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Essay Paper on the Key Challenge to Human Resource Management

The past two decades of 20 century have changed significantly the way how businesses operate geographically and it was driven by two strong revolutions in transportation and telecommunications. They have broken the borders easily and increased degree of international business cooperation. Free trade as a political driving force has the more strongly power than at any time in the past century for changes on a global level.

However while change comes the complexity of working across multiply time zones with different cultures, economic and political situations increases constantly in the business environments. Human resources become as a national discipline and till present days remain subject to national legislation on all employment aspects. To be truly prepared for the new global world the HR should be rethinking appropriately on a global level.

Robert J. Joy and P. Howes show how the delivery of products and services has changed globally over the past several years, and observe some meaningful parallels with what HR needs to do:

  1. Organizations have become more geographically spread around the world. A random selection of large U.S. companies revealed that every one of them had an increasing proportion of revenues from overseas, compared to ten years ago. They have become more global. Mane companies have centralized manufacturing operations in particular countries to obtain economies of scale which can overcome transportation costs.
  2. Branding has become global. Sony, Coca-Cola, Marlboro, IBM, McDonald’s and Colgate are universally recognized symbols of what they represent.
  3. The bar has gone up on speed, new ideas and customer service. Customer expectations have risen because they can.
  4. Margins have shrunk as competition has intensified, and technology has put more power in the hands of the consumer and the major buying groups. Products are mass customized, that is, the underlying system is geared to mass production but allows the customer to design his or her own product or service.
  5. Some work, even customer facing work, has begun to move geographically away from the customer. Advances in telephone now allow people in India, for example, to make out bound calls to U.S at a much cheaper cost than Americans can call one another.

HR’s job is to manage talent delivery as a brand manager manages the delivery of the particular brand he or she is responsible for. As with consumer branding, you can control some elements in the short term and others you cannot. The growth of global brands has affected HR, too. Many people around the world join Colgate precisely because it is Colgate. It provides potential global opportunity and promise of an employment experience that noticeably different from that of a local company.

Just as branding causes consumer to purchase a product because of an expected experience, employees have expectation of us as employers; it has a side affect of extending the employment promise. Done right, global branding provides global companies with a real competitive advantage in the employment marketplace.

As a truly global company, Colgate has realized that the bar has been raised on the expectations needed to provide a workplace that attracts the best talent. Consistent with its branding efforts, it realizes that it must also provide the best place to work for its people and define the key parameters consistently on a global basis.

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