Why should Global HR improve their Cross-Cultural Awareness!

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As companies emerge into a new market, especially into a global environment, their ability to manage a global workforce is imperative to the success of their organization.

But when we consider managing a global workforce, more sensitivity should be displayed in handling diverse cultures than in maintaining policies, procedures and labor laws. I don’t deny the fact that policies in managing workforce in your country can be entirely different to that in other countries.

But I hope you agree that what ever direction your organization’s global expansion takes place, the most critical and common challenge would be managing people. Who executes your business strategies, serves customers and builds and even maintains your employer brand inside and outside your organization.

Therefore the role of HR in recognizing cross cultural clues and then educating and coaching their employees especially the managers and leaders about it is highly necessary. Hire the right people at the right place who know why people act the way they do based on their different background and customs. This can seem to be a daunting task as your company expands from one side of the globe to another. And capturing that in one blog post is a real challenge to me.

A manager should be highly cautious ,structured and well planned when managing a diverse workforce as the core values of one employee can be totally different from another in a different culture. And if he or she wants to influence leaders to accept his ideas and team members to support him, he needs to be little flexible and present himself in a way that is acceptable to others.

So to start with, let me take you through a little bit of cross Cultural Clues across the border. I have had the good fortune to work with and build invaluable relationships with people from different cultures. The following is based on these experiences and the ideas shared by friends from different nations when I asked them to describe themselves in the workplace.


More than business, policies and structure they value relationships. You might be good at what you do but to have a successful business or work relationship with them you need to make them trust you by being yourself, getting to know one another and building a bonding relationship.


Connectivity & teamwork are what they will be interested in at work place. They would be highly loyal and obedient to the work that they do and show the same respect to the organization. So before you confront & directly say ‘No’ give them a background picture on why you have a different view and what impact you both can create by working together.

Middle East

Consistency, loyalty & Respect for authority are some core values to folk from here. Often don’t tend to take risk but will run through the pros and cons before getting into the nitty gritty of tough tasks. Devotional and highly strict in following the rule of law. Motivated to work with organization and managers and so it helps to be flexible for e.g. by providing a private space to pray in office or to follow their traditions like wearing scarves to office etc.


They are more family oriented and deeply attached to the family members. They will be highly engaged to work with an organization that provides work life balance and would show that level of commitment to the organization that they give to their family.


The core values they adore are respect & trust. You can notice that they tend to ask a lot of direct questions to you to help them get to know you better. They really value the time that they spend with others. Good at working with other team members who are humble and compromising. So when you disagree with any of their ideas talk about why you feel in a differently.


At work place they would be highly informal, open and honest. They would be a little bit individualist when it comes to having flexibility in what and how they do. Highly straight forward in expressing their ideas and feedback and don’t bluff. They would be punctual in meeting the deadlines and in keeping their promises. There would always be some kind of interest outside of their work life that they are highly passionate about.

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