On the 12th of November ChapmanCG, along with Kimberly Clark, co-hosted our third HR Leaders Networking Sessions for this season in Singapore, where the topic of discussion was ‘Innovation in the Talent Life-Cycle’. We had contributions from attending Regional Heads of HR from numerous industries ranging from hospitality and pharmaceuticals, to asset management and consumer goods, among others. The companies represented by senior HR Leaders included Cargill, Celgene, DAMCO, Ecolab, Electrolux, Intercontinental Hospitality Group, Liberty Insurance, Mars, Merck, Monsanto, Murex, Northern Trust Insurance, NXP Semiconductors and VMware.
Talent Strategies for Asia Pacific
Naomi Monteiro, Regional HR Head for APAC and our co-host, spoke about Kimberly Clark’s model of country-empowered HR teams, combined with an underlying platform of shared values across the company. KC has a very local approach to managing HR processes on the ground, and creating a local passion for the organisation is in fact strategically prioritised over consistency across emerging markets. This brought about an interesting discussion on how to best calibrate talent and high performers across markets in a global organisation. Ensuring that local voices are strong and are heard, means regional heads are then empowered to recognise and develop talent in these markets.
Manish Verma, APAC HR Lead from Cargill, referred to the company’s extensive mobility practice, which helps to develop talent in emerging markets through rotation into roles in more developed geographies. The organisation also sends top employees to markets where there is a dearth of talent, rather than hiring from outside the company. Measuring such an investment can sometimes be hard to quantify at certain levels, but Cargill does this by linking the ROI directly to the business units.
Questions were raised about what to do in cases where talent isn’t mobile? In today’s increasingly globalised world, can someone be identified as top talent if he or she isn’t really mobile? How realistic and practical is the idea of moving jobs to where the right people are? In the case of Monsanto, Aparna Kumar, APAC HR Lead, shared that for her company it isn’t always practical to move jobs to an alternative location. The organisation identifies roles which are deemed critical to the business, and then specifies that mobility is essential for those roles.
Innovations in Succession Planning
Deborah Woollard, VP HR APAC & MEA at Intercontinental Hotels Group, shared her input on how the hospitality group has had to address a gap in the talent pipeline, given the rate of growth for the business. The talent life-cycle for a General Manager on average within hospitality tends to be quite long, ranging from 20 to 25 years. Having quickly realised that talent at this level didn’t exist in the outside market, Intercontinental had to look outside of hospitality industry practices to see what other successful ‘best-in-class’ companies are implementing to secure future senior leadership. The company revisited the life-cycle and set up a rigorous and unprecedented programme to identify and groom GMs within a three to five year cycle. Moving their investments away from expat packages and mobility, and toward programmes like these has helped the organisation to counter the talent gap in future. It should be noted that an undertaking like this is not without its challenges, and it does require a huge shift in mind-set from business stakeholders, as well as current GMs. The key learning Deborah shared from this was — starting small is the first step in any innovation, then gain credibility and tweak things along the way.
Many thanks go to our hosts at Kimberly Clark, and we look forward to another discussion to gauge how the market is developing in 2016.
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