Culture has been eating strategy for decades in the world’s most enlightened firms.
And the fact that a healthy bottom line relies on happy employees has become received wisdom.
But maintaining organisational culture when you operate in international hubs can prove complex.
Here are five ways to ensure a positive culture isn’t diluted when your firm goes global.
Use HQ as a model
Your HQ should be a beacon for core values — that seems obvious.
But it’s crucial best practice translates smoothly to international offices.
Explainer videos and emails won’t suffice — dispatch your culture champions to every new locale so they encourage the right approach from day one.
Then create an aftercare package that makes managers across your global network communicate via video link and takes temperature checks through staff surveys and customer feedback.
You’ll feel assured that your Manchester office feels the same to staff and customers as your HQ in Mumbai.
Streamline HR functions for a cultural focus
Your HR team are your cultural guardians wherever you do business.
But if they’re focused on time-consuming tasks like payroll provision they might neglect the important role they play in maintaining morale.
If you outsource payroll services then HR can utilise their soft skills to concentrate on the human needs of your most valued resources.
And when global staff members are paid promptly they’re far less likely to display cynicism in regards to culture.
Adopt local cultural conventions
The simpler your core values the easier they convert to international cultural currency.
But if there’s an obvious clash tweak them slightly to suit specific markets.
Staff venturing abroad should always show respect by learning the basics of the local language.
And also be aware of differing cultural conventions applied to communication styles and body language. Those gregarious gesticulations that feel natural in New York might make you misunderstood in Tokyo.
So listen to local staff and learn to modify your behaviour in diverse destinations.
Embed culture first when you expand
Remember to embed culture first before branches open in new locations.
Management should be reminded of their role modelling responsibilities well in advance of cutting the red tape and welcoming new customers.
Ensure thorough training keeps ‘the way you do things’ consistent across the globe.
Broadcast international successes
When international branches champion customer-service excellence or community inclusion, reward their dedication appropriately and broadcast their success across your global network.
There might even be occasions when staff at HQ let standards slip — reminding them that newer offices can excel at culture will foster a healthy sense of competition.
Follow these five guidelines and the culture you’ve created should convert to sustainable international success.
Before you go…
If you plan on having employees working in a particular country, then ensure they are on tax records with a PAN card seva as this could have a serious impact on your business if not.