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Moving into new territory: Simon Constance, human capital director at Ernst & Young

Posted on from EY

What is HR’s role in creating competitive advantage in emerging markets? Simon Constance, human capital director at Ernst & Young, shares his insights.

Is your organisation growing?

Does your organisation see expanding into emerging markets as a key part of its long-term growth strategy? Besides the regulatory and organisational challenges that come with this activity, as an HR leader there are more considerations you need to make in terms of your people management processes.

We surveyed more than 1,100 people in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa who were classified as having ‘scarce skills’ or being in high-potential roles, predominantly in the fields of engineering, information technology and business leadership. We found that these ‘in demand’ professionals value different things across their professions and national boundaries, identifying five key talent management strategies to focus on.

The five strategies to pursue

  1. Accommodate different career goals across countries and professions in succession and career planning. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t be effective.
  2. Build a differentiated employer brand by country and profession, internally and externally.
  3. Develop the behavioural styles of co-workers and leaders to enhance engagement. These employees look beyond their immediate business leaders in terms of how they perceive their company.
  4. Create working environments that match country preferences. Each region will have very different demands of their working environment and this matters more to employees than the location.
  5. Tailor compensation and benefits to individual and cultural differences. Some countries value a steady income over variable pay, while non-cash benefits such as flexible work arrangements can be highly variable.

HR and creating competitive advantage

Ensure your organisation has mature systems, forums and processes to manage high potential staff individually. Companies that invest in this way are better suited to the type of career management required to accommodate different needs at an individual level.

Done well, staff assessment is more than a skills identification and development tool. It can provide employees and managers with the opportunity to develop a strong sense of what it means to be part of the organisation or to be a leader. This makes a positive impact on attraction, retention and engagement.

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