Global Mindset is the Key to Success

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As more companies expand overseas and manage a global workforce, Nicholas Goh, CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, illustrates how a critical balance needs to be maintained between the parent company's corporate culture and its foreign subsidiary's local culture in order to retain the best entrepreneurial, committed and successful staff.

As more companies expand overseas and manage a global workforce, Nicholas Goh, CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, illustrates how a critical balance needs to be maintained between the parent company's corporate culture and its foreign subsidiary's local culture in order to retain the best entrepreneurial, committed and successful staff.

Global companies today are interdependent on its foreign subsidiaries to build their business empire. The human resource management (HRM) function takes on the immense task of managing a workforce across multiple locations where divergent customs, practices and languages pose a number of challenges.

Keeping a global mindset is the key in shaping behaviors and resolving issues of governance, ownership and engagement. HRM needs to be fully integrated with the business strategy and the strategic needs of the company.

1. Strategic Moves

In recent years, HRM in global companies has leapt beyond its administrative functions to play a strategic role in aligning its subsidiaries' business strategies of planning, selection, performance evaluation, compensation, development and staffing with the parent organization. Large geographically-dispersed organizations with several lines of businesses can also implement shared service centers for consolidating their HRM functions across borders for greater efficiency and synergy.

When HRM builds a strategy, it needs to develop employment policies that will maintain a synergy between the employers and employees interdepartmentally, internationally and inter-continentally. These policies ultimately help increase shareholder value, employee commitment and the company's brand recognition.

2. Shaping Behavior

HRM needs to check on subsidiaries if they are conforming to the underlying values, beliefs, and principles that serve as a foundation for the parent organization's management system. To keep employees motivated and committed with a sense of personal involvement, good practices can be shared and various activities organized to help employees seamlessly integrate and adapt to the corporate culture, irrespective of where they are based in the world. Local cultures are encouraged nonetheless to maintain their identity in the context of the corporate culture.

Having to interact across multiple cultures, be it parent company to subsidiary or vice versa, can be stressful. Global corporations like IBM and Hewlett-Packard conduct cultural awareness and diversity courses for its employees so that they can familiarise themselves with verbal- and non-verbal cues and codes of conduct to communicate better in the relevant countries they will be dealing with.

Respect and advocacy for diversity at the workplace should be communicated clearly, and this can be demonstrated at all company levels with clear and positive responses to diversity, and the commitment to resolve any issues in an ethical and responsible manner.

Some of the Best Practices for Workplace Diversity

(a) Having strong support from senior management team members

(b) Having middle management team members to play a greater role in cultural diversity and team members' talent development

(c) Cultivating a mentorship culture and having mentorship programs at all levels of the organization

(d) Making diversity a part of the company's strategic plans and core values

(e) Organizing diversity orientation sessions

(f) Advertising hiring opportunities for a diverse group of possible candidates from different nationalities

(g) Being aware of, and removing, images that are offensive to various cultures

3. Linguistically Speaking

The Internet has squeezed the world into a screen. HRM needs to make the company's critical web content and marketing communications available to all foreign subsidiaries in their respective native languages. Similarly, the company's values need to be communicated clearly across borders.

HRM often employ subject-matter specialists, mother-tongue translators and cultural experts with local knowledge to communicate and convey the company's corporate identity and core brand values succinctly. These professionals support multinationals to go global and assure clarity of communication at every stage.

About the Author:

Nicholas Goh is the CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, an international ISO 9001:2008 provider of Global Content Management and Localization services in over 60 foreign languages. For more information on Verztec, please visit http://www.verztec.com.

Nicholas may be connected on Linkedin at - http://sg.linkedin.com/in/nicholasgohcs

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