International and Comparative HRM Case Study Analysis – Serenity Hotels Group Introduction This paper will analyse the International Human Resource Management issues/challenges for the Serenity Hotels Group (Serenity) in the staffing of the Hotel Manger positions in its newly acquired chain of hotels in Thailand. Furthermore, it will make recommendations to resolve any issues identified and to facilitate the international assignment of managers. The creation of an international division by Serenity brings with it an additional set of challenges that it has not been exposed to before in its domestic operations.
Walding et al see the coordination of operations in a multinational operation organisational setting as a real challenge for Human Resource Management (HRM). Serenity can prepare for these challenges through a thorough analysis of the HRM requirements for its Thai hotels acquisition. As the eight week timeframe for rebranding and reopening, in accordance with the Serenity’s Strategic Objectives of new ventures being opened on time, cannot be prolonged, then there are a number of strategies that must be adopted to meet this requirement.
These include contracting of Host Country recruiting and the use of international assignment service companies for pre deployment preparation and resettlement in country. IHRM Issues/challenges for Serenity Hotels The issues and challenges that have been identified for Serenity’s international acquisition in Thailand are discussed below and relevant recommendations are made. Staffing Whilst Serenity has decided to use a predominantly ethnocentric approach to the management of its Thai venture by deploying six Parent Country National PCN) managers, it must be cognisant of the effects this may have such as: limiting the opportunities of HCN; a larger adaptation time for PCN managers; and disparate compensation packages. Serenity has tried to balance this approach with the hiring of three HCN managers which may be seen as encouraging to HCN employees. The advantages and disadvantages of using PCN and HCN are shown in Annex A.
The primary reason for adopting this ethnocentric approach focuses around a structural-formal focus control strategy to incorporate the existing Serenity core values and corporate culture into the new acquisition until it is bedded into the Serenity mould. It does not follow the key reasons identified in the literature of position filling, management development and organisational development. Although, a number of PCN managers saw management development as a driver for their wish to move to Thailand.
Serenity sees the role of the PCN managers more as agents of direct control and possibly as ‘boundary spanners’ for the company, than as network builders, transferors of knowledge and competence and language nodes (Dowling et al, 2008). The overall staffing choices will be influenced by a number of contextual, company and local specificities such as: a. Contextual –Thailand’s cultural context, staff availability in both Australia, New Zealand (Aust/NZ) and Thailand, and the hospitality industry in Thailand. b. Company – Serenity’s Thai structure and business strategy, its lack of international experience and its organisational culture. . Local – the strategic role and importance of the Thai operation to Serenity Hotels Group and headquarters’ need for control of the venture. Serenity does not have an International Staffing Policy or Procedures due to its focus on its domestic markets and must establish them to provide for its future international operations. The recommended policy and procedures are at Annex B. These procedures informed the considerations for this initial deployment of PCN managers and should be used for all future international assignments. Other staffing considerations
Other considerations to be taken into account during the staffing process are below. Gender. No literature was available to the consultant to indicate the unsuitability of females for management positions within the hospitality industry in Thailand. Whilst Thailand reflects a strong gender bias in some areas of employment such as the Armed Forces, the country’s female labour force is amongst the highest in the world. Thai exposure. Whilst none of the managers have any prior experience working in Thailand, Herbert et al’s study shows that ‘prior experience did not have an impact on the performance of the acquired firm’.
For Serenity this may indicate that the lack of Thai experience is not an area of high concern. Recommendations. It is recommended that Serenity: ? adopts the International Staffing Policy and Procedures at Annex B. ? accepts that there are no obstacles to female employment in Thailand. Recruitment The short timeframe for the rebranding of the Thai hotels has limited the recruiting process for the employment of the six PCN (Aust and NZ) and three HCN (Thai) managers. PCN.
Invitations to apply for the six positions were emailed to the managers along with details of the background of the assignment, the conditions of appointment and some background to Thailand, its culture and living conditions. (see Annex C). Twenty managers nominated for the international assignments. The consultant formed a selection panel of himself, the Serenity HR Director, the Operations Director to conduct a ‘desk top’ assessment of the managers to short list the applicants prior to an interview panel. The six best suited applicants that should be offered hotel manager appointments with Serenity in Thailand are detailed in Annex D.
