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Businesses should work to develop a 'global mindset'

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A global mindset involves being open to diversity and adjusting to different environments

Businesses should work to develop a 'global mindset' in their staff members, according to Louisa Steensma, VP HR EMEA for Getty Images.

Speaking at the 2017 HRD Summit in Birmingham, Steensma described a global mindset as being made up of certain skills that open a person up to understanding other people. "It's an openness to diversity across different cultures, to be able to adjust to different environments, and being a bridge builder," she said. "That's important, because we are all becoming more global, not less so, so having this global mindset is a critical skill."

However, she said that developing global mindset skills is not always simple. "It's not easy," she said. "Studies show the biggest problems expats run into are struggling to understand cultural differences and struggles with time zones. They aren't asking enough questions about the culture, or learning enough about it. They are also often surprised by the fact other cultures take a lot more time to come to decisions or create solutions for problems."

Steensma explained that helping staff with developing this mindset has already brought benefits to Getty's teams. "In Japan it's normal not to speak up in meetings," she said. "We helped them to understand that this is acceptable in our firm."

Also speaking at the same event, Piers Bishop, co-founder of employee motivation and engagement app WeThrive, said that humans have three 'levels' of brain – the 'thinker', the 'chimpanzee', and the 'snake'.

"The 'thinker' is the most modern part of our brains," he explained. "The 'snake' is the oldest part; from our evolution. That's the reptilian operating system we are running on. That's the one in action when we feel threatened or afraid, and get the fight or flight reaction from.

"The chimpanzee brain is more modern, but not as sophisticated as the thinker. It gives us the need to be social. Humans are social animals, and we can only really live when we are with others of our kind.

"However, you don't need a sophisticated psychological model to help people be engaged at work. The best thing you can do is ask them. We see the same words coming up again and again when we ask people what engages them: being well led, collaborative, appropriately acknowledged, feeling safe, focused, and so on."