Friday, November 14, 2014

What is the definition of 'Global Experience' today?

I recently learnt at a Centre for Talent Innovation (CTI) dinner that, 70% of senior leadership in the world used to have what can be termed as “global experience” in Fortune 500 companies about 5 years back. That number is only 20% today! Clearly… this is contrary to what one would expect. With growing globalization, opportunities and an ever-increasing demand for niche skills, the number should only go up!

So are leaders today really lacking global experience? That depends on what is the operational definition of global experience, which traditionally has been about traveling extensively or living abroad for work. That has now changed . The world has gone through periods of financial crisis - cost reduction and optimization have become important themes across organizations. Bringing in expatriate workers with niche skills is expensive and international travel has reduced significantly. At the same time, technological advancements and virtual presence have come up in a big way – knowledge can be shared virtually, team meetings can be held across geographies and time zones and the internet of everything will be a reality soon.

Take Genpact for example. As a global organization that designs, transforms and runs intelligent business operations for some of the largest Fortune Global 500 companies, we extensively use technology to stay connected and generate impact for our clients. We are virtual, yet very close to our clients… we are listed in New York, yet have offices and delivery centers around the world… our leadership is distributed, yet there is a standard way in which we serve our clients. Everything is possible and effective in the virtual world! We manage a lot of our cross country meetings virtually, we use double robotic automation to showcase our operational floors in India and China to customers sitting in the US and Europe, we are experimenting with how we can use Google Glass to improve field operations and use advanced speech recognition to improve client experience… much of this wasn’t possible 5 years back.

And therefore, we need to rethink the way we are measuring global exposure for our leadership and employees and really question traditional concepts of what constitutes as global experience.

Monday, August 4, 2014

US job report: stable is the new growth - unless talent mismatch is fixed

Amongst the many reactions to the recent Jobs Report, including President Obama’s warning that unemployment will continue to go up and down and that we need to create more jobs faster… I spoke to the WSJ over the weekend about what I think is the answer to creating more jobs – right-skilling.

Fact is you could have pretty significant unemployment rates but does that mean you find the people you want with the skills you want? The answer is no. There is huge demand for niche skills like regulatory, risk, new technology… and so on, and until we address the skills gap, we will see limited job growth. So while we’ve added 200,000-plus jobs for six consecutive months which is a consistent, steady clip and I prefer this any day over sinusoidal ups and downs – clearly it’s not enough.

The good news is companies have begun investing heavily in right-skilling existing and potential talent to combat such issues and are seeing pockets of success. We just now need to do it on a much larger scale, targeting the right skill sets.