How to Build an International Talent Pipeline

 -  3/15/13

Skill shortages and changing demographics are forcing talent leaders to find the right balance between mature and emerging market strategy.

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Workers at Panasonic in Japan begin their days singing the company song, and each day a different person on the team — from the most junior to the top executives — holds up a scroll and reads the company’s seven business principles and the sentiment behind each. To Naoyuki “Nick” Tsuda, director of international HR and HR planning for Panasonic in North America, this is business as usual. Steve Safier, Panasonic Corp. of North America’s chief transformation and human resources officer, said he was in awe after witnessing this.

“It was striking to see people’s level of dedication and commitment, not only to the profitability of the company, but to the principles,” he said. “We have the same values in the United States, but these routines seem unfamiliar and awkward to us.”

The company’s business philosophy helps it to determine its objectives, approach to business activities and global direction. The principles serve as a compass, helping Tsuda and Safier maintain the right direction for the business. Although it hires and employs people locally across Panasonic’s 203 overseas subsidiaries in 46 countries, the company’s principles, practiced differently across the globe, ensure all employees have the same experience.

For the past year, in China, as well as emerging economies such as India and Brazil, the company has used Panasonic Leadership Competencies to screen recruits for middle management positions. These competencies include such factors as whether the recruits are committed to contributing to society, which is one of the company’s foundational business principles.

“From a functional talent perspective, we want to make sure we have the right people who fit the particular geographic and local culture,” Tsuda said. “But from a philosophy and values perspective, there are some things that are important to us around the world that we heavily emphasize regardless of the country the person is in.”

Safier said there are common experiences and learning opportunities every senior member must have — such as the company’s leadership development program for executives across the globe to build innovation and collaboration across multiple businesses — but at a more junior level, those experiences are country specific.

Article Keywords:   succession planning  


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