Talent Management on a Global Scale

When we speak to HR leaders about their personal careers we hear time and time again that development is the biggest source of engagement (“I am not interested in any external opportunities, as my company has just given me my dream assignment”), and the leadership of the direct manager is the biggest source of frustration (“I need to move as my boss is just taking away too much of my energy”). Both aspects will guarantee that talent and leadership development will always be one of the high impact areas for Human Resources, in all industries and all geographies.

We know that the overarching purpose of talent management is to sustainably improve companies’ performance. When done well, an organisation will be rewarded with a competitive advantage through great leadership and and a highly engaged workforce.

If an organisation has a global workforce, the talent management process can become complex and it will be even more important to bring talent development, succession planning, performance management and recruitment closer together.

Large multinationals have a pool of talent at their fingertips, yet PwC’s 2016 Annual Global CEO Survey reported that 72% of CEOs identified availability of key skills a major concern.

What does talent look like?

Identification and development of talent must of course be integral to a business and not just an HR role. It’s important to understand exactly what ‘talent’ means to your organisation and to ensure the same definition is in place across the whole company globally. There is obviously a difference between talent acquisition and ‘classical recruitment’. The latter often simply solved a short-term headcount need, whereas the former should tie into long term business objectives and focus on the needs and ambition of the organisation and the talent required to achieve those goals.

As stated in Recruiter, ‘As global organisations need to recruit globally with disparate needs and requirements, effective recruiting requires a well thought out corporate messaging around hiring and talent development. Talent acquisition professionals often craft the unique company message around the approach the company takes to hiring and the ongoing development of employees.’

Be the owner of your career…

In order to help employees to effectively manage their own career, there should be ample networking and communication opportunities and, of course, a systematic and well established talent process, owned by the business leadership, and facilitated by tools which foster most engaging employee experiences.

Leaders must take time for their people and their development, understand their strengths and potential relative to the future needs of the organisation, and their professional and personal aspirations. This starts with the creation of a personal development plan, for all people, not just for the identified and confirmed talents. The more employees will be able to pursue their personal development goals successfully in the company, the more engaged will they be and the less vulnerable will they be to external opportunities.

Vice President of Global Talent Management at Deutsche Telekom, Dagmar Pithan, led the overhaul of the company’s talent management process two years ago, setting up a global competence centre to enhance people development. Dagmar said: “Deutsche Telecom have transparency and visibility for the first time. We can see all of our talents across the world because they put their profile in to an ‘HR Suite’. Many see lots of benefits that growing internationally and rotation offers.”

Making the Change

Whilst it is all very well and good to start changing people development processes convincing company leaders to adopt and adapt to change can be tricky, and changing leadership culture is something that has to be tackled in its own unique way. In order to make the programme a real success, it is vital to ensure that leaders are on board with the new approach. A leader’s mindset, and their support, is one of the most crucial success factors for global talent management. Make sure you keep stakeholders involved in what you’re doing. They need to be part of the journey and to understand what’s changing and why.

According to award-winning science writer Jay Dixit, in his Neuroleadership article, ‘Why Transparency Is the Secret to Improving Employee Experience’, “when you are driving change globally, transparency is the secret to improving employee experience and studies have shown that management transparency is ‘the most significant predictor of employee happiness and that leaders who practise transparency and positivity are seen as more trustworthy and more effective.”

Simplifying the talent process and getting to know your workforce will be crucial in planning and implementation. The HR Trend Institute sets out 10 ‘megatrends’, which are aimed to provide a better insight into staying or becoming leaders in a business. These ‘trends’ include talent, recruitment, Learning and Development and HR Tech and provide a good resource when an organisation is considering change.

Ultimately, an organisation needs to strengthen the self-responsibility of their talent and encourage them to drive their own career and make their own decisions whilst offering them the global support network and resources along the way.

And for the leaders there is an easy rule: Give your people just the same kind of development support which you would like to get from your own boss!

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