Technology has created a global market without borders. Businesses now compete "with anybody, anytime, anywhere," writes Loyola Marymount University professor Charles Vance. Strategic objectives cannot be achieved on the international stage without a skilled workforce and management team attuned to local cultures, economies and consumers. As human resources departments strive to field teams of employees across the globe, they confront several driving forces made more complex by multicultural and multinational implications.

Global Mindset

Global competitiveness requires HR professionals to adapt a global view of the business that enables them to support corporate strategy on a country-by-country basis. They need an understanding of short- and long-term objectives for, and the characteristics of, each market to guide resource allocation and identify which merit more attention based on growth potential. They also need to develop policies and procedures that reflect company culture yet strike a balance between domestic and foreign operations. For example, an HR department with global responsibility might implement company-wide programs for training but delegate compensation to local management.

Talent Mobility

According to the World Federation of People Management Associations, international businesses must be capable of moving talent wherever and whenever it is needed. A talent mobility policy gives a company flexibility to react to opportunities and use cross-cultural exposure to promote the firm's vision and culture. Having a leadership team that understands the differences among countries of operation places importance on a global employee development strategy and foreign assignment policy to give executives international experience. In addition to such issues as expatriate compensation, relocation and work permit procurement, talent mobility raises concerns about workforce security.


Technology is transforming how HR operates on a global scale. From an efficiency perspective, software enables HR to automate global administrative tasks and recruit without borders. From an employee relations perspective, the immediacy of online communication now drives employment branding, which affects recruitment and retention, employee communications and learning. According to Towers Watson consultant Michael Rudnick, most multinational companies have turned to global HR portals, or Web pages, within their internal company website to improve efficiency and keep employees worldwide informed.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a global HR concern, according to PwC's 2012 study of global HR trends. Disillusioned employees translate into reduced productivity and turnover that create global recruiting headaches for human resources management. In order to address this drop in worker commitment, HR must have a grasp of generational differences and cultural nuances that contribute to it. The challenge then becomes introducing initiatives that offer career opportunities, reward performance and promote the corporate mission to build employee satisfaction.