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Victory in the war for talent

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Human Resources Management can encounter implications when working in different countries. Future HR Trends (2014) discussed challenges such as adapting to the demographic change, understanding the different worker qualifications, retention and engagement in the workplace, adjustment to new technology used in global management, risk management of the global enterprise, talent acquisition management under lower labor costs, “winning the war for talent” (Future HR Trends, 2014).

Quelch and Bloom (1999) examined several strategies to enable a successful global business. Such suggestions included destroying all glass ceilings, a lifeline trace of the company, developing a talent global database, consistent recruitment, internal job posting, and distinguishing leadership capital. Looking at the case, there are some differences between the Anglo and Asian cultures. The team conflict is one of the reasons why the proposed system failed; there was a lack of professionalism, respect, and co-exist between the team members trying to agree on a consensus for solutions. Below we will look at the employee relations for Germany and Japan.

Employee Relations in Germany

The Basic Law adopted in 1949 in Germany gives employees the freedom of occupational choices and prohibits forced labor. It also created workplace equality. The law includes case laws, collective bargaining agreements, Federal legislation, and work agreements. Other employment acts include:

The Act on Collective Agreements: governs collective agreements.

The Civil Code: characterizes employment relationship; includes events such as dismissals, sick leaves, and holidays.

The Works Constitution Act: controls the coexistence between employees and employers.

The German Termination Protection Act protects employees who have been employed for over six months from termination.

Work Week: Employees work between 35-40 hours five days a week, Monday to Friday; working on Sundays and holidays is prohibited in Germany.

Vacation: employees who work full time (5 days a week) receives 20 working days annually however those who have seniority are granted between 25 and 30 vacation days.

Different types of leave

Maternity leave: maternity leave is fully compensated to mothers beginning six weeks before due date and ending 8 weeks after giving birth.

Parental leave: both male and female employees are entitled up to 3 years of leave per child; this leave is unpaid but the employer cannot terminate the employee. The employee may or may not be paid, depending on the employer and can work up to 30 hours while being on parental leave.

Sick leave: an employee has a period of six weeks of full salary compensation; some situations allow payment up to 12 weeks.

Social Security System: entails of various insurances, such as medical, homecare, nursing insurance, pension insurance and unemployment insurance.

Compensation: contract type determines pay; there is no legal minimum wage in Germany.

Employee Relations in Japan

Employment Law

Japanese labor laws are developed under the constitutional frameworks. The Civil Code states the definition of employment contracts. The three major employment laws are as follows:

The Labor Standards Law (LSL): this law regulates safety and working conditions

The Labor Relations Adjustment Law (LRAL): handles and resolves disputes from collective bargaining

The Trade Union Law (TUL): makes employees have the right to collectively bargain

Employment Contracts:

Japanese employees typically work for one employer for a lifetime, retiring between the age of 55-60 years-old. However, some elderly employees work longer due to not receiving their pension by a certain age. Also, employees may want to explore different companies.

Fixed-term employment contracts in Japan are typically between 1-3 years.

Temporary work is mandated by the Working Dispatching Law (WDL) where employees work under an agency; these employees may become permanent employees.

Minimum Wage

The minimum hourly wage in Japan is 780 yen, $6.30 in USD.

Protection of Youth Workers

Child labor is banned under the Constitution and The Labor Standards Law; Children 15 years of age and under may not be employed.

Types of Leaves

After 6 months of employment, employees are granted 10 paid annual leave days; There is no guaranteed paid sick leave in Japan

Maternity leave: expecting mothers are guaranteed 6 weeks before expected delivery and 8 weeks post-delivery. Childcare leave is offered for up when the child turns one years-old; both parents can take this leave. Family care leave is available up to 93 days; these leaves are typically unpaid.

Work Hours

The average employee workweek consists of 40 hours, 8 days a week; the maximum weekly work hours must not exceed 40 hours. A 45-minute rest period must be offered to employees working 6 hours, one hour for 8 hours shifts. Overtime may be offered through the employer agreement and trade union. The overtime rate must be at least 25% and not exceed 50% of the employee’s hourly wages.

HRM practices that should be changed

There are many practices within this case that should be changed. Firstly, implementing the use of tests not only can improve the selection system by screening out top talent, but be backed up through validity as well. Such assessments that can be used include: The Intercultural Effectiveness Scale and The Global Competencies Inventory.

The Intercultural Effectiveness Scale

The Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) was developed to examine crucial factors that affect employees with various cultures. This tool could be used greatly in this case in the project team with the cultural differences between the Asians and the Anglo because it illustrates how well people from different cultures adapt and work with one another (Intercultural.org).

The Global Competencies Inventory (GCI)

The Global Competencies Inventory tests the effectiveness of how managerial staff works with employees of different cultures. The GCI has many great uses in global organizations. These uses include increasing diversity and professional development. This tool measures perception management, relationship management, and self-management. (Intercultural.org)

Other HRM practices that should be changed include using external resources for recruitment, decisions being based on majority votes, little support from higher management, less consideration of cultural backgrounds and team conflicts.

