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Global Human Resource Management

The turn of the 21st century saw a sea change in the Indian industry, often referred to as India Inc. The change was that the hitherto docile and meek Indian industry that acted as suppliers to the big companies of the west and Far East, woke up. The hungry tiger that was woken up went on the prowl gobbling up companies across the globe. The world started to accept and recognize the power of the Indian industry. One of the key challenges that India Inc. had to face was its global face. Suddenly, the companies were employing people from across the globe. Essential as it is to keep a motivated staff, the new situation gave birth to a Global Human Resources Management (Global HRM) function within the organization.

The primary objective of the Global HRM function was to ensure that the company had a local look in its geographies of presence. A multi-national company would not like to be seen as an Indian or a Chinese company. This objective in turn gave rise to further objectives. Thus, for a Global HRM function the objectives can be summarized as follows:

* Ensure an international look with respect to local sensitivities
* Spread cross-cultural sensitivities and awareness amongst managers and employees across the globe
* Bring in a local perspective in the region of operation

Implementing such practices were not an uphill task for Indians who have been used to a multi-cultural society for centuries. However, core organizational practices needed to be consistent across geographies.

The international look was achieved by hiring on board managers from across geographies. Companies like Infosys and Wipro have people from across the globe on their board of directors. Such actions build confidence at lower levels that the company is indeed a global one. Often it is also a practice to hire local talent and even have a person local to the geography as the chief of the operations from that geography.

Often, in a multi-national organization, geographically spread out team need to work together. In this scenario, it is of utmost importance to make the different parties aware of the cultural sensitivities. Today, most of the organizations have comprehensive cross cultural trainings that they impart to their employees across geographies. Such trainings help in avoiding misunderstandings and also pave the way for people from different cultures to work painlessly. Cross cultural awareness or sensitivities can make or break subsidiaries of an organization.

A local perspective of the region instils a sense of belongingness for the employees from that region. For instance, it would be prudent to follow the complex Japanese traditions for the Japanese subsidiary of an Indian company. Having a local chief of operations goes a long way in winning the trust of the locals. The local perspective also implies that the employees who join the subsidiary do not experience a culture shock. For a local presence to grow, the Global HRM team must ensure that the operations in a particular area look as local as possible, without compromising on the core values of the company.

Global HRM function enables the different parts of the organization function smoothly and effectively. Such a function holds the important responsibility of holding the organization together as one. Thus it is common that the Global HRM function has representatives from executive management.

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