Collaboration, agility, transparency, innovation and productivity are the five key challenges facing global companies over the next five years, according to data based on more than five million employees worldwide by global management consultancy Hay Group. However, the research also found that engagement and enablement levels in many global businesses remain a key area of concern.

The business environment is changing rapidly and operating across a number of global locations – including emerging markets – is now ‘the norm’.  However, global operations can introduce a host of additional challenges, concerns and issues when it comes to engaging an organization’s most important asset – its people.   The Hay Group research goes onto confirm that “Firms rated highest for engaging and enabling their staff achieve four and a half times the revenue growth of their lowest scoring counterparts and see up to 54% improvement on staff retention”. These statistics demonstrate just how important a consistent level of engagement is to sustaining performance across the globe.

Challenges for HR can be seen across all stages of the employee life-cycle and include cultural differences, attracting and retaining the right talent and communication issues.  Using an external provider with extensive global expertise and a unified and cohesive approach can alleviate many of these issues and ensure the right, culturally appropriate support for all parties. Situations that can most benefit from globally consistent external support may include:


Attracting and retaining the right talent is a challenge the world over.  It’s widely acknowledged that getting onboarding ‘right’ can reap rewards in terms of staff engagement and retention.  New employees form opinions about your organisation through their early experiences – this determines and drives their loyalty and motivation to stay.  An effective onboarding program sets a strong foundation for developing and retaining a happy, productive workforce.

The positive impacts on productivity, employer reputation, staff retention and commercial success are all significant benefits of providing tailored onboarding support and remain the same regardless of where your employees are based.

Just some of the areas of support that may be beneficial include:

  • Candidate Referencing
  • Assessment and Testing
  • Executive Onboarding
  • First 90 days support


Forward-thinking organisations recognize the value in developing not only their leaders, but employees at all levels. Often, the development of staff within central locations or headquarters is well structured, but those working in other locations or peripatetically are ‘left to their own devices’. A structured career plan and regular career conversations which reinforce global messages are key contributors to engagement and retention and can also help to fill any talent and future leadership gaps.

Support may include:

  • Individual and Group Coaching
  • Leadership Team Development
  • Coaching the Coach
  • Board Facilitation
  • Critical Career Stage programs


Organizational change is a given in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment and research suggests that less than 60% of change initiatives succeed. Reasons for failure vary but, typically, they have one thing in common – a focus on the change process rather than the people affected.

By properly managing and supporting both leaders and individuals across all locations and countries,  you can build confidence in the change and help to maximize productivity both during and after the event.

Communication across global sites can be a real challenge at this time – relying on changes to be communicated remotely is often a recipe for disaster. When working with team members who have different native tongues, it’s common for key messages to get lost in translation and for rumors to take over. The globally connected environment in which we all operate means that a message delivered in one country can quickly reach a population in another without any of the relevant context. Fully integrated, global yet personally tailored communication can enhance engagement, resilience, behavior and morale resulting in a better outcome for all.

Support may include:

  • Talent Retention strategies
  • Embedding change
  • Leading teams through change
  • Increasing Resilience
  • Supporting personal transition


When consolidations, downsizing, mergers and acquisitions affect your workforce, emotions can run high. However, with the right support, it can lead to a positive outcome for all involved. Good employers want to fully support their employees to move on positively and with confidence to new opportunities as well as minimize business risk in terms of brand reputation and staff morale.

For global staff reductions an outplacement provider who can support a globally consistent approach whilst ensuring in depth local market expertise can prove invaluable.  An understanding of the local job market and local opportunities, as well as offering access to international career options and more varied career paths, is essential to a successful outcome.  Advice around available benefits, taxation, routes to volunteering and retirement options on a country by country basis can make all the difference to affected employees.

Support may include:

  • Individual and group outplacement
  • Skills development
  • Line manager support


This article was featured on HR Grapevine Magazine.