HCN. The decision of whether to use existing Thai hotel managers or to use a recruitment type that would open the positions up to outside applicants must be considered. Seven former managers are still with the acquired hotels and provide a suitable recruitment base for the three positions. As there was a suitable internal base of remaining managers then it was more ethical to consider them before moving outside the company, avoiding a ‘loss of face’ for the HCN managers which is culturally important to them as a loss of face is seen as a disgrace for a Thai .
Invitations to apply for the three positions were emailed to the Thai managers. The consultant followed the same process to assess these managers prior to an in country interview. The three successful Thai applicants should be offered hotel manager appointments, with the remaining four offered lesser positions in the company if found suitable and they wished to continue their employment with Serenity.
Some considerations that need to be made when considering existing HCN managers are cultural nuances – will they come with ‘baggage’ from the previous branding or try to add a ‘federated local approach’ based on their previous core values and not Serenity’s? Two of the three local appointees should be positioned at the locations where the devastating flooding has occurred to provide a Thai face to the area (with language skills) and ensure that new expatriate managers and their family are not exposed to additional cultural problems (extra stress) and settlement difficulties in these areas.
This is supported by Harzing (2001) who asserts that ‘if local circumstances are very different from the home country, HCNs might be the preferred option’. International assistance. With 70% of the local staff having left the company, the task to recruit during the rebranding and international relocation of management would be too onerous with current resources. It is suggested that Serenity contract the recruiting to a reputable Thai based recruitment firm (or firms). The firm(s) would be provided with the required data, criteria and deadline for the recruiting.
Prominent Thai companies such as Manpower Thailand, JAC Recruitment (Thailand) and Pacific Bridge Inc (Thailand) would be suitable for this task. Final position selection could be conducted using the three HCN managers. Additional cultural consideration. The tolerance of the Thai people towards homosexuality is viewed as one of the more lenient in the world, however this is not a formal government stance and the issue of visas for same sex partners would be problematic for any Serenity staff wishing to have a partner accompany them on assignment.
One of the managers selected is in a same sex relationship however, this partner’s current employer will provide a transfer to Thailand (including work visa), negating any portability issues for the manager. Recommendations. It is recommended that Serenity: ? endorses the selected PCN managers at Annex D and the HCN managers. ? accepts the positioning of Thai managers in flood affected areas. ? Endorses the use of Thai recruitment firms to fill vacancies. Staff Selection
The literature indicates that most multinational companies use the “coffee Table” method of selection when filling international assignments. However, this is not considered the most appropriate method to fill the six expatriate positions in Thailand as there are multiple positions to fill and this method does not necessarily provide the best suited assignees. Using a Formal/Closed selection type, it was further decided to recommend a mix of both male and female managers as there are no obvious impediments to this mix (see Staffing above).
It is important for Serenity to consider some more critical issues in staff selection such as: a. Expatriate failure. Whilst the literature espouses various expatriate failure rates of between 25% to 40% (Henry, 1965; Misa and Fabricatore, 1979; Tung, 1981 Mendenhall and Oddou, 1985), Harzig (1995) found no empirical evidence to support it. Either way, any PCN failure would be a costly for the company so the selection process must be thorough. The inability to adjust to the foreign culture is a key reason for failure so Serenity must try to mitigate this through cross-cultural training. . Selection criteria. Dowling et al see the factors of expatriate selection as: technical ability – technical and managerial skills; cross-cultural suitability – the ability to adapt and cultural empathy; family requirements – partner’s career, children’s education and living requirements; country/cultural requirements – host country regulations and requirements and difficulty of post; multinational enterprise requirements – staffing philosophy, mode of operation and duration, and language – the ability to communicate. c. Dual career couples.
These place limitations on the pool of potential candidates if the partner/spouse wishes to continue working whilst deployed. Serenity should endeavour to provide a family friendly approach to this issue with initiatives such as job hunting assistance, intra-company employment or career support. Each manager was selected for company endorsement based on their relative merit demonstrated in performance in current and past positions with the company (technical ability), their commitment to company core values and their assessed potential for success in Thailand (cross-cultural suitability).
Other criteria such as family requirements were not seen to influence selection but more to temper it. Local Thai staff. Ideally, the new PCN managers would have deployed to Thailand with adequate time for them to participate in the selection process of their Thai HCN staff prior to the hotels coming on-line. Unfortunately the rebranding deadline will not permit time for this and they will have to rely on the services of a selected Thai recruitment firm to provide staff for the 70% vacancies across the chain. Intra-company employment.
