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HRM Practices in Australia

Discuss about the Integration Strategy and Human Resource Management.

Human Resource Management or (HRM) is an organisational function dealing with the recruitment, management, training and development of the employees working in the organisation. Increasing globalisation has made people management more sophisticated and complicated as more number of corporations are becoming global. HRM deals with the management of people and hence it is least likely to converge between countries. It may not be easy to manage people in different countries using same HRM practices and policies. Irrespective of their origin, it is necessary to learn the successful HRM practices because of continuous globalisation (Boxall and Purcell 2011). This paper reviews the HRM practices operating Australia, US and Canada. The essay presents an overview of HRM in each country. The essay focuses on the three elements of HRM of recruitment selection, training and development and performance management. The essay provides a comparative analysis of these three elements of HRM between the three selected countries as well as highlighting the issues related to culture. When dealing with employees from different cultures it is crucial to shape the cultural values of the organisation and motivating the employees. A literature review is performed to support the facts in the essay. This comparative study provides an understanding of how the HRM practices in three countries work and it highlights what it entails for the possibilities of learning from one another.

In Australia, the HR managers make a recruiting plan to ensure recruitment of diverse pool of participants. Employees are allowed to participate by making referrals or interview. The line mangers disseminate the information about vacant positions to potentially qualified applicants both internally and externally abiding all the legal regulations. Based on the Hofstede analysis (detailed in Appendix) the culture in Australia is individualistic (McGraw 2014). The employees are expected to be self-reliant and take initiatives. However, the communication between the employees and the managers is open and free and to some extent people may have moral and cultural connections with their jobs. The hiring and selection procedure is based on the merit or on the experiences of the employees (what they have done and what they can do). Work culture is based on the shared values of the people, which is “strive for the best” and “winners takes all” (Jackson 2014). The superiors are always accessible to the employees to address their needs. The managers are dependent on the individual employees for their expertise. The training and development of the staff is based on the competencies needed by them for achieving the organisational goals and to manage the personal differences such as race, ethnicity, age and gender (McGraw 2014).

HRM Practices in US

The HRM policy in US is defined by set of principles designed to solve a set of problems. These principles were developed by Taylor in 1964 in US after his pioneering study in the field of scientific management (Kaufman 2014). According to Taylor, for an organisation to be successful, both human skills and organisational competencies are essential (McLean and Budhwani 2016). Based on Hofstede analysis the culture in US is very individualistic (Kaufman 2014). People are goal oriented and the employees lack moral connections to their jobs. The managers of the organisation give high level of importance and preference to the knowledge than anything else. The US managers consider knowledge as an asset and highly knowledgeable people are rewarded for their contribution. The skills pyramid is presented as a large base with small top. The small group represented on the top posses high knowledge. The recruitment system in US is neither strongly based on the position nor on the career. The employee selection criteria in US are based on previous experience and extensive interview. The training and development provided to the people is based on their needs and demands of the specific post. These factors form a basis of HRM model of US (Zeichner and Hollar 2016).

The Canada’s HRM model is strategic in nature. The HRM practices in Canada are largely linked to the strategic objectives. Based on Hofstede analysis the culture in Canada is very individualistic (Zeichner and Hollar 2016). The employees of this nation prefer and are autonomous. They exhibit self-control indecision-making and do not depend on external guidance for working. They tend to take initiatives with minimum supervision. The HR managers recruit employees either internally and externally. They recruit best personnel for the job using skills tests, talent acquisition programs, and by helping the applicants to get a right person for the job. Canada is a secular country and the HRM practices are not affected by the discriminations with respect to age, religion, race and caste. The recruitment system in Canada is strongly based on career. People are goal oriented and the employees lack moral connections to their jobs (McLean and Budhwani 2016).

For any organisation preparing for globalisation, the most important factor it must focus on is culture. The term “culture” refers to the patterned ways of reacting, feeling and thinking which are acquired through socialisation and social learning (Weber et al. 2013). Culture means a set of cognitions that are shared by all or several groups of members in a society. Traditions and attached values are the core of culture. According to Hoftsted analysis the five dimensions to culture are Individualism, Power Distance, Masculinity/Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance and Long Term Orientation (Hofstede 2011) (Appendix). HR managers need to deal with people from diverse cultural background. HRM should facilitate cross-cultural interactions for better results. HRM play a crucial role in shaping the cultural values of organisation. Lack of cross cultural interactions hampers relationships between people, motivational orientation, and attitudes towards workplace (Thomas and Peterson 2014). Therefore, HRM practices should not ignore the cultural dimensions mentioned when globalising the operations to successfully achieve organisational objectives.

