The foundation of any successful talent management and succession planning is a thorough understanding of the skills and potentials available in our organization. The better we know what our employees can and want to develop into, the more realistic, resilient and flexible our organizational planning will be. However, if we focus only on our employees at headquarters in this approach, we disregard a substantial part of our resources, we neglect valuable skills and experiences, and we disappoint the high performers at our international subsidiaries.
We therefore need to recognize the skills and potentials of our employees across all of our locations, making it necessary to find a culturally unbiased assessment process for our international talent. However, the kind of assertiveness, direct communication, preciseness, talkativeness, or task orientation which we value at headquarters may not be equally appreciated internationally.
Assessing the potential of our internal candidates in a context of diversity, intercultural differences, and innovation therefore requires a conscious effort to integrate different perspectives on a specific skill. The competency to “communicate effectively”, for example, does not necessarily require a person to be clear, analytical, outspoken and to the point. It can be just as effective to communicate in a more indirect, vague, listening, careful and comprehensive manner, at least in a different cultural environment.
Based on this, our expertise when it comes to assessing and developing international talent includes three aspects:
Competency Frameworks and Job Analyses: What is the basis for our assessment processes? And to what extent is this basis influenced by our cultural patterns, without necessarily affecting performance?
Development Centers and Psychometric Tests: How do we design and operationalize our development centers and psychometric tests, and do we give internal candidates with a headquarter background an automatic head start because of their cultural imprint?
Training our patterns of evaluation: To what extent do our patterns of observation, interpretation, and evaluation in our internal assessments favor candidates who are more like us, and disadvantage those who are not? How can we train our assessment skills in order to be more receptive to diversity and unusual approaches?