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Russell Goldsmith
Russell Goldsmith 5 January 2022

Podcast - Interview with HR Leaders About Globalization Partners' 2021 Global Employee Survey

An episode of the csuite podcast, produced in partnership with Globalization Partners, discussing the critical role of employee experience in the remote working world.

In this episode of the csuite podcast, produced in partnership with Globalization Partners, we discussed the critical role of employee experience in the remote working world. 

Russell Goldsmith was joined online by Emily Boynton, Vice President, People Resources at Globalization PartnersCaroline Göbel, from Göttingen in Germany, who has a co-leadership role as Head of Global People and Organisational Development at Ottobock, and Katherine Allwood, Head of People at The Hut Group.

Globalization Partners

The episode was released to coincide with the release of Globalization Partners’ 2021 Global Employee Survey, which received responses from 1,250 employees, from companies with 250 or more people, from 15 different countries.

Emily began by explaining that fundamentally, Globalization Partners’ technology enables companies to overcome the barriers to building a global remote team internationally. Their platform simplifies and automates the foundational HR employee experience across all foundational HR teams.

In the report, data was collated on employee sentiment regarding working in global remote teams, which has been crucial in the light of Covid-19’s impact on the shift from in-person to remote work. They analysed how these factors affect employees’ perception of their company, leadership, engagement levels and overall job satisfaction.

Emily said that successful companies should view creating a dynamic remote culture as a strategic business differentiator and it has a substantial impact on employees’ long term retention intent. She added that mobility and the globalisation of remote teams will significantly impact not only the workforce planning but talent management.

The Hut Group

Katherine Allwood, Head of People, at The Hut Group, explained that THG has equally had to adapt to remote working as an international ecommerce and technology business, that operate in 169 countries, using 47 languages.

Some of their better-known brands include Look Fantastic and My Protein, but they also run THG Ingenuity which is their technology arm.

Katherine explained that as a business pre pandemic, they were very much an office-based company, but now they’ve implemented an agile working policy, which means that all staff in their head office can work from home two days a week.

Ottobock

MedTech company, Ottobock, produce prosthetics and wheelchairs as well as having other services, and have around 18,000 employees across 50 countries.

Caroline said that they have patient care centres, production with on-site working and administration roles with people in offices. She explained that they have mastered so many challenges within the last 18 months.

She added that some people are in the office, and that they want to offer flexibility not just at home but within the different areas in the office such as silent work areas, collaboration areas and diverse rooms for workshops.

Challenges of Remote Working

Emily said that the biggest challenge with working remotely, that the survey found was time zones at 26%, as workforces are exponentially growing, and employee mobility is becoming more complex.

The second largest challenge that they found was process speed, at 23%, and the third biggest challenge encountered with 22%, was finding effective communication methods.

Emily explains that finding the right tools have improved communication methods, however there is a risk of over tooling, commonly known as tool fatigue. She said selecting quality, agile tools is better in this regard.

Kat adds that Zoom or Teams fatigue is something that everyone must be mindful of in work life as much as personal life. But she said it’s meant they have been able to run all their learning and development sessions whilst including people on those calls in a different location or country, to bring people together collaboratively.

Caroline said at Ottobook they were pushed into the new collaboration area because they hadn’t previously used Teams or anything similar. She said people were overwhelmed by the full tool functionalities and how to deal with that, and employees were supported with training on how to use them.

Company Culture

Caroline said she believes culture is communication and how we interact with each other, and during that remote time, this was lost.

Kat said for new starters, those opportunities to make connections with different people and to get to know their colleagues, not on a work level are important. She said at THG, most of their new starters, up until the most recent weeks, had never been to a THG office and culturally they’ve probably felt very distant.

Emily said the work that Kat, Caroline, and others have done in each of their own companies has really worked because 48% of employees feel happier about work since moving to a remote work environment.

Emily explained that the pandemic has shown a spotlight on gaps in our societal systems, but it has also had an incredible impact and opened a window on an opportunity for a more connected global community.

Leadership in Remote Working

Caroline said at the beginning their leaders had to deal with a lot of challenges and different areas but did a good job. She said what we’ve seen out of the pandemic is how important a human centred leadership is because those leaders who come together with their team in an online meeting, organise informal meetings and have their ear on their people, are successful.

Emily believed that employee perception of leadership was really spotlighted as a critical factor in terms of employee experience and engagement. She said she thinks of three leadership T’s – trust, transparency, and teamwork and there are numerous ways that leaders can achieve these three T's or this human centric leadership approach. 

Remote Working for the Future

Kat explains that each company needs to find that balance that works for them and to make it part of their culture, because it is something that's going to be here to stay and something that we all need to adapt to.

Emily said employees are more likely to stay at a company where remote work is supported and intentionally creating a dynamic remote culture will be a strategic differentiator for companies.

The results of the Globalization Partners survey can be found at: www.globalization-partners.com/blog 

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