5OS04 People Management in an International Context
- July 29, 2021
- Posted by: Harry King
- Category: CIPD Level 5
This unit is designed to give those practitioners working in people management in an international context the opportunity to focus on the complexities and considerations essential to this.
International Talent Management
Organisations operating in a global environment need to consider how they will identify, recruit, deploy and develop talent on an international basis as part of their overall people management strategy. A consistent approach is important while taking into account regional differences.
Whilst acknowledging that it is important to have a consistent brand and approach within an organisation it is important that the skills and abilities of local employees in countries where the organisation is operating are not ignored. A good talent management programme will draw on the skills and abilities of all employees, wherever they are based.
Culture and Working Environment
The way an organisation operates drives its employer brand, helping to attract and retain talented people who want to be part of a great place to work, and who will in turn thrive in the business. Here we cover international culture, the culture, purpose and values found in SMEs, and use case study examples to examine how to develop an organisational culture.https://beta.cipduat.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/resourcing/international-factsheet
International Resourcing and Selection
Whether recruiting overseas-based employees or relocating employees overseas, HR practitioners in international organisations need to effectively deal with the additional challenges of working in a global environment.
The link below examines the need for employers to plan HR resources and provides guidance on using appropriate recruitment methods for international assignments, such as internal promotions, headhunting and cross-national advertising.
You work as a manager in the HR/L&D department of a large corporation which operates a well-known chain of fashion stores (Large Co). Your company has outlets on the high streets of all the major UK cities and is steadily increasing its presence in out-of-town shopping complexes and airports. In addition, recent years have seen the start of what is intended to be a major expansion overseas with the opening of new flagship stores in a number of European cities. International online sales have also grown rapidly in the last few years.
As part of its overseas expansion plans, a few weeks ago, your company took over another organisation (Small Co) which operates three high street fashion outlets in major Eastern European cities and also supplies garments to a range of retailers in the UK from its factories. It employs fifty staff at its headquarters in Birmingham, 250 in its city stores and over 900 in its factories located in Tamil Nadu, India. There are now significant opportunities for staff to relocate to Eastern Europe and India.
Your manager has asked you to produce a professional article and briefing paper that educates employees on the complexities of managing people in an international context.
Preparation for the Tasks:
- Refer to the indicative content in the unit to guide and support your
- Pay attention to how your evidence is presented, remember you are working in the People Practice Team for this
- Ensure that the evidence generated for this assessment remains your own work.
You will also benefit from:
- Reflecting on your own experiences of learning opportunities and training and continuing professional
- Reading the CIPD Insight, Fact Sheets and related online material on these
Don’t forget to:
Complete the front cover sheet and place at the front of your assessment.
Use the bullet points below each task as headings and sub-headings so your marker can see where your answer begins.
Ensure that your filename contains your full name and assessment title
Task 1– Article
Your manager has asked you to produce a professional article that educates employees on the complexities of managing people in an international context. This will be made available to all employees both nationally and internationally. It should be presented formally and include a range of sources, research and models.
Your article should be broken down into three themes and cover the following:
- Examine the contextual factors of an international organisation (AC 1.1)
- Assess the drivers and benefits of employment in an international context (AC 1.2)
- Explain convergent or divergent approaches to inform people management policy and practice choices (AC 1.3)
- Evaluate the factors to be considered when selecting and resourcing for international assignments (AC 2.1)
- Explain why people practices can vary across international boundaries (AC 2.2)
- Evaluate the cultural and institutional differences to be considered when managing international people practice (AC 2.3)
- Evaluate the function of people practice in an international organisational context (AC 3.1)
- Consider the practices and policies that are shaped by the international context (AC 3.2)
Task 2– Briefing Paper
As part of the drive to educate staff about the current changes, your manager also feels that further guidance is needed around expatriates. You have been asked to generate a short briefing paper that addresses the following areas:
- Evaluate the reasons that companies use expatriates for international working (AC 4.1)
- Explain the process for selecting, preparing and managing expatriates for overseas relocation for work (AC 4.2)
- Explain how people practice can support re-entry and resettlement of overseas workers (AC 4.3)
This briefing paper needs to contain clear, easy to follow information that can be read by any staff member. It should contain research and references and educate the reader.
AC 1.1 Examine the contextual factors of an international organisation.