Due to the sizable recruitment required in Thailand, Serenity has the capacity to offer employment (at appropriate levels) to spouses/partners that wish to work whilst on assignment and can assist with work visas. Any spouse/partner offered employment should not be directly employed for their manager spouse/partner. Recommendations. It is recommended that Serenity: ? note the requirement for cross-cultural training. ? accept the selection method for managers. ? Offer employment opportunities to spouses/partners and assist with work visas. Training and Development
Dowling et al see international assignments as important for the development of international expertise, with benefits in both management and organisational development. Serenity benefits from the transfer of knowledge and experience from the managers to the Thai staff and to the international development of its management cadre should the international venture spread further afield in the future. The managers also benefit from international experience to develop their personal managerial skills and international exposure. Training The literature suggests that a key training focus for the expatriate managers s pre-departure training. If the objective of pre-departure training is to assist the expatriate to adjust to the demands of living and working in a foreign location (Dowling et al), then it must be considered an essential element of Serenity’s international assignments. With the limited time available for this assignment, the following should be included: • Cultural awareness training – using Tung’s five categories of training – area studies programs, culture assimilators, language training, sensitivity training and field experience. Language training – to assist with assimilation, business monitoring and decisions. • Practical assistance – helping with schooling and accommodation. • Training in the company code of conduct – to help avoid potential embarrassment and problems in the Thai venture. The short activation period for this venture will limit the extent of the pre-departure training that can be achieved and may necessitate the continuation of some training in Thailand. The pre-departure training program for the new Thai venture is at Annex E.
The absence of Thai language skills by managers is not seen as a disability for assignment as English is becoming more common in Thailand, particularly in the service and tourism industries. However, if managers rely solely on English, it may limit their ability to thoroughly manage their operations – as Pucik commented ‘…. it limits the multinational’s ability to monitor competitors and process important information’. Recommendations. It is recommended that Serenity: ? provide pre-departure training for managers and their families. ensures managers undertake basic language training, as a minimum. Compensation The international compensation package is a very important component of the international assignment. Many organisations find themselves in the position of having to offer expatriates a variety of alternative compensation elements in order to maintain their sense of “wholeness” (Sims and Schraeder, 2005). It must be clearly identified to the managers individually before they commence their assignments, so that there is no doubt as to what they will receive when in Thailand.
Dowling et al propose objectives for international compensation and suggest that they must: • be consistent with the overall strategies and business needs of the company, • attract and retain the best staff for the Thai venture, • make the international transfer as cost effective as it can, and • give consideration to equity and ease of administration. Dundas (2009) believes that there a number of other requirements for an effective compensation program such as : • provide an incentive to leave the home country • maintain a home country standard of living facilitate re-entry into the home country • provide for the education of children • help the expatriate family maintain its relationships with family, friends and business associates • maintain equity between local and foreign located employees • cater for different costs of living in different countries These both provide a sound basis for the development of Serenity’s international compensation policy. Components of compensation The key components of an international compensation package are base salary, foreign service premium/hardship inducement, allowances and taxation provisions.
Base salary. There are two main options that can be adopted by Serenity, the Going Rate Approach – base salary is linked to the salary structure in Thailand, or the Balance Sheet Approach – aimed at keeping salary relative to Aust and NZ and compensating for the international assignment. The advantages and disadvantages to both options are shown in Annex F. For Serenity, the best option would be the Balance Sheet Approach, which will provide equity to PCN managers, be easily understood and make the transition back to Aust/NZ less financially disruptive.
Whether Serenity should maintain the existing disparity between the base salaries of the Aust/NZ managers and the Thai managers or standardise the salaries across the company is both an economic and ethical dilemma. To remove the disparity would mean a large pay rise for Thai managers and demonstrate the company’s commitment to its core values. Unfortunately, it would also create a further disparity between the Thai managers and their staff, leading to HCN other pay equity issues across the Thai venture. Foreign Service Premium (FSP) /Hardship Inducement.
Offered as a top up of salary either to induce staff to undertake the posting or to compensate for any hardship encountered during the posting. Literature suggests that the going rate is generally between 5% and 40% of base salary and can vary according to the conditions experienced and the requirements of the assignment. For Serenity, this should be based on the assessed Thailand premium utilising a contracted international assignment service. Allowances There are number of allowances that can be offered to expatriates to compensate for absence from the home country.
