My previous post in this series looked at the first three of five areas where financial services HR departments must develop innovative practices to cater for a globalized operating environment. I’d like to round off this series by looking at the last two areas—global leadership development and global virtual teams.

Global leadership development

In order to achieve the benefits of a globally integrated enterprise, HR organizations at banks and insurers will need to develop the capability of helping grow strong local leaders with a global mindset who can quickly adapt to or lead a business in any context across the world. Once local leaders are in place, companies should ensure that strategic decisions can be made locally and that innovation can occur at a local level.

To develop such leadership capabilities, organizations can make sure potential leaders have a range of international developmental assignments and first-hand exposure to foreign markets, access to international development programs, and plenty of coaching and mentoring.

Global virtual teams.

As financial services companies continue to grow a more global workforce, employees will have to learn how to work in global, highly diverse virtual teams. These teams will include people from other cultures and geographies as well as workers other than employees such as temporary workers, contractors, outsourced service providers, workers on loan from strategic partners and more.

To support this, HR will need to operate in a context that promotes and emphasizes global sensitivity and awareness on the part of employees, as well as coaching on how to work in virtual teams that communicate across time zones and distances. HR may provide training, for example, on how to identify and overcome one’s unconscious bias formed by one’s distinct cultural upbringing.

New operating models

To help their organizations better operate in a complex, interdependent, and globally connected world, the human resources function should develop a new mission, set of capabilities, and potentially even a new operating model if it wants to remain relevant. For example, many institutions may find that the traditional centralized model of the center of excellence cannot keep pace with the needs of a disparate and complex global business.

They could look at options like creating multiple centers of excellence to cater for different types of market—for example, one oriented toward high-growth emerging markets, and another oriented toward designing practices that need to be tailored for more stable western markets. Or they could look at the establishment of a global integrated business services group, or a central group that performs transactional back-office processes across functions—such as HR, IT, supply chain, finance, and procurement—in an integrated fashion.

As financial services companies strive to achieve their strategic objectives by both growing in new geographic markets and by acquiring skills wherever they may reside throughout the world, globalization issues will continue to be at the top of most c-suite executives’ strategic agendas.

With the need for a globally diverse and highly mobile talent base on the top of most organizations’ list of global objectives, HR will be critical in helping their organizations achieve their globalization mandate.

Learn more here: Reconfiguring the global talent landscape  

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