HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Global HR

Global human resource management is a thrilling world. Get ready for an adventure across borders, time zones, and cultures. With the right strategies up your sleeve, you'll be well equipped to conquer this new frontier.

What Is Global HR?

Global HR refers to managing human resources across international borders and multiple countries. It involves navigating different cultural norms, labor laws, regulations, and HR processes globally. The goal is to effectively attract, manage, develop, and retain an international workforce.

Why Is Global HR Important in the Modern Workplace?

Global HR is crucial for companies expanding internationally or with global operations. Why?
  • Global HR is a gateway for international businesses looking to conquer new markets. By attracting top talent from around the globe, companies can tap into a global talent pool brimming with skilled professionals who thrive in culturally diverse environments. It's like unlocking a treasure trove of unlimited potential.
  • Global HR helps companies avoid costly mistakes in recruitment and hiring by eliminating false assumptions about candidates' abilities or qualifications. Say goodbye to shooting in the dark and hello to precision hiring.
  • Global HR empowers employers to effectively manage their workforce as it grows and evolves, adapting to the ever-changing dynamics of the business world. It's like having a secret weapon that keeps you ahead of the curve.
  • Global HR plays a pivotal role in retaining invaluable employees while reducing attrition rates.

Strategies for Successful Global HR Management

To help HR managers navigate the disruptive technological challenges in the global environment, let's explore some engaging strategies for successful global HR management.
  • Adapt your hiring strategy. Finding the perfect talent across different countries is like embarking on a treasure hunt. It's not just about the skills; it's about finding the perfect fit for your company culture. Picture this: When IBM expands into new countries, it adjusts its hiring practices to align with local norms and culture. In Germany, job postings emphasize technical skills and expertise to appeal to the precise engineering mind-set. Interviews focus extensively on qualifications. In China, hiring decisions involve meeting with the candidate's family to understand their reputation and character. This respects the cultural importance of family reputation. In Brazil, group interviews are commonly held to assess how candidates collaborate. Individual follow-ups evaluate their creativity and agility. In the UAE, female candidates are interviewed by female executives to accommodate social norms around gender. In India, recruiters source software engineers from university campuses via on-site coding competitions to evaluate skills. By tailoring its outreach, job posts, interview practices and focus areas by country, IBM adapts its global hiring strategy to find candidates that suit the local culture. This diversity of thought then enriches the global organization.
  • Implement training programs. Once you've hired employees from diverse backgrounds, it's time to embrace cultural awareness and diversity. Imagine McDonald's opening its doors in China. They didn't just flip burgers; they invested in extensive training on Chinese culture, history, and language. This helped build bridges between employees and fostered better communication. It's like sharing a meal with chopsticks and gaining a deeper understanding of your dining companions.
  • Create a global HR strategy. Unify your HR practices under a single approach that transcends borders. Consistency is key. For instance, Novartis, the pharmaceutical company, wanted consistent talent management and development across its 150+ country offices. It created a unified global HR strategy with the following elements:
    • A standard competency model outlining the same leadership behaviors and skills for all managers worldwide. Identical performance review process conducted annually for all employees based on the competency model.
    • Mandatory training curriculum on topics like unconscious bias and harassment for every global employee.
    • A central database listing all open positions globally that employees can apply to internally.
    • A standardized employee engagement survey administered globally each year to measure consistency.
    • A global mobility program that enables managers to take rotational assignments worldwide. While allowing for some localization, Novartis aims for uniform HR processes for recruitment, development, and mobility across borders. This ensures consistency in employee experience and opportunities globally, choreographing a harmonious dance routine that connects teams worldwide.