Caruth and Handlogten refer to these and the FSP as equalisation benefits. The allowances that may be relevant for Serenity staff are: Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA). COLA is used to compensate the PCN for any differences of expenditure between Aust/NZ and Thailand. Due to the complexity of this issue, Serenity should use a COLA specialist company such as ECA International to determine the rate variations required. Housing Allowance. A housing allowance or free housing is often a critical component of an expatriate compensation package (Wentland, 2003).
Initially, Serenity’s Thai hotels will be used to house the PCN managers and their families until more suitable housing can be sourced locally with the cost met by the company. Education Allowance. This is used to provide for the proper education of managers’ children to home country standards and may include fees for an International School, tuition fees and uniforms. This would need to be assessed on specific location needs to a reasonable limit. Perquisites. For Serenity this will include club membership for managers and families and limited local home help staff.
Taxation Another key consideration is taxation. Dowling et al suggest that multinationals adopt either a tax equalisation (amount equal to home country tax is withheld and Serenity pay all taxes in Thailand) or tax protection (manager pays up to home country tax but keeps any tax difference benefit) approach. Serenity should adopt the tax equalisation approach for ease of administration as the assignees pay and allowances are administered from the home location. Taxation advice should be provided to managers prior to the assignment. Recommendations.
It is recommended that Serenity: ? accept the requirement for an international compensation package. ? engage an international assignment service. ? engage a specialist provider for COLA and other allowances. ? meet reasonable costs for housing. ? adopt the tax equalisation approach to taxation. ? cover reasonable costs for taxation advice. Conclusion From the foregoing discussion, it is concluded that the field of international HRM brings with it a number of additional considerations and issues/challenges to the traditional HRM functions.
These procedures are designed to provide a framework for decision making and subsequently supporting the international assignment of current staff from Serenity. International assignments can be costly and, as a general rule local appointments are more cost effective than expatriate appointments. Therefore careful consideration is required before an expatriate appointment is made. Where a Serenity Australia or New Zealand staff member is assigned to work overseas the reason must be clearly aligned with the Serenity Hotel’s international, strategic and business plans. Furthermore, international assignments should be achieved in a cost effective manner for Serenity. Local employment legislation in each country also applies.
Careful planning by the HR Dept and the respective staff member is critical to ensure that the experience is positive and that costs and expectations are managed effectively and responsibly. This procedure should apply to issues that are common for all international assignments from Serenity Australia and New Zealand to ensure uniformity for employees. However, in order to provide due support to staff, the policy affords flexibility and sensitivity to the local conditions of each location where Serenity assigns staff. Definitions Accompanying family – Members of the family who, by agreement with the Serenity, live with the staff member at the overseas location. Accompanied’ and ‘unaccompanied’ are to be interpreted accordingly. Children – Natural and adopted children of the international assignee and/or partner who normally live with the international assignee as dependants and have not reached either their nineteenth birthday or the end of secondary schooling. This age limit does not apply to a child who, through physical or learning difficulties, is unable to live independently. Expatriate contract – is usually in the form of a letter of offer, designed for use where an organisation engages a current employee to work for it in an overseas office/position and is expected to return to the home country.
In such circumstances the letter of offer takes into consideration the employment law in the country where the employee will be based, provides a pay package (including allowances) which enables them to maintain the lifestyle they had in the home country as well as accounting for the tax implications for the employee. A contract on the terms set down in the letter is made when it has been signed by both the employer and the employee. Family – The international assignee, his/her partner and any children. Financial disadvantage – Where the staff member will be financially out-of-pocket as a result of the assignment. Parent Country – The country in which the international assignee normally resides when not on assignment to host country, ie either Australia or New Zealand. Host Country – The overseas country to which the international assignee is assigned, ie Thailand.
International Assignee – Staff member employed by Serenity who is assigned duties at one of the company’s hotels that requires a period of residence outside of their normal country of residence and work. International assignment service – The company or companies engaged by Serenity to provide designated international assignment administration services for international assignees. Letter of Offer – for the purposes of this procedure, means an offer of an international assignment or a variation to contract of employment, to assign a staff member to duties at a Serenity hotel, which is located outside of Australia. Local contract – is a written agreement between the employer and the prospective employee setting out the terms and conditions of the employment.
