I have seen so many changes to the way that companies have adapted their strategy, as the world faces different challenges, turns, and events. But particularly more so in the last few years.
Human resources (HR) play a crucial part in the modern, changing, global business environment. Because of the challenges of dealing with global employees in this unique environment, strategic and global planning in HR has become even more important.
Being strategic, having awareness, and being able to make changes, is always the best way to make sure you are on the front foot for the success of your business.
Here I share with you some valuable thoughts and ideas, to help you on that journey of global planning in HR.
Let’s shift the dynamics
Everything is getting smaller. Improvements in communication and technology have lowered the barrier to entry for companies on a worldwide scale. As companies go global, having employees who can communicate in the right way in the target culture is of huge importance. The COVID-19 pandemic drove home the need for specific global planning in HR and the need to be able to be agile and to adapt the company.
Start to identify the cultural nuances within your global planning in HR
Culture is at the heart of any nation. What is popular in Japan may not be the same with the Brazilian public. A tactic that works great in the United States may flop in India. Businesses must consider these differences, or they will lose employees, and by default, customers.
Explore the local regulations
Different countries have varying labour laws, tax systems, and business rules. Try to take advantage of any benefits or tax breaks the local region may be offering.
Strategising your HR global challenges
Have global strategies but with a local focus
A global strategy gives everyone a clear goal to work toward. The standards, customs, and laws of one place may differ significantly from those of another. Therefore, HR must have the ability to adapt global strategy to these differences in HR Global Planning.
Let’s look at the offered ‘yearly leave’ sample. For example, a business may provide each of its locations with 21 days of paid leave every year. Modifying global rules so that they conform to local customs without changing the global strategy.
Maintaining constant communication with local human resources departments and upper management is one approach to guarantee a smooth local process. To keep their finger on the pulse of local operations, the global HR staff can benefit from hosting regular meetings.
Show appreciation and respect of our differences
In addition to adding flavour to everyday life, diversity in the company is a potent driver of success. We should appreciate and celebrate our diversity, and not just treat it is a tick box exercise.
To succeed in today’s world, being cultural savvy is a must have skill. The ability to learn, value, and cooperate clearly with others from diverse cultural and social contexts. Human resources must make it a top priority to encourage this kind of wit at every level of the company.
Have a big focus on development
A global company often means a blend of cultures, languages, and practices. Training and development can help with cohesion and efficiency. Hosting regular meetings should be a staple in global companies. They help employees understand the cultural dos and don’ts, fixing gaps, and reducing any misunderstandings. Such meetings can cover topics ranging from basic cultural norms to deep dives into local history and their influences on the work cultures we see today.
Different languages can often be a significant hurdle in global operations. Investing in language training not only helps with better communication but also shows employees that the company values their comfort and efficiency.
Understanding local business etiquette can be the difference between a successful deal and a missed opportunity. HR can ensure that employees in client facing roles are trained in these areas. Whether it’s the way meetings are chaired in Japan, or the negotiation styles used in the Middle East.
Are your compensation and benefits attractive?
Compensation and benefits stand out as primary drivers for bringing in new talent and keeping existing talent. At the heart of global compensation and benefits lies a dual mandate. On the one hand, there’s a need to maintain stability and on the other, a desire to remain attuned to local market dynamics. The aim is to ensure that employees, regardless of their location, receive fairness and equity in their compensation.
HR teams need to be adept at producing regular market surveys and salary assessment exercises in each region in which they operate. This not only provides detail into the compensation trends but also helps in identifying potential areas of improvement to remain competitive.
While being flexible with salary structures is essential, organisations can standardise core benefits. For instance, health insurance, pension contributions, or education assistance can be standard themes across the board, but the detail may vary based on local norms.
So, a good global framework for performance reviews can be set, but the rewards and bonuses can be aligned with local standards. This ensures that the top performing employees in every region feel rewarded.
Invest in accessible and suitable technology
With operations in various locations, HR is flooded with data. Platforms with live data analytics can change this data into clear insights. Be it showing us the talent gaps, looking at the effectiveness of training programs, or gauging employee satisfaction, data analytics allows HR to make informed decisions.
In large global companies, the voice of individual employees can sometimes get lost. Technological systems that allow easy feedback collection—like regular surveys or virtual idea boxes—ensure that employees from all regions have a channel to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas.
