Is there one talent strategy? I ran across an interesting article this week on Harvard Business Review titled, “One Talent Strategy for Asia Isn’t Enough.” The article discusses the different global talent strategies that different cultures and countries employ as they compete in the growing. Interestingly, the same company with offices in three different countries had very different priorities on talent acquisition and management:
- Said the Singaporeans: “Clearly, we put resources into our most talented employees as they will bring us the farthest the fastest.”
- Said the Malaysians: “Clearly, we focus our resources on the mid-level performers to better tap the unrealized potential of this large and important cohort.”
- Said the Indonesians: “Clearly, we devote our resources to the lowest performing members of our organization or they will create drag on the organization’s growth prospects.”
The discussion centering around the perfect one size fits all recruiting strategy and employee development strategy – is an interesting one – because frankly it doesn’t exist. Within companies of all sizes and locations, recruiting teams, managers, and executives all struggle to hire and retain the best talent. Your size and location create their own unique challenges with talent management.
Cultural norms and location play a large role into the success of a recruiting and talent strategy, and they vary not only from country to country, but also from within the United States. Having recruited candidates in both large metropolitan cities across the country as well as rural areas, I know that to hire and retain the best talent, a company must practice variation in recruiting approach, training offered, and general development of their talent.
For more rural areas, candidates have fewer opportunities to pick from just as companies have a smaller candidate pool in which to draw from. So the focus must be more on developing your performers, including high potential and mid level employees. This also means recruiting your candidates differently, such as taking advantage of local community organizations, word of mouth marketing, and the internet. In 2001, I successfully recruited candidates in rural Western Kansas using a local internet forum and dating website, which provided me with a larger candidate selection than traditional help wanted methods.
In larger metropolitan cities and areas where a larger candidate pool exists, the company has a larger pool in which to select but with increased competition. Once a candidate is hired, the company can afford to focus on the development of high performers over medium performers because the marketplace allows. Companies still, however, must focus on employee engagement, regardless of the employee’s level of performance, providing opportunities to learn and grow from their supervisors while developing their career path by acquiring skills and new experiences that will prepare them as they advance professionally as a person (with their current company or likely others).
An organization’s willingness to be aware of the specific talent norms, given their business and location, is key to success in recruiting and retaining a high performing staff. Being nimble offers employees and executives possibilities to grow that take the performance of the company (and the performance of the employee at his or her next company) to an entirely new level. Your talent acquisition and management strategy must be flexible. One recruiting strategy will simply never be enough because every company’s approach to recruiting should consider its unique business, location, and culture.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.