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Building Global Perspectives in Your Employees

As I was completing my MBA earlier this year, I was shocked that so many of the manager-level jobs I interviewed for had no global perspective as part of the job description. In fact, at least one company (a very global one) told me that I wasn’t the right candidate because I was too focused on the global positioning of the company. It wasn’t relevant to the role.

Globalization affects all businesses, and you have to start ensuring that your talent is thinking globally. If not, you’re going to be left in the dust.

Like any initiative in a company, building global perspectives takes proactive effort from leadership. Begin by sorting all the jobs in your company into buckets. Some jobs really don’t need to have a global perspective right now (a machinist or receptionist), some should start thinking globally (consultants or project managers), and then some jobs need to eat, sleep and breathe globalization (leadership, marketing, operations, etc.).

The case can be made that every job should have a global perspective. A machinist in an auto plant should consider how his improvement suggestion could impact the plants in five other countries. If it makes a significant impact, he should be aware of the influence he has. But changing that perspective won’t happen overnight.

These buckets will help you determine what programs you need to put in place to start driving that global perspective. Are your international assignments only for top leadership? Open options for lower management so they can gain experience earlier. Is communication between remote employees and leadership nonexistent because of a 12-hour time difference? Meet in the middle so you can stay in touch. There are lots of steps you can take (and lots of material out there to help), but you have to take those steps. Not talk about it. Not plan it. But actually do it.

Global perspectives will help your business understand how economic conditions affect your company, the options you have for international talent, and the things to watch in regard to regulations. Being better prepared can set you up for success.

This post is part of the series from the SAP Radio show – HR Globalization, Ready or Not?

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