RK Software Limited defines designs and delivers technology-enabled business solutions to its clients.It is considered as one of the fastest growing software company in India. The company has a global presence through strategic alliance with leading technology providers located in different parts of the world. In fact, it conducts its global operations through its 11 overseas offices located in countries like the USA,UK, China, Poland, South Africa, Australia, the Philippines and Argentina. The company has 16,000 employees, of which 5200 are expatriates on an international assignment at any point of time. It has an international HR division as part of the well- developed HR department to prepare, expatriate and repatriate the employees linked to foreign assignments. The HR department of this company is managed by Mr. Prabal Kumar, who is the director (HR). The International Human Resource (IHR) division is headed by AGM (IHR) Mr. Srinivasan Patel, who is responsible for identifying, training, orienting and compensating the expatriate employees. He is also responsible for evaluating the performance of the expatriate on overseas missions. Since RK Software Limited gets a sizeable portion of its income from overseas operations, it has spent a considerable amount of time and resources to develop a global HR system. Yet, the international division of this company faces a few specific problems like high employee attrition among expatriates and a high cost of maintaining them on international assignments. An employee satisfaction survey conducted among the expatriates revealed employee dissatisfaction over performance evaluation and pay differences. Some of the expatriates complained that the IHR division was ignoring the dissimilarity in the expatriate assignments and foreign situation while evaluating the performance of the expatriateemployees in the same positions posted to different countries. As such the international performance management tools have failed to recognize the country-or-region-specific difficulties in job performance. Another major problem associated with the expatriate assignment is the high cost of maintaining expatriates on overseas jobs. RK Software Limited estimated the cost of using local employees. The management also felt that the expatriates often overemphasized short-term results rather than the necessary long-term results since they were aware that they would be working in the foreign assignment only for a few years. The management sought the view of the HR department about the expatriate problems and instructed it to develop strategies to overcome them. The HR department forwarded the letter to the IHR division for its views and responses. Mr. Patel, in his reply, defended both the performance evaluation system for expatriates and the practice of deputing parent-country employees. Regarding performance evaluation, he maintained that a cross-section of the employees, including expatriates, was consulted while designing the international performance standards and evaluation techniques. Thus, the international performance management system was objective and comprehensive. As regards, the high cost associated with the expatriate employees, he wanted the present system to continue in the future despite managerial vacancies. According to him, the expatriate system enabled the company to have a better and direct control over the foreign branches. When his response was placed before the management, there was a sense of disappointment among the top managers. This was because the response from IHR division was devoid of any concrete solution. Understandably, the management was seriously thinking its next move. Questions: 1) What is your understanding of the issues faced by RK Software Limited in its overseas operations? (10 marks) 2) What is your opinion about the response of the IHR division to the queries raised by the management? Accordingly to you, what should the management do now to address the problems of high attrition and cost in international operations? (10 marks)
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