It’s a Small World: Tops Tips for Retaining Global Talent

retaining global talent


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In the last few years, the world has shrunk to the size of a screen.  Meetings can happen with anyone, anywhere, at the click of a button.  And that has shown us the power of recruiting talent from a global pool.  

You’re most likely to find the best fit for your organisation when you throw the net as wide as possible.  Hiring overseas lets you spot new, inspiring candidates from further afield, and develop a truly multinational, multicultural buzz.  

Your international hires make for a melting pot of diverse cultures and experiences, and that creates something special, in terms of innovation, culture and that competitive edge.   

The challenges of retaining global talent

Things aren’t always plain sailing when you’re recruiting internationally, or when you’re dealing with a diverse workforce.  If you can’t predict the challenge, you can’t meet it head-on.  How do you know what is important to your people in India?  What does a Chinese employee value?  It can be a minefield, and you’ll need to navigate that carefully to make sure that you retain your global talent.  Let’s have a look at some of the potential questions you might need to ask yourself: 

Do you understand the countries you’re working in?  Is your organisation being respectful of different traditions, festivals, ethnicities and cultures? How can you break down those brewing disputes before any walls go up? 

How do you show all employees that they are valued, regardless of their location?  And do they feel confident that no matter their language, location or culture they can scale the ladder just like anyone else? 

Are you offering the best packages?  

We know how much work goes into recruiting the right people, but just as much work needs to go into retention.  If you get the ingredients right, your people will be happy, inspired and most importantly, they’ll want to stay with your organisation.

How to retain global talent

How do you make sure that your employees, no matter where in the world they are, are getting what they need in order to not only thrive, but enjoy working as part of your team? 

1. Offer competitive compensation and benefits

Employees are looking for more than just a competitive salary. You’ll attract them with the right salary and then make them think twice about moving on if your other polices are right. 

Healthcare, retirement and bonuses not only need to be fair but better than your competitors. It’s all about the add-ons and treating your people with parity. And this is key – know the criteria that matter most in each location. There is no one-size-fits-all.  In some countries pensions matter most. In other it’s healthcare.  Listen, learn and roll out the right package in the right locale—you’ll boost employee wellbeing, performance and engagement.

2. Embrace diversity and inclusion

Different voices bring different strengths to an organisation. That’s the great joy of working in a global team or a big multinational department. Individuality is an asset to be applauded and nurtured, safe-guarded and respected.  

How do you ensure that your organisational culture is attracting a diverse candidate pool and embracing the diversity you have hired?  We suggest that the place to start is this question… “What is our company culture?  Can we identify what it means to be part of this organisation?” If you have a well thought out company culture this becomes the binding factor for your workforce, more than the differences of the people within it.  

The beauty of the HR team is that you’re what brings people together, and those people will help your culture grow. 

Which brings us neatly on to our next point…… 

3. Break down cultural barriers

The chances are, in this global world, we all work alongside someone from a different race or culture. So, we need to ensure that everyone really understands each other. Not just in the sense of, “What did you say? My German’s not very good… can we speak in Japanese please?” but knowing and respecting each other’s heritage and culture.   

Politeness and civility are a given; but engaging with and understanding your colleagues background is the key to retaining global talent.  

We know we’ve said it before, but diverse teams bring performance-related gains. And if you give your team a really strong sense of belonging, a connectedness to your company, retention will start to take care of itself.  

4. Offer cultural training and support

Being culturally aware as a business takes time and thought.  Unfortunately, biases will exist, and these need to be tackled. But training will give employees the tools to overcome them.  

In 2009 Goldman Sacks introduced their “Cultural Dojo” program in Japan. The aim?  To help staff communicate effectively across language and cultural barriers.  The effect?  So impactful that it has now been rolled out to other countries across the organisation. 

5. Adjust your ‘employee value proposition’

That sounds a little bit technical…. But we promise, it’s simple.  You know the old saying that ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’?  That’s very true in the workplace. A fair salary is always a basic requirement!  But other rewards will vary from region to region.   

Tata Motors worked this out and they adjust their employee value proposition to suit the talent they want to recruit.  They talk up the quality of their managers in India, while in China it’s opportunities and promotion that matter most and, in the US, staff are most excited by interesting jobs.  The good news is that as an HR professional, you know your people.  And when you know your audience, you can tempt them with what they want.

6. Communicate openly and transparently

This certainly isn’t rocket science!  The organisation that communicates with transparency is a happy place to be.  

There are so many new tools available that it’s easier and easier to keep everyone on the same page. Encourage communication across your global network, and collaboration becomes the norm, relationships form and productivity soars. Meetings are easy to attend when you can operate virtually with platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.  By encouraging teams to schedule their availability, they keep their co-workers in the loop.   

Check-ins and honest communication happen naturally, and everyone feels they are part of the bigger picture, the global picture.

7. Streamline technology

Now we all know, not every office is the same, nor every team, nor every department. But for the sake of keeping your team happy and feeling equally valued across your global network, you do need to find some connections. Streamlining your tech is a great place to start.  

If everyone has access to the same information and platforms, the benefits are huge. Your client will receive the same offering from your Dubai office as they do from your Malawi office. And your Dubai team will feel as valued as your Malawi team.  

No 2-tier culture here with everything being deferred to head office.  It’s a double bonus:  Happy Hires and Happy Customers.  

8. Gather employee feedback

You’ve secured an amazing team of global employees, so now you need to hear what they’re telling you. And don’t just think you can dust off your 5-year-old survey and ask people to fill it in, yet again. Because you know and they know, that’s just lip service.   

Ask employees what they need, encourage informal discussions, and set up feedback sessions. Monthly pulses let you get to the heart of whether your culture is really working. 

And most importantly of all…. ACT on it. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time, and yours. Listen and learn folks, listen and learn! 

Make your international HR simple and retain global talent effortlessly

There’s a lot going on. Many people to please, all with varying needs.  And the job of the HR team is to make sure those needs are met.  And more. 

It’s all possible. But it takes time, and that’s probably the one thing you’re short of.   

We’ve been practising all of this for quite a while now and with Cintra Global’s International HR services we can take the worry out of your global HR. Retaining global talent will be a cinch with services like: 

  • HR Country Factsheets – giving you the low down on the countries you’re operating in. 
  • Our 24:7 International help desk – supporting you to be ‘in the know’ with local knowledge. 
  • Full Employee Lifecycle Management – managing all your international HR needs, freeing you up to focus on what matters most; your people. 

We have extensive experience, and we like to talk about what we doSo, feel free to get in touch to discuss how we can help! 

Picture of Danielle Nicholson
Danielle Nicholson
Danielle is our Communications and Content Manager, leading the content strategy for Cintra. Outside of her passion for all things copywriting, she loves being on the water in a kayak or taking long walks with her Golden Retriever!