Raising a (Rotating) Hand

There is a lot of exciting synergy between Talent Management and Global Mobility these days and one of the most dynamic areas is rotational assignments.  These types of assignments are very diverse in nature and much easier to set up and execute than the more traditional expatriate assignments.  Additionally, many Millennial workers are seeking to have international experiences within their organizations – but rather than the extended assignment in one location, these employees want assignments that are flexible, nimble and oftentimes, include several locations.

Rotations come in many shapes and sizes and can be part of a more formal talent management program like onboarding for new leaders or development for high potentials.  These more formal programs can be very effective in attracting and retaining talent in your organization as well as helping identify and develop talent for succession planning.  Many companies see international rotations as a critical way to provide the international experiences the next generation of global leaders will need, so they build these assignments into their leadership development programs.

A more informal and flexible way to offer rotational experiences is through a talent exchange.  These programs are based on the “swap” concept, where talent from one region exchanges with another.  Business unit leaders really like talent exchanges as they don’t have to give up their talent to a special rotational program – losing a top engineer to a leadership rotation for 6 months can really disrupt a project!  Most exchanges last from 1-3 months which eases the administration burden as that time span avoids many of the usual compliance, immigration and taxation hurdles that accompany international assignments.

Before pursuing any of these types of rotational programs, it’s critical to align with other talent “stakeholders” in the organization to see what they are doing and already offering.  These stakeholders can include:

  • HR Colleagues
  • Talent Management
  • Organizational Development
  • Learning & Development
  • Performance Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Business unit leaders

A Needs Assessment interview is a great way to capture stakeholder knowledge and is the first step to moving forward.  Conducting an employee engagement survey will provide data on what sorts of experiences employees are looking for in the organization.  Many engagement surveys are validating the desire Millennial employees have for international experiences and how they are seeking them proactively.

The leading global companies of today are discovering the many organizational benefits in offering rotational programs.  Moving talent throughout the organization transfers knowledge across company regions which can trigger a variety of new ideas and approaches when serving complex global clients.  Additionally, rotations help companies integrate more effectively and share a common company culture.  Too often in global organizations there are strong regional silos that don’t share good ideas and approaches with other regions.  The more companies rotate talent globally, the more they integrate their regions as well as attract, develop and retain the talent they need for the future.

Interested in learning more on rotational assignments and global leadership development?  Join me for a complimentary webinar session, Assessments in Modern Mobility & Beyond for an insightful presentation on why assessment tool use is a beneficial and cost effective measure for attracting, developing and retaining global talent.

Written By: Mark Frederick, Ph.D., Director of Global Talent Management. Contact him here.