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Comparing HR Activities in the US and Abroad

Comparing HR Activities in the U.S.  and Abroad

There is also a global aspect to Human Resources management. What one learns in a company in the United States may or may not apply to a company in another country. In fact, company protocols may differ from state to state! While federal laws in the U.S. apply to all states, human resource-directed laws can differ, sometimes dramatically, from state to state and country to country.

The countries of China, India, Africa, and Latin   America are growing in population and will soon require proficient human resource managers to work with the large numbers of individuals entering the workforce.  On the contrary, the growth rates of Europe, the United States,  and Japan have slowed significantly, and thus the number of potential employees entering the workforce in these countries has also slowed (Mathis & Jackson, 2005).

Managing human resources in cultures outside of the U.S. presents opportunities and challenges. There are four general factors to consider when working abroad (Mathis & Jackson, 2005):

  1. Legal and Political Factors: Companies in the US are used to a stable government and legal system. While some developed nations outside of the U.S. are stable, others are turbulent and inconsistent in their laws and politics.
  2. Economic Factors: Economic factors share a direct relationship with political, legal, and cultural issues. Nations with weak economies are not able to invest in maintaining their infrastructures, such as roads, electricity, schools, and telecommunications.
  3. Cultural Factors: Conflicts can be caused by religious and ethnic issues.
  4. Workforce Availability and Education: Many companies note an inadequate supply of qualified, experienced, skilled and/or technically knowledgeable workers in some countries.

Careers in Human Resources

Many HR professionals share common certifications: PHR (Professional in Human Resources) or SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources). These certifications are becoming commonplace for Human Resources professionals who are competing for jobs in this field.

What does it mean to have a career in the HR field? A career is defined as a series of work-related positions a person occupies throughout a lifetime. Many people come into the HR field from the Bachelors or Masters level, as one or both of these degrees is/are the basic standard for most employers. Applicable degree titles may be: Human Resource Management, Consumer Economics, Organizational Development, Performance Management,  or Organizational Design. The aforementioned HR certifications are separate accomplishments from these degree(s).

According to Mathis and Jackson (2005), career planning can be:

  1. organization-centered: An individual focuses on identifying a career path within an organization that provides for a logical progression as she/he moves from one position to another in that organization. This plan is usually managed by an HR professional in conjunction with the individual (while she/he is within the HR professional’s organization). This program includes performance appraisals, training and development,  opportunities for transfer and promotion, and may include succession planning.)
  2. individual-centered: The focus is on the individual’s career instead of the organization’s needs. This plan is usually managed by the employee as she/he moves from company to company.

Those who are passionate about human resources become very successful in the HR field.

The three career transitions below are especially important to a Human Resource management team (Mathis & Jackson, 2005).

On a daily basis, Human Resource managers work with employees who are experiencing or have experienced one or more of these career transitions. Lives change and continue to evolve. Therefore, an HR professional team must be responsive to the needs of the workers and understand the importance of these transitions,  losses, and gains.


“In any business situation, seeing yourself as a victim is completely self-defeating. And when it comes to your career, it’s an attitude that kills all your options – it can even be the start of a career death spiral.” – Jack Welch

Human Resource professionals should be aware that the people who inquire about positions within their company are networking to find a job. Networking involves building a web of interpersonal relationships for mutually beneficial purposes. This web can include business referrals, customer contacts, personal contacts, and business acquaintances. Networking also means establishing, maintaining, and utilizing contacts made for purposes beyond the reason for the initial contact. When individuals are networking to find jobs, they should tell everyone they know and meet that they are looking for a position. Those they would seek help from first are considered their “warm market.” A warm market is a sales and marketing expression that, when applied to job-seekers, includes the contacts a person believes will most likely help her/him find her/his desired position.

Human Resource professionals often come in contact with recruiters. A recruiter is a person employed by a company for the purpose of finding and qualifying new employees for the organization. HR professionals get to know recruiters and often work with them to find individuals with specialized qualifications for their company. The reason HR professionals use recruiters is simple. An HR professional may have a difficult time filling a position that requires an individual with a very specific degree and a particular type of work experience. Third party recruiters are often subcontracted by a company for this purpose and require a fee for their services. Some recruiters are compensated up front while others receive a company-paid percentage of the hired person’s first year pay.

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