Such contracts usually contain minimum conditions and protected conditions depending on the employment law of the country. Long-term assignment – An assignment to a host country for a period greater than 12 months and less than five years. The relocation to the host country will involve the staff member and, where applicable, accompanying family members. Partner – The international assignee’s partner, to whom the staff member is legally married or has shared an equivalent relationship. Defacto relationships, including interdependent (same sex) relationships are included under this definition. Section 1. Recruitment and selection of staff to fill international vacancies/needs The requirement or recruitment and selection of staff for international vacancies is instigated with an identified need to achieve certain business requirements and will normally follow the same policy and procedures that are used in the recruitment and selection for other Serenity positions. Section 2. Reason for the Vacancy International vacancies may arise to meet the following business requirements: • To fill a specific skills gap in a location where Serenity has an established hotel • To launch a new endeavour in a new country • To develop the Serenity core culture and values in the new country • To build management practices and operational expertise Section 3.
Specific requirements for position descriptions All international vacancies must have position descriptions which, in addition to the knowledge, skills and experience requirements also list any specific requirements of the role and locations (e. g. citizenship, visa eligibility, language requirements). They should also include criteria which will assess the candidates’ suitability to undertake an international assignment/appointment, in terms of: • Job skill transferability and technical expertise • Cultural awareness, sensitivity and adaptability to new working groups and conditions • Language capabilities • Particular communication skills Deliverables for the period of the engagement • Team spirit and ability to fit into culture of local team • General managerial skills, if required • Background, such as language skills or past history of living abroad Section 4. Advertisement of the international vacancy Most appointments to international vacancies will be made using Serenity’s standard recruitment and appointment policies and procedures, following any competitive processes in accordance with recruitment advertising guidelines of the country where the vacancy is situated. However, in some circumstances a vacancy may be exempt from advertisement and an accelerated appointment rocess will be used following a direct nomination and approval by the Group CEO, Group Deputy CEO, Board of Directors or Divisional Heads of Units as appropriate depending on the level of the position. The decision as to whether an international vacancy should be advertised or filled through an accelerated appointment process will depend on a range of strategic business considerations. In some cases for example in countries where Serenity currently does not have any presence, a local search firm may be engaged to handle the recruitment process. Section 5. Selection of the preferred candidate In addition to assessing candidate suitability on the basis of skills match, a range of other considerations are necessary when recruiting for an international assignment.
Local recruitment policies and procedures and/or specific employment related legislative requirements must be adhered to when selecting candidates. These may include equal opportunity legislation. The final recommendation made by the selection panel must ensure that the recommended candidate meets both the position requirements and business objectives. The following considerations are key to making a final decision: • Cultural fit assessment – employee and family • Availability of the recommended candidate • Taxation and Immigration considerations related to staffing for new international locations Section 6. International assignment options
The preferred candidate may be a current Serenity employee from either Australia or New Zealand, or an external non-Serenity individual. Local appointment A local contract with local terms and conditions will be offered. Section 7. Length of the assignment Prior to the appointment of an international assignee, it is important to establish a clear purpose and duration of assignment to deliver the business objectives. Where an international assignee is used for the specific purpose of filling a skills gap, it is important that one of their key objectives is providing appropriate training and skills transfer to other host country staff members, such that the international operation does not become reliant upon the assignee, prohibiting a timely repatriation. Objectives of the ssignment with clear deliverables should be included in the Letter of Offer. Section 8. Structuring Remuneration and Benefits Structuring an international assignee remuneration and benefits package involves selecting a benefits model to suit the staff member’s personal circumstances and the overall objectives of the international assignment. The level of remuneration offered to an international assignee will be agreed by the HR Director or delegate and detailed in the staff member’s letter of offer. Generally for long-term assignments the parent country base salary will be maintained and adjusted consistently with pay rates in the parent country.
