Innovative, progressive companies are reworking the infamous line from the movie “Wall Street” from “Greed is good” to “Global is great.” In fact, over the last few years, we’ve seen a significant increase in companies opening offices in Singapore as easily as Seattle or hanging up a shingle in Philadelphia in addition to Frankfurt.
CorFire, like a lot of companies, is increasingly aware of the new reality of the global workforce. This understanding has served as the foundation for our hiring practices, the partnerships we form and the customer base we seek. While global vision and focus are central tenets of our culture, we still realize the need to put processes in place to ensure that this global vision is understood and executed throughout each level of the organization.
Do the math
Historically, when opening or expanding a business, most executives have looked at the immediate revenue opportunities. Depending on the nature of the business, these numbers are often based on an isolated and limited view of the prospective buyer — businesses usually look for revenue opportunities in their city, state or region of the country.
In today’s global environment, executives need to analyze the market with a wider lens. Even companies that have a global presence may need to widen their focus to take advantage of economic growth in overlooked countries.
For example, Brazil has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Technology providers are having success launching services like biometrics in African nations to support banking initiatives.
Hire without borders
Gone are the days when companies placed a help-wanted ad in a newspaper to find qualified local talent. Critical knowledge workers may live in your company’s hometown or thousands of miles away. While there are benefits to having workers centrally located, companies have to look outside the geographical box when it comes to hiring. In fact, human resources needs to have carte blanche to base hiring decisions on talent and fit rather than geography.
If it makes sense, organizations may want to develop global human resources teams, even if small, rather than hiring exclusively from headquarters. This may help the company create the best and most attractive global compensation and performance packages to attract and retain the level of talent needed to build across borders.
While hiring across borders is critical at all levels of an organization, companies need to ensure that top leaders within the company reflect the diversity of the employee and customer base. This diversity at the top shows that the company truly understands the importance of globalization. This type of culture is far more attractive to candidates interested in working for a company focused in international growth.
Doesn’t fit? Force it
Companies often face reluctance when implementing processes and policies. Although most employees understand the value of global teams and building global workforces, to do it successfully takes effort from all levels.
Often it’s easier to work with Dan down the hall than Simon in Sydney. There’s the challenge of time differences and the reality that global teams don’t share the same context in their work or personal lives. Unfortunately, this does not create an absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder environment, but rather one in which unfamiliarity breeds contempt.
With that as a backdrop, companies need to look for real, practical ways to make international teams interact regularly. Face-to-face meetings are good but often impractical, both logistically and financially. But thanks to technology, including webcams, people can easily, inexpensively interact monthly or weekly.
Slow and steady
While these steps will help organizations move toward global profitability, companies must set realistic time frames and expectations for international growth.
There are no cookie-cutter approaches to global success. Your roadmap doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. But with the right people, priorities and processes in place, you will be well on your way to tapping the enormous revenue potential that lies outside your time zone.
Finally, remember that working across borders is a new process for many people. There may be bumps in the road, as there are with most evolutionary changes in business. Communicating the company’s vision around globalization will help teams understand that there is no retreating. Progressive companies are building and crossing bridges as a way to grow and thrive in today’s changing global economy.
Sang Yook is chief strategy officer of CorFire, the mobile commerce business unit of SK C&C USA. You can reach him at (770) 670-4700.