The Chapman Consulting Group’s Global Series of HR Leaders Meetings have kicked off today, with two separate groups of around 20 global and international HR decision makers in the UK. The first meeting was co-hosted by Quintiles at their stunning open-plan international headquarters in Reading, west of London in the UK. The second meeting was in the capital, co-hosted by LexisNexis at their international HQ in the heart of London’s legal heartland around Temple. Attendees at these small groups included Global HR decision makers from companies such as BP, Vodafone, Ernst & Young, Honeywell, HSBC, British American Tobacco, G4S, Lockheed Martin, Nomura, Shell, McGraw-Hill and Thomson Reuters, to name just a few.

The Chapman Consulting Group’s Global Series of HR Leaders Meetings have kicked off today, with two separate groups of around 20 global and international HR decision makers in the UK.

In order to preserve the anonymity of the information shared from these sessions, we will not be reporting on all the findings discussed. However, below is a short summary of some of the most interesting points raised:

  1. One services company reported that 20% of external hires globally, including in growth markets, nowadays come from referral programmes. One of the reasons for the success of the programme was the array of prizes offered to referrers, including big-ticket items such as kitchen makeovers and cars. Prizes were tailored to specific markets so that they could take into account the demographic make-up of the employees in that location and ensure local market relevance.
  2. A healthcare company revealed that in some markets where talent was not easy to find, they took the decision to create accelerated school programmes in local universities, where they select high performing graduates and offer them 18 weeks of practical training before they even graduate. This includes visiting clients with so-called ‘onboarding managers’ who would be flown in from various global locations to run these programmes on a three to six month secondment programme. The strategy also has the knock-on effect of offering high performing junior managers in other locations the opportunity to get global exposure on short-term assignments.
  3. One outsourcing company discussed their experiences in profiling potential future retention risks. They analysed the data in their organisation that helped to foresee the risk points in the careers of high-value employees, and predict when they were most likely to leave. Knowing this data, instead of waiting for the retention problem to inevitably hit, they were able to give these ‘high risk’ employees stretch assignments, put them on interesting projects, and/or assign them buddies/mentors that would help them to get over the ‘hump’ in their onward career paths in the company.
  4. In a services company, they introduced a ‘talent brokerage’ model, whereby line managers were not just assessed on their ability to grow talent, but were instead evaluated on whether they were ‘net importers’ or ‘net exporters’ of talent. This was a very interesting example of where managers were being incentivised to ‘lose’ their talent to other parts of the company globally, in order to truly create the culture of ‘one business’ worldwide.
  5. A technology company has recently started to ask their employees “How hard do you want to work this year?” At first, employees treated this question with a great deal of suspicion, because they felt that the question was perhaps a divisive way to test loyalty and predictive performance. However now that the question has been embedded as part of the ongoing ritual of performance management, the company is finding that it elicits very honest and personal responses, such as revealing family matters that will impact employee’s lives in the year ahead. The company now finds they have a better understanding of short-term career planning, particularly pertaining to issues such as global mobility.
  6. A financial services organisation has discovered that people who compete in sports tend to share the same personal attributes as people who are successful traders. As a result they have started to be very targeted in their graduate recruitment programmes, aiming to predominantly hire new grads who have been active members of sporting groups while at university.
  7. In another financial services organisation, it was revealed that the top 300 roles globally are never advertised either internally or externally, and are only offered to people who have gone through the company’s global emerging leaders development programme. Even for roles below the ‘top 300’ threshold, the company makes sure that open roles are selectively emailed to graduates from the programme, so that they get more proactive exposure to these available roles than regular employees. The company makes no promises to these emerging leaders that they will definitely get a promotion, but they do promise to give them all the tools needed so that they should be eligible for a role if the right opportunity arises. That way, expectations are properly managed, and these high-potentials are not frustrated if they don’t immediately get promoted after finishing the programme.
  8. Finally, in a mid-sized industrial company, the Global CHRO has recently created a system of informal learning networks to aid collaboration and information sharing across geographical boundaries and silos. This has helped to engender a culture of sharing best practices among peers, and to using ad-hoc methods of ‘information mining’ for business critical situations. This allows the company to utilise the knowledge that already exists in various pockets within the organisation rather than have everyone try to work things out by themselves from scratch. These informal networks are usually kicked off by allocating teams from various markets to work on global projects together. And when the project is finished, residual interpersonal networks are given the chance to flourish long beyond the project’s lifetime.

It has been a great kick-off to the series. While there’s no substitute to attending one of these meetings in person, we look forward to sharing similar findings with our Global HR network from the rest of the series as it continues across Europe and North America in the weeks ahead.