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Global work orientation

A recent global report from McKinsey shows that the number of people in the global labor force will reach 3.5 billion by 2030 — and yet there will still be a shortage of skilled workers by then, which will intensify global competition for talent.  That for sure means that, our ways of thinking about careers, colleagues, and collaboration will need to become more flexible and adaptable.

That’s where a global work orientation will be incredibly valuable to cultivate for anyone working for multinationals or in other global careers, and can also be used by managers to develop employees. In order to develop this orientation in your career path, it is suggested that you:

1. Embracing positive indifference. Positive indifference is the ability to overlook many cultural differences as being not especially important or worthy of attention while remaining optimistic about the process of engaging the culture seen as foreign. It’s about adapting to work practices that may at first seem culturally foreign — such as having to wear an identification badge or file frequent key performance indicator reports — without becoming unduly troubled. Positive indifference is important for two reasons. One, because global work is by definition likely to bring employees into contact with cultural differences and culturally diverse practices, the ability to adapt smartly could be the difference between success and failure. And two, positive indifference makes work life that much easier in a global firm because employees are open to learning and exploring new terrains.

2. Seeking commonality between cultures. This enables you and your employees to draw closer to a foreign culture and become receptive to its differences, in line with characteristic number one. The commonalities you find may be different from anyone else’s and not initially obvious. Seeking commonality is important to a global work orientation because it draws colleagues from diverse cultures closer, which in turn translates to more effective collaboration and teamwork.

3. Identifying with the global organization rather than your local office. If you feel a sense of belonging with the larger organization, you’re more likely to share its values and goals. Organizational identification, which is achieved when an individual feels at one with the organization, is crucial for fostering job satisfaction, commitment, and performance. Identifying with a global organization is synonymous with the collective international company and its further expansion.

4. Seeking interactions with other, geographically distant subsidiaries. This behavior is important to global work orientation because, when interactions are high, there is a greater ability to develop trust and shared vision among international coworkers. Interactions are also vital for sharing knowledge across sites.

5. Aspiring for a global career. In some sectors, the global market demands for English-speaking workers make a global career quite attractive. Travel, living in a new country, and the opportunities for career advancement that may come with working for a multinational firm were all reasons that dual ex-pats gave for their global career aspirations.

Make sure to add a global work orientation to your career, come and learn with us!

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