Strategy & LeadershipCreating global and local HR business strategies

Creating global and local HR business strategies

Global businesses are often split on how to craft separate business strategies. Some may choose to create various strategies dependent on location, while others may decide to keep every strategy and culture the same regardless of demographic and size. Which is more effective? With insights from Cathy Temple, Vice President Human Resources, Oracle, HRD Connect investigates how businesses can successfully create effective global and local business strategies.

Before delving into creating these strategies, it’s important to understand the purpose of the two.

“The importance of following global HR strategy is to enable the organisation to evolve, stay agile, and be responsive to changes in the market and the business. For local strategies, it’s vital to translate, filter, and consider the singular nature that may be the employment legislations or the economic climate of the country,” explained Cathy Temple, Vice President Human Resources, Oracle.

Cathy believes that it is difficult to strike a balance between the two. It’s vital for global strategic decision-makers to steer local strategies in the right direction, and in the right manner.

Companies often witness their global and local teams competing. Businesses can heavily benefit from creating groups that complement each other rather than seeing each other as competition.

Inside big global organisations, local groups feel more purposeful and special because they’re part of a smaller team working towards a wider goal. This is a positive culture that can be fed through to global teams.

“It’s about how you challenge local countries who may be very comfortable having their tailored way of doing things to continually evolve out of their comfort zone,” continued Cathy.

“Sometimes it means having to give up things that are quite familiar to gain the efficiency and consistency which is required at the global level.”

“Typically, when you ask local teams to understand that there is a shift, which is driven by the global strategy, there is sometimes resistance around it, because of uncertainty.”

“If you don’t have that local view and visibility, it can be dangerous when organisations assume that a global strategy will automatically translate across the globe.”

Global strategies are committed to direction, while local is focused on implementation. Once the purpose of the two strategies are set, it becomes significantly easier to integrate into workforces. In the end, both strategies end up with the same dish, but with slightly different flavours.

“A lot of the work that local leaders do is designed to fit into the global process from an early stage, but the thing that makes the two work together nicely is whether it’s at the starting stages of global input. It’s important for the corporation to ask local teams what they know and see on the ground,” continued Cathy.

“That input feeds into the global strategy. The challenge that businesses have is to keep that dialogue going. If the global strategy is not set into a context and explained to a local team, that’s where business leaders find more resistance in understanding on how to adjust to it.”

The biggest concern for global organisations is creating consistency regardless of sector or country. It’s vital that every employee can recognise that they are in working within one corporation. If that consistency isn’t there, then it’s very hard for people to be attached.

“A big challenge for global organisations is to bring those cultures together, respecting the singularity of an organisation that has been acquired.”

“Equally, you do not create a subculture. This can make efficiency or the ability to drive business effectively more challenging. It can slow down the business and create confusion from a cultural perspective in the organisation if there isn’t a better alignment.”

For a global tech-driven organisation like Oracle, the ability to change is in the DNA of the business. The IT industry is fast-moving and always looking forward. Consequently, the culture of the organisation is to embrace a change-ready mindset. However, like every organisation, change is something that takes time.

Oracle is maturing as a corporation and is starting to understand how key decision makers can better communicate with various employees when creating decisive business strategies.

Many global businesses have four generations at work, and the way these generations communicate is very different. Businesses now need to be mindful of how they translate a message to implement effective change.

“The business strategy has to relate to the business direction. We expect everyone in our HR teams to be curious. What the HR function is doing now is looking at where the business is going and how they can support it from an HR perspective in terms of people plans and policies,” continued Cathy.

“We’re currently focusing on how we can combine talent information with attrition information to point out areas of potential weakness. What’s interesting to me in our industry is that the HR function is improving through technology. That is helping the function to not just be a great service to the business, but also to be an effective partner that is bringing topics that need to be addressed to the table.”

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