How Effective is Your Global HR Software?


Are you able to manage globally as well as locally?

“International talent can help your business flourish by dramatically expanding the scope of your ideas and perspectives, connecting you with clients from across the globe, and helping you stand out from the competition.” Yuriy Boykiv, Inc.

Over the past few weeks I have spoken to a company teaching language skills to 40 million users around the world, a business with a workforce of 11 nationalities speaking 16 different languages and a technology specialist planning to expand into two new countries every year. So, what does it take to easily manage your global workforce?

Managing a dispersed workforce is undoubtedly a challenge, whether you have 50 staff or 500, but all the Cezanne HR clients I’ve spoken with have been clear that using a global HR software has proven to be both cost-effective and efficient in supporting their international expansion and bringing order and consistency to their people management processes.

Of course, having an HR system that’s translated into different languages isn’t enough on its own. If a solution is to be truly effective in an international setting, it has to be flexible enough to take account of local needs (both practical and cultural) within the framework of a coherent, global approach.

So, what are the key factors you need to think about when choosing global HR software?

The language has been culturally adapted.

Make sure it feels natural. There is nothing more confusing for an employee than having to cope with terminology that feels alien. Even within the English language, HR lingo differs completely. As Oscar Wilde said about his fellow Britons, “we have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, or course, the language.” Slight changes in vocabulary to words like vacation (holiday) and review (appraisal) can make a big difference when integrating yourself into an HR system. And the way dates are written in the US (month/day/year) can often be easily confused with the way Europe and others write them (day/month/year). So, it’s important to be sure that the solution you choose can be viewed in the right terminology and format for each country it is being used for.

The right information for the right people.

Make sure your system lets people in different locations to see the screens that are appropriate to their own situation. You don’t want employees in Sweden, for example, getting confused by the maternity leave updates in the United States. Equally, you want to make sure that people see locally adapted versions of key documents like your disciplinary process or performance review guidelines. The latest generation of solutions have integral HR portals where you can house these important documents – but you need a system with rich functionality which will allow you to present the right information to the right people at the right time.

Make sure the translation is fit for purpose.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about poor translations that don’t say exactly what they were meant to—sometimes with comical or potentially damaging effects. Some HR software companies use translation agencies on their products and the results are often less than perfect. Make sure you ask a potential supplier detailed questions about how the translation is managed and sense-checked before you make a decision.

Does the system calculate holidays based on local calendars?

Public holidays vary widely, even within North America, so make sure the system you choose allows you to set up calendars that reflect public holidays in each of the countries and regions that you cover. It’s also important that the system recognizes the time-zones that employees are in, so that partial days off are calculated the right way. The last thing you want to do is have to make manual adjustments—a good system will do the hard work for you.

Find a system that supports your processes.

One of the big advantages of today’s HR systems is that they take the grunt work out of routine tasks, like time-off requests and sick days, by getting information to the right people. But approval processes and authorization hierarchies can differ based on country—one region might delegate this task to someone in human resources, while elsewhere a manager might look after that task.

It’s important that you have one system that allows you to manage your global workforce.

Are you thinking about going global, or looking for a new system? What helps you manage your global workforce?

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