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The global talent challenge

With increasing globalisation, maintaining a competitive edge without the right kind of talent is like fighting a battle without arms

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has paved the way for a plethora of opportunities as well as challenges for corporations. With the business world on a roller coaster ride, there is a tremendous transformation in the way companies have started sourcing their talent globally. Goods, capital, knowledge, technology and trade are more globally connected than they have been ever before. This connection has only increased the challenges faced by the companies in sourcing talent. The only challenge which always manages to get the utmost attention of hiring managers is building a strong talent pool and then sustaining the same. However, finding the right kind of talent has become the unattainable objective for MNCs.

Why manage talent?
With the ever increasing importance of at the global level the issues faced by firms all across the globe are similar and the approach of these firms to this problem is no different either. All the companies fight for the same talent pool, which specifically belongs to the top notch management institutions and B-schools. All of them are in a race to increase the standards of their approach to talent acquisition and its development in order to ensure consistency. This brings into focus, an important question. What is talent? The Society for Human Resource Management defines talent as a high performing, high potential employees of the organisation. As indicated, it is understood that given the current corporate scenario, organisations have to hold onto their talented employees if they are determined to maintain the competitive edge or are preparing to gain one. As the problem envelopes the globe, the crucial issue of a global talent management could not have been more important than now.

With increasing globalisation, maintaining a competitive edge without the right kind of talent is like fighting a battle unarmed for all firms be it domestic or international. Under the light of globalisation, the concept of a boundary less career is seeping into the minds of both the employers and the employees equally. Where on one hand the skilled professionals do not think twice before switching jobs and exploring better opportunities likewise, even the organisations are not settling for anything but for the quality talent. This has increased the fight for talent among MNCs.

Barriers in the path
Effective global talent management has its fair share of obstacles which must be identified. Over the years, the concept has germinated into a full blown dispute termed as 'global talent challenge'. While combating this trouble, organisations deal with a plethora of issues such as deficit of talent, overabundance of talent, finding the right talent, appropriate placement and apt reward, to name a few.

Scullion and Collings point out 70 per cent of corporate leaders spend major share of their time on talent management activities and (according to a recent survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers) 90 per cent of CEOs declared people agenda as their utmost priority. The trio concludes lack of competency on the part of firms as the main cause of failure in effective talent management.

It is here that the role of corporate function needs to be defined to tackle global talent management efficaciously.

The way out

There are five areas that are essential to manage global talent:

  • Communication of key priorities
  • Globally consistent and transparent talent evaluation process
  • Management of cultural diversity and creating globally integrated workforce
  • Mobility of global leaders
  • Empowerment
An effective communication strategy is the stepping stone towards effective talent management. Hence, it is emphasised that a constant communication of key priorities enables managers to stay focused. If the manager's individual value system is close to companies, it becomes easier to take quantum leap. Transparent and consistent talent assessment will enable line managers to deal with transfer cases confidently and maintain the standards as required. 'Rotation' across global 'divisions and geographies' will result in a culturally diversified talent hub with higher levels of 'open-mindedness' and knowledge. The third factor will be profoundly beneficial in unearthing potential from foreign regions thus helping in enhancing the parent organisation's client-base.

As knowledge workers form a substantial proportion of the developed as well as the developing economies, companies need to have motivated and talented workforce for a strong presence now and in future. To maintain uninterrupted flow of reliable labour at the right price, most Indian and Chinese firms send their own employees when relocating. Furthermore, performance pays to attract talent and recruiting from diverse networks is prudent to a firm's talent management strategies. Companies must gear up to create virtual talent pools all across the world in order to keep pace with the ever unpredictable business and economic scenario.

It will be important for companies to grow if decision making is pushed downward along with the accountability, that's where empowering employees will be playing very important role. It can, therefore, be concluded that with more knowledgeable labour force entering the market and businesses moving beyond horizons; innovative and adaptive HR practices are the only tools to cautiously tread the path of global talent management.
Ritu Mehrotra
Vice-President, HR, Global Talent Management, Bristlecone

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