Building an effective culture in a GCC

May 20, 2024

Culture is the accepted norms for how an organization works. Culture is “how things are done” and dictates actions of each team member on a day-to-day basis and in critical decision moments, even when it is not specified in policies and procedures. Culture is critical in nurturing and maintaining a successful Global In-House Center (GIC). The culture of the GIC is the foundation on which all of the program management pillars stand and ultimately the success of the program. Additionally, successful GICs are based on a strong partnership with the parent organization driving true co-ownership and buy-in for the overall program. To foster a strong partnership, the culture of the GIC should reflect the culture of the parent organization. Cultural alignment supports a one-company mentality across geographies where everyone is working towards the same goals and avoids the pitfalls of “us vs. them” mentality. What are the key components for cultural alignment with the parent? First, the facilities in the GIC should look as similar as possible to those of the parent facilities, except for obvious regional differences. 





This includes the quality of the space, the colors used and the layout of the space. Any visitor from the parent organization should immediately recognize the space as “one of ours” and feel very at home there. Additionally, the GIC team members should feel they are working in similar facilities to the parent, not second-rate facilities. Second, the branding of the GIC including the facilities and all communications should reflect those of the parent organization. This includes the name on the building, the pictures and mottos on the walls and any other typical symbols of the brand. Again, any parent company visitor should instantly recognize all of these things as part of “our company”.  This strong branding also builds great pride and sense of partnership in the GIC team members so they identify with the parent. This also is a key part of building a brand as an employer of choice. Third, the mission statement, vision and values, policies and procedures of the GIC should mirror those of the parent, except where regional differences necessitate changes. This includes social responsibility and ethics. Again, the parent company leaders and GIC team members should be highly confident that the GIC is following the same high standards as the parent in these areas.




Fourth, foster in the GIC team members a strong identity with the parent company further reinforces the pride in the parent and culture of one-team, many locations. This includes, recognition programs, sports and artistic extracurricular programs, team branded wear and community outreach programs. The team members proudly identify with the parent brand. Lastly the most important component is building relationships between the GIC team members and those of the parent at different levels.  None of the other components will be as successful without strong relationships across geographies. Commitment and efforts are required for this to happen on a sustained basis. This starts with visits to the GIC by parent company executives and trips to the parent organization from the GIC leaders on a regular basis. This is repeated at a business line level and at a process level too. Frequent meetings reviewing goals, progress and plans are needed to build a strong sense of co-ownership and transparency. Initially, these meetings need to be in-person to build those solid relationships with ongoing support via video.  Once the teams across the globe get to know each other and build those relationships, the entire GIC results are lifted to a new level. 




The GIC team feels they are part of something important and bigger than just their component.  They feel they can contribute to the business success. They feel valued. The parent team members feel they can count on those GIC team members to care for the work as much as they do. As these relationships grow, the global teams begin to jointly solve complex business problems in real time. The value of the GIC to the parent grows exponentially as the culture matures. Building an effective GIC culture that reflects the culture of the parent organization is challenging and takes time, but the benefits make it worth all the effort. Success requires effort and commitment from day one to full maturing of the GIC.

Building an effective culture in a GCC