GE or General Electric is an American multinational corporation that was founded in New York in 1892 and has its headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, in United States. I am working as a global HR manager in GE’s office in India, which is located in Gurgaon. I am responsible to hire expatriates for the position of ‘Sales Manager- oil and gas, Asia Pacific’. Being a Fortune 500 company, it is the duty of the human resource department to attract and retain the best talent possible. In today’s globalized economy, it is a challenge for international human resource managers to recruit the right expats for the right job. It is very important that HR managers be fully acquainted with foreign employment laws and maintains balance between stakeholder’s interests in domestic and global platforms (Forstenlechner and O’Sullivan, 2010). It is also essential that HR managers have a sound knowledge of cross cultural business etiquettes as the lack of this knowledge might result in some major recruitment mistakes.
GE’s approach in managing and staffing functions
Organisations across the world apply three different approaches for their management and staffing functions (Francesco, Gold, 1998). These approaches are called Ethnocentric, Polycentric and Geocentric approack. GE’s HR functions are based on the Geocentric or Global approach, where a global integrated business strategy is utilized to manage, recruit and employ staff from all over the world. In this way, a group of international managers are recruited and trained in specific domains and skills. The expatriates are used in variety of facilities that require a global perspective and complex decision making. The job of an international human resource manager at GE revolves around four major areas. 1. Recruitment and Selection. 2. Training and Development. 3. Performance evaluation and monitoring. . 4. Employee relation and retention.
Let us analyse and evaluate each and every aspect of an HR manager’s job in detail.
Recruitment, Selection and Interviewing
In simple words, recruitment and selection forms the basic foundation for any organisation, as it is the process through which the organisation takes in new employees in order to achieve its strategic objectives. At GE, the international recruitment of oil and gas expatriates involves attracting a desired pool of qualified oil and gas managers for the positions available in the system. Following processes are being followed in order to complete the recruitment and selection of expatriates at GE.
- Collaborating with recruitment agencies and consultants: One of the best ways of attracting the right international talent is by tying up with few of the expert oil and gas manpower agencies. These agencies have a right pool of experienced and technical candidates who are willing to relocate for better opportunities. GE ties up with only the best recruitment agencies and works with them on a contractual basis. These agencies provide a list of possible candidates who can be contacted by GE and the recruitment process can then be initiated further, if needed.
- Recruiting by posting requirements online: This is another way of recruiting the desired talent. Candidates can directly apply by clicking on the link and posting their resumes. If we find their skills and work experience in line with our requirements and standards, they are called for an initial round of discussion. The example of this employment link is http://jobs.gecareers.com/key/general-electric-expatriate-compensation-jobs.html.
- Posting of requirements on LinkedIn: Today, LinkedIn has become one of the most effective and efficient ways of finding top talent. It has combined the power of social media and a tradition human resource management requirement. GE oil and gas posts regular job requirements on its official GE page in LinkedIn. Applicants can directly apply on this official GE page.
In this way, the global HR team of GE ensures that it gets a good pool of desired candidates. Once the database of these candidates is finalised, they are contacted by the global HR executives for a telephonic interview. If during this interview/ discussion, a candidate shows good amount of interest in the applied position, is ready to relocate to India, he or she would be then shortlisted for the second round of interview. A second round of interview is done via video conferencing, and is conducted between the GE-Regional Manager- Oil Gas, GE Global HR Manager and the candidate. The final selection decision rests on the Regional manager and the global HR manager. Once a candidate is selected, he or she is asked to provide relevant business and personal references. The terms and conditions of employment are then discussed in the third round.
Compensation is a complex part of expatriate recruitment, as it is significantly higher than local recruitments. The compensation is usually made in US dollars and sometimes involves several rounds of tough negotiations between the expatriate and the global HR team.
