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HR Trends
Glocal HR: Striking balance between Local and Global HR
Nirvi B
October 13, 2021
mins

The word ‘glocal’, portmanteau of global and local, has long fascinated me. Emerged from the Japanese word ‘Dochakuka’,  it simply refers to global localization.

A slightly different origin of the term comes from the saying "Think Global, Act Local."

No local strategy is purposely old-fashioned, as some modern thinkers might believe. When local teams are encouraged to adopt any new shift, you will immediately sense uncertainty around it. Evidently, any change that is driven by global strategy leads to counter views in your workplace.

But, Glocal HR retains its geographical, local roots that cannot be ignored. Why? An organisation and its HR functions must be global in scale but local in implementation.

Global v/s Local: The global side of the story

Global HR is often inclined towards leveraging software solutions to grow business value. One such effort is enabling remote teams to work together in a global virtual working setup. Some workforce management challenges with global HR are recruiting, relocation, and even day-to-day people management.

Recruitment & talent management

When globalisation accelerates, organisations benefit from effective choices to find the best candidates for the right job opening. Consider a business unit in Washington which is in a strong need for technical expertise.

The organisation might have a technical team in Japan, that has just finished a similar project with precisely relevant skills. Unless the organisation’s hiring practices are globally integrated, this alignment between talent requirement and existing skills may never take place.

Payroll management

As organisations strive to simplify their employee benefits plans, many are trying to globalise their payroll scheme. What often emerges from this effort: a global philosophy of how employees are paid locally, with flexibility.

To go Glocal is to benefit from the melange of both

It may not be considered a smart move if organisations assume that a global strategy will automatically translate across the workplace. Glocal HR will combine the globally integrated HR strategies, accompanied with local flexibility to properly attract, retain and manage workforce. But to make the most of your existing assets, workers need to gain local visibility, ie. realisation of the current, local state.

While global strategy drives efficiency and scale, local flexibility strengthens growth and employee engagement. An ideal glocal approach in HRM means implementing globally integrated HR strategy within a local context. Again, the main idea here is to meet the global HR requirements of your organization, using some techniques at local levels.

What works well in one locality might not work well in another

Glocal HR strategies must be flexible enough to overcome the differences between local and global, comfortably and smoothly to satisfy everyone. Even though founders want to adopt globalised people practices, a company’s recruitment, training and people management will be certainly done locally.

For instance: When hiring in Asia, HR must focus on attracting job applicants - keeping in mind the diversity, work-life balance, and job responsibility. On the other hand,, recruiting people in Europe can focus on empowerment, job fitness, challenges and movement opportunities.

Some globally integrated HR strategies to consider

To balance strong global HR strategies, organisations should build flexibility and agility into HR so it can be customized for local markets. However, when you embark on implementing a global HR strategy, you will need to initially involve groups of stakeholders of the workforce before rolling out to others, especially in larger organizations.

Key notes to integrate Glocal HR

  • Integrate a global technology platform that offers new-age HR tools.
  • Encourage local teams to adapt according to the global HR strategies.
  • Define HR success by HR’s ability to drive business performance and growth, and not just in terms of cutting costs.

Brief ideas to implement Global HR strategy

1. Plan a strategy on what to globalise and what to localise

It can be simply said: the choice to be made is between applying global or local strategy to a particular HR function. This means willingly being open to variation in a way that will boost employee performance.

2. Encourage local HR initiatives aligned with global processes

An organisation can design several snippets of its people management on the basis of local values and needs of employees across several geographies.

3. Leverage technology with a common HR solution

The challenges of local HR functions may be better met by employing an effective HR system coupled with the redesign of HR processes to achieve local relevance.

4. Narrow down HR generalists to HR specialists

An HR role must focus on specific areas like recruitment, engagement, employee relations, etc, instead of generalising the HR role with administrative functions. This adds up to the strategic HR function, reinforcing a pathway for business and organisational growth.

Conclusion

If an organisation is to survive, we must try to bring together two apparently opposite poles: global and local. Knowing our society needs to be our main strength when communicating the global knowledge of science. Take the global HR challenges and make it meaningful for society in the local level.

A survey by Deloitte shows that 81 percent of large organizations report that implementing an HR global operating model is “urgent” or “important” today. Lack of global, multicultural managerial talent is now biting into companies' bottom lines with high staff turnover, high training costs, stagnant market shares, failed joint ventures and mergers and the high opportunity costs that inevitably follow bad management around the globe.

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