Tag Archives: Talent Management

How Can I Develop Global Human Resources Management Expertise?

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Alan Freeman – LOF International HR Solutions

We are frequently asked this question either by relatively new entrants to the HR profession or by purely domestic practitioners who have been assigned international responsibilities for the first time.  In the latter case, there often is an element of panic in that the individual’s management expects top-notch global HR capabilities “yesterday”!

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to acquire global knowledge and capabilities. For example:

Formal Education 

We believe that to truly advance in a global HR career, both Bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees in business and Human Resources form a necessary foundation. The University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and the University of Illinois offer excellent HR programs. Thunderbird, INSEAD, Cranfield University and the University of Southern California (IBEAR) offer global MBA programs of note. There are many more.

Additionally, many Universities and professional organizations offer classes, sometimes through their “Extension” programs, in various areas of global HR. These can be well worth checking into.

On The Job Experience

There is nothing like hands-on experience. One should seek out positions involving global responsibilities and volunteer for international projects, work teams and task force activities whenever possible. They also should get involved with business leaders who have global responsibility and shadow them and assist however possible. If an opportunity to live and work abroad presents itself, go for it! No, do more than that. Strive to secure an international assignment!

Professional Organizations

Many professional organizations now offer extensive global activities and resources. Join them and participate in their global HR offerings! Some are open to any and all applicants; some are by invitation only and sometimes dedicated strictly to specific industries. One of the first-best avenues is to become a member of your country’s national HR Association, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the US or the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Personalführung eV (DGFP) in Germany. These organizations, in turn, are members of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA). Attend both your country’s association events and WFPMA conferences.

Professional Certification Programs

A number of professional organizations have established certifications such as the SHRM “Global Professional in Human Resources”, the World at Work “Global Remuneration Professional” and the ERC Worldwide “Global Mobility Specialist”. These can be quite useful and we’d encourage the reader to pursue certification.


One can learn a great deal from a personal mentor. Some argue that mentorship is critical for success. Establish relationships with successful global business leaders, both within HR and in other disciplines, and ask them to be mentors. Heed their teachings and counsel. 

Conferences, Seminars and Webinars

There are many professional conferences and seminars available literally all over the world and they are often highly educational AND help one expand their professional network. Attend whenever possible!

A few examples include:

  • SHRM Global Conference
  • Big 4 tax firm conferences
  • Major consulting firm conferences
  • ERC Worldwide Global Workforce Symposiums – regional and global events
  • IBIS conferences and “institute”

Consulting Firms’ Reports and Data Products

A wide variety of useful information is available for purchase from major consulting houses. This is typically most useful for gaining knowledge relevant to practices in specific countries and regions. It is almost invariably quite expensive.

Professional Literature

A wealth of professional books, journals, magazines and newsletters are available and well worth the acquisition price and time to read. Much is available through the SHRM and World at Work bookstores, and from other outlets such as Amazon.com. A very short list of useful materials includes:

Periodicals & Newsletters

  • “Benefits and Compensation International”
  • “International HR Journal”
  • Baker & McKenzie “Global Employer”
  • Law firm newsletters, e.g. White & Case
  • Immigration firms’ newsletters

Some Useful Books

  • The Global Challenge, Evans, Pucik & Barsoux
  • Strategic International Human Resources Management, Perkins & Shortland
  • International Human Resource Management, Briscoe & Schuler
  • Managing a Global Workforce, Vance & Paik
  • International Human Resources Guide, Roger Herod, ed.
  • International Human Resource Management, Dowling & Welch
  • Readings and Cases in International Human Resource Management, Mendenhall & Oddou

The Web

Finally, how could we not mention what’s available on the Internet? My first comment is “caveat emptor”!  Some of the information available on the web can be quite accurate and useful, some not so much. One must be very careful in taking the source into consideration and evaluating the quality of the input obtained. The ability to make such evaluations, of course, takes us back to working through the list above.

Wrap Up

As with any blog commentary, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface on the possibilities. We invite all readers to share their comments and suggestions as well.   Let’s hear from you!

Thank you

About Alan


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Talent in Ghana

Imported Photos 00033 Author:
Yendor Felgate –  Emergence Consulting

The traditional wisdom on Africa is that there is a one way passage for talent to more ‘developed markets’. Experience suggests that a continuous ‘brain drain’ is occurring, where talented professionals are being ‘denuded’ from home markets, exacerbating an already tenuous scarce skill situation.

Change is Coming

Recently I hosted a talent management workshop in Ghana, where I am starting to see signs that things may be changing.  This is not say that the ‘war for scarce skills’ does not exist or that the predominant trend has changed, but rather we are seeing a more complex picture emerging.

The change may have started even before the impetus of the global financial services meltdown, if anecdotal evidence from headhunters and resourcing specialists working in Africa are accurate.  Ghana may be a useful case in point to begin to understand the emerging changes in talent behaviour and the resultant complexities for business in Africa.

Recent Trends

Ghana is a democratic West African country that has been independent for over 50 years.  Traditionally the country has been economically reliant on commodities and natural resources, though is diversifying rapidly into financial services and telecoms.  Recent trends suggest an increasing level of foreign direct investment and interest from the region in the opportunities offerred by Ghana.

In the past, global education and career opportunities were valued over local organisations and career paths.  The first change to this dynamic was the rapid expansion of Nigerian banks and the telecom revolution in Ghana. Both sectors are large consumers of talent and ‘overheated’ the local and expatriate skill markets, largely by paying aggressively.

The second major trend is the exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs.  This has attracted interested from first and second generation Ghanians based outside the country.  Initially, this took the form of direct investment, but is increasingly involving Ghanians leaving corporate roles outside Ghana, to take up local opportunties.

The final trend is the global instability in ‘developed’ job markets, where many Ghanians are now looking to return to corporate and professional roles within the country.  The perceived ‘gap’ between global and local has diminshed significantly.

The net result is that many corporates in Ghana are able to compete for talent more effectively than before. I think this is the real change – global players may now not be the automatic default choice for African talent. African business has a window of opportunity they can exploit. However, the complexity lies in the detail.

The challenge is that good people have many opportunities both locally and regionally they can explore in corporates and on the entrepreneurial front. My sense is that this has less to do with money, but the personal connection people make to these opportunities.  In my language, an holistic employee value proposition is more important the ever.

What About Pay Levels?

Ghana Pay Ranges

Total Compensation in Ghana

Pay levels amongst leading employers in Ghana are competitive, but relatively low when compared to more developed countries, and also to many countries in Africa.  As you can see from the illustration, total annual compensation in Cedi ranges from about 5,000 to 20,000 Cedi for support staff positions, while pay for professionals varies from approximately 24,000 to 80,000 Cedi.

Birches Group LLC Survey of Leading Employers – September, 2008

In Summary

The difficulty most Ghanian businesses face is that they are not used to working with the intangible concept of the employee value proposition and tend to want to compete on remuneration, whilst keeping relatively conservative management practices.  This is changing, but I hope it is sufficiently rapid to fully utilise what may be a very narrow period of talent parity.

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