It’s the Future: Are You Ready?

It's the Future: Are You Ready? Posted by Jeff Schwartz on September 23, 2011

Prior to the recession, the emerging economies of China, India, Brazil and others represented the growth markets of the future. After the recession, that future has arrived — redirecting companies to compete globally for both customers and talent. But how have global markets changed and where should HR executives be focusing their attention?

Consider Michael Spence’s concept of a multispeed world. Spence, an American economist and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, is the author of The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World. Professor Spence asserts that it’s not just that global businesses are now operating in different markets, but that the speeds at which various geographies and markets are growing and developing is different, hence the term “multispeed world.” As such, it may not be useful to focus on the “global” economy, but rather to recognize that different parts of the world are growing at different rates and currently the center of action is in the Asian growth — formerly referred to as emerging — markets.

The Conference Board’s CEO Challenge 2011 survey of 604 CEOs from Asia, Europe and the U.S. offers another interesting insight on growth and talent. Respondents from Europe (28 percent) and the United States (43 percent) identified business growth as the number one challenge. While CEO respondents from Asia (29 percent) — the world’s fastest growing region — ranked talent as their number one concern; respondents from Europe identified talent as their number seven concern and those from the U.S. ranked it fourth. So, for those in mature markets, the message seems to be: Growth is paramount, but for leaders in high growth markets today, talent needs take center stage.

As outlined in our Human Capital Trends 2011report, HR leaders can support both growth and talent requirements by:

Staying at the front of the global curve by knowing the talent requirements for different markets and what’s needed to support business growth.

Taking a fresh look at global assignments, careers and mobility. A global business requires executives from different parts of the world who have a range of international experiences. This involves more than sending U.S. and European executives on assignments to the “emerging” markets in Asia and Latin America. Increasingly, it involves providing executives from all regions – U.S. and Europe, Asia and Latin America and China and India – with the opportunity to gain on-the-ground experience in all regions. In brief, if you have a global growth plan, it means endeavoring to build leaders and specialists who are knowledgeable and ready to lead, live and work in a global environment.

Continuing to rethink HR talent sourcing and operations, looking to emerging markets as sources for specialists and staff who can support COEs via HR technology, workforce analytics, training support and more.

Staying abreast of compliance rules and regulations. The world may be moving at different speeds, but one wave that appears to be moving around the entire world is the increase in regulation. Compliance is ultimately a people issue and, as such, ties back to talent and training throughout the company.

The “emerging” future of growth and talent is here. Is your HR team reacting — or are you leading?

Neil Nveras Jeff Schwartz, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, is the leader of the Human Capital practice in US India and a senior advisor to our Human Capital practices in India and China. Jeff is also a co-leader of Deloitte’s global Talent, Performance, and Rewards practice.

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