CheckPoint: International Staffing
Companies that decide to expand internationally generally depend on HR managers to hire adequate staff for the expansion. Hr managers find this responsibility to be a major challenge. According to Bohlander & Snell (2007), there are three ways a company can staff its international site. The first is a company may decide to send people already with the home company. These employees are called expatriates or home-country nationals. The second is, the company may choose to hire native locals from the host country to manage an international site, and these employees are called host-country nationals. The last or third is, a company may decide to hire people from other countries outside the home country or the host country, these employees are called third-country nationals. All three sources of international workers provide advantages and disadvantages. Many companies elect to staff overseas facilities using all three sources, although there are some companies that prefer one source or another instead of all three.
Differences in cultures can also pose problems for companies expanding internationally. HR managers must research these various cultures and adjust hiring and management accordingly. An example of cultural difference could be some cultures only allow males or females for certain positions. If an American company hires based on equality as it does in America and places a female in a position that international culture deems for a male it can cause trouble for the company from the start. Not all cultures recognize equal rights.
Communication may have been a barrier for companies expanding internationally in the past but Bohlander & Snell, (2007) tells us that telecommunications and travel have made human resources job of matching international employees with a company much easier by allowing easier communications with international employees.
If a company chooses to send expatriate or home-country national overseas HR managers need to be certain that work visas or permits are in place. These are documents given by a country??™s government allowing a foreign individual to be employed in that government??™s country. Bohlander & Snell (2007) states that since 9/11 there has been a backup in the number of visas being granted to foreign workers and students entering the U. S. HR managers in the United States have complained that they are being limited when it comes to hiring top talent.
Hiring foreign skilled workers can also be difficult, while it isn??™t difficult to hire foreign unskilled laborers, which are usually readily available in developing countries. Firms have figured out the best way to find workers in these countries are by word of mouth and radio announcements, due to the locals being unable to read or write. Other firms may use foreign recruiting agencies. In fact some countries require locals to be hired if enough locals with the skills are available… Exceptions can sometimes be granted for cases such as Mexican farm workers in the United States. Foreign workers allowed to perform needed labor are called guest workers. Hiring nonnationals may cost a company less in wages but can be costly when the cost of housing, language training, health services, and so on are applied. There are industries, such as nursing; with large talent shortages find the extra cost beneficial.
Selecting employees internationally can be a challenge due to different hiring practices in various countries. In the United States hiring is based on knowledge of the job, with the most capable person being hired. In some countries companies have tendencies to hire based on language, family ties, social standing, or origin. Candidates with little or no knowledge of skills may be hired if they meet one or all of the above criteria. There is some change in these notions as companies in other countries have come to realize greater attention must be given to hiring candidates who are qualified. In addition to qualifications various laws may apply. Laws pertaining to discrimination are worldwide. HR managers must research hiring laws for the country they are hiring in. Labor union restrictions may also impact the hiring process.
Hiring global managers can also present several challenges. A variety of different factors apply in selecting and hiring global managers. Some of these challenges may be as follows:
??? How much contact the manager will have with local citizens and government.
??? How the foreign environment differs from the candidates home environment.
??? Differences in political, legal, socioeconomic, and cultural systems in the foreign country and those of the home country.
If an expatriate candidate is willing to work and live in a foreign country, a company should look for the candidate??™s ability to tolerate all cultural differences in the country of the company expansion.
If a local worker meets qualifications and has technical competence to carry out the management job successfully, they should be carefully considered by HR managers before the search for a candidate in the home county begins. Most companies recognize the advantage of staffing international operations with locals from the host-country.
Selection of home-country and third-country nationals requires many more factors than in choosing host-country national as long as host-country nationals have managerial and technical skills needed for the position. Host-country nationals have the advantage of knowing the environment, cultures, languages, and laws of the host-country. Regardless, whichever candidate the company decides to search for, host-county national or home-country national, the candidate must know the environment, culture, language, laws, and government along with the skills to obtain success in the global management position.
These are only a few of the challenges HR managers face when staffing an international expansion. HR managers may encounter many challenges. Researching the host-country??™s environment, government, language, laws, and cultures is a must for a HR manager to successfully staff an international expansion.
Bohlander, G.W. & Snell S.A. (2007) managing human resources (14th ed.) Florence, KY: Thomas Higher Education.