In addition, various assignee allowances and benefits may be paid. The specific details of the package may be determined after consideration of the following: • the cost of living in the host country; • the additional responsibilities that the staff member will undertake at the offshore location; • demands of working abroad and the nature of the host country; • to enable the staff member to maintain a lifestyle as comparable as possible to what they would experience if they remained in the home country; and • assessment of any potential for financial disadvantage to staff as a direct result of accepting an international assignment. Section 9. Relocation and Repatriation Support
Serenity is committed to provide seamless service and support to facilitate the transitions associated with relocating and adjusting to the host country and then to return and readjust to Australia at the end of the international assignment. Like remuneration, relocation and repatriation benefits that are offered to an assignee may vary subject to such individual considerations as the location and number of accompanying family members. Pre-Departure Arrangements There are a number of arrangements that need to be coordinated prior to departure for an international assignment. Serenity will provide some assistance to staff preparing to relocate, although staff are expected to be active in preparing for the move and fulfilling the requirements that are necessary to live and work at the offshore location. Assistance generally rovided includes: reasonable tax advice, assistance from a relocation service provider, cultural briefing etc from an international assignment service. Letter of Offer Staff members who undertake an international assignment will be provided with a letter of offer, which details the particular entitlements and the terms and conditions of the international assignment. The staff member will be provided with a thorough explanation of the terms and conditions of employment and expectations of the assignment by the HR Dept. A summary of specific deliverables for the period of assignment will also be included in the letter of offer. Valid passport and visas
Every offer of international assignment is conditional upon the staff member and accompanying family member(s) holding valid passports (valid for at least 12 months beyond the expected period abroad), satisfying immigration requirements and being declared medically fit and appropriately vaccinated to live and work in the overseas location. It is the staff member’s responsibility to ensure that each of these requirements have been met prior to commencing an assignment. Relocation support HR and Finance will undertake a needs analysis with the staff member and family to identify specific requirements and concerns associated with moving to and living in the new location.
From this, they will coordinate a program with a local representative and appropriate personnel at the host location to assist the family with adjusting to the new environment. Resignation and Reimbursement In the event that a staff member who is provided with relocation assistance resigns before completing the assignment, a proportionate refund of the relocation assistance provided shall be made by the staff member. If the staff member does not require any or all of the relocation assistance offered, there will be no cash equivalent made available. Shipment Serenity may provide for the shipment of household effects up to an approved volume. This will be coordinated through Serenity’s preferred removals management provider. Workplace Induction
An international assignment also involves transition to a new work environment, which may be quite different to the environment to which the staff member is accustomed. Therefore host country induction to assist the staff member adjust to the new setting is imperative. The commencement of the induction process should coincide with the commencement of the assignment. Payment of Salary Serenity’s HR Dept (Payroll) administers an international payroll for their international assignees. Normally, assignees will be paid fortnightly in Australian dollars in accordance with their letter of offer. In certain circumstances, assignees may be paid in the host country currency. Leave and Public Holidays
Annual and sick leave entitlements for international assignees will be in accordance with existing annual leave entitlements in their letter of offer. However the time of taking annual leave must suit the host county operations. Other forms of leave, including leave in the case of a domestic emergency in the home country may be granted at the discretion of the HR Director. International assignees will recognise the public holidays observed in the host country. Staff Development and Performance Management International assignments represent outstanding staff development opportunities in themselves. It is important to provide clear objectives and measurements for assignee performance, consistent with the goals of the staff member and Serenity.
This should be clearly incorporated into plans and objectives as part of the relevant Staff Development Process. Performance planning and assessment should be conducted jointly by the parent and host location supervisors. In developing the annual performance plan the supervisors need to ensure that they incorporate the assignment deliverables as included in the letter of offer of assignment and there is alignment with the assignee’s career development objectives specifically related to the mobility experience to enable delivery of an effective mobility outcome. Meetings and regular communication An international assignee should continue to be included in home events where practicable.
HR Dept will contact the international assignee to discuss their progress with adapting to their new environment and ensure any concerns are addressed and will the parent country supervisor/mentor engages in regular career counselling discussions with the international assignee. These are a useful means of monitoring and discussing career objectives, at the same time assisting with managing the assignee’s expectations Career path coordination should be commenced with home country management at least twelve months prior to end of the assignment. Section 10. Completion of assignment and repatriation Planning Serenity recognises that returning home and readjusting after an international assignment can be a difficult task.
Repatriation begins in the pre-departure phase through the appointment of a home country mentor and a communication plan with the relevant hotel management. Twelve months prior to the end of the assignment the home country mentor, relevant management representative and HR Dept commence planning for the return of the staff member from international assignment. Physical relocation Repatriation continues for the months immediately following the assignee’s return to the home location, involving not only the physical relocation of the assignee and accompanying family back to Australia or New Zealand, but also the provision of support services, to assist the staff member readjust to life in Australia/New Zealand and the home work environment.
