Hrm Strategy for Expats

Topics: Expatriate, Culture, Management Pages: 12 (3073 words) Published: July 19, 2010
Executive Summary

This study highlights problems in the preparation and selection process and hopefully will provide a HR department with a HRM strategy for any company operating internationally to select and prepare staff for expatriate management roles.

The companies that prepare and select their expats effectively come in many sizes and from a wide range of industries. Yet research has shown if they follow the below general practices; the chance of success outweighs the chances of failure considerably, • Assign overseas posts to people whose technical skills are matched or exceeded by their cross cultural abilities. • Screen candidates’ spouses and families

• End expatriate assignments with a deliberate repatriation process.

However when failure occurs in the international business arena the human and financial costs of failure in particular, indirect costs such as loss of market share and damage to overseas customer relationships may often be linked to poor management of expatriates.

Since most expatriates work under minimal supervision in a distant location, mistakes in selection are likely to go unnoticed until it is too late. To choose the correct employee for an internation assignment the organisations should train the expatriate to prepare for their life and work abroad. Lack of training is a major cause of expatriate failure and approaches for overseas preparation would include: • Visits to the host country

• Briefing by host country managers
• In-house management programs (with a focus on cross cultural adaptability) • Training in local negotiation techniques (training in team building and conflict resolution) • Introduction to organizations that provide personal and professional support (i.e. AMCHAM, ANZCHAM, In Touch Foundation)

By management analyzing and addressing these issues companies would end up with much more loyal, culturally rich and enthusiastic international employees even when the international assignment ends.


In today’s global economy having a work force that is fluent in the ways of the world isn’t a luxury. It's a competitive necessity. But international assignments don’t come cheap and are not always a guaranteed success. This study will look into a comprehensive description of what would provide the best HRM strategy for a company operating internationally to select and prepare staff for expatriate management roles.

Companies increasingly operate in an interconnected world, and as mentioned well qualified people remain a crucial source of sustainable competitive advantage. The growth of international business at a time when most international organisations are under increasing cost pressures had led these organisations to take a sharp look at their policies for employees transferring from one country to another – the expatriates.

An understanding of the management of these expatriates is of growing importance to new HRM strategies in the preparation and selection phase due or a number of reasons.

• Recent years have seen rapid increases in global activity and global competition. As the Multinational companies increase in numbers and influence, so the role of the expatriates in those companies grows in significance.

• The effective recruitment, selection, training and management of expatriates internationally are increasingly being recognized as a major determinant of success or failure in international business.

• It is increasingly recognized that the human and financial costs of failure in the international business arena – while not so common as sometimes argued are considerably more severe than in the domestic business. In particular, indirect costs such as loss of market share, demoralization and demotivation of local staff and damage to overseas customer relationships maybe considered. There is evidence that many companies underestimate the complex nature of HR problems involved in...

References: Deresky, Helen. 2006, International Management. 5th Ed, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Brewster, Chris. International HRM: Beyond expatriation. Human Resource Management Journal; 1997; Vol 7 No. 3
Black, Steward J and Gregersen, Hal B. Harvard Business Review March – April 1999
Mitchell, R.Terence, Holtom, C. Brooks, Lee, W. Thomas; How to keep your best employees: Developing an effective retention policy, Academy of Management Executive, 2001, Vol 15 No. 4
Farnham Castle Center for International Briefing 2004
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