Author Archives: Warren Heaps

Holiday Gift Giving Around the World

Guest Author:
Dean Foster – DFA Intercultural Global Solutions

[Editor’s Note:  We are happy to welcome Dean Foster as a Guest Author.  Dean is a well-known expert on culture in business, is a frequent lecturer at various universities and conferences, and  is the author of many books on the topic of culture in business.  He is the Director of his own firm, DFA Intercultural Global Solutions.]

Gift giving can be a little tricky when giving gifts to
international colleagues. Cultural differences can make a terrific gift at home into a terrible no-no abroad. With the holiday season soon upon us, here are some important cross-cultural gift-giving considerations when sending gifts to your international friends and business associates.

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Hey HR! Here’s What Employees and Families Really Need When Relocating Internationally

Guest Author:
Rachel Yates – Definingmoves.com

[Editor’s Note:  We are very excited to share with you the assignee’s spouse perspective on international relocation, from someone who has lived through five such moves.  Rachel Yates edits a website, Defining Moves, devoted to assisting relocating families around the world. ]

I read the post from May, 2011 by Warren Heaps about global mobility policies for the 21st century on this site, and found it to be fascinating, mainly because I am part of the changing demographics Warren described. On paper, we are the traditional relocating family; husband as assignee, spouse as the accompanying partner, and two dependent children. We have relocated through three continents over the last 10 years, and we have struggled. And we are most definitely not alone.

So what do relocating individuals and families really need from HR?

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Ten Ways to Simplify Administration of Your International Assignment Program


Jennifer Stein – Global Tax Network

[Editor’s Note:  We are happy to welcome Jen Stein as a Guest Author.  Jen is the Managing Director of the Global Tax Network Chicago office.  She has more than 15 years of experience in expat and foreign national tax preparation and consulting, starting her career with Arthur Andersen, and then Ernst & Young, where she served for over 14 years.]

International assignment administration is complex. Sometimes it’s useful to take a step back and review basic components.  The list below, while not exhaustive, is a good starting point to help review your international assignment process and procedures.  Adopting one or all of these components may make your life easier when administering international assignments.

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Ten Questions HR Should Ask When Your Company Expands Internationally

Author:
Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Companies are increasing the pace of international expansion, constantly seeking new opportunities and new markets.  One of the most commonly asked questions through our Ask the Experts feature and on other sites is how to prepare, from a human resources perspective, for international expansion.  It might be opening a new office, or just hiring one or two sales reps, but either way, there’s work to do.  If your company is expanding to a new country, what questions should you ask (and answer) as an international HR expert to help prepare your firm?

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Job Evaluation: Why Bother?

Author:
Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Recently on LinkedIn there was a somewhat heated and lengthy debate about job evaluation.  Many were questioning why companies should even bother with such an “archaic” exercise, while taking pot shots at a well-known job evaluation methodology that shall remain nameless (but begins with the letter H).  Some folks proclaimed market pricing was the solution to everything and rendered job evaluation a pointless and unnecessary process for a modern company.   Continue reading

Creating Salary Scales in Developing Countries

Author:
Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Many companies use salary scales together with salary grades to manage their compensation programs globally. There are many advantages to doing so, including cost management, positive employee relations and transparency which enables managers to be directly accountable for pay decisions.

In developing markets, creating salary scales is more challenging than in countries with more stable economic conditions. Developing country markets are volatile and often fluctuate from year to year based on a combination of factors. Cost of labor (supply and demand), tax and labor law changes, general economic conditions (such as inflation), business growth and expansion,  as well as unplanned events such as natural disasters, civil unrest and the like are all in the mix.

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Is There a Crystal Ball for Talent Planning and Global Mobility?

Guest Author:
Nikki Goodstein – Cisco Systems

[Editor’s Note:  We are happy to welcome Nikki Goodstein as a Guest Author.  Nikki is a leader in Compensation & Benefits at Cisco Systems, Inc. and has a depth of experience designing and implementing global mobility programs. Before establishing the strategy and redesigning the program at Cisco, she led Global Mobility at The Coca-Cola Company. Nikki began her international HR career at Johnson & Johnson as part of their international compensation organization and has held HR roles in both the business as a generalist and in centers of excellence.]

Sorry, there is no talent planning “crystal ball,” but that does not mean you don’t need a plan!

Many companies with mature global mobility programs have evolved to measuring assignment success by leveraging available data across several key employment metrics:  performance over time, promotions/career opportunities, years with the company post repatriation, engagement scores reflecting manager performance, etc.  When consolidated into a dashboard, these metrics can help tell the story of success or challenges in your global mobility program.

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Square Peg in a Round Hole: Balancing the Global Salary Budget

Author:
Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Managing salary budgets on a global basis is a real challenge.  In some companies, the process is often dictated by the corporate finance department, which establishes the amount of growth in the budget “salary line” which is acceptable for the following budget year, say 3%.  That’s 3% in the currency used for budgeting, usually the headquarters country currency.

So how do compensation professionals make the global salary budget “come in at 3%?”  It’s kind of like fitting a square peg in a round hole.

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What You Wish You Knew For Your Global HR Career

Author:
Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

I spotted a question recently from one of my LinkedIn connections, Don Schepens, that I want to share with you.  Don is the head of the HR program at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), and is also very involved in the human resources community there through the Human Resources Institute of Alberta.

The question:

“For those of you who have been around for a while (seasoned?), and to help out my HR students, “What is the one thing you wish you would have known starting out?”

I thought this was a great question, and of course, provided an answer to Don.

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Workplace Bullying: A Global Issue

Guest Author:
Ellen Pinkos Cobb – The Isosceles Group

[Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to feature this article on Global Workforce Bullying by guest author Ellen Pinkos Cobb.  Ellen is an attorney with many years of experience in the employment law field, and has spent the past two years extensively focusing on psychosocial workplace issues.  She is a Senior Regulatory & Legal Analyst for The Isosceles Group, a consulting firm specializing in Environmental, Health and Safety management services.  Ellen is based in the firm’s Boston office.] 

Think about sexual harassment.  It’s not done.  And yet, it was done, flagrantly, constantly, with a wink and a nod, until not that long ago.  It still happens, but less, and public perception has changed.

In the United States, workplace bullying has been found to be four times more prevalent than sexual harassment.  At the Work, Stress, and Health 2011 conference in May, bullying expert Staale Einarsen of Norway described the workplace bullying field as “exploding.”

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