Recruitment and Selection
Evaluation of the Leadership Programme
Appendix 1: The Ideal International Assignment Cycle
Appendix 2: A Virtuous Learning Cycle
Anglo-French Wines Direct (AFW), a multinational company based in the UK, established a ‘High Flyers Programme’ four years ago to develop future leaders to enable to achieve its global growth objectives. The aim was to send them to one of the international subsidiaries for two years and bring them back for a more senior position. However, the new HR Director of AFW has discovered the following problems within this programme:
1. 25 percent of the expatriates returned home early due to dissatisfaction
2. Over 35 percent of the expatriates were considered to be underperforming on the assignment
3. Around 30 percent expatriates left within a year of their return to England
In order to achieve its business objectives, it is essential that AFW turns round this failing programme into a leading-edge leadership programme. Particularly since AFW is a large company and plans to expand its business further, it is according to Burgoyne (1988, cited in Gold et al., 2010) vital that the programme has a high level of maturity, i.e. complexity and structure, enabling to meet the organisational needs and objectives. Thus, AFW needs to take a strategic and integrative approach and manage each stage of the ‘International Assignment Cycle’ (See Appendix 1), i.e. recruitment and selection, hiring, preparation, expatriation and repatriation, effectively. Accordingly, this report aims to present a mix of solutions regarding each stage and provide recommendations for evaluating the new programme to ensure its effectiveness.
Recruitment and Selection
The first and fundamental step for a successful leadership programme is the selection of the right candidates. Since managers who achieve high performance in the domestic setting do not necessarily succeed in the same way overseas (Gurdjian et al., 2007; Jokinen, 2005), it is vital for AFW to identify candidates who will benefit the most from being on a posting. In this context Caligiuri (2000) argues that beyond technical expertise, certain personality traits, such as openness and sociability, are crucial for succeeding abroad and particularly helpful in forming social networks that contribute to the adjustment in the foreign country. However, since personal characteristics are difficult to change (Caligiuri & Di Santo, 2001), AFW has to ensure that the selected candidates possess the necessary traits.
Beyond that, manager’s motivation and readiness for the assignment play a pivotal role in the realisation of their anticipated development (Sanchez et al., 2000) and have to be considered accordingly. Similarly, as the GKN case study demonstrates (James, 2011), it is a crucial prerequisite for a successful learning experience that the selected managers regard the programme and the associated outcomes as relevant to them. Therefore, it is necessary that AFW clearly communicates the benefits of the programme to the participants and ensures that the assignment is linked to their career management.
In addition, since the expatriate’s dependants have a significant influence on his/her satisfaction and performance abroad, they have to be included in the selection process as well (Sanchez et al., 2000). Consequently, AFW should train their assessors to ensure the consideration of all these relevant factors and to promote diversity in the selection by avoiding closed and informal processes (Harris & Brewster, 1999). As a result, effective candidate selection will help to minimise maladjustment and dissatisfaction on the posting and hence reduce the risk of early returns and expatriate underperformance.
In the hiring process AFW has to clarify the expectations that the company, the expatriates and the supervising local managers have of the assignment. The setting of goals for those stakeholders is particularly important as it provides a foundation for an action-evaluation (Rothman, 1997, cited in Gold et al., 2010) and thus an enhanced effectiveness of the programme. Thereby the expatriates will be enabled to meet the expectations placed on them, and the host managers, since they understand the developmental aims of the programme, will more likely provide support as needed. In this way, an expectations mismatch between the involved parties leading to both premature returns and underperformance can be prevented.
However, given that career development is a primary goal of the programme, promotion opportunities upon return have to be ensured and communicated beforehand. In other words, effective succession planning will reduce the risk that the developed talent will leave due to lacking opportunities to apply the acquired knowledge and move to another company (Sparrow et al., 2004).