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5 Things HR need to know before internationalising labour

By Jesus David Cano Romano
May 18, 2016
made in china to shows Chinese manufacturing


It is estimated that only 1% of global growth in labour by 2025 will be in high-income countries and two thirds of global labour growth will be in developing countries, in the same period. More businesses are moving some part of their operations abroad and why shouldn’t they? Greater knowledge and expertise in addition to cheaper costs are very persuasive deciding factors. Whether you’re moving aspects of the manufacturing process, outsourcing or sourcing; your Human Resources department will be internationalising and there are a few things that need you need to pay particular caution to:

A skills audit needs to be carried out

The pool of manufacturers in China is huge. Does the labour you’re considering have the right skills, knowledge and attributes to carry out your requirements? Both parties need to be very clear and come to an agreement on things such as price, targets, and time.

Targets may be different

Targets and quantities vary from country to country and can be dependent on complexity. The manufacturer’s labour needs to have the capabilities to be able to meet the targets set. The worst thing that can happen is for an unusually high demand to be met but quality and dependability to be imperfect.

There will be language, communication barriers

The internal customer base within the business will be expanding. These customers need to be able to communicate with the right people effectively in order for morale and productivity to remain high, make sure they can do this. HR must link with its internal customers and work closely with them if the external customer’s needs and wants are to be met.

Research the culture and lifestyles

Holidays vary from country to country especially in China where they seem to come from nowhere. This will create labour shortages that HR needs to make sure are factored into the target settings. Ignorance is no excuse. Agents and other intermediaries are a cost effective way to ensure that you always have country specific knowledge at your fingertips.

Departmental communication is important

Human resources need to make sure there is enough labour on the ground that understands the best way to get things done, this extends from transportation of resources to shipping of final products back home. The costs of which can vary so communication with the finance department is imperative to make sure all activities are profitable.