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Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon



This is the full version of "Enter the Dragon", a whitepaper by Anthony Raja Devadoss, which is exploring the new talent challenges for asian economies....

This is the full version of "Enter the Dragon", a whitepaper by Anthony Raja Devadoss, which is exploring the new talent challenges for asian economies.

This paper will give you a deeper insight in how to:
• Finding and securing talent in a tight employment market
• Retaining and managing existing resources to best effect
• Building the kind of corporate culture that overcomes challenges in the APAC region
• Obtaining the right talent to shift from a cost focus to a quality focus
• Managing rising costs



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    Enter the Dragon Enter the Dragon Presentation Transcript

    • enTer TheDragon:The TalenT challengesfor asia-Pacific in 2012anThony raja DevaDoss
    • 2 | enTer The DragoninTroDucTionThe world’s economic woes are not shared equally. In fact, signs of a slowdownmay be just what some Asian economies need right now.As full-tilt growth subsides, governments can shift their focus to domesticmatters, including containing inflation—central banks in India, Korea, Taiwan andThailand raised rates in June 2011—and removing barriers to future growth.From this relatively comfortable economic vantage point, Asian businesses canbegin to consider how they will tackle the barriers to future growth in 2012 andbeyond, including:• Finding and securing talent in a tight employment market• Retaining and managing existing resources to best effect• Building the kind of corporate culture that overcomes challenges in the region• Obtaining the right talent to shift from a cost focus to a quality focus • Managing rising costs In this three-part series, we walk you through these focus areas and provideinsights about how they might be managed effectively.conTenTs3 avoiDing The PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeT10 global culTure, local minDseT: insighTs for reTenTion19 making The shifT: qualiTy anD service in The new economy
    • 3 | enTer The Dragon | avoiDing PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeTavoiDingThe PiTfallsof a TighTTalenTmarkeTasia has not become an economicjuggernaut by accident—the volume ofgoods produced and the speed withwhich they’re delivered is quite unlikeanywhere else in the world. maintainingthis now requires a fresh approach,particularly when it comes to the region’smost valuable natural resource: people.anThony raja DevaDoss
    • 4 | enTer The Dragon | avoiDing PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeTyes, iT’s hoT in here. As business shifts its focus evermore to Asia, the competition for skilled talent is increasing. Employersreport they are having the most difficulty finding the right people to filljobs in Japan (80%), India (67%), Australia (54%) and Taiwan (54%)employment is high across the region: standards, increasing pressure on HR teams emerging faster For employers in the region, the competition to acquire, retain and develop scarce talent. The growth trend in emerging nations is for talent is strong and is likely to remain so • The unemployment rate in singapore was worldwide, not just in Asia. In fact, by 2018, for the foreseeable future, and local success 2.1% in June 2011 Perhaps one of the greatest contributors it’s predicted that emerging economies will stories will increasingly become major talent • south korea’s jobless rate was just 3.3% over the medium term to further decreases overtake developed nations to generate competitors for large, global organizations. in June 2011 in unemployment in the region is the flow- more than 50% of the world’s GDP. While on effect of investment in China. Chinese this trend has been building for some time, • Thailand has the second-lowest wages are rising at around 17% per year the rate at which the change is occurring is unemployment rate in the world at and this now means that some of the about to pick up considerable pace. Not only just 0.5% benefits of outsourcing to China are are we seeing a shift in consumption, trade, • indonesia’s unemployment rate is among diminishing. For China’s neighboring population and output away from developed the highest in the region at 6.8% in economies, there is a significant upside nations, we are seeing the shift accelerate— February 2001, but much of the workforce to this trend. Some of the jobs that would and this means that businesses in both is unskilled have been based in China are now flowing developed and emerging economies into countries like Vietnam, Thailand and have less time to prepare for the shift in Economic slowdown or not, the job market Indonesia and intra-regional outsourcing is talent requirements. in Asia is likely to remain enviable by world becoming increasingly attractive.
    • 5 | enTer The Dragon | avoiDing PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeTlocal versus global. Already, almost one-quarter of theFortune Global 500 firms come from emerging markets; in 1995 it was justfour per cent. As the economic locus of the world changes, so too does theway in which potential employees weigh up career options, and the large,foreign company will no longer be the lone font of opportunity in the region.Smaller organizations typically provide faster resourcing alliances and partnerships to career progression (provided they continue to deliver the same benefits.grow) and they have the advantage of insider knowledge and relationships so they can tap Local firms and new entrants to the into talent through informal networks. This labor market will be increasingly strong head-start that local businesses have over competition for global companies looking for others is going to be a growing problem for growth. To grow, you need talent, but you non-local organizations looking to increase need talent that wants to work for you above headcount in the region. It is also well-known anyone else. Without the right connections that recruiting through informal networks and networks this is always a challenge. In often delivers better retention outcomes, so a region with cultural values rooted firmly companies will either need to build these in community and family values, it’s an even networks (fast), or look for strategic human tougher ask.