External recourses may enable a diversity of talent choices, allow flexibility, save on time since it would be standardized. According to Aon Hewitt (2013), almost 10% of organizations have succession planning and how most companies look externally for their talent. Hewitt developed four critical actions to help promote leadership development and succession planning: securing the executives’ leadership assurance, coordinating consistent talent acquisition and leadership development programs, identification of the roles involved in succession planning, and securing that Human Resources Management has the competencies to maintain leadership development and talent analysis. The Society of Human Resources Management (2015), succession planning is based on one of two concepts: the person or the position. A program that entails both will enable a stable talent pipeline. Effective performance management, job design, mentoring programs, and training and development will produce a versatile program.

In addition to external recruitment, the nine-box talent identification matrix would be a great tool to use for recruiting talent and leadership. Incorporating the matrix can prepare the organization for future hires internally, such as the twenty-five-middle management position Koch and the project team failed to recruit.

At the meeting where Koch met with the project teams, some decisions were based on majority votes; this is a concern for the validity of the decision trying to be made. Instead of majority votes, another meeting should have taken place due to the inconsistent results. Koch should have the minutes of the meeting emailed to the project team to look over and to select what issue was most detrimental and crucial to each individual and to have a solution for it to bring to the follow-up meeting.

Next, if not the most critical threat to this case, was, the difference of opinions between Koch and Koenig. It seemed like Koenig was stuck in his ways not wanting to hear Koch’s suggestions shows poor leadership skills and overall poor organizational practice. Also, Koenig showed no support for Koch when he threatened him and the project team of consequences if the personnel selection system was incomplete by the end of the week. Koch knew the selection system was still being tested and as one would say “in the works”; Koenig did not care about any of this he just wanted a solution in a limited time. This not only built a time constraint but led the project team to a disputes and unsuccessful presentation and personnel selection system. If both Koch and Koenig if not terminated, complete training and develop due to their lack of leadership skills and incompetence. Both individuals have issues managing conflict appropriately. The Society of Human Resources Management (2012) indicated factors that should be considered when developing global leadership strategies. Such elements include external and internal environmental factors, gaps in talent development, the relationship of succession planning and performance to leadership development, and usage of metrics. Also, many tools can be used to acquire an effective leader. These mechanisms include assessments, executive coaching, implementation of a leadership scorecard, 360-degree performance appraisals, and on the job experience (SHRM, 2012). To measure post-training effectiveness for both leaders, quantitative data can be used in human resources management to track their productivity and to rectify terminations of their poor work performance (Ciaran, John).

In terms of less incorporation of cultural backgrounds for the selection system, this can become very problematic. For example, in the testing procedure, it may not reveal candidates real potential due to the conflict of nature of the tests and interviews of appealing to different cultures. Also with the testing, candidates may become and dishonest by choosing the answers that are the “right” ones. In the screening/application process, cultural differences can play a role because each country has their own standards; this conflicts with a universal personnel selection system.

Lastly, the team conflict at the meeting should have been addressed by Koch; there should have been expectations introduced from the beginning in dealing with all members involved in a professional, respectful manner. For future purposes, team building exercises should be taken into effect to help the experts comprehend the cultural differences and to help build trust in one another. Also, understanding the cultural differences between the Germans and Chinese would be beneficial for the entire organization itself. ComINTec AG & Company could implement cultural fair that includes different foods from different countries and a presentation on each country’s business ethics. Below is an example of Chinese cross- cultural communication through a PowerPoint presentation.


A theory that should be referenced to the case is Trompenaar’s & Hampden-Turner’s dimensions. This theory plays a role in the cultural differences in this case through the Neutral versus Affective dimension. Hollinshead (2015) indicated how the neutral dimension involves individuals trying to suppress or control their emotions; these persons may observe other’s reactions which influences their hesitation in how they truly feel; the Asians in the project team displayed this behavior during the meeting for the personnel selection system.

Furthermore, affective is when individuals express their feelings freely as the Germans did; in these cultures, people utilize their feelings to interact their objectives and are sociable to others and have a positive mind frame. This dimension will also affect recruiting while interviewing because neutral personnel may stick to the point on solely job-related questions in contrary collectivists may ask personal questions that may show candidates their emotions and feelings. Metrics

There are many uses of the metrics found in succession planning. Collins (2014) indicated how quantitative data can be used for the most common need of finding new leaders (how many) in the organization and if they have enough talent internally to replace essential individuals if they choose to resign. Bayless and Pollack (2010) found the data is useful in analyzing the development of organizational needs by forming leadership development programs, employee development and retention by preparing employees for progression, inventory of talented leaders, recruitment, and sales of the organization. Also, the balanced scorecard can be implemented to evaluate the succession planning program. Rothwell and Kim (2005) suggested that the balanced scorecard can measure the theoretical and conceptual sense of succession planning. Each company must design their own balanced scorecard because it focuses on a company’s strategies and vision transforming into a performance measure (Kim, 2010).

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