Economic globalization is now a fact. Increasingly commerce and business is taking place across national boundaries in response to the flow of international capital and the rapid and far-reaching impact of technology. In fact, according to Forbes, the US has more global companies than anywhere else in the world, representing a considerable number of businesses and employees. Managing communication and the flow of information across multiple countries, timelines and languages is a considerable challenge for these multinational companies. Help is at hand though in the shape of an intranet. A global intranet with sub-portals for different countries will enable communication, promote connectedness and the sharing of information for these multinationals. Read on to find out exactly how.
Companies with multiple offices in different countries will have a range of information needs. There will be the corporate requirements as well as localized information needs. From within one main platform, global intranets can operate at a number of different levels to satisfy these various needs.
At an overarching level, the global intranet operates as a central repository for worldwide standards. These could include information such as marketing collateral, logos and brand information. This global information can then be customized and localized for the region or specific country by the local marketing resource and published on country or regional-specific sub-portals.
Appropriate file permissions can be used to ensure that the right files are controlled at the international and national level so that only authorized personnel can access the information and data that is relevant to them and their location.
The same principles apply to other global company data such as product information, sales manuals and so on. This kind of corporate knowledge management is common across all the locations and will feature on the main global intranet. Country-specific or localized knowledge will be a feature of the sub-portals.
What’s more, the sub-portals can house provincial pages for services such as human resources, IT and other key teams. There will be differences across national boundaries which the sub-portal can address. For example, it’s standard practice for employees in the UK to receive four weeks annual leave rather than the usual two weeks leave here in the US.
Local content authors and owners within each region can be appointed with the responsibility of updating and managing their own area. The advantage of this arrangement is that these staff members are closer to the action in terms of local news and information requirements. They can respond to any changes and update data more quickly than someone back at head office who may be two continents and several time zones away. What’s more, these locally based content authors will also have more of a handle on potentially sensitive cultural or religious based content and can ensure that this is handled appropriately. This will save the company from the possibility of embarrassing or offensive mistakes happening.
In addition, disseminating information in a timely fashion across multiple time zones is often a headache for global businesses. Publishing a press release on anticipated profits, for example, may well have an impact on the markets and share prices and you may want to coincide with the opening of the NASDAQ in New York. The global intranet will ensure the information is published at the appropriate time regardless of the time zone in the location from which it is posted. Furthermore, the sub-portals can display events and content updates at the appropriate time for that region. So even if head office is posting information in the middle of the night San Francisco time, when a user logs on the news article will be shown as posted at a time that makes sense locally.
The global intranet is a great vehicle for developing automated business processes across the entire organization.
One way in which it can do so is with local to global forms. Every day regional offices will be communicating and making requests to head office on a whole variety of issues. From requesting corporate gifts, marketing material and product updates to sales data, global financial records and compliance reporting, the daily transactions are considerable and are usually conducted via email or paper-based systems. However, with the global intranet, it’s possible to embed existing office systems such as Google Apps for quick and straightforward access by staff who can then easily share information across the organization. What’s more, the global intranet includes a simple and intuitive form builder to create and customize your own business forms. Using a set of rules, the completed form can then be routed anywhere in the world to the appropriate staff member for action. Cutting out all the existing bureaucracy with the ease and simplicity of the global intranet is a tremendous advantage.
And it’s very much a two-process with head office using centralized forms to direct service requests to the correct local resources. This enables head office to maintain a level of control and direction over the regional offices and ensures that the same efficient and agreed processes are being used by all regions in the organization. This is particularly useful in the context of franchise operations.
Making Connections And Employee Engagement
For global companies with many thousands of employees and multiple office locations, promoting any sense of a common corporate identity as well as maintaining high levels of employee engagement is a constant uphill struggle. It needn’t be quite such a struggle though. The global intranet contains a number of features that can be utilized to connect staff members and enhance employee engagement.
Company-wide blogs and forums are a great way to connect employees. Staff members can use them to share insights and best practice information or simply to ask colleagues for help and advice. These blogs can be organized on a subject matter basis, by job function or by product or service – whatever makes sense to the business. What’s more, they are a valuable tool for sharing knowledge and expertise within the organization. As well as connecting employees, they will also promote a sense of the bigger picture and a collective corporate identity.
Employee engagement is another corporate area in which the global intranet can make a difference. This aspect though is probably best addressed at the local or regional level where it is more manageable. Giving employees a voice and actively seeking their feedback through blogs, forums, quizzes and surveys on the intranet is a great means of engagement. And when it comes to motivating employees localized leader boards, competitions, sales dashboards, and leadership team updates are a great idea. Celebrating the successes of staff members in this will also serve to enhance the levels of employee engagement.
Global Intranets Make Business Easier
In simple terms, a global intranet portal means streamlined communication, smoother business processes and the easier exchange of information. Making the business of business easier has to be a winner for any organization but especially multinational ones, right? So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with the expert team at MyHub today for a free demo.