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Managing Global Human Resources

.. expatriates to ensure that foreign operations are linked effectively with the parent corporations. Expatriates are used to develop international capabilities within an organization. Experienced expatriates can provide great talent that can be tapped as the organization expands its operations more broadly into more countries. Using host-country nationals is important if the organization wants to establish clearly that it is making a commitment to the host country and not just setting up a foreign operation. (Mathis & Jackson, 173) Host-country nationals often know the culture, the politics, the laws, and how business is done better than an outsider would. The use of third-country nationals is a way to emphasize the global approach that is being taken. These individuals are used to handle responsibilities throughout a continent or region. Employee recruitment in other countries is subject to more government regulations than it is in the United States.

Regulations range from those that cover procedures for recruiting employees to those that govern the employment of foreign labor or require the employment of the physically disabled, war veterans, or displaced persons. (Sherman, Bohlander, and Snell; p. 634) All countries have work-permit or visa restrictions that apply to foreigners. A work permit is a document issued by a government that grants the authority to foreigners to find employment in that country. Foreign workers invited to come to perform needed labor are the guest workers. The employment of foreigners may involve lower direct labor costs, but indirect cost such as language training, health services, recruitment, transportation and so on may be substantial.

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The selection process for an international assignment should provide a true picture of the life, work, and culture to which the employee may be sent. Human resource managers should prepare a comprehensive description of the job to be done. The description should note responsibilities that would be unusual in home country. The responsibilities might include negotiating with public officials; interpreting local work codes; and responding to ethical, moral, and personal issues such as religious prohibitions and personal freedoms. The selection process should emphasize different employment factors, depending on the extent that one would have with the local culture and the degree to which the foreign environment differs from the home environment.

If a candidate for expatriation is willing to live and work in a foreign environment, and indication of his or her tolerance of cultural differences should be obtained. The finding employees who can meet the demands of working in a foreign environment is one of the toughest jobs for many organizations. Many companies have been hesitant to send women on overseas assignments. Executives assume that women do not want international assignments, but the reality is that the rate is equal to that of men. It is also important that companies are increasingly using transnational teams to conduct international business. These teams are especially useful for performing tasks that the firm as a whole is not yet structured to accomplish.

They might be used to transcend the existing organizational structure to customize a strategy for different geographic regions, transfer technology form one part of the world to another, and communicate between headquarters and subsidiaries in different countries. The fundamental task in forming a transnational team is assembling the right group of people who can work together effectively to accomplish the goals of the team. Many companies try to build variety into their teams in order to maximize responsiveness to the special needs of different countries. Employees that work in international area face special activities as orientation and training, continuing employee development, and readjustment training and development. The orientation and training that expatriates and their families receive before the international assignment begins include work adjustment, interaction adjustment and general adjustment such as language, culture, history, and living conditions.

Career planning and continued involvement of expatriates in corporate employee development activities are essential. One of the greatest deterrents to accepting foreign assignments is employees concern that they will be out of sight and out of mind. If businesses are to be managed effectively in an international setting, managers need to be educated and trained in global management skills. For example, Levi Strauss has identified the following six attributes of the global manager. Those are the ability to seize strategic opportunities; ability to manage highly decentralized organizations; awareness of global issues; sensitivity to issues to diversity; competence in interpersonal relations; and skill in building community. (Sherman, Bohlander, and Snell; 640) Organizations with employees in many different countries face some special compensation pressures.

Variations in laws, living costs, tax policies, and other factors all must be considered in establishing the compensation for expatriate managers and professionals. Even the value of the U.S. dollar can be tracked and adjustments made as the dollar rises or falls in relation to currency rates in other countries. Add to all of these concerns the need to compensate employees for the costs of housing, schooling of children, and yearly transportation home for themselves and their family members. Many multinational firms have compensation programs that use the balance-sheet approach that provides international employees with a compensation package that equalizes cost differences between the international assignment and the same assignment in the home country. Unlike the balance-sheet approach, a global market approach to compensation requires that the international assignment must be viewed as continual though the assignment may take the employee to different countries for differing lengths of time.

The nature of employee and labor relations varies form country to country. When international operations are considered, concerns related to health safety, and security must be evaluated. It is important to understand the applicable labor-management laws, regulations, and practices before commencing operations in foreign countries. With more and more expatriates working internationally, especially in the less-developed countries, health and safety issues are arising and addressing these issues is part of the human resource role. Another consideration is provision of emergency evacuation services.

Many global firms purchase coverage for their international employees from an organization that provides emergency services, such as International SOS, Global Assistance Network, or U.S. Assist. The role of unions differs from the unions in the United Stated to the unions in other countries. It depends on many factors, such as the level of per capita, mobility between management and labor, homogeneity of labor and level of employment. Labor relations in Europe differ form those in the United States in certain characteristics: In Europe, organizations negotiate the agreement with the union at the national level though the employer association representing their particular industry. Unions in many European countries have more political power than those in the U.S., with the result that when employers deal with the union they are dealing indirectly with the government. There is a greater tendency in Europe for salaried employees to be unionized.

The global expansion of IHRIM is in direct support of IHRIMs mission statement: “To be, internationally, the leading association enabling customers to achieve strategic objective through the integration of information technology and human resource management.” (IHRIN, 05-29-2000) WORK CITED Cherrington, David J., Laura Zaugg Middleton. An Introduction To Global Business Issues. HR Magazine. 06-01-1995 Internet available: Mathis, Robert L., John H. Jackson. Human Resource Management.

Essential Perspectives. 1st edition. South-Western College Publishing. Cincinnati, 1999. Noe, Raymond A., John R. Hollenbeck, Barry Gerhart, and Patrick M.

Wright. Human Resource Management. Gaining A Competitive Advantage. 3rd edition. Irwin McGraw-Hull.

Boston, 2000. Sherman, Arthur, George Bohlander, and Scott Snell. Managing Human Resources. 11th edition. South-Western College Publishing. Cincinnati, 1998.


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