Tuesday, March 18, 2008

MAKING THE GLOBAL HR SYSTEM MORE ACCEPTABLE

First, employers engage in three best practices so that the global HR systems they eventually develop will be acceptable to their managers around the world.
Remember that global systems are more accepted in truly global organizations. These companies and all their managers think of themselves as global in scope and perspective, and all or most functions and business units operate on a truly global basis. They are not simply aggregates of numerous more or less independent local entities. For example, truly global organizations require their managers to work on global teams, identify, recruit and place the employees they hire globally. As one Shell manager put it, If you’re truly global , then you are hiring here [ the United States] people who are going to immediately go and work in the Hague, and vice versa. This makes it easier for managers everywhere to accept the global imperative for having a more standardized HR system.
Investigate pressures to differentiate and determine tier legitimacy. HR managers seeking to standardize selection, training, appraisal, compensation, or other HR practice worldwide will always meet resistance from local managers who insist, you can’t do that here, because we are different culturally and in other ways. Based on their research, these investigators found that these differences are usually not persuasive. For example, when Dow wanted to implement an online employee recruitment and selection tool in a particular region abroad, the hiring managers there told Dow that there was no way managers would use it. After investigating the supposed cultural roadblocks and then implementing the new system what we found is that number of applicants went through the roof when we went online, and quality of the applicants also increased.
However, the operative word here is investigate – it does not mean ramming through a change without ascertaining whether there may in fact be some reason for using a more locally appropriate system. Carefully assess whether the local culture or other differences might in fact undermine the new system. Be knowledgeable about local legal issues, and be willing to differentiate where necessary. Then, market test the new HR tool.
Try to work within the context of a strong corporate culture:
A strong corporate culture helps override geographical differences. Companies that create a strong corporate culture find it easier to obtain agreement among far-flung employees when it comes time to implement standardized practices worldwide. For example, Procter & Gamble has a strong corporate culture. Because of how P&G recruits, selects trains and regards them, its managers have a strong sense of shared values. For instance, Procter & Gamble emphasizes orderly growth, and is culture therefore encourages a relatively high degree of conformity among managers. New recruits quickly learn to think in terms of “we” instead of “I”. They learn to value thoroughness, consistency, self-discipline and a methodical approach. Because all P&G managers worldwide tend to share these values, they are in a sense more similar to each other than they are geographically different. Having such global unanimity makes it easier to develop and implement standardized HR practices worldwide.
Developing a more effective Global HR System:
Similarly researchers found that these companies engaged in several best practices in developing effective worldwide HR systems.
Form global HR network:
The firm’s HR managers around the world should feel that they’re not merely HR managers, but are part of a greater whole, namely, the firm’s global HR network. These six firms did this in various ways. For instance, the formed global HR development teams were involved in developing the new HR systems. In fact, these researchers found that in developing global HR systems, the most critical factor for success is ‘creating an infrastructure of partners around the world that you see for support, for but-in, for organization of local activities, and to help you better understand their own systems and their own challenges,. Treat the local HR managers as equal partners, not just implementers.
Remember that it’s more important to standardize ends and competencies than specific methods. For example, (with regard to screening applicants) the researchers conclude that ‘while companies may strive to standardization tools globally, the critical point is [actually] to standardize what is assessed but to be flexible in how it is assessed. Thus IBM uses a more or less standardized recruitment and selection process worldwide, but details such as who conducts the interview (hiring managers Vs recruiter) or whether the prescreen is by phone or in person , differ by country.

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