With rapid business growth, talent leaders need to keep their eye on Latin America.

By Paula Jacomo

Between the introduction of new technologies, changing demographics, and talent wars within the region, Latin America (LATAM) has quickly emerged as a fierce competitor in the global talent market. The region has seen rapid business growth for multinational corporations looking to expand their footprints, and its start-up community is also booming. Not only has this growth swiftly increased the demand for talent, but it has also led to a shift in employee expectations regarding the technologies and benefits made available to them.

This change has also made HR departments pivotal to organisational success in the LATAM region, and those that are adapting their processes to attract and retain the best talent within the region are already seeing results. Although 20 years ago, companies in the region may have been more associated with older labour trends, today HR departments in LATAM are applying innovative and forward-looking strategies to help meet these changing priorities. For example, investments in sourcing analytics tools give recruiters fast access to critical data points on jobs, candidate sources, and candidate professional trends, enabling talent acquisition professionals to improve the candidate experience by engaging with their audiences through customised events and campaigns. Organisations are also adopting mobile strategies to improve decision making when hiring. Managers can now easily access a candidate’s competencies and experience, speed the interview process, reduce wait times to fill positions faster, and improve the overall recruiting experience for candidates.

Talent acquisition and retention are top priorities for LATAM businesses. Whilst the region has never had a more qualified talent pool with more diverse skills, recruiting employees still remains a challenge. Between global players fighting over talent and the rise of local businesses, the LATAM job market has never been so varied or had so many job opportunities, particularly for millennials in the region. However, this strong competition certainly pays off for the employees. Talent wars are causing HR teams to regularly identify new and thoughtful ways to keep employees happy and prevent talent from sprinting out the door.

Compensation remains the best incentive to get employees to stay. According to a Workforce 2020 research report that surveyed 5,500 executives and employees across 27 countries, compensation was most important to employees in North America and LATAM compared to other regions around the world. LATAM also scored the highest among the regions in employees’ likelihood of leaving their job in the next six months (at 29 per cent). This reinforces the need for HR to have highly competitive strategies for keeping their talent engaged.

One approach that is gaining popularity among is using continuous performance management (CPM) tools. CPM tools allow businesses to shift away from ineffective annual reviews and instead, move towards an ongoing feedback system that keeps employees engaged in their work through constant coaching. However, this is not a permanent fix, and employees who are not challenged and engaged will often seek other opportunities.

Putting Millennials in the Driver’s Seat

As LATAM emerges as a business epicenter, companies are depending more and more on younger generations to be the engine of their organisations. And millennials in the region are welcoming this responsibility with open arms.

But millennials also require an investment from employers in their future as well. Formal training and mentorship are proven ways to keep millennials engaged and excited about their current roles. In the same Workforce 2020 survey, researchers found that nearly 30 per cent of employees surveyed in both North America and Latin America said they have considered quitting a job due to lack of learning and development opportunities. This illustrates how critical it is for LATAM companies to take steps to address workforce needs.

But employee development is still only half the battle. Ensuring a healthy work-life balance is just as important to this demographic, hinting that companies that go the extra mile to understand the drivers of their employees will be positioned for long-term success.

Making Technology a Key Enabler

With such a diverse and competitive market for talent, LATAM countries are developing creative ways to retain their top performers. In this region in particular, many organisations find success in deploying technologies that foster deeper engagement and collaboration between employees and managers. For example, performance management is evolving from a once a year event into a continuous feedback culture where conversations between managers and employees are deeper, more meaningful, and more relevant for development and career planning. Thus, organisations can engage their workforce, ignite better performance, and retain key talent, ultimately driving better business outcomes.

As LATAM businesses invest in more technology for their HR teams, it will allow them to move towards a real-time approach to decision making and ultimately enable them to better recruit and retain top talent. At the end of the day, the job market holds enough opportunities to keep the workforce on the lookout for their next job prospect, but HR teams can ensure that they’re doing everything they can to keep their employees trained and always learning and hungry for new challenges.

Paula Jacomo is head of HR, Latin America at SAP

Tags: global-summer-2017, Globalization, Magazine Article, Talent Acquisition

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