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Managing HR in a Global Business Environment

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Japan has a population of approximately 125 million people packed tightly into a rather small geographic area. The official language in Japan is Japanese. Japanese is spoken only in Japan. The literacy rate in Japan is very close to 100 percent and 95 percent of the Japanese population has a high school education. Japan’s form of government is parliamentarian democracy under the rule of a constitutional monarch. The Prime Minister is the chief government officer. The dominant religion is Shinto, which is exclusive to Japan. However, the Japanese have no official religion. Culturally, the Japanese tend to be somewhat introverted in their ways. They generally are not receptive to outsiders. When conducting business in Japan relationships and loyalty to the group is critical for success.

‘A chain is only as strong as its weakest link’

The challenge of HR managers is to hunt for human talent and make sure the company selects the right person for the right job. Only then all the links in the chain will be equally strong.

Today, managing the expectations and motivations of a skilled workforce has brought with it attendant complexities in terms of the need for robust HR practices and organizational procedures.

Earlier considered a support function for any business, HRM today is required to take on a more strategic role in order to align itself with the organization’s business strategies. Hence, the HR manager is expected to take on the mantle of a business partner along with managers of other line functions, in driving the firm’s strategies.

The shift in focus from traditional HRM to strategic HRM was inevitable. Competitive advantage for an organization lies not just in differentiating a product or service or in becoming the low cost leader but in also being able to tap the company’s special skills or core competencies and rapidly respond to customer’s needs and competitor’s moves. HR management can play a role in identifying and analyzing external opportunities and threats that may be crucial to the company’s success. It is in a unique position to supply competitive intelligence that may be useful in the strategic planning process.

In the global service industry, it is essential to manage staff well as employee satisfaction should come before customer satisfaction. As employees are the internal customers. It is the employees who come in contact with your customers and deliver the service ultimately. The organization’s values and systems are reflected in this delivery of service.

The following are some of the ways and means in which staff can be managed critically to achieve success and growth in the service industry:

1. Safe, Healthy & Happy Workplace

Creating a safe, healthy and happy workplace will ensure that your employees feel at home and stay with your organization for a very long time. Capture their pulse through employee surveys.

2. Open Book Management Style

Sharing information about contracts, sales, new clients, management objectives, company policies, employee personal data, etc., ensures that the employees are as enthusiastic about the business as the management. Through this open book process, you can gradually create a culture of participative management and ignite the creative endeavor of your work force. It involves making people an interested party to your strategic decisions, thus, aligning them to your business objectives. Be as open as you can. It helps in building trust and motivates employees. Employee Self Service Portal, Manager On-Line, etc., are the tools available today to the management to practice this style.

3. Performance-linked Bonuses

Paying out bonuses or having any kind of variable compensation plan can be both an incentive and a disillusionment, based on how it is administered and communicated. Bonus must be designed in such a way that people understand that there is no payout unless the company hits a certain level of profitability. Additional criteria could be the team’s success and the individual’s performance. Never pay out bonus without measuring performance, unless it is a statuory obligation.

4. 360-Degree Performance Management Feedback System

This system, which solicits feedback from seniors (including the boss), peers and subordinates, has been increasingly embraced as the best of all available methods for collecting performance feedback. Gone are the days of working hard to impress only one person, now the opinions of all matter, especially if you are in a leadership role (at any level). Every person in the team is responsible for giving relevant, positive and constructive feedback. Such systems also help in identifying leaders for higher level positions in the organization. Senior managers could use this feedback for self development.

5. Fair Evaluation System for Employees

Develop an evaluation system that clearly links individual performance to corporate business goals and priorities. Each employee should have well-defined reporting relationships. Self-rating as a part of evaluation process empowers employees. Evaluation becomes fairer if it is based on the records of periodic counseling and achievements of the employee, tracked over the year. For higher objectivity, besides the immediate boss, each employee should be screened by the next higher level (often called a Reviewer). Cross-functional feedback, if obtained by the immediate boss from another manager (for whom this employee’s work is also important), will add to the fairness of the system. A relative rating of all subordinates’ reporting to the same manager is another tool for fairness of evaluation. Normalization of evaluation is yet another dimension of improving fairness.

6. Knowledge Sharing

Adopt a systematic approach to ensure that knowledge management supports strategy. Store knowledge in databases to provide greater access to information posted either by the company or the employees on the knowledge portals of the company. When an employee returns after attending any competencies or skills development program, sharing essential knowledge with others could be made mandatory. Innovative ideas (implemented at the work place) are good to be posted on these knowledge sharing platforms. However, what to store and how to maintain a knowledge base requires deep thinking to avoid clutter.

