Dear Workforce

Article excerpt

Working With a World of HRMS Differences

Dear Workforce:

What is the biggest difference between electronic-enabled HR implementation in Europe and the United States?

-HR Across the Pond, education,

Blaricum, The Netherlands

Dear Across the Pond:

David Schonthal and Rachel Shaw, senior consultants at Deloitte & Touche, say that there are a number of distinct differences that are factors in the deployment of electronic-enabled HR systems in the United States versus Europe. Many of these are, not surprisingly, based on cultural issues. As a general trend, purely European deployments of systems must accommodate a greater number of variables than exist in U.S. systems.

For example, in European countries where health care can be both public and private, the HRMS must be capable of housing and processing all possible data combinations therein. Other such variable data can include multiple currency inputs, government as well as privately administered pensions and benefits, multiple languages, and more.

Conversely, purely American HRMS deployments have the inherent simplicity of being more uniform across organizations. Systems are not required to be as flexible, considering that issues such as multiple currencies, benefits administration, and language differences will not come into play. As a resuit, the data formats will be largely the same, and require far less customization among various organizations within the United States.

This said, if organizations are using their HRMS systems to administer global workforces, all bets are off, and the need for flexibility and vast customization is even more pronounced during implementation.

Perhaps the largest difference between HRMS implementations in the United States and Europe centers on the issue of data protection. The countries of the European Union-as well as other European states-- have very clearly defined laws outlining how personal data may be collected, contained, and transferred. As a result of this legal structure, European systems must comply with all data-protection standards set by the participating countries.

The United States is notably less stringent in regard to personal data protection, which means that HRMS implementations are more easily completed. However, as mentioned above, companies putting such systems to use in a global capacity must be aware of all regulations for international data protection, and ensure that their technology is compliant.

Checking Up on Current Staffers

Dear Workforce:

We want to institutionalize a policy of performing background checks on some employees. What steps do we take if we find something in an existing employee's history? As a nonprofit, are there any special considerations we should be aware of?

-Stepping Gingerly,

recruiting coordinator, nonprofit,

New York City

Dear Stepping Gingerly:

This advice comes from Lester S. Rosen, attorney and founder of Employment Screening Resources:

Since the events of September 11, many organizations have been revisiting their policies concerning pre-employment background checks and safe hiring. In reviewing background-checking policies, one question that has been coming up is: Should current employees be screened, or should the policy apply only to new applicants?

Employers are also increasingly concerned about multimillion-dollar jury verdicts that have resulted from negligent-hiring cases. For a nonprofit organization providing public services, there is always the issue of legal exposure if an unscreened staff member causes harm.

There are two factors to consider in screening current employees-legal and practical. It is perfectly legal to screen current employees as long as all of their rights are respected. A current employee is entitled to the same legal rights as a new applicant (and if there is a union involved, perhaps even more rights). …