Global Human Resources Management

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the role of a global human resource manager

HR managers are responsible for the hiring, onboarding, training, termination, and legal compliance of company employees. Global HR managers are responsible for the same important tasks, but on an international scale. Anytime a company expands internationally, they are faced with a number of challenges. A strong global human resources team is a vital component of international expansion.

Watch It

Before we explore the important components of Global Human Resources further, check out the video below for a preview.

You can also download a transcript for the video “International Human Resources Management” here.

Some people have the misconception that HR is similar in every country. While there are similarities from one country to the next, there are a number of cultural differences that need to be considered. Deciphering cultural differences requires research and experience in international business ventures. global HR managers are well versed in cultural differences and play an important role in bridging the cultural gaps discovered through international expansion. Let’s review some key components of HR and how they operate on a global scale.

Recruitment and Staffing

Whether a company is looking to hire domestically or internationally, the goal is always to find the most qualified candidate to fill the position. Understanding the job description and the desired skill set is essential to finding the right candidate for the job. It is important for HR to understand any unique or different job expectations for international positions. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that job experience and education may look very different from one culture to the next. It is beneficial for the human resources team to be well versed in cultural differences so they are able to fully understand the backgrounds and experiences of their candidates.


Training is required for all employees to fully understand their job functions and company policies and procedures. While it is always important to maintain consistency with onboarding new employees, it is especially important when operating on a global scale. To ensure the same message is delivered to all employees, global HR managers should use the same onboarding process at every company location. Certain things may need to be considered, like whether or not a translator is needed. However, the more consistent the onboarding process is throughout the company, the more likely the company will be able to maintain and grow its brand. When inconsistent policies and procedures are presented throughout the company, their brand and reputation may suffer.

Legal Compliance

The scales of justice.Legal compliance is a huge responsibility for human resources, both domestically and internationally. To avoid legal trouble, it is critical that HR understands, abides by, and helps the company to enforce all legal requirements. Laws differ from one country to the next and therefore, an important role of global HR managers is to ensure all laws and regulations are followed in every country in which the company is operational.

Employee Development

Human resources aids in employee development by providing opportunities for employees to further their knowledge and education. Companies that operate on an international scale are able to use their international locations as great training and development opportunities for their employees from other countries. Training internationally can provide a unique experience for employees to learn about cultural differences, diversity, and differing perspectives.

Global HR managers are also responsible for ensuring employees who are working internationally have all the resources they need to successfully transition into a new country and culture. Since global HR managers understand cultural and legal differences, they are well equipped to help relocated employees settle into their new role.


As we discussed earlier in this section, following laws and regulations is extremely important in order to avoid paying fines or facing legal trouble. Compensation, including salary, health benefits, vacation time, etc. may differ from one country to the next. It is vital that HR be aware of—and abide by—all work and compensation laws for each and every country (or state) their company operates in.

PRactice Question

Strategic Benefits

Decorative image.There are a number of strategic benefits to utilizing global HR managers. Consistency, structure, and control are three of these benefits. Having HR maintain consistency throughout the company helps to solidify a company’s brand and operations. This also helps lay a strong foundation for the structure of the organization as a whole. If each location is created using a similar structure and alignment, it helps to ensure a company’s goals and objectives are at the forefront of expansion. Global HR Managers are also able to maintain control of company operations. If every location’s HR department acted independently, consistency and control would be a challenge to maintain. By having Global HR Managers to oversee the company in its entirety, the company is better able to maintain control of their international locations and overall company brand, policies, and procedures.