The Better Work Project: The Global Workforce

12 March

What is the impact of having a global workforce? In this podcast, we discuss some of the trends that are impacting business internationalisation, how to work in other countries and with other cultures, and what the benefits of this way of working are. 

 

   

Summary     

  • In order to work globally, you have to have an understanding that each culture is different and there are different expectations and different rules of engagement in different operations. 

  • When interacting with people from different cultures you need to get a handle on the undercurrent. So, what are the unsaid things, the values, the beliefs, attitudes, and norms? This is what drives thinking and behaviours.   
  • Stereotypes can be helpful to prepare for difference. At the same time, everyone is different and sometimes those stereotypes are not accurate or relevant. 
  • Technology is really having a big impact on internationalisation. Since everyone has been forced to work from home, technology has matured significantly. People are a lot more comfortable using it, and it’s become the norm. 
  • For many businesses, the appeal of growth and the ability to scale means going international. Internationalisation means you get to diversify your markets that can be appealing from a risk mitigation perspective and for more mature businesses experiencing market saturation to expand. It can enable competitive advantage, greater economies of scale access to a wider talent pool. 
  • Globalisation also means a growing interdependence. 
  • It’s very easy to make mistakes working internationally. Common ones to be aware of include getting time-zones right; being thoughtful about time difference when scheduling meetings; recognising colloquiaslims; using local cultural references; speech cadence; and understanding local protocols around greetings. 
  • It’s important to do some research when you start working with other cultures. There are also organisations that you can work with like KEA and NZTE for example in New Zealand that can help Kiwis doing business abroad. 
  • There a significant differences in doing business in NZ compared to the US. Some of the key cultural differences include a collective over individual approach; an indirect versus direct communication style; and less hierarchy and greater labour protections over more hierarchy and lesser labour protections.
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