Abstract: This essay discusses about how it is impossible to compare South-East Asian Human Resource practices with those employed in Australian companies due to substantial differences in political, legal and social environments. In the political aspect, governments from south-east Asian companies and Australian companies are compared based on their compliance with the labor rights and standards.
While in the legal aspect, the Australian flexibility on labor law and the Philippine labor code which states otherwise is discussed and how Australian and Philippine HRM practices are affected. Lastly how culture, norms, attitude, and the social environment of Australians and Filipinos become factors in HRM trying to lay out rules regarding tardiness and absenteeism of employees and how Australia being a first world country and Philippines being a third world country affect job design.
An Eagle who was born an Eagle, eats how other Eagles do, surrounded by other Eagles, and flies as high as other Eagles eventually grows up to become an Eagle while a Falcon who was born a Falcon, eats how other Falcons do, surrounded by other Falcons, and flies as fast as other Falcons eventually grows up to become a Falcon. The comparison of Human Resource management practices between south-east Asian companies and Australian companies is both like the Eagle and the Falcon.
Depending on the country’s society, government and cultural beliefs, practices of human resource managing of companies differ in approach. Differences of Human resource management practices in connection with the political aspect between most south-east Asian countries and Australia can be differentiated by how well the country’s governments impose to companies in the country the strict compliance on practicing and respecting labor rights and labor standards set by the International Labor Organization. Not a single country has labor laws that are in full compliance with ILO Conventions No. 87 and 98, and the average score in the region (south-east Asia) for de jure labor standards (DJLS) is 69 (out of 100)” (Caraway, 2010). With this, human resource management practices are somewhat sub standard in south-east Asian countries. Labor rights of employees are not being strictly imposed. In the Philippines for example, career development of an employee is not often given attention by HR managers of companies.
Trainings, seminars and certifications of various skill requirement fees are shouldered by employees or are required from persons applying for a specific position in a company. Most employees get minimum wages, little to or no benefits at all, and most of the time they are not compensated for overtime work rendered to the company. The voice of labor unions is often placed on deaf ears. Whereas the government of Australia imposes very strict Labor laws in which employees get the most out of their employment.
Wages are above minimum, weekend schedule rates are higher than weekday work schedules, and overtime work rendered for the company is properly noted and compensated. Career advancement, trainings and certifications required for certain skills by the law are often shouldered by company. Worker safety is closely given emphasis in Australian companies because the government will hold the company liable whatever happens to the employee with regards to safety during working hours. Australian law is very lenient and flexible regarding labor and legal matters about employee and employer relation.
The Australian government lets the individual states regulate its own labor law. For example the minimum wages in Melbourne may differ from that of New South Wales and as such. Also maximum working hours per week are set for all employees whether part time or full time. Furthermore international students and holiday workers are given working privileges provided they also pay taxes and with limitations. Therefore as an HR manager, the scope of potential employees are not limited to citizens of Australia or those with working visas only.
An Australian HR manager should base his or her decisions with regards to the diversity of culture within the company. While in south-east Asian companies, HR managers are not faced with the same scenario. In the Philippines for instance, “Only Filipino citizens or corporations, partnerships or entities at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the authorized and voting capital stock of which is owned and controlled by Filipino citizens shall be permitted to participate in the recruitment and placement of workers, locally or overseas. ” (Labor code of the Philippines, art. 7), therefore in a Philippine company mostly Filipino employees are working there. An HR manager practices decisions and makes plans based on the culture of the Filipino people. The social environment affects Human resource management practices by putting into account what the set of standard norms are accepted in the society. One example of this is the development of human resources as influenced by the company’s demographic location. As stated in the journal made by Kim, 2012 “Societal development can be defined and applied in various situations.
Compared to social, societal is often used by social scientists when they are referring to the influence of societies, or things arising from the conditions set by society. ” Although there is no definite or universal way as to how human resources should develop, it is often how each and every employee perceives what the norms are in their society do they act upon the boundaries of right and wrong. Human resource managers should base their actions and plans to fit the employee’s attitudes and environment.
In the Philippines for example, most Filipinos have the bad habit of being late most of the time. A major cause of this is that the roadway and public transport system is poor which in turn results to heavy traffic during rush hours. This being a problem which persisted for years now, the people got used to this system which eventually became a habit to them. And this being a normal scenario in the society, the people began thinking that the attitude of being late is within the norms of the society. While here in Australia, public transport system and roadway systems are very efficient.
People tend to get to their destination a lot faster and with ease. And because of this company policies in both countries differ regarding employee attendance and tardiness. Following is an example taken from the staff manual of the staff of (St. Scholastica College Manila, 2006) in the Philippines regarding absenteeism and lateness. “UNDERTIME AND TARDINESS Note that: 1. In spite of a first offense, one can still earn 100% of the merit pay. 2. In spite of a second offense, one can still earn 75% of merit pay. Number of Offense Frequency (Cumulative)
Sanction First2 hoursOral Reprimand Second4 hoursFirst Written Warning Third6 hoursSecond Written Warning Fourth8 hoursSuspension – 3 days Fifth10 hoursSuspension – 5 days Sixth12 hoursSuspension – 10 days, letter of commitment required upon return to work Seventh14 hoursDismissal” As you can see from the example there are six levels of punishment before resulting to a dismissal or termination from work. This is because the company is more lenient to the employees because of being late is one bad habit of Filipinos which is rampant within the society.
While in Australia there are not that many stages before termination when it comes to absenteeism and tardiness. An example is that a workplace policy of a business in Australia has two groups; “Group I: These types of actions may result in immediate discharge: Excessive absenteeism regardless of reason; Group II: These types of actions may result in a written warning followed by suspension and/or termination: Absence and tardiness without reasonable cause, Absence from Salon without permission” (BHA Salon Workplace Policy & Procedure Manual, 2011).
In regards with the policy in an Australian company, tardiness in the workplace will result to a written warning which will then be followed by a suspension and then termination if excessive absenteeism is done by an employee. There were not much warning given to the employees with regards to tardiness and absenteeism because here in Australia, tardiness doesn’t happen often and isn’t considered a social norm. Another point to look at is that, Philippines is a third world country whereas Australia, being a first world country, has good sets of policies laid out for human resources.
Employees are not exploited here in Australia. Whereas in the Philippines, take nurses as an example, the nurse to patient ratio is one nurse is to twenty patients sometimes even going as high as fifty patients per nurse. Hospital administrators, primarily those working for government hospitals, are not able to hire additional workforce because of the lack in budget to pay for those additional nurses. Instead they turn their sights on newly graduated and fresh nurse license holders. Hospitals open courses which offer them on the job training and work experience.
By doing this, the hospital has answered the need for additional workforce through the use of fresh nurses wanting to have work experience background on their resumes. So in a work area the core of the work force comes from inexperienced nurses who recently acquired there nurse license. Here in Australia, hospitals have ample amounts of budget therefore having the means to adhere to the ideal nurse to patient ratio. Not only that, hospitals are better equipped in making a nurse’s job a lot easier and much safer.
Therefore nurses are motivated to give out better work output by delivering quality nursing care to patients. Therefore an Australian company’s human resource manager may have this set of plans, criteria or models, whereas an HR manager in a south-east Asian company may the same or not. So to an extent it is impossible to compare the practice in human resource managing because there are a lot of factors to consider just like the eagle will always be an eagle so as a falcon will always be a falcon.