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The Covid-19 pandemic creates a significant challenge for the future of global mobility. The pandemic situation felts an effect on the International Human Resource Management (IHRM) of the multinational enterprises (MNE). Therefore, it is important to rethink the use of global teams and arrange for flexible working and virtual collaboration. The aim of the study is to manage the workplace practices in the post covid 19 situation by using IHRM practices. The study is going to discuss the increase and decrease in international assignments due to IHRM functions. Different factors regarding the requirements of training for managing the international workforce and location will also be provided in this study.
“International Human Resource Management (IHRM)” incorporates a series of typical HRM functions starting from “recruitment and selection” to “training and performance appraisal” for the betterment of an organization on a global scale. IHRM ensures that companies are preparing with an agile workforce for their footfall during international expansion. IHRM also assist international organisations in terms of transferring their managerial knowledge properly for the incorporation of gradual steps that can pave their pathway for international footfall (Tanpipat et al. 2021). Especially in the “post-pandemic situation”, “international assignments” witnessed a series of turbulent situations that have enforced IHRM to formulate strategies that can help them deal with these issues effectively.
The “covid-19 pandemic” has impacted international assignments both positively and negatively at the same time. For example, US business organizations like “Ocado” changed its business strategy after the covid-19 pandemic, especially in terms of managing its HRM in the international market (Islam et al. 2021). As silver-lining was difficult for the employees at Ocado, the company completely moved its business to the “remote working model”. The company outlined this issue, as a “win-win situation” for both the company as well as the employees, as there was “travel cost cut” and “less disruption among employees” within the company (Shrm.org, 2022). The company moved from “hands-on” to the “computerized way” for hiring and strengthening up the workforce after the crisis. Many organizations on a global scale intended to go remote due to the physical inaccessibility caused by the “covid-19 pandemic” (Kylili et al. 2020). The involvement of IHRM here changed the fundamental growth of the business landscape all around the world. However, there are many examples seen in the recent arena, that have initiated, “remote working IHRM”, that includes, “global organisations”, namely, “Transcom” that supports elevating customer’s experiences, “Appen” that supports providing solutions in the initiating technology of “speech and language”, “BCD Travels”, “SAP”, “Pearson”, “Philips”, “Sanofi”, “Takeda Pharmaceuticals”, “NTT Group”, “Hibu” and many more. All these organisations have created a successful workforce that is both strong as well as efficient. With the help of “careful candidate selection” and “building agile workforce”, IHRM changed the scenario of the business industry on a global scale.
For example, the Asia-Pacific region experienced a major job surge in the labour market when the pandemic started in the initial quarters of 2020. About 81 million labours in the Asia-Pacific region lost their jobs and eventually enabling the market to experience “reverse job growth” (Ilo.org, 2022). Due to the “reverse job growth” and job surge in the Asia-Pacific region, these regions and sub-regions witnessed major working-hour losses in 2020. In the second quarter of the pandemic, the working hour decreased by 15.2% and in the third quarter, it decreased to 10.7% relative to the crisis level of the pandemic.
In the “post-pandemic situation”, the trend of “hybrid work” became a significant part of the “mainstream working process” where workers intended to switch to “remote working methods” more often. About 75% of the “global workforce” attempted to work on “remote knowledge” and claimed that work flexibility was increased with the remote way of working. Additionally, many business organizations have claimed that the “real GDP” of the world grew up to 6% due to the increase in international business in terms of remote working (Iap.unido.org, 2022). Most global organizations can design are adapting “employee-driven flexibility” and “cultural connectedness” through IHRM in order to recover business and stabilize their footfall in the post-pandemic situation. The IHRM has uplifted the human leadership and hybrid mode of working by incorporating the “human-centric model” in international business organizations (Kaufman et al. 2020). For example, companies like “Ocado” and “Apple” focus more on strengthening their workforce, especially in order to incorporate IHRM in their international businesses successfully. Additionally, companies like Deloitte and LTI started adapting IHRM and “remote working” for smoothing their business process after the “Covid-19 pandemic.
“International Human Resource Management” has allowed many global MNE to take control of the turbulent business situation in the international market. For example, the implementation of the “hybrid human-centric working model” was widely accepted by employees from different parts of the world. It eventually allows the MNEs to connect with their employees more seamlessly. On the other hand, the identification of proper talent and an agile workforce through IHRM allowed the global business to grow by 53%, especially in the post-pandemic situation (Prasad and Mangipudi, 2021). On the other hand, the “remote working process” contributed up to a 48% increase in the international assignments on a global scale. After the pandemic, Ocado sent “dozens of newly-hired engineers” for a “hands-on robotics training” that can enable them to cope with the adaptation of “remote” and “automation” process in business (Hille, 2021). In addition, the formation of the workforce by conducting recruitment based on "talent and skills" with the help of IHRM allowed the MNEs to attain business growth up to 45% in the post-pandemic situation (Lenka, 2021).
