The Human Resource Department is an important unit in any organization, whether it is a large company or a small business. The department deals with factors relating to hiring of new employees, coming up with job descriptions for various positions, planning necessary training for employees, and salary determination based on job qualifications and work done. When a small business decides to go international and expand its operations, there are certain factors that the management has to put into consideration. The most common challenge that the HR faces is to deal with different cultural backgrounds. For example, as the HR of a small business looking to expand operations to Mexico, one major factor that should be put into consideration is the political environment of the country. Countries change their political leaders every few years, and in some countries this may result in political tensions that lead to political wars. Therefore, one factor that the HR should put into consideration is the political culture of the country and what kinds of measures should be put in place to avoid incidences where the company employees are affected by the war.
The human resource unit should also consider the supremacy of the countrys constitution and respect to the legal framework (Ariss & Sidani, 2016). Some countries experience military coups while others are ruled by rule of dictatorship. Such countries that have an unstable system of governance and an unrecognized rule of law are not favorable for setting up a business branch. Another factor will affect the operations of the HR team are cultural factors. The human resource team will have to provide trainings prior to the move to another country to educate the employees going out on the different customs they expect to find. For the HR to perform such a task, they will have to do heavy research on the foreign country and take reconnaissance trips if necessary to gain as much cultural knowledge as possible. Some tough decisions such as gender chauvinism may make the HR decide to change the choice of what kind of employees are taken to the country.
Specifically, Uniquely International Activities an International HR Manager Engages In
For a company going international means expanding operations to foreign territories. The companys operations should remain the same as the headquarters in the original country. Therefore, the HR team should undertake in specific recruitment processes of employees who match the vacancies that come up in the foreign country (Ariss & Sidani, 2016). Furthermore, the organization may be setting up a branch in a less developed country. Therefore, the level of technology necessary to meet business standards may not be readily available in the target nation. The HR team will have to make particular steps, such as traveling to the desired company and importing the necessary equipment that will ensure a smooth implementation of the resources.
Additionally, when the business sets out to establish operations in another country, it cannot solely take employees from the origin country. Many countries have laws that stipulate when investing in their country, the citizens of that nation should benefit in one way or another. Therefore, the HR team should seclude some business positions that the natives of the foreign country can occupy. Such a move will require the HR to advertise the positions, hire, and offer relevant training to the employees there to ensure that the new staff work in line with company objectives. The HR manager should ensure that such activities are carried out promptly and effectively to avoid delays and inconveniences.
What Inter-country Differences Affect HRM
The major differences that the HRM faces are cultural and social differences while undertaking inter-country operations. Some countries around the world have certain norms and beliefs that are particularly difficult to adapt. For example, women in some countries such as Saudi Arabia are not allowed to participate in some economic activities. For example, they are not allowed to drive cars or work in certain positions, especially managerial roles. Discriminating cultures may make qualified people opt not to work in such countries, which set up another challenge to the HR of finding suitable replacements (Ariss & Sidani, 2016). Another example would be a scenario where a firm wants to set up its operations in a country that does not grant people the freedom of worship. Such incidences are common in the Middle East Muslim nations. Workers from other religious denominations may not be enthusiastic about working in such environments, thus, may opt not to shift locations.
Failures and Solutions to Common Inter-Country Transfers
As the HR manager, one should be aware of the various challenges likely to cause business failure when transferring employees to subsidiary divisions in different countries. The major challenge that arises in such an undertaking is to maintain a consistent organizational culture that will yield high productivity. Most companies that expand their operations to other countries lack a taskforce that bears strong company and departmental objectives. The solution to this is that the HR department should ensure that the management sent to foreign countries possess strong leadership development skills able to harness the human and environmental resources to achieve maximum results (Ariss & Sidani, 2016). As the HR manager, another task would be to ensure that surveys are conducted regularly and the results analyzed to come up with different improvement strategies that can help obtain better results. Another global challenge that companies face which brings about failure is the inability to cope with lifestyles in different companies. The difficulty in adaptation may bring about poor work output thus affect the firms performance. The solution to this situation is to emphasize on the nature of work environment during job advertising so that applicants are fully aware of what they should expect. Additionally, the HR team should offer guidance on how to deal with foreign communities and cope with the environment.
How to Reduce Repatriation Problems
Expatriates who come back from various countries have multiple concerns that lead to their repatriation. To reduce the rate of repatriation, the major role of the human resource department is to ensure that employees are well trained and prepared to handle the socio-cultural challenges that they may face in foreign nations. However, in cases where employees finish their term and have to return to their countries, the HR department should ensure that the transition back to their motherland is equally smooth as when they left. Human resource staff should consider that the home environment was not static while these workers were away. Therefore, there might be cultural clashes when they come back. The firms should ensure that the employees are well taken care of before and after their service to reduce the repatriation problems encountered with family and friends back home (Ariss & Sidani, 2016). The HR team should be concerned about how the worker fits back in, and it should offer necessary cultural training again if need be.
In the case where the business opens up a branch in Mexico, the main challenges the HR team should analyze is the business environment in the country, and what major differences the country has in comparison to the headquarters country so as to address them effectively. The manager to be selected would preferably be from the country where the headquarters is based. Additionally, it would be best if the manager was an existing employee of the business who understands the company objectives and operations. The pay plan of an expatriate will have to be slightly adjusted in relation to how the business is performing in the foreign country. However, the pay should not change drastically because the employee probably has family in the current location where expenses remain the same. The expatriate will have to be a person able to adapt easily to any culture, and he or she should have personal traits such as patience and understanding. Additionally, he or she must have good work ethics and zeal to persevere any challenging lifestyle situations likely to be faced.
Ariss, A., & Sidani, Y. (2016). Comparative international human resource management: Future research directions. Human Resource Management Review, 26(4), 352-358.
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