How you did your job yesterday might not be how you will do it tomorrow. The workplace is evolving, largely because of globalization. Gone are the days when everyone did the same things day-in and day-out or even all worked under the same roof. While companies adjust to evolving market conditions, employees must also make adjustments. Information technology teams must adjust technologies to communicate across organizations. Business teams must adjust their processes to address cultural and regulatory differences. Employees in every region must be able to adapt without missing a beat in producing their day-to-day work.
No matter where they are in the world, employees need to communicate with one another. Keeping internal networks accessible challenges IT teams by requiring the adoption of strict security protocols while also allowing for a variety of communication technologies such as laptops, smart phones and computer tablets. Culturally diverse project teams must recognize and address language and culture differences to enable effective communication and collaboration. Virtual team members who report directly to managers located elsewhere face the additional challenge of staying in touch with leadership expectations. Communicating regularly and effectively is critical to succeeding in such environments.
Standardization and Adaptation
Companies often globalize through acquisitions. When this happens, employees in each organization have their own sets of processes and methodologies. Cultural gaps can hinder effective communications. Technology gaps can prevent the organizations from effectively sharing critical data. Even something as simple as what form to use when can cause conflict. Standardizing policies and procedures is a critical next step once an acquisition is complete. Not every employee will agree that the standardized methodologies are better than how things were handled before the acquisition, but all employees must be ready and willing to adapt.
Shifting Responsibilities and Skills
Worker adaptability also means skills development is not a one-time event. Globalization does more than expand operations -- it also shifts responsibilities. Employees might need to take on new roles requiring new skill sets. Unskilled positions are growing increasingly scarce. Even machine operators need basic computer skills in addition to specialized skills such as reading blueprints and using calipers. Developing skills to meet the needs of an evolving marketplace rarely requires a long-term educational commitment; but it is a commitment you can make to yourself in order to keep your career on-track.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Globalization is also a factor in promoting increased attention to corporate social responsibility, or CSR. When a company establishes an operation somewhere in the world, it also establishes a presence in the community. CSR drives companies to be socially responsible citizens of such communities. When CSR policies are established, they are deployed across all company locations and can affect daily operations in all workplaces. On a small scale, effects can include highway or wetland clean-up projects. More significantly, CSR drives better partner relationships with overseas operations through ethics programs that internally regulate how business is conducted.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.