Business Solutions

A New Approach for Leadership Development

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report for 2016 reflects the views of more than 7,000 CEOs and HR leaders in 130 countries.

In a short series of blog posts we take a look at this year’s top trends, and analyze what they mean for talent management professionals and global employees.

Leadership is a Top Priority
The challenges of leadership development are an urgent and growing trend, with almost nine out of ten executives surveyed (89 percent) rating it as a top priority.

As organizations become more team-centric and business challenges become more global and diverse, fresh challenges in leadership development are emerging.

“Organizations need to develop fundamental leadership capabilities among critical individuals and teams—capabilities that include the ability to collaborate across boundaries, conceptualize new solutions, motivate diverse teams, and develop the next generation of diverse and global leaders.”

Leadership Training is Failing
Deloitte reports that companies spent $31 billion on leadership programs last year, but 24 percent of respondents said they yield little to no value.

Only 13 percent of companies say they are excellent at building global leaders.
Only 14 percent described their company as strong at succession planning.

“Too few leadership programs are designed on a foundation of research, clear priorities, and assessments of needed leadership thinking and outcomes.”

A New Range of Leadership Skills
As organizations grow flatter and more diverse, there is a need for leadership skills at all levels of the business. This means that organizations need to identify potential leaders earlier, and help them develop a broader range of skills.

As organizational design shifts from a structured hierarchy to a network of teams, leadership skills need to be driven by a culture of coaching and collaboration, not one of command and control.

Leaders must inspire teams that are increasingly multi-generational, cross-disciplined, and multi-cultured, which requires an inclusive attitude and strong communication skills, as well as strategic thinking skills and business knowledge.

The lack of diversity among leaders remains a problem, with 59 percent of respondents
reporting little to no investment in diverse leaders, with similar findings for Millennials (59 percent) and women (49 percent).

A New Approach to Leadership Development
Deloitte recommends a fresh approach to leadership development, in both its scope and execution.

Expand the use of online tools to identify high-potential employees from around the world earlier in their careers, and provide opportunities for younger leaders to gain the skills, experiences, and insights they need to thrive in leadership roles.

Become more scientific about leadership development by identifying the skills that leaders need, and then rigorously evaluating progress as they develop.

Develop a more diverse range of leaders by moving away from a one size fits all approach to leadership development. Create a range of training packages across business, communications, and cultural skills that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of potential leaders from different backgrounds.

We took a look at the top five Global Talent trends identified by Deloitte from Organizational Design and Leadership Development, to Corporate Culture, Employee Engagement and Learning, and proposed ten actions for global talent managers to answer the call of C-suite. To download report, please follow this link.

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Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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Talent Management for a Future of Teams

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report for 2016 reflects the views of more than 7,000 CEOs and HR leaders in 130 countries.

In a short series of blog posts we take a look at this year’s top trends, and analyze what they mean for talent management professionals and global employees.

Organizational Design
Redesigning the organization to resist global competition and better meet the needs of local customers was the most widespread trend in this year’s report, with more than nine out of ten executives surveyed (92 percent) rating it as a top priority.

Traditional matrix-organizations with functional leaders at HQ and local teams in the field is proving to be ill-equipped for today’s high-paced business environments.

“Companies are decentralizing authority, moving toward product- and customer-centric organizations, and forming dynamic networks of highly empowered teams that communicate and coordinate activities in unique and powerful ways.”

The Rise of Teams
Deloitte refers to this trend as The Rise of Teams. Instead of permanently working in a specialist department or local division, employees are assigned to temporary teams focused on a specific business, product, market, or customer need.

Employees move from team to team as needed – similar to the way different specialists come together to produce a Hollywood movie – and then return to their “functional home” before being selected for their next team.

“This new mode of organization—a “network of teams” with a high degree of empowerment, strong communication, and rapid information flow—is now sweeping businesses and governments around the world.”

Collaborators and Communicators
The report says that: “companies should view employees fundamentally as resources of the organization rather than as resources of the manager,” which means that new recruits should be assessed on their ability to collaborate across the organization rather than just having the skills for a specific position.

Teams are driven by collaboration, which is fueled by communication. Employees in global companies need to have the skills to communicate effectively with colleagues at different levels, from different disciplines, and increasingly located in different countries. The Rise of Teams puts a premium on individual and group communication skills.

The most effective teams benefit from diversity of experience and thinking, as well as a range of functional skills. If organizations are to fully benefit from a team-based approach they need to create an environment, including the training where needed, for employees from every background to succeed across cultures and geographies.

We took a look at the top five Global Talent trends identified by Deloitte from Organizational Design and Leadership Development, to Corporate Culture, Employee Engagement and Learning, and proposed ten actions for global talent managers to answer the call of C-suite. To download the report, please follow this link.

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Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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English plays a large role in Rio de Janeiro for 2016 Summer Olympics

It will be an exciting couple of weeks as over 500,000 people from outside of Brazil join thousands of Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro for 2016 Summer Olympics. Over 100,000 of those visitors will be American, and several thousand more will be British. In a country where Portuguese dominates, English will be a common language of exchange for commerce, for travel and transportation, and for healthcare.

