How Video Communication Scales Company Culture in Global Workforces

August 8, 2016

Expanding your company globally is a big step for any business, and one not without growing pains. One challenge many businesses face: How to translate their corporate culture, customs, standards, and codes to new international offices.

 

BlueJeans customer Netflix waded in those same waters when explosive growth prompted the company to open offices abroad, and emerged successful thanks, in part, to its adoption of video communications. Video facilitated easy meetings for both domestic and international teams, while highlighting face-time, a quality that neither conference calls nor messaging tools could effectively replicate. Netflix’s adoption of BlueJeans’ video communications solution ultimately helped to extend its unique corporate culture and assimilate its international offices.

 

While video communications helped solve Netflix’s challenge, others have benefitted from the tool, too. BlueJeans customer Facebook adopted the solution to facilitate better collaboration and communication with its new international offices, while tech company Telit used video communications to welcome new employees following a series of company acquisitions. Software provider Opower and The Royal Academy of Dance shared similar successes: Both used the tool to foster a better sense of belonging among its dispersed workforces.

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For businesses with a strong company culture, expanding globally can pose a real challenge. Take BlueJeans customer Netflix, for example.

 

The company, which ranked high on LinkedIn’s list of the top companies best at attracting and retaining talent, takes pride in its unconventional and arguably steely company culture. Among its credos: It hires, rewards, and tolerates “only fully formed adults”—that is, you won’t see many millennials hired right out of college—and it expects its teams to perform at the highest level, rewarding adequate performance with “a generous severance package.” The company also supports a distribution list for workers to share their stories when they leave the company, voluntarily or not.

 

Those ideals, many say, have helped position Netflix as an industry leader. In the last year, it increased revenue by 23 percent, due mostly to a surge in subscribers from outside the United States. But as its customer base has grown internationally, so has its workforce: For the past two years, headcount has increased 27 percent annually.

That rapid expansion—both domestic and international—has challenged Netflix to learn how their unique company culture does and doesn’t translate abroad, as described in a LinkedIn post:

 

“Since 2015, Netflix has had about 30 employees in Japan. Initially, these Japanese workers resisted or ‘weren’t familiar’ with Netflix’s practice of expressing feedback—both good and bad—in front of large groups. While that radical candor is something that worked in the U.S., Japanese employees were intimidated by the idea of hearing harsh words from others in anything besides a private setting.”

 

Bringing a corporate culture to a new region is a challenge for many companies. Some realize that their own culture lacks strong values and policies that can easily transcend boarders, while others find that their own employees don’t actually buy into their company culture ideals.

 

Logistics also play a role: Some businesses struggle with how to communicate, perpetuate, and share the culture they want a new office to adopt, and others mistakenly try to replicate their culture rather than adapt it—it’s more about identifying which of your core ideals can thrive in a new region rather than strictly enforcing the way things are done at headquarters.

 

Key to assimilating international workforces with Netflix’s company culture was hiring a workforce globalization expert. Also key: adopting BlueJeans as its video communications tool of choice, according to the Netflix IT team.

 

“Video is going to be very important as we keep growing. It’s necessary if we’re launching in different territories and going to different countries,” the team said. “Each department gets to meet people they’ve never met before in these new places. A phone call is good for a check-in, but with face-to-face, you get the real emotion.”

 

Video communications have also been fundamental in sharing the Netflix company culture with offices abroad. “In growing quickly, the way to maintain the culture has more to do with people’s excitement in the way they receive the culture,” an IT staffer said. “I think its exciting. We get face-to-face and the people you’re meeting get to embrace that culture in a much more personal way.”

 

Netflix hasn’t been the only company that turned to video communications as a way to help connect global workforces and expand corporate culture. Facebook, Tellit, Opower, and The Royal Academy of Dance have also relied on BlueJeans to connect global workforces, boost corporate culture, and encourage collaboration. Here’s how they found success.

 

Facebook: The social network’s unprecedented international growth left the company searching for solutions to help employees from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and geographies to collaborate efficiently and maintain high levels of performance from every corner of the globe. Facebook found its solution in BlueJeans, which has helped connect its rapidly expanding global workforce regardless of their location, existing technologies, and device. The ability for employees across the company to see each other in meetings helps to perpetuate Facebook’s unique culture and fosters a more collaborative work environment.

 

Telit: A succession of acquisitions prompted a period of growth at wireless machine-to-machine technology provider Telit. As headcount and office locations grew—to more than 40 geographically dispersed sites around the globe—the company sought to quickly and efficiently collaborate with newly integrated employees. BlueJeans’ video communications solution fit the bill: It helped the company facilitate communication and reduce costly travel expenses, while providing a more streamlined and economic means to collaborate globally, recruit, hire, and onboard new talent.

 

Opower: Software company Opower, which provides cloud-based services to the utility industry and its customers, initially sought to simplify their recruiting efforts for their remote locations while cutting travel costs. While BlueJeans helped the company do both, it realized another added benefit: The U.K. team, which now uses BlueJeans to participate in weekly meetings, felt an immediate sense of belonging, thanks to the tool. The company planned to facilitate that feeling of belonging with BlueJeans to propose new offices in Australia and Japan.

 

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD): Located in 79 countries with 14,000 members worldwide, RAD’s approach to meetings was expensive and difficult to manage across time zones. RAD’s IT team’s solution: BlueJeans, which improved cross-boarder leadership meetings and collaboration with external bodies, enabled flexible and remote-working policies, increased attendance and collaboration during meetings, and significantly reduced travel costs. Its scattered workforce, RAD said, is now better connected with a stronger sense of belonging.

 

To eliminate distances between offices and reduce your business’ culture gap, enroll in BlueJeans’ free company-wide trial here.

 

 

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