Globalization brings with it many, many challenges. Inclusive and respectful cross-cultural business practices need to be heavily focused on to ensure international clientele are not accidentally offended and ultimately pushed away, and if your company plans on hiring international employees in the ever-expanding remote work world, internal inclusiveness and cultural awareness also need to be polished to ensure the company is appealing to those outside of the country, and to retain those employees.
Ultimately, cultural awareness and inclusiveness result in a bigger bottom line in most cases, and if your company already has operations abroad, or is planning on taking operations overseas, a whole other set of challenges needs to be met, and codes of conduct may have to evolve to match the global market. Here are three types of global codes of conduct your company should review and adjust with international cultural awareness in mind.
If a company plans to staff a diverse group of employees from all across the globe, a focus on inclusiveness in management philosophy must be implemented. Management philosophies generally take four paths: one for customers, one for employees, one for shareholders, and one for the community the business serves.
For customers, management philosophies generally speak to providing the highest quality service and maintaining a commitment to things like “the customer is always right” or whatever the philosophy may be. Generally speaking, customer-facing management philosophies stay the same from domestic to international business.
For employees, however, management philosophies in international businesses need to ensure there is more focus on teamwork and unity than on personal development. The latter is still very important, but in an international setting, team building should take precedent as to avoid any bias toward domestic employees or anything that could be perceived as such.
Shareholder philosophy also remains pretty much the same: be transparent and trustworthy and make all decisions with shareholders in mind.
For the community philosophy, it is the most obvious one to change, as the community literally becomes the globe. Changing corporate social responsibilities from local to global is a great way to put this philosophy in action.
Compliance codes of conduct are rules and guidelines for businesses to follow pertaining to legal matters regarding business. With international business, taxes, labor laws, regulations, etc. are completely different than they are in domestic business, and compliance codes should be more-or-less written from scratch for international business.
Social rules also come into play with compliance codes, and just like the U.S., there are plenty of unwritten rules that should be researched and understood so your business doesn’t stand out in the wrong way.
Corporate credos are a company’s values or beliefs that ultimately dictate internal and external business practices. “Respect, Honesty, Transparency,” or something along those lines, tend to be the backbone for most corporate credos, and obviously those things are good to practice at all levels of business. With international business, however, you should be prepared to bend your corporate credo slightly, in the same “cultural awareness” mindset that makes any good leader.
Some foreign business credos may not be quite as morally sound as your own from your perspective, but before the writing of a relationship, remember that things are done very differently from both operations and ethical standpoint in international business. Looking up competitor practices is a good way to determine if your potential business partner’s credo is simply based on locale, or if it is actually something to consider before doing business.