Most Important Strategic Challenges for Today
This essay will firstly identify the key strategic challenges for today’s HR practitioners operating in multi or transnational companies faced. Simultaneously, the report will provide some solutions and recommendations on coping with those challenges. Subsequently, this article will choose Coca Cola, the most quintessential global corporation as a specific example. A conclusion will come in the end.
In order to enhance global competitive advantage, HR practitioners need to clearly identify and delineate the main challenges facing and raised when corporation operates its business in its overseas subsidiaries. The most prominent challenges, cultural and corporate social responsibility will be discussed in depth. Cultural Adaptability and Communication Adapting to different cultures has been increasingly becoming the most critical challenge for today‘s multinational and transnational companies.
Most Important Strategic Challenges for Today Essay Example
This is due to the consequence that different countries have their own unique culture which shapes their values and influences their way of doing business. Therefore, HR practitioners must take into account the cultural differences and understand and promote cultural norms to promote firm diversity when operate abroad, which could highly shape the managerial attitudes. At the same time, HR practitioners should be able to provide the glue and adequate communication to make these various international divisions and groups work together.
By understanding specific culture dimensions where the company operated, HR practitioners should implement appropriate HR practices to hire, retain, motivate and reward employees to fit the local culture. For instance, according to Hofstede’s research (1980), when an American multinational company with high individualism culture operates its subsidiary in China, who enjoys a highly collectivism in its traditional culture, this company should implement its subsidiary’s rewards strategy focusing more on group performance rather than individual performance.
On the other hand, HR professionals will also be responsible for providing cultural sensitivity training for the organizations employees and for managers throughout the entire organization to proper recognizing and adapting different cultures (Czebter, Anamaria, 2002). It will help employees and senior management at all organizational levels to adapt different cultures, enhance involvement and commitment and positively contribute to business result.
Corporate Social Responsibility In the recent period, Corporate Social Responsibility has become a critical ethic consideration and challenge for HR practitioners in MNCs organization, regardless of country of origin, sector and size. According to Juliette (2002), “MNCs operating across borders should bear some responsibility for the effects of their operations on the local environment and population to promote stability in their areas of operation, not only because it is the ight thing to do, but also because it makes good business sense” Undoubtedly, HR practitioners push the CSR agenda. There are many ways that could be done in respect of CSR. For example, firstly, HR practitioners must be aware that HR department plays a significant role to educate their enterprise the importance and their responsibility of CSR, be able to provide cross-border guidance and implementing CSR practices to business where they operated.
According to Nancy, R, L (2004), “HR practitioners can influence three primary standards of CSR-ethics, employment practices and community involvement, which relate either directly or indirectly to employees”. These could involve several parts of CSR initiatives such as human rights practices (fair labor practices), offering competitive benefits to competing with local other business, diversity programs care, and protecting the local natural resources and environment. There are lots of things which HR practitioners could do to purse these CSR initiatives.
For example, donating and sponsoring money to communities, creating green and recycle products to protect the local environment, selecting and recruiting employees to follow the precepts to compliance with local laws, together with local government to foster a friendly society environment for better place to live and doing business. Case Study: According to the Coca Cola Company (2012), the Coca-Cola Company has made “The World’s Best Multinational Workplaces to work” based on the work environments and practices of Coca-Cola offices around the world.
There are 25 companies on the list selected from more than 350 multinationals headquartered in 45 countries. The most operating income was derived from businesses outside America. Cultural Adaptability and Communication The most ingredients for Coca Cola to success are perceiving themselves as “multi-local” company, which could be best summarized as thinking globally, acting locally. Coca Cola understands that cross-cultural adaptability is critical for the company growth and sustainability.
According to the Coca Cola Company (2012), Coca Cola has “created a cross-cultural workplace strategy including developing programs to attract, retain, and develop cross-cultural talent; providing support systems for groups with diverse backgrounds; and educating all associates so that to master the skills to achieve sustainable growth”. In addition, Coca Cola also have outstanding performance of promoting workforce diversity by implementing programs to embrace different people’s values and ideas.
Corporate Social Responsibility According to the Coca Cola Company (2012), Corporate Social Responsibility of Coca-Cola is managed trough the public policy and Corporate Reputation Council, a cross-functional group which identifies the company opportunities and risks and recommends strategies to address these challenges. Moreover, the core of the ethics and compliance program at Coca-Cola is the Code of Business Conduct, which guides business conduct, requiring honesty and integrity is compliance with the local laws.
