Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Social networking and job search 25 – globalization and your constraints box

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on December 1, 2009

I started a more in depth discussion of the job search constraints box with the last posting in this series: Job Search and Your Constraints Box and said in that, that I would go into more detail on some of the specific areas were we set constraints for what we will consider in a next job, and on how employers view this issue.

The single biggest issue here in most job seeker’s minds is probably their geographic limits box and that is commonly consistent with standard conceptions of employer hiring requirements too for the constraints issues. We all generally think in terms of a wider set of factors though, with varying levels of priority and significance that can and do change, depending on the job we are looking at and its terms. The core point I want to focus on here is how our understanding of our constraints box may need updating in light of the way businesses we would work for reconsider their business models and their Human Resources requirements. Globalization holds the potential for significantly changing perspectives and priorities and for both the employer and employee sides of the table.

The traditional approach to work made the issue of employee constraints and work conditions a very simple issue. You would get a job with a local business or other organization that was sited relatively near where you live and your constraints for this would be a simple one of how far a commute you would accept, every workday minus vacation days and other days off that you were able to negotiate. Pre-flex time and the like, this meant adhering to a standard work hours schedule and commuting to accommodate that as well as your personal and family needs. But your routine work schedule would be dictated by the basic terms of the company and they would be pretty standardized and similar for all employees where you work.

A key consideration feeding into this model is the way most businesses would operate out of a single location and as stand-alone operations – with suppliers and others considered outsiders if at all here. I add here that this same basic pattern has traditionally held from the perspective of the individual employee even when their employer maintains operations at multiple locations as they would still individually primarily work from their one local business site within the larger organization. True, Sales personnel and members of a few other job categories might have to work in a larger region and away from their personal home bases but they were the exceptions to this more standard rule.

Many businesses still operate in this way but an increasing number of businesses are also looking into, considering, and even selectively implementing more flexible options, partly to meet their employee needs so as to enhance their staff retention rates, and even more so to meet their evolving customer and client preferences and needs.

Any business that operates even in part online faces pressures to expand their operational hours to meet the schedule requirements of their customers and the end users of their products and services. This means sales and customer support and all of the back-end functions that have to be in place to keep that customer facing front end up and running.

Staying connected in real time with suppliers and channel partners who may be based in other time zones enters into this too, as do a growing range of other supply chain and value chain connectivity requirements where they can all be global in reach now.

Taken together these factors can make options like flex time more attractive as an alternative to simply requiring what amounts to consistent, persistent overtime from a rapidly overstressed single inflexible shift of workers.

There are a lot of options for adding flexibility into a business to meet these types of needs, and many of them can also serve as attractive options to employees for getting and keeping the best. And this brings me to a few points that this posting has been leading towards.

• Businesses and their hiring managers tend to start out from the standard and traditional when boiler-plating basic work conditions and acceptable constraints box concerns into their hiring processes.
• You stand a stronger chance of convincing the hiring manager and their manager to make adjustments to this if you can convincingly argue that the alternatives you seek for your benefit would add value to them too in meeting their goals and priorities.
• Doing this, I add requires a real understanding of the needs and concerns that the hiring manager faces and from their perspective.

At first glance this all might sound impossible. Then it sounds possible but only when applying for positions with large multinationals. The easiest place to negotiate this type of issue is in fact with a company large or small, primarily local or global that has an accommodating business culture, and especially where that is highlighted as a source and measure of their value as a corporate citizen. It also helps if you bring a very special and desirable combination of skills – technical and interpersonal to the table so marketing yourself as offering that is important here too.

Go to their web site and read their About Us pages, to know their mission and vision and their expressed values. Use your informational interviews to obtain a clearer understanding of how these businesses “walk the talk” as far as living up to their expressed goals and values are concerned. And be willing to both ask and to adjust what you ask for to achieve that negotiations win-win. Know which of your constraints are more important to you and which may be offered up more as negotiating points you can yield on. And good luck. This can expand your range of options and your prospective employer’s too.

So far I have discussed the constraints box in general terms and in terms of business globalization and how that creates new options. I have not talked about any specific constraints options that employees can look for besides mentioning flex time. I am going to touch on some of the other options that might help make the job fit the constraints box and increase viable search options in the next posting where I will go into the issues of going in-house and working as a consultant – who might at times also be working at the same business long term too.

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