Serenity’s international assignment services provider will assist (to a reasonable extent) the staff member with the physical relocation and re-entry to their home location property if relevant, eg. reconnecting utilities etc. Reintroduction to the workplace Where applicable, the reintroduction of the staff member back to their former work environment is the responsibility of the staff member’s work area. The wider Serenity community can benefit from the staff member’s international experience, which should be recognised as a source of valuable information for the hotels, for the purposes of mentoring, planning and policy development for international activities.
For example, the returning international assignee may be offered the opportunity to present to their colleagues on their international experience, from both a personal and professional perspective. Recognition of the staff member in this way will also assist with readjustment to work life in Australia/New Zealand. * This Policy and Procedures document has been adapted from the Monash University International Staffing and Staff Mobility Policy found at http://www. adm. monash. edu. au/workplace-policy/international/policy-international-staffing-mobility. html Annex C Serenity Hotels Group “Providing Excellent Customer Service ” From: HR Director To: All Serenity Managers – Aust/NZ
Subject: Applications for Hotel Manager Positions in Thailand All Managers, You are invited to apply for the position of Hotel Manager (six positions) in the new acquired Serenity Hotel Group chain of hotels in Thailand. Brief details of the appointment conditions are set out below along with some background information on Thailand for your (and your family, if applicable) consideration before applying. Further details of conditions of the assignment will be provided prior to Letters of Offer being sent. Applications detailing your reasons for wishing to work in Thailand are to be received by the HR Dept (Recruiting Office) no later than COB 31 October 2012.
This is an exciting opportunity for managers to develop their international exposure and to live overseas for a number of years. Regards, Tony Rodda HR Director Serenity Hotels Group Phone: 07 2847 2653 Email: tony. [email protected] net Attachment to Tony Rodda’s email dated 25 October 12 Background Serenity Hotels group has, as part of its strategic expansion goals, acquired a hotel chain in Thailand and will retain nine hotels under the Serenity Hotels banner. Management of these nine hotels will be a mix of six expatriate managers drawn from the existing Australian and New Zealand operations and three local Thai managers. Selection Process In accordance with Serenity practice, all applications will be considered by a selection panel and shortlisted.
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed for final selection prior to offers of appointment being made. Conditions of Appointment Salary – current base salaries will be retained Allowances – allowances will be paid for: overseas service; cost of living adjustment; education expenses (limits apply); club memberships for the family; home help where required. Housing – provided at company expense Taxation – taxation advice to reasonable limit, company to meet any taxation costs over normal Aust/NZ taxation. Assignment Period Managers will be assigned to the Thailand operation for three years and will be required to depart for Thailand at the end of November 2012.
Training All selected managers will be required to undertake pre-departure training. Training will cover Thai culture, basic language training living in a foreign country, Thai business skills and other topics. Families (if applicable) will be offered the opportunity to attend this training as well. Further information on foreign assignments can be obtained from the following websites and staff are encouraged to visit these sites: www. expatinfodesk. com www. xpatulator. com Serenity will cover reasonable costs for accessing these sites. Location of Assignments Serenity Hotels will decide on locations for assignees based the need for the location.
The locations of the hotels to be managed are: Chiang Mai, Phuket (two hotels), Bangkok (two hotels), Surat Thani, Pattani and Udon Thani. Thailand – A brief overview Capital: Bangkok Climate: tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid Population: Over 64 million Ethnic Make-up: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11% Government: Constitutional Monarchy Currency: Thai Baht (THB) Languages in Thailand The Thai language is the main language in Thailand although there are several regional dialects as well. Other languages spoken in Thailand are Chinese, Lao, Malay and Mon-Khmer. English is becoming more common due to the tourist and business industries.
English is also taught as a second language in secondary schools and universities, so English speakers in Thailand have little trouble conversing. Thai Society & Culture The Wai. The wai is the common form of greeting and adheres to strict rules of protocol. Raising both hands, palms joined with the fingers pointing upwards as if in prayer, lightly touching the body somewhere between the chest and the forehead, is the standard form. The wai is both a sign of respect as well as a greeting. Thai Family Values. The family is the cornerstone of Thai society. Family life is often more closely knit than in western cultures. The Thai family is a form of hierarchy with the parents at the top. Children are taught to honour their parents. Thai Demeanour.
