Global HR Leaders met at Shell House in London today for the quarterly Global HR Leaders series on Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets HR issues. The session, jointly organised by The Chapman Consulting Group and Organisation Solutions, was hosted by Shell. HR Leaders from Shell, Unilever, BP, Vodafone, GlaxoSmithKline, British American Tobacco, Johnson & Johnson and many others met to discuss their management of HR issues in these ‘hot’ markets during turbulent times.
Observations from the group included the following:
- There is still an immaturity at the Global Headquarter level on the effective talent mix needed to lead countries across Asia and Emerging Markets. Many reported an over-reliance on expatriates, and many admitted that there may also be a fundamental over-reliance on traditional ‘Western’ business models which may not be applicable in the world’s new growth markets.
- More organisations are challenging the notion of what a ‘local’ employee is. If an employee has spent a significant time working in a particular market, then many companies are now considering their opinions on par with nationals who were born and raised in these countries.
- There is a growing appreciation of having leaders at headquarter settings who have worked on the ground in Asia and Emerging Market locations for significant periods. There is also a growing expectation on these people to further educate their colleagues at the global level about how to manage these markets.
- The transfer of knowledge between global and regional HQs is now no longer a one-way process. Increasingly, companies are also seeking to take learnings from Emerging Markets and are seeing if they can be applied at the global level.
- Salary inflation and title inflation in developing markets are becoming real worries at the global level, and this trend is only getting worse by the growing gap caused by economic stagnation in the West. There is a distinct lack of parity when you compare the true substance and experience of talent at the same level in different regions.
- Compared to five years ago, Asian talent are shunning global assignments and are increasingly electing to stay in their home markets to reap the rewards of highly paid and senior jobs on their doorsteps.
- Most organisations in attendance expressed a growing trend for putting more decision making in the form of global roles in Asia, particularly in Singapore and China. Moreover, approximately 40% said that a member of their company’s global top management team is now sitting in Asia Pacific. This has led to a further increase in the need to manage virtual teams.
- Decentralising ‘real’ decision-making to Asia and Emerging Markets is not easy, and requires a commitment by executive leadership teams to grow stronger Emerging Markets leadership teams over a long-term time horizon. For example, strong leaders in Asia and Emerging Markets need to be harnessed to become mentors for others rather than be over-relied upon on an individual basis.
- The Global HR Leaders Group for Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets will next meet in London in September – a June session is not being organised due to proximity to the London Olympics – and the next host will be announced shortly.
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