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Best Practice in Human Capital Management: General Motors

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Best Practice in Human Capital Management: General Motors (GM)

Overview of GM

General Motors is a diversified automotive business with interests in communications services, locomotives, finance, and insurance. GM's size is staggering. It has revenues of approximately $180 billion from more than 200 countries. Its manufacturing operations in over 50 countries produce 15% of the world's cars and trucks. GM has a gigantic global workforce of approximately 315,000 hourly and salaried employees. The business pays more than 465,000 pensions and touches 1.2 million lives with benefits in the United States alone.1

Business Challenges Facing GM's Human Resources Staff

Traditional HR departments within large, multi-national corporations tend to be inundated with the logistics of managing processes across many departments spanning multiple countries. In addition, GM, like other multi-nationals, has multiple HR groups - one at the corporate level and additional ones for each business unit within the corporation. These HR groups typically do not have a central repository of information and lack a coordinated communications infrastructure.

As a result, the HR processes of large, multi-national corporations generally are redundant and inefficient. In addition, the sheer number of third-party vendors used by an HR department to handle discrete functions makes management of the process challenging. By necessity, these departments predominantly have focused on administrative functions and typically don't have the time or the resources to devote to strategic planning. At the same time, many are facing a dramatic reduction in resources, and cost-cutting efforts primarily have focused on reducing staff, rather than re-engineering service delivery.

Why Is GM Remarkable?

The pervasive use of the Internet makes the integrated service delivery model for HR finally feasible. In 2000, GM prioritized the need to bring self-service capabilities to its huge employee base through a convenient, easy-to-use portal. Its objectives for the employee portal included:

Raising the productivity of GM employees while increasing service and quality.

Improving transaction accuracy, thus saving the company money.


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