Sunday, August 22, 2010

Companies progress with talent searching, retention and grooming

It is important that an organisation hire the right staff and identify the talented ones to retain and not let those hi-potential leave the company after working for years and decided to bid farewell either due to salary, welfare, unfair treatment, dissatisfaction, etc.....

Retention of talent: There is a greater focus on managing attrition and retaining talent. With the employment market improving, retaining and nurturing existing talent will be a top priority for organisations, especially those in industries with a talent shortfall (engineering and finance for example, especially so for our kind of offshore engineering design now ) or in highly competitive industries such as the telecommunications sector. Retaining high performers and growing talent internally is also the focus for many of the companies, especially in this highly competitive market.

Flexibility in resourcing capability: Although there are signs that the global economic crisis is abating, organisations that are cautious, look at flexible hiring solutions that allow for a more structured approach to strengthening a workforce, RPO itself has never been as important or as relevant as it has been in this regard. More and more MNCs in Asia Pacific are starting to seek RPO solutions to meet their short and long-term expansion plans.

Globalisation: We are no longer a series of local or national economies with relative independence, and resourcing/talent strategies will go the same way. Increased mobility on a global basis is being driven by cultural and technical shifts. Many are looking for a holistic global resourcing solution that incorporates local and sector expertise to allow for flexibility for local implementation.

Recruitment Outsourcing for SMEs: We've seen the significant development in SME businesses who seized the opportunity to outsource their recruitment in the last year, and the benefit of allowing staff to do what they do best, removing the myriad of specialist areas that can take up vast amounts of time will be a business necessity as the economy picks up.

Brand Competition: Renewed employee confidence and mobility will result in increased investment in employer branding, as companies look to edge out competition for talent and rebuild reputations in the financial sector for example. Companies have started to recognise the importance of building a good, attractive employer brand which helps them to attract good quality talent in the short term as well as long term.

Measurement and analysis: Companies are looking to evaluate and benchmark the return on their human capital investment through the development of sophisticated and comprehensive recruitment metrics and business intelligence capabilities. These will help organisations evaluate the performance of the resourcing function by performance of employees and their contribution to the business as well as using the more common recruitment metrics such as 'cost per hire' and 'time to hire'.

Contingent workforce management: In those economies where the use of contingent labour or 'contractors' is a common part of a resourcing strategy, the management of that workforce becomes increasingly sophisticated; being managed and measured with the same robustness applied to permanent staffing solutions. In other markets where contingent labour is less common, we have seen greater adoption of a contingent workforce as a solution for flexibility purposes. We expect to see this trend continue.

Social media: Social media is becoming increasingly important as a recruitment communications channel. The growth of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, for example cannot be ignored. This is changing the dynamic in employer branding; for example companies can control less of the way they are perceived and referenced in the market as the 'employer brand' becomes more of an 'employee brand'. Living up to the employer brand 'promise' is therefore critical.

Resumes and interviews form the bedrock of a successful hire, but many companies supplement the standard question-and-answer format with creative techniques that allow potential star employees to shine. Here's how some major conglomerates have reinvented the interview process as well as getting their workers to think further or out-of-the-box and maybe our Keppel should start to re-think its current process and modify to fit the new trend in identifying those "hidden" talents with reinforcement its present human resource  pool and enhancing the management's thinking in the overall business environment to better compete with the global offshore players.

At its offices all over the world, Google holds events designed to help the company connect with local talent. One, targeted at math and computer specialists, is called a Code Jam. They invite a bunch of people to participate in a three- to four-hour coding competition. They sit in a big room together, so you can see how people approach questions. The top 100 finishers are invited back to apply for a job. In India, Google sponsored an essay contest that attracted applicants from around the country. In addition to connections with creative thinkers, the gesture generated plenty of positive publicity. They try to come up with interesting environments where people can be their best, not the old outdated job fair where it seems to be wearing off with ideas.

Starbucks Coffee: 
At Starbucks Coffee's headquarters in Seattle, candidates don't have to worry about being sufficiently caffeinated, but it helps to have a coffee palate. They often conduct brief coffee tastings for global strategic sourcing. It allows candidates to experience a bit of Starbucks culture, emphasizes our core product, and provides a break for candidates between interviews.  Of course not every company sells coffee, but the point is to put the candidate in direct contact with the brand or product to gauge their levels of familiarity and comfort.

