Indian multi-nationals must try to evolve into ‘global’ multi nationals

Indian organisations have responded to aggressive global competition with great dynamism. A large part of their success is based on the strengths and capabilities to be expeditious and optimising operational efficiencies and development of products which are well supported by highly efficient and relatively low cost manufacturing. ‘Foreign owned, or an MNC’ is no more a qualification in the minds of a consumer, investor and an employee.

In fact today, an Indian organisation signifies new assets — brands, distribution and talent which are now globally recognised.

Rapid strides are being made by Indian companies in global markets. Over the last couple of years India Inc. has acquired a slew of foreign companies, established global alliances and got into strategic partnerships. India’s multinationals have grown bolder and in many sectors like generic pharmaceuticals, technology, petrochemicals, automotive, metals and outsourcing are determining the global future.

While we are proud of this success, it is imperative to detect challenges and weaknesses in our strategies, which will help these Indian multi-national organisations evolve into ‘global’ multi nationals. Therefore, is India’s global reach translating to a compelling employer value proposition, is a question necessary to answer.

To grow internationally in the present environment, the first challenge is to bridge the human resource gap in terms of capabilities, acquisition, deployment, systems & processes. The competencies in cost effective manufacturing are resolved by research capabilities, while creating a compelling employer brand is possibly an enduring investment.

No doubt that the markets of the West require substantial investment in time and knowledge in order to establish a sales and marketing set-up, but achieving penetration in the minds of foreign talent is really an ongoing investment and cannot be viewed as growing pipeline of products.

Many multinational organisations are global in their reach to maximise market potential and not necessarily on talent development. In order to win in the global market, organisations need to develop processes that counter employee perceptions of corporate apathy.

Globalisation is forcing organisations to confront the crucial issue of how best to balance the desire for global consistency and control with the desire for local effectiveness and efficiency. Multinational organisations are faced with a complex set of challenges when attempting to articulate their global talent management strategy. Beyond language and obvious cultural differences, people aspirations and definition of growth are vastly different.

We all know that global talent management should support an organisation’s vision. Talent management solutions should also be aligned to the business strategy and how it is developed, refined and implemented in the context of the culture and core values. However, the unique contribution of talent management is in the examination of ways it address complexities involved in executing people strategy in a global, matrixed, and results-focused business environment.

Human resource support is the fabric of the organisation, giving employees a compass to guide their activities in line with the strategic direction of the business. Organisations must establish relationships, infrastructure and compensation which will excite a talented person anywhere in the world. Organisations need to optimise their human resources, and in order to achieve the right value, they must be tightly managed to ensure maximum return on investments.

While we all understand that the ‘employee value proposition’ should precisely focus on four key areas reward and recognition, career and development, work environment and work-life balance, very often our definitions for these are very centric to the home country and hence we miss out a crucial opportunity of making them relevant to a global workforce.

There are millions of dollars being spent on creating a high performance workforce and a very critical part of it in identifying high potential talent. On ground, very often, our organisation structure and systems end up becoming the biggest stumbling block to providing the best exposure to our talent.

In order to develop leaders who can effectively lead global operations, it is important to understand what makes leaders effective across cultures. Culture shapes how we think about what is good leadership, and the definitions of an ‘effective leader’ vary from one culture to another. Organisations need to invest in skills necessary to develop and cultivate complex cross-cultural relationships in a global setting. Whether discovering how to motivate people of different talent pools, backgrounds, disciplines and generations, or developing a framework for effective problem-solving across cultures, there is a lot for every leader to learn.

Therefore, the first few challenges are in creating global HR systems designed to unlock the full potential of each employee across geographies and cultures, develop leaders globally and provide continuous skill development to the teams sitting in India to render sensitive help to global operations.

India is poised to make a big contribution to the global economy and given thrust on knowledge based businesses, an integrated talent management strategy is going to be the most critical part of winning strategy.