Global workforce strategies are essential to every modern business. Here’s why.
Each week, as part of Envoy’s Global Talent Adviser guest blog series, HR influencers will weigh in on topics of global talent and workforce management and planning. This week, we welcome Charlie Judy, HR consultant and founding partner of WorkXO.
Do you remember when “going global” meant getting a passport, buying a Eurail Pass, and boarding a 747? If you’re an X’er, you haven’t really lived unless you’ve schlepped it on an overnight train from Paris to Prague with a frame backpack and 3-inch-thick travel guide in tow.
Then came the social internet — our renaissance to an immediate and unfettered access to this big blue globe.
The new global workforce strategy
I follow people on Twitter from each of our seven continents — even Antarctica. I converse, share knowledge with, learn from and get exposure to people across the planet every day. As people, we are collectively shaped by an unprecedented level of diversity. And this level of exposure can only move in one direction: Up.
This is the new “going global.”
As a longtime HR practitioner, I have any number of bellwethers for t he workplace. My go-to, though, is how closely the enterprise environment reflects the external realities of the world. A disconnect — any disconnect — gives warning of irrelevance. And irrelevance can be the kiss of death to any enterprise. Period. I’m here to say there is a huuuuuuge disconnect looming…and almost across the board. If you can stand up and (honestly) say your workplace reflects our globe’s diversity, then you can stop reading this post right now. Thank you for your wisdom and your leadership.
If you’re like everyone else, though, keep reading.
I’m not going to build the case for diversity in your workplace. I shouldn’t have to at this point. If you still don’t get that, then your organization is most likely a lost-cause traditionalist living in its twilight. But even most organizations that have been flying the diversity flag for decades are still missing out on one pretty freakin’ powerful dynamic: a truly global talent base. As employers based in the United States, we hire U.S. citizens and pretty much U.S. citizens only.
That’s not diverse. That’s provincial.
This is not a political discussion. This is not about outsourcing, low-paid labor and lost jobs. This has nothing to do with moral obligations. This is purely about workforce strategy. I hear you say (you all do) that you can’t find enough of the right people…that competition for talent is one of your biggest challenges. So you mean to tell me that on this planet of 7 billion human beings, you can’t find the right ones for your business?! Well then, I’m not really sure you’re trying. You take the traditional paths to finding them — which at first seem like the paths of least resistance, but end up seriously costing your organization in terms of lost productivity as roles go unfilled. You search in all the same places. You talk to all the same candidates over and over and over again.
And most of all…
You spend almost all of your time recruiting people who you need today — like right now — and almost none of your time recruiting people you need a quarter or a year from now. None of it!
This short-sighted approach is not strategy; it’s desperation. And it will not fuel your growth engine…ever. There is no better place to build a more thoughtful and productive workforce strategy than in the global realm. It takes some effort. It takes some planning and it probably even takes some help from experts who can navigate the complexities of global immigration. It’s complex, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Just start by thinking about what this could mean for you and then make an investment in going global the new way.
Charlie Judy is a consultant and founding partner of WorkXO, a tech platform that helps organizations, their leaders, and their ‘people people’ align their workplace cultures with their growth strategies.
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