3 Questions To Prepare Your Performance Management for the Future of Work

Globalization should be on every HR leader’s mind. According to the Well’s Fargo International Business Indicator, 87 percent of U.S. companies agree that international expansion is needed for long-term growth, and 58 percent of the World’s Most Admired Companies see globalization as one of the top three megatrends influencing their employee engagement strategies. If you don’t already have offices or remote employees around the world, you probably will soon.

87 percent of U.S. companies agree that international expansion is needed for long term growth.

Unfortunately, even in a world where technology is bringing us closer together and making it easier to connect with people on the far corners of the earth, making sure HR processes work across borders is no easy feat. Even as companies are completely redesigning their performance management processes into digital systems—which should theoretically make it easier to provide real time feedback to team members around the world—they’re often neglecting to consider language barriers and other cultural differences that will impact the value of these systems for global employees.

In fact, when MIT Sloan talked to 58 business leaders about what it takes to build a successful global business team, they ranked “overcoming communication barriers” a 6.35 out of 7 in terms of importance, and at 5.56 out of 7 in terms of the difficulty of achieving it. In other words, developing your performance management to work across communication barriers is a highly important—and highly challenging—thing to do.

SEE ALSO: 5 Key Benefits of Real-Time Performance Feedback

Since the last thing you want to do is go through all the work of setting up a new performance management system only to find out it doesn’t support a swath of your employees, it’s important to consider these global needs now. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure your new performance management is prepared for your current (or future!) global teams.

Do My Tools Support Multiple Languages?

This is the most low-hanging fruit in terms of being prepared to support global teams: Does the software you’re using easily translate across multiple languages?

Supporting global teams? First ask yourself: Do your tools also support multiple languages? Click To Tweet

Making sure your performance management tools have language support is a simple way to prepare the systems you’re creating to serve a global workforce—without you having to do any extra work.

Which languages should you be looking for? With the Chinese economy projected to overtake the U.S. in 2018 and Spanish being the second most spoken language in the U.S., those are good places to start. Then, consider anywhere your company already has offices, or international locations where you do a lot of business and could foresee having employees in the future and look for solutions that support those languages.

Do My Systems Account for Cultural Differences?

Of course, language is only one form of communication barrier. There are also cultural norms and values that affect how employees expect to get their feedback and what systems are ideal for them.

As CEO and founding partner of PeopleFirm M. Tamra Chandler explains, there are five core values that help us better understand cultural diversity in the workplace. These include things like how long-term versus short-term oriented a team is, and how people interpret different power structures. Understanding these differences in global teams across your organization is critical to coming up with systems that will deliver feedback to them in an optimal way.

There are five core values that help us better understand cultural diversity in the workplace.

So, as you’re setting up new performance management processes for your organization, make sure you’re not doing so in a void. Bring in leaders and employees from across your offices to get their perspective on how you can best deliver feedback to them, and do your best to personalize your system to suit different needs. “Also, before you roll out your solution, test it in different geographies and cultures—not just the solution itself, but also the supporting content, since some degree of localization is likely to be needed on that as well,” adds Chandler.

Can My Tools Adapt as My Organization Does?

I know you may not have global offices yet. Or your company may have only just begun to expand and you have no idea the other geographies you need to be prepared to support. You can only prepare for what you know now, but having tools that are easily adaptable will help make sure they continue working for you for years (and many global offices) to come.

Only 11 percent of companies are prepared to build the organizations of the future. Click To Tweet

Flexible features to look for could include question targeting so you can create unique questions for different cultural needs or different levels of anonymity depending how comfortable that office is with direct feedback.

According to Deloitte, only 11 percent of companies are prepared to build the organizations of the future. Making sure your HR processes are prepared to support teammates all around the world will get you one step closer.

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