Q and A

Clarke Wetter answer questions on recruitment and retention

Q: With the current emphasis on global recruitment cost cutting, how
important do you think culture is to maintain cohesion, commitment and morale
within the workforce?

A: Company culture is very important, as cost cutting ultimately puts
more pressure on staff, with increasing challenges and decreasing resources,
and it can often be the belief in the corporate values and the culture that
helps keep staff motivated.

People need to be able to work together and feel confident enough to be able
to transfer knowledge and to identify ways to achieve shared goals.

As headcount reduces, the need for reliable and knowledgeable employees who
understand the intricacies of cultural intelligence sets the company apart from
the competition.

Q: Globalisation has allowed companies to source work and talent from
outside their national borders. How can the recruitment issues associated with
this be managed?

A: It is important to understand the package being offered,
legislation and how workforces should be hired, inducted, managed, motivated
and retained, with a realistic approach to retaining the core company identity,
values and vision.

Mixed nationality teams need to be managed differently, as there may be
significant variations in approach (the way things are done and how people
interact) and in which context and industry they work within.

Comparing different national recruiting cultures and the collective activity
of the company is a good idea. This allows a company to identify crucial
differences in the behaviour of potential employees and adjust individual or
corporate beliefs through continual learning and exploration.

It is important that HR teams (national, regional and global) do not confuse
national behaviour with personality traits of individuals. This needs to be
continually acknowledged and communicated.

There is the danger of missing quality potential employees and successors
because they don’t speak the ‘Headquarter language’ – it is too narrow to think
that one must speak Mandarin or Spanish let alone English to succeed or be

Q: Getting things done within any organisation requires an understanding
of the ‘way we do things around here’. How do you advise your clients to
navigate through the obvious pitfalls this entails?

A: When working with our clients we share and gather our
understanding of the core international/national style before the interview
process commences. All too often this is skimmed over due to a lack of insight
or knowledge, or simply because another priority has landed on the desk, but it
is by far the most important stage of any recruitment programme.

We suggest that clients maintain strict measurement guidelines throughout
interviews that translate globally as much as is practicable.

When using international recruitment providers, how critical is it to the
success of the relationship that they understand the organisational needs in
different countries?

Consultants need to act as a seamless addition to the company in order to
gain trust and to deliver successfully. The working relationship is very
important; and we find it only succeeds when knowledge is shared. This is
particularly important when looking at things from a local perspective when
recruiting in countries where there is perhaps little understanding of the
complexity of local, regional and global issues.

Developing an intimate understanding of client needs and building trust
ultimately leads to an efficient and successful hiring programme and helps
develop a true working partnership.

Q: How can organisations deal with the key issues which impact on
retention of staff?

A: We all know that personal and professional development of an
individual is very important to the growth of any organisation, and the focus
of this changes from country to country. Training and reward is not the only
answer for staff retention. Individuals need to continue to develop all round
capabilities that encompass self-awareness, self-development and respecting
colleagues from different countries and cultures.

Leaders need to be able motivate and inspire the teams and it is essential
that positive and useful communication is translated accurately – understanding
how to motivate and influence potential employees inevitably leads to less
alienation and helps to build a cohesive team environment as well as a more
astute and understanding workforce.

Q: Is it important to carry out competitive analysis when recruiting?

A: The prime concern when recruiting is to interview the potential
candidate and not the organisation the individual has worked for, otherwise
this could lead to a belief that the individual is only a commodity and less
important than the company culture they might be leaving.

However, competitive analysis aids workforce planning as well as talent
mapping and management, and when recruiting internationally it saves time,
effort, energy and money – awareness of your competitor is always important and
will gain you respect across the business.

Q: How can cultural wisdom be sustained?

A: Cultural wisdom can be sustained through being open minded to
learn new ways of working. Take the best from each country, adapt and blend –
we are all different and we can all win if we agree a core set of values, understanding
and acceptance. If this is not done then exceptional talent may be lost.

Q: Is it important to maintain consistency when hiring under different
market circumstances globally?

A: Global consistency is important because one country or region’s results
may be different to those of another. In times of boom companies may lower
their recruiting standards or indulge in panic hiring – based on pure
availability rather than competencies and experience – and these recruits can
be seen as a weakness in times of rationalisation. However, companies need to
consider the impact of making people redundant as this may be totally against
the national culture and can have a damaging effect on retaining remaining
staff and potentially have a negative impact on the company’s standing with
customers in certain countries.

There should always be one statement for corporate messages and market
positioning for potential employees.

Consistency helps to uphold core values and standards, and companies can use
successful business results in one country as a stepping stone to a positive
position elsewhere.

Clarke Wetter is a new international executive search consultancy which
combines the vast experience of two successful global recruiters, Jacqueline
Clarke and Derek Wetter.

The company’s comprehensive network and in-depth understanding
of the roles and behavioural competencies required by potential employees,
ensures a successful outcome.

Tel: +44 1189 880213

[email protected]

Derek has a finance background and was instrumental in setting up CISCO UK,
responsible for finance, operations and HR. He then moved into International
Search and gave strategic advice on resourcing strategies that add value to the
business. After many years as a consultant, he headed up the European
recruitment team for Exodus before joining forces with Jacqueline to form
Clarke Wetter.

[email protected]

Jacqueline Clarke has spent many years living in Asia and across Europe. Her
career started in the Royal Military Police and she has recruited in Africa,
Russia, Australia and all around Europe, giving her a deep understanding of the
cultural differentiators of recruiting and resourcing on the
international circuit.

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