The Chapman Consulting Group (ChapmanCG) and Deutsche Bank welcomed 20 global HR Leaders to the North American headquarters of Deutsche Bank on Friday 26 April to discuss key HR trends in Asia Pacific and emerging markets. Companies represented included Bank of America; Pall; Corning; Marsh & McLennan; Philip Morris International; Hershey’s; Hess; Coach; JPMorgan; UBM; PricewaterhouseCoopers; MetLife; CA Technologies; Bank of New York Mellon and Marsh & McLennan.

The Deutsche Bank forum took place a day after a mid-town gathering at Discovery Communications, hosted by Discovery’s Global VP Talent Management, Tyler Benjamin. Companies represented at this meeting included Johnson & Johnson; Estee Lauder; Kantar; Bank of America; Thomson Reuters; Nielsen; AzkoNobel; Bristol Myers Squibb; Novartis; IMS Health; INTTRA and Citi. At this session, Tyler Benjamin provided a thought-provoking presentation on Discovery’s Talent Strategy in growth markets. This was appreciated by the group and a robust conversation took place among the participants.

The next day, on a sunny morning in New York on the 47th floor with a panoramic view of the Hudson River and the New York skyline, the Deutsche Bank group came together to discuss key HR topics influencing major global emerging markets. Presenters were Jason Yeldham and Debbie Barry-Stanis, both Directors with Global Remits with Deutsche Bank; Nancy Testa SVP, Leadership Development - Global Banking and Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and John Rhodes HR Leader at Marsh & McLennan Companies.

The presentations and discussion covered some broad areas. Key themes included a ‘leaner’ HR model within some Banking HR teams, which means that HR leaders today often have ‘double or triple hat’ responsibility. The shortage of talent in emerging markets was discussed, particular ‘homegrown’ talent and HR leaders who have the ability to be successful and make an impact both locally and globally. Nancy Testa from Bank of America Merrill Lynch led an interesting case study on how the HR team is looking to develop ‘softer’ leadership skills and foster ‘global ambassadors’ within the broader organization.

A number of key emerging geographies were covered as part of the discussion. The notion that ‘Indonesia is the new China’ resonated with the group and several of the participants noted that Indonesia is a notoriously difficult market for finding and retaining top local HR talent. This sparked an interesting group discussion on a growing need to be flexible with the location of key roles. A number of participants felt that ‘taking the jobs to the talent’ is an emerging trend for the future. The movement of top executive roles out of headquarters and into rapid growth markets was also touched on as part of this conversation.

Another case study was presented by Jamie Marchand at Merck on the company’s HR transformation and the changing dynamics of the business environment the company works in. Jamie observed that business strategy/demand is the key driver of company culture, and that any long-term HR transformation initiative needs to be able to flex to accommodate changes in market and business conditions. Key learnings and observations were shared from this and the group agreed that longterm transformational plans are very hard to implement given today’s rapid pace of change.

In contrast to some of the large transformational initiatives requiring many years to plan and complete, Marsh & McLennan talked about the fact that they had been relatively slow to globalize, as well as the need for situational leadership and action learning projects to drive rapid immersion into new markets. It was observed that this allowed work to get done on a practical level, while new leaders were being developed.

The session ended after a robust two-hour long dialogue and the group agreed to reconvene later in the year, the date and location to be advised by ChapmanCG.