By Cheryl Thornton

We live in an interconnected and borderless world. Technology’s role is changing from a support function to a strategic one. The significant shift in workforce demographics where millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2020 (Bersin by Deloitte Predictions for 2015), has talent and leadership implications in the next decade. These environmental factors have had a significant impact on a company’s landscape especially in the past five years.

As the world gets smaller, many CEOs are responding to the global economic recovery by prioritising growth through expanding operations into emerging markets or seeking innovation from mergers and acquisitions. However, companies need to be cognizant – while these areas offer significant growth opportunities they also present their own challenges.

Innovation cannot be assigned to a specific group of individuals or focused solely on product development. Innovation should be defined holistically to include business models, processes, cost improvement initiatives and services. Organisations expanding into emerging markets have to deal with having the right capabilities, leveraging local talent and dealing with cultural issues in a business context. While an M&A transaction provides quick expansion opportunities, it can also impact adversely on talent, leadership and culture if not managed properly.

Adjusting HR and talent priorities is imperative to drive value and efficiencies in an organisation whilst managing a wide range of people-related challenges in a global environmental context. Having the right talent is the key to successful global growth. Therefore, HR must translate support for a growth strategy into a robust talent agenda.

Some considerations for HR are:

  1. Accelerate the leadership tunnel by developing leader capabilities to drive growth, foster innovation and to reconnect with customers.
  2. Manage talent with growth in mind by creating mobility and the relevant learning and development opportunities.
  3. Reshape the culture of work by how and where work gets done.
  4. Redesign the workplace through engagement, diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  5. Foster a learning culture by creating mobile training opportunities with the use of MOOC’s and other online tools.

Attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the right talent in today’s fast-paced and complex business environment is no easy task. Above all, it is HR’s role to engage the executive team so they prioritise the complexity of talent management and is placed at the top of the executive agenda.

Cheryl is a senior HR leader with eighteen years of international and emerging markets experience gained in local and multi-national companies in Asia Pacific and Middle East. She has held senior HR roles in banking, property development, retail and aviation. Cheryl is passionate about the end-to-end Talent cycle, and over the past decade specialised in developing targeted solutions to integrate a core set of talent programs in attracting and acquiring talent; planning talent; and managing and developing talent. Cheryl has an MBA and a Bachelor of Adult Education from the University of New England, Australia. Cheryl is Australian and has been based in the United Arab Emirates since 2005.

Do you like this article? Sign up to receive our newsletter  for HR insights delivered to your mailbox.