In addition, Coca Cola not only limits to established standards of corporate governance and ethics, but also makes a great effort to respond to local society and cares about the local well-being together with respective government. For instance, according to the Coca Cola Company (2012), Coca Cola programs in Africa combine prevention, awareness and treatment, including free condoms, confidential voluntary counseling, and testing for all of associates and their families. Conclusion
In conclusion, effective use of HR to “Think Global, Act Local” could help enterprise overcome strategic challenges within a multinational and transnational company. HR practitioners are firstly expected to have the knowledge of globalization and its drivers. Subsequently, they need to develop cross-cultural understanding, take in to account country-specific factors such as local laws and regulation, promote cultural diversity practices within the organization in order to achieve global competencies.
At the same time, HR practitioners also need to understand the core business and values of the organization and become business partners with all levels of the department. In addition, the host country’s business strategy should be at the central of the consideration. Nevertheless, there is no one best HR practice that fit all the forms of the multinational and transnational company. It requires HR professionals, firm and the local government to work together to achieve the firm’s competitive advantage.
Reference List: Czebter, Anamaria, (2002), ‘Labor market and Gloablization: Human Resources management in global enterprises, Centre International de Formation Europeenne, Nice. Geert Hofstede, (1980), Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills CA: Sage Publications Juliette Bennett, 2002. Multinational Corporations, Social Responsibility and Conflict, Journal of International Affairs, vol. 55, no. 2 Nancy R, 2004.
Corporate Social Responsibility: HR’s Leadership Roleb, falseLockwood, HR Magazine[pic],49 (12), p1-11[pic] The Coca Cola Company, 2012, Coca-Cola Named Among World’s Best Multinational Companies to Work For. [Online] Available at http://www. thecoca-colacompany. com/dynamic/press_center/2011/10/best-multinational-companies. html>, [Accessed 8 November 2012] The Coca Cola Company, 2012, Workplace Culture. [Online] Available at < http://www. thecoca-colacompany. com/citizenship/workplace_culture. html>, [Accessed 8 November 2012]
The Coca Cola Company, 2012, Governance & Ethics. [Online] Available at < http://www. thecoca-colacompany. com/citizenship/governance_ethics. html >, [Accessed 8 November 2012] Question 3 Advances in information and communication technology have meant profound changes in the world of work. Drawing on ideas and arguments rose during the semester, critically examine and discuss the impact that technology is having on HR strategies. Support your argument by drawing on a brief example from industry. Introduction
With the dramatic change in technology and globalization, the advance in information and communication technology has prominent impacts on today’s daily work; especially contribute to HR strategies and functions. However, several researchers propose that there are still several negative impacts technology has on HR strategies which we could not deny. To explore this complex issue, the essay will begin with providing a deep vision on how the advance in information and communication technology has profound positive impact on daily work, especially on HR strategies.
Subsequently, this report will identify and explain the demerits of advanced technology used in the workforce from both employee and company sides of view. An evaluation will come then with conclusion in the end. Snell, Stueber, and Lepak (2002) observe that “HR can meet the challenge of simultaneously becoming more strategic, flexible, cost-efficient, and customer- oriented by leveraging information technology (IT)”. Lepak and Snell (1998) have proposed that “there are three types of e-HRM which are operational e-HRM, relational e-HRM and transformational e-HRM”. 1. Operational Impact
According to Samir S and James,B,S (2003), “the impact that IT has on internal functioning of HR is operational impact which refers to alleviation of administrative burden of HR and lowering of variable transaction costs and head count within HR”. For example, nowadays, a lot of HR professionals are struggling with filing a large amount of paperwork which is time consuming. HR Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can help store data and retrieve HR files in an electronic format to provide supporting efficiency to HR department and significantly reduce the time on administrative HR tasks.
On employees’ perspective, staffs are able to communicate and share information with other staff members online which brings everyone together. Additionally, ERP system is easy to use, which apparently could save training cost. 2. Relational Impact According to Samir, S and James,B,S (2003), “relational impact refers to the impact technology has on relationships that HR enjoys with its clients. It refers to technology can enhance the quality of relationships by influencing HR response times and service levels and also by providing decision support to help internal clients effectively”.
For instance, using computer based tools would definitely help HR activities to be done efficiently like approving leave, employee boarding, calculating commission and evaluating employee performance and so on. The relationship with clients and employees will be therefore enhanced. On the other hand, Hubb, J, M, R and his colleagues (2006) also identified that “in terms of relational HRM, there is a choice between supporting recruitment and selection through a web-based application or using a paper-based approach (paper-based application forms and letters)”.