    • 6 | enTer The Dragon | avoiDing PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeTTake your TemPeraTure. As markets continueto seesaw and analysts pore over mountains of economic datafor any sign of slowdown they can find, it’s hardly surprising thatbusiness should catch at least a mild case of the jitters.It is tempting, even for firms that are doing skilled and valuable people than consequences that might result from talent lead to a loss of business value that is difficult well through the uncertainty, to put growth during uncertainty, and possibly even departure, such as: (or impossible) to regain.plans on ice, to maintain margins and reduce during downturn. This is when businesses debt at the expense of expansion. Typically, should focus their efforts of what’s • loss of key clients/disrupted relationships When everyone else starts running at full when executives start talking about ‘building fundamentally right in their strategy and pace again, it will be harder to make up • loss of key business knowledge and skills ground that you’ve lost, particularly in a labor reserves’, ‘consolidating’ and ‘reviewing’ what’s working well. strategy, HR managers can find themselves market that looks as difficult to negotiate as • job dissatisfaction if workloads reaching for the retrenchment policy. Resisting the urge to follow when the herd Asia’s. So, even if financial pressures do begin increase for remaining employees seems to be heading in the opposite direction to bite, companies should look to alternative, Cost-cutting, first and foremost, has is tough, and this is usually when jobs are • loss of knowledge and flexible staffing solutions instead of just employee numbers in its sights, and this is shed in panic—where good people are let go business expertise reducing their workforce in one blunt move.where companies in strong and growing along with underperformers. The best 20% markets throughout Asia could find of employees are able to raise operational • Broader reputational damagethemselves falling into what could become an productivity, profit and sales revenue—these The difference between cost and value can irreversible talent trap. are the people you want to retain. be critical when it comes to employees. What losing what you can’t get back In any economic climate, but particularly an employee is ‘worth’ can be difficult to At no point in the business or economic cycle during this period of consolidation quantify, but it’s rarely just equivalent to their is it more prudent to hold on to your most rather than growth in Asia, consider the salary, and cost savings from terminations can
    • 7 | enTer The Dragon | avoiDing PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeTfirsT, have a TalenT ‘check uP’. If we take the“glass half full” approach for a moment and assume that any slowdownthat does occur across Asia might just provide a chance to regroupand retool, now is the time businesses should be focusing on thestrength of their talent assessment and management strategies.These strategies include: performance planning process, but two other Talent identification Every organization has talent gaps, it’s what 1. Documenting the core competencies of elements are often overlooked: There is of course the job, and then there’s they do about them that counts. Short-term every position in the organization the individual in it. Even if you have a great gains need to be weighed up against longer- • what new skills have each individual job description and you know what makes term consequences. Simply asking workers 2. understanding how those core developed and that may not be being that role a success, how visible are talented to do more with less will impact on quality, competencies relate to executing the used in their current roles, particularly as individuals on the organizational radar? customer service and staff turnover, and in a company strategy new training and education is completed? highly competitive market, someone else will Relying on individual managers to recognize be waiting to capitalize on job satisfaction 3. identifying and managing the talent • what new talents and skills does and manage talented employees without you have issues like these. each role need in order to deliver on a guiding strategy and oversight can 4. figuring out where the gaps are future growth? be fraught. Not only do managers have preferences for certain ways of working, Updating and reviewing job descriptions If performance planning and goal setting their own workload and interactions can limit can seem like a low-value task, that is, does not take into account the new skills that how they see individuals perform. Talent until you need to figure out where your may have been developed but are not being recognition and management must be able talent gaps are. utilized, or the new skills a role requires that to identify not only who’s doing a great job the existing occupant doesn’t have, career now, but who has potential for the future.Many organizations say that they review planning and talent management across job descriptions annually as part of the the entire organization will fall short of strategic goals.
    • 8 | enTer The Dragon | avoiDing PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeTfocus now on recovery. Focusing on future constraintscan be especially important during a period of slower economic activity—it can provide one of the few opportunities to reflect and plan ahead.Although overall levels of recruitment may Focusing now on what a business or even Consider other ways talented people that level-out or even fall during this period of an entire industry may look like in two or come onto the market can be engaged. Are lower confidence, the quality of talent could even five years’ time will help organizations temporary or contract projects possible? rise if the pool of displaced talent increases. evaluate how candidates might impact Building relationships with the talent you Somebody, somewhere will have a job for the organization in the mid-term and desire can at least open up a relationship for a talented person, even when times are long-term. And of course, this means the future.less than perfect. That’s why it’s particularly being able to identify today’s talent as prudent to assess all new hires in terms well as tomorrow’s throughout the of current and future need. When natural recruitment process. attrition does occur and a role becomes vacant, now is the time to look long and Now is not the time to shelve big ideas hard at what that role should look like for or to focus purely on the present—even if tomorrow, not just what it looks like today. circumstances mean investment is limited, Simply replacing ‘like’ with ‘like’ doesn’t make thinking about the future, planning for it the most of the opportunity that hiring in a and implementing the small changes slower market can provide. and ideas when possible are critical to staying competitive.
