Finding the Right Talent for International Expansion

May 1, 2023 – Fortune 500 companies such as Home Depot, Target, and Walmart have failed to expand into new international markets. What’s hindering their success? Cultural differences, regulatory requirements, and competition from established local players can create barriers for organizations seeking to expand. Seventy-one percent of HR executives cite HR-related issues as the most significant challenge to global growth. Compliance with employment law and customs is the second most common (43 percent). In a new report, Carl Kutsmode of executive search firm TalentRISE offers five strategies to recruit and retain leadership talent for successful market expansion:

1. Define the roles and responsibilities: To narrow your search and focus on finding the right executive candidate for each position, define the roles and responsibilities. “Include the role’s purpose, primary objectives, key performance indicators, and how it fits into the broader organizational structure,” said the study. “Next, identify the key stakeholders impacted by the leadership position—including team members, customers, and partners—and collaborate with them to understand the scope of the role and the expectations of those working with the leader.”

2. Source and attract local talent: Every market is different. When expanding internationally, hiring executive talent who understand the local market and culture is essential. Look for leadership candidates familiar with the specific market you’re entering and who have experience with global business operations. TalentRise says the key skills to look for are:

  • A deep understanding of the cultural, legal, and regulatory landscape and the local business environment.
  • Fluency in the local language—essential for effective communication and relationship-building with local stakeholders, including customers, partners, and government officials.
  • The ability to adapt to new environments and collaborate effectively across cultures.
  • Open-mindedness, flexibility, and capacity to work effectively in diverse teams.
  • The soft skills and emotional intelligence needed to motivate and inspire team members, communicate effectively, and make difficult decisions when necessary.

Research local job boards and consider posting executive positions there to reach a more targeted audience. Consider contacting local professional associations and industry groups to connect with potential leadership candidates who are active in your industry. These associations may have job boards or networking events where you can meet potential candidates.

3. Conduct behavioral interviews: The structure and standardization of behavioral interviews reduce the risk of errors and inconsistencies in the hiring process, says TalentRise. Behavioral interviews are designed to evaluate how candidates performed in the past and can be tailored to assess leadership potentials—such as soft skills like communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and strategic thinking—along with cultural alignment and emotional intelligence. During the hiring process, tools like the Predictive Index can be used to assess the behavioral and cultural fit of the executive candidate. Focusing on specific skills and abilities rather than subjective factors can reduce hiring process bias, ensuring executive candidates are evaluated on their merits and that the best person is selected for the role.

Related: Fostering Relationships in Recruitment

4. Provide leadership development and coaching: Provide appropriate training and support to ensure new leaders have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed. “Executive leadership coaching improves team performance and can be essential in retaining talent, especially in today’s competitive job market,” said the search firm. A study by management consulting and investment banking firm FMI found that executive coaching improves an executive’s readiness for a new role (91 percent), work engagement (88 percent), leadership effectiveness (84 percent), and organizational commitment (63 percent). Additionally, coaching gives your business an 87 percent return on investment.

5. Account for local employment and payroll regulations: One in four companies withdraw from an international market due to local regulatory compliance issues, says TalentRise. “Therefore, it’s critical to thoroughly research the local labor laws, employment regulations, and tax laws in the countries where you plan to expand your business,” said the report. “It’s also important to consult legal and accounting experts specializing in international business to ensure compliance.”

10 Key Trends to Watch in Talent Acquisition
Managing partners from across New York City-based IIC Partners’ global offices recently came together to discuss the state of talent acquisition in the firm’s markets. The result was the new “Global Talent Acquisition Trends 2023” report, in which the firm identified 10 key shifts to heed in the months ahead. Skilled roles will still be in high demand, and fast-growing regions will continue to face talent shortages. “The number of open positions could reduce if a global recession hits, but the shortage of workers will become more acute for many skilled roles,” said IIC Partners.

TalentRise suggests that your company develop a global policy covering all aspects of employment, including compensation, benefits, leave, termination, and more. “Ensure this policy aligns with the local laws and regulations in each country where your organization operates,” said the search firm. “Communicate openly with your global talent and inform them of their employee rights and responsibilities and any changes in local laws and regulations.”

Founded in 2008 in Chicago, TalentRise provides executive search, interim executive placement, and talent consulting. The firm’s talent optimization model uses data-driven insights to align people and organizational strategies for optimum performance.

TalentRise supports companies in nearly every vertical — retail, manufacturing, technology, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, E-commerce, and more — with custom and comprehensive talent acquisition solutions. Senior vice president Carl Kutsmode will guide the TalentRise team on future cross-border collaborations.

Mr. Kutsmode has spent the last 25 years helping employers from start-ups to global organizations optimize their talent practices, processes, technologies, and strategies.  Working both domestically and internationally, his experience extends to a variety of industries, including professional services, financial services, capital markets, healthcare, pharmaceutical/biotech, energy, high-tech, engineering, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, CPG, and not-for-profit. Representative client engagements include PLS Financial, HSBC, Hyatt, Cadence Health, Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Exelon Nuclear, Chevron Energy Solutions, Huron Consulting Group, Hitachi Consulting Group, McClagan Consulting, Claro Consulting, and PRGX Advisory Services.

Related: Top Insights and Trends in Executive Search for 2023  

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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