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Solving the Global Talent Equation

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson is a future-of-work author, commentator and consultant.

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Mike Johnson offers some thoughts on the challenges facing business leaders tasked with managing our organisations today and tomorrow.

Peter Lorange is angry. This well-seasoned academic, innovator and business leader thinks that it is high time a lot of his contemporaries woke up to the fact that the organisation has changed irretrievably – and do something about it!

Lorange’s concern is that too many organisations are not moving fast enough to keep up with the changes taking place in global society – most often driven by the digital explosion. “If we are going to be effective we must be able to really understand the modern consumer and come up with innovations that they value,” he says. “This is not easy.” Lorange isn’t the only one who observes that we need to get a whole lot at this.

Global people provider Manpower Inc. say that we are at the dawn of what they term “The Human Age”. In Moving People to Work. Leveraging Talent Mobility to Address the Talent Mismatch in the Human Age, Manpower think that “in the Human Age, companies must align their talent strategies with their business strategies to ensure they have the right people in place to grow and succeed.” However, getting that right isn’t going to be easy either.

So far, many organisational observers think that we have failed to do very much. Rudi Plettinx, Managing Director of Management Centre Europe in Brussels, notes that “although we’ve had all the processes in place time after time, in truth our developmental programmes have failed.” He adds: “HR has never, ever become a real partner of the executive team – although there are a few exceptions. As long as senior executives have been paying lip service and see these vital initiatives as just another HR process rather than a strategic leadership strategy process, I‘m afraid that effective talent management won’t really be on the radar screens of our C-Suite managers.” Plettinx speaks for many frustrated leadership experts when he continues: “HR failed to make this a strategic business issue with top management and so it has festered in the inner circles of an organisation’s HR community. Talent is not just about having the appropriate recruitment and retention strategy, it is also about an effective development strategy.

GF14 3 johnson bookThe arrival of ‘talentism’
Manpower’s idea of a Human Age demands that the collective group of stakeholders collaborate to find new, innovative ways to operate in a world where people with the right skills are the scarce resource and “talentism” is supplanting capitalism.

It may be a lot to swallow in one go, talentism taking over from capitalism, but Manpower haven’t finished yet. They further their case by noting that, “when a third of employers globally cannot fill positions, it’s imperative that stakeholders expand their view of talent sources and incorporate strategies for attracting individuals with needed skills from across international borders”. Please click to read more.

This article is an edited extract from The WorldWide WorkPlace: Solving the Global Talent Equation by Mike Johnson, published by Palgrave 2014.

For the full article, you can view the PDF or listen to the podcast.

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