Southwest Airlines: 

If you're flying Southwest Airlines to interview at the company's Dallas headquarters, be sure to turn on the charm as soon as you enter the airport. Although it's not official company policy, flight attendants and other Southwest employees often submit comments about job candidates to those in charge of making the hire. A unique mix of southern hospitality and northern wisecracking is the hallmark of Southwest's corporate culture, particularly among those who serve the public. If you don't have it, other Southwest workers are likely notice.  If one of their employees is impressed, or not so impressed, after talking with a candidate on a flight, they let their management know, they give feedback proactively and it is management's job to ensure these feedback are taking in seriously.

Microsoft sometimes invites candidates to ponder the future as a way to look for people who understand the strategic challenges the company faces.  One of their online media businesses asked candidates what they thought the future of online music looked like, and how teens would be using the Net ten years from now. Other questions include asking candidates to name companies that they consider best at customer experience, and what Microsoft could learn from them. This kind of initiatives are important in getting its staff to think further and start to look at what next to do. Status-quo is not in their dictionary and improving the thinking process is the day-to-day event. Every company or organization should get their staff to do that just like IQC process.

What some of chiefs say in running today's business with human talent and foresight in enhancing human resources as part of important agenda in the company day-to-day operation :

Michael Zink,
Country Head & Citi Country Officer,

Globalisation, accelerated growth and rising aspirations have changed the face of the business world, and along with it, increased the reliance and focus on talent as a key resource. Furthermore, with unprecedented challenges such as the recent financial crisis, managing and developing human capital and in particular, leadership development, have become even more critical as companies continuously seek talented individuals capable of leading organisations in increasingly complex, borderless and fast-paced digital world.
The ability to attract, retain and develop top talent today will determine the future growth and progress of any organisation. As the world recovers from the economic downturn, there is a crucial need for an organisation to not only have nimble, highly adaptable talent, but also the right leadership development and talent management programmes to continuously engage them.

At Citi, our people are our most important resource and our key competitive advantage. We believe that hiring the right talent goes beyond looking at current capabilities, experiences and skills sets; it is even more important to have the right attitudes, aptitudes and passion. We focus on the potential of a person, bringing out the best in them by providing a stimulating and empowering environment that encourages the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, and challenges them to reach even higher goals. Our philosophy of nurturing leaders from within our talent pools is complemented by our mandate of helping our people build a career of a lifetime with Citi.

Seah Kian Peng
CEO Singapore
NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Ltd
The evolution of the digital age will continue to shape consumer behaviour and communication. Leaders have no choice - they must embrace these new technology and open their minds to stay ahead. The ability to innovate and seize opportunities in new technology will be key to driving productivity, especially in the retail sector. Success is never achieved by oneself so leaders need to harness and maximise the potential of their talents at all levels. For long term sustainability, companies will also need to evolve with their stakeholders while ensuring ethics remain at the core in their business decisions.

John Ng

I believe that 'learning' leaders can facilitate an organisation's growth path. With the right mindset of being open to embracing change and learning new things, a 'learning' leader will not only set himself as a good role model, but will also be better equipped to further coach his staff and motivate higher performance standards to build a culture of excellence in the organisation.

The ability of a leader to engage people's minds and touch their hearts in work that is excellent, socially responsible and meaningful also builds a common identity and pride that can aid in the company's wider business objectives. Hence, I trust that investing in people is critical and which is why at PowerSeraya, we provide staff with opportunities to enhance their leadership and personal competencies. It is only by having people who have the capacity to continuously learn will the company do well, be it in good or challenging times.

Simon Newman
Aviva Ltd
With the last economic downturn, consumers have become increasingly cautious when it comes to financial planning. The financial services sector needs leaders who are nimble and able to steer the organisation to respond quickly to the changing needs of the market place. There is also a need to continue building credibility to deliver the brand promise and regain trust so customers keep coming back, as well as demonstrate investment foresight to ensure financial soundness of the organisation. Internally, leaders need to ensure crystal clear direction and continue to nurture and develop the talent in their business.

Jonathan Asherson
Regional Director
Rolls-Royce Singapore

As an organisation with over a 100 years of history, Rolls-Royce has successfully navigated through many economic cycles to emerge today as a global power systems company with a strong order book, robust performance, and a resilient portfolio is expected to double our revenues in the next decade. All this has been made possible, despite the uneven economic recovery, through a global team of people who have the strategic agility to manage the cycle and anticipate trends, and who are energised by challenges.

