How can CEOs in Asia Unleash the Right Talent Outcomes?

CEOs feel that talent supply is the most critical business challenge for their organisations. What steps must they take to unleash the talent outcomes they need?

How Can CEOs in Asia Unleash the Right Talent Outcomes?

24 Jul 2015 by  Gitansh Malik

Is your organisation future-ready from a talent standpoint? The blunt answer for most organisations in Asia is “Certainly not”. The war for talent has shown no sign of abating even in sectors experiencing modest growth. The CEOs today, based on our recent research, feel talent supply is the most critical “business” challenge for their organisations.

The implications of talent management strategy on business performance are profound. In 2014-15, as part of the Aon Hewitt’s Best Employers programme, we interviewed over 400 CEOs in Asia to understand key talent-related issues that are posing a risk to their organisations’ ability to succeed and how they intend to mitigate them.

A deep dive of our analysis reveals Rising Salaries (64%), Critical Skills Shortage (59%), and Inadequate Leadership Pipeline (58%) as the top concerns of CEOs in Asia. Interestingly, most of these implications can be effectively mitigated if managed proactively through innovative practices. On the brighter side, if addressed adequately, these challenges can be converted into an ultimate strength-something that will be difficult to replicate by the competition quickly.

Best Employers word cloud infographic
(Figure 1: Word cloud of inputs from over 400 CEOs on how HR supports business strategy)

One of the most crucial enablers in addressing such challenges is the CEOs’ involvement in talent review. Our research suggests that CEOs at Best Employer organisations manage their talent nearly as rigorously as their balance sheets. Therefore it comes as no surprise that through talent advantage, Best Employers have achieved stronger top-line growth and higher bottom line savings.

Best Employers data
(Source: Aon Hewitt Best Employers Asia 2015 Programme)

To adopt a new talent strategy, organisations have to accept the realities of a dynamic market place. In an era of complex and uncertain business environment, employers have to grow from a model of “shopping” for talent when needed to having processes to build and retain existing talent. To make this happen, examining the best and most innovative talent management practices of Best Employers provides key learnings for business leaders today.

Make Your Talent More Employable: The more employable you make your employees, the longer they shall stay with your firm. The Best Employers realise this paradox and leverage it to their advantage. As a case in point, a CEO from a Best Employers organisation took upon himself the task to explain concepts such as personal brand, executive presence and growth mindset to his employees. Similarly, multiple organisations are setting up training programmes for their employees on “how to build your digital brand”.

“Figure out” New Frontiers for Your Employees: Only 1 in 2 employees in Asia feel career opportunities available in their organisations look good. While this is obviously a huge concern for an organisation, it is also a great opportunity to engage and retain your talent. The CEOs at Best Employers are working with their human resources functions to provide visible career opportunities to their employees, particularly high-performing talent, and thereby reinforcing the company’s performance-driven culture.

Showcase Your Credibility As an Employer: Employers are facing a clear lack of credibility amongst their employees today. Only 55% employees surveyed feel their organisation delivers on the brand promise it makes to them. And only 60% feel that results of an employee survey will be taken seriously and acted upon by the management. The Best Employers, led by their CEOs, make conscious efforts to reinforce their credibility as employers. A key differentiator here is in effective communication i.e. sharing by CEO on how actions on the ground are aligned to organisation strategy and promises made to employees. As an outcome, 30% more employees at Best Employers clearly identify what makes working for their organisations different or more valuable than other organisations in their industry.

Focus on Millennials: Organisations who paint Millennials with the same brush as anyone else are likely to suffer. The Best Employers customise their talent programmes for Gen Y and Gen Z. The customisation here need not necessarily be in programme design but in how to make it work for Millennials. To drive high performance through recognition, a Best Employer organisation has come up with its own version of Facebook. This provides a platform for colleagues to recognise one another using social media enabling quick gratification and group recognition.

Despite the paradoxical realities of the region – high growth and pressures of increasing competition- talent remains a panacea for sustainable growth. Organisations know that winning the race of talent is hard work. The learnings outlined above should provide food for thought on what lies ahead to define  their own talent agendas. CEOs in Asia have their work cut out for them.

Start a conversation with us

If you need help in aligning your talent strategy with your business strategy or want to participate in Aon Hewitt's Best Employers Programme, get in touch with us today.

Gitansh Malik

Gitansh is Regional Manager, Best Employers Asia with Aon Hewitt. He is based in Singapore and has extensive experience in corporate strategy, talent management, leadership assessment and development and organisational design.

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