Staffing systems have the potential to become the first in the family of HR systems to become truly global. I define a global system to be one that is based on a database having one single “instance.” This definition does not rule out distributed databases, but is intended to exclude regional standalone systems. Global Staffing Systems Staffing systems have passed the technological and conceptual milestones that make a truly global function within reach. Network infrastructure has progressed, with the widespread availability of broadband and high-speed Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), to the point where the Internet is capable of supporting a global staffing system. Staffing systems themselves have reached key business application milestones, such as role-based security and configurable workflow. The cumulative effect of these developments means that all divisions and locations of a corporation may use a staffing system based on a single database, in a global yet decentralized process. My previous article, A Global Workforce Calls for a Global Database, explains that a centralized database works best in any multi-location situation, no matter what the scale. The global database conveys advantages to a staffing function in candidate sharing, process consistency, coordination of recruiting efforts, and reporting. Localization in HR Systems HR systems must go through a process of localization to both languages as well as applicable laws, rules and regulations. A payroll system, for instance, must be localized to the tremendously complex systems of employment, accounting, and taxation rules that have evolved over decades of business practice. Each jurisdiction has its own unique system of rules and regulations, often with opposite implications for localization. The complex systems of rules and regulations across different jurisdictions may make it impractical to have one global HRIS that localizes to each jurisdiction. There are no savings to be had in trying to localize a single global HRIS or payroll system across multiple jurisdictions; in fact, greater costs due to the complexity of the job are the likely consequence. By comparison, there are fewer barriers to merging regional staffing systems into a global platform. Data Privacy Do localized data privacy laws pose an equal barrier to creating a global staffing system? In fact, data privacy principles around the world are increasingly becoming harmonized. Though there may be differences between jurisdictions, they largely uphold the same legal principles. Informed consent, right of access, accountability, and limits on data transfer are some of the fundamental principles common to legislation in jurisdictions around the world. Some jurisdictions go further than others in the rights and protections given to individuals concerning their personal information. The trend to international harmonization of data privacy legislation was set by the European Union, which demands that all countries trading with the EU pass data privacy legislation that is substantially similar to its own. It is a good corporate practice to meet and even exceed data protection requirements. A company can generally satisfy the requirements of all jurisdictions that it does business in by adhering to the standards of the jurisdiction with the strictest requirements. Payroll, taxation, and accounting rules and regulations are not as neatly aligned across all jurisdictions, so companies have to go through the detailed task of localizing to each one individually. The Future of Global Staffing Systems Once a company uses a staffing system based on a single database platform, it can then migrate all hire types onto the one platform, to optimize the performance of the entire staffing function. For instance, merging all hire types into a single platform will provide decision makers with better analytics for workforce planning. Increasingly, companies will leverage the configurability of staffing management solutions that are based on a robust centralized database to gain advantage in their staffing process.