In today's economic landscape, change is the only constant and it is therefore critical that businesses have talent that is comfortable with uncertainty, is versatile and adaptable and armed with a keen sense of judgement to undertake quick, sound decisions with a competent calibration of risk. In the face of economic uncertainties, companies will also need leaders with the foresight to envision and create competitive breakthrough strategies and plans, and communicate a compelling and inspiring vision to both internal and external stakeholders.

Tham Sai Choy,
Managing Partner designate,
KPMG in Singapore
Getting ready for the recovery starts during the downturn. You are a natural leader if you understand the fears that people have about the future. People see your decisions as the one thing that makes the difference between their hopes being kept safe and their plans being dashed. A good leader points the way to a brighter future, lifts the mood and gets everyone preparing for the recovery.
Having open communications, building and reinforcing trust, and making enlightened decisions are all important. This is how the strongest teams are built, with people who are ready to ride together through thick and thin. It is no different from the marriage vow, to stay through thick and thin. The sacrifices that staff make, and the trust that they place in their leaders, must of course be repaid when better times come round.

Deborah Ho
Chief Executive Officer
DBS Asset Management Ltd

Leading a business in the current Asian recovery provides an opportunity to put into practice 'lessons learned' from previous cycles:

1. Do the right thing always no matter how lucrative 'shades of grey' may be. Professionalism, or a code of conduct must be ingrained at all levels.
2. Collaboration is key. Alliances and partnerships enable capabilities and access to new markets quickly. Singapore, a global marketplace attracts some of the world's best minds. Actively seek talent.
3. Be responsive to change. Risks and opportunities can come from anywhere.

The right strategy is only part of the equation. Timely execution is critical.

Jeffrey Seah
CEO, Southeast Asia, Chairperson Asia Digital Leadership Team
Starcom MediaVest Group

In this Facebook economy, one way or another, leaders have to be a 'Jack of all trades, Master of 10'. We have to continuously regenerate ourselves to be future-proof, by building on our current strengths and tapping on new and existing opportunities in both dimensions of work and personal lives. Critically, this includes constantly updating held assumptions and beliefs that may have worked for us in the past but may not do so for us now and in the future. We can achieve this by being sensitive and respectful to others' views and cultures, and impart this mindset to the people and organisations we lead.

Annie Koh
Associate Professor of Finance
Dean, Office of Executive & Professional Education
Academic Director, International Trading Institute@SMU

SMU has been the strategic partner to the SHCS the last two years and continues to be a partner for 2010 with the formation of the HCLI ( Human capital and leadership institute) at SMU.
Every business, whether B to C or B to B, is a people business - so having the right people strategies are critical for any business, in challenging or in good times.
As we ride the wave of recovery or growth - the most important characteristic for any leader is to have the courage to make important strategic decisions and the creativity to reinvent an outmoded model, business or service.
This recovery is going to be accompanied by huge swings in uncertainty and visibility. The leader will be presented with different opportunities and cannot do it all. It becomes even more important to make the "right people decisions" and to know how to find the right people to implement the strategy and vision for sustainable growth.
Knowing how to empower and entrust the people you have picked is a critical skill in this climate and the diversity in human capital is required to drive depth in certain areas and breadth in others. This recovery is going to be sporadic and patchy and so you need entrepreneurial talent as you as a leader pace and run with the team in this journey of growing the business in interesting times.

I can't see a better time and urgency than now for Singapore Human Capital Summit to discuss some great people strategies to grow managerial talent and leadership bench strength.

Tan Mui Huat
Regional Managing Director for Asia and President for China
International SOS

International SOS firmly believes that growth is closely tied to globalisation and creating a caring, borderless and values-driven work environment would help fuel growth and productivity.

Leadership qualities that will herald the new wave of growth is 'thinking out of the box' - which is not just about a solid idea but about the passion to go the extra mile to make things happen. It's about the drive to give the vision a shape - through innovative ideas, putting-together a like-minded, values-driven team that is prepared to communicate and engage across borders and embrace new ideas and practices
Further, leaders should seek to protect their most valuable assets - their employees. They cannot afford to take the personal safety of their employees and the integrity of their business operations for granted. Thus, not only should there be incentives for growth and training, but organisations should also look out for their human capital and focus on their duty of care for their employees too, i.e., the health, safety, and security, as an ever increasing number of employees face potential risks as they travel for either international assignments or business travel.

