In the world of business today, organizations must be flexible and have self directed employees who are well trained. According to Caret (2007), the development of an HR strategy in any organization is very important to address issues of employee retention, promotion, training, hiring, and compensation among other pertinent HRM issues. In the leadership of the company, developing an HR strategy that involves women would first look at the business strategy of the company and any factors that may affect its operations like new technology, competitors and natural hindrances that affect their active participation.
The concept of gender equity in the work place is a concept that has faced many challenges throughout history. Indeed, the achievement of gender parity in employment is a journey that is much far from being accomplished. In any case, challenges normally abound in the bid to make such realizations. Attempts by advocacy groups, legislations and other interventionist measures have generally achieved a lot in terms of seeking to attain gender parity and equity in recruitment and women representation. Hopefully, the concept has gathered much talk, and several parties are generally involved in ensuring the achievement of this cause. Without doubt, women in the work place will become a core agenda in the workforce fraternity contrary to the present preoccupation where men dominate the field.
Since most female employees form part of either unskilled or semi-skilled, there is need to develop a comprehensive training program to elevate the women who are keen to improve on their careers, which either can be on-the-job or off-the-job training. Since training is a key ingredient towards employee and organizational development, it must be a continuous exercise aimed at sharpening employee skills and acquisition of new knowledge to improve on performance.
Today’s business world is a competitive marketplace. It is one that cannot hope to function or survive without collaboration within the company. Integration of all departments within the company is essential for the company’s well-being and prosperity. This fact is based on the single principle that HR helps integrate the workforce in the corporate decision making process from a subjective point of view. At the foundation of any company’s success or failure, its people stand as the primary factor in shaping whatever result comes out to be. Therefore, decisions regarding the organization’s workforce need to be considered very carefully before they are actually taken (Dessler, 2001). The Human Resource department is responsible not only for aligning decisions about the people associated with the company, with the decisions about the company itself but also for the integration of those decisions into the overall corporate strategies and policies.
The functioning of international or global companies in the global environment uses different approaches to enhance its competitiveness. The mode by which these companies find their employees, compensate, train and promote varies widely with culture as they attempt to treat employees equitably and in a culturally appropriate manner. Therefore, the human resource practices must be contingent to the company’s strategic plans as this facilitates the implementation of the company’s strategies successfully (Caligiuri & Stroh, 1995).
The people within the company are the one that sell and market, develop and create products, and implement the companies’ programs. Therefore, the human resource is vital to the success of the company. The maximization of female employees effectiveness by the human resource needs to be strategic and in accordance with the mission and goals of the company. There are various international human resource management strategies which are associated with the international management strategies to ultimately affect the strategies with overall effectiveness of the company. The strategies that companies adopt include ethnocentric human resource management, polycentric, geocentric, and regiocentric human resource management (Treven, 2001).
Safe and comfortable workplace environment is important in improving the productivity of employees and wellbeing of everybody. Any form of actions or acts that might intimidate or affect people at workplace can, therefore, reduce productivity and performance of individuals. In organizations, safe and comfortable working environment is necessary for delivery of services and optimal performance of the personnel. Good relationships among colleagues are crucial in decision making process. Workplace harassment of females has not only been reported but has not been worked on for a long time.
Sexual harassment in the work place is very common and refers to “any form of sexual activity which makes a person or the victim to feel or appear uncomfortable” (Roach, 2010). The types of sexual harassments that female experience in company settings include gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, sexual remarks and sexual coercion. Sexual harassment is the most common in companies, and it is often perpetrated by the male workforce and co-workers. The forms of sexual harassment that can be directed to either gender in work settings include unwelcome physical contact, inappropriate conversation with sexual content, leering or inappropriate staring or whistling, inappropriate gifts, offensive jokes or comments of sexual nature, posting pictures of sexual nature in work settings, especially in offices, comments about the physical characteristics of an individual and sexually suggestive acts (Treven, 2001)
In addition, sexual harassment in work settings is directed to people of either gender may entail proposition of physical intimacy, demands for dates or sexual favors and remarks about members of a specific gender as a condition for employment.
Women have borne the brunt of sexual harassment because they have traditionally occupied a lower status in the society in particular in the workforce. The same is replicated in company settings where most victims of sexual harassment have been women. Sexual coercion is majorly perpetrated by male colleagues and senior supervisors.
Adopting a Women Centered Policy
A policy is a plan of action which is established to guide the performance of work towards the organization’s objectives. Just like a plan, a policy can be specific or general, abstract or concrete, as well as short term or long term. A policy should explain how objectives are to be achieved and accordingly direct the behavior of people in the organization by specifying the range of acceptable behavior. Some policies are established by top management and apply to all parts of the organization, while other policies can be developed by lower level managers to apply to specific sections of the organization (Armstrong, 2006).
The rational for formulating human resource policies is basically two-fold. First, is to have a formal statement on corporate thinking in order to serve as a guideline for action. Second, to establish consistency in the application of the policies over a period of time everyone in the organization gets a fair and just treatment (Armstrong, 2006). Similarly, policies are statements of the organization’s overall purpose and its objectives in the various areas with which its operations are concerned, for example, personnel, finance, production, marketing among others.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
All companies should provide Equal Employment Opportunities to all including women. They should eliminate and prohibit discrimination of any nature, by according equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to sex, age, disability, race or color. This policy was chosen because its application and impact will cut across different organizations. Whatever kind of business one is engaged in, the principle of Equal Employment Opportunity is diverse since it eliminates discrimination and gives prime importance to merit and ability to perform. This will in turn result in better and improved performance when everybody it treated fairly.
