A Guide to the Functions of Global HR in an International Business
When working in an international company, HR can be a complex process if not managed in a cohesive, organized manner.
For those looking to begin their expansion abroad, understanding and creating a global HR management structure is the key to a successful expansion. It’s also critical for continued employee retention and satisfaction, as well as region-level compliance with varied and nuanced employment laws.
What is Global Human Resources?
Global HR is a part of a company that focuses on all aspects of a company’s employees, talent management and country employee compliance, as well as hiring and reduction in force.
A wide and expansive business function, HR impacts every aspect of a company. Taking the step globally without solid global HR management can cost the company money, time and issues. HR must be done right the first time, especially when starting in a new country.
What Does a Global Human Resource Management Team do?
HR management, at a global level, will:
- Ensure compliance with local employment laws, both domestic and international
- Manage benefits and compensation, ensuring equal and fair systems across different countries
- Understand employee diversity and cultural integration
- Oversee employee relocation, or long-term work placements, managing everything from visas to wellbeing in multiple countries
- Control the functions of medical, health or similar insurance policies – maintaining compliance with local laws.
- Manage training and development opportunities
- Comply with local leave and national holidays across business functions
The spread and reach of global HR will often expand beyond these points, adapting and changing as the business requirements do.
Understanding the Core Functions of Global HR Management
While the reach of HR on a global scale is almost undefinable at points, there are key themes and functions that will have local nuances.
These core functions of global HR will differ slightly from purely domestic HR, but the purpose of providing support and protecting the rights of both employees and employers remains the same.
HR and Employment Law Compliance
When expanding into a new country, local laws; whether at state, country, continent or similar level, must be complied with.
There may be various documentation that needs to be present, from employee handbooks, certain stipulations in contracts or offer letters for new hires.
As each country has such a variety of nuances to understand when it comes to legal compliance, an intricate understanding of local law must be held. For example, countries such as Japan and South Korea require ‘work rules’ which is type of employee handbook that is considered legally binding. Then, moving into Europe, data protection is a critical part of hiring, and most employers provide employees with a statement of employee data use separate to their contracts.
Employee Global Mobility
If you’ve begun international expansion, or already have existing branches overseas, then ensuring you have the infrastructure in place to manage global employees is key to the combined growth of all branches.
A huge part of mobilizing globally is managing those who are permanently relocating to other countries.
The process for expatriation is highly dependable on circumstance of the employee, the country they are relocating to, and the job role they are moving into.
Immigration of International Employees
If you’re hiring overseas, and require employees to migrate, assisting them in the immigration process is time consuming without expert advice and consultation.
Temporary Work Relocation
If an employee is required to work abroad for an extended period of time, the country they are going to may need specific forms, visa applications and even certain vaccinations. These practical aspects are a large part of global mobility and global HR management.
Compensation and Benefits
When hiring overseas employees, you may need to comply with additional benefits that you do not currently have to provide. This could be anything from insurance to paid leave. However, meeting the legal requirements isn’t always enough – instead – to remain competitive, benefits must go above and beyond.
As well as meeting local compliance, benefits must be part of your employee retention process, working to ensure that any employee at any level of the business feels valued and part of a wider business community.
Mergers and Acquisitions Global Support
Part of global HR can sometimes involve additional support when mergers and acquisitions take place. While international expansion happens organically in some circumstances, in others, merging or acquiring is a great way to expand with capital and infrastructure already in place.
Having an expert-led HR team that can assist with the human capital aspect of the M&A is key to ensuring the success of the deal, and that key employees are retained throughout.
Having Expert Support by Your Side
When expanding into another country, or wanting to consult on best practice of global HR management, having a company like IRIS HR Consulting by your side is paramount to the success of your global HR function.
For those wanting discover more about our Global HR Management offering, download our brochure below to understand how we can help you.