David Ross
Regional Vice President
FedEd Express South Pacific

Great companies take advantage of difficult times to improve their performance and come out stronger on the other side. At FedEx, we improved our performance and strengthened our foundation through a combination of cost savings, innovation and a continued focus on customer satisfaction. We could not have achieved this without the commitment and dedication of our 280,000 employees and contractors in Singapore and globally. Thus, we strongly believe that a focus on human capital will be crucial to ride this next wave of growth. Companies can do this by instilling a culture of integrity and inspiration. Integrity comes from leaders consistently 'walking the talk' in real, tangible ways to assure employees that the company is a team in every sense. Inspiration is the ability to deliver results by empowering others and in doing so unleashing their potential. That is where the real value of teamwork lies, and it is FedEx's single most powerful asset as a company.

Wendy Koh
Vice President for ASEAN
Juniper Networks.
The ability to influence to lead others successfully is a skill and is developed, not discovered. People don't want to be managed, they want to be led. A successful leader requires a considerable degree of self-knowledge and self acceptance. The greater our awareness, the greater our possibilities for choice and freedom.

Authenticity and fearlessness of making bold decisions are also qualities of a successful leader. A successful leader is someone who is confident, passionate and committed towards growth strategies; deliberately communicating growth strategies to employees; influencing and inspiring employees throughout the organisation to focus on business goals and together, delivering positive results.

Leadership also demands that we are motivated by a genuine interest in ourselves and others. Such a perception entails a belief that reason can triumph over fear, and that people are resourceful, competent, capable of self-direction and able to live fulfilling and productive lives. A leader who is motivated and inspired by these beliefs can guide and support individuals to develop their capabilities and stimulate, constructive, lasting change.

Lee Hong-Meng,
Managing Director,
Reliance Globalcom Singapore
As organisations around the world regain their balance after the recent downturn, a new challenge is emerging in finding the ability to successfully sustain an upward momentum both internally and externally. To help drive this, organisations should capitalise on appropriately implemented collaborative technologies which can help create a business where geographical and cultural borders can be removed, thus improving business efficiency. Company leaders and management should embrace and actively endorse these initiatives, whether it is to support greater virtual project team cooperation, social media customer service interaction or increased flexibility for individuals to manage a work life balance. It is important that processes which can produce positive results are established first, followed by identification of the technology to enable it, rather than the other way around.

Eva Au
Managing Director
IDC Asia/Pacific

1. The ability to take risks: we face the future with cautious optimism. the business climate today is very different from the recessionary period and is also different from the pre recessionary period. to succeed, one cannot wait too long to see how the dust will settle; instead one must decide how to adapt the business models and be prepared to make tough decisions.

2. Be a "people person": the business environment is changing, but not everyone is adapting at the same pace or in the same direction. if one wants to lead the organisation to the new future, one must know how to read the minds of the stakeholders, proactively address their fears and objections and give them courage to move to the uncertain path. Showing charts and graphs can only go so far. As more of the Gen Y populate the organisation, the more one has to engage with its people.

David Hope
GM & Regional Managing Director
Lawson Software, Asia Pacific & Japan
In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, Asia has become central to the growth of the global economy. This has led to both opportunities and challenges, i.e., opportunity in terms of us being in the middle of the global growth engine and challenges in terms of the emerging and oft changing leadership requirements in the Asian landscape. Within Lawson, our focus over the last two years has moved towards identifying, developing and nurturing future leaders within the organisation. We are placing higher emphasis on leadership achievements of the individuals, recognising their individual talents and we strive to push for a higher differentiation of talent within our organisation. This means we are able to identify the potential leadership talent early and nurture them for the future. One of the key learnings for all of us has been that, as people managers we all need to be great leaders of leadership talent if we are to face the future with success.

Roy Magee
Regional Vice-President
To ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the recent past, leaders need to devote sufficient time to reflect on how they contribute to the decisions that are made within their organisations. AchieveGlobal's most recent research has pin-pointed six 'zones' in which global leaders can develop their performance: Reflection, Society, Diversity, Ingenuity, People, and Business. While each of these six zones contains practices critical to our success, many of our current problems stem from an excessive (though understandable) recent focus on the Business zone, perhaps to the detriment of the other zones. The reality is that effective leaders can only succeed in the Business zone over the longer term by giving due attention to the other five zones. Perhaps most critical of these is Reflection, where leaders honestly assess their motives, beliefs, attitudes, and actions - to ask themselves 'How can I make sure my limitations don't lead me to make poor decisions?'. Reflection allows us to treat failure as a chance to learn and grow.

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