One of the most challenging duties that of managers of a multinational company face is to manage expatriates. Lack of management skills on how to manage expatriates can have adverse effects on the performance of a global company (Mead 2005). Therefore, human resource managers of multinational companies must design effective mechanisms on how to manage expatriates. The main reasons as to why expatriate fail is because some managers do not know how to manage employees working in a foreign nation. In order for expatriates to adapt to the working conditions in the host country, a human resource manager can apply the following approaches:
The first approach that human resource manager should adopt is providing expatriate training. For employees to adjust to the working conditions in the host country, the management must provide training and development to all expatriates. Training and development provide employees with an ample opportunity to gain skills and knowledge on how to carry out various operations of a company. This makes them competitive and flexible to the changing working environment. By training and developing expatriates, a multinational company can enhance its operations and increase productivity as well as profitability (Hughes & Taggart 2001). This is because through training and development, expatriates are able to apply their skills and knowledge in a way that employees of the host country can understand. Therefore, expatriate training and development help in the transmission of knowledge and skills from expatriates to employees from the host country.
In addition, for employees to adapt to a new country, a human resource manager should provide room for cross-cultural education. This will allow expatriates to acquire vital skills that can enable them to interact with employees in the host country, and general public in the host country. This is because a host country has laws, rules and regulations and cultural beliefs which all expatriates are expected to respect. Therefore, cross-cultural education will be imperative in the sense that all expatriates will be able to comprehend what they are legally allowed to do and what they are prohibited from doing. Cross-cultural education plays a critical role because working in a different culture is the most difficult thing for expatriate than doing a new job (Derudder et al 2012). Therefore, human resource manager must ensure that all expatriates are trained and developed since failure is contributed by lack of training and development.
Training and development does not only play a key role in the host country, but it also plays a significant role in the home country. This is because once the expatriate is through with his task or his/her contract expires, he or she is able to adapt to the culture of the home country and can work in the home country effectively. For instance, a person who has received expatriate education adapts quickly to the conditions in the home country once he/she goes back to the home country.
Another human resource approach that a manager can take in order to make employees adapt to the new country is through remuneration and benefits to employees. Benefits and remunerations play a highly critical role in acquiring and retaining employees in a company (Mariano & Mohamed 2011). For a multinational company to acquire excellent expatriates, it must be vigilant on the issue of remuneration and benefits. This is because it might be extremely hard for expatriates to survive and adapt to a new country if they are not being paid well. For instance, in some cases expatriate might be taken in a country where standards of living are high or a country with the high cost of living. Therefore, he/she will be compelled to change his/her lifestyle, and this can be attained by providing attractive remuneration to expatriates as well as providing fridge benefits.
Offering competitive salaries will motivate employees to adapt quickly to the conditions in the new country. Additionally, offering quality salaries to the expatriates will reduce the chances of involving themselves in corruption, since they are satisfied with what the company is offering (Fatemi & Jourdan 2002). On the other hand, offering poor remunerations to expatriates demotivates them, and they may not be willing to adjust quickly to the working conditions in the new country. This can have a negative effect on the production of a company.
Offering attractive remunerations and benefits to employees do not only help them to adapt to the new country, but it also helps expatriates to strength their relationship with their families despite being extremely far from them. For instance, offering benefits such as holidays enable expatriates to visit their family and friend in the home country. For instance, if a person is married offering of reasonable remuneration and benefits such as holidays can enable him or her to visit his/her family in the home country without problems.
A manager should also provide suitable working environment in order for expatriates to adapt to the working conditions in the new countries. A manager can achieve these designing policies that ensure the health and safety of expatriates in executing their daily work (Deresky 2006). Additionally, a manager of a multinational company can provide suitable working environment by providing insurance cover to all expatriates. This enables expatriates to feel valued, and they adjust to the working conditions in the new country quickly.
A manager can also provide suitable working conditions to expatriates by ensuring that they have efficient equipments and machinery which they require in carrying out their tasks. Additionally, managers of a multinational company can ensure that expatriates adapt quickly in the new country by providing them with adequate training on how to use and operate various equipments and machinery used by the company.
Selection of expatriates is another human resource approach that a manager of a multinational company can adopt to ensure that such employees adapt quickly in the new country(Sparrow, 2009). This is an extremely vital approach since many expatriates are required to work under minimum or no supervision when executing their daily tasks. Therefore, if the management of a multinational company is not vigilant when selecting expatriates, then it might be extremely hard for such workers to adapt to the working conditions in the new country.
As a result, managers must ensure that selected expatriates are sensitive to cultural diversity. This implies that selected expatriate must be able to cope with cultural change easily. This is because expatriates who cannot adapt to the changes easily affect the performance of a multinational company since they require much learning time which might be costly especially if many selected expatriates are not sensitive to cultural change.
Additionally, managers must select expatriates who have previous international experience. This is because people with previous experience require less time to adapt to the new country. Therefore, it is much economical for a multinational company to select people with abundant international experience than people without any international experience because such people can affect the performance of the company. This is imperative because a strong expatriate is the one who can be able to do a job and be in a position to handle a new culture as well as make sure that his family adapts to the new country.
Factors that Managers should Consider when the Expatriate is Married
Many global companies experience high failure rates due to the inability of expatriate family to adapt to the changes in the new country. This happens because many global companies select expatriates with remarkably little or no prior preparation of expatiates and their families for cross-cultural transition. As a matter of fact, success and job performance of expatriates depend on intercultural adjustment of an expatriate and his family.
Therefore, through the selection process, a manager of a global company must determine employees who can succeed as an expatriate in the host country. Through this process, a manager must consider the families of expatriates in case the expatriate is married. This is because their inability to adapt to the new country may affect the job performance of the expatriate. A manager can achieve this by offering cross-cultural education to the expatriate and his family. Providing training for expatriate and his family is as vital selection, and if not provided expatriate can fail to deliver. Therefore, a manager of a global company must take family transition very seriously when selecting expatriates. This is because an expatriate can only deliver if he is comfortable at a personal level to avoid premature termination of contracts.
Managers of multinational companies must also provide family benefits to the expatriates. This is because expatriate family is also affected by selection of expatriates sent in different host countries. Inability of expatriate family to adapt to cultural transition has consistently been the main cause of expatriation failure. Managers of global companies can provide financial help and support in finding high quality schooling for the children of the expatriate. This is because is because education for children is one of the major prerequisite for expatriate family to accept assignments in a foreign country.
Managers of global companies can also help expatriates by helping their spouses to obtain a job and work visa. Additionally, managers must be willing to compensate the expatriates for expenses incurred in his/her transport as well as transportation cost of his family. Managers should also provide an expatriate with good house allowances so that he/she can provide proper housing to his/her family. Additionally, the company should provide full medical cover to the expatriate and his/her family. This will make the expatriate and his family feels valued by the company, and eventually this translates to high job performance.