According to Armstrong (2006), when applied rationally and objectively, the EEO policy is bound to improve the firm’s operations in a number of ways and eliminate the injustices of female workers.
- They will act as “control guides” for delegated decision making. They seek to ensure consistency and uniformity in decisions on problems that recur frequently and under similar but not identical circumstances.
- They will ensure certainty of action even when the top management changes. This means that the tenure of office of and manager if finite and limited but the organization continues. This in effect promotes the continuity of policies and promotes stability in the organization.
- They will specify routes towards selected goals by serving as standards or measuring yardsticks for evaluating performance. The actual results can be compared with the policies to determine how well the members of an organization have lived up to their professional intentions.
- They will contribute to employee enthusiasm and loyalty to the organization since they will reflect established principles of fair play and justice, and when they help employees to grow within the organization.
- They will advocate for consistent treatment of all personnel throughout the organization by minimizing favoritism and discrimination. This can be achieved by making sure that employees have a clear understanding of their role in the organization and treated fairly as they contribute to the overall performance and productivity of the organization.
Polycentric and Regiocentric International HRM Practices
This is a practice where the subsidiaries of the parent company are managed by the host countries nationals with some co-ordinations from the headquarters regarding its operations. The host’s country manages the subsidiary even with the absence of an expatriate. This is due to the fact that the employees of the company headquarters are not able to gain valuable perspective of abroad cultures (Caligiuri & Stroh, 1995). The host nationals manage the subsidiary, and they develop into managers even though they cannot be transferred to the parent company due to lack of the organizational culture. There is a little concern for the corporate culture in the polycentric practices of international HRM (Mueller, 2001).
Regiocentric practice is where the host nationals are recruited, in addition to the third-country national where they are selected and developed as managers on the basis of the region. This is due to the consistency with regions boundaries, and the communication and integrations systems being sophisticated for the headquarters to maintain control over the regions. The advantage with this practice is that there are chances for career advancement of the host nationals within the region although it is still limited to the headquarters (Caligiuri & Stroh, 1995). The polycentric practice gives priority to the host national to manage their subsidiary.
This practice is applied when a multinational company has the desire to integrate all its subsidiaries in an effort to meld the worldwide corporate culture. This strategy adopts the worldwide staff positions to the best recruited position regardless of the sex (Mueller, 2001). The practice does not recognize the nationality of the staff as the headquarters, and the subsidiaries are worldwide integrated into a global corporate culture, which is highly unified and not dedicated to the headquarters. Its organizational structure is highly complex, and therefore, requires communication and integration across the borders greatly (Caligiuri & Stroh, 1995). The organization’s values are used by the company as the control strategy, which has the greatest amount of flexibility that accommodates the differences among the foreign cultures. Thus, the employees are able to integrate and internalize the values, behaviors and norms of the global company (Treven, 2001).
The global strategies that focus on the ability of the multinational companies to respond to the local conditions of the foreign environments have been found to be successful in the global competitiveness. The geocentric strategy is the best to employ, due to its capability to incorporate the theoretical ideals. The satisfaction of the local representatives’ ideals at the cost of the global integration has been fulfilled by the polycentric and regiocentric strategies, and thus, can be placed to be the second best (Caligiuri & Stroh, 1995). The strategy of ethnocentric does not focus on the global integration and local representatives as its focus is on the headquarters control thus making it to be the least strategy to adopt. This strategy can lead to failure of the multinational companies, due to its inability to conform to the international cultures (Caligiuri & Stroh, 1995).
Hiring more women is a strategy that should be adopted in the recruitment section. 50 % of the job opportunities should be allocated to women so long as they meet the qualifications. Women should be given absolute rights to maternity and reproductive challenges. Armstrong, (2006), argues that in order to minimize on the negative effects of policy resistance especially from the old workers or male workers, employee involvement and participation is highly advocated. This is a process of incorporating the employee’s views and opinions in the policy development process so that they can have ownership of the outcome.
Cultural challenges exist in effecting equal representation the company. In some countries, it is very difficult for them to accept these women to lead in some potions. As far as the concept of women at the work place is concerned, they too have a big challenge in rising up for the occasion. Some cultures do not allow women to look for income in terms of employment. Their place is known to be in the kitchen. Women have the responsibility of bringing up the family and in this case, they need to be close to the family. As much as the organization may be willing to give them equal opportunities, there remains a challenge for them to accept these opportunities due to the challenges this positions bring along.
Implementation of new policies can be a daunting task to any human resource personnel, especially when the employees do not have a clear understanding of how the policies will improve or impact on their welfare. The organization is an assimilation of people who have come from different backgrounds hence making them react differently to the need for new policies. Some employees, for instance, may prefer written policies for everything, while others would opt for lack of policies but openness to interpretations as situations demand.
Organizations need to devote time and resources in the development of sound policies and practices that gives all the employees and especially women equal opportunities for the betterment of the overall firm’s strategy. An example is having a reward scheme that recognizes best performing women in the work place and giving them rewards. This will improve. Though, the formulation and implementation of such policies may be time consuming, since they require frequent updating in order to be at par with the rising challenges encountered by women, present market values, they should be considered as an investment and can pay large dividends in increased productivity and minimized litigation.