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Case study: CEVA Logistics

A stringent and rigorous process of selection ensures both employee aspirations and business needs are matched during expatriation, Greg Grimes, executive VP of human resources for Asia Pacific at CEVA Logistics, tells Aditi Sharma Kalra.

At CEVA Logistics, a company which operates in more than 160 countries, its mobility policy plays an important part in the overall HR strategy of employee and career development, as well as the business strategy of managing talent across the globe.

“We encourage employees to leverage career opportunities in other parts of the world where they can make a valuable contribution and grow in their career,” says Greg Grimes, the company’s executive vice-president of human resources for Asia Pacific.

Employees, who are evaluated as top talent, can be assured CEVA will invest in their career development in many ways. This includes an overseas assignment to broaden their skills and experience, in cases where it’s deemed to be valuable as part of the person’s individual development plan.

Grimes points out the employee aspirations and business needs both need to match. The biggest stakeholders to this decision will be the business managers in the host and home location as well as the employee.

CEVA has a global mobility policy in place to ensure consistency in the approach taken worldwide for expatriate management. Not only is this cost-effective, he says, but it also assures fairness in the treatment of assignees.

However, the responsibility of selection and evaluation of talent, succession planning and talent development lies with the regional leadership teams, who work with their peers across regions to implement these moves.

Prepping up

Employees often view international assignments as a way to develop their skills and deepen their experience. To ensure this translates to output, the mobility policy at CEVA is designed to support and facilitate international assignments, of varying durations, for existing and new employees.

“That includes providing employees formal assimilation and acculturation training prior to their assignment.”

Before the assignment is finalised, the team ascertains whether or not the proposed assignment will fulfil expectations for the company, the host country and the employee as well as the employee’s family.

The preparation is similar across all levels and job functions as “certain results are expected from every assignment”, he notes.

He describes the selection process as “stringent” and “rigorous”, given the incumbents are chosen with the idea they will become future senior executives with the company.

“This is an integral part of our career development and talent management initiative to retain our talent pool and provide career enhancement for our employees.”

Crystal gazing

An expatriation challenge that Grimes points out is to balance the need to allow room for the development of the employee, while requiring a high level of results which create return on investment.

Not only ROI, but also the ability of the country to effectively manage the financial aspects of the expatriate assignment and the smooth assimilation and integration of the employee with the new country team, he says.

Grimes and his team continuously look at ways to enhance CEVA’s mobility programme. He shares the example of how they can provide the selected employee with a more flexible or menu-driven choice of benefits within a financial framework.

“Our mobility policy is integral to our talent management programme. Managing the policy in an effective manner to yield the best results ensures that we can continue driving a strong and attractive talent management programme.”

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