Considerations for Effectively Leading a Global Workforce
By Milan Shetti, CEO of Rocket Software
Over the past two years, many business leaders have taken a crash course in managing a distributed workforce, whether they like it or not. While adjusting to fully remote work presented challenges for everyone, at Rocket Software we were blessed with a lot of experience thanks to our global workforce, with strategically located centers of excellence. in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
It takes extra thought and care to ensure that every member of a global workforce feels included and supported by their employer and connected to both their colleagues and the overall mission of their organization. And since every good leader understands that when their employees thrive, the business thrives, the longevity and success of a business truly depends on its employees.
Here are three considerations for leaders balancing a global workforce to grow and succeed amid the Great Resignation:
- Support retention in new ways. The pandemic has shown us how difficult it is to truly separate work and personal life, and employees increasingly want the opportunity to integrate them in a way that meets their personal needs and success in their organization. Balancing meetings across time zones adds to this complexity, and it’s important to keep in mind that since we often ask employees to join meetings outside of their normal working hours, it’s reasonable to consider that they may need to deal with personal matters that they could usually deal with. at this time during normal working hours. This is not a reflection on one’s commitment to their job and employer, but rather on the need for flexibility as they integrate every aspect of their life. Consider going beyond standard employee assistance programs with one-on-one coaching that ensures every employee feels heard and region-specific community connectors can support engagement in every community from organization to organization. worldwide.
- Take a holistic approach. Even the most considerate leaders may find themselves thinking of only one group of employees when planning certain events or organizational commitments. And while community-specific events are necessary to create a sense of belonging, it’s equally important to create organization-wide opportunities for employees to participate in something together. For example, at Rocket Software, we recently announced a season-long sponsorship of the Boston Red Sox. Both of our organizations are headquartered in Massachusetts with a global footprint, making them a great match. We’re running a series of social media contests to engage employees and give them the chance to hand out great prizes. However, we understand that not all of our employees are Red Sox fans, let alone baseball fans! With this in mind, we take into account the many ways our global workforce can enjoy sport, whether it’s a local team, their children’s youth teams or even a game of baseball or bowling league. We encourage employees to tell us how they like the sports in their area and randomly select winners who will receive a cash prize to be used to purchase tickets to see their favorite sports team or sporting event. This kind of consideration ensures that even when an event or engagement is rooted in a geographic location, everyone can participate and benefit.
- Show what makes you great. We have established that the success of our organizations would not be possible without our people. Do you put these people – in each of your locations – in the spotlight? Showcase your global workforce across all channels available to you, internally and externally. Do you have a corporate blog that offers a rotation of guest authors? Make sure these authors reflect your distributed workforce. LinkedIn is the perfect place to introduce your employees and where they come from. Ask employees from different regions what they like about working at your company and post a photo of them with their role, location and a quote on social media to not only make sure they feel appreciated, but to show other employees — and more importantly, potential future employees — your organization’s global reach.
The most important factor to keep in mind when promoting a great company culture within a global workforce is that no matter where a company is headquartered or where the CEO is located, it is the employees of each region who are at the heart of the organization. Prioritizing them is key to ensuring long-term success.
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