Although it has offices in 26 countries, senior managers at HCL Technologies, a global information technology services company, believe there should be no borders separating its 84,000 employees.
In 2010 the company launched its Working Across Borders initiative, designed to foster knowledge and understanding among its diverse staff, as well as provide insight into the corporate culture itself.
HCL has found that its best performers "have the ability to integrate and assimilate in the environment they're working in," says Prithvi Shergill, chief human resources officer for the company based in Noida, India.
To develop those skills among all its employees, the vast majority of whom have been hired locally, the Working Across Borders program relies on four pillars: knowledge, awareness, learning and assimilation.
Those topics were chosen based on HCL's experience, Shergill says. Managers asked themselves: "What are the four things we need to focus on to make our people effective?"
HCL has developed different online tools to support each pillar in the Working Across Borders program. Globesmart, for example, supports the knowledge pillar by providing employees with information on subjects such as how to effectively conduct business with people in various countries. Symphony, designed to enable learning, lets employees discuss topics such as the characteristics of a global worker, or stereotypes that exist in the workplace.
Through the initiative, HCL aims to connect all of its employees with one another. Personal connections can help deepen understanding of various cultures.
One way to accomplish that is through an internal social network, where employees discuss topics including values, beliefs and leisure activities.
The company's recent recruiting efforts are focused on hiring those who can perform successfully across cultures. "One of the things we're looking for is comfort in working across borders and working across geographies," Shergill says. "Companies that don't do this today won't succeed tomorrow."
In the past fiscal year alone, the company has experienced a 31 percent increase in revenue, while attrition declined from 16.5 percent during the 2011 fiscal year to 14 percent this year.
For its efforts to break down barriers, HCL Technologies is the 2012 winner of the Optimas Award for Global Outlook.
Susan Ladika is a writer based in Tampa, Florida. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workforce Management, November 2012, p. 28 -- Subscribe Now!