HRM Practices in Canada

The figure below depicts the difference in cultural dimensions between Australia, Canada and US. More or less all the three countries exhibit low context cultures that is individualistic with US being highly individualistic culture. Australia has high uncertainly avoidance followed by Canada and US (Taras et al. 2012). US has high power distance index followed by Canada and Australia. The culture of long-term orientation is high in Australia followed by US and then Canada (Chathoth et al. 2011) (See Appendix for Hofstede’s cultural dimensions).


HR managers play a vital role in recruitment and selection of competent staff for the organisation to make it more socially and environmentally responsible. Efficient decision-making is important which means HR should assign employees as per their talent. Their role is essential in the recruitment strategy, identifying potential gaps and setting the correct measures in the whole recruitment process (Buller and McEvoy 2012).  Analysing the recruitment and selection element of HRM practice, it was found that in Australia and Canada people are recruited by advertising the job vacancies within either the government or open to the public. In all the three countries, employees are selected after recruitment if they meet the merit criteria such as the requirement of official language, essential qualifications for job, and others. The US firms highly prefer and recruits well educated and trained people having “Go for it” attitude. The recruitment system in Canada is strongly based on career whereas in Australia it is neither strongly based on the position nor on the career (Grenier and Xue 2011). The hiring objectives in Canada and Australia are set at “workforce availability levels” for designated groups such as women, disabled, Aboriginals, and visible minorities (Teo et al. 2011). However, compared to US, in Canada and Australia, the recruitment policies are affected by the socio-cultural factors such as discrimination based on race, ethnicity and colour. Since the uncertainty avoidance index is higher in Australia than Canada and US, Australians may prefer clear cut job descriptions and responsibilities.

It is necessary for the HR managers to create an inclusive and equitable work climate. It necessitates the need of performance assessment (Buciuniene and Kazlauskaite 2012). Assessing the staff performance, will help determine the level of performance management required in the organisation. Performance appraisals and reference checks are used to assess the merit criteria which is mainly performed for creating promotional opportunities (Brewster and Mayrhofer 2012). The analysis of performance assessment elements of HRM practice, showed that US firms offers bonus schemes to employees for their motivation. Few years ago US has introduced the skills auditing system. US firms have the tendency of evaluating the employees work only once in a year and have recently introduced the system of presenting newsletter (Teo et al. 2011). However, most of the Australian firms evaluate the work performance of the employees more than once a year. There is a low level of implementation of skills auditing and offering bonus schemes in Australian firms (Stanton et al. 2010). The use of performance assessment in HR decisions in Canada is similar to US except that the assessment in Canada most of the firms focus on middle and senior managers and staff evaluation is performed twice a year. Canada offers “performance related pay” scheme that ranges from 15-39% of base salary (Akbari 2011). However, it is mainly offered to senior staff rather than all the employees as in US. This type of discrimination may add to high job attrition.

Importance of Culture in HRM


HRM practices should support the employees addressing their needs and adding learning value. Therefore, the training and development practices of HRM include addressing the immediate concerns of the employees and reduce staff turnover. Getting a right person for the right job is not always sufficient. Employee motivation is essential to ensure a consistent performance with the long-term goals of the organisation. These practices are useful for narrowing skill gaps as well as for conducting career planning (Weber et al. 2013). Analysing the training and development element of HRM practice revealed that US and Canada practices conducting regular meetings between the employees and the senior managers for their training and development. These practices are being implemented for longer than the Australian firms. Australia had recently introduced the system of regular meetings between the employees and the senior managers. Australia has specialists available on call for ergonomic assessments in workplace setting. These programs are designed for career development of the employees and enhance their skills-sets aligning with their respect goals (Edwards et al. 2014). In Australia the meetings are held only when every can one attend (Stanton et al. 2010). In US the companies provide training for employees on own cost benefits and does not depend on institutions to provide pressures. In US and Canada due to individualistic culture and employees being self interested in their pursuits, the training in these countries is viewed as means of building interpersonal and technical skills of employees (Buciuniene and Kazlauskaite 2012). Therefore, in tight labour market the individualistic employees find better positions using the newly acquired skills. Unlike in US both in Australia and in Canada training and development of staff is focused mainly on positions requiring mandatory training (Akbari 2011)


