Monday, February 16, 2009

HRD and Globalization

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cross cultural Preparation

‘Cross cultural preparation’ educates employees (expatriates) and their families who are to be sent to a foreign country. To meet with the globalization needs these employees must understand the different business practices and the cultural norms of different countries. To prepare employees for cross cultural assignments, companies need to give cross cultural trainings. Many big companies do mistakes by sending their employees on foreign assignments without any preparation. As a result problems arise and many of them return back without completing the given assignments. To succeed globally, an expatriate needs to be

  • Aware of the new culture and has learned about all the factors discussed above in context to the new culture he is going to
  • Competent in his/her areas of expertise
  • Having motivation to succeed, and tolerance, un biasness and flexibility for the new culture.

One of the reasons for high failure of these expatriate is that companies place more emphasis on developing the hardcore technical skills of these employees not considering the factor of cultural understanding which is even more important in this case. Training is essential for this cross cultural preparation.

Cross cultural Training

Before leaving for the new place employees need to be get trained about the language, culture and custom etc. Participation of the employee’s family in these training is also very important. These expatriates should be told by the HRD that how this foreign assignment will fit in their career plans and what can they expect from the company upon returning back. There are several techniques for cross cultural training. Methods range from presentation techniques such as lectures which the expatriate and their families receive, attending culturally diverse communities in the home country, experiential exercises which is a mini culture experience.

This cross cultural training continues when the expatriate reach the host country. There again orientation to the customs and culture is given to them. Some times expatriates and their families are paired with an employee in the host country, who helps them understand this new environment. HRD role doesn’t ends here. HRD has to prepare expatriate for return to the parent company. Here employees are encourages to self-manage the repatriation process.

Diversity Training

‘Equal employment opportunity’ and ‘Affirmative action plan’ (An action plan to increase minority representation) are important but not enough to deal with diversity. To successfully manage a diverse workforce companies need to ensure that

  • Employees understand that their behaviors and stereotypes influence their behavior towards other employees of different gender, ethnic , religious backgrounds etc.
  • Employees consider cultural differences to be natural and accept them.
  • Behaviors of employees should be improved towards diverse workforce

All these points can be accomplished through diversity training programs. Basically these programs are designed to change the behavior/attitudes of employees and develop behaviors to work with diverse workforce.

Attitude awareness and change programs

These programs are designed to create awareness among employees about the differences in cultural back grounds, ethnicity, or personal characteristics which influence behavior towards others. The thinking behind these programs is that it would help employees to avoid negative stereotypes when working with diverse workforce. These programs help employees to examine the cultural difference among work force, their attitude towards minorities etc. Video tapes and experiential exercises are used to create awareness of negative stereotypes effect on minority.

Behavior based programs

These are the programs use to change those behaviors which ultimately create hindrance in personal growth and productivity.

One approach is to ask the employees (create focus groups) to point out the incidents in which situations of employees differences were handled unfairly. Furthermore specific training programs are developed by HRD to address the issues presented by the focus groups. Another approach is to train the employees about the basic behaviors they need to have in the workforce. E.g. managers and employees should learn to avoid statements containing negative racial, sexual and cultural content. Another important behavior based approach is the ‘Cultural immersion programs’. In these programs employees are sent into different cultural, racial and national communities so that their living styles can be studied. The degree of interaction varies and may involve talking with community members, working in community organization or just learning about their culture. Behavior modeling techniques are often used in which one interpersonal skill is highlighted. Each training session presents rationale behind key behaviors, a role model performs those key behaviors in video tape and then a session is devoted in learning how these behaviors can be used in jobs.

Team building methods

These methods are designed to improve team or group effectiveness. Talking about globalization and diversity, people from different origins and cultural backgrounds have to work together in teams so these methods are very useful. Group building methods help teams increase their skills for effective team work. In this regard a couple of team building techniques to understand people’s feelings, perceptions, beliefs while working in groups. Team building methods often involve experiential learning. Team building methods include adventure learning (through outdoor activities), team training and action learning (working on an actual plan).


Anonymous said...

nice and crisp

Anonymous said...

superb piece of'l will be very nice if you include more.

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