Additionally, IHRM has allowed the international market to attain a favourable place by “gathering information” based on the current skills of “international workforces”. Considerably, the application of this approach by IHRM has allowed the global business industry to grow by 34% in the international market (Statista.com, 2022). Similarly, “virtual experiences” and “mentoring programs” was initiated for the development of an active and agile workforce that can enable business organizations to succeed on a global scale. The application of "international assignments" can also help the MNEs in terms of moving towards the "pay for skills" structure that can enable them to attain growth up to 10%, especially in the post-pandemic situation (Hsieh et al. 2020). On a different note, the application of “international assignments” through IHRM also focussed on other strategies like “incentivizing employees” and “less focus on reskilling”. This has further allowed the organizations to attain success up to 8% and 6% respectively.
The situation of Covid pandemic changes the work pattern as well as the work culture of employees all over the world. The situation of the pandemic affects the “International Human Resource Management” in international businesses. It changes the work pattern of the employees in a great way (Kalogiannidis, 2021). The local employees in this place are given the facility to continue their work by coming into the office. They have no options in this matter as they stay within the locality of the office area. The companies in this part have been given the option to continue their work by either coming into the office or by WFH.
Remote employees refer to the employees who continue their work by staying away from their homes. The employees in the situation of Covid-19 are not able to continue their work by going to the office (He et al. 2020). They have only the option of Work from Home. They have also given the facility to work by staying in the office but it seems tough for them to continue their work in staying in the office. They are detached from their homes in this situation and it created mental and emotional pressure on them. The employees need to maintain their work by staying in the office. The employees with close proximity to the office have the facility in spending time with families after their work (Hamouche, 2021). The employees having a long distance from their area are not being able to do that. This also affects their mental well-being.
The most problematic factor for the international workforce is that the situation of pandemic felts huge pressure on them. They do not have the facility to continue their work by going to the office (Ichsan et al. 2020). They have been detached from the entire society and from the office also. The expats are away from their homes and it is the most problematic factor for them. In this pandemic situation, they become lonely because their only source in this area is the entire workforce. They are facing problems regarding this and they feel emotional and mental problems regarding this matter (Dirani et al. 2020). Therefore, the companies will have to make effort in giving them the work flexibility so that they can feel free in working in the company.
An example can be given in this factor for increasing the flexibility of the employees. Many international companies take the strategy for the Covid effect into their organisations. Amazon spreads the message among their employees and gives stress to return to the office for increasing workplace flexibility (Aboutamazon.com, 2022). They are focusing on the increase of workplace positivity. They focused on the guidance of the employees and they give focused on employee satisfaction. It is a more important part of the involvement of employees. Amazon has taken the decision for engaging the employees in their organisation. It will help them in improving the factor of International Human Resource Management.
The “covid-19 pandemic” not only impacted international businesses but also changed the working process of the industry forever. Even in the “post-pandemic situation”, companies are enforced to adopt new strategies and training programs in order to train their workers according to the new trends after the pandemic. For example, companies like Walmart. ASDA and Tesco have adapted a “hybrid mode of working” where the process of working is segmented in both physical appearances as well as remote working within the companies (Murphy et al. 2021). On the contrary, many companies have completely changed their way of working by switching to “remote working” methods (Radoni? et al. 2020). For example, McKinsey has switched from its “offline model” to a “100% remote-working model” for boosting the flexibility of the workforce on a global scale. However, the company is now switching to the “hybrid working model” where 30% of the workforce will work with the “remote working model” whereas the other 70% will work permanently on the “offline working model” (Mckinsey.com, 2022).
After the pandemic began the combination of the “online and offline working” model led many companies to adopt the “hybrid virtual model” which eventually became a successful model in terms of assessing talents. In this scenario, global business organizations need to train their employees on how to become flexible with both ways of working (Khan et al. 2021). In terms of “remote working,” the “communication” needs to be clear and succinct for increasing productivity and lowering the cost successfully. This can also allow the companies to boost individual flexibility by educating employees regarding the right way to improve experience and productivity properly. Some companies on the other hand, also completely focus on the “offline working” model where employees are instructed to come down to the office strictly and do their work by being physically present in the workplace. As an example, the company of Tesco has generated “new permanent roles” that amount to a number of 16,000, in order to boost their online business's exponential growth. Among the announced vacancies, Tesco offered the job roles of 10,000 pickers 3,000 drivers to delivery their products (Reuters.com, 2022). This change in the HRM, Tesco attempted to run its business, based on “remote working” model to maintain its business in the digital space. Based on a recent study, 52% of the global technology-based companies are intending to switch to a “full-time remote working model” or “hybrid working model” as the permanent way of working. Many have outlined that during the course of the “remote working tenure” the performance of the global workforce has increased up to 13% considering the post-pandemic situation in the international market (Petrunenko et al. 2021).
The “Society for Human Resource Management” published that in 77% of the cases, employees are found to deliver greater productivity when working remotely. Therefore, most organizations need to train their employees on the right way to approach their assignments while working on the “remote working model” and the “hybrid working model” (Rakshit and Paul, 2020). Similarly, the international MNEs can focus on appealing the Gen-Z with the implementation of training courses that can foster “in-person work experiences” successfully. At the same time, employees have to be flexible with both the “remote as well as offline ways of working” in order to become successful in the international market (Timilsina et al. 2020). Hence, the bigger MNEs need to introduce training sessions related to a “hybrid working model” that can allow them to foster global business growth even in the post-pandemic situation.
