Letters to the editor

Do you have any comments or views on articles that have appeared in globalhr
or on the global HR profession in general? If so, write to the editor at:
globalhr, 3rd Floor, RBI, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS,
UK. E-mail: globalhr.magazine@rbi.co.uk

Encouraging dialogue

I thought readers of globalhr would be interested in hearing about the SHRM
Global Forum dialogue conference call held in December last year, which I
announced in my leader column in the Nov/Dec issue of hrworld, now globalhr.

We had over 130 people register in advance for the call, and recorded over
120 dial-ins – not bad for our first one. While the registrants came mainly
from the US, we also had HR people from Canada, Russia, France and Brazil.

Brian Glade, vice-president for international programmes at SHRM, introduced
and moderated the call. We started with some introductions and, using the
technology available through the conference call, we quickly took a survey of
the listeners, drawing in real-time answers to whether or not a company had a
global competency model and to what degree a company’s HR team was treated as a
business partner. Brian then launched into a series of questions surrounding my

Between Brian and the callers’ questions, we covered topics including use
and deployment of global competency models, selection and assessment of local
nationals and expatriates, HR’s role as a business partner and how to become a
business partner. We also discussed learning strategies for HR professionals
with growing international HR responsibilities, as well as developmental
strategies for line managers who need to be "globalised". We had a
terrific time going through a number of very good queries from participants; we
even got into specifics in a brief discussion on the use of global competency
models at Apple Computers.

Brian and I were particularly pleased with the feedback we received after
the call. This indicated that 84% of raters agreed that the programme met their
expectations and almost 85% felt the information provided was useful to them in
their job. Finally, 100% of the raters indicated they would participate in
another such call – terrific news, as this was the first time the call had been

The "open-ended" feedback was similarly positive, including
comments such as "excellent programme É am looking forward to the
next" and "I enjoyed the audience participation piece". We did
take away some suggestions for future calls, including a suggestion that we
allocate time at the end to allow callers to pose questions for other callers
to answer. Another suggestion was that we publish minutes or make a RealAudio
playback available. Brian and his team are reviewing all the comments, hoping
to further improve the value of the conference call series.

All in all, it was, for me, an enjoyable call – and SHRM Global Forum is
busy scheduling another one, with a new topic and new presenter, for the

Lance Richards
Director, global HR, Teleglobe
Virginia, USA

Global acceptance

The anti-globalisation movement has really gathered momentum over the past
year with demonstrations around the world, starting with the famous Seattle
riot and followed by similar protests all over Europe, including France and

Additional support for the movement came from an unlikely quarter. The new
chairman and chief executive of Coca Cola, Douglas Daft, became the latest
recruit with his "think local, act local" catchphrase.

The complaints focused on the fact that this global railroading takes no
account of societal or cultural differences – an issue that Douglas Daft is
attempting to address by decentralising power to country managers as well as
launching advertising sensitive to local cultures.

As Mr Daft has realised, HR can play a significant role in the successful
integration of global companies, helping the organisation or brand to be
accepted on a local level.

People can make or break a company’s reputation in any situation, so combine
this with the sensitivities of an alien culture and the results, as many global
organisations have found to their cost, can be disastrous.

The situation is paralleled in many company training and change initiatives.
The mistakes made over the years by organisations forcing their head office and
country culture and values on their global operations have only supported the
anti-globalisation mindset. It is only the truly forward-thinking global
companies who are now realising there is a need to tailor their international
initiatives to meet local needs and cultures.

External providers of training, consultancy and change support now have to
be selected on their ability to deliver globally co-ordinated, consistent
programmes with the right level of local understanding and delivery capability.

Richard Greaves
Consultant, Impact Development Training Company
Windermere, UK

Comments are closed.