The challenges to the human resources departments within major corporations are mostly related to the globalization of the banking system and the decrease in value of the US dollar which impacts the credibility of the entire company. The term globalization means the trend toward opening up foreign markets to international trade and investment. Free trade agreement debates and financial scandals inside and outside the company are a challenge to HR in its relationship with the community. It is the corporate social responsibility of the firm to act in the best interest of the people and communities affected by its activities. The global challenge also presents a complicated set of issues related to different geographies, cultures, employment laws and business practices. These issues also raise such concerns as the knowledge and skill base of foreign workforces and how to best hire and train them (Bohlander Snell 2007).
Relocating employees to direct the efforts of a foreign workforce is a challenge as well. HR personnel are responsible for training programs and development opportunities to help employees understanding of foreign cultures and practices. For example, Citigroup established a Representative Office in Ukraine in 1997 and was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1998, making it the 100th country in its global network. As of January 2009 Citigroup Ukraine has 110 employees, providing a full range of services to corporate and commercial banking clients. During recent years they have been a part of important financial transactions for the Government of Ukraine, as well as top Ukrainian companies. In this case, HR has to adjust compensation programs to employees working abroad to make sure that they receive fair pay in a country where the cost of living varies. They must also provide advancement opportunities in an expanding global market and try to retain employees working abroad who may experience culture shock (citibank.ru 2009).
Another challenge to Citigroup HR has been managing change. Most of the change in this case has been reactive change, or change that occurs after external forces have already affected performance. Much of this change is continuous as a part of the job, rather than temporary. Despite that, people seem to resist change because they often have to modify or abandon ways or working that had been successful in the past. The HR department must have a vision for the future and share it with the employees and set clear expectations of performance. Companies who have been successful in managing change have linked change to their business strategy. A part of the change strategy is managing behavioral changes. HR has to communicate personally and sell the commitment to the change instead of communication about the change (Bohlander Snell 2007).
The purpose for human resources planning is to help managers use human resources effectively, when and where they are needed in order to accomplish the organizations goals. Strategic human resources management combines strategic planning and HR planning. Although planning has always been an important process in Citigroup management, HR issues are now just as important with global strategies, mergers, relocations, downsizing, outsourcing, off-shoring and the closing of facilities. A shift in the labor force now requires HR managers to become more involved with planning since such changes affect the full range of HR practices such as employee recruitment and selection, training and compensation (citibank.ru 2009)
Bohlander, Snell. (2009) Managing Human Resources, fourteenth edition.
Thompson South-Western Publishing, Mason OH
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