With so much uncertainty surrounding global working, companies need to convince their employees that everything possible has been put in place to make the assignment worthwhile to them, their career and, not least, their family.
However, in return, the company needs a payback on the costly investment of an international assignment.
With an effective and flexible international HR policy in place this can be achieved.
Unfortunately some companies underestimate the complexities involved in managing international operations – complexities such as external markets, compensation strategies, intercultural adaptability and more involvement in family issues. There is evidence to suggest that business failures in the international arena may be aligned to poor management of human resources.
Global activity is increasing. If international policies are not put in place, there will be a shortage of good quality international managers in the future. It’s just not good enough having a business strategy in place when there are not enough high calibre employees to fulfil it. This is not just an issue for human resource professionals but managers involved in the selection, management and, most importantly, the retention of international managers. Many employees leave the company after an international assignment with no return on the company’s investment.
Companies strive for consistency in their ways of managing people on a global basis. Yet, in order to be successful, it is necessary to adapt those policies to individual local needs.
Domestic policies should not be adapted. Assignments vary in length – short term, long term or commuter. Compensation strategies can be complex: how do you manage currency fluctuations? There are legal issues, pensions to consider. The family need to be included in the policy – do you pay for the education? Does it start at five years old or before? Does it include university? Can we do anything to assist the partner? Health – what needs to be provided? What about travel? Do they travel business class or should they use the low cost airlines? What about relocation? Repatriation? What about redundancy or poor performance on assignment – how do we manage that?
International managers need to be selected effectively, if we get it right at the start there is every chance of success. The start of the process is a robust international HR policy; a framework in which we manage the whole international assignment.
Original article at www.intercultural-training.co.uk