In fact, they said, a diverse workplace with a strong organizational culture has a competitive advantage in this age of increasing globalization. HR teams must ensure that all pay and benefits promised to a new employee are legal and fair as per local laws. This includes a robust review of local labor laws (including hiring and firing practices) and adherence to break times, parental leave, and retirement plans. In remote work environments, managers and leadership must take a proactive approach to fostering communication and building connections between team members.

However, the diversity of coverage in terms of length of maternity leave, payment mechanisms, whether paternity leave is covered, and leave policies for other purposes vary substantially (ibid.). This diversity makes the application of generic work-life policies less efficient because, for example, employees in one nation might be largely satisfied with state-funded maternity or paternity leave, and instead place a high value on child care supports. Elsewhere, leave provisions might be more highly valued, enhancing the value of flexible work-life policies that can be applied appropriately under local conditions. Simultaneous with the increase in women’s labor force participation were decreases in fertility, particularly in developed nations (Lim, 2002), motivating work-life initiatives to accommodate non-caregivers.

Although tensions at the individual level are crucial to understanding work-life management, applying that term is here restricted to the organizational and cross-national levels. So, for example, conflicts between work and family facing women in one society are relevant to this research only to the extent those conflicts are similar to or diverge from those in other societies, but are not labeled as tensions per se. These included a lack of flexible work policies and practices, the availability and affordability of hr challenges in multinational companies dependent care, and the negative impact of work overload and long working hours. Hence, there are cross-national commonalities in terms of tensions between work and life for employees that support calls for global work-life initiatives. As Morris et al. (2009, p. 987) note in their investigation of the replication of HR practices in global firms, “there is a constant tension between HQ (a.k.a. headquarters) and subsidiaries” in relation to the dilemmas surrounding responsiveness to local culture and legal demands.

  1. An alternative temporal separation policy involves allowing for, and building out from, local initiatives.
  2. KnowledgeCity understands these difficulties first-hand, as we’re a growing company with employees all around the globe.
  3. Another potential source of bias lies in the possibility that some readers, perhaps including some managers, will tend to respond most favorably to the synthesis strategy.
  4. It serves an important role in maximizing the employee experience to improve employee performance and serve broader company objectives.

As such, it “…accepts paradox and tries to work out its implications, [and] can serve as a preliminary step to the other three” (Poole & Van de Ven, 1989, p. 567). More broadly, these shifts and differences may imply that what represents an effective work-life policy or practice in one nation may be in tension with a policy or practice that is effective in another. Legislation related to work-life has been passed in most countries where MNEs might operate (Heymann, Earle, & Hayes, 2009). Legislation might in some cases effectively replace or supplant MNE work-life policies, as in the case of paid family leave.

Rather, you should work with contacts and colleagues from the cultures you’re hiring from to educate yourself and your HR department. You should consider not just how your cultures may clash but how they can enhance one another. This will also help you to identify the right candidates who have a similar attitude and are keen to share in a meaningful exchange of cultures and ideas for the benefit of everyone involved.

What made you interested in taking a Human Resources role? Do you enjoy the position?

Companies must develop strategies to overcome these challenges in order to remain legally compliant and attract top talent globally. Although the results of future research cannot be known in advance, there are sound reasons, provided above, for pursuing these research questions and a tensions approach to global work-life initiatives. It increases an organization’s bottom line as well since different viewpoints and ideas lead to creativity and problem-solving. One way to address this is through a centralized HR system that can connect employees from all over the globe to promote teamwork and productivity.

What do you think are the biggest challenges managing multinational staff?

An alternative temporal separation policy involves allowing for, and building out from, local initiatives. For example, a regional HR manager for a health insurance company developed work-life policies specifically designed for an aging workforce, which global HR ultimately provided to other MNE locations (Bardoel, 2016). For example, if local work-life initiatives are implemented and gauged using local criteria as a way to attract talent, that talent may be developed in a fashion which creates expectations the enterprise does not meet elsewhere. That tension, in turn, may limit the ability of the enterprise to develop talent around the globe which can be promoted to headquarters level of transferred to manage operations in different cultural contexts. The second strategy, spatial separation, involves clarifying the distinct dynamics at different levels of the organization and different roles across these levels. It can also or instead be applied in the geographic sense; for instance, when two horns of a paradox differ by “physical or social locus” (Poole & Van de Ven, 1989, p. 566).

Where applicable, companies can also provide resources to encourage language learning. Before hiring employees in a new country, set aside time to research the local and federal labor laws. This will ensure you are aware of any adjustments you may need to make to company policies before you onboard any new employees.

Growth and Development Opportunities

When you work in a European-wide company such as Masternaut, you have the added complexity of the different culture, customs, ways of doing things locally. We in HR need to adapt to these and take them all into consideration, otherwise we can end up making some pretty big mistakes, especially when implementing Group policies etc. You also have the added complexity of communication, with different countries having different levels of English.

Differences in time and culture can bring about many international HR challenges, such as breaking local employment laws, creating a healthy work environment, administering ethical HR policies, managing people globally, and training international talent. More recently, work-life management is also becoming a key concern for employees in many Asian regions because the rapid growth of developing local economies often requires long hours and overtime. A Catalyst study of work-life perspectives in Asia found that employees working in China, India, and Singapore reported high levels of job focus, career ambition, and interest in work-life fit and workplace flexibility (Sabattini & Carter, 2012). Consequently, the concept of work-life effectiveness is coming to the attention of global organizations because, in managing a globally dispersed workforce, they also need to remain sensitive to the role of national, social, and institutional contexts.

International Human Resource Challenges Companies Face When Expanding Globally

I actually started out my career with a Business degree going into Marketing and communications. My boss at the time asked me to take on a Human Resources role because he was fed up of having HR Managers who were only focused on the administrative/legal side of the function and not the people side of the role. He saw in me a potential to manage the Talent of the company, and to help them to learn and grow.

It’s essential to be informed about the challenges of managing a global workforce before making your first international hire. Since your organization is expanding to international territory, your company’s workforce will expand too and will be in need of organizational leadership. Make sure that your HR department is ready to manage a larger pool of talent virtually.

But that’s not to say that multicultural companies with global workforces don’t face distinct challenges. Some, for example, are shaped by the ways employees in different locations can expect the office to function. Human Resources professionals are accustomed to encountering new, unfamiliar challenges in their daily work — and that’s doubly true for the HR specialists who work in global Human Resources. Whether it’s overseeing employees who work in different time zones across multiple countries, operating in a handful of languages, or staying abreast of varying office norms, HR pros who work for multinational corporations are immersed in different worlds regularly.

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