Keeping Up With the Basics of Global HR Policies

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A business that is looking to expand overseas or that already operates overseas often runs into the dilemma of knowing and staying up to date on labor laws and human resource regulations. Operating in a new country often means there is a whole new set of regulations to follow. With the development of a connected world and technology, businesses of any size can easily tap into the global market while staying compliant with international HR laws and regulations.

To stay compliant it is important to recognize a couple of issues regarding global HR:

1. International Law Compliance

When businesses enter the global market, they will likely hire employees of different geographic and cultural backgrounds. It is extremely important that a business has the knowledge of a particular country’s labor laws and be able to adapt to these laws. For example, Europe requires a business to pay a value-added tax. Hiring non-naturalized citizens of your country might require them to apply for a work visa. This can become an issue if the business is under-educated with international laws. T avoid trouble it is important to keep your business well-informed and knowledgeable in the labor laws of the countries you are working in. 

2. Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity is one of the most disregarded issues of international HR regulations. To keep your company running smoothly you must be mindful of the cultural backgrounds of your employees, especially when you are hiring employees overseas. Remember that the culture in the US is different from the culture in Asian countries. What works in the UK might not be applicable in the US. Just like how you would adapt to a country’s labor laws, you should also be ready to adapt to its culture. traditions. and business ethics. For example, the Philippines has many holidays. If you plan on outsourcing your business to the Philippines, you should know that particular days are local holidays and that making employees work on local holidays would incur additional compensation.

3. Benefits and Compensation

The driving force of an HR strategy is the benefits and compensation it gives to its employees. In international HR, these aspects are even more important. Benefits and compensation are essential in maintaining a work-life balance. It is important to provide programs and initiatives to employees so they can develop both their personal and professional lives. Most HR departments in multinational companies already implement benefits and compensation such as flexible working hours, paternity and extended maternity leave, extended holidays, and on-site childcare. Most countries mandate businesses to include these programs.

4. Training and Development

Aside from benefits and compensation, training and development are programs that will help to improve an employee’s skill and further improve the entire company. Training programs often require in-house seminars and meetings to update employees with new knowledge they can use in their jobs. With international HR, this can be quite challenging. But, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. International HR can have online language classes or software tutorials regarding graphic design, online marketing, or even website coding. International employees need not be physically present in training to obtain knowledge. The important thing is that a business will give them the opportunity to hone their skills so they can be globally competitive now that your business is operating globally as well. 

International HR Practices

Businesses may find it complicated to harmonize their own local laws with the laws of any additional countries they are are operating in. Lately, trends are growing to standardize employment terms and laws. One good example of these standardized employment terms is Vodafone’s policy of giving its employees around the world a 16-week maternity leave with full pay and full pay for a 30-hour workweek for the first six months upon returning from maternity leave. Let’s look at how businesses can work in complementing their HR practices when they have offices around the world.

  • Deliberate which areas to harmonize

Before standardizing your employment laws, you should first consider which ones to do so. Not all laws you have in your local business can be applied to another part of the world. When choosing an area to harmonize, a business should have a universal approach to it. This means that it should be compliant with the general laws of countries that include equal opportunities, business ethics, disciplinary and grievance processes, and family rights.

  • Consider the impact of local laws

It is vital to do proper research on local laws of the country a business wishes to implement a policy. There are different restrictions and requirements in different countries that a business should consider before making a draft of a policy. In some cases, the differences are too large and you may find that it is quite difficult to find a common ground in setting a policy. In these instances, a business would most likely apply a basic standard. Also, businesses should continue monitoring the local employment laws because if there are changes, it could render the policy inapplicable in any jurisdiction. Additionally, a business can also draft its international policy by researching what its competitors are doing. This will help in maintaining a competitive spirit while keeping a harmonized employment standard worldwide.

  • Be sensitive to cultural and discrimination laws

When drafting an international employment policy, a business should take note of its impact on cultural differences and discrimination issues. One example is the implementation of a global equal opportunities policy. A policy in one part of the world may not be accepted in another part of the world. It is vital to ensure that your policies do not go against a specific country’s laws and result in violations.

  • Know your consultation obligations

When implementing an international employment law, a business should consult local advice to know if such implementation will generate collective consultation obligations. This is where a local company like NNRoad can help. Sometimes, a practice may require consultation duties to consult a recognized trade union or the employee representative before a policy can be passed. When these consultation duties comply, it can have a positive impact on the policy. Failure to do so can have drastic penalties filed upon your business.

Consider other practical areas: When the policy is already drafted, it is important to consider small areas of concern to further detail the policy. This will include:

  • Cost

It is universal knowledge that passing an international policy entails financial implications from the legal aspects to the organizational, training, and administrative costs. A company might see that implementing a policy might be able to save them finances in the long run. Either way, make sure that your business has enough budget for such policies to avoid issues later on.

  • Policy Implementation

Although a business has already set up an international policy, the actual implementation can still vary from region to region. For example, it may be possible to roll out the policy in one region but in another region, a business would need the consultation of a representative. Make sure you are ready for a varied implementation between regions.

  • Internal Communications

The implementation of a new international policy must be promoted locally. Make sure that the policy is regularly promoted by the respective managers of the business in different regions. It should be highlighted in training, workshops, and other key moments. Be sure to publicize the policy in staff newsletters, internal magazines, and intranet pages. Ensure that local managers are trained and have adequate knowledge regarding the policy. The employer and the local managers must work hand in hand so compliance is regularly monitored. 

As with any new policy or a change, there may be challenges. As an employer, you should be projecting the possible challenges and hurdles the policy might face and then seek legal and local advice to solve these issues. It is always suggested to be prepared upfront to deal with any issues rather than having to do damage control after the policy is put in place. A business should be proactive in having a thorough analysis of the legal and practical challenges of the policy as well as an understanding of the jurisdiction’s customs. In doing so, the employment policy can bring in efficiency, flexibility, and consistency within the workplace. Contact NNRoad today to discuss how we can help your business stay compliant with global HR regulations.

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