Penn State graduate certificate helps HR managers with international workforces

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Labor laws and work culture vary widely around the world. With the increasing globalization of the business world, even small and mid-size companies need to be able to respond to the challenges of an international workforce.

A new Penn State online graduate certificate is aimed at helping human resources professionals understand the law, policy and best practices for companies with employees outside the United States.

The 12-credit graduate certificate in international human resources and employment relations (IHRER) is offered through Penn State World Campus by the School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER).

“There is a huge need for people to understand international HRER,” said Antone Aboud, professor of practice in LER and team leader for the online program. “We know from talking to our alumni and our students and from the research of our faculty that there’s a huge amount of activity at the international level.”

“There is a huge need for people to understand international HRER ... You can get yourself into a lot of trouble if you apply U.S. concepts.”

-- Antone Aboud, professor of practice in School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State

Challenges for HR professionals can include differences in labor laws and policies. In Europe, for example, there are very strict rules about the circumstances in which an employee can be fired, Aboud said. “You can get yourself into a lot of trouble if you apply U.S. concepts.”

Cultural differences can also be significant. “To offer somebody  recognition for a personal achievement may not be as valued in another culture,” Aboud said. “You have to understand that there may be differences.”

The program is aimed at HR practitioners and managers at both U.S. and non-U.S. companies, as well as graduates of Penn State’s master’s in professional studies in human resources and employment relations program who are interested in an additional credential.

Applications are being accepted now for the program, which will begin in January 2016. More information is available on the program website.

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Last Updated July 30, 2015