Common Mistake #6: An Imperialist Approach to Managing "Global" Programs

If your company is global, does your company behave in a truly global manner or is it imperialistic with decisions imposed from the country where your headquarters are located?

We have repeatedly heard from our clients about the pain of past “global” initiatives in the company, whether they were HR programs intended to inspire or software systems intended to simplify and streamline production. Nearly always the method has been deployment to the country of the headquarters location first with eventual roll-out to outlying divisions with little consideration given to local languages, cultural norms, or work processes.

This imperialist approach most certainly demoralizes and disengages employees in those outlying global locations. It’s hard not to feel that way when you are effectively treated as a second-class citizen of the company.

In a truly global company, all divisions in all areas of the world believe themselves to be equally valuable to delivering on the company’s stated mission. In this type of company, all employees perceive their contributions to be critical to meeting and exceeding customer needs, thereby growing the customer base and increasing the bottom line.

When choosing and deploying a global strategic recognition program, all of this must be kept in mind. International representatives must be on the selection committee to ensure that program execution – including reward options – are relevant and valuable in those international locations. Deployment of the program itself must happen globally – preferably in all locations and divisions – and in the local languages – at the same time. Any company who promises global, but then encourages a local-only initial deployment, cannot give you the world. At Globoforce, we deliver locally around the world every day.

This topic is also strongly related to your company’s culture and social architecture. What do you think your company’s culture is today? How would you describe it? Supportive or demoralizing? Appreciative or based on intimidation?

In my next several posts, I’ll be discussing companies’ social architectures, the cultures they foster, and how to actually manipulate your company culture into what you need to drive productivity, increase sales, and improve company morale.

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