The pandemic situation affects the international business field over the world. It affects the international business strategy and hampers the lifestyle of the existing expats in different countries (Gigauri, 2020). The situation of Covid-19 impacts the life of employees in a great way. It especially hampers the lifestyle of the expats in many countries because in this situation employees had to do their jobs from Home. it is a great difficulty for the expats because they stay away from them. This factor creates a negative mental effect on them and most of the expats suffer from loneliness. Their mental and emotional suffering get increased as in this situation they cannot meet any of their friends and families (Van Hoek et al. 2020). Their only place for relieving emotions was in the workplace, they lack it, and the situation creates a mental crisis for them.
Most of the expats leave their jobs in this situation. This matter came with an analysis of the experts that some demands of the expats grow after the situation of the pandemic (Weforum.org, 2022). The expectations of the employees in the workplace include inclusion, equity and diversity. It is the most important factor for the employees and they get security through the matter. Another expectation of the employees includes “mental health and wellbeing”. Flexibility in the workplace becomes the most common expectation of the employees in the international business (Adeliyi et al. 2021). The growth of the employees is another factor that includes their expectations of them. The various multinational companies in this art came up with the idea of researching all the expectations of the expats. The expectations of the employees in this part include spending more time with families after the situation of the pandemic (Erp.today, 2022). Work positivity is another factor in this matter of expectations of the expats within companies.
The pandemic situation created some challenges to the IHRM of the multinational enterprises. The expectations of the existing expats within the company in different countries changed (Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 2022). For example, the change in expectations of the employees of Ocado has changed after the of Covid-19 pandemic all across the globe (Singh and Donnelly, 2021). The implications of “remote working” changed the way of interaction between “HR” and employees. On one hand 71% employers though that “hiring with remote process” has been a major challenge but 34% employees thought that “remote working” is a better option in terms of resolving performance issues (Alexander et al. 2021). The research says the concept of Work from Home (WFH) has an impact on the expats of this company. Most of them give mass resignation after the situation. It also impacts upon the company's performance. It increases their mental stress and the communication breakdown happens through this. The feeling of less connection happens within them and the expectation of the expats goes toward a positive connection with the company.
Workplace flexibility is most important and it gives different advantages to the employers and employees in a business. The factors are related to each other and it helps in increasing the retention of employees (Jayathilake et al. 2021). The flexibility among employers and employees increases productivity, employee loyalty, and engagement of employees in work. After the situation of Covid-19, the relationship between employees and employers get hampered. Therefore, it is important to take care of the matter of facts of rebinding the relationships between them. A collaboration of work between the employers and employees can improve the relationship between the employers and employees.
The creation of a space for communication between the employees and employers can help in increasing their relationship. In this field, building a positive workplace culture can help in improving the relationship between employees and employers. The relationship between the employees and employers can get improved by showing appreciation. The employers can show appreciation for creating a positive relationship with the employees (Buheji and Buheji, 2020). The relationship between them can get improved by taking solutions for workforce management. This is the reason behind establishing open communication between employers and employees. These factors can help in increasing the positive relationship between employers and employees after the situation of Covid-19.
Covid-19 impacted the relationship between employers and employees and that is why maintaining the relationship between them becomes more important. The maintenance of relationships impacts the productivity of the organisations. For example, many international companies apply strategies for improving employer-employee relationships (Libertymind.co.uk, 2022). They give effort to the management of employees and encourage the employees. The international retailer Tesco values the ability of workers with great collaboration. They encourage their employees to work with great collaboration. The company also conducts “problem-solving forums” for bringing together the mind of employees and employers. They give effort to the solution of the problem within a time limit of 24 hours.
Tesco encourages the employees to think like owners and this matter helps the company to build a strong employer-employee relationship. The improvement of the culture of the workplace can also help in recovering the situation of the effect of Post-pandemic (Gigauri, 2020). The matters of International Human resource management of the MNE can get improved through the application of these factors. These all matters are the solutions for the improvement of employee-employers relationship to managing flexibility in the workplace.
The post-pandemic situation has changed the landscape of international businesses forever, especially with the adaptation of the hybrid working model in global businesses. It eventually increased the “productivity of the employees” that are working, based on technologies. It also helped companies to improve the “culture” and “employee satisfaction”. Most importantly, it boosted the possibilities to foster “continuous learning” for employees on a global scale. Additionally, it also helps in improving the mental health of employees. Many international organizations have intended to switch to the “hybrid working model” as most employees are delivering greater productivity during the tenures of the “remote working model”. Many international MNEs have segmented their way of working in a 70-30 equation where 70% of employees can work from the office and 30% of employees can work remotely and vice versa. This needs to follow detailed training sessions introduced by the international MNEs in order to educate the employees regarding the right way to adapt to the post-pandemic situation successfully. Hence, it can be said that the adaptation of the” hybrid working model” is the next big future for the global organizations who are preparing for their expansion and footfall in the global market.
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