The four experiences listed in the HBR article can be broken down into four main points: Creating a Culturally Sensitive Corporation, Diversifying Talent to Suit the Market, Standardizing HR Practices Around the World, and Shifting the Focus to Emerging Markets.
I believe that through all four shared experiences there are similar key takeaways. One is that HR practices need to be flexible as Shane Tedjarati discusses the global strategy for Honeywell, we see that in their strategy the needed to be flexible. The board members needed to open their minds to seeing things from a different perspective in order to make their mark in new regions. Luc Minguet also references flexibility in its training of managers. This flexibility can also be used in how we interact with one another. Management especially needs to have an understanding on how to speak with employees who may have different cultural backgrounds. If a company is going to be entering the global market, they need to be trained on how to change their approaches to suit the culture of that country. They cannot have a universal approach. Eduardo Caride talks about moving managers across borders. Managers would need to be flexible with making the move to other countries. As Caride notes, this always new management to change some of the mindsets of the local employees. It can help them to see other perspectives and be open to new ideas. Takeo Yamaguchi’s talk about standardizing HR practices discusses using new systems and idea of creating the same performance management across all business units. This change requires employees to become comfortable with a big change. Again, flexibility comes into play. This time it is in an effort to make HR more streamlined and fair for all.
I think the take away’s from this article can apply to domestic HR as well. Flexibility, open-mindedness, training and creating standardized HR practice is valuable to all companies. If the company is domestic only the application of these ideas will be a little different then those expressed in the article but they have the same result. They will create a better company culture, increased markets and a more effective HR department as well as a more successful company overall.
2) The four experiences discussed in the HBR article all come down to two things, communication, and active listening. All four discussions posed a difficulty in their global organizations. When sending expatriates to manage in their other locations, one of the largest benefits to success was sharing information with others that can benefit the company as well as informing others about one’s management style so those around them understand. Once these points were established, the expatriates listen to how those in the foreign country work to understanding the new culture. This assists both the new management team or the expatriate and the employees to understand and adapt to their new work environment. We can use the information from these prior experiences to benefit purely domestic US organizations. While we cannot change the fact that US employees respond better to sugarcoated negative feedback, we can use the other experiences listed as beneficial information. Organizations can always benefit from communication and active listening. Knowing that employees working in a domestic US organization are US citizens, there are times we find that employees are not from the same zip code the organization is located or that the service/product is sold. So, when looking into why one product sells better in one area vs. another area in the US we must investigate the environment, those who surround the stores we sell and so on. To explain my point from my own personal experience; I live in Hammonton, nicknamed “the blueberry capital of the world”, a place where you cannot drive a mile without seeing a farm or know someone who does not have one. I have a farm, my best friend has one, my property is lined by the property of a farm owned by another farmer that lines up next to another farmer’s land. Most of the kids’ first jobs in this town is blueberry picking, as was mine. A farmer on the opposite side of town opened a blueberry farm where you pay the farm to go and pick your own blueberries. I have personally never seen a car there except for the weekend and it has mostly been three cars there. I always wonder “Why would I, pay you, to work for you?” However, the reason the weekends have any customers at all is because people from out-of-town drive there to enjoy this “experience”. One could imagine that if a self-pick farm was placed in an area that was not entirely populated with farmland, it would bring in so much more money because it would be a new experience to the community that surrounds it. Otherwise, if you are not from the area and live under a rock, you may not understand this concept because you did not grow up doing that job.