Talent acquisition, development and retention are top priorities for all CEOs, but the talent landscape is changing dramatically. In Emerging Markets, developing talent creates a particular set of strategic and organisational challenges.
By examining the megatrends and challenges encountered by companies expanding into Emerging Markets in terms of talent development, this article will help provide a framework to help shape your approach to managing and developing Emerging Market Talent.
Three Talent Megatrends
Trend One - Demographics
The vast increase in population growth globally is almost entirely located in developing countries. This is shifting the global balance of GDP to new geographies which has implications for workforce distribution geographically, together with the supply and readiness of talent particularly in Emerging Markets. The scale of this trend should not be underestimated.
Trend Two - Globalisation
The second megatrend is globalisation, and the rise of 'the globally integrated enterprise'. Whilst globalisation is not new, our response to its implications generates many new Talent Management challenges, such as the need to grow and in some cases redistribute the workforce to countries with potentially higher rates of growth, and lower costs.
Trend Three - The rise of the knowledge worker
The third trend is the rise of the knowledge worker and the liberation of knowledge through viral collaborative networks, both inside and outside companies, that makes knowledge increasingly 'locationless'
Put crudely in today's terms, the implications of these megatrends on the global talent management and talent development agenda, mean we still live in a world of two halves with a divide between 'developed' and 'developing' markets, but this will change rapidly.
If market leadership in developed markets is focused on leadership, innovation and effectiveness; in 'emerging markets' the focus is primarily on management, implementation and efficiency. This is reflected in the talent development agenda.
Here are five top level actions that can help SHAPE your approach to managing and developing Emerging Market Talent.
Firstly think about sourcing. If you examine the top talent of any national workforce you'll find managers who are 'brilliant'. The depth beneath that level is weaker in every country, but often significantly weaker in emerging markets. Put your main effort into recruiting a potentially strong middle management population. Middle managers that are on average better than your competitors will win the day.
A characteristic of operating cultures in many emerging markets is a heritage of command and control structures, where line managers instinctively feel they 'own' their staff personally. But Talent is not the possession of a line manager; employees belong to the wider organisation, whilst career destiny belongs to the individual. Harness a culture of organisation wide ownership.
Another development fundamental is assistance in the provision of access to the wider world of the organisation. This contributes to developing a global mindset and challenges thinking in silos. Managers in emerging markets need to access organisation-wide networks of functional specialists and other electronic communities to increase the 'connection value' of each manager.
Preparing managers for increased responsibilities through training is an essential ingredient of any development path. Whilst the appetite for personal learning together with technical expertise in Emerging Markets, often exceeds that of managers in mature markets, competence in softer skills development, such as coaching and influencing is often lacking. When sourcing soft skills training providers it is beneficial to identify and use globally oriented training companies which can deliver consistent enterprise-wide messages around vision, values, competencies, and culture - but in local language.
Finally think about evolving challenging career paths to retain talent in your business, and encourage managers to be visionary not only about their current job but also their future ones. Create a culture of evolving individual ownership for career development.
Steven Pritchard is a Global Account Director at TMA World. With over 20 years experience in designing and delivering international management development programmes, focusing on globalisation, leadership and virtual teams. Over 70% of the programmes his team have been responsible for delivering in the last 12 months have been in Emerging Markets.
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