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Managing HR in multinational corporations - Orange example

29th Jul 2016
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Orange S.A. is one of the largest telecommunication companies, with more than 170,000 employees around the world.

At this very moment, they offer 1,017 job positions. Most of these positions are offered in Europe (728), with Africa being a runner up with 167 job posts. In this article we will use this company as an example of successful multinational HR management practice.

Why should multinational companies use unique HR management strategies?

Survey conducted in 2004, by Alberto Bayo Moriones, Jose E Galdon-Sanchez and Maia Guell called Do Multinationals Adopt Different Human Management Policies? determined that more than 60% of multinational firms adopted different HRM practices. This trend is very popular in European and American multinational firms, while Japanese multinationals mainly stick to the HR management practices they implement in their home country.

From the survey results we can conclude that HR management in multinational companies requires a unique approach, and company policies that concern foreign subsidiaries and employees from other countries can’t be rewritten from the domestic HR master plan. Some of the most common challenges multinational companies are facing in terms of HR management include:

  • HR disconnect- Multinational companies need to implement the same policies and procedures on recruiting, hiring, benefits and compensation in all of their branches and business units across the globe.

  • Cultural divide- Main goal of HR management in multinational companies is to build global employee community with unique company culture and values. This can be tricky because diverse languages, cultures and customs can hinder the alignment of HR policies in different company branches.

  • Legal compliance- Every country has its own labor law and HR department of each foreign subsidiary needs to fully align company policies with it.

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What’s unique in Orange S.A.’s HR management strategy?

The company recently introduced their Essentiels2020 strategic plan. One part of it is dedicated to establishing a new kind of relationship between the company and its employees.

Their goal is to create a completely new work environment that will motivate 9 out of 10 employees to recommend Orange (as a perfect employer) to their friends, colleagues and acquaintances by the year 2020. They plan to do this by implementing three essential strategies for creating new employee prospects:

  • Securing the skills needed for tomorrow- Since communication niche is changing at a very fast pace, Orange offers a wide range of training and development programs to its employees. Assigning employees from different countries to the same training courses, strengthens their sense of belonging and establishes a unique company culture.
  • Developing collective agility- This step from Essentials2020 is trying to improve overall productivity in Orange S.A. foreign subsidiaries. It will assign all Orange S.A. workers with the same advanced tools in order to improve their working life quality and enhance inter-subsidiary cooperation. It also targets HR disconnect challenge and it unifies all company employees under one roof.
  • Fostering individual commitment- Orange offers career opportunities for people from all around the world. From this huge productive mix of expertise, languages, customs and cultures, Orange is trying to bring out the best talents and award them with higher management positions. During this process, many experts are assigned to multicultural teams or transferred to offices of foreign subsidiaries.

Foreign subsidiaries of big multinational companies like Orange S.A. also need to comply with all the local laws. Several foreign departments received praises from local governments and consumers. One of them is Orange Jordan, which has become one of the most trusted telecommunication companies in the Middle East. In terms of HR we should also mention Orange Luxemburg that received Top Employers Luxemburg, Top Employers Europe and Top Employers Global certification in 2016.

Orange S.A. is just an example of how one huge system with hundreds of thousands of employees can be brought to perfection by innovative HR management. Other multinational companies are facing the same challenges in this business segment and they’ve introduced their own inventive solutions. That is why entrepreneurs should always study HR management models of larger corporate entities, before they decide to set up a foreign subsidiary and use the benefits of offshoring.

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