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Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management (HRM), also known as human capital management, is a fairly recent concept for nations all around the world. HRM in the UK therefore involves all the contact that management has with an employee, from the interview until the working relationship terminates. Yet, globalisation has dictated that UK companies now become trans-national corporations, as with the operations of such companies as Cable and Wireless and British Petroleum Company. A trans-national corporation (TNC) is an enterprise that operates or has branches in more than one country.

TNC’s are usually so structured that one “corporate” branch exerts influence over the others, and/or resources, responsibilities, knowledge, and protocol are shared among them. Trans-national corporations participate in many globalising activities, and in the countries that host them they contribute in many ways to the dynamics of the economy. One of the major ways in which TNC’s participate in the economic activities of the host country through the passing on of valuable information, education and technologies to the developing or host country.

These activities, both individually and collectively, have the potential impact host countries in different ways, and these ways depend heavily on how human resources are managed overseas. Within the UK, the diplomatic management

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of human resources comes into play during recruitment. It is also responsible for what is contained in employee contracts, and this includes the aspects of social policy, such as social security benefits, leave, responsibility for work injuries, etc. Managers are responsible too for knowing the talents of the members of their workforce, as this knowledge will lead to better deployment.

This is to the advantage of production as well as to the advantage of the employees, who achieve a sense of worth and fulfilment in utilising their best skills. Human resource development is also an important part of human resource management, and while the managers in UK firms play a large role in this, in other countries its HR managers often take a less active role. In the case of UK management in other countries, HRM has proved to be severely underdeveloped in comparison with that practised within the United Kingdom itself.

The ratio of managers to employees in UK and Irish companies are far better than entities that exist in such countries as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In fact, according to the Federation of European Employers the overall ratio of persons trained in human resource management to the rest of the staff in the UK is 1:127. This can be compared to that of other states in the EU (with the exception of Ireland and Sweden), which stands at 1: 2790. With the newest member states of the EU, this ratio is even higher.

United Kingdom managers are, therefore, in charge of over twenty times fewer employees than their other European counterparts, and this means that more of the UK employees get the privilege of being handled individually. HR management in trans-national ventures must become more intentional and more involved if UK companies hope to profit in such global economies. UK home-based practices realise that “effective management policies lead to employee competence and commitment, congruence between the objectives of employees and management, and is more cost effective” (Price, 2004).

However, managers in other countries have tended to a more stand-offish relationship with the foreign employees. This is where the differences in practice between UK-companies and international enterprise has become more pronounced. As it stands, while some states such as the United Kingdom have very advanced policies and robust human resource departments, practices in other states demonstrate a less developed level of management of its human capital.

Yet, since one risks a lot more within a population that differs in education, culture, and work practices, it lessens the risk when human resource managers become more actively involved in the lives and production of workers in overseas affiliates. Social policies are at the heart of human resource management in the United Kingdom, and within overseas businesses, managerial positions must also reflect attention to the social practices that are required by the UK law.

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