level employees, starting out with one-on-one feedback sessions. You’ll find that your Mexican teams are eager to contribute to the company’s improvement and can provide vital insights into aspects of their job you may not have been aware of.
Take a More Personal Approach
The American workplace commonly has a very clear line in the sand between professional and personal lives, meaning that managers and colleagues will steer clear of engaging with other employees on a personal level – it’s strictly business.
In Mexico, and indeed most of Latin America, the general approach is different, as the traditional culture is to bond with co-workers and interact on a more intimate level – something that is closely tied to the idea of a workplace “family”.
This personal touch can be applied in numerous ways, such as taking your employees out for a long lunch, asking them about their interests in life, or simply showing a side of you that is more relatable and not just being “the boss”.
Finding the right balance between American and Mexican work cultures will help to create a friendlier and more enjoyable work environment that your teams in Mexico will respond well to, giving your Nearshore operation the momentum it needs to find success.