This article was updated on August 22, 2018.
Business has become increasingly global, which makes company-wide education requirements a challenge for HR leaders. In multinational firms, several employees who hold the same position in different locations may actually have widely varied educational and training backgrounds. When education systems are diverse across international borders, HR leaders need to know how to define standards that can be fairly implemented for job descriptions, compensation and promotion.
For instance, employers can expect U.S. students with a high school diploma to have certain skills and knowledge, but the same level of education in Australia may represent different skills or knowledge. This is why it is so important to take the time and effort to establish educational requirements that are comparable in various locations. Employees will avoid starting out with a steep learning curve that puts them behind others in the same positions, and employers can avoid remedial training to get new employees up to speed.
To implement company-wide education requirements that will be comparable across regions, consider these five tips.
1. Partner With Educational Institutions
In every country in which your business operates, work to forge relationships with leaders in local school systems, universities or technical training schools. Obtain copies of curriculum or course objectives for the courses of study that most often produce employees for your business to compare and contrast with those of similar educational programs in other countries.
2. Create an Education Committee
Appoint a team to examine the various courses of study and develop a classification system for various degrees or courses completed. For instance, completion of a certain group of courses or learning certain skills would be classified as Education Level I, II or III. Each position would be matched with the appropriate level of education for that job. And in each country or location, the degrees or educational attainments that constitute that level would be required for that position. The same system can also work for education levels required for promotions or compensation boosts.
3. Provide Extensive On-the-Job Training
Even if HR leaders make every effort to ensure that employees in various countries come to the job with equivalent educational experiences, no worker's education should ever be complete. HR leaders from across the organization's footprint should regularly communicate to develop appropriate pathways for ongoing education and training. Even if employees join the firm with varied educational experiences, they can participate in regular education throughout their tenure, which will certainly level the playing field. The mark of many of the most successful multinational businesses is an emphasis on continuous training and development.
4. Streamline Global HR Policies
To streamline policies, it could mean also creating a systematic way to bring managers together. Consider appointing a global HR policy committee that includes representatives from multinational locations to govern decisions, including those related to training and education. Automating your talent management programs can also help you streamline your global HR policies. With an automated system, you can identify gaps in workers' knowledge and skills and quickly move to fill those gaps.
5. Communicate Regularly With Leaders in Global Locations
To ensure that training programs are working well for employees in locations around the world, HR leaders should be in regular communication with managers across offices. That may mean conducting regular conference calls or instituting an online messaging system or message board to stay in touch and informed about training issues.
Automated talent management programs can help you grow and align your employees around the world, and working to connect educational requirements for all candidates and employees is an important step toward creating a more aligned global enterprise.