Change management, cultural fitment, and best practices for setting up a Global Capability Center

- Shyamala Rajan

In an era of increased globalization, businesses are actively seeking opportunities beyond their local markets to access a diverse global talent pool. One compelling approach that has gained traction is the creation of Global Capability Centers (GCCs) strategically positioned in various global locations. These centers offer companies the potential to harness global talent, enhance operational efficiency, and elevate service delivery.

However, the establishment of a GCC presents challenges that can be proactively addressed through meticulous planning, effective change management, and a deep understanding of cultural compatibility. This article provides valuable insights into these considerations and offers constructive guidance for the successful establishment of a GCC.

Understanding change management in the context of GCCs

What is change management?

Embracing change management involves implementing a structured approach to facilitate the transition of individuals, teams, and organizations from the current state to a desired future state. This strategic process is particularly impactful in the context of Global Customer Centers (GCCs), as it encompasses substantial changes in organizational structure, processes, and cultural dynamics.

Importance of change management in GCCs

Setting a GCC often involves significant changes for enterprises, such as implementing new processes, technologies, and cultural adjustments. It is crucial to effectively manage these changes to ensure a smooth implementation and to keep employees engaged and supportive throughout the transition.

Understanding the need for change

The first crucial step in change management is gaining a clear understanding of the need for change. This includes accurately identifying the business objectives that the GCC is expected to achieve, as well as recognizing the areas in the current setup where the GCC can make valuable contributions.

Planning for change

Understanding the need for change is the first step toward positive transformation. The subsequent crucial phase involves planning for this change, which entails defining the GCC's structure, roles, and responsibilities and devising a comprehensive implementation plan. This detailed plan should outline timelines, milestones, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress effectively.

Implementing & sustaining change

The implementation phase entails executing the plan and overseeing the transition process. This encompasses the establishment of the GCC, recruitment, and training of personnel, as well as the seamless transition of responsibilities from the parent organization to the GCC. The ultimate stage in change management is the sustenance of change, which necessitates ongoing performance monitoring, issue resolution, and the implementation of requisite adjustments to ensure the continual delivery of value by the GCC.

Key elements of change management

Leadership commitment

To drive successful change management, it is vital to have strong leadership committed to the change while effectively communicating the vision and benefits to all stakeholders.

Clear communication

It is essential to establish clear, consistent, and transparent communication to manage expectations, reduce uncertainties, and gain the support of employees.

Employee engagement

Engaging employees in the change process is crucial, and this can be accomplished through well-designed training programs, workshops, and regular feedback mechanisms.

Monitoring and evaluation

Continuous monitoring and evaluation play a key role in identifying any issues early and making necessary adjustments, thereby ensuring that the change process stays on track and achieves the desired outcomes.

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Cultural fitment in GCCs

Understanding cultural alignment

Cultural alignment is the process of ensuring that an organization's culture aligns effectively with the cultural attributes of its employees and the local environment in which it operates. This is particularly crucial for a global company, as it involves integrating the parent company's culture with the local culture of the host country.

Significance of cultural alignment

Cultural alignment is of utmost importance for the success of a global company, as it directly impacts employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. An effective alignment fosters a harmonious work environment and enhances operational efficiency, while a lack of alignment can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and reduced productivity.

Building a culturally inclusive environment

To establish a culturally inclusive environment, the focus should be on creating a workplace that respects and values cultural differences. This can be accomplished by implementing policies and practices that actively promote diversity and inclusion, such as offering flexible work arrangements, providing cultural sensitivity training, and adopting inclusive hiring practices.

Fostering cultural integration

Encouraging interaction and collaboration between the GCC and the parent organization is essential for fostering cultural integration. This can be achieved through proactive measures such as maintaining regular communication, engaging in joint projects, and initiating exchange programs.

Enhancing cultural fit: constructive approaches

Conduct cultural assessments

Before establishing a GCC team, conducting comprehensive cultural assessments of both the parent company and the host country is vital. This proactive step will help identify potential cultural clashes and develop strategies to address them effectively.

Develop a hybrid culture

Creating a hybrid culture that integrates the most beneficial elements of both the parent company's culture and the local culture will contribute to fostering a more cohesive and inclusive work environment.

Provide cultural training

By offering cultural training programs for both GCC teams and local employees, enterprises can facilitate mutual understanding and respect, ultimately enhancing collaboration and productivity.

Foster open communication

Encouraging open communication and creating platforms for employees to share their concerns and suggestions regarding cultural issues will enable us to address any challenges related to cultural alignment proactively.

Best practices for setting up a GCC

Strategic objectives definition

It is imperative to clearly outline the organization's strategic objectives before the establishment of a GCC. This involves addressing pivotal questions such as: Which functions or services will be consolidated within the GCC? What cost savings or efficiency improvements are envisioned through the GCC? What is the primary purpose of setting up the GCC – access to specific talent pools or markets? Additionally, how does the GCC align with the company's long-term vision?

Feasibility study

Conducting a thorough feasibility study is crucial to assess the viability and potential risks associated with setting up a GCC. This study should encompass location analysis, evaluating talent availability, cost of living, political stability, ease of doing business, engineering ecosystem maturity, and regulatory environment. Additionally, it should include a comprehensive cost analysis covering initial setup costs, ongoing operational expenses, and potential cost savings arising from centralization.

Innovation excellence

The aim should be to foster process transformation-led rapid-scale product/service development through empowered teams. Aligning the five core levers of innovation – corporate strategy alignment, long-term and incremental innovation strategy, self-learning teams, ecosystems and partnerships, and instilling a culture of recognition – is essential.

Learning & development excellence

The focus should be on cultivating an open, honest, trustworthy, and developmental organization with self-development as its core. This involves aligning the four levers of learning and development (L&D) excellence – business-aligned L&D strategy, fostering learning and skill development behaviors, forming partnerships with academia and industry, and driving the industrialization of L&D impact.

Organizational excellence

Efforts should be directed towards establishing seamless data, information, and goal-sharing mechanisms to strengthen the organization's impact on global decision-making. Aligning the six levers of organizational excellence – global strategy alignment, value journey planning, building a digital edge, innovating beyond the visible, establishing future-ready L&D, and empowering local-to-global leadership – is instrumental.

Digital transformation excellence

The objective is to deliver disruptive, high-impact solutions and experiences to customers through global technology leadership. Aligning the five core levers of digital transformation – encompassing business transformation strategy, operational strategy, cultural reorganization, technology maturity and flexibility, and diligently tracking transformational impact – is necessary for success.


To enhance an organization's global presence and capabilities, establishing a GCC is a strategic decision with significant potential. Despite the challenges involved, such as change management, cultural alignment, and adherence to best practices, success is achievable through concerted effort and commitment at all organizational levels. A well-integrated GCC can effectively act as an extension of the parent organization, driving growth, fostering innovation, and ensuring a competitive advantage.

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About the author

Shyamala Rajan

Manager – Content Strategy,

Torry Harris Integration Solutions