As the world has become more interconnected with globalisation, it’s inevitable that there has been a rise in the number of employees working across borders. The question is though, do we have the right talent in the right roles?

This issue was highlighted in a recent Financial Times article, which looked at how institutions working on a global scale face greater complexities when it comes to recruiting and managing their staff. Global banks, for example, enjoy a distinct competitive advantage over purely national institutions, but it’s difficult to find employees with the right skills.

So what are the desired traits in a candidate? Employers are looking for staff that have an understanding of both global markets and local economies. They need to be able to adapt to the culture and speak the language, and should have a clear understanding of the legal and regulatory details of the country that they are going to work in. In short, expats should be open, mobile and diverse.

But it isn’t always easy to find the right person for the job. A structured approach is needed to allow you to assess the key attributes of the individual in relation to the job and culture. On the first level, there is the basic assessment of the role itself, what it entails and what skills are needed to fill it. Then, for the second level, there is a focus on filtering the remaining candidates based on key traits. These include: adaptability, learning agility, emotional intelligence, and, perhaps most importantly, resilience – an individual’s capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenge and change in order to achieve peak performance.

The management and development process shouldn’t stop once the role is filled though, it should continue for the expat throughout their time abroad. However, it’s clear that this doesn’t always happen. At the moment, for example, there is more of a focus on supporting leaders across borders because the stakes are perceived to be higher, but other positions should not be forgotten.

If we are to continue to attract and retain talent across borders, HR needs to have more of a focus on expats by having a more robust management process. A shortage of skill sets is one of the biggest risks to leaders of global organisations and so, as businesses expand globally, HR professionals have to adapt to the new market.

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