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Chapter 6 : 

Chapter 6 Compensation 6/1

Chapter objectives : 

Chapter objectives In the introductory chapter we described IHR managers as grappling with complex issues. International managers must (1) manage more activities from a broader perspective, (2) be more involved in the lives of their far-flung employees, (3) balance the needs of PCNs, HCNs and TCNs, (4) control exposure to financial and political risks and (5) be increasingly aware of and responsive to host-country and regional influences. All of these issues and concerns are brought out in a discussion of compensation issues. In this chapter we: (cont.) 6/2

Chapter objectives (cont.) : 

Chapter objectives (cont.) Examine the complexities that arise when firms move from compensation at the domestic level to compensation in an International context. Detail the key components of an international compensation program. Outline the two main approaches to international compensation and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Examine the special problem areas of taxation, valid international living cost data and the problem of managing TCN compensation. Examine the recent developments and global compensation issues. 6/3

Introduction : 

Introduction Global compensation managers (that is, everyone involved at any level in pay-related decisions) increasingly deal with two areas of focus. They must manage highly complex and turbulent local details while concurrently building and maintaining a unified, strategic pattern of compensation policies, practices and values. (cont.) 6/4

Introduction (cont.) : 

Introduction (cont.) For multinationals successfully to manage compensation and benefits requires knowledge of employment and taxation law, customs, environment and employment practices of many foreign countries, familiarity with currency fluctuations and the effect of inflation on compensation and an understanding of why and when special allowances must be supplied and which allowances are necessary in what countries – all within the context of shifting political, economic and social conditions. 6/5

Objectives of international compensation : 

Objectives of international compensation When developing international compensation policies, a firm seeks to satisfy several objectives. First, the policy should be consistent with the overall strategy, structure and business needs of the multinational. Second, the policy must work to attract and retain staff in the areas where the multinational has the greatest needs and opportunities. Hence the policy must be competitive and recognize factors such as incentive for foreign service, tax equalization and reimbursement for reasonable costs. (cont.) 6/6

Objectives of international compensation (cont.) : 

Objectives of international compensation (cont.) Third, the policy should facilitate the transfer of international employees in the most cost-effective manner for the firm. Fourth, the policy must give due consideration to equity and ease of administration. The international employee will also have a number of objectives that need to be achieved from the firm’s compensation policy. First, the employee will expect the policy to offer financial protection in terms of benefits, social security and living costs in the foreign location. (cont.) 6/7

Objectives of international compensation (cont.) : 

Objectives of international compensation (cont.) Second, the employee will expect a foreign assignment to offer opportunities for financial advancement through income and/or savings. Third, the employee will expect issues such as housing, education of children and recreation to be addressed in the policy. (The employee will also have expectations in terms of career advancement and repatriation, as discussed in Chapters 3, 5 and 7.) (cont.) 6/8

Objectives of international compensation (cont.) : 

Objectives of international compensation (cont.) If we contrast the objectives of the multinational and the employee, we see, of course, the potential for many complexities and possible problems, as some of these objectives cannot be maximized on both sides. Firms must rethink the traditional view that local conditions dominate international compensation strategy. 6/9

Key components of an international compensation program : 

Key components of an international compensation program The area of international compensation is complex primarily because multinationals must cater to three categories of employees: PCNs, TCNs and HCNs. Key components of international compensation are as follows: (cont.) 6/10

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Base salary In a domestic context, base salary denotes the amount of cash compensation serving as a benchmark for other compensation elements (such as bonuses and benefits). For expatriates, it is the primary component of a package of allowances, many of which are directly related to base salary (e.g. foreign service premium, cost-of-living allowance, housing allowance) and also the basis for in-service benefits and pension contributions. It may be paid in home or local-country currency. The base salary is the foundation block for international compensation whether the employee is a PCN or TCN. Major differences can occur in the employee’s package depending on whether the base salary is linked to the home country of the PCN or TCN, or whether an international rate is paid. 6/11

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Foreign service inducement/hardship premium Parent-country nationals often receive a salary premium as an inducement to accept a foreign assignment or as compensation for any hardship caused by the transfer. The definition of hardship, eligibility for the premium and amount and timing of payment must be addressed. In cases in which hardship is determined, US firms often refer to the US Department of State’s Hardship Post Differentials Guidelines to determine an appropriate level of payment. Making international comparisons of the cost of living is problematic. These payments are more commonly paid to PCNs than TCNs. Foreign service inducements, if used, are usually made in the form of a percentage of salary, usually 5–40 per cent of base pay. Such payments vary, depending upon the assignment, actual hardship, tax consequences and length of assignment. 6/12

