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The Most Crucial Challenges of Global HR and How to Solve Them

HR & Compliance

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Updated on:
April 11, 2024
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Updated on :

April 11, 2024
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The Most Crucial Challenges of Global HR and How to Solve Them


The modern workplace is evolving rapidly, and so are the challenges HR professionals face. Managing HR has become more complex than ever before in a globalized economy, where businesses are increasingly reliant on remote workforces. HR managers have their work cut from recruiting and retaining top talent to ensuring compliance with employment laws.

One of the most crucial challenges faced by global HR teams is also one of its most fundamental functions: attracting and hiring talented employees from around the world. With businesses becoming more international in scope, it's no longer enough to source candidates from within your own country. To stay competitive, you need to be able to identify and attract top talent from anywhere in the world.

Another major challenge facing global HR teams is compliance with labor laws and regulations, which goes hand in hand with hiring internationally. With workers across multiple countries, it can be challenging to ensure that everyone follows all of the laws and regulations relevant to their jurisdiction. This challenge is compounded by the fact that these laws and regulations can vary widely from one country to another. Failure to comply with all applicable laws can lead to hefty fines or even jail time for company executives.

Fortunately, there are several ways that global HR teams can overcome these challenges. By partnering with global employment and payroll platforms like Skuad, you can ensure that your business has access to the best talent available while remaining compliant with all applicable labor laws.

Of course, for some of the new and distinctive challenges in global HR, while Skuad can help support you with infrastructure, the solution indeed rests on your shoulders.

International Human Resource Management

International human resource management (IHRM) manages an organization's human resources in multiple countries. It includes recruiting and hiring employees, orientation and training, employee benefits, compensation and payroll, workforce development, and compliance with labor laws. IHRM is important because it helps organizations expand their businesses into new markets while ensuring that they are complying with local laws and regulations. Additionally, IHRM can help organizations create a more diverse workforce, leading to improved creativity and innovation.

IHRM comes with its distinct set of challenges, the most crucial of which include:

  • Managing employee expectations across locations
  • Creating a workplace learning environment that is both cohesive and diverse
  • Fostering a sense of teamwork, camaraderie, and workplace culture among employees who may be based in different parts of the world

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International HR Challenges

For decades, IHRM faced a singularly complex challenge in ensuring that employees could transfer seamlessly between different countries and cultures. Today, with the rise of remote working, this issue takes less of the spotlight. The most crucial challenges to global HR in the modern workforce are:

Managing the expectations of employees in terms of work hours, benefits, and career progression across international locations

The globalization of business has led to a more internationally diverse workforce. This diversity brings several challenges for HR professionals, one of which is managing employees' expectations regarding work hours, benefits, and career progression across international locations.

Workplace cultures vary from country to country, and what may be considered normal working hours in one place may not be seen as such in another. Additionally, benefits packages and career advancement opportunities can differ widely from place to place. HR professionals need to be aware of these differences and manage employee expectations accordingly.

Please avoid frustration and turnover among employees who feel their needs need to be met. To prevent this, HR should take the time to learn about the local customs and norms around work hours, benefits, and career advancement in each of their international locations. They should then use this knowledge to set realistic expectations with employees and help them understand what they can reasonably expect from their job in each location.

Creating a learning environment that takes into account the needs of employees from different backgrounds and cultures

Companies with employees stationed in foreign countries face the unique challenge of providing their workers with training and development programs that accommodate their needs. Because people from different cultures have different learning styles, businesses need to create an environment that considers the needs of employees from various backgrounds.

Fostering a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among employees who may be based in different parts of the world

One of the challenges HR professionals face when managing international teams is fostering a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among employees who may be based in different parts of the world. This can be challenging because team members may have few opportunities to interact in person. Additionally, cultural differences can make it hard for team members to communicate and understand each other.

Ways to Address the Challenges

Each specific challenge to global HR requires its unique approach to fix.

How to manage the expectations of an international team

There are a few things that need to be taken into account when formulating an approach to this daunting task. The first is the legal landscape in each country where your company operates. Depending on the countries involved, different laws may be governing employee rights and entitlements. It is important to ensure that you are compliant with all relevant laws in each jurisdiction.

The cultural landscape of each country is the second thing to consider. What are the norms around work hours and benefits in each culture? What do employees expect? Take these factors into account to develop an approach that meets the needs of employees and is feasible for your business.

Finally, it is important to keep communication channels open between management and employees, so everyone is on the same page regarding work hours, benefits, and career progression. By considering these factors, you can develop an approach to managing employee expectations across international locations that work for your business and your staff.

How to create an inclusive learning environment

Creating an effective learning environment for employees from diverse cultural backgrounds can take time for HR professionals. There are a few key factors to consider to create an inclusive and successful learning environment:

  • Providing adequate resources and support. Employees from different cultures may have varying levels of English proficiency, which can impact their ability to understand and participate in training programs. It is important to provide resources such as language services or translation assistance so that all employees can access and engage with the material. Additionally, employees may need extra support if they are expected to transfer newly learned skills to their home country — for example, additional coaching or mentorship opportunities.
  • Taking into account different learning styles. Individuals learn best in different ways. Some prefer hands-on experience, while others benefit more from theoretical instruction. The training program must consider various learning styles so that everyone can benefit from the material presented. Additionally, it is helpful to provide materials in multiple formats (e.g., audio, video, text) so that individuals can consume the information in whichever way works best for them.
  • Addressing cultural norms and expectations. Different cultures often have different expectations around communication style, decision-making processes, and other parts of professional life. These norms must be considered when designing training programs or other work initiatives; otherwise, there could be miscommunication or conflict among team members. For example, if team members come from collectivist cultures where teamwork and consensus are valued, they may expect similar behaviors during project planning sessions. However, suppose team members come from individualistic cultures emphasizing competition and independence. In that case, they may expect each person to take full ownership of their deliverables with minimal input required from others. Understanding cultural differences upfront can help avoid misunderstandings later on.

How to foster a sense of teamwork

There are a few ways HR professionals can overcome this challenge. First, they can use technology to facilitate communication between team members. For example, they can set up regular video calls or chat sessions so that team members can get to know each other better. Additionally, HR professionals should provide training on cultural differences so that team members can learn how to communicate effectively with people from different cultures. Finally, it’s important to create opportunities for socializing outside of work, so that team members have a chance to bond with each other in a more relaxed setting.

Meeting Global HR Challenges with Skuad

Many global HR challenges can be solved outright or, at the very least, alleviated with the right partner by your side. Skuad is a professional global employment and payroll platform that allows you to hire, manage, and pay workers remotely, helping you build globally distributed teams efficiently and at scale.

Book a demo today and see how Skuad can help you achieve your global HR goals.

About the author

Catalina Wang is a Human Resource Consultant. She manages recruitment, onboarding, and contract administration staffing for many organizations and remote teams. She’s passionate about efficient HR management and the impact of tech on hiring practices.

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