Especially in the post-COVID era, virtual training tools have emerged as valuable tools. Whether it’s onboarding a new team member in Europe or giving a training session for employees in Asia, technology ensures that distance is no longer a barrier. These tools also allow for content to be tailored according to regional requirements, ensuring relevance and effectiveness.
With teams often across time zones, collaboration tools play a critical role in adopting cohesion. Tools that allow for easy communication, document sharing, and project management ensure that teams function as a unified entity, without their location being a negative factor.
How to consider cultural nuances
Coming towards the cultural aspect of globalising strategies, here’s what you should be considering.
Have induction programs
When employees join a company or are transferred to a new country, induction programs can familiarise them with the local culture, business practices, and social norms. This eases their transition and ensures that they can function within different environments.
Create mentorship initiatives
Pairing employees with mentors from their region can help them get around the professional landscape while also fixing any cultural gaps.
Take time to celebrate diversity
Events, meetings, and celebrations that show various cultures can foster understanding and respect among employees. For instance, a global company might celebrate Diwali, Hanukkah, and Christmas, fostering a sense of inclusivity and unity.
Invest research in local regulations
As much as it’s important to focus on global regulations, locality shouldn’t not be ignored and must be considered within the HR Global Planning strategy.
Collaborate with local experts
HR teams should work with local consultants or legal experts who are familiar with local labour laws, tax structures, and business rules. This ensures that the company remains compliant while optimising operations in that region.
Schedule regular audits
To stay ahead of any changes, regular audits of HR practices against local rules are crucial. This approach can save companies from potential legal troubles.
Include employee feedback mechanisms
Employees on the ground can often provide information about changing regulations or local sentiments. Establishing robust ways of gathering feedback can offer valuable, ground-up insights.
Employee retention in the global talent landscape
Talent is the differentiator. As opportunities burgeon across the globe, companies are struggling with a new challenge – not just attracting top talent but retaining it. Thus, weaving employee retention into the fabric of an international HR strategy isn’t a mere choice; it’s a compelling necessity that must be considered within the HR Global Planning.
Create a challenging work environment
While attractive compensation can draw talent, what makes them stay is often intangible. The promise of a challenging work environment, where skills are not just utilised but stretched, is a magnetic force for talent.
An environment where tasks aren’t mundane, and every project poses a new set of challenges ensures employees remain engaged. Engaged employees don’t just execute tasks; they invest in them.
By setting regular challenges, companies can also evaluate the current skill set of their employees. Areas of improvement become evident, paving the way for timely upskilling initiatives. This not only ensures that the employee grows professionally but also ensures that the company has a workforce that’s equipped with the latest skills.
Offer transparent and steady communication
With remote work becoming the norm, maintaining clear channels of communication is paramount. For an employee sitting miles away, understanding the bigger picture is crucial. By communicating short-term goals and aligning tasks with these goals, companies can ensure that every employee, irrespective of their location, feels aligned with the company’s mission.
Tools like Loom, Zoom, and Google Meetings aren’t just software; they are lifelines in a remote working setup. They help simulate the office environment, encourage collaboration, and ensure that distance doesn’t lead to communication gaps.
Promote internal recruitment and career growth
Employees today aren’t just looking for jobs; they are scouting for careers. Meaning, showing them a clear path of progression within the organisation is integral to retention. By allowing employees to shift roles, departments, or even geographies, companies not only provide growth but also variety, which can be a potent tool for retention.
With role shifts should come skill enhancement. Although investing in training ensures that employees climb up the organisational ladder, they are well-equipped to handle the increased responsibilities.
Encourage regular hiring of fresh talent
As organisations evolve, there’s a need for fresh perspectives and new skills. Regular hiring ensures a continuous influx of fresh ideas.
Diverse perspectives are enriched by the addition of new employees. In a less diverse workforce, innovative ideas and approaches might not surface. The corporate world is always changing, which means that the talents you need now may not be useful tomorrow. Organisational resilience and preparedness for the future depend on having the most up-to-date skill sets, which can be maintained through consistent hiring practices.
Strategic human resources management in international business is a juggling act. There is a tension between sticking to your company’s core values and worldwide standards, on the one hand, and the requirements of local governments and communities, on the other.
Dedication to diversity, inclusion, and respect for all employees is essential to achieving success in this difficult endeavour, along with a mix of proactive planning, technological integration, constant learning, and, most importantly, continual improvement. To stay globally competitive and locally relevant, firms must adapt their HR Global Planning strategy as the environment shifts.
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