International

Entente Cordiale? Key HR Considerations When Setting Up Business Operations in France

When setting up operations in a country that isn't your own, there is a lot to organise, such as ensuring your business complies with international trading regulations, complex financial management, and practical aspects like finding the right premises. In this ready flow of practical tasks, is all too easy to forget that you will be working in a new culture, with new employment rules, and with new people, whose expectations differ – sometimes vastly – from those you are used to. With twenty valuable years of experience working closely with British and French companies, and the holder of qualifications in both employment disciplines, I am well-versed in the HR differences between the two countries, and how these translate into effective business operations. The official introduction of Brexit has seen a wealth of new enquiries about how to manage HR effectively in France. As there seems to be scarce guidance online, I have set out some key considerations below.

So, Brexit has happened. Now what?

After a divisive referendum and three muddled years of negotiations, Britain exited the European Union (EU) on 31st January 2020. Whichever side of the debate you were on, if your organisation has EU premises, and/or you employ large numbers of staff, there are almost certainly far-reaching changes to take account of. Although Brexit is by no means complete, some questions are now able to be answered. This means UK businesses can start preparing themselves for a future outside of Europe.

How to Lead in International Environments

It could be said that a vital component of good leadership is adaptability. When we consider that the CIPD definition of leadership is "the capacity to influence people to achieve a common goal" the need to be adaptable is clear. Leaders should be able to flex their approach, so that they can communicate effectively with different people, and adjust quickly to a variety of environments and cultures. In short, when it comes to leadership, there is no such thing as 'one size fits all'. It is partly for this reason that identifying and developing leaders is such a complex issue: how will anybody know how effective they are as a leader, until they have been properly tested in a range of environments? Since every country has its own unique culture and characteristics, working internationally only adds to the challenge. The general lack of effective leaders remains an ongoing concern for many organisations, despite a significant level of investment in highlighting and developing leadership and management capabilities. If effective international leadership is a concern that impacts your organisation, the CIPD has identified three steps to help you start tackling the issue.

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