The Society of Human Resources in 2006 cited 10 top trends in human resources throughout the world. Increases in global competitiveness was listed as No. 2. Several factors emerged within the theme of global competitiveness, including job outsourcing to other countries and the rising cost of health care in the United States as compared to other countries. As a human resources manager dealing with these global challenges, there are five main global human resources (HR) functions to consider: staffing and recruitment, compensation packages and salaries, training and development, personnel administration, and human relations.
Staffing and Recruitment
Staffing and recruitment concerns rank high in priority in HR management. The ethnocentric strategy for recruiting personnel for foreign posts offers both advantages and disadvantages. Consideration should be given to the host country, as well as the business needs of the home office. Companies who practice an ethnocentric model of staffing have an advantage in staffing the host country's facility with managers who are trained in the culture of the organization, including techniques and skills unique to that organization. However, ethnocentric staffing can be problematic when the host country feels that the organization is not utilizing the local workforce.
Salaries and Recruitment
Compensation is a top issue in global human resources. Sending domestic employees to a host country as expatriates and rewarding them for their efforts is increasingly difficult as the economy shifts and the threat of terrorism becomes more of an issue in some host countries. Shortiterm assignments abroad can disrupt family life at home for managers. Adequate compensation in these situations can help to make up for quality of life issues managers may face as they commute long distances to be with family and friends only occasionally. It is important for organizations to provide financial incentives to offset qualitative differences in international locations.
Training and Development
According to a Society of Human Resource Management study of Top 100 companies, training upper-level managers in languages was a priority as well as offering language courses for all employees. As the marketplace becomes more globalized, interaction between domestic and international employees will increase. Everyone from the administrative assistant who sets up meetings for international visitors to production floor members who train under domestic managers may have language and cultural barriers to overcome. Cultural training also has become a trend with international companies. Employees learn basic customs and cultural differences about host countries, assimilating more easily and opening up cultural barriers.
Working conditions can vary greatly in different operating locations. Attaining appropriate resources for production or construction will be quite different when a manager is working on starting a plant in Liberia as one who is starting a plant in Ohio. Cultural differences in work schedules may also exist. Managers abroad should implement policies that strike a balance between the customs of the host country and the policies of the home office in an effort to make all employees feel more comfortable.
Employee relations at international facilities challenge even the most seasoned managers. As employees transition to their new positions, they face family challenges, including the inability of spouses and children to assimilate in the host country. Absenteeism and productivity in these situations also can be a factor. Managers should recommend employees seek help through employee-assistance programs, which can provide much-needed counseling and resources to employees who are experiencing challenges in their personal lives.
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