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Allowances Issues concerning allowances can be very challenging to a firm establishing an overall compensation policy, partly because of the various forms of allowances that exist. The cost-of-living allowance (COLA), which typically receives the most attention, involves a payment to compensate for differences in expenditures between the home country and the foreign country (to account for inflation differentials, for example). The COLA may also include payments for housing and utilities, personal income tax or discretionary items. The provision of a housing allowance implies that employees should be entitled to maintain their home-country living standards (or, in some cases, receive accommodation that is equivalent to that provided for similar foreign employees and peers). 6/13

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Allowances (cont.) Other alternatives include company-provided housing, either mandatory or optional, a fixed housing allowance or assessment of a portion of income, out of which actual housing costs are paid. As a firm internationalizes, formal policies become more necessary and efficient. There is also a provision for home leave allowances. Many employers cover the expense of one or more trips back to the home country each year. Firms allowing use of home leave allowances for foreign travel need to be aware that expatriate employees with limited international experience who opt for foreign travel rather than returning home may become more homesick than other expatriates who return home for a ‘reality check’ with fellow employees and friends. 6/14

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Allowances (cont.) Education allowances for expatriates’ children are also an integral part of any international compensation policy. Allowances for education can cover items such as tuition, language class tuition, enrolment fees, books and supplies, transportation, room and board and uniforms. PCNs and TCNs usually receive the same treatment concerning educational expenses. Relocation allowances usually cover moving, shipping and storage charges, temporary living expenses, subsidies regarding appliance or car purchases (or sales) and down payments or lease-related charges. Allowances regarding perquisites (cars, club memberships, servants10 and so on) may also need to be considered (usually for more senior positions, but this varies according to location). These allowances are often contingent upon tax-equalization policies and practices in both the home and the host countries. 6/15

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Allowances (cont.) Spouse assistance to help guard against or offset income lost by an expatriate’s spouse as a result of relocating abroad. Although some firms may pay an allowance to make up for a spouse’s lost income, US firms are beginning to focus on providing spouses with employment opportunities abroad, either by offering job-search assistance or employment in the firm’s foreign office (subject to a work visa being available). Multinationals generally pay allowances in order to encourage employees to take international assignments and to keep employees ‘whole’ relative to home standards. In terms of housing, companies usually pay a tax-equalized housing allowance in order to discourage the purchase of housing and/or to compensate for higher housing costs. This allowance is adjusted periodically based on estimates of both local and foreign housing costs. 6/16

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Benefits The complexity inherent in international benefits often brings more difficulties than when dealing with compensation. Pension plans are very difficult to deal with country-to-country, as national practices vary considerably. Transportability of pension plans, medical coverage and social security benefits are very difficult to normalize. Firms need to address many issues when considering benefits, including: Whether or not to maintain expatriates in home-country programs, particularly if the firm does not receive a tax deduction for it. Whether firms have the option of enrolling expatriates in host-country benefit programs and/or making up any difference in coverage. Whether expatriates should receive home-country or host-country social security benefits. 6/17

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Benefits (cont.) In some countries, expatriates cannot opt out of local social security programs. In such circumstances, the firm normally pays for these additional costs. European PCNs and TCNs enjoy portable social security benefits within the European Union. Laws governing private benefit practices differ from country to country, and firm practices also vary. Multinationals have generally done a good job of planning for the retirement needs of their PCN employees, but this is generally less the case for TCNs. TCNs may have little or no home-country social security coverage; They may have spent many years in countries that do not permit currency transfers of accrued benefit payments; Or they may spend their final year or two of employment in a country where final average salary is in a currency that relates unfavorably to their home-country currency. 6/18

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) : 

Key components of an international compensation program (cont.) Benefits (cont.) In addition to the already discussed benefits, multinationals also provide vacations and special leave. Included as part of the employee’s regular vacation, annual home leave usually provides airfares for families to return to their home countries. Rest and rehabilitation leave, based on the conditions of the host country, also provides the employee’s family with free airfares to a more comfortable location near the host country. Emergency provisions are available in case of a death or illness in the family. Employees in hardship locations often receive additional leave expense payments and rest and rehabilitation periods. 6/19

Approaches to international compensation : 

Approaches to international compensation There are two main options in the area of international compensation – the Going Rate Approach (also referred to as the Market Rate Approach) and the Balance Sheet Approach (sometimes known as the Build-up Approach). The Going Rate Approach Table 6-1: Going Rate Approach 6/20

