Get a Handle on Global Recruitment
Adapted from the book Finding Keepers: The Monster Guide to Hiring and Holding the World’s Best Employees by Steve Pogorzelski, Jesse Harriott, Ph.D., and Doug Hardy. Published January 2008 by McGraw-Hill.
Imagine approaching skilled workers in Europe with the same recruiting message that you would use in China or India! Obviously you have to understand the different cultures to approach people appropriately in the different situations. Employers have to be careful that their employment brand adjusts to such cultural norms. Your vision, mission, and values remain the same; the core attributes of your employment brand stay in place. The differences are found in the tangible and intangible benefits you offer.
You focus different tangible benefits based on prevailing economic conditions. To cite an obvious difference: if everyone in the country gets national health care insurance, offering a great health plan won’t attract or retain people the way it does in the United States. In China, training is highly valued, as is respect from your manager, while current conditions in India promote money as the tangible benefit that outweighs others by a large margin.
Staffing an office overseas requires a good understanding of the cultural preference for how tangible benefits are structured as well.
You’ll find a clear example in sales compensation: For example, in the United States a common base salary-to-commission ratio is 40/60 whereas in Europe it is more like 70/30. Americans will accept a lower guaranteed salary in exchange for a higher upside potential, but in Europe the compensation isn’t as crucial as security and predictability. The setup that drives the entire sales force in the United States doesn’t work as well in Europe, and vice versa. And yet the mission, the vision, the opportunity to win… all the things that sales pros in the United States love, the Europeans love too. They’re passionate about succeeding, about winning; but the compensation structure has to reflect a different feeling about risk.
Just a few years ago, nobody really thought of India or China as a source of strong quality people. Now they are leading an international revolution in legal and accounting and IT and other professional work. Other countries, large and small, have bet their economic future on building a skilled workforce, and slowly, beginning with multinational companies but driving down to medium and smaller businesses, organizations are finding talent without borders. People might not move as freely among countries as they might wish, but in an interdependent and networked world, that might not matter, because even where the movement of people is restricted, the movement of work, ideas, and service — in short, the movement of economic value — continues to accelerate. In the words of journalist Thomas L. Friedman, “They’re not racing us to the bottom; they’re racing us to the top.”
Even on this global scale, what matters is the match. Your ability to advance your employment brand globally, and cast your recruiting net worldwide, is the key to bringing aboard these talented, borderless, and valuable employees.