International personnel management (opportunities and challenges)
International HR management is the order of the day, especially in the larger companies. It focuses on the broad field of human resources work with a view to all international company locations, always with a view to the international corporate goals. The range of tasks includes far more than purely administrative activities, but also strategic aspects. Particularly challenging is the high administrative effort, as well as the consideration of country-specific characteristics and cultural differences. In addition to country-specific expertise, this requires a high level of intercultural competence on the part of HR staff.
Author: Clarissa Schuliga
When international HR management is successful, it offers incredible opportunities, especially in terms of employer attractiveness and know-how expansion, to be future-oriented and broadly positioned as a company. Whether recruiting employees abroad, secondments to cover short-term personnel needs or international talent management in the form of talent reviews. The possibilities are many and offer both employers and employees new opportunities for growth.
However, to prevent international HR management from drowning in complete administrative chaos, digitization and the introduction of a uniform system are ideally required in addition to a general HR strategy, clear agreements and common guidelines.
Nothing is more challenging than working with numerous different software solutions.
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How the international digitalization of HR can succeed, using Bridgestone Asia-Pacific as an example
Digitizing the entire HR function across national borders requires not only cultural and social competence on the part of the project manager, but above all clear agreements, a detailed needs analysis and a common communication structure. Paul Choo, Vice President of HR at Bridgestone Asia-Pacific, lists 6 key learnings from his transformation process here.
1. Alignment and consensus between global and regional management.
2. Needs assessment of the business at global and regional levels.
3. Development of an HR transformation plan
4. Upgrade HR processes and implement core technologies.
5. Educating employees about the new HR processes and systems
6. Feedback and room for improvement
Agreement and consent in global and regional management
For the transformation process of international HR digitization to succeed, there needs to be a clear agreement on the common consensus
Why is digitization critical for international HR?
How can digitization increase productivity and contribute to growth?
What is the impact of digitization on HR globally and locally?
How can digitization of HR positively impact business strategy?
To what extent does digitization of HR contribute to business strategy?
Business needs analysis at global and regional level
In order to be able to analyze the success of digitization, a detailed needs analysis must be carried out in advance.
What are the HR requirements of the company?
What are the company’s requirements and to what extent does HR contribute to the function?
To what extent will HR services be used in the future?
What are the current HR processes and to what extent can they be standardized in a global system while remaining flexible enough for local requirements?
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Development of an HR transformation plan
For the global digitization of HR to work, it requires, above all, sufficient time and resources. The transformation process must be gradual and continuous, and requires regular alignment with goals and a “discovery phase” with all stakeholders after each phase of the process. This is the only way to ensure that business goals can be achieved.
Update HR processes and implement core technologies
To achieve the greatest benefit, HR should review and update old tools. Likewise, new tools should be reviewed for their relevance to meeting business needs. In addition to being relevant to the business, they should also be user-friendly for employees. In addition, an integrated digital platform should be introduced to enable digital infrastructure and alignment across regional units.
Educate employees about the new HR processes and systems
For the process to have a successful impact within the company, there needs to be clear communication with employees. Every employee should be trained on the new HR systems and tools so that they can be successfully integrated into everyday operations. Cutting corners here will reduce the success of the transformation process in terms of the benefits for the corporate strategy.
Feedback and room for improvement
After successful implementation, feedback from employees is crucial. This can reveal possible sources of error and highlight new opportunities. Numerous perspectives enable the best possible benefits for the company and also give employees a sense of importance and belonging.
HRM Asia Newsroom (2019). Bridgestone Asia-Pacific’s six steps to digitizing HR.
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