Global HR Best Practices

Now, let's delve into some best practices for global HR management. Here are 11 examples of best practices used by some of the world's preeminent global businesses.
  • Use technology to manage HR. Imagine having AI-powered tools that automate recruitment, onboarding, and training. For example, Amazon's Fair Process aims to increase objectivity, transparency and equity in its high-volume recruitment system across the company's global workforce. The goal is to promote diversity and inclusion through fair, data-driven hiring practices. It's like having a high-tech HR assistant that ensures fairness and keeps the recruitment process running smoothly.
  • Build strong relationships with local talent. HR managers should excel in networking, establishing personal connections in each region. When Starbucks entered the Indian market in 2012, it made an effort to understand local culture and connect with potential job candidates. Its recruiters spent time at youth hangouts to identify promising candidates and hold informal chats over coffee to assess fit. Furthermore, Starbucks partnered with local universities and vocational schools to offer internship batches to train students on skills needed to work at its cafes. This allowed Starbucks to build relationships early and fill entry-level positions with promising talent. It's like sipping a cup of chai with your business allies and creating an unbreakable bond.
  • Promote cultural awareness. In a global marketplace, understanding different cultures is crucial. When Microsoft launched Office 365 in Brazil, they partnered with local educational institutions to offer employees free online courses on Brazilian culture and language.
  • Encourage diversity. Embrace the kaleidoscope of talent from around the world. Take a page from Facebook's playbook, which recruits diverse groups of women and men from various regions to curate a global team that brings different perspectives, flavors, and ideas to the table.
  • Provide opportunities for learning. Learning should extend beyond the office walls, as when Google offers Japanese language classes to their non-Japanese speaking employees in Japan.
  • Focus on employee engagement. Imagine a workplace where employees feel valued, recognized, and satisfied. HR managers must prioritize employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Make sure policies are consistent. Consistency is key to avoiding confusion and conflict in organizations. For example, Zappos adopted a management method called holacracy, which distributes authority across the company in an agile and decentralized way. This empowers employees to do their jobs without rigid top-down control. By taking a consistent approach to decentralized authority, Zappos avoids potential confusion from mixed messages and conflicts that can arise from centralized decision-making.
  • Maintain good communication between regions. HR managers may be miles apart, but communication bridges the gap. It ensures policies are implemented correctly and timely updates reach all employees. For example, Google has engineering centers in Zurich, Hyderabad, Singapore and sales offices worldwide. To enable alignment, its VP of HR holds quarterly virtual HR Hangouts where the global HR team meets to provide updates on their respective regions.
  • Be prepared for change. HR managers must be agile, ready to adapt their strategies to evolving circumstances. For example, when Apple shifted its manufacturing facilities from China to Vietnam, HR professionals needed to navigate workforce localization, talent acquisition and retention, cultural adaptation, supply chain management, and compliance considerations to support a successful transition and on-going operations in Vietnam.
  • Keep up with emerging trends. The world never stops evolving, and neither should your HR practices. Stay up to date with emerging trends in the workplace. Consider how Cisco regularly surveys its employees to discover the latest personal technology trends they are embracing, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home devices. These insights are then used by Cisco to explore how these technologies can be applied in the workplace to enhance collaboration, communication, and productivity. For instance, based on employee input, Cisco introduced wireless presentation systems in conference rooms, enabling effortless content sharing from laptops and mobile devices.
  • Have a Plan B. In this adventure of global HR management, having a backup plan is crucial. During the 2008 recession, Starbucks implemented an innovative retention and recruitment strategy called The Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Rather than reducing its workforce, the company offered an alternative plan to attract and retain talented individuals motivated to pursue higher education while working at Starbucks. This demonstrates how companies can develop alternative human resource plans to address challenging business circumstances, while still investing in employees' personal and professional growth. It's like having an ace up your sleeve, ready to pivot when unforeseen obstacles arise.
Indra Ponnuswamy

Indra Ponnuswamy

Dr. Indra Ponnuswamy is an accomplished academic leader with over 20 years of diverse experience spanning industry, higher education, and research. She holds a Ph.D. in Management and has most recently served as an honorary Professor and Dean at the National Foundation for Entrepreneurship Development in India. Her areas of expertise encompass human resources, entrepreneurship, and finance. She has delivered graduate courses at prestigious institutes in India. Dr. Ponnuswamy has authored numerous peer-reviewed papers published in esteemed journals, including Studies in Higher Education, The Indian Journal of Social Work, and Asian Women. She was honored with the Best Reviewer Award by the Organizational Behavior Division at the Academy of Management's 83rd Annual Meeting held in Boston, August 2023. This accolade underlines her significant impact in her field of specialization. With a distinguished academic background, refined research abilities, and adept teaching skills, Dr. Ponnuswamy has emerged as a prominent voice in management education. Beyond her professional pursuits, she finds joy in hiking, trekking, and indulging in music. Currently, she is pursuing an MS degree in Human Resources in the USA. For further inquiries, Dr. Ponnuswamy can be reached at
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Agile HR
Employee Experience
Fractional HR
HR Budget
HR Career Advice
HR Education
HR Effectiveness
HR Ethics
Human Capital Management (HCM)
Human Resource Management (HRM)
Human Resources (Intro to HR)
Outsourcing HR
People Operations
Strategic HR
Talent Management
Workforce Management
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