Globalisation and the Workplace

By Veronica Costas

Thanks to technological advancements, businesses from all over the world are able to connect and trade much faster than they could have imagined a mere two decades ago. While it would usually take months or even years to establish international relationships and conduct business abroad, now all it takes are a couple of clicks and a few days or weeks to build a professional relationship. This is usually how international business is done within a company until there is a big enough market in a certain country or region to hire a representative or to open an office abroad.

The impact globalisation has had in business activities, the workplace and the workforce is immense and cannot be ignored. Just like any significant shift, globalisation brings about positive and negative changes, and for anyone to be successful in today’s global market, either as a business or individual professionals, awareness is key.

Cultural Diversity
As the economy evolves and becomes ever more globalised, businesses see an increasingly diverse workforce. Whether it entails international teams having to work together, or workers from different cultural backgrounds working within a single team, work ethics and religious differences are some of the challenges that globalised companies face. But while issues may arise, the benefits far outweigh them, and include different insights and new ideas from management and marketing standpoints.

Earnings Changes
Globalisation allows businesses to take advantage of overseas outsourcing. This is great for businesses, as developing countries offer a similar – or sometimes higher, standard of work for much less, given lower standards and cost of living.

For local workers, however, this might mean lower pay rates, or the need to acquire other skills to remain relevant and to keep seen as an asset by employers.

Increased Standards
While developing countries provide goods and services at lower costs, they have faced great challenges trying to live up to western standards of quality and of health and safety.

It is greatly beneficial for them, as by raising their standards to match overseas clients’ expectations, workers are safer, and able to perform to their full potential. Developing economies also benefit from this, as the overall higher standard and quality of work helps strengthen local markets.

Processes and Training
To help workers adapt to their changing environment, regular training is required and increasingly common. Cultural and language training are usually the first steps, and some companies even choose to modify business hours to better match different time zones.

Another important process to be introduced require intensive training for Human Resources officers, as it entails introducing  and maintaining processes to report and solve discrimination cases.

Though globalisation can bring about some issues and negative consequences, it is a real trend that affects every worker and business in every country in the world, so it cannot be ignored. It is key that managers keep up with global trends and changes, and are proactive in helping their teams and companies adapt and strive in the new globalise world.