7. Highlight Performers

Create profiles of top performers and make these visible though company intranet, display boards, etc. It will encourage others to put in their best, thereby creating a competitive environment within the company. If a systems approach is followed to shortlist high performers, you can surely avoid disgruntlements.

8. Open House Discussions & Feedback Mechanism

Ideas rule the world. Great organizations recognize, nurture and execute great ideas. Employees are the biggest source of ideas. The only thing that can stop great ideas flooding your organization is the lack of an appropriate mechanism to capture ideas. Open house discussions, employee-management meets, suggestion boxes and ideas capture tools such as Critical Incidents Diaries are the building blocks that can help the Managers to identify and develop talent.

9. Reward Ceremonies

Merely recognizing talent does not work, you need to couple it with ceremonies where recognition is broadcast. Looking at the Dollar Check is often less significant than listening to the thunderous applause by colleagues in a public forum.

10. Delight Employees with the Unexpected

The last but not least way is to occasionally delight your employees with unexpected things that may come in the form of a reward, a gift or a well-done certificate. Reward not only the top performers but also a few others who are in need of motivation to exhibit their potential.

The above mentioned are the basic ways and means to keep your employees happy in any global service industry.

Since our Hotel Chain is based in Tokyo, it s very important to adapt to the native culture and at the same time, have a sense of belonging in all the chains globally by having a common corporate culture.

Based on the following factors, success in managing staff at the Tokyo chain can be achieved as discussed below:

1. Culture

For the purposes of the Intercultural Studies Project, culture is defined as the shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs, and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization. These shared patterns identify the members of a culture group while also distinguishing those of another group.1″

For a company in the service industry as this hotel chain, it is very important for it to understand the culture of its target market and the geographical location it operates in. It is important because its customers, employees and other stake holders often need a hotel to adapt to the local culture of the geographic location. A hotel should be able to gel in its own culture to that of the environment it operates in. Understanding the local culture is also very important for a hotel in order to attract the best talents in the area in order to have highly motivated employees.

Japan is a large country with the population of 127,288,416 (July 2008 EST.) The population is divided into the following age structures:-

0-14years:13.7% (male 8,926,439/female 8,460,629)

15-64years:64.7% (male 41,513,061/female 40,894,057)

65 years and over: 21.6% (male 11,643,845/female 15,850,388) (2008 EST.)

The main language in Japan is Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6% , English is used widely in Japan now a day because of new companies coming into Japan. The Literacy rate is very good people above 15 years of age can read and write.

Male: 99%

Female: 99%.

The key to creating a consistent corporate culture across multiple locations is maintaining the critical balance between a strong corporate culture and local cultural differences, thus achieving equality and diversity.

A common corporate culture along with the Japanese local culture can be achieved in the following ways:

* Communicating to all locations about a common corporate culture.

* Allowing local Japanese cultures to maintain their identity in the context of the corporate culture.

* Establishing common systems (e.g., accounting, marketing, MIS).

* Providing management with education outlining how the company does business.

* Creating an organizational mission with input from all locations.

* Creating a written strategy outlining the corporate culture.

2. Cross-border strategic HRM

The global human resource manager involved in selecting appropriate global human resource strategies and practices should keep in mind that every country has a different culture. He should keep in mind that while culture is always changing and evolving, his hotel has to make sure that they are not seen as offenders of local cultures in the cities they will be present in. However they should also try and identify if there exists any universal culture or aspect that would enable them to standardize at least some HR policies.

We suggest the company should exchange mid and high level staff with branches in different countries within the organization. This would lead to:

a. Incorporation of innovative work practices established and successful in another part of the world.

b. It would help in providing better customer services to guests from different countries as they may find someone from their mother land working in the hotel.

c. It will promote better interaction amongst managers of different locations and build teamwork in the long run.

d. Improve and benefit the company’s knowledge management programs.

3. Knowledge management

This are some points from which a trainer and give the idea about the work, to the trainee, this type of training is easy and saves money and more efficient.

Coaching is learning by doing. In this, the superior guides his sub-ordinates & gives him/her job instructions. The superior points out the mistakes & gives suggestions for improvement.

Job Rotation: – In this method, the trainees move from one job to another, so that he/she should be able to perform all types of jobs. E.g. In banking industry, employees are trained for both back-end & front-end jobs. In case of emergency, (absenteeism or resignation), any employee would be able to perform any type of job.