An International Organisation is one that has operations in more than one country. Most of these International Organisations have branches worldwide and hence, they have a wide reach in terms of the number of employees they have and the people they impact directly or indirectly. International Organisations normally may decide to have the Head Office based in a given country be able to dictate the operations of the other branches across the world, or they may be autonomous, with each branch in each country running its operations independently from the Head Office. International Firms also need to state if they will adapt the strategies and policies of their Head Office or they will be independent and have their market and region specific strategies and policies. Such decisions impact how these International Organisations will perform their duties such as supply chain management, recruitment and selection, employee retention and Coaching and Mentoring. International Firms also may have their leaders from their main office or they could have Regional leaders who better understand the market needs and how best to satisfy them. The context of some International Organisations are as discussed below.
Goals and Strategies- depending on the nature of the International Organisation, their objectives and strategies for their actualisation may defer. This is due to the different business settings and the target market’s needs and wants. The objectives may differ also based on the preferences of the involved shareholders and stakeholders. For example, an International firm dealing in the provision of technology and electronic devices may have a different goal in different markets; in some markets, the goal may be to reduce competition while in another market, the aim may be to be a household name; grow their market share. The strategies in this case may be provision of high quality electronic products to differentiate themselves which will reduce their competition while the other strategy may be to reduce the prices of the electronic gadgets to make them affordable to as many customers as possible in order to grow their market share respectively.
Size- the size of the International Organisation also dictates how they conduct their operations globally. For the big multimillion corporations, they have the advantage of size and therefore it is much easier for them to enter into a given mallet and start their own branch with much ease. This is not the same as the smaller International Organisations who may even consider partnership, joint ventures and even buying off the smaller local forms for them to penetrate into a new market. The size of the firm also determines the reach of their operations in the various countries. For the big International Firms, they are able to spread out their operations to impact as many people as possible while for the small International Firms, they can only operate within a given space and environment. This not only limits their market share, but also their operations scope.
Technology- some of the International Firms have very advanced technology that is able to link all the operations to a centralised server while others have to operate independently due to the level of technological adaption and integration to the daily operations of the Organisation. The International Organisations with high technology enjoy mass production and continuous production since they have the capacity and the technical capability for that. The smaller International Firms have to stick to production in small batches due to their limited capacity, capability and space. The level of integration with the other systems also dictates the competitiveness of the firm in their specific market. Technological capability also entails the extent to which the employees are conversant to the system and the ease at which they can use the system effectively and efficiently to be productive.
AC 1.2 Assess the drivers and benefits of employment in an international context
The drivers of employment in an International Context are as evaluated below;
Career growth and development- among the major reasons why people seek for International jobs are the opportunities for career growth and development that come with these jobs. International jobs allow for increased exposure of an employee in to the dynamics of their industry thus making them more competitive in their market space. International jobs also offer the opportunity for the employees to compare what they learnt in University to the actual business operations and therefore give a deeper understanding of their operations. This clear motivation pushes the employees to be willing to learn new things, strategies and criteria which greatly improve on their general performance.
Better pay- another motivation for International jobs is the competitive benefits and compensation received by the employees. Due to the many allowances and benefits that International employees are entitled to, the positions become very attractive. The salaries offered are very competitive globally and they are way better than what the employees would be offered if they were still in their country. Among the benefits enjoyed by International Employees include; house allowance, travelling allowances, entertainment allowances and even school fees for their children in the new country. These benefits are very appealing to many and as such, the International jobs become very competitive and sort after.
Develop strong International networks- International jobs offer a chance for their employees to make strong networks which come in really handy. They allow their employees to interact with employees from all over the work and share experiences, exchange strategies and policies and in the process, they get to learn from each other. This exchange of intelligence is critical as it boosts not only their employability by other International forms, but also their productivity at work (Europe Language Jobs 2020). These strong networks are formed and prove to be really useful when it comes to exchange programs and also benchmarking, where employees get to learn from each other (regardless of their industry), in order to improve their overall competitiveness, not just in their industry but also in the entire market.
According to University of Reading (2021), the benefits of employment in an International context are:
Improved cultural awareness- working abroad allows the employee access to new and more dynamic cultures which not only boost their personal perspective but also their professional skills as they will face unique challenges which they must solve in the best way in favour of the company. The rich cultural diversity has to be optimised to assist the employee better understand certain practices and recommend suitable ways in which they can use those opportunities to make their organisation more productive.
Increases the value of the employee- International employees are more valued by their employers as compared to those who work locally. This is because they get to represent the organisation in the International context and as such, they enjoy certain privileges, benefits and allowances. This makes the International employees feel valued, appreciated and recognised for their efforts which leads them to stay longer in the organisation to assist the firm actualise its goals and objectives.
