Managing the Global Workforce by Assessing Talent

How did Ernst & Young's Esther Hahm make the leap from accounting to global people issues? See how this daughter of a Korean diplomat is helping to elevate talent management globally.

If anyone understands what it feels like to constantly cross international borders, it’s Esther Hahm. One of three children of a Korean diplomat, Hahm spent her childhood living and traveling around the globe. Her parents insisted Hahm and her two brothers attend local schools whenever possible. She attended college in the United States at the College of William and Mary and became a certified public accountant.

She joined Ernst & Young but quickly found she was more interested in global people issues than in actual accounting. “We don’t pay enough attention to building a sustainable pipeline of talent globally and to ensuring follow-up with people when they complete international assignments,” she says.

Hahm, who recently was named Ernst & Young’s director of human-capital services for Canada, is the co-author of Ernst & Young’s “Managing Today’s Global Workforce: Elevating Talent Management to Improve Business” report, which assesses the impact of international talent management on business goals.

She’s moving to Toronto after a short stay in New York, preceded by a three-year assignment in Korea, where she was human-capital country practice leader and the Far East leader in the Global Human Capital practice. Other assignments for the firm include Tokyo and Detroit. “I never get to see a country because I’m always on the move,” she says, recalling how much time she spent coordinating HR activities for 15 countries in the Far East.

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