Mentoring is an ongoing relationship that is developed between a senior and junior employee. Mentoring provides guidance and clear understanding of how the organization goes to achieve its vision and mission to the junior employee.

The meetings are not as structured and regular than in coaching. Executive mentoring is generally done by someone inside the company. The executive can learn a lot from mentoring. By dealing with diverse menthe’s, the executive is given the chance to grow professionally by developing management skills and learning how to work with people with diverse background, culture, and language and personality types.

Job Instruction Technique (JIT)

Plan – This step includes a written breakdown of the work to be done because the trainer and the trainee must understand that documentation is must and important for the familiarity of work. A trainer who is aware of the work well is likely to do many things and in the process might miss few things. Therefore, a structured analysis and proper documentation ensures that all the points are covered in the training program. The second step is to find out what the trainee knows and what training should focus on.

Present – In this step, trainer provides the synopsis of the job while presenting the participants the different aspects of the work. When the trainer finished, the trainee demonstrates how to do the job and why is that done in that specific manner. Trainee actually demonstrates the procedure while emphasizing the key points and safety instructions.

Trial- This step actually a kind of rehearsal step, in which trainee tries to perform the work and the trainer is able to provide instant feedback.

Follow-up – In this step, the trainer checks the trainee’s job frequently after the training program is over to prevent bad work habits from developing.

4. Talent retention

Key employee retention is critical to the long term health and success of your business. Managers readily agree that retaining your best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied coworkers and reporting staff, effective succession planning and deeply imbedded organizational knowledge and learning. Employee retention matters. Organizational issues such as training time and investment; lost knowledge; mourning, insecure co-workers and a costly candidate search aside, failing to retain a key employee is costly. Various estimates suggest that losing a middle manager costs an organization up to 100 percent of his salary. The loss of a senior executive is even more costly.

In Japan retention of employees is very important, because the culture shows that the people out there are very hardworking and can handle difficulties easily, so if by loss such type of potential employee can but a sign of loss in time and energy, and it can turn to be more costly by employing a new person and train him/she.

5. Training and development

This type of training is called off the job training, that means the procedure of training and development is carried out of the office, and can help employees to work more qualifiedly.

Lectures/Conferences:- This approach is well adapted to convey specific information, rules, procedures or methods. This method is useful, where the information is to be shared among a large number of trainees. The cost per trainee is low in this method.

Films: – can provide information & explicitly demonstrate skills that are not easily presented by other techniques. Motion pictures are often used in conjunction with Conference, discussions to clarify & amplify those points that the film emphasized.

Simulation Exercise: – Any training activity that explicitly places the trainee in an artificial environment that closely mirrors actual working conditions can be considered a Simulation. Simulation activities include case experiences, experiential exercises, vestibule training, management games & role-play.

Cases: – present an in depth description of a particular problem an employee might encounter on the job. The employee attempts to find and analyze the problem, evaluate alternative courses of action & decide what course of action would be most satisfactory.

Experiential Exercises: – are usually short, structured learning experiences where individuals learn by doing. For instance, rather than talking about inter-personal conflicts & how to deal with them, an experiential exercise could be used to create a conflict situation where employees have to experience a conflict personally & work out its solutions.

Vestibule Training: – Employees learn their jobs on the equipment they will be using, but the training is conducted away from the actual work floor. While expensive, Vestibule training allows employees to get a full feel for doing task without real world pressures. Additionally, it minimizes the problem of transferring learning to the job.

Role Play: – Its just like acting out a given role as in a stage play. In this method of training, the trainees are required to enact defined roles on the basis of oral or written description of a particular situation.

Management Games: – The game is devised on a model of a business situation. The trainees are divided into groups who represent the management of competing companies. They make decisions just like these are made in real-life situations. Decisions made by the groups are evaluated & the likely implications of the decisions are fed back to the groups. The game goes on in several rounds to take the time dimension into account.

In-Basket Exercise: – Also known as In-tray method of training. The trainee is presented with a pack of papers & files in a tray containing administrative problems & is asked to take decisions on these problems & is asked to take decisions on these within a stipulated time. The decisions taken by the trainees are compared with one another. The trainees are provided feedback on their performance.

6. Managing Customer Relations

“CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a business strategy built around the concept of being customer-centric. The main goals are to optimize revenue through improved customer satisfaction via improved interactions at each customer touch point. This can be accomplished by a better understanding of customers, based on their purchasing patterns and demographics, and better information empowerment at all customer touch points, whether with employees or other media interfaces.

