Attracting, engaging and retaining employees is hugely important for a successful global company. So what works when you’re employing people of different cultures? And what should you look for if you’re looking for a great place to work?
Dr. Michael O’Neill of Knoll Workplace Research has taken a look at the similarities and differences in what North Americans and employees from different parts of the world think are important in the workplace. Knoll studied 20,000 employees across three multinational companies operating across 12 geographic regions. O’Neill reports that the physical workplace is very important to all employees and that eight of the 19 top concerns are the same among North American and employees from different countries.
Top concerns for all employees were choice of workspace type, comfort and ergonomics, an engaging workplace and safety and security. North Americans differ in that workspace choice and collaboration technology are most important for them while the employees from other regions value a more engaging workplace, one that is welcoming and helps them to feel connected to their coworkers.
The best global strategy, reports O’Neill, is to offer safety and security to employees, comfortable and ergonomic work settings, an engaging and connected environment and support for distributed work–individual and group work, formal and informal areas.
Knoll looked at physical set-up in workplaces. Laura Petrecca of USA Today took a look at what companies made the Great Places to Work Institutes top performers in 2011 and what other workplace characteristics put them there. In 2011, Microsoft, SAS and NetApp took the top three spots as best workplaces and Google and FedEx came in fourth and fifth.
It turns out that it’ s not just the physical workspace, perks or pay that makes employees enjoy their workplaces. Great Place to Work CEO Jose Tolovi Jr. says that great leaders “think on a higher level:” they create employee trust in management, employee pride in the company and camaraderie among employees. Workers are united as a team with a common goal.
In order to be eligible for a great workplace rating, multinationals had to have at least 5,000 employees and employ 40 percent of their workers outside the parent company’s country. They also had to win regional best workplace lists because consistency of culture is important. The prize couldn’t go to what employees reported as best practices at the moment but that which was maintained over time. Great Place to Work Institute even looked at how companies fired or laid off their employees as part of the assessment. NetApp did this well when it had to cut its workforce by five percent in 2009. Emails, in-person meetings and a video by the CEO were used, utilizing well-established communication channels and transparency. This helped workers understand what was happening and the reasons it was happening. Cont…