Adapting a Global Talent Strategy to Local Needs
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Deloitte Consulting’s recent report, Global Human Capital Trends 2014, highlights 12 trends that embody ways that the 21st-century workforce is pushing organizations to innovate, transform, and reengineer their human capital practices. 

Not surprising, globalization is a key theme of the research.  

Deloitte reports that “while businesses today operate in a pervasively global environment when it comes to customers, talent, and supply chains, each local labor market has vastly different dynamics. To balance strong global talent strategies and platforms, companies should build flexibility and agility into HR so it can be customized for local markets.”

For example, the report details some of the differences in labor markets and skills between Asia and Western Europe and North America. Deloitte research found that in Asia critical skills are in short supply and top candidates change jobs every nine to 12 months. As a result, talent strategies in Asia should focus on recruiting, rapid talent mobility, onboarding, and accelerated leadership development.

“Of course, these variances are not limited to Asia,” Deloitte reminds readers. “Localized challenges drive demand for local talent solutions in every region where a company does business…. While global consistency and standards drive efficiency and scale, local flexibility powers growth and employee engagement.”


However, when asked how well their companies are adapting talent programs to local needs, executives responding to the Deloitte research survey were roughly split between “weak” and “adequate.” Unfortunately, less than 10 percent rated themselves as “excellent.”

How can companies aggressively recruit and build leaders in fast-growing markets? How should global organizations reskill and retain employees? Deloitte concludes that these and many other issues “demand a balance of global standards that can be customized to fit local needs.”

The solution, according to Deloitte, is for organizations to implement a global operating model for talent, which includes implementing a global technology platform that provides common standards and tools and empowering local teams to innovate and to customize corporate programs. 

Indeed, Deloitte’s global survey shows that 81 percent of large organizations (10,000 employees or more) report that implementing an HR global operating model is “urgent” or “important” today.

Global Human Capital Trends 2014 outlines some ways organizations can get started on this sort of global talent strategy:

  • leverage global technology
  • rationalize core global services
  • encourage country initiatives within global processes
  • create deep specialists, focused on recruiting, organizational development, employee relations, and so forth. 
  • build HR “skill masters.”

To learn more, download Global Human Capital Trends 2014.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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