Human Resource Management refers to the function in an organisation that focuses on recruitment, management, and provides direction for people who work in the organization. It is becoming more important in the current dynamic, competitive and global business environment. Workforce management and development is becoming more challenging in the current context of globalization.
Universal, Multinational, International and Cross-border businesses are increasing dramatically. Managing Human Resource internationally is far problematic than managing local human resource. HR Managers must have different suitable strategy, policy and practice in different countries. In addition, they must have knowledge to manage employee in different business environment and culture.
Effectively managed International Human Resource enables an organization to become more successful in addition to an outstanding improvement instrument for its workforce. HR Managers play a vital role by managing workforce cultural diversity, creating awareness about different cultures, ethics and values, and developing different skills such as language, adjustment and adaption skills for employee, organisation and management.
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Mainly, I have found five main international roles that present Human Resource Managers are performing in the current context.
Forming HR functions with universal standard
Balancing reward system
Forming HR function with universal standard
These days, requirements of the organization and customer is changing speedily cause by globalization, growing competition, and rapidly developing technologies. Attracting, selecting and retaining capable and intelligent workforce is becoming more challenging.
HR Managers must make sure that the Human Resource function meets or exceed requirements of current scenario. Every employee should have ability to cope with changing challenges. HR Policies and strategies must be costumer oriented. To make it happen, HR Managers needs to ensure global standard in every function of HR from job analysis to employment termination.
Every HR activities such as job designing, recruitment, selection, training and development, setting compensation and benefits are crucial for organizational success. Effective HR function develops organizational capabilities and create sustainable performance. It must be accurate, updated, cost effective and changeable when needed. It should focus on achievement, for example, how HR can add value to the organization, what benefits company and employees can get from HR strategies etc.
In the current context role of HR Managers regarding HR function is extended from employee and organization to global demand. Multinational companies are growing, customer expectations are demanding.
Managing diversity is crucial to success in current competitive universal market. Companies that look for global or international market must respect diversity. Managing Diversity means how a business treats to its diverse workforce and keeps balance between its employees diversity.
Today, organizations have workforce from many different culture, age, race, language, gender, religion, physical abilities, economic and educational background. Organizations are running their business in different part of the world. Some multinational companies have more number of employees than population of some countries. Differentially can create conflict between each other, It can be employee to employee or employee to organization or management. In this context, Human Resource Managers acts a dynamic role to manage conflict and diversity to create better working environment in addition to deliver success for organization.
HR Managers must have knowledge about different culture and values of different employee and organizational working culture. They must organize training and awareness program such as country-specific cultural awareness program to create knowledge about history, geography, and economic situation, political and legal environment to create better understanding among employee that can generate better relationship. HR managers must organize activities that minimize problem created by diversity such as establish and develop communication between each other for instance, organizing friendly match, Picnic program etc. that help employee to know about each other's and make more closer. Organization must have diversity policy such as equal opportunity policy. It must encourage work force to promote an attitude for frankness to express their opinions, feelings and ideas.
In addition, HR Managers must create multicultural team working opportunity to make its staff more understandable and respectable to each other. Organisation should combine and motivate diverse workforce to work and innovate in a team.
Tesco for example, is practicing to make its jobs much attractive to people from different ethnic groups. It changes the time of store activities and working hour for Muslim employee during Ramadan to allow them time to pray, and organize suitable rooms for that purpose. In addition, it offers paid holiday to Indian staff during Diwali also allow them to wear their traditional dress and provide Indian traditional foods during the festivals. Tesco is progressively looking at language needs in its stores, for instance, in some stores staff briefing held in multi-languages such as Urdu, Bangladeshi, Hindi, Chinese and English depending on requirements on its staff.( http://www.tesco.com). Now Tesco is the largest food retail chain worldwide with well-managed diversity, it has over half of million employees along with 6400 stores. It encourages job-sharing, offers flexible time and allow working from home when practical.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Different location has different culture. It can be tough for an employee who grown up within one culture and has to work in different location or workplace culture. HR Managers must create an environment that motivates employees to adapt new culture more rapidly. It includes HR Managers him/ herself. According to P.B. Smith in A journal Organizational Behaviour and National Cultures, 'Effective international managers are those who are adaptable, flexible, open-minded, speaking in foreign languages, and making friends with those of many nationalities.'( P.B Smith 1992; 46) Therefore, when an organisation has diverse employee or it has business in different countries, or locations it is a challenge for company to settle or make adaptable its workforce to new lifestyle, culture, language, economic, legal and political circumstances.
An effective HR Managers must be change-promoter and should discuss their experience with employee about how they handled cultural shock; or share his/her knowledge about how to avoid cultural shock. HR Managers must gain their trust with workforce and should develop better relationship with them to become successful.
HR Managers must know about local, national culture, tradition, norms, and employment aspects when dealing with international human resource. For example Dubai, one of the all-Islamic country, does not allow to employ foreign women in any businesses. Thus, human resource strategy must match with local rules and regulations.
Adjustment program should not only care external matters it similarly to look after internal issues. HR Managers must have strategies to balance employees' work-life and personal life, look after about their wellness, balanced family life, stress management and create better internal workplace culture. For example, PepsiCo India offers life insurance, health insurance, and free apartment for their family near to workplace, and two free flight tickets to India every month designed to balance their family life for its sales and marketing force who works outside country.
HR Managers of an organisation that operates their business internationally should have clear strategy to adjust their employee in the work locations. It can make that possible by providing appropriate training, knowledge and experience sharing and benefiting them appropriately. HR Managers must make sure that the employee has enough knowledge about the place, people, culture, rules and regulations before sending to the different locations. For example, Uniliver encourage employee to visit related ethnic restaurants or grocery stores, watch movies to become familiar with culture and foods before sending its employee to different locations. It also encourage workforce to visit available ethnic places like restaurant and ask them to maintain communication with their family by regular video chat, and other social networking when employee is working in a different culture.
Many employees consider that working in a different environment as a challenge, rather than an opportunity. Therefore, HR Managers must motivate and encourage workforce to take as an opportunity.
Balancing reward system