Human Resource Management

Succession Planning and Creating Greater Workforce Mobility

We can no longer deny that global talent management is a pre-requisite for getting a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic business world, but many c-level executives have been too preoccupied with the need to cut costs and explore alternative revenue streams.  Now that there are signs of the global recession lifting, organisations are likely to face a barrage of new challenges, such as the ability to respond to local market demands in skills, to retain high performance staff and to meet the needs of the Generation Y employee. As Bersin by Deloitte explains, “Talent mobility is the movement of employees into the right jobs at the right time at all places and levels within your organisation.”

Talent management has long been a crucial part of organisations’ human resources strategies. However, what’s likely to be different today is that companies (and staff) have a greater opportunity to work across borders – thanks to technologies such as cloud-based collaboration tools and free VoIP communications.

A mobile skilled workforce unlocks potential

Communication skills are critical to the success of organisations aiming to gain a competitive advantage in a global workplace. In fact, this was echoed in the 2012-13 Towards Maturity Benchmark Survey which revealed that language skill training had gained considerable focus within businesses. The study showed that over 43% of organisations are now enabling foreign language skills training – a staggering 350% more than two years ago. This upward trend of organisations using language learning technology is a direct result of a global shift towards greater international business and the need to improve workforce communication skills across borders.

Moreover, with tech-savvy Generation Y entering the job market, demands on organisations are changing dramatically.  Around 80 million millennials were estimated to be residing in the United States in 2012, making up a quarter of the country’s population and an even higher proportion of its workforce. As employees, this generation expects flexible working conditions and learning to be in place as part of their everyday work life. Businesses are therefore under great pressure to respond by ensuring that HR, L&D and IT work closely together to implement a reliable, technology-driven learning strategy that is delivered efficiently to employees who are dispersed all over a multinational organisation.

As we move into 2014, the integration of multilingual and multicultural workers into an overall business strategy is crucial to sustain and grow your global business. Access to technology and the need for businesses to remain agile is driving talent management to tear down communication silos within multinationals. What’s encouraging is that global companies are now actively incorporating communication skills training and language learning as part of their overall talent management strategy, nurturing staff from the ground up and making talent accessible on a global scale. An organisation with an all-inclusive work culture that embraces diversity and effectively integrates multilingual and multicultural workers will ultimately open its doors to better business – and is more likely to retain its high performance staff.

Tips for global businesses to transform workforce mobility:

  1. Reality check: test the skill level within your organisation, identify weaknesses and strengths. Do not make assumptions on skill level; implement accurate assessments that can be measured across the board.
  2. Adoption: Integrate a consistent, streamlined solution. Customise your approach to meet your short-term and long-term business goals.
  3. Grow: Develop a strategy to close those gaps through talent mobility and succession planning – this should support and dove tail your strategic business goals.


Armin Hopp is the Founder and President of Speexx


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