Case study: DePuy
With responsibility for all human resource departments within DePuy International‘s direct businesses outside the U.S., Elke Strathman is no stranger to complex operations and a highly matrixed environment.
DePuy, part of the Johnson & Johnson group of companies, provides diagnostics, medical devices and orthopaedic implant products to an extensive global client base. With more than 2,000 employees in eight countries, Elke and her team was consistently faced with culture and diversity issues that had an impact on productivity.
Elke was referred to Global Integration’s Kevan Hall by a colleague in Germany who had used the company for cultural diversity training in other functional areas of DePuy.
Following on the success of those programs, Kevan designed a series of training programs based on Elke’s need to help people working in teams around the world to work more effectively together across barriers of culture and distance.
The primary goal was to build better cooperation and understanding between managers within the different countries where DePuy operates. The results would then help participants better understand their colleagues’ needs and opinions, even across thousands of miles.
“We knew that in the end we would sometimes get the same work results but by using Global Integration’s training techniques those results would come with a better understanding of the entire work process,” noted Elke. “We wanted to develop a framework for understanding and defining culture.”
The training sessions focused on typical scenarios many large companies face – issues such managing communication and leadership in remote and virtual teams and diagnosing and overcoming cultural differences. This combined with some Johnson & Johnson corporate training was designed to produce top-notch results for the company’s goal of creating world-class diversity and remote and virtual team training.
“The team building exercises were especially useful,” Elke said. “Global Integration has developed some very creative and insightful ways of demonstrating how to overcome obstacles and barriers within remote teams spread around the world.”
Results from the training program, which have been run in Europe, Japan and Australia, have been impressive by any standard. Originally designed as a diversity management tool for mid to senior level employees, the Global Integration sessions have been expanded to include virtual and remote teams and have also become part of routine cultural diversity training for newly recruited and newly promoted employees in all functions of the company.
Strong support for the training programs came early on from DePuy’s European president, who then asked each Board member to participate in the sessions.
“Kevan’s training programs have definitely helped participants be more tolerant, more aware of their colleagues’ differences. Also to anticipate problems or challenges that may develop,” Elke noted.
Many participants said that the training should have been done years ago. It has helped them better assess a situation before making assumptions and better understand where they might find objections.
“The tendency for most people is to think about logical objections but we have learned that you can’t always look at a situation that way – there may be cultural barriers that you’re not seeing – and those barriers may not be supporting what you’re trying to get done,” Elke said.
Plans are to continue using the training programs in an ongoing effort to maintain openness and to build excellent communication as DePuy continues to shine as a model of successful global diversity.