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Like most areas of business, global human resources (HR) teams face common risks that they must learn to navigate at each stage of the employee lifecycle – from recruitment to offboarding.
We’ll start by setting out what we mean by risk management before collating a list of seven best practices.
What is risk management?
In order to create a positive environment where people can work safely and productively together, an organization needs to prioritize risk management. It’s important that international HR teams maintain a global mindset while establishing and implementing a risk management strategy.
1. Positive recruiting experience
Recruitment is a fundamental part of ensuring that your workforce has the talent and the skillsets to take your business to the next level of success. So, in order to reduce the risk of taking on individuals who aren’t able to contribute to what your organization needs, you need to pay attention to the processes that form your recruitment journey.
This includes all steps, from the initial job opening onwards. It’s imperative that the recruitment process primarily appeals to the preferred candidate type. Be sure that the elements that make up your recruitment process give the candidate a positive experience. Sixty-three percent of job applicants say they’re likely to reject a job offer if they had a bad experience during recruitment. Think of the risk of potential talent loss this represents, as well as risk to your company’s reputation.
For global HR, it might mean thinking about how locals will view your company image wherever you’re recruiting. Some companies present different images to different parts of the world. Or, it might mean creating a more universal brand image that speaks to a larger, worldwide audience.
Just like the recruitment process, a poor employee onboarding experience can have costly consequences. Firstly, your business faces the cost of onboarding (the average in the U.S. is estimated at USD 4,000 by some sources).
Secondly, your business could lose potential talent that may have stayed if they experienced a positive onboarding process. Talented employees who were previously excited about working at your company could be driven away and may start searching for a new job almost immediately.
Not only does this cost you financially, as you have to begin the recruitment and onboarding processes all over again, but you have also lost the skills they could have used to drive your business forward.
One strategy to ensure a positive employee onboarding that increases retention rates is to ask current and previous new hires for feedback using a range of team communication tools, and factor in their observations in order to continually improve your onboarding.
2. Top leadership
A good leader can be the difference between an early employee resignation and a long and productive tenure.
Train your managers well and ensure that they stick to the company’s goal and mission, wherever in the world they are. Encourage them to use technology where appropriate, such as computer telephony integration (CTI), to enhance communication and thereby consistency across the organization.
3. Employee development
A key element in making an employee feel valued is to encourage personal and professional development.
Make professional development opportunities available to employees, particularly training around skills development to help them succeed in their roles. For example, software engineers may benefit from training that teaches them about product development and the use of scrum artifacts.
Every company benefits from having an engaged, skilled workforce. And ultimately, showing employees you’re invested in their career growth will ensure you retain your top talent. Otherwise, the risk of high talent turnover will remain a significant obstacle to your company’s success.
4. Secure data
It’s crucial that global HR works to ensure employees understand and follow company rules and policies, particularly around the use of company technology to protect sensitive data.
Your company might, for example, implement new automated proposal software, but if employees aren’t given the training to properly use it, the risk of issues related to compliance and data privacy increases.
Securing sensitive company and employee data is a major challenge that often interferes with global operations – the bigger and more data-focused the company, the greater the vulnerability to breaches.
The impact of a data breach on your business could be significant, including risk of a tarnished reputation and financial loss. According to IBM, the average global cost of a data breach in 2021 was USD 4.24 million. There are even certain industries like healthcare that would see nearly double that cost.
However, cost isn’t the only factor to consider when evaluating the risk of data breaches – there’s also the risk of employee and customer details being made public. Global HR teams should center their risk management strategy around protecting their workforce by enforcing the highest standards of data security.
5. Detailed records
To avoid the possibility of noncompliance with local labor laws and regulations, ensure that your company has the required HR and legal expertise to support your teams. Issues with payroll or employee contracts can also be avoided with advanced technology like a proficient administration system and a global employment platform. For example, a good time tracker accurately reports employee time sheets for any confusion over hours worked, while a global employment platform can also help companies track time and expense reports, and automates compliant payroll and benefits setup.
Having adequate backup in terms of detailed records of all transactions and contract agreements will prove invaluable. This can mitigate risks to your company if there are ever false claims during offboarding.
6. Employee wellbeing
One way to promote and support the wellbeing of your workforce is to reward employees for a job well done, whether it’s through a team-wide email recognizing them for their accomplishments or even providing small motivational gifts.
Setting up regular team-building exercises to foster an inclusive work culture and providing resources that support your employees’ mental and physical wellbeing can go a long way as well.
The results of an unhappy workforce that feels unsupported by their leaders – whether these feelings stem from the fact that they’re overworked, their ideas are not heard, their benefits packages are not competitive, etc. – can lead to costly turnover rates that significantly damage your company’s reputation and bottom line.
Checking in on employee wellbeing and ensuring clear and regular communication through effective video conferencing platforms will ensure your company is not at risk of these setbacks.
7. Termination procedures
Just as it’s important to get the recruitment and onboarding right, it’s vital that the other end of the employee journey is handled with care. The employee must be treated fairly throughout the offboarding experience.
In the unfortunate case of employee terminations, ensure that your company has established legitimate reasoning to justify the process along with examples to support these reasons. Justifications should be based on the employee’s ability to meet the role requirements and perform their duties as stated in their employment contract.
Regulations around lawful terminations vary from country to country, so the first step in avoiding risk of expensive litigation is to familiarize yourself with the local labor laws. Without the proper knowledge and legal expertise, you may end up owing fines due to unjust terminations, and your company’s ethical profile could be compromised.
Risk management is a central part of global HR. Once your company has begun working to minimize risks to your organization and its employees, you are in a better position to succeed.
About the author:
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication and automated phone service platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.