The Olympics, by their design force an integration of English and French into the culture of any host city. In host cities where English or French aren’t the primary language the local language takes the lead. During the opening ceremonies in Rio, the United States marched out as “Estados Unidos” in the middle of the competitive pack.

But English will play a large role in the Olympics, not just because of the signage and the announcing. It might perhaps be even more important than in past Olympics as people try to stay informed about the Zika virus, or seek to be vigilant about terrorist threats, or understand issues about the environment.

As a host country, it is important to work well with your guests, and that means knowing their language even if they aren’t overly ambitious about learning yours. Those who know how to speak English are likely to be better compensated, attracting more U.S. Dollars and British Pounds than those who make customer transactions more difficult.

English becomes a lubricant that makes it easier to work with American and British tourists.

It is never too late to start learning some basics, and maybe the introductions to English that people take because of the Olympics will lead them to find value in continuing to learn English. The current issues with the Brazilian economy will resolve themselves, and Brazil will find itself again a leading economy for the 21st Century, and that will drive a need for English as the country increases its trade across the world.

On Friday, as the Olympic torch arrived at the stadium in Rio, and as the countries marched out together, I cheered for all of them, with a little extra for the French and the Americans because of where I was born, and where I now live. But I want to wish all of the Olympians very good luck as they demonstrate the power of finding common ground.

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Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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Why Brexit may increase need for English outside of EU

When the UK vote to leave the European Union was cast, the makeup of the British labor force was a major issue in many people’s minds. Over 2 million people from European Union countries work in the UK. They have been able to work in the UK largely because of Britain’s membership in the EU which eased requirements still applied to workers outside of the EU and the Commonwealth.

No one knows exactly what is going to happen as Britain begins its exodus from the EU, but if the departure fails to recognize certain long-held agreements, many of those EU nationals living and working in the UK may be asked to return home, and many UK workers and retirees may be asked to return to the UK. Negotiations could also lead to a more reasonable transition, and a continuation of shared labor agreements.

But if the underlying issue of work immigration remains a major influence on policy, it may prove politically difficult for the UK government and businesses to continue to employ foreign citizens in UK-based jobs. The loss of this talent would leave UK businesses with a deeper skills shortage than they already face, and place the UK at a global disadvantage for companies in countries who can attract younger, more aligned talent. One approach, as this 18 February 2016 article from The Guardian How can the UK overcome a national skills shortage? Think local suggests is to form partnerships between universities and business in order to better align programs with local skill needs.

But there is another approach that will likely be a stop gap, even if more radical domestic policy reform takes hold: hiring talented people virtually from other countries.

While many companies already outsource some of their roles, Brexit could drive additional needs. Those needs will only be fulfilled, however, if people have the right technical and business skills and can communicate well with English-speaking managers and customers.

Countries like India already have strong ties to the UK and have been leveraging their UK relationships to open doors in the EU. The result of the vote could lead to even deeper ties between Indian and the UK as Indian businesses concentrate on UK opportunities (a 2015 Grant Thorton Study, India meets Britain, places Indian-company employment in the UK at 110,000).

The only thing that is really known about the result of Brexit at this point is that it has created a two-year horizon of uncertainty for UK businesses. One of the best ways to shore up uncertainty is to take action that brings near-term stability. If the foreign worker status is in doubt, hiring virtual workers to complement them is an action that won’t be affected by Brexit. If the foreign workers stay or go, those brought on virtually who perform well, will likely find a way to remain valuable to the businesses they support. But that all hinges on technically-savvy workers around the world being ready to tap the British talent need by knowing the language that drives UK commerce…English.

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Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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Social Enterprises are facing the same Human Capital issues as Global Corporations

Not only do big corporations face the war for talent, this new research demonstrates how social entrepreneurs around the world face the same dilemma. RippleWorks Foundation, which connects leading expertise from Silicon Valley and the larger tech sector with promising social ventures around the world, released thought provoking research titled, “RippleWorks Global Entrepreneurship Research 2016”.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the terms, “social enterprise” and” social entrepreneur”, I love this definition provided by Ashoka: “Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss to improve systems, invent new approaches, and create solutions to change society for the better. While a business entrepreneur might create entirely new industries, a social entrepreneur develops innovative solutions to social problems and then implements them on a large scale.”

According to the findings, “63% of entrepreneurs said that their inability to access the talent they need would have high or critical impact on their businesses.” Finding talent to scale the solution is more difficult in the long run than fundraising, logistics, or regulation compliance! I found it amazing that it was the one area that grew more difficult over time, surpassing even money.

When you think about the access to talent becoming more difficult over time, it makes sense, since the needs of the organization change as it moves from an early funding stage to a funded late stage organization. New skillsets are needed, the size of the organization grows, and the layers of sophistication increase. But what can CEOs of these entrepreneurial endeavors do to get ahead?

