These are the thoughts and takeaways from the Talent Think Tank (TTT) held on Thursday 10th May 2012 hosted by Ericsson, titled ‘Balancing Global and Local Talent Strategies’. The following summary has been written by our TTT partners, The Chemistry group, and reflects the discussion held amongst senior HR and Talent professionals from leading UK and international businesses.
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We are immersed in a changing global economy where the West is turning more sour with the deepening recession and the impending threat of the eurozone crisis, whilst countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China are quickly growing in economic power and influence in the world. The wider economic climate is just one factor that global companies are having to consider when thinking about their talent strategies to attract the best people, retain their top talent, and ultimately remain competitive in the market.
With this background, companies need to be clear on how they decide on and approach the challenge of taking a local view of talent vs the global. This is the question we started with at our Talent Think Tank event.
Many organisations centre their strategies around developing a high performance culture, building their leadership capability, defining what their future talent needs to be, and by attracting the best talent in order to deliver on their customer expectations, offer the best opportunities to develop and retain talent, and to reassure shareholders of the ‘good stuff’ happening within it.
Typically, organisations start this strategy by considering the strength and capability of their leaders, and often a global model of potential is used to define and identify the future global leaders of the business. However taking this global stance comes with it’s challenges; what cultural reservations and differences exist between countries? What resistance are organisations facing with global mobility? Can someone be global talent if they are not globally mobile? Is your local and global talent strategy consistent and aligned? How do you engage these global talents?
Our discussions were lively and raised several issues to consider when balancing local and global talent strategies, but ultimately centred around how to approach global strategies so that they are a success. Here is a brief overview of some of the key areas discussed:
Within any company many sub-organisational cultures can exist, and equally every company or office within it exists within their own specific social, cultural and economic context. When building a global talent strategy, incorporate activities to open cultural understanding across the business and to enable individuals to understand the overall business strategy so that there is a shared view and vision. Breakfast meetings, informal communication, and involvement from the CEO were a few ideas discussed.
Focus more on how
The outcome of any talent strategy is usually centred around ensuring you have the best people available. When defining your global strategy, stay focused on how you want to develop your talent to achieve this outcome, and not simply the process of what you will do.
Start early in capturing the capability and potential of individuals, so that conversations evolve naturally with what opportunities are available and ‘fit’ the individual. Build a focus on development and growing talent, enable your leaders to build a culture that enhances the capabilities of people and enables them to realise their potential through coaching and recognition.
One size doesn’t fit all
Take a whole person view. Too often employees can be expected to move with where the business needs them without considering what they want. Take time to understand their circumstances, and their motivation to move towards a global position.
Fitting roles and opportunities to people
When hiring or developing your talent, don’t focus only on fitting people to roles but be flexible to find the right opportunities and shape roles to suit a person’s strengths.
If you move your local talent to a global arena, consider what options are available around mobility and remote working. What can you offer your global talent to enable them to consider the opportunity around what works for them. More and more people today are choosing to move jobs sooner and work flexibly. This will allow you to be more agile around attracting and retaining talent.
Gen Y and Gen X – so what?
We finished our discussion debating what the implications are with the younger generations joining the workplace. How are their attitudes and expectations different, and how do we bridge this gap and engage with them? We discussed the need to establish what the company can offer them around development, to be clear on what stating what the company stands for, and to use the induction to set the company expectations of them. Ultimately there is still a big question about this… What are you doing to consider this generation for the future?