Managing Human Capital: Global Trends and Challenges Sep11


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Managing Human Capital: Global Trends and Challenges

Harvard Global Business Summit had discussed on Globalisation and managing human capital. the panel included

Ted Childs Jr., Founder, Ted Childs LLC
Ilene H. Lang, President, Catalyst
Jack P. Shonkoff, Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development, Harvard
School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jide J. Zeitlin, Private Investor

The full article can be found here.

We like to share their discussion points here.

Key Takeaways

A sound diversity strategy is a talent strategy and a marketplace strategy. A diversity strategy means more than accounting for
people in various groups and telegraphing a commitment to social responsibility. There are four business goals of a diversity strategy:

  • Identify, attract, and retain the best people.
  • Create a workplace culture where they can maximize their performance.
  • Understand who your customers are—seeing them as they see themselves, not as you see them.
  • Use external focus to eliminate societal disadvantage, and increase the diversity of talent pools.

A diversity strategy that meets these goals is a talent strategy and a marketplace strategy. Diversity is inevitable because demographic changes are altering nations’ populations and their ethnic and religious compositions. This affects the types of customers and employees that companies will be trying to attract. The white population in America, for example, will shrink to 50% in 2050 (from 88% in 1940).

Emerging issues that will shape approaches to diversity over coming years:
Age. This will be a marketplace issue as companies will appeal to older customers, and a workforce issue as employers focus on recruiting younger employees.
Commitment to equal opportunity. Businesses cannot afford to allow children to grow up in the conditions that any children grow up in today.

A global workforce cannot be managed globally.
Global companies tend to think about managing workforces consistently across geographies. That is a mistake. Attracting talent is a local market activity; likewise is managing human capital. Managing a workforce in India is fundamentally different than in Indiana.
Different cultures produce employees with different values, attitudes, and motivations. A case in point: Mr. Zeitlin was surprised when an employee in New Delhi resigned. The employee had been doing well and was rewarded amply. The reason he left was not one Mr. Zeitlin had anticipated: The employee felt uncomfortable supervising an individual from a higher caste. So how do you manage within a multinational context?
To succeed, leaders must accept that there is not a global workforce with common values or motivations. Then they must create a management team of people from diverse backgrounds, who will serve as interpreters of the company’s global goals—communicating messages with sensitivity across different cultures. Unlike a product or service, human capital can’t be managed in globally standardized ways; attempting to do so will create a less effective manager and less productive workforce.