Talent Management Strategies To Improve Assignment Effectiveness

Talent Management Strategies – According to widely acknowledged industry standards, between 20 and 45 percent of international assignments fail. What this means, generally speaking, is that the organization’s objectives were not met by a particular employee on a particular international assignment. In a number of instances, a failed assignment results in the employee leaving the organization altogether. This can become expensive, as sending an employee on assignment typically costs a company two to three times his or her annual salary. Organizations assume it makes good business sense, but sometimes it doesn’t. They often have a limited view of the assignment process, focusing more on immediate business needs than long-term employee development and strategic organizational objectives such as return on investment.

Although some companies have successfully integrated their HR, mobility, and talent management functions, many have not. In most instances, these functions are currently managed by specialized and often highly siloed groups.

Eliminating these silos and integrating functions is therefore an important first step in improving assignment effectiveness, as it results in better employee development and talent management strategies, greater efficiencies, and more opportunities for innovation. It can also increase the skills and capabilities of an organization’s workforce and create more diversified and global employees and leaders.

According to a 2012 study by the Aberdeen group3, companies are increasingly recognizing this; more than half of the 253 organizations surveyed said their HR teams had become more strategic over the past year. Within these organizations, the HR focus has been steadily shifting from one that is a purely administrative to one that is more closely aligned with the organization’s overall business strategy and talent management. As a result, say these organizations, most of their employees (85 percent) are highly engaged.

The next step companies can take is to apply coordinated talent management principles and services throughout all stages of the assignment lifecycle (selection, preparation, ongoing support, and re-assimilation).

By doing so, they provide employees with a sense of support and improve their experience. And as happy and engaged employees are consistently more productive, the end result is an improved return on investment.

Assignment failure is generally attributed to a variety of standard reasons. These include:

  • Lack of careful planning before the assignment by both the organization and employee (including selection)
  • The employee’s lack of relevant skills
  • Inadequate initial and ongoing support to meet the assignment’s business objectives
  • Lack of clarity around assignment expectations (including what happens when the assignment is completed).
  • The employee’s perception that his or her experience is not valued
  • Degradation of the employee’s business and social network

To mitigate this and ensure assignment effectiveness, there are a number of steps that can be taken with regard to the organization as a whole and in terms of specific processes. This paper will discuss these steps, which include better integration of talent management functions within the organization and utilization of talent management principles and services through-out the assignment lifecycle.

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