In order to have a successful CRM campaign it is vital for the hotel to first identify the culture, likes and dislikes of the general customers and then train the hotel’s staff to successfully implement the company’s CRM systems which should be designed specifically for the general customer.

CRM includes many aspects which relate directly to one another:

* Front office operations – Direct interaction with customers, e.g. face to face meetings, phone calls, e-mail, online services etc.

* Back office operations – Operations that ultimately affect the activities of the front office (e.g., billing, maintenance, planning, marketing, advertising, finance, manufacturing, etc.)

* Business relationships – Interaction with other companies and partners, such as suppliers/vendors and retail outlets/distributors, industry networks (lobbying groups, trade associations). This external network supports front and back office activities.

* Analysis – Key CRM data can be analyzed in order to plan target-marketing campaigns, conceive business strategies, and judge the success of CRM activities (e.g., market share, number and types of customers, revenue, profitability).2

It is extremely important for the hotel to have the best customer relationship management methods and practices designed to cater guests from all over the world and with different background as Japan plays host to guests from all over the world.








http://www.definethat.com/define/?id=292 .


www.coolavenues.com/know/hr/gireesh-hr-practice-1.php – 25k.

www.hindu.com/edu/2007/02/05/stories/2007020500410400.htm – 25k.

www.ddiworld.com/pdf/ddi_theglobalizationofhrpractices_es.pdf -.





Appendix:- Ritz hotel case study


Ritz-Carlton traces its history back to 1898, when Cesar Ritz, a Swiss hotelier, opened the first Ritz hotel in Paris. During the course of his career, Cesar Ritz had worked in different positions at several well-known hotels, and had definite ideas about what made a good hotel. In line with his ideas, he designed the Ritz hotel in Paris to be one of the most elegant hotels of the time. The hotel’s design, furnishings and meticulous service made it a great favourite with the wealthy and aristocratic members of society at that time. Ritz has its chain all over the world including Tokyo

Although many of Ritz Carlton’s competitors, like the Four Seasons Hotels and the Mandarin Oriental, also provided great service, but I analyzed and agreed that there were few hotels that could match the Ritz Carlton’s level of service. This is a key factor in hospitality industry.

This is borne out by the fact that, as of 2007, Ritz-Carlton was the only hotel company to have ever won the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, as well as the only service company to have won it twice (in 1992 and 1999).

The Quest for Quality Improvement

Although Ritz-Carlton had been known for high quality service since its early days, a systematic approach towards quality management began only in the late 1980s, after Schulze became Vice President of Operations. By this time, Johnson’s investments in Ritz-Carlton had made it one of the best hotel chains in the US and the company had started receiving honors from consumer organizations and travel industry groups for its service and quality. However, despite the success of the hotel chain, Schulze was of the opinion that Ritz-Carlton was far from excellent in ensuring complete customer satisfaction. Not only was the service quite erratic, but even the employees did not seem to be clear about what was expected of them.

Quality and Service at the Ritz-Carlton

Quality management was undertaken by the senior management at the Ritz-Carlton. The President and other members of the top management formed the senior quality management team. This team usually met every week to review product and service quality and guest satisfaction across the chain, as well as to analyze factors like market growth and development, profitability, and competitive status. This team played a dual role, and in its role as the corporate steering committee, it was responsible for developing the overall strategic plan for the company every year, as well as establishing and monitoring performance targets.

Face to face learning and presenting.

HR Practices and Work Culture

Ritz-Carlton regarded employees as the cornerstone of its exceptional service culture. The company understood that, as a service organization, the quality of its end product was only as good as the people providing it. Therefore it took care to see that it not only recruited the right kind of employees, but also provided them with the necessary inputs to enable them to provide exceptional service.

Benchmarking in Recruitment

According to Ritz-Carlton, the company did not ‘hire’ its employees; it ‘selected’ them.

Cultural Impact

It was analyzed that although Ritz-Carlton’s salaries were not significantly higher than those of other comparable organizations in the hospitality industry, the company was a preferred employer because of its organizational culture and the way it treated its employees. Ritz-Carlton’s organizational culture not only helped the company provide exemplary customer service, but also created an atmosphere where employees felt valued. Ritz have a very health relation with there employees and keep them as a family.


After looking at the background and success of Ritz Tokyo, I would suggest that the manager should take some step against retention of employees, they should give rewards to the employees or may be a higher position in the company, to keep them working effetely. They should also launch 360 degree method in which the employees can also discuss, factors about the company with the higher level of management, and other way.

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