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In the current global market place, managing international human resources has become a competitive advantage for organisations which also acts as a developmental initiative for employees. This has initiated HR professionals to develop new strategies and expertise to manage people from different countries. As organisations expand globally, they require expatriates to enter international assignments to carry out strategic tasks in host countries. Organisations utilise expatriates to ensure corporate control, expertise, assist in foreign market entry and develop international management competencies. Despite challenges in the global market scenario, international human resource management has become a major determinant of the success or failure of an organisation with an international presence.
The objective of this research report is to determine the impact of key IHRM issues – recruitment and selection process, culture and a dual-career couple on an expatriate employee. Exploratory qualitative research was conducted through an interview organised with an Indian expatriate working in Australia. The outcome of this research reveals that the identified issues have a major impact on the perception and expectation of the employee on working in a foreign country. One of the primary issues faced was culture shock due to the difference in the culture between the home and host country. As the respondent is a healthcare professional, the recruitment and selection process was lengthy and time-consuming, causing a depressive environment. As the spouse was working, a temporary break in their career ensued before being placed. Being a dual-career couple affects their work-life balance as they are very much focused on each one’s career to stabilise and settle down in a foreign country.
The organisation employing the expatriates has to develop strategies that focus on knowledge creation and leadership development. Also, employees with matching technical and cross-cultural competency are to be selected. It also ensures that employees are transitioned either to stay on longer assignments or back to home offices. As organisations are making their moves to become sustainable globally with string growth rates, their performance lies with human resources with international experience. Hence, they are poised to capture market opportunities through investments in international assignments in executive development.
An employee's plan to shift to another country is subject to different issues. Organisations also face a similar issue while handling international assignments of employees. Talent acquisition has become a global competition for the human resource department in organisations to attract and retain talents. With the development of globalisation, the functions of traditional human resource management have evolved into international human resource management (IHRM) in utilising human capital effectively in a global scenario. Apart from the regular function of planning, staffing, performance management, training and development, payroll and benefits and labour relations, IHRM encompasses international taxation, relocation, administrative services, cross-cultural and cross-country training and inter-government relations.
HRM is distinguished with its function to handle complexities linked to international assignments which include the involvement in the personal life of expatriates due to external threats, political and economic influences of the host country and reliance on organisations. The failure to communicate and coordinate tasks appropriately give rise to a crisis in human resource management. The crisis comprises of failed international assignments due to premature return of expatriates and poor repatriation resulting from poor expatriate management strategy. This has major implications of the organisation performances and competitive advantage.
This research report outlines the three major issues faced by expatriates – culture, recruitment and selection process and dual-career couples. The objectives are identified and stated clearly. This is followed by a literature review on the concepts under study. The results from the interview are stated, and the data collected is analysed. Finally, the conclusion and recommendation for HR managers are stated.