Offers greater job opportunities- working in an International firm boosts how the Curriculum Vitae of its employees’ look and thus gives them a niche in the market. This experience makes them more likely to get other similar jobs in future. International jobs also equip the employees with skills and competencies that are desirable to other International Firms.
AC 1.3 Explain convergent or divergent approaches to inform people management policy and practice choices.
The convergent approach in Human Resources advocates that specific practices can produce awesome results when used across varying organisations and countries. This approach supports that when organisations act in a similar manner across the globe, they are most likely to succeed at the same time and grow simultaneously. The management is also expected to act in a similar manner in all the countries and the strategies applied will be similar in nature. There is free flow of information across their geographical boundaries results to the best practices being established and practised. The convergent approach strongly encourages the application of technology as many people can access the same information at the same time and use it to achieve excellence as well as great economic output (Strategic Management 2021). Convergent approach informs people management practices by supporting the application of similar practices across the countries as they will achieve the intended purpose across the boundaries simultaneously.
The divergent approach stresses on the need to have unique policies and strategies suitable based on the environment and their objectives. This approach emphasizes that organisations have to ensure differentiation by all means so that they can be unique as possible. According to the divergent approach, people management policy and practices have to be done in a customised and personalised manner to suit the needs of every different market. Further, different organisations operate differently and hence, they need different strategies for their operations and competitiveness.
AC 2.1 Evaluate the factors to be considered when selecting and resourcing for international assignments.
Some of the competitive factors to be considered when selecting an employee for International assignments are as discussed below:
Physical and emotional wellbeing- the heath of the employee, both physical and emotional must be assessed. The employee has to be physically fit to ensure that they are able to cope with the climatic and environmental changes in the new country. Stable health also guarantees their productivity levels will be high and as such, the investors are bale to have their Return on Investment much faster.
Good command of the language- the employee has to know very well the language that is used in that country they are to be sent on assignment too. This ensures there are minimal chances of misinterpretation or even misunderstanding. A good command of the language also warrants the organisation good negotiation practices which are all in favour of the organisation.
Qualified and experienced employee- the employee has to be extremely qualified and fit for the job. This ensures the effectiveness and efficiency of the employee. Experienced employees are also able to cope with the arising challenges with much ease. Qualified employees also possess the necessary skills, knowledge and competency to perform their roles f=or the actualisation of the objectives and goals of the organisation.
Leadership ability- good leadership skills are desired for the employees to be sent on International assignment. This is because they are perceived to be self-driven, solutions oriented and they are able to make sound decisions for the benefit of the organisation.
Easily adaptable to change- the change in culture and environment in the International assignment needs an employee who can easily adapt to changes (MBA Knowledge 2021). The employee has to be flexible, open minded and optimistic to try out new strategies, policies and criteria in the actualisation of the organisation’s objectives.
AC 2.2 Explain why people practices can vary across international boundaries.
People Practices vary across the International boundaries due to various reasons. Among them are: religion, language, time concept, power distance and masculinity and femininity.
Religion- the religion of specific countries largely impacts how they conduct their business operations. This is because the religion dictates the policies, rules and regulations which the country assumes which directly impact how International forms will conduct their operations. In some countries, some specific days are considered holy days and holidays and therefore the employees in that country do not work in those days and therefore, the International firm has to reorganise their schedule to be aligned with those in the given country. In other countries, religion dictates the attire to be worn which also affects how the operations of the International Firm will be conducted as the employees dress how their religion expects them to and not necessarily how the Organisation prefers.
Language- the different language spoken across the various countries influence how business is done. In some countries, the way they conduct business negotiations and discussions is considered to be straight forward and direct and the employees can see the management directly to address their concerns while in others, the negotiations and business discussions are performed in a friendly and indirect way while taking into account soft skills and people management skills. There is also the level of power and employees are expected to raise their complaints and concerns through their immediate boss instead of going directly to the management (Intech Concept 2021).
Time concept- due to the different time zones across the country, different countries operate in different times. Therefore, communication may also be slow as operating hours and business days differ.
Power distance- in some countries, the distribution of power varies between countries. In some countries, the management easily relates to the juniors while in other countries, there is a big power distance. The bigger the power distance the slower the rate of communication and feedback provision while the shorter the power distance, the better as the firm can easily make decisions and they are implemented fast and communication is eased in the organisation.
