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Organizations wishing to expand operations in emerging markets need to avoid a monolithic approach to talent management and instead tailor recruitment and retention strategies to the local workforce, according to a report from global professional services firm EY.
Talent retention strategies include accommodating career goals, differentiating employer brand, and crafting work environments and total rewards to match country preferences.
“Each market presents different challenges, and it is crucial to understand people’s cultural and professional differences,” said EY Global Talent Management Market Leader Bill Leisy. “Only then will organizations be in a position to develop an effective employer brand that will attract in-demand talent, and a strategy that engages and retains those employees.”
In the major developing markets Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC), talent retention is a leading risk to the operational agility, competitiveness and strategic growth of organizations, according to EY. As companies rush to these countries or seek to build on existing operations, the competition for talent is only going to increase.
“Potential employees are attracted to one organization over another for different reasons,” said Leisy. “These include employers’ reputations in the market, pay and benefits, and flexibility of working arrangements.” But they stay in an organization for one key reason, he pointed out: the employer’s ability to develop and enhance their careers.
EY surveyed 1,100 professionals in high-demand roles working in industries with a notable talent shortage, including IT, energy and financials. Country-specific examples of key talent scarcity are:
Career goals are important to high-potential employees. They steer employees’ decisions, such as where to work and when to leave an organization.
EY found that career goals differ by profession. For example, engineers, for whom it’s essential to stay current in their field, often become technical or functional experts; business professionals strive to show a strong independent streak. “Use differentiated job design, career paths and performance-management processes to meet these differing career goals across professions,” EY advised. Build “Western European-style” autonomous work management and performance management into the roles of business professionals. For engineers, build up communities of interest around their field of expertise or create professional leadership roles aimed at developing technical skills and standards across business units, to emphasize technical career development.
Across the four BRIC countries, many career goals were shared, such as the desire for work/life balance and the opportunity to build a career in one’s home country. Some career goals, though, were valued differently by those in each country.
EY suggests that companies tailor career-management systems and processes to recognize national differences:
The low rating that respondents gave to international assignments is indicative of the exciting developments in their own countries. In the past, sought-after professionals in BRIC countries often thought that their best opportunities were abroad, but that has changed. “Multinational subsidiaries must now compete aggressively for BRIC talent, against global firms that offer exciting careers closer to home,” the report states.
According to EY, to improve their brand, companies should vary their recruitment messages to attract the best talent in different countries. Suggestions include:
EY found that an organization’s internal work environment drives engagement more than the location in a particular city or region. “Across all types of key talent in emerging markets, respondents placed greater value on a high-energy, sociable, friendly and comfortable environment than they did on location,” the report notes. “Organizations typically over-deliver on the location element, yet that was the least valuable in terms of improving engagement and retention.”
The report advises focusing the design of office space, location and work practices to reflect the following:
EY found clear differences among the BRIC countries when it comes to compensation and benefits practices. Tailor total rewards packages by country to achieve the greatest return:
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him at @SHRMRoy
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