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) The Going Rate Approach (cont.) With this approach, the base salary for international transfer is linked to the salary structure in the host country. The multinational usually obtains information from local compensation surveys and must decide whether local nationals (HCNs), expatriates of the same nationality or expatriates of all nationalities will be the reference point in terms of benchmarking. For example, a Japanese bank operating in New York would need to decide whether its reference point would be local US salaries, other Japanese competitors in New York or all foreign banks operating in New York. With the Going Rate Approach, if the location is in a low-pay county, the multinational usually supplements base pay with additional benefits and payments. 6/21

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) The Going Rate Approach (cont.) Advantages and disadvantages of the Going Rate Approach Table 6-2: Advantages and disadvantages of the Going Rate Approach 6/22

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) The Balance Sheet Approach The basic objective is to ‘keep the expatriate whole’ (that is, maintaining relativity to PCN colleagues and compensating for the costs of an international assignment) through maintenance of home-country living standard plus a financial inducement to make the package attractive. Table 6-3: The Balance Sheet Approach 6/23

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) The Balance Sheet Approach (cont.) The approach links the base salary for PCNs and TCNs to the salary structure of the relevant home country. For example, a US executive taking up an international position would have his or her compensation package built upon the US base-salary level rather than that applicable to the host country. The key assumption of this approach is that foreign assignees should not suffer a material loss due to their transfer, and this is accomplished through the utilization of what is generally referred to as the Balance-sheet Approach. 6/24

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) The Balance Sheet Approach (cont.) There are four major categories of outlays incurred by expatriates that are incorporated in the Balance Sheet Approach: Goods and services – home-country outlays for items such as food, personal care, clothing, household furnishings, recreation, transportation, and medical care. Housing – the major costs associated with housing in the host country. Income taxes – parent-country and host-country income taxes. Reserve – contributions to savings, payments for benefits, pension contributions, investments, education expenses, social security taxes, etc. 6/25

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) The Balance Sheet Approach (cont.) Where costs associated with the host-country assignment exceed equivalent costs in the parent country, these costs are met by both the firm and the expatriate to ensure that parent-country equivalent purchasing power is achieved. 6/26

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Table 6-4: Expatriate compensation worksheet 6/27

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) The Balance Sheet Approach (cont.) There are advantages and disadvantages of the Balance Sheet Approach Table 6-5: Advantages and disadvantages of the Balance Sheet Approach 6/28

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation This aspect of international compensation is probably the one that causes the most concern to HR practitioners and expatriates (both PCNs and TCNs), as taxation generally evokes emotional responses. No one enjoys paying taxes, and this issue can be very time consuming for both the firm and the expatriate. An assignment abroad can mean that a US expatriate is taxed both in the country of assignment and in the USA. This dual tax cost, combined with all of the other expatriate costs, makes some US multinationals think twice about making use of expatriates. 6/29

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation (cont.) Multinationals generally select one of the following approaches to handling international taxation: Tax equalization – firms withhold an amount equal to the home-country tax obligation of the PCN, and pay all taxes in the host country. Tax protection – The employee pays up to the amount of taxes he or she would pay on compensation in the home country. In such a situation, the employee is entitled to any windfall received if total taxes are less in the foreign country than in the home country. 6/30

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation (cont.) Tax equalization is by far the more common taxation policy used by multinationals. Thus, for a PCN, tax payments equal to the liability of a home-country taxpayer with the same income and family status are imposed on the employee’s salary and bonus. Any additional premiums or allowances are typically paid by the firm, tax-free to the employee. As multinationals operate in more and more countries, they are subject to widely discrepant income tax rates. It is also important to note that just focusing on income tax can be misleading, as the shares of both personal and corporate taxes are rising in the OECD countries. 6/31

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation (cont.) For example, if we look at total tax revenues as a percentage of GDP, the ‘top five’ highest taxation countries are Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France and Belgium. The United States is 25th with the other large advanced economies towards the bottom of the list (Japan, 26th; Britain, 16th; and Germany, 12th). Many multinationals have responded to this complexity and diversity across countries by retaining the services of international accounting firms to provide advice and prepare host-country and home-country tax returns for their expatriates. Increasingly, firms are also outsourcing the provisions of further aspects of the total expatriate compensation packages including a variety of destination services in lieu of providing payment in a package. 6/32

