Strategic Blind Spots in the Global Talent Pool and How to Avoid Them
Over the last 30 years, the world has witnessed incredible wealth creation and asset growth. This has largely resulted from geo-political stabilization and subsequent business globalization, which has in turn brought about lower-cost skilled workforces, middle-class growth in developing nations, and international corporate gains in shareholder values amid competitive industries. Successful companies entering new markets have always seemed to understand the potential market growth opportunities throughout this globalization trend, and those that best executed their business strategy have won by expanding their knowledge within the local labor market to fully understand how market dynamics have impacted their efforts to access talent, integrate an effective workforce, and meet the business objectives.
We have worked with hundreds of global companies over the last twelve years, and our findings, in the most basic account, rest on the fundamental concepts of paying attention and mitigating labor market risk by avoiding three specific strategic blind spots when accessing global talent.
The top strategic blind spots to avoid include:
1. One-Size-Fits-All Mentality: Many times, a talent search starts with the assumption that your organization’s “home country” Talent Acquisition Strategy works so well that it transfers automatically and will work just as well in new markets. Many 90’s US companies made the mistake of believing that their exact internal structures and processes were replicable and scalable anywhere else in the world. Of course, consistent systems are necessary in order to pull data for planning and workforce analytics purposes, but the processes can be quite different in other countries when it comes to addressing local cultures and customs. For instance, labor laws in India, Italy, Sweden, and the US are poles apart, so a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in a legal or cultural sense.
2. Misuse of Employment Branding Promotional Tools: Attracting talent has a lot to do with positioning your employment brand as an employer worth considering. There are basic tenets of the brand that are globally constant, yet the tools used to push out the message are quite different in each country, and many companies miss an opportunity to promote themselves more effectively with local options. The problem then is that if the approach, sequence, or message is wrong, then brand reputation and lost resources are at a huge risk. Monster, the prominent job board, and LinkedIn, the social media giant, for example, both have global brand recognition; however, both are significantly less effective outside of the US as many direct competitors are more culturally specific. Secondly, how you approach talent is significant, as the cultural rules in each country are different. For instance, calling potential candidates after-hours is considered unacceptable and a brand killer in certain countries, yet calling them during regular work hours is deplorable elsewhere. Not knowing these kinds of cultural distinctions is a major risk companies often take without even realizing it.
3. Poor On-boarding Choices: In every global organization, inducting new hires into a company takes process, collaboration, and seamless integration. Bringing new hires on board so they are ready to learn and feel welcomed is universal, yet to ensure new hires have this opportunity, an accurate understanding of when the new hire will join the organization is critical to meeting the business needs. We have witnessed several companies miscalculate timelines by not understanding how local market talent leaves their current employers. For instance in the US, it is customary for a two-week notice to be given to the employer before leaving. Yet in Europe, the timeline can be anywhere between one and six months depending on the labor contract and the country. Business objectives are built upon a supporting workforce, and when timelines are missed, the risk of disrupting the business is high.
In order to overcome these strategic blind spots, we recommend the following for your globally growing company:
1. Determine global consistencies and flexible points within your process
As mentioned earlier, there are consistent systems, metrics, and tracking that are required by the business to report on workforce progress no matter the location. These need to be clearly identified to fit within the overall, as well as within the local, Talent Acquisition processes. Questions about centralized, decentralized, or shared services structures need to be answered first in order to build a base process map, and then flexible points can be added to meet specific geographical needs.
2. Let us do your Talent Intelligence homework for you
Employ a Talent Intelligence strategy to identify what matters to the local talent market in your industry, and then build a talent acquisition and on-boarding strategy to meet the needs of the business. For instance, the first part of our Talent Intelligence process is used to uncover push/pull factors that will either drive talent to or away from your company based on market dynamics and competitors. By understanding the culture, and then applying supply/demand market analytics for skills, experience, and compensation, you will have the information to build a more comprehensive action plan.
3. Speak their business language and respect their culture
Even though we are a practicing business, we know that every human being wants to be respected and heard; therefore, take the time to listen, to understand past experiences, and to obtain suggestions. Then, leverage that knowledge to build a best practice Talent Acquisition Program. Building trust enables collaboration to achieve greater results for the business.
While the world has become a more globalized work space, differences between cultures and customs should be encouraged and embraced. One size does not always fit when it comes to talent search strategies, employer branding should be adapted to your audience(s), and on-boarding can be varied across geographies. If you can avoid those blind spots, you are halfway done. From there, the best ways for your company to really embrace globalization include figuring out where you must stand firm and where you can bend a little with processes, using our Talent Intelligence methodology for the best information on the talent market, and showing some cultural respect and building trust. If you can follow this advice, your globalized business will almost always experience decreased risk and greater business results.