Global Talent Management Part I: Recruiting Globally

As Baby Boomers retire, the shortage for experienced talent is expected to grow. Look for the talent you need in places you haven’t thought about.

by Atul Vashistha

Talent management has been in the news lately as employers in the U.S. and other developed economies face a shortage of skilled workers, a problem that will only grow as the Baby Boomers retire from the workforce. In this environment, attracting and retaining top talent has become a fundamental key to remaining or becoming a competitive business.

How, then, can organizations recruit talent? They could—and often do—fight over scarce talent that’s available onshore. But that may not be the most efficient or effective option.

Looking globally to find talent—and sourcing work to where the talent is—can be a great alternative to engaging in a talent war. Many global companies may already be globalizing to take advantage of offshore talent pools; in the 2006 Duke CIBER/Booz Allen offshoring study, almost 70 percent of respondents reported that offshoring is driven by a desire to tap the global talent pool.

Developing a Model

Recruiting offshore can be quite different from recruiting onshore. There are cultural barriers to overcome, brand recognition to be established, and compensation structures to be understood. But taking the fours steps necessary to accomplish these and other tasks can pay off in the form of access to pools of highly educated, competent employees.

• Step1: Identify Talent Needs. Before going global to recruit talent, it’s important that the client organization identify the particular skills and capabilities it needs. Does the company need call-center employees, back-office payroll processors, or software engineers to design and implement a web-based, self-serve benefits site?

• Step 2: Assess Sourcing Options. Once talent needs are identified, the organization can ask the right questions about sourcing options. Assessing the options with regard to the organization’s needs and goals is important; the organization should specifically consider each location’s competency in the area(s) in which talent is needed.

When considering potential sourcing locations, assess what works and what doesn’t in those offshore markets. Analyze such data as labor costs, tax implications, unionization, and benefits liabilities, as well as such people issues as cultural compatibility, community impact, and employee engagement.

• Step 3: Devise a Proactive Talent Strategy. In today’s talent-short environment, a proactive recruiting strategy is essential. Your competitors are proactively recruiting candidates while you wait for results from a want ad.

To develop a proactive talent strategy, try multiple sourcing channels. Consider hiring a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firm or other trusted advisor with experience in the channels you’re considering.

Talented candidates worldwide can afford to be picky about the companies they work for, as well as more demanding. Many talented employees highly value learning and development opportunities. So the organization should commit to developing training programs.

• Step 4: Focus on Organizational and People Issues. Recruiting offshore can be made more difficult by a local unfamiliarity with the company brand. So when entering offshore markets to recruit talent, companies need to develop an employment brand and advertise it to potential recruits. Genpact, for example, has set up “storefronts” in eight Indian cities out of which employees can recruit local talent. Candidates can walk in and chat with company representatives about what Genpact does and the kinds of opportunities it offers; they can leave their resumes and come back later for voice and accent testing, when necessary.

Keep in mind that the most lucrative talent pools may be in second-tier cities. In many of these locations, potential employees will need to be sold not only on the company, but also on BPO itself as a career. Recruiters should highlight the wide scope of BPO as a career, as well as the company’s opportunities for advancement.

Once considered the purview of companies that wanted to reduce costs or leverage growth opportunities, services globalization now counts among its drivers the need to get talent where it lives—which is increasingly offshore. Global sourcing requires companies to develop a global recruiting model; companies that successfully do that might be able to stay ahead of looming talent wars.

Next time, I’ll write about a second aspect of global talent management: retaining a global workforce.

Posted June 10, 2007 in Engaged Workforce

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