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation (cont.) When multinationals plan compensation packages, they need to consider the extent to which specific practices can be modified in each country to provide the most tax-effective, appropriate rewards for PCNs, HCNs and TCNs within the framework of the overall compensation policy of the firm. The difficulties in international compensation ‘are not compensation so much as benefits’. Pension plans are very difficult to compare or equalize across nations, as cultural practices vary endlessly. Transportability of pension plans, medical coverage and social security benefits are very difficult to normalize. 6/33

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation (cont.) Therefore, companies need to address many issues when considering benefits, including: Whether or not to maintain expatriates in home-country programs, particularly if the company does not receive a tax deduction for it. Whether companies have the option of enrolling expatriates in host-country benefit programs and/or making up any difference in coverage. Whether host-country legislation regarding termination affects benefit entitlement. Whether expatriates should receive home-country or host-country social security benefits. 6/34

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation (cont.) Whether benefits should be maintained on a home-country or host-country basis, who is responsible for the cost, whether other benefits should be used to offset any shortfall in coverage and whether home-country benefit programs should be exported to local nationals in foreign countries. Differences in national sovereignty are also at work in the area of mandated public and private pension schemes, what many nations refer to as ‘social security’ programs. 6/35

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Table 6-7: Social security contributions by employers and employees 6/36

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Taxation (cont.) For many international firms, expatriate assignments are likely to increase in distance, number and duration over an employee’s career, and more and more firms may create cadres of permanent international assignees – called ‘globals’ by some firms. The inherent complexity and dynamism of culturally embedded and politically volatile national tax and pension processes promise to tax the resources, time and attention of international human resource managers for the foreseeable future. Seamless networks of global firms, their specialist consultants and local and regional public and private interest are a goal, not yet a reality. 6/37

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) International living costs data Obtaining up-to-date information on international living costs is a constant issue for multinationals. The level of local knowledge required in many areas of international HRM requires specialist advice. Many multinationals retain the services of consulting firms that may offer a broad range of services or provide highly specialized services relevant to HRM in a multinational context. With regard to international living costs, a number of consulting firms offer regular surveys calculating a cost-of-living index that can be updated in terms of currency exchange rates. 6/38

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) International living costs data (cont.) A recent survey of living costs in selected cities ranked the 10 most expensive cities as Tokyo, Moscow, Osaka, Hong Kong, Beijing, Geneva, London, Seoul, Zurich and New York. The first US city in the index was New York, ranked as the 10th most expensive city. The least expensive city was Asuncion (Paraguay). Multinationals using the Balance Sheet Approach must constantly update compensation packages with new data on living costs, which is an on-going administrative requirement. Multinationals must also be able to respond to unexpected events such as the currency and stock market crash that suddenly unfolded in a number of Asian countries in late 1997. 6/39

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) International living costs data (cont.) Some countries such as Indonesia faced a devaluation of their currency (the Ruphiah) by over 50 per cent against the US dollar in a matter of weeks. This action had a dramatic impact on prices and the cost of living. It is also possible to take a wider view and focus on business costs rather than living costs for expatriates, because the multinational firm is interested in the overall cost of doing business in a particular country as well as the more micro issue of expatriate living costs. 6/40

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) International living costs data (cont.) The Economist Intelligence Unit calculates such indices, which measure the relative costs of doing business in different economies by compiling statistics relating to wages, costs for expatriate staff, air travel and subsistence, corporation taxes, perceived corruption levels, office and industrial rents and road transport. Generally the developed countries tend to rank as more expensive than developing countries because their wage costs are higher. 6/41

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Differentiating between PCNs and TCNs One of the outcomes of the Balance Sheet Approach is to produce differentiation between expatriate employees of different nationalities because of the use of nationality to determine the relevant home-country base salary. This is a differentiation between PCNs and TCNs. Many TCNs have a great deal of international experience because they often move from country to country in the employ of one multinational (or several) headquartered in a country other than their own (for example, an Indian banker may work in the Singapore branch of a US bank). 6/42

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Differentiating between PCNs and TCNs (cont.) As Reynolds has observed, there is no doubt that paying TCNs according to their home-country base salary can be less expensive than paying all expatriates on a PCN scale (particularly if the multinational is headquartered in a country such as the USA or Germany, which have both high managerial salaries and a strong currency), but justifying these differences can be very difficult. Nonetheless, it is common practice for multinationals to use a home-country Balance Sheet Approach for TCNs. The reduction in expenses outweighs the difficulty of justifying any pay differentials. However, as firms expand internationally, it is likely that TCN employees will become more valuable and firms may need to rethink their approach to compensating TCNs. 6/43

