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International Human Resource Development

International Human Resource Development
Part A:  (3500 words)
Petrocom – learning in a global context
International Oil Company (Petrocom) is involved in the exploration, drilling, processing and wholesale and retail sale of oil and petrochemical products.
The organisation has experienced decline in profitability when compared to the two leading companies in the sector and as a consequence of this, the Chief Executive announced a programme of cost saving reductions (32% target within 18 months) in support functions.
To achieve this there has been a decision to relocate head office functions from a single centre based in Houston, USA to multiple centres around the world.  The reasoning behind this is that currently staff and accommodation are too expensive in Houston and that legacy Houston operations are not really able to support what is now a genuinely global organisation.  So, the following strategy has been agreed by the company executive:
•    Instead of one vast Head Quarters (HQ) operation based in Houston, USA, there is a requirement to:
o    Retain key business leaders in Houston
o    Relocate support operations to better facilitate 24/7 operation on a global basis
o    Reduce staffing and accommodation costs by 32% long term (although initial project investment means this will not be realised immediately)
o    Reduce HQ Operational HR head count by 85% within 18 months.
The HR Vice President (VP) agreed to have the HR team be the first to change its operational structure, so that it was able to act as a role model of good practice for later departments also transferring out of Houston (eg IT and Finance).   Additionally the VP suggested that those working in HR after the staff reduction/transition would be able to produce good people based advice for subsequent transition projects.
What does this means in detail?
o    The creation of 3 HR service centres, with one located to support EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); a second to support Asia and a third to support the Americas
o    To locate these service centres in an cost-effective country able to support the organisation’s objective of ‘excellence through effective operations and innovation’ – one key objective is to generate some of the savings required by HQ by using new staff (lower wage cost regional workers) not by simply transferring staff on a long term basis from Houston.
o    Each service centre will provide HR policy advice to field operations staff as well as advice to non-HR staff located at the company HQ in Houston.  Each service centre will operate for 12 hours a day to cover when their region comes ‘on stream’ and to facilitate interactions with Head Office.
o    All service centres can take calls from around the world on HR issues and policy but it is expected that they will, in the majority, support their own region.  There is however a requirement to engage in cross-regional and head office based projects and initiatives.
You are an internal Learning and Development (L & D) Consultant and have been asked by the Head of Talent Development (who reports to the HR VP) to produce a discussion document which will generate proposals on how best to support this transfer.  You have been specifically asked to concentrate on L & D issues as they are your area of expertise.   You are required to:
•    Highlight the L & D issues and make recommendations to resolve them – bearing in mind the requirement of the business to reduce its long term cost base and achieve the company’s objective of: ‘excellence through effective operations and innovation’.  You therefore need to make sure your recommendations are cost effective and contribute to the overall strategy.
•    Develop a time-sensitive plan for the project identifying development interventions, delivery patterns, potential outcomes and timescales.
•    You need to ensure you plan covers the development of all staff within the service centre.
•    You will need to base your recommendation on the latest robust learning and development research (this is much more likely to be academic rather than consultancy texts) and case studies as this is a paper that will ultimately be presented by the HR VP to the company’s Executive.  You will therefore need to adopt a formal report writing approach to include abstract, introduction/overview, discussion, conclusion, recommendations and bibliography (which should be Harvard referenced).
You will need to consider:
•    There is a very tight time frame – the first service centre is supposed to switch on in 6 months’ time.  This will be the America’s service centre, 3 months later the EMEA service centre is programmed to open and 3 months after that the Asian service centre.  It is anticipated that the majority of HR operational staff at HQ will leave the business between the opening of the EMEA and Asia service centres.
•    If there are any external sources of learning and development support which may exist in the locations you are recommending for the service centres.
•    The process of taking tacit and explicit knowledge from the centre and sharing/capturing it for consistent use by the all levels of staff within the service centres.
•    It is anticipated that ultimately the service centres will be run by host country nationals, however it is expected that for the first 3 years, 50% of the top team (Head, Deputy Head and at least one team leader) will come from HQ – either on secondment or as a permanent transfer.
•    Appropriately developing capabilities amongst the service centre top team, also team leaders, supervisors and help desk staff
•    Creating a learning and development culture and cross-border capabilities within the service centre teams.
•    Service centre team leaders are recruited on their language (English) and previous service centre experience (usually customer service and sales related – not HR support).  It is unlikely that many of them have pre-existing supervisory/people development capabilities.
•    Existing career and progression frameworks will need to change as there is no-longer a clear path to HQ senior roles.
Part 2: Personal Reflection  (1000 words)
Reflecting on your experience and learning from the module, explore one aspect of the module which you found particularly engaging as a potential HRD professional.  As part of this exploration:
•    Discuss why you feel this is an interesting topic/aspect of HRD and reflect on what you have gained from your experiences on the module
•    Identify implications for your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).  Consider how you will further strengthen your knowledge, skills and competencies in this area.
For your reflection you may consider any aspect of your learning on this module e.g. a seminar topic or your own student-led session (or that led by another student group).

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