By John A. Quelch and Helen Bloom
Creating an effective global work force means knowing when to use "expats," when to hire "locals" and how to create that new class of employees -- the "glopats."
The scarcity of qualified managers has become a major constraint on the speed with which multinational companies can expand their international sales. The growth of the knowledge-based society, along with the pressures of opening up emerging markets, has led cutting-edge global companies to recognize now more than ever that human resources and intellectual capital are as significant as financial assets in building sustainable competitive advantage. To follow their lead, chief executives in other multinational companies will have to bridge the yawning chasm between their companies' human resources rhetoric and reality. H.R. must now be given a prominent seat in the boardroom.
Good H.R. management in a multinational company comes down to getting the right people in the right jobs in the right places at the right times and at the right cost. These international managers must then be meshed into a cohesive network in which they quickly identify and leverage good ideas worldwide.
Such an integrated network depends on executive continuity. This in turn requires career management to insure that internal qualified executives are readily available when vacancies occur around the world and that good managers do not jump ship because they have not been recognized.
Very few companies come close to achieving this. Most multinational companies do not have the leadership capital they need to perform effectively in all their markets around the world. One reason is the lack of managerial mobility. Neither companies nor individuals have come to terms with the role that managerial mobility now has to play in marrying business strategy with H.R. strategy and in insuring that careers are developed for both profitability and... [continues]
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