Can You Have a Global Workplace Culture?

Many organisations are expanding into global market places. Can you create a global workplace culture? Should you be trying? We answer these questions and more.

Global culture

Whether you’re building new offices, adding overseas partners through mergers or acquisitions or expanding your global footprint piecemeal, there are a few challenges to creating a global culture. Although we believe you can align your global culture, we don’t believe in monocultures. Let us explain.

Cultural Differences

Just as there are many cultural differences across countries and even regions, there are bound to be cultural differences between teams and locations. Particularly in a global context.

Some of this will be based on different workplace cultures around the world generally - for example in Scandinavia leaving the office at 4 is seen as very normal while in the United States it can be looked down on. Similarly broader cultural differences will affect your workforce, including religious differences, but of course those aren’t the only factors!

Trying to artificially force a monoculture on your team is not only likely to be ineffective, but you may actually alienate members of your team. At The Happiness Index we don’t think it’s effective to enforce one single culture across even the smallest team, let alone across borders. 

Cultural Alignment

But that’s not to say culture cannot be aligned! What we mean by this is that if your vision and values remain consistent across your teams, locations and offices (which they should!) you should have the same cultural direction. This may express itself differently, but broadly you’ll be able to align strategy. 

What this looks like in practice will depend on your organisation, but certain processes, policies or workflows may be able to be standardised across your offices to help create cohesion. You may also be able to create cultural touch points, so that people working in different locations can meet to discuss challenges, roadblocks and solutions. Or even just their favourite snacks. 

Thinking creatively about how to demonstrate that everyone, even globally, within your organisation is working towards the same goals can help create a more cohesive culture. This is where it’s extra important to have your vision and values clearly defined. 

Our Vision and Values survey is designed to help you to understand how your people understand and interact with your business’s goals and direction. Thanks to our responsive dashboard, you’ll also be able to break out individual locations and countries in order to understand global differences in attitudes. This will help you design not only a global strategy, but also local nuances. 

The Neuroscience of Global Culture

Neuroscience is particularly helpful when thinking on a global scale because although there are differences on regional, country and even individual levels, our wiring is broadly the same. This means that understanding what makes your team tick on a neurological level will help you to create a strategy that works globally, but still breaks down to account for individual specificity. 

Our Neuroscience model uses cutting edge research, but also data points from hundreds of employees around the globe to help you to really understand what makes your team not only survive but thrive. We give you data and scientific models that can be applied to your team wherever they are in the world.

Our 8 neuroscience themes have been scientifically proven to map across cultures and global divides. This means that we allow you to break data silos and compare and contrast the engagement and happiness of your team wherever they are in the world. 

Happiness is Global

Our internal data and research shows that although engagement may be different across the world, happiness is global. This makes it a great place to start when it comes to building a global culture for your people. 

No matter what language your team speaks, happiness is a human emotion. Engagement is a more complex concept that can be harder to understand in a global context. That’s why we believe it’s so important when building a global culture to include happiness in your strategy. 

Creating a strategy that builds what your team needs to be happy regardless of their context will help you create cultural touchstones that can be applied across your locations. 

Measurement is Key

We’ve written before about the importance of measurement in a global context. It’s so important to know what your team needs on an individual and global basis in order for you to build an HR and culture strategy that gives everyone the environment they need to perform their best.

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Linked to Happiness & Engagement in our neuroscience methodology... learn more

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Employee Engagement: What You Need To Know

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About The Happiness Index

The Happiness Index helps organisations measure the key employee engagement AND happiness drivers to power their people strategy.

Our unique platform offers the products, insights and tools to shine a light on your cultural health and empower management to drive thriving cultures.

Our neuroscience-based pre-built surveys measure the full employee experience - from onboarding to exit to empower and enable organisations to understand their people and create data-led action plans.


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