The traditional perspectives on international human resource management are inadequate in addressing the volatile global landscape. These traditional perspectives have largely been driven by a conformist view on globalization such that human resource managers believe, or used to believe, that globalization entailed workers migrating to other countries that presented attractive compensation packages, career growth opportunities, and better working environments compared to the home countries.
However, with globalization now branching out in a different path that sees more and more workers engaging in reverse migration due to economic improvements in their home countries, human resource managers cannot rely on the same tactics to recruit the international worker. They can no longer dangle attractive pay packages in the Diaspora to entice talented employees, which in turn makes it harder for companies to acquire talent in an already competitive employment landscape. Tung, (2016) asserts that globalization, reverse migration, the emergence of third world markets, and the demand for workers with a global market have contributed to fundamental changes in the nature, magnitude, and raison detre of human resource management globally. Hence, there is a requirement to adopt new perspectives in the context of international human resource management (IHRM) practices.
Tung (2016) notes that a firms competitive leverage, both regionally and globally, is hinged on the human capital it can acquire. Thus, firms that were able to attract talented employees remained dominant in their market. Most of these firms, Tung (2012) asserts, were traditionally based in developed countries since these countries were able to offer better living conditions and career opportunities (Tung, 2012). That is not the situation today, as more and more people in developed countries are willing to relocate abroad, on the temporary or permanent basis, further compounding the war for talent. The war for talent, as Tung (2012) asserts is driven by various forces such as an aging workforce, ascendancy of emerging markets, and increased educational and technical skills of the indigenous populations (especially those in developing countries). These forces have lowered the immigration desires in workers, and in fact, occasioned immigration from developed countries.
Thus, the net result of current globalization trends is evident in the emergence and prominence of multicultural teams, especially in multinational companies (MNCs), homophily (tendency to assign indigenous people to head MNCs), variety in the workspace. These fruits, according to Tung (2012) have a considerable impact on the operations of organizations. Variety, which was traditionally seen as a negative factor in teams, today proves to have a positive outcome in team performance. Homophily, which may carry negative connotations, is seen as a factor that can increase the productivity of an MNC in a particular ethnic region.
Hence from the findings made by Tung (2016), it appears that current international human resource practices must take these factors into consideration when developing human resource policies. Such policies should seek to ensure that the international workforce features culturally diverse members so as to leverage the advantages of variety mentioned by Tung (2016). It should also leverage the benefits of homophily for the same reasons. However, there still remains a question on how contemporary international human resource management should respond to the rising trend of reverse migration. That is, human resource professionals must updating their recruiting policies to factor in the impact of reverse migration so as to replace the aging workforce with diverse individuals from different countries, even when these individuals are no longer enticed by career opportunities abroad for the reasons mentioned earlier. As such, it is necessary for IHRM practitioners to result to other forms of enticement outside compensation, working conditions, or career opportunities to continually draw from the diverse talent in the global pool.
In conclusion, talent acquisition and recruitment today are no longer reliant on physical promises traditionally used by IHRM professionals. Today, the international human resource manager must rely on more than just the promise of a better career to recruiting talent for international firms. Additionally, the manager must also reward the company with a diverse and talented workforce, which therefore calls for changes in IHRM policies to reflect the changing landscape.
Tung, R. L. (2016). New perspectives on human resource management in a global context. Journal of World Business, 51(1), 142-152.
Zweig, D., & Wang, H. (2013). Can China bring back the best? The Communist Party organizes China's search for talent. The China Quarterly, 215, 590-615.
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