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Selecting the Best Talent

Selecting the Best Talent

If you’re like many R&D leaders in AP, you’re a far greater percentage of your time finding, attracting and retaining talent that your counterparts in North America and Western Europe.  It’s a simple question of supply and demand.  Regardless of the volume of graduates pouring out of the top Chinese universities at the moment, the demand will continue to outpace the supply for the foreseeable future.  Finding enough high quality entry level technicians, scientist and engineers is difficult enough.  Finding and attracting enough experienced first level management for our Development organizations is a times a daunting task that can consume upwards of 40% of our time as senior R&D leaders.   Delegating this to an internal or external talent search organization is unlikely to deliver the results we need to build world class organization and drive world class results.

The chart to the left shows the percentage of research and development organizations that plan to increase their human capital investment in the next 5 years (independent survey n=232).  Without question, the East will see significantly larger increases, corresponding to significantly larger needs for talent.   Some additional interesting data can be found in our Survey Report on Developing World Class R&D Talent (created in con-junction with Atomic Recruiting in Shanghai, China).  The bottom line is simple… there is a war for talent raging in the East, and we need some good talent selection tools to have a fighting chance.

Additionally, with more and more R&D organizations in China are focusing on driving innovation inside AND outside China, the need for strong local leadership that can relate and adapt to cross-cultural stakeholders is increasing dramatically.   Finding and selecting adaptable leaders will be a key challenge in the coming years.  Those companies and organizations who excel in this selection will certainly realize a greater rate of return on their China R&D investment.  The chart below shows that only less that 30% of the China based R&D organizations are in China to support only China.  It’s clear that the local Chinese management will need to be skilled enough to support international customers both internal and external, placing a significant management challenge in front of the local China team.

In a globalized R&D function with great need for competent employees who can work in multicultural environments, only 15% of people hired end up being superior performers. Studies show that 74% companies feel that hiring wrong employees results in low productivity and high business losses. The cost of replacing a skilled employee, who leaves for another job, is on average about 2.5 times the employee’s annual costs, in terms of lost business, training and recruitment expenses.  As the scope of operation of companies becomes global, several talent management issues have become more relevant.

There is a need for selecting candidates who can not only adapt to different cultural environments, but who are also innovative and competent. The traditional method of evaluation does not address the issue of cross-cultural adaptability.  This report proposes the use of some standard assessment instruments can help. This presentation discusses the problems with the traditional methods of evaluation and how assessment instruments help in curbing these problems. It also lists the different assessment instruments used along with their mechanism, as well as some of the outcomes of using these instruments for the recruiting industry.

Organizations using assessment instruments for hiring have seen turnover rates drop by as much as 70%.  Including adaptability and competence assessment tools have increased the success rate of talent acquisition by 75%. The two main types of assessment tools that have been discussed in this presentation are adaptability assessment tools and competence assessment tools. While adaptability assessment tools help in selecting the right candidate for multicultural assignments and serves as an in depth gauge or their adaptability and intercultural competence, competence assessment tools are designed to provide insight into competence traits that predict or enhance adaptability.

Although the assessment instruments are well researched, they are not job specific which means that their reliability depends on the nature of the job. However, the demand for these instruments has risen sharply with 21.9% of companies planning to use them for future hiring.

The detailed presentation highlight 6 different adaptability tools and provides some details on where to find and how to use these tools.  However, the report also strives to make two key points:

  1. When considering R&D management at MNC’s in China, it’s important to screen for cross cultural adaptability.   As senior R&D Leaders looking for fill these critical positions in China, we often focus quickly on the technical capabilities and experience managing Chinese organizations.  It’s easy to forget the need for cross-cultural skills.
  2. While these roles are not expatriate assignments, the same tools used to screen for expatriate capabilities can be successfully used to predict cross cultural effectiveness in local R&D Management positions.   Quite often, the local R&D leader has key stakeholders across AP if not the world, and being able to understand leadership and communication styles is a critical success factor

View the full presentation here…

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