HR as a global function
As businesses broaden their international horizons, it’s crucial for senior executives to have a global mind set that’s aligned with the aims of the company, while being sensitive to the needs of the cultures in which they operate. This ability to act global and think local arguably lies, fundamentally, with HR.
“Globalisation has gone from a theme to reality in the last decade,” says Graeme Read, MD of global recruitment firm Antal International. He explains that in today’s business climate, SMEs to large corporates are either dealing with customers and suppliers internationally or have their own international operations. The need for HR professionals with international experience is now a prerequisite in most job specs.
Alex Raubitschek, operations director at Advantage Professional, agrees. Across the globe, HR is becoming an ever-growing requirement. "Any international exposure you gain will increase your standing by strengthening your personal creditability and marketability. The proven ability to work across cultures suggests an HR professional who has an open mind and wide perspective, while also being able to adapt to and understand a variety of global HR issues,” he says.
Hydrogen’s 2011 report Global Professionals on the Move found that individuals working in the HR, finance, energy and clinical research sectors rate international experience more highly than their counterparts working in other sectors.
Dr Claudia Jonczyk, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at ESCP Europe, comments: “How are you to recruit, evaluate and attract people in an increasingly global workplace if you don’t know the different rules of engagement in respective national job markets? It’s essential to understand that newcomers (from abroad) need to learn to deal with cultural differences and understand what makes them feel welcome and stay engaged.”