admin Feb 15, 2010 No Comments
With organisations diversifying their businesses into global markets, work is no longer restricted by geographical boundaries. Today, firms want their employees to be on the move and work across the globe. Are you ready for such a ‘global’ career?
The boundaries of geography, language and culture are increasingly becoming irrelevant as we are headed towards the making of a globalised society where markets, products and customers will operate without any borders. Many progressive organisations are taking the lead in making this happen by globalising their operations. With offices spanning across the globe, many firms want their employees to travel and work from different locations, thus making travel a part of their jobs. Thus, it is inevitable for people in such firms to interact and work with people from various backgrounds. But many professionals find it difficult to cope with the changes and become successful at work when he/she is shifted to a new location.
Bhaskar Das, vice president, HR, Cognizant says that cultural synergy is the key to seamless functioning of individuals and organisations in a ‘borderless’ world. “When you are working in a global marketplace, a global mindset is indispensable. This includes the ability to scan the world from a broad perspective, be open towards divergent ideas and experiences and develop greater tolerance of other people and cultures. It also includes the capacity to rethink boundaries, consider diversity an asset and view uncertainty as a natural part of business, rather than being threatened by it,” adds Das.
Experts suggest that apart from being proficient in his/her work, a professional needs to be adaptable to the new culture and other changes. “A person can excel in a global career, provided he/she is good at managing virtual teams, investing in trusted relationships, sensitive to cross cultural issues and also able to continuously learn, particularly about the sweeping changes of the forces of globalisation,” says C Mahalingam, EVP and chief people officer, Symphony Services. “It is important for an individual to have a true appreciation of the differences that exist across cultures,” adds Sameer Khanna, global HR operations manager, OS/GO, Logica.
Every organisation and every nation have their own culture and practices; understanding them are very important to remain successful in those regions. But, how can a person prepare himself/herself to adjust to the changes? “Key skills required to compete globally include communicating in a clear and transparent manner, appreciating varied client needs and preferences, etc,” explains Sanjay Kamlani, Co-CEO, Pangea3. Adding to it, Das says that cross-cultural adaptability is a critical pre-requisite for a global professional. Cross-cultural competencies include cultural knowledge, communication skills and the ability to thrive in environments marked by diversity, empathy and open-mindedness. Cultural intelligence is about balancing and reconciling competencies. This involves the knowledge and awareness about other people’s culture and the right means of demonstrating the right level of sensitivity towards it.
Now, many firms are also coming up with several initiatives to help their associates understand cultural differences and create a good rapport with colleagues and clients in different parts of the world. Many have training programmes in place for employees who need to travel abroad. “At Logica, we conduct a half to one day orientation program directed at the country/countries that our employee is visiting. We also conduct language training from time to time for a pool of employees who interface or are likely to travel to a respective country. We also have global initiatives to supplement the skills of our employees. The inter-country exposure and working is also a key component of our top talent development,” explains Khanna.
“Cognizant’s cross-cultural adaptability program, formulated with the help of Cognizant Academy (in-house learning center), is mandatory for people travelling onsite. Training is provided on the need for understanding and appreciating cultural differences, business ethics at the client site, communication, personal care, social etiquette, etc. This training helps the associates to develop the necessary awareness, knowledge and skills for flourishing in a global working community. The associates are able to get more productive with lesser lead times for adjusting because they have all the information required to settle down – they know exactly what to expect,” informs Das.
Today, cross cultural knowledge and adaptability are increasingly becoming vital ‘must-haves’ for a professional looking for a high-flying career, globally. Are you ready for it?
Compiled by: www.ivyproschool.com