Magazine article Workforce Management

Adopting an Hr Worldview

Magazine article Workforce Management

Adopting an Hr Worldview

Article excerpt

5 Questions MICHAEL STERNKLAR, COO for outsourcing, Mercer

For most companies, achieving success requires not just beating local competitors, but also topping firms in other countries. Only recently has a worldwide perspective been applied to human resources, according to Michael Sternklar, COO for outsourcing at Mercer. Sternklar recently talked with Workforce Management staff writer Mark Schoeff Jr.

Workforce Management: Mercer recently conducted a survey of 60 HR senior executives. How long has the trend of global HR been under way?

Michael Sternklar: Most of the people in our survey have been in global roles for less than three years. Five years ago, a U.S. multinational that had people spread out across the globe wasn't a global company. It was a conglomerate of local companies that happened to work for the same person. The supply chain is now dispersed across countries. That's a new phenomenon. It's a matter of years, not decades.

WM: What is fundamental to the transition to global HR?

Sternklar: The key is to rely on local people to deal with the local issues. Who should do pension administration in the Nordics should be left up to the people in the Nordics, who understand [the country's] pension programs and who the local providers are. When people first got these global jobs, they thought they had to completely run everything centrally. And that doesn't work either.

WM: What are truly global issues?

Sternklar: As I view my workforce as a global workforce, I need to think about moving people across geographical boundaries to fill needs. …

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