Training and development of expatriates
The main aim of training and development is to develop trained personnel who are capable of fulfilling the organisation’s goals and contribute to better performance and organisational growth (Armstrong, 1996). In GE, the training and development programs are devised to bring out the leadership capabilities in the expatriates. GE has two different types of training programs for expatriates (Hill, A. 2011. GE’s bright sparks take the lead):
- Training programmes that consists of classes that emphasise on cross cultural sensitivities, international labour rules, country specific business laws and regulations, systems training and some basic managerial training.
- Leadership courses: It is true that only one person can occupy the top leadership position in any organisation, but it is equally important to encourage the future leaders to embrace diversity and strive hard for achieving the company’ objectives. The expatriate oil and gas managers are trained not only in cultivating customer relationships, but also in evaluating global trends and tap new opportunities that are existing in the business environment.
It is very important that these expatriates strike a proper balance between standardization and localisation of laws, regulations and company policies (Ananthram, S. and Chan, C., 2013). By providing the necessary training and development opportunities, these expats are ready to take over the challenge.
Performance evaluation and monitoring
In case of evaluating the performance of oil and gas Sales manager, following steps are taken by the global HR team:
- Monthly and Annual sales targets: Sales managers are given monthly and annual sales target for their respective sales territory. In case of an expats coming to India, their territory would be the entire Indian oil and gas market, wherever they could sell the GE oil and gas technology and its products.
- The Sales manager would be having a team of 5 sales engineers who would be well versed with the local territory and local requirements. The sales manager needs to drive these sales engineers and guide them on a technical, managerial level and interpersonal level to achieve their targets.
- The Sales managers needs to make a certain amount of ‘customer visits’ as mentioned in his contract, and must focus on building better customer – supplier relationships.
In simple words, the performance of the expatriate would be analysed based on his annual sales performance and his overall team performance. Since the company is spending a considerable amount of money in retaining the expat, the performance evaluation would form a very important part of the expat’s future with the company. If the performance is consistently below expectations in all four quarters, it could be possible that the contract between GE and expat would be terminated within a year.
Expatriate Relation and Retention
GE places a lot of emphasis on employee welfare and employee engagement. It is aware that a happy employee means a happy customer. The HR team would make sure that the expat feels ‘at home’, by providing him or her with all the necessary amenities and facilities as per global standards. Based on the good performance of the expat, the company would be happy to continue the relationship even further.
One of the biggest challenges for any global organisation is to manage its expatriates. The choice of recruiting an expat from an international market is a very critical and important decision. Since most of the expatriates work in other countries and distant work locations, it is quite possible that a mistake in their selection and recruitment goes unnoticed until it becomes too late for the organisation. In order to choose the right expatriate, the management must give emphasis to cultural sensitivity, establish a proper selection board for recruiting expatriates, generate a pool of expatriates who can join any time and also screen the families and spouses of the expatriates (Trevern, S. 2001)
It is very important for any organisation to give proper support and train its expatriates on the necessary technical and cross cultural skills. The reason why many expatriates fail to perform is getting a culture shock, poor cross cultural training, personal problems and poor recruitment techniques. It is important that the expatriate and their families become accustomed to the new environment and develop a level of comfort. We, at GE, need to avoid these situations and ensure that our expatriates remain happy, motivated and well trained!
Forstenlechner, I. (2010). Exploring expatriate’s behavioural reaction to institutional injustice on host country level. Personal Review. p 178-194. Print.
Franseco, A.M. (1998). International Organisational Behaviour. Prentice Hall. Print.
GE Expatriate Careers (2014). Retrieved from: http://jobs.gecareers.com/key/general-electric-expatriate-compensation-jobs.html
Ananthram, S. and Chan, C. (2013) Challenges and Strategies for global human resource executives. European Management Journal. Print.
Hill, A. (2011). GE’s bright sparks take the lead. FT. Retrieved from: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b1f77dd6-f34f-11e0-b11b-00144feab49a.html#axzz2wxyewjOF
Treven,S. Human Resource Management in International Organisations. p186. Print.