What Is Involved in International Human Resource Management?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

International human resource management involves the recruitment and retention of employees at overseas divisions of a company. Some firms may use local human resource management personnel or third party firms for this purpose, while others send domestic staff overseas to handle staffing needs. A number of considerations can be involved in this field, where companies may want to maintain specific values and quality standards in all their operations. The work also may require familiarity with different educational systems, professional certifications, and other qualifications that may arise in employee recruitment and selection.

Specialists in international human resource management often meet with companies to discuss their staffing needs.
Specialists in international human resource management often meet with companies to discuss their staffing needs.

Companies with overseas offices may want to stock them with local personnel, for a number of reasons. It can be less costly to locate and train staff locally, and firms may want to create positive relationships with their host nations by creating jobs. Local knowledge and talent can also be extremely valuable for finding resources, negotiating contracts, and establishing good relationships with other businesses. Administrators at a firm with local legal staff, for instance, know that their personnel are familiar with all applicable laws, conventions, and other issues.

Specialists in international human resource management can meet with companies to discuss their staffing needs. They work in overseas locations to recruit, by actively seeking out specific people for positions, attending career fairs, and listing jobs in appropriate publications. They may handle interviews, background checks, and reference evaluations. Local experience can be useful in this setting as well; someone familiar with a nation’s educational qualifications, for example, can quickly scan applications to see who is qualified for which positions.

Cultural sensitivity may arise in international human resource management. Different countries may have varying approaches to business and work ethics, which could play a role in recruitment. A company committed to using fair labor practices, for example, might need to consider differing attitudes to fair pay, compensation, and working conditions in its international human resource management. Likewise, companies might need to evaluate the suitability of job candidates for a given region, considering how well they would work with locals. A racist executive, for example, might not be the best choice even if the executive has impeccable professional credentials.

In addition to recruiting and selecting employees, international human resource management also involves retention practices. These can include team building exercises, promotions, and increases in wages and benefits. All of these measures are designed to address employee satisfaction, to retain loyalty and an interest in staying with a company. If problems arise at a facility, a specialist might need to travel to the site to resolve them and discuss ways to prevent similar episodes in the future.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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