The data points to the strongest way to handle this challenge is by training tomorrow’s leaders and growing internal talent, especially knowing the fact that it is more difficult to recruit for senior positions than entry-level positions. Retaining and developing talent needs to be a top priority with continual momentum. It’s important to know when to look to outside partners to broaden skills training programs too. “Global Healthcare in India, for example, partners with organizations like George Washington University and India’s National Skill Development Corporation to develop training programs on topics ranging from nursing to acute care to hospital management.” Furthermore, the report illustrates that CEOs need to dedicate a sizable amount of time to this effort on a daily basis. The silver lining of this approach to talent development is the ability to overcome scarce recruiting budgets for key talent, by selling them on the value of the organizational mission.

This mindset of providing internal training opportunities and offering an intriguing employee value proposition dovetails perfectly with the wave of millennials entering the workforce and the “tours of duty” concept. By increasing employee engagement, building internal talent leadership skills, and feeding the employee’s soul with meaningful work – this is the recipe for all businesses to support profit growth and channel the entrepreneurial spirit into a high performing organization.

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Anya Eychis
Senior Manager, Content Marketing
Pearson English Business Solutions

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Is Learning English the Way to Tackle English-biased Research?

In order to change the world, we have to start by accepting it where we find it. When it comes to content on the Internet, the vast majority of it is written in English. Even non-English speaking countries like Germany, France and Spain produce much of their scientific literature in English. Eighty percent of articles, for instance, collected by the SCOPUS database of peer-reviewed articles, were written in English according to a 2012 study by Research Trends.

These objective facts point to the need to learn English to access the latest research, provocative thinking, and new insights. Research, provocative thinking, and insights aren’t exclusively written in English, but it is difficult to find them in many native languages, so the English articles, while they may bias perspectives, are the most accessible and easily found.

This leads to three important challenges that learning English can overcome. The challenges that can only be met through continuous learning and collaboration.

First, if you want to understand the state of an industry, a scientific or other academic domain, knowledge of English will provide access to the majority of the work available.

Second, if you want to discuss this work, even to add your insights, knowing English is a near imperative. If you plan to publish in another language, the work you cite will likely include English-language publications. It is nearly impossible to contribute to scientific and technical literature without knowing English.

The final challenge is about the transformation of the perceived English-language bias to include more languages. Part of this, of course, is due to the economic dominance of the United States, and before that, of England.

As other nations assert themselves, their scientists, researchers, writers, and thinkers, need to assert themselves too, because each language offers unique subtleties that are difficult to capture in other languages. In some ways, especially outside of science and math, English has made some of the work less precise since the language cannot capture the true meaning of a point or insight.

For that to change, people need first to be recognized for what they know and gain the respect of their peers. And that will likely, in part, be associated with English scholarship. Then, perhaps, those scholars can break the cycle, encouraging, even demanding publication in the best language for the content. It may be, however, that for the next several decades, even the work written in your native language will end up being discussed more in English. But at least a few young researchers will write more in Swahili or German or Vietnamese. And that is a start.

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Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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English as a Gateway Skill

English is currently the most important language of business and business travel. I speak French, but when I travel, I am much more likely to meet someone who shares speaking English with me, than speaking French. The following list offers evidence as to why English is dominant, but more importantly, why it is important to invest in reaching English proficiency.

    • English is a gateway to employment. Being bilingual makes people more employable in their country because they can help interface with English-speaking companies and tourists. English makes people more employable who immigrate to English speaking countries. Sixty of the world’s 196 countries have chosen English as their official language.

    • English is a gateway to accessing technical innovations communicated through business and academic research.

    • English is a gateway because it is spoken in many places around the world. Around two billion people speak English every day.

    • English is a gateway because it is the language of science.

    • English is a gateway because it is the language of the film industry, the computer industry, the airline industry and tourism. If you want to work in these industries, employers are likely to require some level of English proficiency before they will consider hiring you.

    • English is a gateway because it opens up English-speaking countries to visitors.

    • English is a gateway because it can be taught to children, increasing learning access for them—and it provides a way for adults to speak to their children who might already be learning English.

    • English is a gateway because those who seek employment in English-speaking countries make more money if they know how to speak English.

    • English is a gateway because it is the entry point to participation in business meetings, providing good customer service and helping shape and deliver good marketing plans.

    • English is a gateway because it opens up access to top universities.

    • English is a gateway because it is the entry way to literature and popular culture from Shakespeare to Harry Potter, from U2 to Lady Gaga, from The Big Bang Theory to Star Wars.

    • English is a gateway because it is the language of the Internet with nearly 50% of all content published in English.

Whether you plan to travel to an English-speaking country, seek employment in a business that does work with an English-speaking country, to immigrate for work, or to learn a new skill, or expand your perspective on a subject, the ability to speak English allows you to collaborate and communicate with colleagues and with customers, and to better participate in the wide range of activities that take place during a work day.

Learning English is one of the best investments you can make for yourself, or benefits you can provide to your employees, because it opens up so many other opportunities for economic, personal and social growth.

Some estimates suggest China has already passed the United States as the country with the most people proficient in English. The Chinese learn English to gain access to markets and to better understand market needs. English is a gateway language not just because it is a tactical advantage for those seeking employment, but because it is a strategic advantage for those who want to succeed in a global market.

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Karine Allouche Salanon
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Pearson English Business Solutions

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