Thais place great emphasis and value on outward forms of courtesy such as politeness, respect, genial demeanour and self-control in order to maintain harmonious relations. It is a non-confrontational society, in which public dispute or criticism is to be avoided at all costs. Openly criticizing a person is a form of violence as it hurts the person and is viewed as a conscious attempt to offend the person being rebuked Hierarchical Society. Thais respect hierarchical relationships. Social relationships are defined as one person being superior to the other. Parents are superior to their children, teachers to their students, and bosses to their subordinates. When Thais meet a stranger, they will immediately try to place you within a hierarchy so they know how you should be treated.
This is often done by asking what might be seen as very personal questions in other cultures. Status can be determined by clothing and general appearance, age, job, education, family name, and social connections. Loss of face is a disgrace to a Thai so they try to avoid confrontations and look for compromises in difficult situations. If two parties disagree, one will need to have an outlet to retreat without losing face. Etiquette & Customs in Thailand Meeting Etiquette . The wai (as mentioned above) is the traditional form of greeting, given by the person of lower status to the person of higher status. Thais generally use first rather than surnames, with the honorific title Khun before the name.
Khun is an all- purpose form of address that is appropriate for both men and women Dining Etiquette. If you are invited to a Thai’s house: . Arrive close to the appointed time, although being a few minutes late will not cause offence. . Check to see if the host is wearing shoes. If not, remove yours before entering the house. . Step over the threshold rather than on it. This is an old custom that may be dying out with younger Thais, but erring on the side of conservatism is always a good idea. Table manners. A fork and spoon are the usual eating utensils. However, noodles are often eaten with chopsticks. The spoon is held in the right hand and the fork in the left. The fork is used to guide food on to the spoon.
Sticky rice, a northern Thai delicacy, is often eaten with the fingers of the right hand. Most meals are served as buffets or with serving platters in the centre of the table family- style. You may begin eating as soon as you are served. Leave a little food on your plate after you have eaten to show that you are full. Finishing everything indicates that you are still hungry. Never leave rice on your plate as it is considered wasteful. . Never take the last bite from the serving bowl. . Wait to be asked before taking a second helping. . Do not lick your fingers. # Information on Thailand was adapted, in part, from information contained in http://www. kwintessential. co. k/resources/thailand-country-profile. html Annex E Serenity Hotels Group PRE-DEPARTURE TRAINING PROGRAM – Thailand Aim The aim of this training program is to assist the Serenity Hotels managers (who are selected for assignment in Thailand) as Dowling et al suggest, ‘to adjust to the demands of living and working in a foreign location’, thereby maximising the success of their appointment. As well, it is to prepare them and their family (where applicable) for living and working in that environment. Serenity Hotels believe that managers with a greater understanding of how to do business in Thailand will generate better results for the company. Scope
The scope of the program is diverse in nature to provide as wide a coverage of topics as possible to ensure that participants are exposed to a variety of Thai focused cross cultural training to raise their level of intercultural awareness to help them settle into the new country and deliver the best possible result for Serenity’s investment in Thailand. The program also covers the repatriation of the managers at the completion of their assignment. Trainers The training course will be delivered by intercultural professionals experienced in Thai culture and business. Course Duration The pre-departure training program will be conducted over three days and all managers are to attend.
Families are to be encouraged to attend and make the most of this opportunity. Administration Location. The course will be conducted at Serenity Brisbane. Accommodation. All participants will be accommodated at Serenity Brisbane – nil cost to participants. Travel. Staff and family will be flown to Brisbane. Serenity Brisbane bus will transport participants to and from the hotel. Meals. All meals will be provided in the hotel. Incidentals. The Serenity Incidental Allowance will be paid to managers. Content The content of the package is designed to deliver ‘what is needed’ to who needs it. The language training is important to the Thai venture.
Some consider ‘linguistic ability more important as a “bridge to culture” than as a tool for verbal or written communication’ (Knowles et al) whilst others see ‘foreign language skills as enabling both direct communication with native-speakers of specific countries and promoting a mindset which is sensitive to language and thereby helps communication with others whose language we do not understand’ (Maughn). The content of the training will cover the following areas: Manager and Family Orientation Thailand the country the people and their culture ? Relocating to Thailand Language Training Basic conversational Thai Business Thai Doing Business in Thailand Thai Business Culture Staff management and development in Thailand Repatriation Maintaining Contact