Why HR Practitioners have to Think Global, Act Local?

Why HR Practitioners have to Think Global, Act Local?

May 31, 2021

When businesses are expanding regardless of borders, they will look for HR services providers to support this expansion to emerging markets. As well as those providers keep attracting and growing the talent, that will help them capitalize on new opportunities.

Why HR Practitioners have to Think Global, Act Local?
Why HR practitioners have to think global, act local?


However, managing a distributed geographical population is definitely a challenge. Human resources are thus required to have the strategy and power to help the business think globally, while having the capacity to implement strategies and procedures to sustain the change.

So what should HR practitioners do to balance out globalization and local influence?

Planning of workforce

HR should be very clear about the qualifications which the company needs to recruite right potential talents. An additional layer of complexity is added within a global context. For instance, some study suggests that compared to their predecessors, generation Y employees are less likely to seek international careers.

HR practitioners thus must make sure they understand the characteristics of each employee group in order to build an inclusive working environment that ensures growth for all. In addition, HR must gain a deep understanding of both foreign and domestic labor markets. A grasp of local and international workforce will help HR departments map out suitable talent recruitment and management strategies, while also putting the right talent resource in the right place.

New ways of working

Traditional forms of communication may not be applied in this world where teams and operations are geographically dispersed. HR can help organizations move to a more dynamic operation structure, focused on regular update and frequent analysis of goals. For example, the HR department is suggested to assist managers in building, motivating and leading virtual teams. 

Technologies are indeed available to help during the process – however, they often require a degree of confidence and expertise that not every manager can adapt to. Remote communication demands a whole different range of skills which will push many managers out of their comfort zone.

HR practitioners thus must make sure that they can provide employees and executives with training programs, consulting sessions, and counselling workshops, to help them sharpen their skills in a fast-paced labor environment, that demands constant upgrades.

Why HR people have to think global, act local

Labor laws

Labor laws in different countries are worlds away from one another. There are vast differences among countries regarding right to work, holidays, working hours, employee relations, and minimum wage. The in-house HR team thus needs to have a thorough understanding of laws and regulations in the areas their business operates in – or seek assistance from a professional HR provider with deep local knowledge and international know-how, in order to avoid conflict with local regulations.

Cultural sensitivity

Cultural awareness is something greater than just greeting protocols and exchanging business cards. In a professional working environment, this also means having an understanding of the working style, relationship dynamics, and the locals’ general attitude towards various subjects and issues. The grip on social and cultural standards is crucial for effectively leading a team. HR practitioners thus should ensure that the business owners are able to deal with daunting situations whichmay occur, while maximizing efficiency and preventing needless disputes.


It is important to take subtle local nuances into consideration before any global expansion endeavor. Human resources’ role is to help organizations build the flexibility for adjusting their global policy to local circumstances. They can advise organizations on ethical issues  and where they should stand on social, as different cultures have different sets of values that might not fit in with the one set forth by the headquarters. ‘Think global, act local’ thus has become a skillset that every organization’s HR has to master.

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