Four Key Players for Global Growth

The Global Thinking Report


July 23, 2014

Faced with the need for going global, companies are becoming more selective about who they send abroad and where they send them. At the same time, more international companies are opting for shorter assignments.

These are some of the findings presented in the Global Thinking study by IESE’s International Research Center on Organizations (IRCO) in collaboration with ERES Relocation Services in Spain. The report was written by IESE professor José Ramón Pin and researcher Pilar García Lombardía.

With all these changes afoot in the global context, the authors note that HR departments should become strategic partners of senior management to best identify “expatriate-able” talent in their organization.

Detecting the talent

Dividing international key players’ profiles into four categories that correspond to the business factors is recommendable for the design of efficient mobility policies adapted to each company’s needs. In this way, selection, training and promotion processes, such as the implementation of agreed remuneration flexible policies, are eased.

1. Ready and Willing: Self-Designed Careers. To a large extent, this category corresponds to “global nomads”: people with an international lifestyle who see mobility as a way to satisfy both personal and professional goals in their lives. Global nomads tend to be young, flexible and willing to accept posts that older colleagues might reject or accept only under highly beneficial, strongly compensated terms. People with this profile might hail from any country, although in recent years the percentage coming from China and India has grown substantially.

Global nomads view their career as a never-ending string of international opportunities, so motivating and retaining them is not easy. Traditional economic incentives are not the best way to increase loyalty to their current employer. They respond better to new challenges in order to develop their skills and a career path with the promise of multiple international assignments with varying responsibilities.

2. High-Potential, Emerging Talent. This group is made up of potential future leaders who are interested in acquiring international experience. In many cases, they come from the “global nomads” group and may end up becoming strategic leaders in a few years, thanks to their commitment to their company’s culture and mission.

3. Technical Experts With Experience. These are people with expertise and technical skills suited to meet the particular needs of a company. They are specialists able to solve problems or carry out specific projects anywhere in the world. When they emerge from the “global nomads” group, a competitive advantage is clear: unlike most technical experts, they are already accustomed to working abroad.

4. Strategic Business Leaders. This group consists of experienced, high-performing executives with a strong sense of corporate mission. They are extremely valuable to the company, especially if they have developed their career in-house, as one of their most important jobs is to spread the company’s culture and mission around the world. One of the main goals of a global talent-management strategy is to establish policies that ensure the company has enough of these strategic leaders.

Read more in IESE Insight