Recognising the ‘Globe-trotting’ Economy

In this issue we feature articles on the relocation industry (2017 HRO Today Baker’s Dozen: Relocation, page 16) and the recognition services industry (Real Time Recognition, page 29) , both of which are of special consideration in the global edition of HRO Today. High-quality relocation services are often considered critically important to the candidate experience of new hires. However, I would argue they are equally important to retention. The opportunity to work outside of one’s own native country is attractive to many young executives and professionals, and older employees may see it as an opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. In fact, working internationally has become a necessary credential in the C-suite. According to U.S. New and World Report in May of 2010, the percentage of C-suite officers with international experience on their resume rose from 48 per cent in 2000 to 71 per cent in 2010. I am worried that today, the number may be declining.

To run a global business one needs, frankly, a global perspective. I don’t understand business culture in APAC as well as I understand the culture in the U.S., but, I am sensitive to the differences. I, at one point, spent so much time in Europe that I was staying in a corporate flat in London and packed a suitcase to return to the states. I am very comfortable with the business culture of the UK and Western Europe and much more at home there than I am in APAC. My European experiences helped shape me.The rate of international relocations -and domestic relocations, for that matter -dropped during the recession between 2009 and 2010. One of the issues in the past has been management of costs, and there has been a trend to a “lump-sum” relocation allowance to the employee, with the relocation services providers helping to manage and advise the employee during the transition.

International experiences remain an important part of employee retention and leadership development. So, let’s keep people moving! Doing so is critical, but a consistent company culture is also important. The role of recognition in the creation of culture is significant. Most HR leaders understand that to drive certain behaviours, values and beliefs you need to recognise employees that exemplify them. At this time of year, I spend a lot of time talking to the CHROs up for awards at our HRO Today North America Forum. Recognition programme development, management, and measurement is one of the key aspects that distinguish the very top of the HR profession from the rest of the profession. We need to learn from them about the importance of recognition and about the need for recognition programmes to be global. Whilst it makes sense to recognise local accomplishments, it is equally critical to bind the entirety of the global enterprise together.

The nature of culture and managing it has been the subject of significant business literature, research, and discussion. Whilst many may disagree on the specifics of managing culture, I have never heard anyone arguing that culture should not be managed. If a company plans to proactively manage culture, what the levers that are available to drive home your message? Recognition programmes are one of the best. There is a significant shift in the strategies around recognition. Gone are the days of the pure rewards-based systems of allocating points for service and achievement and allowing employees to pick prizes from a gift catalog or receive a cash-value card. Today, recognition may contain reward aspects, but the social aspect of recognition is now seen as the more powerful driver and rewards enhance that employee experience. However, to do social recognition well and in a genuine and impactful way, most front line managers need some training. Given the cultural difference between nations around the world and that impact on social recognition, the proactive planning of global recognition parameters is even more important.

In short, we live in a global world that leaders need to experience. It’s a global community that, due to technology, is far smaller than it was and the programmes in one part of the globe impact the entire culture. These interdependent components of the modern HR infrastructure make the role of HR more impactful and more complicated than ever.

Elliot H. Clark
Tags: Global Spring 2017

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