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) : 

Approaches to international compensation (cont.) Differentiating between PCNs and TCNs (cont.) Starting point, multinational firms need to match their compensation policies with their staffing policies and general HR philosophy. If, for example, a firm has an ethnocentric staffing policy, its compensation policy should be one of keeping the expatriate whole (that is, maintaining relativity to PCN colleagues plus compensating for the costs of international service). If, however, the staffing policy follows a geocentric approach (that is, staffing a position with the ‘best person,’ regardless of nationality), there may be no clear ‘home’ for the TCN, and the firm will need to consider establishing a system of international base pay for key managers paid in a major reserve currency such as the US dollar or the Euro. This system allows firms to deal with considerable variations in base salaries for managers. 6/44

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity It may be that international compensation administration is more complex than its domestic counterpart, but not radically different in pattern or form. Recent developments in the study of global pay issues may be seen to operate at three distinct levels: The basic level of cultural values and assumptions; The level of pay strategy, practices and systems design; and The level of pay administration and form. 6/45

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) Figure 6-1: Patterns for international pay 6/46

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) At the level of cultural values, a debate is ongoing between advocates of pay systems that value competitive individualism and result in ‘hierarchical’ pay systems with large pay differentials for executives, market-sensitive professions and other ‘critical’ employee groups and the advocates of pay systems that value cooperative collectivism and result in more ‘egalitarian’ pay systems with smaller pay differentials and more shared group or firm-wide reward practices. 6/47

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) Multinational firms that violate corporate or local norms in one location in order to respond to local norms in a second location do so at their own risk. This debate is enlivened by a global reaction to hierarchical pay systems as an exported ‘best practice’ from the USA in the light of recent CEO pay scandals as reported in the global media. These US-based pay scandals have set off a global reaction – often reinforcing local norms and values. 6/48

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) At the level of pay strategy and attendant practices and systems design, increased complexity may be understood using a horizontal and a vertical axis. Horizontally, ‘universal’ pay systems may be preferred by corporate pay planners rather than dealing with myriad ‘local’ systems. Ease of administration and the standardization of practices are attractive and can contribute to simplicity in global assignments, resolving disputes related to perceived inequities or policy inconsistencies, etc. 6/49

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) However, local or regional ‘host contexts’ and/or firm strategy may influence firms to compromise these global preferences and strategically align pay practices more or less in conformance with local or regional requirements. Strategic necessity and contextual requirements may incrementally grudgingly ‘move’ pay practices away from a universalized and towards a more localized character. Vertically, a number of levels of analysis have emerged to supplement or augment job-based pay. Firms may provide a person with personal ‘choice’ in pay and pay for his/her competencies. 6/50

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) Alternately, a firm may pay at the traditional job level, realizing that even standard jobs may vary tremendously across geographic regions. Firms may pay at the task group or plant level of aggregation. Firms may provide ‘customized’ pay at the national level, or provide standardized ‘core’ pay for all employees in the global firm. 6/51

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) : 

Some tentative conclusions: patterns in complexity (cont.) Increasingly, we may combine pay packages across these vertical levels of analysis and pay for a combination of personal, job, group, national or corporate purposes. These composite pay systems are more complex, but they are also more flexible and responsive to diverse employee demands and changing global business conditions. 6/52

Chapter summary : 

Chapter summary Detailed the key components of an international compensation program. (cont.) In this chapter, we have examined the complexities arising when firms move from compensation repatriation process. One may conclude that in re-entry, the broader socio-cultural context of the home country takes a backstage position – unlike in at the domestic level to compensation in an international context. It is evident from our review that compensation policy becomes a much less precise process than is the case in the domestic HR context. To demonstrate this complexity, we have: 6/53

Chapter summary (cont.) : 

Chapter summary (cont.) Outlined the two main approaches to international compensation (the Going Rate and the Balance Sheet) and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Outlined special problem areas such as taxation, obtaining valid international living costs data, and the problems of managing TCN compensation. Presented a model of global pay that highlights the complexity and yet familiarity of pay practices in the global context. It is this combination of pay decisions based on strategic global standardization and sensitivity to changing local and regional conditions that characterizes the state of international pay practices. (cont.) 6/54

Chapter summary (cont.) : 

Chapter summary (cont.) Providing a strategic yet sensitive balance can only be achieved by creating and maintaining professional networks, comprised of home office and local affiliate HR practitioners, outsourcing selected activities through specialist consultants, and a close cooperation with local and regional governments and other key local institutions. 6/55

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