" /> Case Study: Intercultural Competencies - AbiNader Advisory Services

Case Study: Seeking Culturally Savvy Employees to Drive Recruiting, Retention, and Effective CRM

This client is an example of the need to work internationally while supporting a global work environment where its corporate values that encourage innovation and accountability are integrated in company-wide practices that support diversity and thinking beyond borders of all kinds. The client was a global provider of cloud computing software for business applications using stand-alone products or integrating popular existing platforms. They were concerned that when recruiting energetic and competent staff who are technologically savvy and skilled in building long- term customer relationships, it is as critical to sharpen their skills in working in teams based in various locations.

The Immediate Concern

How to continue expanding into 30+ overseas markets from hub offices in 8 countries while recruiting young (25-40) employees from various cultural, national, and professional cultures to spearhead its growth. The impact of staff diversity was of concern as a potential source of dysfunctional behaviors.

In discussions with the Human Capital team, it was decided to build a one- day workshop into the annual retreat at which team leaders from the existing eight global locations and their key staff gather for their regular company review. This is common practice, either in-person or via the internet, for technology companies that want to encourage a common commitment to company goals and policies.

The Process

Once I had the approval of the HC team, I then contacted the team leaders who had participated in the previous annual meeting and would act in that role for the workshop, and interviewed them by email regarding their perceptions of the issues at hand, key obstacles and assets in communications among employees, and their objective for the workshop.

We decided on two immediate goals: increasing participant awareness of how culture, broadly defined, affects their activities internally and with clients; and the critical value of working across organizational and national boundaries to achieve corporate and professional objectives. I designed the workshop around three objectives: building awareness of their personal perspectives on diversity and work, understanding the importance of building their communications skills, and setting learning objectives in the short and near team. This led to a series of short presentations I made that followed interactive exercises among participants to enable them to share their perspectives and inputs on topics such as “work values,” “the corporate brand,” and “managing diversity for success.”

Participants, for the most part under 40 years of age, responded well to the exercises that involved sharing a great deal of information with colleagues and a series of visual presentations. The workshop concluded with a panel of team leaders and members discussing personal vignettes that embody the lessons learned in the workshop as well as their goals for becoming more competent in internal and external communications skills. An internal audit by the HC team six months later indicated a broad consensus that the workshop was helpful and continued to positively impact their behaviors inside and outside the company.