A successful global engineering company with over 100,000 employees provides a large portfolio of products and services across the world.
As a provider of engineering hardware and software solutions, the organization has employees spread across the world providing front and back office products and services. It has established a strong customer orientation culture and to deliver this requires its employees to work, collaborate and proactively share knowledge, regardless of geographical location. As the organization continues to grow it remains committed to continuous employee training by enhancing their skill sets from both a technical and soft skill perspective.
Increasingly employees have to work virtually, and the corporate HR division realized that the richness of collocated working could not be directly transferred to a virtual operating environment. In this mode of working various challenges exist including: trying to develop working relationships with geographically dispersed colleagues; replicating the richness of face to face communication using their portfolio of communication tools; the issues of operating across time zones and its impact on real-time collaboration; understanding and leveraging the diversity of working with different cultures.
It needed both its leaders and workers to adopt a proactive approach to virtual working to meet the needs of its customers. It focused on identifying the behavioral competencies required to co-operate and collaborate in a virtual mode.
Understanding the culture was a key factor in establishing the solution. As a result, two training workshops were created aimed at its leaders (those that led internal teams in a virtual environment) and those that worked in this mode. The customer specified a course that consisted of a balance between “what” and “how” to operate, with practical activities focused on their everyday working situation. The solution covered topics such as:
- How to function in a virtual environment
- Building and maintaining working relationships
- Leveraging technology to enable communications
- Operating across cultures and distance
- Establishing and adopting team ground rules