Notes from HRN Europe, Budapest

A report from HRN Europe, Budapest .

Last week I presented at the HRN Europe conference in Budapest: two sessions – one on matrix management and the other on the HR matrix. Several big questions appeared as recurring themes.

The challenges of centrally created training, delivered locally

How can you provide a local flavour to training that is created ‘centrally’?

This is a problem we hear many times over, but it seems particularly conspicuous in the context of Central and Eastern Europe.

For the most part, the answer is usually to add elements of locally generated content/activity to plug gaps in local skills development.

This really is just an extension of standard good training practise – course content tailored to the needs of attendees.

Multiple managers

The problem of multiple managers is exaggerated in tough economic times: ‘head offices’ will try and centralise as much as possible – create once, use many – and pool resources.

This makes a lot of sense, but there are some genuine practicalities in implementing, particularly for the ‘pooled resource’. If they have to work in part with open, collaborative teams for part of the time, and for hierarchical teams for others, it can prove challenging for managers (who can fall back less on traditional power and authority) and employee alike.

People facing these challenges may find some these resources useful:

Influence without authority:

Tools for cross-cultural success:

The onion

The culture abacus

Matrix management training:

Employee Mobility

One of the continued challenges in Central and eastern Europe is employee mobility.

The complexity of languages and differences between the countries are clearly defined – linguistically, someone speaking Slovakian and someone speaking Hungarian will be mutually unintelligible.

Many successful multinationals have a widely spoken, accessible ‘company language’, be that German, French, or, more usually, English is a factor in the success of cross border operations, particularly where functions like purchasing and HR are delivered, at leastin part, centrally.

Whilst language training isn’t an area that we focus on as a company, I have noted in my training of cross-cultural teams that having a single language is hugely helpful.Even Asian electronics companies are using English, and it’s an absolute imperative when it comes to airlines/pilots.

However, for language training to be successful beyond a certain level, it needs to have been immersive training – not an evening course twice a week. There’s very few companies that could afford intensive language training for every single employee, but with careful training selection, there’s always a way.

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