The type of pay and benefits expected in the developed world may hold no attraction for local employees in emerging markets. Gemma Townley offers advice on how to attract the local creme de la creme
You've cracked the pay strategy issue, having got all your employees hooked on performance-related pay, and everyone from your senior managers to your administrators is working towards the same goals. You have a wide variety of benefits to suit the needs of all your employees, and your employment package is second to none. Now you are setting up an office in South America. Think you can roll out your global pay strategy to recruit local employees? Think again.
Thinking global and acting local is such a well-known adage that it is almost a clich‚. Yet putting it into practice isn't always that easy, particularly when local expectations run contrary to global ones. "Generally in developing countries, people are very wary of cash bonuses and variable pay," explains Martha How, head of UK reward business at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "What employees will be looking for is fixed pay, whether it's hourly, weekly or monthly. Yet this is precisely what most HR directors are trying to move away from."
Pay is never an easy issue to master, mainly because it is so emotive. Employees may see career progression, autonomy and flexibility as more important than their pay packet, but should they find out that a colleague who does the same job is on more money, they will soon be demotivated. And if your pay strategy doesn't appeal to employees in a particular country, you are unlikely to attract the creme de la creme of local talent.
On the whole, global pay strategies are not rolled out to all employees in all countries; they tend to apply only to senior managers. But if you have a very firm pay strategy in place, it may still be possible to implement aspects of it. "You have to establish how you want employees to feel," explains John McKeown, international HR director at US-based telecommunications company Lucent Technologies, who rolled out stock options to all Lucent employees around the world. "Do you want them to feel ownership? Look at the whole package, including promotional prospects and the right working environment."
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