For example, nowadays, with the help of advanced technology and networking, recruitment becomes more efficient and effective which enables HR professionals to attract and assess widespread more job candidates instead of seeking applicants by using print publications. 3. Transformational Impact Ultimately, Samir S and James,B,S (2003) proposed “Transformational impact of IT, redefines the scope of HR by enabling the function to concentrate more on strategic activities such as creating a learning environment, assisting in knowledge management, facilitating organizational transformation”.
The effective use of HR technology in the workplace enables HR professionals to play a strategic role in supporting virtual team through an integrated HR web tools. For instance, HRIS system could help HR professionals generate specific useful reports in regards with creating recruitment and retention strategies, develop training programs, assess employee performance. The increasing use of integrated HR software makes HR professionals always adherent with the whole company business and operation strategy.
However, despite the advantages of HR technology, HR technologies are still underestimated and not remain in a priority in several companies. There are several reasons for the resistance and underestimation of advanced technology. Firstly, some companies regard HR technology system costly especially in the initial stage. Secondly, their HR advanced technology and system could create more pressing issues, for instance, HRIS are complex and difficult to implement and they are resistance to change existing work process.
In addition, the advanced HR technologies reassign many day-to-day activities of HR professionals and several HR professionals may perceive that the advanced HR technology may replace their daily job. Moreover, with the use of advanced technology, responsibilities may shift to line managers. Last but not least, there will be no boundary between work and life and it might result in low commitment and satisfaction. However, as discussed above, efficient use of HR system can be time saving and add professional quality when HR process and activities took place.
HR technology could create the opportunities for HR to enhance his strategic contribution in strategic role. Hence, it is a critical need for HR professionals to better familiar with advanced HR processing system, be well trained with HR technologies and understand that HR technologies could better let them participate in strategic decision making and enhance strategic contribution to the organization. Case Study As we know that Coca Cola is a multinational cultural company which operated geographically dispersed.
Therefore, the advanced technology makes it possible for employees in Coca Cola to work cooperatively and share knowledge and ideas easily regardless of time and distance. Introducing virtual team to Coca Cola could enhance the communication all around the world instead of interacting face-to-face. According to Ochrehouse (2012), Simon Brown, the HR Transformation Deployment Director at Coca Cola who built a virtual HR team said that: “the real glue was provided by the revolution in communications technology.
We set up a formal system of group and one-to-one video, Webex and audio conferences, but we also employed ‘Sametime’, the chatroom facility of Lotus Notes to talk to each other on a constant basis”. Therefore, there is no doubt that digital technology plays a crucial role for vital team in Coca Cola. The benefits from it including reducing cost, ease of cross-cultural collaboration and knowledge sharing. Hence, high level of task variety, high degree of flexibility and responsiveness are created.
As a consequence, company will improve efficiency; earn margins and competitive advantage in the market. However, there is no doubt that there are still some demerits exiting in respect of lack of team moral and spirit, likelihood of misunderstanding, role ambiguity and absenteeism, risk regarding data and network security, require high level of self-discipline, lack of efficiency in communication due to the constraints virtual communication medium Conclusion
To recapitulate, advances in information and communication technology have meant profound changes in the workplace which have especially have critical impact on HR strategies. Utilization of Information System also enables HR to be a strategic business partner in respect of actively supporting business execution and adding strategic value to the organization. Nevertheless, there are still some negative impacts on HR strategies when technology is implemented.
Therefore, selecting the most suitable and integrated human resource software and helping employees reduce barriers and resistance on technology replacement and update are in essential. To some extent, technology implementation may be costly in the short time, however, long-term benefits and sustainability will be achieved among customers, employees and benefit the society as a whole. Reference List Lepak, D. P. , & Snell, S. A. (1998). Virtual HR: Strategic human resource management in the 21st century.
Human Resource Management Review, 8(3), 215–234. Ochrehouse, 2012, HR teams in a virtual world. [Online] Available at , [Accessed 8 November 2012] Ruel, H. J. M, Bondaruk, T. V. & Van der Velde, M (2007) ‘The contribution of e-HRM to HRM effectiveness – Results from a quantitative study in a Dutch Ministry’, Employee Relations, 29(3):280-291. Shrivastava, S. & Shaw, J. B. (2003) ‘Liberating HR through Technology’, Human Resource Management, 42 (3), 201-22