HRM plays a very important role in managing expatriate assignments. This essay discusses the major challenges which are usually faced by expatriates while moving to a new country, as well as the practices which HRM must undertake to ensure the success of expatriate assignments.
It is important to discuss international HRM as the ensuring the success of expatriate assignment has become a very challenging task for HRM. The study will be followed by challenges faced by the expatriate while moving to a new country. Following this, the essay will reflect the impacts of these challenges over expatriate.
Further, the study will show that role of HRM in the management of expatriation and the impact of management and decisions over the expatriate and business. Furthermore, the study will show the actions and practice areas that HRM can adopt to ensure the success of expatriate assignments. It is concluded that HRM must practice in important areas like training to ensure the expatriate assignment success and reducing their challenges.
The Expatriate is a person who has the citizenship of at least one country but is living in some other country. Generally, most of the expatriates stay in foreign countries for a limited period of time because of their involvement in projects, meetings or assignments. Expatriates often return to their home country after the completion of their work and there are some people who never come back to the country in which they hold the citizenship (Cao, Hirschi, & Deller, 2012).
In other words, the expatriates can be considered as a person permanently or temporarily residing in a country other than their home or native country (Selmer & Lauring, 2012). Often, the term expatriate is used for professionals, artists, skilled workers taking positions in other countries either sent by employers (companies, non-governmental organizations, government, and universities) to working independently abroad.
There are various challenges that are faced by expatriates may face when going to work on some foreign projects or assignments (Selmer & Lauring, 2012). Although, the career of expatriates seems to be really adventurous and lucrative most of the expatriates will disagree with this statement. The major challenge faced by the expatriates is of cultural difference. It is true that all countries have their own values, practices, norms, and a belief which may or may not be similar to expatriate’s home country (Froese & Peltokorpi, 2013).
The biggest challenge arises when the host country is culturally distinct from the native or home country of the expatriate. In this situation, it becomes extremely difficult for an expatriate to adjust in that environment. If an expatriate is not so open-minded and not ready to learn the norms of the new culture, then it will become more challenging to get mixed with the local people and work with them.
Although, the English language is considered an international language, there are various countries where people do not prefer to speak in English. (Cao, Hirschi, & Deller, 2012). Naturally, if an expatriate moves to a country where their native language is not spoken widely and they have no facility with the local or host country dominant language then it will become very challenging to adjust and communicate with the country's local people.
There are numerous potential issues that can emerge when the expatriate move to any new country. One challenge relates to the security and safety for expatriates. Scams, accidents, and health problems are commonly experienced by expatriates.
Since the expatriates are not aware of the new country and its surroundings; it may get easy for scammers to target them. Furthermore, differences in climatic conditions have also been identified as a major challenge faced by expatriates (Cao, Hirschi, & Deller, 2012).
If the climate of a host country is significantly different from that of the home country, the expatriate is may face the health issues and stress. The expatriates also often face the challenge of depression and loneliness while living in another country due to the absence of friends and relatives (Harzing, Pudelko & Sebastian Reiche, 2016).
The HR management team has always been considered as a most crucial part of every organization as it is responsible for performing various duties related to diverse areas of business (Harzing, Pudelko & Sebastian Reiche, 2016). The HRM suggest that how the management team must strategically handle its staff and other people who are useful to the business (Harzing, Pudelko & Sebastian Reiche, 2016).
The duties of HRM involves suggesting for employee training, strategy development, hiring and recruiting of employees, managing employees, managing expatriates, as well as coordinating and taking care of employee benefits.
With the expansion of global business and intensification of competition internationally and growth in the numbers of international assignees, it has become a major problem to manage expatriates so as to contribute to the success of an organization while implementing the international strategies.
As per the concept of (Andresen, Bergdolt, & Margenfeld, 2012), the management of expatriates revolves around three dimensions of manager skills. First is the self dimension, under which the manager must have the skill to balance the psychological well-being and positive self-image (Andresen, Bergdolt, & Margenfeld, 2012).
Second is the relationship dimension, under which the manager must have the skill to foster and enhance the relationships with the nationals of host-country and lastly, the perception dimension, under which the managers should have the skills which can help them to accurately evaluate and perceive the host environment.
As the companies are expanding globally, so the demand for international assignments also increases. The HR management also relies on expatriates for managing the operations of their companies at a global level. (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014).
In this era, the HR plays a vital role in preparing expatriate employees for adjusting into a new environment. It has been found that many employees resist taking foreign assignments or further assignments due to concerns about their families (Haslberger, Brewster & Hippler, 2013).
In that case, the HRM can work to make the transition flexible and easier for the expatriates. The HRM can show its crucial support during, before, and after expatriate’s relocation.
