Beyond the Line

Thanks to the globalization, talent mobility has started playing an increasingly important role in terms of development and company growth. This fact has increase also the importance of the international recruiting.

by Paola Bettinelli

Today, many companies often face the problem that talents as well as the necessary know-how are not available in the country where the company is located. To solve this lack of “workforce”, excellent companies have been trying to be as much attractive to involve new and excellent talents in their staff. Liam Connelly, HR Director at Timberland said that “as part of creating an innovative workforce with truly global perspectives from which they can impact the business, the movement of talent across national and regional markets is a core component to Timberland’s people strategy in impacting growth across the enterprise.” Medtronic is another international company that has developed a specific “Talent Management System with Individual Development Plans for all employees, to support cross-business, cross-functional as well as cross-country development,” said Joaquin Molina, Medtronic HR Director for Germany. An important key to better understanding and then determining the importance of talent mobility is the kind of business these companies talk about; as Anja-Karina Deimel, HR Manager at J&M Management Consulting AG explains, “sometimes young professionals as well as experienced consultants are happy to work abroad on projects…. This helps them understand different work cultures, broadens their horizon and potentially improves their performance in projects for German clients.” Sitha Stübe, Head of Human Resources of SolarWorld AG, underlines the fact that “qualified employees who know different cultures because of their international mobility generate knowledge of great value.”

Excellent companies are always looking for excellent profiles. The practices they use to be attractive and to select new profiles are different. As Joaquin Molina told us, “the Talent Acquisition projects is one of the HR key priorities we are working on….in Medtronic we focus on Candidate Experience, Selection Process, and Employer Branding.” Günter Carpus, AD of Carpus+Partner, explained that “they are present in public…on trade and HR fairs, through publications, in the media or as guest lecturers at universities.” The same strategy is used also by J&M: “we go where we expect to find new talent, such as recruiting events at universities and business schools, but we also operate a Facebook page dedicated to applicants and employees,” added Anja-Karina Deimel. Another common strategy is to propose internships that allow new employees to get in contact with the company. Andrea Stellwag, CFO of ConSol, said “our motto is share knowledge […] another important element of company culture is the profit sharing model … the employees effectively share as co-entrepreneurs in the company’s success.” In many ways the chance of an international experience plays an important role as Rita Jeziorowski, HR manager of Simcorp Central Europe, claimed “we actively address the possibility to work abroad for the company, if the candidate wishes so at the same point in the future.”

The motifs that usually drive one’s decision to stay in their native country to work or to move abroad are different and tightly linked to personal and private feelings. “Cultural identification, social security and quality of life, education, and training are motivations to stay” asserted Liam Connelly. Sometimes “people do not want to take risks and prefer staying in the comfort zone” stated Andrea Stellwag, in nearly every case, there are family reasons that make people stay in their country. However, as Sitha Stübe claimed, “there are some employees who see no need to collect international experience.” In fact, it is a more comfortable way of living. Sometimes moving abroad could be a difficult choice, yet it’s also a great opportunity as Mr. Connelly pointed out: “it is clear that the experience of working outside of a person’s home culture does have an impact of a number of behavioral competency dimensions such as adaptability, listening skills and self reflection…. the experience of working in a foreign environment can be of great developmental benefit for top talent and future leaders if managed the right way.”

For expatriates it is really important to be fully integrated in a new country. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Spie, Senior Vice President Human Resources/Diversity, reveals that in E.ON “we have a great amount of arrangements for integrations, also to enhance our own internationality… relocation management, support for integrating kids in school, language courses for the employee and his/her family […] we want to be attractive and support them as much as we can.” Mostly, when people come from another country, the priority is the family administration as well as language knowledge, Ms. Jeziorowski, remarked the importance to “develop infrastructure of nurseries and kindergartens.” As Mr. Connelly stated, in Timberland “the integration of the spouse and children are an important factor for a successful integration of the expatriate…we always try to consider especially the needs of the whole family.” In J&M to help the foreign employees, they use the English language for all their internal communication.

Feeling themselves an integral part of a company is something very important to increase a personal sense of belonging. As Mr. Carpus briefly explained, “thanks to flat hierarchies, cooperative leadership and trust based fleqxtime every employee becomes part of his/her company”. If everyone contributes to the ideas and strategies of corporate development, it’s easier to develop a natural sense of belonging. Excellent companies know that their success is closely connected with qualified and motivated employees. Ms. Stellwag reported that for this reason, ConSol “has developed an unconventional profit-sharing and appreciation of value.” Also internal communication is important to involve employees and keep them informed about current initiatives, challenges and strengths. In Medtronic, for example “we have an internal employee newspaper, internal blog, newsletter and video conference,” said Mr. Molina. In Simcorp as well, they are aware that corporate goals are cascaded down to the individual; “we try to maintain an excellent company culture with values that all employees cling to,” concluded  Ms. Jeziorowski.


Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Spring 2011