It can be concluded that the US firms are more sophisticated than the Australian firms in terms of their HRM practices. In approaching the HRM practices, US value its employees as “resources”. It may be due to this sophisticated HRM practices (operationally) that US have stable environment with relatively less competitive atmosphere. Australia and Canada also have well established regulations for HRM but are less stringently implemented when compared to US. Various research papers also indicates that unlike US, both in Australia and Canada the HRM practices are influenced by the socio-cultural factors. However, the last decade had showed significant transition in the HRM practices and policies in both Australia and Canada with the help of government support. Overall, there is no vast difference of HRM practice in Australia and Canada but then both the countries are different from US in this context. Majority of the firms in Australia do not or have low level of implementation of the HRM practices and policies. There is a minute difference between the three countries with respect to cultural dimensions therefore; it is possible for Australia and Canada to adopt sophisticated HRM practices implemented in US. It is particularly recommended to the Australian managers to consider the HRM practices more thoroughly. Though HRM has a multifaceted nature, particular approach adopted by the managers is another tool in their competitive repertoire.

Comparison of Cultural Dimensions

References

Akbari, A.H., 2011. Labor market performance of immigrants in smaller regions of western countries: some evidence from Atlantic Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration/Revue de l'integration et de la migration internationale, 12(2), pp.133-154.

Boxall, P. and Purcell, J., 2011. Strategy and human resource management. Palgrave Macmillan.

Brewster, C. and Mayrhofer, W. eds., 2012. Handbook of research on comparative human resource management. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Buciuniene, I. and Kazlauskaite, R., 2012. The linkage between HRM, CSR and performance outcomes. Baltic Journal of Management, 7(1), pp.5-24.

Buller, P.F. and McEvoy, G.M., 2012. Strategy, human resource management and performance: Sharpening line of sight. Human resource management review, 22(1), pp.43-56.

Chathoth, P.K., Mak, B., Sim, J., Jauhari, V. and Manaktola, K., 2011. Assessing dimensions of organizational trust across cultures: A comparative analysis of US and Indian full service hotels. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(2), pp.233-242.

Edwards, T., Lavelle, J., Minbaeva, D., Sanchez-Mangas, R. and Jalette, P., 2014. Global Standardization or National Differentiation of HRM Practices in Multinational Companies?. In Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business. Academy of International Business.

Grenier, G. and Xue, L., 2011. Canadian immigrants’ access to a first job in their intended occupation. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 12(3), pp.275-303.

Hofstede, G., 2011. Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online readings in psychology and culture, 2(1), p.8.

Jackson, D., 2014. Factors influencing job attainment in recent Bachelor graduates: evidence from Australia. Higher Education, 68(1), pp.135-153.

Kaufman, B.E., 2014. 18. The origins, evolution, and current status of human resource management in the United States. The Development of Human Resource Management Across Nations: Unity and Diversity, p.461.

Mazanec, J.A., Crotts, J.C., Gursoy, D. and Lu, L., 2015. Homogeneity versus heterogeneity of cultural values: An item-response theoretical approach applying Hofstede's cultural dimensions in a single nation. Tourism Management, 48, pp.299-304.

McGraw, P., 2014. A review of human resource development trends and practices in Australia: Multinationals, locals, and responses to economic turbulence. Advances in developing human resources, pp. 92-107.

McLean, G.N. and Budhwani, N., 2016. 10 Human Resource Development in Canada and the United States. Global Human Resource Development: Regional and Country Perspectives, p.191.

Stanton, P., Young, S., Bartram, T. and Leggat, S.G., 2010. Singing the same song: translating HRM messages across management hierarchies in Australian hospitals. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(4), pp.567-581.

Taras, V., Steel, P. and Kirkman, B.L., 2012. Improving national cultural indices using a longitudinal meta-analysis of Hofstede's dimensions. Journal of World Business, 47(3), pp.329-341.

Teo, S.T., Le Clerc, M. and Galang, M.C., 2011. Human capital enhancing HRM systems and frontline employees in Australian manufacturing SMEs. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(12), pp.2522-2538.

Thomas, D.C. and Peterson, M.F., 2014. Cross-cultural management: Essential concepts. Sage Publications.

Weber, W., Festing, M. and Dowling, P.J. eds., 2013. Management and International Review: Cross-Cultural and Comparative International Human Resource Management. Springer Science & Business Media.

Zeichner, K. and Hollar, J., 2016. Developing professional capital in teaching through initial teacher education: comparing strategies in Alberta Canada and the US. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 1(2), pp.110-123.

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