SHRM Identifies Global HR Trends for 2014


By Roy Maurer February 3, 2014

Globalization, demographic changes, heightened regulatory compliance and emerging technologies are all key developments set to transform the practice of global HR in 2014, according to a new report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Future Insights: The Top Trends for 2014 was compiled by SHRM’s volunteer Special Expertise Panels, which are composed of senior HR practitioners, consultants, academics and policy experts.

The Global HR Special Expertise Panel identified the following trends, in order of importance, for 2014.

Leadership will be redefined. The hierarchical control and command structures of the past may become ineffective for managing a global workforce, particularly Generation Y workers. Countries with large proportions of younger workers may see a leadership deficit. HR will have to play the change agent in identifying and developing the next generation of leaders.

Immigration laws will continue to be in flux. An increasing number of countries are making significant changes to—or completely overhauling—immigration laws that affect businesses and the transfer of knowledge. Nations are enacting more limitations on the employment authorization process—higher fees, longer approval times—creating hurdles for business.

Globalization will affect companies of all sizes. As the rise of “born global” small and midsize companies continues, the need will become more acute for competent global HR practitioners who can master an international mindset, demonstrate cross-cultural savvy, handle remote team and talent management, and display the intercultural communication skills required to manage both brick-and-mortar and virtual operations across multiple countries.

Education may fail to keep up with industry. Educational institutions, particularly in the developing countries, may not be able to deliver what industry needs in terms of quality or quantity. This may put an additional burden on corporations to invest in training and development activities, including technical competencies and important soft skills such as cross-cultural sensitivity, written communication, public speaking and leadership development.

There will be more emphasis on achieving more with less. The recession and continued global economic uncertainty have led organizations to rationalize their staffing decisions by being cautious in hiring and moving jobs to low-cost destinations. The improvement in the economy may not result in a proportionate increase in new jobs.

Diversity will be globalized. More and more is being done to globalize the concept of diversity. This is critical so that employers can tackle the talent-pipeline issues in the mature markets and fully benefit from the potential of global markets. All markets have complex workforces, and diversity goes much deeper than just age and gender. Effectively managing diverse talent globally continues to be a challenge for most companies.

Heightened regulatory compliance requirements (tax, immigration and employment) will remain atop global HR professionals’ priority list. Among these are tax, immigration and employment requirements.

Recruitment technology will be taken to the next level. Online recruitment is already the technology of yesterday. There will be a need for more flexible ways to recruit with tools that match today’s technology, communication style and pace. Attention also must be given to older workers and the best ways to connect with them, as they are delaying retirement and staying in the workforce longer.

Companies will focus on measuring the return on investment of international assignee costs. HR professionals must align compensation and benefits administration with the company’s strategic objectives by establishing or improving performance management systems with a global context. Companies are moving away from traditional expatriate assignments (of three to five years) toward more long-term arrangements, thus creating risks to workers’ compensation coverage and increased tax liabilities for employees.

Shared-services issues will be addressed in a more differentiated way. Shared services are not just a cost consideration anymore; rather, they are being driven by the idea to improve HR processes and services. Organizations are now considering nontraditional locations for service centers and selecting them creatively.

SHRM’s Global HR Special Expertise Panel members responsible for these 2014 trends: Elena Anderson-de Lay, GPHR; Maya Chang; Manjunath Dattatreya, GPHR; Charlie Diaz, MBA; Peter Dolan, SPHR, GPHR; Joy Hill, MBA, GPHR; Richard Jordan, CIPD; Cora Koppe-Stahrenberg, Ph.D.; Danielle Monaghan, MBA; Thomas O’Connor, Esq., GPHR; Carol Olsby, CCP, HRMS, MS HRM, GRP, GPHR; Christine Sloan, MBA, SPHR, GPHR; and Andrew Wilson, J.D.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him at @SHRMRoy

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