Tim Rayner, a Director with The Chapman Consulting Group based in Europe, recently led a discussion amongst 30 global HR Leaders in Amsterdam on the topic of ‘One World for HR — is it possible?’ The roundtable offered an opportunity for attendees to share experiences and insights, discussing where their companies were on the journey to ‘One World’, and even debating whether this is actually the right approach when it comes to HR. HR Leaders from a variety of organisations joined the session including ABN AMRO, AkzoNobel, APM Terminals, Arcadis, Ceva Logistics, Damco, DSM, E&Y, Generali, Greenpeace, Novartis, Nutricia and Philips. Ben Davies, a Managing Director with The Chapman Consulting Group also contributed to the discussion and added context from Asia.
Jan Rijken, our host from KPMG and the Group Head of Talent and L&D, kicked off the mini presentations with an insightful summary of KPMG’s path to creating a sustainable and scalable approach for HR, whilst bearing in mind the local market needs. “We have been discussing within KPMG for some time a more global approach to our HR model, but also not losing sight of the local market requirements. We decided on a statement to overlay everything that sat well with us – as global as possible, and as local necessary.”
Jan shared some lessons learned in driving a ‘one world’ shift, whilst maintaining balance: “We have deliberately leveraged existing best practices and added to these to achieve quality, consistency and efficiency. The mature markets have kept their momentum, and the growth markets are now accelerating their HR agendas. It is not always easy, and I would probably say we are still on the journey.”
Balancing the ability of an organisation to remain competitive in local markets, and at the same time creating standardisation and efficiencies, was discussed at length. Key takeaways from the discussion included:
- It must be right for the business. Align the commercial approach and growth plans with the right HR and talent model;
- Finding talent is now a global task. The smarter organisations are thinking globally, both internally and externally. This is a chance for companies to create a one world strategy;
- Internet and early stage businesses that are growing fast are ignoring classical HR in favour of a more organic approach – no more nine box or annual performance processes. It lightens the load on HR, and is enabling more time to be spent supporting the business on growth;
- Terming countries as “emerging markets” is out of date. Many countries that might have been in that category before are now the main revenue generators. ‘Frontier’, ‘Pioneer’ or ‘Growth markets’ were suggested as alternatives being adopted by many organisations.
Many thanks go to our co-hosts, KPMG, for hosting an interesting and valuable discussion on the next phase for HR. The Chapman Consulting Group will hold its next programme of Global HR Leader networking sessions in March 2015.
Ben Davies is a Managing Director with the Chapman Consulting Group and splits his time between Singapore, Hong Kong and Europe.
Tim Rayner is a Director with the Chapman Consulting Group based in Europe.
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