Talent management in emerging markets – new EY survey

Multinational companies looking for fast growth in emerging markets face a host of talent management challenges. Chris Debner, executive director of human capital at global professional services firm EY, suggests some practical solutions.

Joel Runyon [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Multinational companies looking for fast growth in emerging markets face a host of talent management challenges. Chris Debner, executive director of human capital at global professional services firm EY, suggests some practical solutions.Global companies understand the need to develop their talented people internationally and prepare them for global leadership roles. Yet very few have effective strategies and policies in place, despite the business case being clear-cut.With economic power shifting to emerging economies, and Western companies requiring international leadership that is capable of driving overseas expansion and operating competitively in these foreign markets, multinationals that plan their future talent needs strategically and manage to offer development opportunities will benefit from long-term competitive advantage and growth.They will also gain by attracting the best new employees, as well as retaining future top leaders.EY&#x;s recent Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey, however, highlighted the need for mobility executives to play more of a role in talent management and wider business objectives, instead of merely deploying services.Nearly half of the respondents said that their company did not even have a global talent management agenda. Mobility should be a tool that enhances the talent pool, not simply an easy way of filling a vacancy without any strategic insight.The majority of mobility professionals are either on the outside, struggling to understand their future role, or too busy with operational day-to-day tasks to elevate their role. With the globalisation of markets, however, comes the need to have talent that understands, relates to, and can compete in diverse markets.The function must be connected or integrated with the talent management team, combining their specialist skillsets to improve the retention and development of top talent and potential future leadership.The first crucial step in the process is to identify top talent and its needs. Globally, among the young &#x;high potentials&#x;, Generation Y already forms the majority of the talent pool. By 2020, it is expected to form at least half of the global workforce. If companies do not provide what these workers value most, then developmental assignments are not going to deliver value or cost-effectiveness.For Generation Y, the world has no boundaries and it is experience, rather than monetary incentives, that matters. They are actively looking for opportunities, while many have already obtained international experience during their studies or traineeships abroad.Global talent management also means looking for talent in emerging markets and not merely in the home markets. It is therefore necessary to attend also to career and related mobility opportunities for employees in markets such as, for example, India or Malaysia. A well-educated workforce is waiting there to be included in the talent management process.Business line managers and leaders should, first and foremost, be held accountable for identifying and developing high potentials and implementing a companywide talent management strategy. Cooperation between HR (recruitment, talent management, compensation and benefits, business partners, global mobility) and business unit leaders is crucial for a successful implementation of developmental assignments.This should also involve developing the right processes and using joint employee databases and tools, as well as setting joint measurable goals and KPIs. For this, companies should focus on long-term return on investment (ROI) instead of short-term assignment relocation costs. Of the senior mobility executives interviewed for the Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey, 78 per cent reported that their mobility function did not measure ROI. This is a worrying statistic, to say the least.There is no doubt that the global mobility function has a lot of strategic knowledge and skills that often remain unused. For companies to benefit from emerging market growth in the future, more strategic cooperation with business, talent management, tax and legal departments is needed, as well as creativity in responding to a rapidly changing business environment.