Why global career management matters to organisations

By Stacey Reynolds

This year I completed some original research on global career management with findings that should alarm senior management and HR departments alike; there is much to do!  The qualitative survey involved 17 international organisations covering 3 continents and was supported by a review of over 100 academic articles and texts.  I have also presented my research at 2 business conferences where the audience has expressed high resonance with my findings.

The evidence confirms the importance of global career management to deliver HR and business strategy in today’s increasingly complex and global environment.  In contrast the evidence also shows that most international organisations are not bothering.  “Why should we?” they say. “Isn’t investing in this area tantamount to encouraging employees to leave”?  I have become so annoyed by this short-sighted view which (I am ashamed to say) is often asked by my HR colleagues that I will now spell it out why indeed your organisation should bother.

  • Careers are how skills and knowledge are deployed and spread within organisations.  As employees move from one job to another whether laterally, vertically and/or globally this deployment and knowledge sharing will deliver increased organisational flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Career movement spreads your organisation’s culture and values; the very ‘glue’ of your organisation.  As personal networks grow and are extended and strengthened more rapid and effective action happens.
  • Careers are how employees obtain the higher-level and business-specific skills and knowledge your organisation needs.  In today’s knowledge driven business world, it’s not the identification of the opportunity but the speed at which you can enter the market and exploit it that defines sustained business success.  So the key is the ability to develop resources that you can deploy to the opportunity globally.  Hence the criticality of career management.  It’s the smart organisations who get that careers and learning are inextricably linked.
  • Career development is a major tool for attracting, engaging and retaining high quality employees.  There are clear and irrefutable links between the extent to which high flyers experience career support and their intention to stay with their employer thus delivering improved return on investment.  (Please contact me if you would like the data analytics).

So there you have it, I could add more, but these are my top four ‘essentials’.  Please use them to convince your leaders that if they continue to ignore career management they will not meet their growth ambitions because the talent will not be there, it will be fully engaged and working for your competitors!

My next post will look at the benefits of career development to the individual; my second favourite ‘rant’, on how paramount it is for you to spend time managing your career.  The evidence suggests that it may be unlikely that your organisation will manage your career for mutual benefit and after all ‘whose career is it anyway’?

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