Textbooks and literature continue to be filled with the typical components that concern human resources personnel, such as laws, safety, and health. In many cases, however, HR continues to function as if it were simply a domestic enterprise. It’s time to recognize that the workforce is not just at home anymore and that a global workforce often does not fit with domestic policies, procedures, and guidelines.
The HR function should transition to one of “globality”—a term used to describe the end state of globalization and the place where we’ve arrived now that globalization of the workforce has occurred. In globality, all activities and functions address global employees.
Many contend that their organizations already address global needs; in fact, however, too many companies approach global concerns in a complacent, and slow, manner. Let’s take a look at the components of global HR.
Legal environment: When making your employees aware of the laws and regulations (for example, sexual harassment and ethics), you also should address specific laws within countries with whom you do business or want to do business. While other countries may be less regulated that the United States, business relations by all company representatives can be strengthened by knowledge of other cultures and laws.
Recruitment and selection: When finding and selecting individuals to work for your organization, it is now necessary to find employees with an inherent global awareness. At the same time, overseas companies are recruiting our experts to work as third-party nationals. Some questions to consider: Do your recruiters have a global mindset? Are they multilingual and multicultural? Do you currently participate in global recruiting methods? Do you have processes in place for global interviews and selection processes? Do you actively place employees in global opportunities? Do you have thorough job analyses for global employees?
Training and development: When training your employees, consider whether they should learn skills necessary for overseas employment. Beyond language and cultural knowledge skills, employees must be prepared with the appropriate work ethic to be globally competitive. They must have skills to do the tasks and assignments required in other countries.
Performance appraisals: Global performance appraisals must be based on measurable achievements. The days of sit-down, discussion type performance appraisals are over. The space and time gap is too large.
Labor relations: Prepare your employees for the interaction between labor, government, and education that exists in other countries. Don’t simply provide them with the domestic perspective on labor unions. If you do, they might inadvertently act in confrontational ways in other countries due to a lack of understanding of how things work there.
Safety and health: As with the legal environment, prepare your employees for safety and health concerns that might arise globally, in addition to U.S. regulations.
Compensation and benefits: When discussing compensation with employees in orientation programs and interviews, do you consider how compensation may change if an employee wants to take advantage of an overseas opportunity? Make sure you do proper job evaluations for responsibilities overseas so that you can attach appropriate compensation to the job. Overall, you must be competitive with expatriates because other countries want them too.
Today’s organizational motto could very well be to go global or stay home. Alas, the latter choice might mean, ultimately, demise.
© 2012 ASTD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.