EngagementCultureHow can global HR keep different cultures in mind?

How can global HR keep different cultures in mind?

When businesses embark on creating global strategies it’s imperative to consider the different cultures working under one roof. How can businesses accommodate for multiple cultures and avoid cultural clashes? HRD Connect investigates.

Company culture is becoming increasingly important for businesses. A significant amount of data has suggested that it will boost productivity and business performance. Studies by Deloitte revealed that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe workplace culture is important to business success.

Additionally, being named a “Best Place to Work” leads to roughly a 0.75 percent jump in stock returns during the ten days after the announcement, a small but statistically significant effect.

Consequently, global HR teams need to ensure that different demographics are supported to ensure that every culture within a global organisation is recognised.

Regine Buetter, EVP HR Global & Europe, DHL Express, believes that culture is at the top of DHL Express’ agenda when creating global business strategies.

“We’ve kept our people are at the heart of what we do and ensured that the same values are commonplace in every single DHL country and territory – and we cover over 220! We’re committed to making DHL a great place to work not just for some, but for all,” said Regine Buetter, EVP HR Global & Europe, DHL Express.

“We’ve focused on initiatives that celebrate the diversity of our people, such as our DHL 4 HER programme – which aims to get rid of the stigma that logistics is a male-dominated industry.”

Integrating varying cultures into one business can be challenging, especially when different aspects of the business operate in different countries. Keeping an open communication policy can easily surpass difficulties with cultural hurdles. Doing so will give every employee a voice, enabling them to speak out if they feel underrepresented.

To further maintain culture, consistency is imperative. “The biggest thing for global organisations is the importance of creating that sort of consistency – meaning that, regardless of which part of the business you’re in which country you’re in, you feel that you can recognise either by what you hear what you see, that you are in a working within one corporation,” said Cathy Temple, Vice President HR, Oracle.

“What’s interesting for big organisations especially when they’re going through a rapid change is how do you bring those cultures together respecting the singularity of an organisation that has been acquired.”

Cathy believes that creating subcultures may slow down the business and create confusion from a cultural perspective. Instead, creating an open environment where every cultural perspective is heard is a more suitable option.

Creating an effective global strategy that is robust and consistent can heavily aid company culture. Once this is set in stone, it can help employees to better understand what the values of a company are.

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“A global strategy needs to be rooted in the long-term business plan and have a common goal that will unite everyone in the organisation, regardless of their seniority or location,” continued Regine.

“For DHL Express the success of our company depends on having a motivated workforce. That’s why for the last nine years our goal has been to ‘turn the world’s most international company into one of the world’s greatest workplaces’.”

Above all, leaders play a pivotal role in listening to their employees when building a global strategy. Research by CultureIQ found that managers who actively listen to their employees have engaged and productive workers.

“Overall, our data confirms that there is a clear relationship between how employees perceive leadership within their company and how employees rate their company’s overall culture. If your organization is looking to make positive changes to its culture, you should consider the status of this relationship and any opportunities to strengthen,” said a spokesperson from CultureIQ.

Additionally, support and direction can impact an employees’ decision to trust that their manager will respect the different cultures within a global business. This could encourage all employees to bring themselves at work, and in doing so, working to the best of their abilities.

To further keep different cultures in mind when expanding as a global business, Regine believes that motivating employees and constantly connecting with them can significantly aid their working lives.

“We’re eradicating competencies in favour of Leadership Attributes. Those Attributes will be split into Head, Heart and Guts – because that’s what we want our people to be guided by. Our Global approach is all about continuing to motivate our employees and ensuring that they stay tangibly connected with our mission to Connect People and Improve Lives,” explained Regine.

As businesses become global, a change in mindset is needed to accommodate for all. Once global HR teams can solve this puzzle, the benefits of every voice being heard can significantly improve the overall company culture and workforce performance.

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