Running offices across various locations, managing all of them successfully, maintaining an engaged workforce of diverse employees and ensuring that the value system of the Organisation is not diluted. How is it possible? How are companies doing it?
It is a daunting task for these companies that follow the Multi-City Operations Model with success. Let us learn their best practices.
Operating a business, be it big or small, is certainly not a child’s play. There are too many intricacies one has to take care of in order to ensure success. Similarly, running an organisation on a multi-city operations basis is not a cake-walk. There are a number of things that have to be taken into consideration while managing resources and ensuring profitability at the same time. It is a given fact that when you are operating out of so many different locations, you ought to also consider the working patterns, cultural affiliations and norms of the current and prospective employees. From finding the right locations and preserving the basic culture of the organisation to employing the right kind of people across all offices, every single detail requires attention.
Hence, HR managers today are spending a lot of time towards formulating effective strategies to address this issue.
AT THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE RIGHT TIME
Managing various cultures, ensuring that shared ethical values are practiced, being empathetic towards others’ problems and addressing the needs/demands of a diverse workforce are the major challenges faced in a multi city operations system. The selection of a location is based on several factors such as the potential of the market, demographic profile, economic conditions, logistics and other socio-economic factors. Once a new location is identified, the challenge is to replicate tried and tested processes into real time business application after taking into account the special needs of that particular location. If you have robust processes in place, extending operations to multi-locations is not tough.
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY
When you are operating in different locations, it becomes imperative to maintain a unanimous culture and follow the same business ethics and values.
How do such organisations make sure they maintain this harmony?
The HR team needs to ensure that while organisational values are respected, local needs too are taken care of. Values are what an Organisation needs to subconsciously hold sacrosanct, all through their existence as an organization. Values also serve as the foundation for determining who we recruit, retain and reward.
Another important factor is the vision statement which binds the company into one big family. The cross-functional team across the nation should ensure that cultural events, national events etc. are celebrated. To ensure that the philosophy of the organisation should percolate to each and every employee irrespective of the location, the conduct of the top management personnel is very vital.
Many organizations organize frequent meetings and forums to share the management’s vision about the company. Employees are encouraged to form small informal groups with a view of infusing the sense of oneness, sharing and caring. All policies and procedures should be transparent and employees should be encouraged to provide their feedback and suggestions. An interesting practice introduced in an organization is called ‘Your Time with Me’ wherein the employees get to have a one-to-one walk-in interaction with the MD. Monthly ‘leadership on-the-floor’ sessions are also beneficial.
If an organisation is widely dispersed, typically there would be a local HR SPOC (Single Point of Contact) who is expected to take care of employees at his/her location. This HR SPOC normally ensures a uniformed communication all across. In addition, with many advanced tools available, one can roll out such communication through video conferencing, etc.
While you recruit at a different/new location, before you jump into the demanding targets of recruiting, HR needs to conduct an in-depth research for that particular location. This research will normally comprise of a thorough study of the availability of the talent pool, their willingness to work, their logistical needs and most importantly what kind of compensation bands are acceptable in these locations.
The challenges of managing operations across multiple locations are multi-fold. But the pros far outweigh the cons.
From access to a large and diversified resource pool, to cost-effective vendor management, flexibility of operations and ability to plan for any business contingency, a ‘multi-city operations’ model has become a much appreciated business model in recent years and more and more organisations are spreading their wings to different locations.