Cultural agility in a globalised place – importance of staff mobility

cultural agility

In today’s globalised world, companies that want to succeed need employees who are able to adapt to foreign environments and work well with the local workforce. In simple terms, what today’s firms need is a pipeline of culturally-savvy employees. However, relatively few employers concern themselves with cultural differences when they send staff for international assignments. On the other hand, re-locating the staff to different branches is good for employees to adapt to a globalised workplace.

Building cultural agility often includes making structural changes as an organisation moves from active operations in a few countries to multiple continents.This brings about diversity of experience and thinking, and this usually results in better business decisions.

A company without culturally adaptable leaders is a company that is destined to fail, the challenge for HR is to start by staffing the company with individuals who are not just strong technically, but also exhibit the competencies that allow someone to be culturally adaptable. No company will ever reach its full potential without cultural adaptability.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Building cultural agility often includes making structural changes as an organisation moves from active operations in a few countries to multiple continents.[/quote]

Younger professionals that have studied abroad, or work abroad are top priority for dynamic companies. These candidates are often fast tracked onto management programs. MNCs are able to offer these candidates ways of expanding their career, and therefore hold on to talent better (Standard 3 year job cycle). They do this by offering global positions. I started in Antal in Germany, and moved to China based on my experiences in Germany and then the UK.

As a recruiter, I would like to say culturally experienced professionals are highly valued in the workplace. These talents bring a perception of flexibility and sensitivity based on a global perspective. Cultural understanding helps push teams forward; a foreigner who understands local cultural and business practices is highly valued as a connection between people.

 This article is written by Max Price, Partner of Antal International China. Edited by Dhanya Nair

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