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Growth in Global companies today demands the increasing need of recruitment and selection process. The number of expatriates has increased over the last 30 years due to increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions. Recruiting an expatriate is mostly associated with increase in the salary range, improvement in hierarchal levels. But the facts that there will be drastic change in the culture change in social life, career risks, are all very important aspects to consider when planning a recruitment process in an organization.
The role of a HR manager is to enable individuals to achieve organizational goals and objectives. To ensure a successful gain, they need to know who these people are, where they are from, how they can be developed for personal fulfillment and to achieve organizational goals, and the impact of external constraints. All these come together and demand the need of formulation of HR functions in an organization.
They are involved in the development and implementation of HR strategies and policies and various people management activities like human resource planning, talent management, knowledge management, recruitment & selection, learning and development, reward management, employee relations, health and safety, welfare and any other matters related to employment relationship. Ulrich (1998) pints out that: ‘The activities of HR appear to be and often are disconnected from the real work of the organization.’ He believes that HR ‘should not be defined by what is does but by what it delivers’.
It is often a face there are a limited number of employees willing to travel within the organization. Considering other specifications like their past work experience, technical skills, ability to be flexible with teams, job requirements and period of expatriation as well. In many cases, Human resources team tends to select a candidate who is willing to take the overseas opportunity. Lack of effective selection process and emphasized technical requirements listed out are the major reasons for failure in the process.
To handle successful HR operations an organization need to consider both internal and external contexts that has great influence on the business. External contexts could be including Political, Economic & Social & Technological contexts. However many organizations today operation in a global context, that direct HR managers to develop an international strategy considering the cultures and values.
One of the key concerns that often lead to failure in recruiting an employee in cross cultural context is related to family concerns. According to Tung (1987) and Forster (2000) the inability of the spouse in adopting foreign environment and language issues are the general causes of a failed expatriate.
Bonache & Brewster (2001) illustrated the survey conducted by Windham International and the National Foreign Trade Council (1999) is mentioned that a large number of international assignments are turned down in between the time due to personal family and spouse issues.
It is also important to understand that a successful domestic operation with well framed policies and procedures leads to improvement in handling international operations. Companies need to show strong need for a proper recruitment and selection processes.
Briscoe, Schuler (2004) believe that it is definitely important to understand that the HR in International context is different from its domestic counterpart in many ways. This includes
- Multifunctional IHR department
- Expanding the areas of expertise
- Having to face much greater challenge in recruiting and selection international employees and many more.
Role of well developed Cross Cultural HR practice in Recruitment and selection processes of internal motivated employees:
Recruitment of candidates plays a very important role of the major HR function and this becomes specific in an international cross cultural context. Bratton and Gold (2003) illustrates recruitment as: ‘the process of generating a pool of capable people to apply for employment to an organization’. Selection is a discrete and subsequent process, ‘by which managers and other use specific instruments to choose from a pool of applicants a person or persons most likely to succeed in the job(s), given management goals and legal requirements’.
A close look at the importance of managing employees with various cultures explains the need of strategic and planned process of choosing employees in an international organization. Ghemawat (2001) describes that there can be significant impact in employee’s relations, that further explained and clarified the importance of right recruitment and selection process in organizations.
Within the narrow description of recruitment it is typically seen as occurring in two main stages: the formative basic work and recruitment practices such as sources and methods that end with the arrival of applications. The most important consideration before the process understands the kind of need: whether an organization is considering new staff of replacing existing staff members.
The traditional recruitment cycle:
Person Analysis: Flexibility to relocate, Family, prior expatriation.
(Marchington and Wilkinson, 2005)
Job analysis is often referred as the information on which two significant recruitment documents are based: job and person specifications. It involves in collecting systematic information about the job from current incumbents and/or their colleagues (Newell and Shackleton, 2000).
Analysis on the particular positions need would rather is the first appropriate for a HR manager. This enables him to take decision on designing a better description and specifications. The specifications play a very keen role when the need of recruitment techniques becomes important. This importance’s becomes challenge when facing a job analysis in a cross cultural context. Wanous (1992) referred “the recruitment technique is a theoretically derived from an individual need of an organization culture matching process is the realistic job preview that presents the candidate with negative and positive aspects about a particular job. This allows the candidate to match the organizational climates and individual wants.”
Mac Bartine (2007) illustrates five important steps in analyzing a job basing on the cultural demands of the job. The steps help HR team in gathering more information about the job, about what qualifications for the right candidate should have.
Asking yourself: The needs of accomplishment of the new employee that are expected to take the position on periodic basis. A detailed list out will help the HR team in furnishing better Job Analysis process. Implementing the best cross cultural HR practice would result in success in recruitment and selection process.
Identifying basic roles and responsibilities of the job and conducting a critical evaluation basing on the cultural demands.
Day to day activities of the employee?
Resources that the employee is expected to be use in the job?
Is the employee expected to handle any team under his supervision? If so will there be any conflicts basing on the team past behavior?
Will the employee be allocated any tasks that are important to handle basing on the cultural demands on the country other than typical roles to be performed?
The next step in job Analysis is measuring the need of tasks of the employee.
