HR & Global Mobility - Key Players in the Fight for Economic Growth

Talent, more than capital, will drive economic growth this decade. Or at least, that was the opinion stated by World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab at the 2012 Leaders’ Summit. Schwab, an eminent Professor of Global Economics,’ reiterated his conviction that to drive growth, companies must be effective at mobilising their talent. “Getting the talent question right,” he says, “will be pivotal for economic recovery and growth around the world.” Perhaps more profound still was his statement that we are no longer in a world dominated by capitalism but by ‘talentism,’

So if talent is now a critical factor to economic growth and prosperity, it stands to reason that HR and global mobility professionals should have a correspondingly greater role to play in strategic decisions made by multinational corporations. Yet, despite boards being fully aware that this should be so, multinationals are slow to involve these highly knowledgeable functions when making fundamental decisions on the company’s future.

A recent survey carried out by Deloitte made clear that it isn’t lack of knowledge that’s keeping HR and global mobility out of the boardroom. It’s simply a lack of action. Entitled ‘Strategic Moves: The Global Mobility Island’ Deloitte’s findings, revealed in November 2012, clearly demonstrates an awareness on the part of the C-Suite to align the global mobility function with the wider business priorities. Unfortunately, it also shows is an equal lack of action to do what is needed to address this disparity.

This has led to questions being asked as to who is ultimately responsible for bringing the global mobility function closer to the decision-making table. The established way is usually to wait and be asked to join the party. Make yourself valuable and the powers that be will notice, goes the traditional wisdom. Yet, a quick survey of the history books will all too quickly reveal that the greatest strides towards progress usually involves side-stepping the traditional wisdom altogether.  

So, is it perhaps time for HR & global mobility’s voice to be heard? Not just as a murmur in the background, but an almighty roar across boardrooms globally? After all, it is the very movement of talent across the globe that is offering businesses the paddle to navigate the quagmire of economic gloom pervading corporate life today. It appears that, far from being removed and distant from the process, HR and global mobility are in fact emerging as the veritable heroes of the multinational company.

Liz Gottung, Senior Vice President and Chief HR Officer for Kimberley-Clark, would seem to agree with the ‘make-your-voice-heard’ theory. To be recognised as a strategic function in the business, she says, takes a two way communication. It is not enough to wait until the CEO recognises this need. Instead, it is up to us as professionals operating in these fields to push the agenda higher up the corporate priorities list.

Other than losing the very customers that business is set up to serve, lack of talent is the single biggest risk business faces over the next decade. The need to mobilise talent has catapulted the HR and global mobility functions into the business and political limelight in an unprecedented way. This offers the perfect platform to demonstrate the true and comprehensive value of these functions to the wider business arena and make some fundamental and lasting changes to the way those functions are perceived.


HR & Global Mobility: Key Players in the Fight for Economic Growth

By Nichole Esparon, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Provisita