MARCH 2018 HR MAGAZINE 23
website has a section devoted
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
to global HR, along with a free
subscription-based e-newsletter on
ā ā Identify law frms, stafng agen-
cies and consultancies with global
services, and sign up for free or
low-cost webinars, blog notifca-
tions and newsletters. You can
fnd good resources through Baker
McKenzie, DLA Piper and Lathan
& Watkins, for example.
ā ā Look for relevant in-person or
online classes. SHRM’s eLearn-
ing Library and seminars catalog
include programs on international
If you already work for an employer
with active global operations, let
your manager know you’re interested in learning more. Find the appropriate players and ask to be assigned
to a global project or to sit in on a
conference call or meeting.
If your current employer doesn’t
have a non-U.S. presence, fnd other
ways to make international connections. Check if your local SHRM
chapter has an interest group
focused on global HR or look for
other organizations in your area. For
example, Olsby chairs the Global HR
Consortium, a Seattle-based group
of HR professionals in the tech
PACK YOUR BAGS (OR DON’T)
In the past, many global HR assignments required a long plane ride or
even relocation. Thanks to today’s
technology, however, “you can go
around the world in a day and never
leave your house,” says Lisbeth
Claus, professor of management and
global human resources at Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
You may also want to travel for
international projects on a short-
term basis. Olsby points to a business
opening an ofce in China whose
HR executive sent experienced team
members from the U.S. headquarters
to the new location for two or three
months to provide onsite training.
“If you’re really committed, there are
a lot of HR opportunities like that,”
she says. Some larger multinational
corporations may ofer global HR
assignments on a rotating basis.
Demonstrating language fuency or
taking a language class can
further demonstrate your
As your understanding of
global issues grows, be sure
to share your insights with
leadership. “Seventy percent
of global expansion costs
are HR-related,” Butler says.
But keep in mind that the main
requirement for acquiring global
HR skills is simply curiosity and a
commitment to lifelong learning.
If you’re willing to push your own
boundaries, going global can open
up a whole new world.
Jennifer Arnold is a
freelance writer in
Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
HR policies outside the U.S. are generally more employee-centric than
business-focused, and most are based on laws, collective bargaining
agreements or union rules, rather than company policies. Here is a summary
of common differences:
Employee position. U.S. businesses generally operate on an
“at-will” basis, meaning employees can be terminated at any
time for any reason. Most other countries give workers more
protections, with some requiring employment contracts.
Vacation. Many countries mandate the number of paid vacation
days each employee receives. For example, Israel requires that
each worker be given between 11 and 14 days annually upon
Parental leave. Most countries provide much more paid
parental leave than the U.S. In the United Kingdom, women are
entitled to one year of maternity leave, 39 weeks of which are
paid. The time can be shared with a partner.
Work hours. Most European countries mandate a 35-hour
workweek, and laws about overtime vary.
Language. Some countries require documentation in an
employee’s native language. In Belgium, for instance, all labor
documents and labor-related communications with employees
must be in Dutch, French or German, depending on the location
of the employer’s operating unit.
Leave. In many parts of India, employees can take leave without