Expatriate training can help the HRM to ensure the success of expatriate assignments. One area of training is aimed at acclimatizing the employee to a distinctly different culture, as well as mitigating the effects of culture shock which may arise from an inability to communicate and share thoughts, ideas, views and grievances with other people leading to stress (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014).
Ensuring success within this environment becomes a very challenging task for the HRM. Hence, the HRM must focus on conducting timely cross-culture training on a regular basis as it will provide assistance to expatriates and their families in understanding the cultural differences prevailing in a new country (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). The training provided by HRM will also reduce the tension and stress of relocation and will provide various coping strategies that can help in ensuring the success of the expatriate assignment.
The expatriate will get to receive coaching and education in the areas likes interpersonal communication, business etiquette, labor relations, and leadership styles (Haslberger, Brewster & Hippler, 2013). The family of the expatriate will also receive necessary information base on local schooling, transportation, services, culture, and health care.
If HRM does not adequately address these aspects through training and preparation, then expatriate will fail to adapt to new work environment and culture, and thus it is likely that the company would have wasted time, effort, and money (Haslbergeral, Brewster & Hippler, 2013).
Furthermore, poor performance and dissatisfaction is detrimental to business operations and client relationship. Therefore, it is important for HRM to conduct its practice in this area carefully and appropriately.
These practices of HRM will majorly contribute in not only motivating the expatriate but will also help them to perform and communicate better which will lead to ensuring the success of the expatriate assignment. For this, the HRM must address the needs of expatriates time to time like HRM must organize a local language class within a company premises as it will help in developing the language fluency in the expatriate assignment.
Further, the HRM must offer psychological screening for assessing the readiness of expatriate assignments, including openness of an individual to gain the international experience (Stahl, Björkman & Morris, 2012). Apart from this, the HRM must provide strong support during and before the assignment, involving setting the transparent or clear expectations about the performance and role of employees and giving assistance and feedback.
Following this, the HRM should provide a self-assessment tool to expatriate before their international assignment for helping them to set realistic goals and expectations to adjust according to the host country. The HRM can also maintain a better connection between the home-based organization and the expatriate.
One of the main issues that motivate the expatriates to shift to another country is compensations and rewards (Stahl, Björkman & Morris, 2012). The HRM should maintain the pay scales and its policies worldwide which will reduce the chances of inequality. Setting the pay scale and policies will make the expatriate feel that they are not treating differently than the other employees.
Another area on which the HRM must work to ensure the success of expatriate is the recruitment and selection areas as it help the company to select the right person for the right project as it is important to select the right expatriate for the success of assignment. The HRM is responsible to hire the staff which can help innovatively and enthusiastically in their international assignments (Brewster, Chung & Sparrow, 2016).
The HRM should consider the big five predictors while selecting the expatriate. These five indicators include reliability, utility, validity, legality, and generalizability. The reliability factors will help the HRM to measure the degree of consistent performance of expatriate, with the help of which the HRM can recognize that if the expatriate is suitable for a particular assignment or not.
This will reduce the chances of failure of expatriate assignment (Brewster, Chung & Sparrow, 2016). Secondly, validity will help HRM to find out the extent to which the performance can be assessed using relevant job aspects; this will ensure that the expatriate is selected in accordance with the assignment and job. The validity factor will bring specialization in an expatriate assignment which will lead to success.
Thirdly, the HRM must consider the factor of generalizability to identify that up to what extent the method of validity has been established. This factor will enable the HRM to assess the rationale of other methods (Nankervis, Baird, Coffey & Shields, 2016). Thus, the focus of the discussion can be directed towards recruiting and selecting the capable and right expatriate for a particular assignment.
Apart from this, HRM should consider the factor of utility as it enables the HRM to identify the degree up to which the information availed by this selection methods increase the effectiveness in the selection of personnel.
This will be useful in analyzing whether the expatriates will be able to perform their jobs effectively or not. This will increase the chances of achieving success in the expatriate assignment (Cerdin & Brewster, 2014). Lastly, the factor of legality will help the HRM to describe the role of government while the selection of expatriate, especially in the areas of federal laws, constitutional laws, judicial precedent, and executive orders.
The legality factor will enable the HRM to restrict any kind of hindrance during the expatriate assignment. Hence, the HRM must practice these areas for ensuring the success of the expatriate assignment. Hence, the discussion reflected that what factors HRM should practice at the time of recruiting expatriate.
From the above essay, it can be concluded that HRM must practice various areas to ensure the success of expatriate assignment. Furthermore, it can be concluded that the effective selection of expatriate and cross-culture training will be useful for ensuring the success of the expatriate assignment and organization.
Also, HRM practices will be useful in resolving the challenges of expatriates. The expatriates will majorly and contribute in the failure or success of an organization while implementing the international strategies.