you got an opinion on a global HR matter?

e-mail your comments and views to the editor at: globalhr.magazine@rbi.co.uk


September issue of globalhr with its focus on the implications of a global
recession for HR made me reflect on my experience of working on Richmond Events
HR Forums on board Oriana (UK) and the QE2 (US) earlier in the summer.

main theme of both events was the globalisation of HR from both a US and UK perspective.
Before boarding the QE2 in New York, Oscar Wilde’s comments regarding the
differences between the two cultures sharing a common language but not
understanding, came to mind.

writing up the notes following both events it seems remarkable to me that, in
fact, the similarities between HR in the US and UK, particularly in terms of
globalisation, were striking.

key business issue for multi-national businesses, particularly in downturns in
the economy, is how to maintain competitive advantage by cost cutting but at
the same time increasing quality of output.  

global HR, as with other business functions like marketing, the trick is
keeping the processes global but allowing national difference in areas where it
is vital for business growth.

observations are that HR processes, particularly where they are "e"
capable, are gaining ground often in partnership with companies such as
StepStone. Other global HR issues such as; the global executive (that is
recruitment and retention issues), succession planning, leadership in new
markets, implications of skills needs of business and work-life aspirations of
employees, to name but a few critical HR business issues, are done in a very ad
hoc way or do not even have a strategic HR global approach.

seems to me we need to balance more carefully the tempting e-HR capabilities
with a more strategic approach to how the other HR issues mentioned above,
interlace with "e" processes.

Managing Partner, People At Work Group, London, UK


am rather afraid that Peter Hall answered his own question as to why there are
not many HR board directors, in his leader column that appeared in the
September issue.

the universe postulated by him, human resources knows the people better than
anyone else, having taken them on, developed them and planned their futures.
Line management, whom some may consider the correct owners and drivers of
employee careers, presumably are sidelined.

thus usurped and alienated their peer management colleagues, HR then believes
that it will be welcomed to spend more time in the marketing or  operating departments – learning or giving
the benefit of its commercial expertise.

alternative perspective is that there are a limited number of meaningful things
that HR can contribute to business, and they don’t necessarily warrant having a
permanent individual presence for more than a couple of years, and certainly
not a seat on the board. Try canvassing some directors and see how clearly they
see the role of HR in their own organisations!

W Barnard, CFO
Hr means business, London, UK

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