Going Global: Glidewell Dental’s Expansion into New Horizons
By Branden Nelson
As Glidewell Dental’s Senior Human Resources Manager, I have the pleasure of partnering with our company from both a domestic and global perspective. My main task at hand is ensuring that Glidewell’s DNA is apparent and strong in each of our worldwide facilities.
In other words, I act as a strategic business partner for the company, helping to imprint our core competencies, infrastructure, culture, and terms of engagement not only in our operations here in the United States, but also in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Germany.
Over the last four decades, Glidewell Dental worked to set the tone in the dental industry and established a credible reputation for providing high-quality and cost-efficient dental solutions. In addition to our original goals, we’re developing the latest materials, tools, and techniques in the field, expanding in the effort to extend our services.
… there’s millions of dentists out there, and we pride ourselves on providing all of them with the materials and tools that they need to be successful in their work.
On a macro-level, Glidewell’s global approach speaks to the fact that there’s millions of dentists out there, and we pride ourselves on providing all of them with the materials and tools that they need to be successful in their work.
Intersecting with other parts of the world, provides me with both rewarding and unique challenges. It’s exciting working with different countries, but I also must be aware and compliant the laws of the land as well, such as employment laws and how we can conduct business in places outside of the United States.
It really takes knowing the “ins and outs” of each country, while also being able to provide feedback regarding those places to our key stake holders at our corporate headquarters. The country knowledge, established business relationships, and the in-depth level of interaction, between me and our team members across the world is what differentiates me from other members of our HR team.
Typically, my day begins at 4:30 a.m. Not only does this early rise time work great for my commuting schedule, but also allows me to be available for my direct reports and team members who reside in different time zones. Being present and available to partner with our global remotes is a crucial part of what I do. This partnership allows me to serve as a resource to these locations, and helps ensure that our labs have everything that they need to operate smoothly and achieve the company’s goals.
Once, I get to the office, it’s all hands on deck. My priority is staying abreast with the new business initiatives and assessing how resources and support are currently being allocated. For example, due to our global expansion there may be a need to add additional headcount to a respective location, provide extensive technical training to a new employee, or restructure a particular job function in order to fulfill the business’s needs.
Glidewell is rapidly expanding, so there is also a growing need for employee development and engagement. I’m responsible for understanding different work environments and providing recommendations for strategic improvements in those respective areas. My focus and priorities constantly shift in our fast-paced environment, but I tend to thrive in this atmosphere.
HR departments often suffer from the stigma of solely being a reactive resource, or even worse: being “glorified paper pushers.” I think the role that I play within the company proves that there’s more to our department than the typical clichés of the HR job function. Thanks to the support and endorsement that we’ve received from our executive team over the last several years, our division is now seen as a business partner.
Partnering with other departments within the business entails analyzing market data, sharing barriers to entry for potential business ventures and providing talent acquisition guidance. One of our most notable connections that we’ve made within the past few years is with our Laboratory Operations division. They are not only responsible for ensuring that our production processes remain dynamic and innovative here at our corporate campus, but like HR, they are also responsible for extending that excellence worldwide.
Glidewell Dental continues to provide and create new waves of opportunities as our company rapidly expands. With new business lines, new products, and new opportunities, the sky is the limit. We’re excited about our growth and the move to bring these developments to markets across the world. I am so honored to be a part of this team and I look forward to many more decades of global success!