Cultivating the Culture of Caring in Global Mobility

One thing that the coronavirus and its induced quarantines have driven home is the need for a caring culture in the workplace. All of a sudden, the impending collapse of businesses and the failure to meet the bottom line has shown us all the unexpected vulnerabilities of our position. Jobs were imperiled, customers were losing their purchasing power, and supposedly foolproof strategies revealed their shortcomings. Empathy and authenticity became the essential commodities to survival and business success. 

Companies, communities, employees, and consumers alike had to support each other in order to get through the economic disruption. Performance and productivity had to be aligned with a genuine desire to make sure that all the stakeholders are taken care of. 

The efforts had to be real, and the sincerity of any communication campaign had to be tangibly sincere. When that realization started to sink in, CEOs and business owners, regardless of how well (or not) they were faring in the coronavirus crisis, found that what they needed to do was create (or strengthen) a culture of caring in their organizations—one that would reach out to their employees.

Team Lemonade deftly defines a culture of caring as an organization where the Golden Rule is respected and constantly practiced. Basically, starting from the leadership, it means treating everyone, especially the employees, with inherent goodness, kindness, respect, and fairness. 

Employees feel that they matter and are appreciated, and that they are not just cogs in a machinery that produce a certain amount of work according to a certain amount of hours in order to be paid a certain amount of dollars.

In one case it cited, employees get motivated more by rewards of pizza, complemented with heartfelt thank-you notes instead of the typical cash bonus.  As a result, they become more engaged and tend to become more productive. 

The value they were made to feel bounces back to the company in the form of value presented through hard work, commitment, loyalty, and an excellent performance.

There are three simple effective ways how global mobility managers can instill a culture of caring in their department:

Global mobility managers have to set the example 

To quote a familiar proverb, it has to start from the top in order to disseminate throughout the ranks. It can also begin in small but memorable strokes that will lift people’s spirits and form a more personal connection between the manager and the assignee. Examples would be doing kind gestures for the assignee, which do not necessarily have to be expensive. Asking how their family back in India is doing throughout the pandemic can boost an assignee’s ego. 

Another is just hearing them talk about their favorite dance festival and then giving earnest comments in return. If the assignee looks depressed or anxious, don’t pass the memo to HR — in short, do a zoom call or personally talk to them during the break to ask them what has been weighing them down.

All these send a subtle but strong message to the employee:  “I am here for you, and yes, I care.”

Create communities that impart and demonstrate appreciation

As the head thinks, so does the rest of the body follow. The global mobility manager can not show their concern to individuals alone; they would not be able to sustain it in the long run. What they can do instead is develop spaces where their employees can strengthen their personal relationships, while all of them are taking a break, venting their sorrows, or just encouraging each other. 

Activities can make this kind of bonding constant—and it will help facilitate communication between all the employees where they can affirm and support one another. Virtual team-building activities, competitions and games, or yoga sessions are just for starters. This also means that the global mobility manager themselves is at the forefront, acting as cheerleader, coach, and referee all at the same time. 

As Harvard Business Review points out, employees thrown into a fun situation that lowers their guards and makes them empathize with their colleagues allow them to see each other for who they truly are: real people with their individual dreams, aspirations, challenges, fears, and hopes. Connection in these situations becomes easier and stronger.

The more you understand your neighbor, the greater the chances you will empathize and even care for them. Or at the very least, be more understanding, and therefore not judgmental, of their situation.

Merge the acts and rewards that show care with the compensation package

This particular advice comes from Hppy. Now no assignee will want to exchange their hard-earned bonuses for weekly boxes of pizza. However, compensation packages can be customized to fit their personal requirements and concerns. The value of the package remains competitive, while at the same the customization does assure the assignee that the company recognizes their individual preferences.

An assignee who has their spouse and kids living with them in Northern California might prefer larger accommodations during the second quarter, as opposed to  a cash benefit. 

Creating a caring culture in an organization is possible. It starts with a series of small steps, grows in a community effort, and culminates in a more formal process that eventually keeps the assignee loyal and committed to the organization.