Global Human Capital


I watch and listened. Industry Leader Yasir Abdulrahman was sharing with my undergraduate class an overview of cross cultural interests as it relates to operating a business in the Middle East. Yasir explained how some managers from the U.S. had gone abroad without understanding cultural sensitivity.  It was a fatal mistake.  

Companies cannot afford to make these kinds of errors in a global environment.  After Yasir’s dynamic presentations, I knew that emerging U.S. leaders would need a broader global perspective in order to achieve future business success. 

Across the world, there is a search for talented and gifted employees.  Some companies hope they may hire the next Steve Jobs of Apple. In fact, having the right management strategy can elevate a country’s financial well-being. India and China flecks their mighty muscle due to the dominance of their outsourcing efforts.  

Countries attempt to invest more in their own educational system in order to better manage their own talented management system.  Countries seek to find strategic gaps. For example, foreign countries now hold more than $12 trillion in U.S. assets, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and more financial elements.[1] 

In fact, Japan and China are very motivated to support the American dollar so that Americans will continue to buy their goods, thus keeping their citizens working.  At a low scale, companies attempt to search for this talent with a lens of also attracting more cheap labor.

Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, explains that even with over 23 million people unemployed, companies argue they cannot find qualified workers.  According to the Manpower Group analysis, 52% of U.S. employers state they have a difficult time filling positions because of the talent shortage.[2] 

Cappelli suggest that employers are making unrealistic expectations in the process:  “Many people, especially pundits in the business press, seem to have what we might call a Home Depot view of the hiring process, in which filling a job vacancy is seen as akin to replacing a part in a washing machine….Like a replacement part, job requirements have very precise specifications. Job candidates must fit them perfectly or the job won’t be filled and the business can’t operate.”[3]

However, people aren’t machine. They aren’t perfect.  Yet, organizations maintain this Home Depot mentality and allow job positions to be unfilled until the arrival of that perfect candidate.

Human Resource Management (HRM) requires that organizations manage their workforce strategically.  Charles Hill, author of International Business, explains, “Irrespective of the desire of managers in many multinationals to build a truly global enterprise with a global workforce, the reality is the HRM practices still have to be modified.”[4]

With the significant differences between countries in labor markets, economic systems, legal systems, and other perimeters, managers must adapt their operations with an international perspective.  Consequently, staffing policies must be adjusted in order to select the right employees for the jobs that best fits the specific countries, whether a domestic employee who is being transferred or by hiring locally. 

In both cases, organizations must seek to ingrain their corporate culture even on foreign soil. John Wiedemer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer, author of America’s Bubble Economy, sees an opportunity for individuals who understand the economic climate: “The fall of America’s Bubble Economy will shake up many industries, drive businesses into bankruptcy, derail countless careers, and force dramatic numbers of workers into temporary unemployment. It will also create thousands of successful companies that don’t currently exist, lead all sorts of people to rethink their life’s work, and make many, many alert entrepreneurs and investors fabulously wealthy.”[5] Therefore, organizations that can effectively recruit, manage, and retain a global workforce will have a clear advantage in the marketplace.

What does talent management mean in a global environment? How do individuals capitalize on the global trend for talent? 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green                                    

[1] America’s Bubble Economy by John Wedemer, Robert Wedemer, and Cindy Spitzer

[2] Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs by Peter Cappelli

[3] Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs by Peter Cappelli

[4] International Business by Charles Hills

[5] America’s Bubble Economy by John Wedemer, Robert Wedemer, and Cindy Spitzer