For the last several years, the National Foreign Trade Council’s International Human Resources program working committees have increasingly focused on linking global talent development and the effective planning and usage of cross-border assignments. Although this is not unexpected, it is surprisingly not common practice — even within major multinational corporations (MNCs).
Certainly there are a small number of leading companies that have been role models for years in their holistic approach to global talent management. In our experience, it is only within the last three to five years that other MNCs, which are successful in their international business activities, have begun to place more attention on a structured approach to talent development through the use of cross-border assignments. Some of the contributing factors for this include:
1) Demographic trends within headquarter countries; a war for talent
2) Expansion of business activities into newer or emerging markets (Africa, China, India, the Middle East)
3) Increased competition from non-U.S. MNCs (Brazilian, Chinese, Indian) within their borders and internationally
4) Career aspirations of young professionals (ages 23 to 35)
At the NFTC’s annual IHR forum held on July 14-15, 2010 in New York City, the central theme was “Global Workforce Transformation To Drive Business Performance.” Even with the slow recovery of the global economy, many of the MNCs on the forum faculty emphasized that the key to current and future enterprise success depends significantly on cross-border business expansion driven by key corporate talent.
Speakers from such diverse employers as IBM, ITT, The Limited, Stryker, Bunge, Accenture, Vale do Rio Doce, Doosan, and China Merchants Bank provided their perspectives and experiences regarding talent selection, preparation, deployment, and retention. Global Relocation experts from UBS, Citicorp North America, Johnson & Johnson, Pioneer Natural Resources, and VF Corporation shared insights into the importance of reviewing and revising global mobility policies to ensure that they continue to support key talent and overall organizational objectives. The cost of failure is too great. The opportunities for success for both the enterprise and its individual employees are there through a line- management-driven mindset that understands the linkages.
For further information about the IHR activities of the National Foreign Trade Council see www.nftc.org or contact the NFTC’s office in New York City at 212.399.7128.