By Elena Jacob

Emerging markets, once the last thing that Human Capital leaders felt the need to focus on, have become the top priority for most companies. According to a report released by Deloitte, the increasing popularity and importance of emerging markets is an indicator of global and cultural shifts, which will profoundly change the way business is conducted throughout the world.

In today’s business environment, HR is expected to support global growth and accommodate the needs of a more global market. Large companies, like Microsoft and Apple, are constantly at work to ensure that their software and products are relevant and useful to a global market. This might require a bit of software adjustment from country to country, but the high sales and positive reception are well worth the trouble. Knowing what adjustments to make is not a simple task, though – it takes careful research and planning. This trend toward emerging markets is driven by three primary factors…

1. Increased demand from global customers

The world of today is drastically different from the world just a few years ago. We are more globalized than ever, and companies today are not catering to their local community, or even their home country – the market for companies today includes anyone and everyone around the world, meaning that advertising, marketing, and communication must be tailored to suit an array of people from varying cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles.

2. Global talent has expanded the workforce

Just as customers and clients are no longer limited to those in a company’s immediate vicinity, the employees of these companies are also expanding and spreading, meaning that we are no longer limited to hiring based on who lives closest. For companies that know how to utilize new technology, this means that the global talent pool has greatly expanded their employee options. This also means that employers are dealing with a whole new market, featuring different payment, labor, experience, and working condition expectations from culture to culture.

3. Heightened global awareness of Human Capital

These emerging markets are quickly taking over as the preferred resource for Human Capital centers, and provide massive amounts of new information on talent management systems and workforce analytics.

What to Expect from Emerging Markets

To effectively work with and understand these emerging markets, Human Capital leaders should work to anticipate and prepare to work with business leaders on dealing with the rapid growth of emerging markets. This requires companies to stay on top of these emerging markets and lead the way when it comes to future trends. Companies cannot wait to be told what to do – they must work actively to accommodate the ever-changing climate of business.

Work with global mindsets

A crucial first step for business leaders is to work to understand emerging markets. The most influential emerging markets at the moment are coming from Latin America, the Middle East, China (and other regions in Asia), Africa, India, and Brazil. These are markets for customers, products, and talent, and should not be ignored or trivialized when it comes to the importance of global expansion. Learn about the cultures, backgrounds, workforce expectations, and experiences of these emerging markets to fully utilize their tremendous potential.

Plan and prioritize for the future

Rather than work to accommodate these markets once they’re large and established, companies should be working right now to help shape and expand these markets as they emerge. To do this, think of the customer and their priorities to help create a basis for these new marketing platforms.

Prepare for the growth that is to come; growth won’t happen all on its own, it must be supported and facilitated, and direction must be given to control rapid growth, or else it will become overwhelming and too broadly-spread to easily work with.

If companies are hoping to outsource work, then they must prepare now to have the capacity and capability to support these emerging markets and workforces. This will require workforce understanding, planning, and training on the part of existing employees to help assist with the integration of these new work programs.

Challenges and Opportunities

It has long been established that the emerging markets around the world would be the key to long term success of today’s global companies, but the recession has made it so this future, rather than being decades from now, is happening today. While this has put a large strain on companies eager to stay on top of the global market, it has also created tremendous opportunities for companies ready to lead the charge, rather than waiting to react to these changes.