Masculinity and femininity- the different perspectives held of the interactions of the two genders impacts the rate at which International firms conduct business. In some countries, there is more masculinity and as such, the market is dominated by the male gender who perform most of the operations. In other nations, there is balance in the gender involvement in operations and therefore the International firm gets a balance of both genders.
AC 2.3 Evaluate the cultural and institutional differences to be considered when managing international people practice.
When practising International trade, among the cultural and institutional differences to be evaluated are listed and discussed below.
Collectivistic and individualistic approaches- in some cultures, they are more collective and thus, they make decisions and strategies as a community and not as individuals. In such cultural backgrounds, the International firm has to consider doing what is right for the greater good of the entire community. However, in other societies, they propagate the individualistic approach where the society encourages each person to work hard and make decisions which favour themselves at the expense of others. These varying approaches define how the International Organisation will operate and effect its objectives while considering the cultural norms of that society in specific.
Uncertainty avoidance- some societies are risk averse while others have a bigger risk appetite. For those cultures which are risk averse, they tend to play safe by only allowing the International Organisations to act within known (safe) and limited scope while those that have a big risk appetite advocate for innovation and creativity. International Organisations in societies that are risk averse tend to therefore grow at a slower rate since they only make calculated moves while those situated in high risk appetite countries grow faster since they are innovative and willing to take chances to actualise their objectives in diverse and creative ways.
AC 3.1 Evaluate the function of people practice in an international organisational context
The functions of people practice in the international organisation concept can be classified to be in form of:
Selecting the qualified and trained employees: people practice is expected to come up with the most qualified candidates to be sent on International assignments based on the available position and the requirements of the post. These qualified employees maybe existing in the company or may have to be hired so that they can retain the competitiveness of the Organisation in the new country.
Meeting the training needs of the employees: the people practice is expected to provide regular trainings on the employees to ensure that they are up to date with the latest competencies, skills and knowledge which improves on not only their individual performance and output, but also on their career development. This gives them a chance to grow and develop their careers further (Digital HR 2021).
Motivating: it’s also the role of people practices to motivate these International employees. This can be done by offering them attractive benefits and packages to keep them focused on their assignment. Motivation may also be in the form of regular appraisal to determine the areas they need assistance in to enable them sharpen their skills all the more.
Retaining employees: the people practices also must work towards retaining as much employees as possible to ensure that the International Organisation’s values and skills are retained and optimised within the same institution.
AC 3.2 Consider the practices and policies that are shaped by the international context
The International context determines which policies and practices will be adapted for any International firm based on the current Political, Economic, Social and Cultural policies in that country. The International context governs how International firms apply their practices and policies in areas such as;
Recruitment and selection- they determine the ideal recruitment and selection procedures, how to communicate to the successful and unsuccessful candidates and also how best to assess the suitability/ compatibility of the candidate to the job. The different International Context will vary in how they prefer the hiring process be done and by who.
Rewarding employees- the diverse International context prefer to reward employees differently; some prefer monetary rewards like cash and promotions while others opt for non- monetary rewards such as benefits and subscriptions.
Data Protection – in some countries, information shared during recruitment and selection should be strictly used for such purposes while in others, the organisation is not obliged to keep such information confidential. Data Protection is observed in some countries to protect the owners of the information form unauthorised access to personal information and to protect their privacy, while in other countries, confidentiality and privacy of personal information is not observed.
AC 4.1 Evaluate the reasons that companies use expatriates for international working
There are several reasons why International firms opt to use expatriate employees for their International jobs. Some of them are evaluated below;
Enhance the local market knowledge- expatriates live and work in the countries where the International firms are situated and as result, they have a better and clearer understanding of what the current market conditions are. With this reality, they are able to advise and make the correct strategies which ae more likely to succeed on those countries as compared to the strategies made by those firms run from the Head Office without necessarily considering the current state of affairs in those countries. It also reduces associated risks and enhances the reputation of the firm (Linton 2017).
Instilling Organisational Culture- when expatriates go to live and work in those countries, they take along with them the values and the culture of the main office. This ensures that the employees in the other nations also get to learn the Organisational culture and decide how best to inculcate it into their own culture for an enhanced and better experience for both the employees and their customers. Also helps in the transfer of knowledge and core competencies.
Develop Management talent- when new leaders are appointed to head the firm in the various countries, they are given an opportunity to enhance their careers. This opportunity allows the employees to develop good managerial skills that grow and benefit both them personally and the Organisation at large since good leadership results in reduced employee turnover as well as enhanced productivity and output.
