In a world where the workplace is becoming more and more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, it is now imperative for businesses to concentrate on global collaboration. This is especially important on matters such as their LGBT network groups where differing cultures need to be considered.
With the advancements in technology and our constant connection to the world, our businesses have to catch up with the global movement. So, what are the benefits of global collaboration?
What are the top 10 benefits of global collaboration?
- Opportunities for knowledge sharing
A diversity of thought and culture can help generate a breadth of new ideas and practises, which can hugely benefit the business as a whole.
- Raising your brand awareness and creating a bigger profile
Naturally, going global will increase your brands presence and, if that business strives to create a global brand, this will be a stronger, more positive image around the world.
- Economy of scale – saving costs
A larger business means a bigger budget, but working collaboratively can actually reduce costs and create results because the goals and processes are the same worldwide opposed to managing individual offices with their own standards.
- Raising the bar and setting standards
Working globally enables senior leaders to create overall goals and standards, which can be implemented in every business around the world. This allows for set standards that everyone is working towards, therefore creating a more cohesive business.
- Sense of community and Inclusion
Global Collaboration can create a conclusive, connected network of employees, experts and leaders all fostering the same goals and values. This helps to create a fantastic support network and build an environment in which everyone can be themselves. This can then lead to greater connectivity and access to senior leaders.
- Understanding of different cultures
Global collaboration also opens doors to learning about other cultures and how to create a company strategy which benefits all cultures. This can be exciting as well as challenging.
- Ability to challenge one’s own preconceptions and see an outside perspective
Following on from the above point, collaborating globally can challenge individual preconceptions and enable new ideas to come to the forefront. Learning about other cultures and the people living in them increases your global awareness and fosters inclusivity.
- Creation of cultural contacts and personal development
Being global can open a lot of doors for you to create more connections and network on a larger scale, enabling you to grow as a person and develop your skills.
- Mobility – both for company and employees
Collaborating globally can achieve greater mobility both for the company and their employees. This enables experts to travel to other offices delivering strategy and working well with the team there. It also opens further business opportunities for the company and potential for expansion.
Lastly, collaborating globally creates a culture of solidarity in the company. If everyone is supporting one another and working well together to deliver set goals, then it will create an environment in which employees feel empowered.
What are the potential barriers to global collaboration?
Potential barriers to global collaboration can include:
- Lack of awareness
- Time zone differences
- Background and cultural differences
- Language barriers – miscommunication
- Measure of impact – hard to measure what you are delivering
- Geographical issues – ie. scattered LGBT employees in smaller teams
- Lack of motivation
- Funding – budgets
- Lack of practical senior support
- Technology difficulties
- Political barriers – building walls instead of bridges
- Reluctance to share best practises and individual successes
- Organisational readiness – internal politics
- Setting a global standard
- Denial that there is a problem
- Lack of vision or shared goals
- Fear of change
- Uncertainty about whether there will be a return of investment or that it will live up to expectations
How can you tackle these potential problems and what is the best way to create a collaborative LGBT network on a global scale?
The main enablers for successful global collaboration are: Cultural Awareness; Freedom to Collaborate; Creation of a Supportive Environment; Cultural Knowledge; Fit for Purpose Technology; Commitment and Shared Goals. With these areas in mind, you can deal with any potential problems which may arise. Here are some best practises to help you create a cohesive network globally.
Top 10 Best Practises for Global Collaboration
- Create a public platform/forum in which everyone can connect and talk openly about issues
This can reduce the potential lack of communication and enables employees to feel supported, especially where there may be a lack of other LGBT employees.
- Foster good communication
Address any language barriers and create solutions such as having a translator present in meetings.
Make time to listen to employees and hear their ideas.
Ensure that senior leaders are visible in their support and actively participate in your LGBT Network events, meetings and goals.
- Prioritise setting common values, mission and purpose – a clear vision and shared goals
Do not be precious with your ideas, it is always better to share good ideas so that the company as a whole can benefit.
Always share your successes.
Common goals will help you deliver on targets and ensure that all offices are working together.
- Brand awareness – visibility of D&I representatives
It is important that your Diversity and Inclusion representatives are visible as they can provide support and advise to employees, as well as deliver your global strategy in regional offices.
A good idea is to have their D&I status in their email signature or an online catalogue where employees can find the right person to talk to.
- Build D&I into people’s objectives
If Diversity and Inclusion is a part of everyone’s objectives then this makes the achievement of shared goals possible. D&I representatives often have their main job to do as well as running a Network Group or supporting their colleagues, so it is integral for the business as a whole to recognise this and support them in turn.
- Reward and recognition for Employee Network Group leaders and supporters
This leads on to the importance of recognising the hard work of Network Group leaders and supporters, which will make them feel valued. This will motivate them to continue with the work that they are doing.
- D&I and cultural training around membership and induction
A major possible problem is a lack of understanding. To tackle this, D&I and cultural training should be offered to all employees and leaders. This will reduce any possible miscommunication or tensions and enable better knowledge sharing opportunities.
Training may also help to dispel any political barriers and create an environment within the office which is safe and secure despite any political differences in the wider world.
- Connecting network groups through events and networking opportunities
To create a sense of community and cohesion, holding events and networking opportunities for LGBT staff to connect with other LGBT staff, and on a global level, increase collaboration. This also helps to grow your network, also inviting Allies can expand the reach of your message and foster support and acceptance.
- Articulation of benefits from senior management
To tackle any fears of change or belief that there isn’t a problem, senior leaders need to express the benefits to all staff. This will also address any uncertainty regarding budgets and return on investment as the positives will be outlined in full.
Similarly, Diversity Champions can also address these problems and help spread the word in their different offices.
It may also help to change or create new HR policies and practices so they are in line with the global picture.
- Think glocally
Think global, act locally. Every office will have its own problems and priorities, so to foster global collaboration, it is important to set global goals and strategies but to interpret them at a local level. It is therefore critical to accept that success may be different in these local areas to globally and that targets must be flexible.
We hope that this has shed valuable light on the benefits and best practises for global collaboration between Employee Network Groups.
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