A Business Perspective

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Challenges and Opportunities of International Businesses

By: Deep Saini

There are many commonalities and many differences when organizations decide to globalize their business. As a result, there are risks and incentives for human resources to arise over time. We will examine three case studies where a company chose to grow their business internationally yet it posed challenges or opportunities for human resources to function adequately (Briscoe., Schuler, and Tarique, 2012).

In the Ford Motor Company case study, Ford transitioned from having smaller versions of their original plant overseas to establishing regional headquarters within various trading blocs to eventually having all aspects of operations globalized (Briscoe et al., 2012, p. 54-55). This is important to note because at the starting point, human resources would have been centralized with all major operations such as talent acquisition, talent retention and development, etc. functioning under one hub, the original plant (Boon, Eckardt, Lepak, & Boselie, 2017). This would put constraints on how the human resources department could operate with respect to timing of resolutions to employee or third-party disputes, etc. The overlying issue would be that they might not physically be present at each of these smaller plants or locations to effectively and efficiently manage issues.  

However, as mentioned, over time Ford established regional headquarters which would potentially give some limited capacity to oversee human resources’ responsibilities. For example, Ford Europe or Ford South America could hypothetically have some capacity to authorize employee’s changes in hours worked due to specific holidays taken within that region. It was indicated this regional model maximized efficiency as a result of this change in corporate structure (Briscoe et al., 2012, p. 54-55). Similarly, in the Comex Group case study, the need for the company to eventually franchise to grow quickly changed how human resources would operate within this framework. The human resources division would now be working with business owners instead of store mangers of whom would have less of a hardship aligning management’s goals with the company’s goals because of this franchise opportunity. In this study, the interesting distinction is that the family ownership of the service and the value added by the employees and management would be something Ford’s human resources’ department would have to work much harder to obtain because goals wouldn’t be so closely aligned at first (Briscoe et al., 2012, p. 108-109).

Furthermore, as time persisted, companies became increasingly competitive and this rivalry along with various other factors (limited ease or potential barriers to entry such as low to high tariffs, proximity of suppliers, rise or decline in customer demand, etc.) forced companies to modify their corporate structure to advance globalization as a whole. This created a change in global culture. In the Harry Ramsden’s case study, it is noted quite clearly the expansion of Ramsden’s operations in Hong Kong created a variation in the atmosphere to transcend product and service offerings to another country and grow customer demand from a foreign country’s residents over time (Briscoe et al., 2012, p. 27-28).  Likewise, in the Comex Group case study, the Mexican paint manufacturer was able to change the culture by offering a new career opportunity by franchising and eventually building growth through acquisitions which would later assist in bridging the cultural gap across international borders (Briscoe et al., 2012, p. 108-109).

Overall, it is worth noting, that human resources’ responsibilities are always changing with respect to how a company operates internationally and with respect to the business climate. As I’ve indicated the similarities and differences between these three different case studies, I’ve also shown how human resources’ role with respect to issues or concerns that may arise can be advantageous and yet also challenging over this time period.

References:

Boon, C., Eckardt, R, Lepak, D.P., & Boselie, P.(2017). Integrating strategic human capital and   strategic human resource management. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 29(1), 34-67.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09585192.2017.1380063

Briscoe, D., Schuler, R., & Tarique, I. (2012). International human resource management, 4thed.  London: Routledge.

Greatest Challenges in Maintaining a Stable Workforce

By: Deep Saini

I consider the greatest challenges for private – for-profit and not-for-profit corporations – in maintaining a stable workforce to be a lack of responsibility and accountability of aligning the goals of potential future candidates and/or current employees to the goals of the company or organization due to a lack of work-life balance, corporate culture and employee engagement. The overlying challenge I would state can be consolidated to talent management in terms of employee recruitment and retention, long-term development and talent diversification.

Juarez-Tarraga, Santandreu-Mascarell, and Marin-Garcia, (2019) reviewed findings from an intra-report consisting of the 20 most common challenges. Talent management was ranked number 1 by short term priority on the list. Employee engagement, management of corporate culture and managing work-life balance were ranked 3, 6, 16 respectively on the list. Juarez-Tarraga et al. (2019) also indicated that HR managers’ concerns about talent management in both the short and long term indicate their perspective is that these are not challenges that will fade in the near-term.

From my past experiences I have noticed when a company and its’ employees are not aligned to how the organization should perform internally and externally, the relationships in the workplace suffer. This eventually leads to high employee turnover, constant organizational changes and lack of sustainability in productivity as a whole. Although the aftereffects are not the root cause, it does help to identify organization’s that have this challenge. A most notable example of this would be when I was extended an opportunity to work for a private firm. After working at the organization for quite some time, I realized first-hand what the culture was like. It was normal to see constant organizational changes with such high employee turnover internally and lack of sustainability in productivity. It was almost as if this was the status quo. Employees were occupied at all hours with lack of work-life balance and employee engagement at all levels of leadership were very segregated. For a client-serving organization, several employees’ training and professional development were hindered by not having exposure to the organization’s clients and/or external third parties but yet still expected to perform non-value adding tasks. It was as if employees and leadership were expected to be oblivious to what was going on with the corporate culture. From speaking with my peers that had attended school with me and now work at similar firms and organizations, the remarks in regards to corporate culture, work-life balance and overall talent management were pretty similar to my own.

Nazir (2017) mentioned HR managers are struggling hard for retaining talent, meeting diverse labor force demands. This corresponds directly with what I believe the overall challenge is – talent management. Nazir (2017) further goes on to state the HR issues and challenges by focusing on the five R’s – Resourcing, Recruiting, Retaining, Retraining and Restructuring staff and by mentioning how flexible work arrangement and work-life balance play a role. Nazir’s (2007) research in relation with other research articles suggest that all 5 R’s which represent talent management as a whole should have extra care taken to by HR managers.

In conclusion, there are several challenges for-profit and not-for-profit corporations in maintaining a stable workforce. Of the utmost, there is a need to have more care or responsibility and accountability of aligning the goals of potential future candidates and/or current employees to the goals of the company or organization to ensure proper work-life balance, corporate culture, employee engagement. The overlying challenge being talent management is extremely vital to address along with the 5 R’s.  

References:

Juarez-Tarraga, A., Santandreu-Mascarell, C., & Marin-Garcia, J. (2019). What are the main concerns of human resource managers in organizations?. Intangible Capital, 15(1), 72-95. http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/ic.1342

Nasir, S. Z. (2017) Emerging challenges of HRM in 21st century: A theoretical analysis. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences7(3). 216-223.  http://hrmars.com/hrmars_papers/Emerging_Challenges_of_HRM_in_21st_Century.pdf