On Tuesday we hosted the second session of our new educational series, Bee School. Thank you to those of you who joined or plan on joining us in the upcoming weeks! The topic of this week’s lecture was “National Culture” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed why understanding national culture is so important and how ignoring it can negatively impact your bottom line. As a manager, recognizing cultural differences can help you redesign motivation systems for a more satisfying and productive work environment. She also described the power of taking the qualitative concept of culture and building it out as a more quantitative variable. Something tangible that can be measured and used in the workplace. Some of you had some questions for Dr. Herkenhoff and you can read her responses below. Your questions are not only helpful for us so we can get to know your needs and challenges better, they also enrich the learning process for everyone in the program. So keep them coming! Hopefully these answers help you apply these theories to your own team.
Q&A with the Professor
1. How can you apply this knowledge to the differences in national cultures when communicating about benefits? No matter where your company is located, paying your employees fair wages and benefit packages is always in style. I would recommend speaking with similar companies to yours to get a better understanding of salary ranges and benefits offered in your city or region as a benchmark to work form. Then you can consider cultural values to determine if your employees place a higher value on things like time off versus larger bonuses or higher pay. In a global organization, creating a pay and benefit structure that motivates all nationalities can be difficult. Since I’ve been working with Beekeeper, let’s use them as an example. Their employee base includes people from 22 countries and one of their core values is Bee Open which allows employees to give and receive feedback in a constructive manner. When there are major changes that happen within the company, employees care enough to give honest and direct feedback on the initiatives rolled out. This feedback is discussed within the executive meeting and action is quickly taken.
There are so many types of benefits to consider that extend beyond the standard ones we think of. For example, some cultures have dietary restrictions so benefits can even be in the form of providing free snacks that are aligned with their values. Many cultures place a high value on continuing education so you can provide internal workshops where everyone is invited to share knowledge and aid in professional development. Assess the varying national cultures and find out what benefits are important and survey your team to craft and communicate the best benefits plan. Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s lecture, “Professional Culture,” to learn the importance of a professional culture and what steps you can take to ensure yours is sustainable.
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