Comparison of the present roles of the employee to the tasks expected to handle and measure them using Key Resolution Areas (KRA’s).
Measuring the abilities of the employee: Stress management, flexibility etc.
Discussing with the team if there will be any differences between the roles of the job comparing with the past and expected to be in future.
Discussion with subject matter experts locally and also with the experts placed abroad.
A well written Job Descriptions plays a very important in a cross-cultural context. They are understood as written statement that describes the duties, responsibilities, required qualifications, and reporting relationships of a particular job. Job Descriptions are the further steps of Job Analysis and allows the organizations to perform better.
There are various important aspects that should be taken into consideration when writing a job description for any international assignment. A poorly framed description can result in the failure of an international assignment.
Other than the general important aspects of describing a job on the roles, skills base, vision base, objectives and goals base that are set with complete expectations from the candidate, offering and expectations on the relocation should also be listed accordingly.
Susam.M (2000) describes that a well-written job descriptions organization employees, who must work with the person hired, understand the boundaries of the person’s responsibilities.
Crafting person’s specifications gives the HR team a chance to understand on what the organization really need from the job. Most often employers rush to hire person to fill in the position but misses to find the need. (Adelè Bird)
While the job description describes the job, person’s specification describes the skills, experience, knowledge and aptitudes of the desired candidate he/she should have to fill the position appropriately. Applicant will have clear understanding of those details only if the above listed specifications are listed.
Unfair discrimination attracts widest range of potential employees internally within the organization and externally.
The need for closer look at the person’s specification is critical when hiring for an international assignment. HR management demands high amount of cross cultural knowledge in handling these assignments. Person Analysis is the most important aspect of person specification, when hiring for an international assignment.
1) Knowing the flexibility of the employee in adjusting towards the cultural changes and adoption to new work atmosphere.
2) Knowing the family background of the employee make it necessary in taking the decision. It is studied that majority of the international assignment fail due to spouse unable to adopt the culture.
3) Knowing the employee about his/her past experiences of international travel will help the HR team in judging the flexibility of the candidate.
Selection of future expatriates is the further challenge of HR team in across cultural context. Measuring technical and professional education is possible all the time, but skills like interpersonal communication is also required to be assessed when refereeing current and previous colleagues or superiors. However there are various factors that that are difficult to be measure when selecting an employee to go abroad (J. Kline Harrison, 1994)
Profile of expatriate’s qualification:
According to Harrison there are certain traits and characteristics that are identified as predictors for expatriate assignment successful. It is not that without these traits are guaranteed to achieve successful expatriation but without them the chances of failure is higher.
They include technical ability, managerial skills, cultural empathy, adaptability, diplomacy, language ability, positive attitude, emotional stability and maturity, and adaptability of family.
This summarizes that besides technical ability, professional skills and role discrimination, behavioral components have to be taken into account during the selection process. Otherwise the assignment results in unexpected culture shock to the employee.
The dual career problem – importance of spouse and family
As a part of selection process it is identified that spouse and family plays a very vital role. The family situation of the expatriate has great importance in successful expatriation assignments. It is often noticed that an unhappy family or spouse of the employee’s assignment is terminated before the mentioned period. Duel career problem happens when the spouse leave his/her present job and travels along with expatriate and finally found no job matching his/her education, often get isolated and irritated.
An assessment of the family members makes it important during the process of recruitment and selection which can avoid the damage up to an extent.
Most of the global company’s still lack effective methods of selecting managers for international assignments. If a company is very successful in domestic movements, it does not mean that the knowledge of selecting managers for international assignments is completely accumulated. An integrated screening and selection system to determine the aptitudes of the candidates make it more important in the selection process.
Kealey (2006) suggested components consisting of aspects that play vital role in selection process in a cross-culture atmosphere.
Developing skills and knowledge profile- qualifications of the employee need to me matching with the job requirements, cultural constraints and the host organization environment.
Procedures for planning and implementing of selection process- regular personality tests during the selection process, biographical data questionnaires, structured interviews and behavioral assessment techniques;
Monitoring the past overseas performance.
One of the leading ideas that organizations follow is that they were preferring couples working in organizations specially in senior management team, so that the plan of expatriation have very few chances of failure. The family will remain expatriates together with clear understandings.
The results of the above study show that there are various issues in handling Human Resources at a view of recruitment and selection processes at a globalised organization. According to Tung (1987) one of the key causes for the premature return of expatriates from overseas assignment was related to concerns of family. This supports previous studies on expatriate failure indicating the inability of the spouse to adapt to the foreign environment as the frequent cause of the early return of the expatriates back to their home country. A carefull understanding of the recruitment and selection process can reduce the failures in international assignment. A major challenge of Hr team is to develop strategies in improving the processes better.
The Recruitment and Selection process is the key in the human resources department as it’s so effective to the businesses it credits by taking in people that want to benefit the business. The recruiting and selecting has so many responsibilities to go thorough from a vacancy arising to planning and preparing a job to selecting the right candidate. One of the main issues of this process is the selecting as it does not show much expertise. These are all the aspects of having a fair treatment in the employability, this is what brings in the public view of the organisation of being a well structured company.
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