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Principles of Effective Global Talent Management

Stahl et al. [16] suggest six principles of effective global talent management. According to these authors following talent management, best practices can only take you so far. Top-performing companies subscribe to a set of principles that are consistent with their strategy and culture. One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations worldwide is building and sustaining a strong talent pipeline. The authors recognized that adopting a set of principles rather than best practices challenges current thinking. Best practices are only the best in the context for which they were designed for. On the other hand, principles have broad applications. The authors found out that successful companies adhere to six key principles: alignment with strategy; internal consistency; cultural embeddedness; management involvement; balance of global and local needs; and employer branding through differentiation.

1. Alignment with strategy. Corporate strategy is the natural starting point for thinking about talent management. Given the company’s strategy, what kind of talent do we need? This requires a significant overall of existing performance management systems, investment in line management capability, and overall changes to the mind-set of line managers and employees.

  • 2. Internal consistency. Implementing isolated practices may not work and can actually be counterproductive. This principle refers to the way the organization’s talent management practices fit with each other. Consistency is crucial.
  • 3. Cultural embeddedness. Many successful companies consider their corporate culture as a source of sustainable competitive advantage. They make efforts to integrate their core values and business principles into talent management processes such as hiring methods, leadership development activities, performance management systems, and compensation and benefits programs. Rather than selecting employees for attitude and cultural fit, a more common approach to promoting the organization’s core values and behavioral standards is through secondary socialization and training.
  • 4. Management involvement. Talent management processes require managers’ involvement, at all levels, including the CEO. Senior leaders, and line managers need to be actively involved in the talent management process and make recruitment, succession planning, leadership development, and retention of key employees their top priorities.
  • 5. Balance of global and local needs. For multinational companies, operating in different countries, cultures, and institutional environments, talent management seems complicated. Companies need to figure out how to respond to local demands while maintaining a coherent HR strategy and management approach. A company's decision about how much local control to allow depends partly on the type of industry; for instance, consumer products need to be more attuned to the local market than pharmaceuticals or software. Companies that find a balance between global standardization and integration and local implementation have the best of both worlds. They can align their talent management practices with both local and global needs, resulting in a deep, diverse talent pool.
  • 6. Employer branding through differentiation. In order to attract employees with the right skills and attitudes, companies need to find innovative and creative ways of differentiate themselves from their competitors.

On the basis of the above, it was concluded that companies cannot simply mimic top performers, because best practices are only the best when they are applied in a given context. Companies need to adapt talent management practices to their own strategy and circumstances and align them closely with their leadership and talent philosophy, while at the same time finding ways of differentiating themselves from the competitors [16].

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