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4 tips for managing a global workforce



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If you wish to engage and integrate a global workforce in your company, be sure to blend corporate and local cultures, and enhance your diversity and risk-management practices.

That was among the key takeaways of a new research by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation on how to successfully manage global employees.

1. Deal with changing demographics

The report firstly advised HR leaders the function has to be able to deal with dealing the changing demographics of the workforce.

It needs to look at overcoming the skill shortages presented by a decreasing youth population in developed countries as well as identify the right roles, incentives and retraining opportunities for the older group of workers.

In order to do that, it is crucial that HR professionals make full use of HR analytics, further expanding it to incorporate gender and other diversity metrics to better understand their candidate pool and provide relevant incentives.

In addition to that, HR also has to incorporate the use of social media into their recruitment strategies.

This is especially since 67% of candidates in Malaysia, 56% of candidates in Singapore and 47% of candidates in Hong Kong stated they are more inclined to search for jobs using social media instead of traditional methods.

At the same time, HR has to be able to accurately assess their employees’ skills and create programmes to fill any skill gaps

2. Understand local cultures

Secondly, HR has to be able to guide corporate strategic decision making by understanding the local environment and business practices in each region they are operating in. With that, HR has to be able to customise the various company protocols in each region and communicate it effectively to the employees there.

While doing so, HR has to keep in mind that while there are policies which can be modified to fit local cultures, there are also those which cannot be compromised such as integrity and human rights policies.

Furthermore, HR has to be able to develop programmes to assist employees to adapt to the cultural norms when moving between the different regions.

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3. Build global leaders

Thirdly, HR must be able to prepare for the future by building a pipeline of globally prepared leaders. In order to do so, it is essential that HR has to develop workplace practices which promote collaboration among diverse workers and communicate values and policies across the different regions.

At the same time, HR has to educate employees from a managerial level to be able to leverage on the cultural differences while solving disagreements. Also, HR has to be able to identify desired skills on a local level from within a pool of candidates.

4. Maintain local laws and regulations

Last but not least, HR has to keep up to date with the various labour laws in the different regions and ensure that, while doing all of the above, their employees are treated legally.

“Regulations become murkier when the employment process is conducted through online crowdsourcing or other, less traditional recruiting methods, further increasing the risks while demanding greater understanding of compliance from HR,” the report stated.

Image: Shutterstock

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