Optimising talent management within an international group is not a matter for improvisation. Legislation, culture, work practices… many factors have to be considered before embarking on a project of such magnitude. From the initial brainstorming and project management, through to coordination of HR processes via a common tool used by all countries, nothing must be left to chance.

The challenges of international talent management

Deploying a HRIS requires preparation: specifications, configuring the solution so that it is tailored to the company’s processes, communicating with users, change management and familiarisation for the teams concerned.

Before you begin, ask yourself the key questions. What are your challenges? What are your constraints? What results do you hope to achieve? What are the employees, managers and HR’s expectations? etc.

Harmonising practices can be tricky as each country has its own specific requirements. To ensure adherence by all parties and establish the project’s success, it can be difficult to impose the model used by the head office on the subsidiaries. One of the keys to success is the creation of a “sponsor” group responsible for resolving trade-offs between local and global needs. The objective is to define processes common to all countries, while allowing enough flexibility to take local specific requirements into account (legislation, work practices, etc.).

In order to define the level of localisation required in the different countries, while ensuring that the group’s objectives are met, the “sponsor” will analyse the existing set-up against the needs of each entity and the group in terms of process management and HR reporting.

Reporting needs are often under-valued, yet they can help gain a better understanding of local specific requirements and structure the project, by giving a clearer insight into the activity within the group. Do not, therefore, neglect this aspect: set the reporting objectives from the project’s outset.

Deployment at group level: iteration and adaptation

The type of organisation – centralised or decentralised – also determines the project approach. For centralised organisations, a single, global deployment is possible.

For decentralised organisations, iterative projects are the preferred scenario. An initial “pilot” project, including some of the company’s representative populations (country, function, level of adherence to the project, etc.) helps define a common base. This is then “challenged” through successive deployments with new populations, in view of the countries’ specific requirements.

With the SaaS mode, these different deployment phases are put in place very quickly. Equally, it is not always easy to think about change management during the project. This crucial point should be examined beforehand in order to define a communication plan and internal training, guided by contacts in each country, to ensure that the solution is adopted by all employees, managers and HR managers.

The deployment of a talent management solution is a key moment for a company and it must be properly prepared, especially when on an international scale. Therefore, remember these steps before embarking on the project. Start by clearly defining your objectives. Why are you putting this solution in place? What outcomes do you hope to achieve? What level of centralisation do you want to establish? Who would be the best sponsor for the project? These questions should help you define the level of harmonisation of the processes, to ensure that both local needs and the group’s objectives are met. Lastly, work in stages and do not forget to support your HR managers, your managers and your employees as they get to grips with this new tool. The more you communicate on the project and its objectives to each and everyone, the better your results!

Article by Travis Turnbow:
International Project Manager at Talentsoft, Travis Turnbow has over 10 years’ experience in Human Resources. Originally from the US, Travis has always worked in an international context. He started his career at Airbus as Employment and Skills Forecasting Manager, before joining NorthgateArinso to assist in building their Talent solution in France. Today, he supports HR teams in all types of companies with the international deployment of the Talentsoft solution.


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