My work has taken me all over the world. From the UK, France and Germany, to the US, Ghana and Singapore, I have spent the last 15 years clocking up 100,000s of airmiles. Like many travellers, I like to seek out the unique characteristics of a place, to taste the local cuisine, explore the hidden passageways of towns and villages and soak up the cultural experiences that wash over me.
But one thing you can’t escape is the homogenised city-scapes that have emerged in the past decade. Brands like McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Apple, Microsoft and PepsiCo crop up in all parts of the globe and are a stark visual reminder of the impact globalisation has had on our way of life. The world seems much smaller now as a result of a global integration of people and businesses presenting a sameness or familiarity no matter where you are in the world.
This apparent shrinking of the planet has had a big impact on how, why and where we find talent, shaking up traditional recruitment practices and forcing us to think differently about how we build and maintain global teams.
Ten years ago, it was difficult to understand the talent pools of different countries and it was tough to access those people. Now, as economies such as Brazil and Singapore strengthen and local companies grow bigger, these talent pools continue to shift and grow. In Ghana, it was previously hard to encourage those that had left to be educated in the US or Western Europe to return. That is now changing with senior leadership much more readily available.
And the advent of platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, with hundreds of millions of global users (there are 20m LinkedIn members in the UK alone) has made it incredibly easy to find out where the best people are, to engage them and hire them. The playing field has very much been levelled as the world has more visibility of candidates and is competing to grab the very best people.
Of course, this is good news for job hunters everywhere who are now presented with a wealth of opportunity.
But for companies, getting the right talent, breaking into new markets and keeping hold of your best people is getting tougher.
The impact of your brand is now more important than ever. A new generation of more culturally aware job-seekers are using the web to find out all they can about your business. It might be time to refreshen up that careers page on your website and tighten up your LinkedIn presence – and to do so in a way that best communicates your values and mission to the intended local audience. Don’t assume what works in London will work in Newcastle, New York or New Delhi.
Developing a consistent way of evaluating candidates is of the essence too, as recruitment processes can vary wildly across geographies. In some places, quick-sourcing services is the norm. In others, a deeper evaluation and testing process is preferred. In some countries, the idea of outsourcing recruitment feels alien and uncomfortable. In the UK, it’s perfectly normal.
At Sage, we use English as our business language of choice. Our successful online induction portal is used globally, but we still do a local on-boarding and induction process and work hard to engage people in a way that fits the local market.
Finding a common approach is hard, but crucially important in ensuring you have a diverse, yet happy and unified team. Yes, the world may feel as though it is getting smaller. But understanding local ideals, cultures, attitudes and practices is the only way to build a successful team of talent, so discount them at your peril.
By Andy Hill, Executive Vice President Talent and Resourcing, Sage