With more organizations reaching their tentacles into far-flung places, HR is being called to respond.
Key indicator: Employers are spending more time searching for talent, specifically people who can and will work and succeed in other countries.
"Labor mobility no longer means moving work overseas. It means moving workers overseas," says Lance Richards, VP of international HR for the Kelly Services staffing firm.
Example: A tech company in Texas offered to relocate many employees to India. Reason: The move would result in a 66 percent decrease in hard costs and the easier development of global managers. Many employees liked the idea of working overseas for a couple years.
Richards offers these six tips that HR can do to go global:
1. Become involved in the discussions with company execs. You must have a good relationship with your business development people and be on the front lines of any corporate globalization effort.
2. Avoid pushing an HR-centric agenda. Don't try to "Americanize" a partner. Home country values may not be exportable.
3. Understand local labor issues. For example, in Japan and Sweden, you could be hiring for life. Also, obtain reliable market data on compensation and benefits. Is a pay-for-performance culture appropriate?
4. Learn about cultural and historical issues. Do you understand your company's reputation and how it's perceived? Learn the cultural and business drivers in that location.
5. Know the skills available. You must understand the skill sets available in the market. Not knowing local labor markets and recruitment practices could derail your hiring efforts.
6. Establish networks and learn from others. Network with other multinationals. Join the American Chamber of Commerce wherever you are, or identify a local HR group among American employers.