So it is with that backdrop that I am keenly interested in what multinational organizations can do to help their employees work more effectively, efficiently and collaboratively in a global environment. And though there is no simple answer – no magic bullet – we can gain some insight into the challenges and potential solutions by turning to data that were recently collected from MNC employees across the globe. As part of a joint effort, Global Aspect Human Capital Advisors and Caligiuri & Associates teamed with Universum to administer our first annual Cultural Agility Climate Survey to employees across the globe in many industries and from such well known brands as Eli Lily, P&G, China Construction Bank, BASF, Sony, and Siemens. Respondents were asked to rate the cultural agility of their senior leaders, immediate managers and coworkers, as well as the degree to which global expansion is valued and whether they have the tools and training to work effectively with their global colleagues and clients. Personal and organizational demographics (generational group, geographic location, job level, function, etc.) were collected as well as open-ended opinions as to what their organization could do to perform more effectively in a global environment.
Overall, an initial review of the results suggests several areas where there is room for improvement.
Employees do not feel adequately equipped to work across regions and cultures. For example:
- Although a majority of employees feel that international growth is critical to their future success, fewer than half say they have been given training to build their cross-cultural competencies.
- A majority of respondents do not feel that their organizations make it easy to work with colleagues in other countries or from different cultural backgrounds.
Senior leaders have lower confidence in their global capabilities than employees. For example:
- While supervisors and individual contributors believe that their organization has what it takes to be successful globally, senior leaders (directors and above) rate this area significantly lower.
Confidence and capabilities vary across regions, generational groups and job levels. For example:
- Employees in North America express greater confidence in their senior leaders’ ability to deliver global success than do employees in Asia or Europe. However, employees in Europe are significantly more likely than in other regions to say that they possess the tools to communicate with colleagues in other countries.
- Older employees (those in the “boomer” generation) are significantly more likely than Generation-X and Generation-Y employees to see global growth as necessary for their organizations.
So what can organizations do to work more effectively in a global environment? Tune in to the next blog where we will share results of key driver analyses for hints about what factors in the environment contribute most (i.e., have the greatest impact) to effective global work. We will also delve into written comments from the employees themselves to see what they recommend leaders do to improve their organization’s global competence.