How Can Data Help Companies Towards Thailand 4.0?

Despite the Thai government’s best efforts towards Thailand 4.0, major obstacles still stand in the way—especially when it comes to capabilities of the workforce. How can data make a difference to employers looking to prepare for the future?

How Can Data Help Companies Towards Thailand 4.0?

7 Jul 2017 by  Panuwat Benrohman

Despite the government’s best efforts, Thailand is at least a decade away from achieving Thailand 4.0, a new economic model designed to pull the country out of the middle-income trap. Major obstacles still stand in the way, and the most pronounced of these is education reform so as to develop a new-generation workforce with specialist skills for high-tech industries.

As a result, companies that don’t have the capabilities to handle the advancements in technology to take their businesses forward have to seek foreign expertise. However, many Thai companies are keen to reserve high-level careers for Thai locals so as to truly achieve Thailand 4.0.

So, how can employers strike a balance?

Agility is the key for business leaders, especially in this new world of business. According to the World Economic Forum, while “there is likely to be an increased demand for talent in advanced skill job families such as mathematics, engineering, and other strategic and specialist roles, it is also likely that technology will cause a decrease in jobs that can be replaced by the use of complex analytic software.” The International Labor Organization adds that “there will be an increase in demand for individuals capable of developing, designing, building, maintaining, and repairing a new generation of robots and smart machines as well as able to manage digital and social media business. It will also generate jobs in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure to support the demands of higher tech industry. A large number of new occupations will be born of this revolution, such as big data architects and analysts, cloud services specialists, software developers, and digital marketing professionals. In Thailand, experts who understand the aspects of both manufacturing and advanced technology—and can drive forward a synthesis of the two—will be in high demand.”

How can data help?

In 2020, the amount of data produced globally will be 10 times greater than that in 2014. But all this data is irrelevant if not utilised to their maximum potential. Here are some ways your organisation can use data in your efforts to achieve Thailand 4.0:

  • Predict talent needs—More than taking full stock of the capabilities you already have, data empowers you to determine future jobs in your organisation and the capabilities you’ll need—including the in-demand high-tech ones. By doing this, you can also decide whether these capabilities can be developed within your current crop of employees or must be hired from the outside and set your strategy to seeking them out.

  • Analyse what makes employees successful in their roles—By understanding the factors that contribute to an employee’s success in the organisation, you can play to their strengths and optimise performance and select candidates more effectively.

  • Project employee career trajectories—Data enables you to predict how long employees are likely to stay, and their potential to take on leadership positions in the future. Focusing on committed employees and having a strong succession plan involving them will also create positive impact on business performance, especially in the high-tech industry where attrition rates are high.

  • Assess attrition risk—As your organisation identifies employees who at risk of leaving, it helps shift your people practices in ways that will address the loss of these employees without creating significant impact on business outcomes. For instance, you can provide other employees with the necessary training well ahead of time so that they can be ready to fill the gap when it arises.

  • Understand the perks that work—New-generation employees expect a consumer-grade experience from their workplace. According to Yazad Dalal, Head of HCM, Oracle APAC, “Creating that experience means changing a few of your normal practices and your office atmosphere. For example, improving the work environment with personalisation, or what your employees actually want.” Data helps employers to deliver benefits, career development opportunities, and an overall employee experience that enhances innovation, collaboration, and productivity.

While Thailand 4.0 is still a long way away for most employers, every small step taken today will get Thai companies on the right track. And the only way to stay on that track is to optimise the use of data to make decisions that meet the organisation’s business objectives as well as the country’s economic ones.

Panuwat Benrohman

Panuwat leads the Aon Hewitt business in Thailand, and has over 17 years’ experience in the consulting industry. His areas of expertise include Employee Engagement, Executive Compensation, Leadership and Organisational Development across various industries. He is an accredited user of leadership assessment (Life Style Inventory and Leadership Impact) from Human Synergistic, and Barrett Value Center’s culture assessment.

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Panuwat Benrohman
Panuwat Benrohman
Bangkok, Thailand
Boon Chong Na