US-Brazil HR Executive Exchange Delegation – A Talent Management Experience

January 13, 2012 US-Brazil HR Executive Exchange Delegation – A Talent Management Experience

The decision for the team of DB Latimore Professional Services Group to join the US-Brazil HR Executive Delegation sponsored by the Society of Human Resources Management and the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program was motivated by my interest in learning more about the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as emerging markets.   The valuable experience consisted of networking with my US and Brazilian colleagues in discovering the similarities and differences of our talent management philosophies, creative solutions on how different industries address those concerns and the integral role of HR in the business process strategically and operationally.

It was clear to the delegation that companies interested in doing business in Brazil must recognize that relationships are critically important and require time to cultivate.  Members of our delegation shared with us their  experiences of acquiring companies or setting up business in Brazil that would have been a 6 month process in the US taking up to a year. The primary reason was due to taking the necessary time to establish rapport and build trust.  Secondly, as an emerging market there is a shortage of skilled labor, therefore organic plans for full-life cycle talent management will be essential, particularly given the high cost of bringing in an international assignee. A key success factor for our delegation wss having members of our group who where fluent in Portugese and could serve as translators during our cultural exercusions. An investment in learning the culture and the language would serve as a competitive advantage for companies considering this emerging market.

Howard Wallack, Director of Global Member Programs at SHRM is to be commended for creating this professional enriching experience.

Our Professional Program consisted of visits to five companies, each recognized as Great Places to work.  Phase I of our program began in Rio de Janiero where we visited ChemTec a Brazilian born engineering and IT consulting services firm, now a Siemens’ Company renowned for its innovation and HR practices (wwww.chemtec.com) We spent a full day at Globo  the largest media and entertainment company in South America (www.globotvinternational.com). As a global operation, Globo has  correspondents and offices in 12 countries.

Phase II of the program took place in San Paulo, the business hub of Brazil. We were welcomed at Hewlett Packard Brazil which acquired EDS (www.hp.com) a company that has been in Brazil for 45 years and has now expanded from 3,700 employees to a workforce of 10,000 following the acquisition.   We toured the Natura corporate campus a Brazilian multinational cosmetic, fragrances and personal hygiene company and a recognized leader in sustainable development and direct sales.(www.natura.org). Our experience continued with a 7 am arrival to the regional operations of the Federal Express distribution center (www.fedex.com) to observe the daily operations of preparing the delivery of all packages, an expeditious process that was completed in under an hour. Our professional program concluded at Magazine Luiza, a woman- founded national chain of retail big box durable consumer goods stores. (www.magazineluiza.com) The retail chain has 716 stores across Brazil with a total of 23,500 employees. Magazine Luiza has a Pessoas em Primeiro Lugar (putting people first) philosophy and as a result turnover hovers between 30-35% whereas in the retail sector in Brazil it generally averages 45-60%. The ABRH-Nascional (Brazilian Human Resources Association) hosted a premier networking dinner, where we had the opportunity to explore and share business and HR challenges, practices and procedures in our countries.

The Cultural Program consisted of tours of both cities and excursions to Sugar Loaf Mountain, Corcovado and Tijuca Forest, Christ the Redeemer statue and Brazilian Art museums.  We concluded our visit with a trip to Iguassau Falls in both Brazil and Argentina.

Brazil was a talent management experience that I would encourage anyone interested in BRIC to explore opportunities with the SHRM Delegation.