Increased local control- expatriates ensure that the export countries have sufficient control over their own businesses. This comes in handy as it allows the Head office to follow the business trends and suggest possible areas of improvement while the local market can choose to what extent to implement the suggested opinions and concerns. This makes them have more power to drive business which ultimately results to improved performance and increased competitiveness in their various markets.
AC 4.2 Explain the process for selecting, preparing and managing expatriates for overseas relocation for work
Selection: the qualified and experienced employees should be sort. These employees have to be well versed with knowledge on various issues such as how the other export country operates, their language and social standing as well as their culture. The selection process should be through to ensure that they do not miss the most suitable candidate for the job.
Preparing: once the successful candidate has been chosen, they have to be thoroughly prepared. These preparations include ensuing that they have the right documentation for their travel, training them on the export market culture and how to cope as well as ensuring they have accommodation and other travel preparations which may be useful before the expatriate can settle in their new environment.
Managing expatriates; they can be managed through; focusing on International leadership development, matching the technical skills with the cross- cultural capabilities and also finalising these expatriate jobs with intended repatriation processes (Black 2021). The right expatriates should also be sent to the correct destinations with the correct objectives if the International firm is to benefit from their presence in the export countries. The expatriates can also be managed through constant review of their performance through appraisals to determine the areas which need to be worked on in order to improve their performance and to ensure a higher Return on Investment.
AC 4.3 Explain how people practice can support re-entry and resettlement of overseas workers
People practice can greatly assist its expatriates to re- enter and resettle in the export countries through:
Simplifying the selection of roles and preparation of travel documents- the People Practice can assist by facilitating the defining and description of jobs that the expatriates will do in the export countries. They can also assist the expatriates to get the necessary travel documents such as passports and work permits to improve their stay and travel experience. When the company intervenes in such operations, it becomes much easier and the expatriate employees is able to re-enter and resettle in the new country.
Giving pre-departure health assistance: the conduction of medical tests and vaccinations is important as it guarantees that the health of the expatriate and their family is good. For the expatriates to perform well, they have to be healthy to avoid transfer or even contracting certain diseases which may be prevalent in those export countries.
Doing pre-departure orientation sessions: these are meant to assist the expatriates settle in harmony in their new countries. The orientation sessions provides guidance and direction on what is expected of them and how they should conduct their activities in their new workplace as per the allowed procedures. The expatriates must be informed and well aware of the various laws and regulations observed in those countries to ensure that they do not contravene the norm which may lead to them being arrested and prosecuted.
Culture readjustment- the expatriates must have to readjust to the new culture and cope with it to ensure that they do not feel left out. The culture readjustment may take some time but should be advocated for to guarantee the expatriate’s comfort to the new culture for them to perform their duties and help the firm actualise their objectives and goals.
Black 2021, “The Right Way to Manage Expats” Harvard Business Review Available on: https://hbr.org-the-right-way-to-manage-expats/ (Accessed on 27/07/2021).
Digital HR 2021, “18 Key Human Resources Roles” AIHR Available on: https://digitalhrtech.com/18-key-human-resource-roles/ (Accessed on 27/07/2021).
Europe Language Jobs 2020,”10 Reasons Why Finding a Job abroad is Awesome” Europe Language Jobs Available on: https://europelanguagejobs.com/10-reasons-why-finding-a-job-abroad-is-awesome/ (Accessed on 26/07/2021).
Intech Concept 2021, “The Role of National Cultures in Shaping the Corporate Management Cultures: A Three-Country Theoretical Analysis” Intech Concept Available on: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/63695/ (Accessed on 27/07/2021)
Linton 2017, “The Importance of Expatriates in Organisations” Biz Fluent Available on: https://bizfluent.com-the-importance-of-expatriates-in-organisations/ (Accessed on 27/07/2021).
MBA Knowledge 2021,”Selection Criteria for International Assignments” MBA Knowledge Available on: https://mbaknol.com/selection-criteria-for-international-assignments/ (Accessed on 26/07/2021).
Strategic Management 2021, “Convergent, Divergent and Cross-vengeance of HRM systems in a globalised economy” Strategic Management Available on: https://strategicmgt15.blogspot.com/covergent-divergent-crossvegent-of=hrm-systems-in-a-globalised-economy/ (Accessed on 26/07/2021).
University of Reading 2021,”Benefits of International Careers” University of Reading Available on: https://reading.ac.uk/benefits-of-international-careers/ (Accessed on 26/07/2021).