    • 9 | enTer The Dragon | avoiDing PiTfalls of a TighT TalenT markeTraPiD, ongoing growTh is what we all thinkwe want, but it certainly creates pressures all of its own.For businesses in Asia, utilizing any Competition for talent is strong and is likely slowdown to look at the bigger picture of the to remain so for the foreseeable future. Being organization is perhaps the best way to make more disciplined than ever about talent use of this uncertainty. management and recruitment, and looking to alternative and innovative approaches to Understanding how each role in the continually develop networks, relationships organization contributes to strategy, where and opportunities for the future will be key the gaps are and who might be the leaders across the region. of the future are key pieces of the Human Resources puzzle to work out before pace picks up again.
    • 10 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTglobalculTure,local minDseTstaff retention in the asia-Pacific region is atan all-time low. Turnover is perhaps the biggestobstacle for future growth for many businesses,but there are ways to stem the tide.anThony raja DevaDoss
    • 11 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTThe imPacT of high growTh on workforce sTraTegy.Operating in a market with high growth and scarce talent, such as Asia, brings with it significant challenges for HR. Many businesses operating in the Asian region are recognizing that their expansion strategies will need refining, and that workforce development is critical to their sustainability.• employment rates across asia remain These twin demands of high growth and exceptionally high and most markets are extreme competition for talent demands operating at, or near, full employment. new approaches to resourcing that do not apply in other developed markets. This is • china is now operating at close to why retention of staff in companies across the peak capacity, and its entire cost base— Asian region continues to be a key strategic property, wages and commodities— issue. is rising. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to • The talent required to take businesses retaining staff don’t necessarily work here, to the next level is scarce and turnover and global organizations with their lessons is exceptionally high (often in excess learned elsewhere are finding this out the of 40%). hard way.
    • 12 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTTraDiTional aPProaches To reTenTioncan increase Turnover. Take any organizationin the world on any day of the week and estimates are that mostof its workforce (up to 76%) is seeking alternative employmentopportunities. However, employers in the Asian region havetwo unique factors to add to this retention challenge.The first issue is a plain and simple head-hunting of staff can be a matter of For a region with a strong recent history Hiring in temporary expertise to manage the consequence of ever-increasing opportunity survival. And promoting staff with relatively of countries outsourcing to it, and the transition of less experienced workers, and and investment. For employees, expansion little experience and training can be the perception of a plentiful population of expanding HR oversight, can avoid the drag and investment brings opportunity. With only option when other candidates are available workers, it is hard to imagine we’ve on productivity and growth that these unique opportunity comes knowledge and unavailable. already come to the time where external factors in the region have created.experience. With more knowledge and resources in Asia might be needed. But experience comes more opportunity—right Of course, this has serious consequences hiring in temporary expertise to stem these when employers need their staff the most, for businesses looking to grow and adapt issues can be the fastest, most efficient and employees are gaining greater options and to ongoing change, not least of all the cost-effective way to manage workforce incentives to leave. competency and number of resources constraints. Outsourcing within Asia is now available to manage such transitions. well-established, and as the cost advantages In Asia, the opportunity curve has been in some markets reduce with rising costs, a exponential and this creates pressure, Swift career development is often seen as the region-wide approach to labor is needed to both from within and from competitors, answer to retaining good people, but it isn’t solve at least some of these issues. for organizations to promote and put staff always possible. When you can’t afford to in positions with greater responsibility, let an employee walk, yet you can’t promote faster. The boom is such that poaching and them internally for lack of experience, more innovative solutions are needed.
    • 13 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTTraining anD Turnover. There is another reasonturnover is high in the region, which is perhaps more counter-intuitive. Again, organizations will need to employ innovate solutionsto combat it if they plan on stemming the tide of turnover.For most organizations looking to increase In markets with steadily increasing Think global, act localretention and loyalty from existing opportunity and high competition for scarce It’s true that globalization and local traditions employees, a range of methods and talent, such as Asia-Pacific, strategic human don’t always fit neatly together. There are incentives are often used, including career resourcing discipline is critical. Managing the tensions that come with change, particularly development and training opportunities. attainment and use of new skills and showing in this context of global companies with appropriate reward to help employees western roots taking up residence in rapidly In a tight employment market where full grow and develop at the pace they expect developing economies with different and employment (above 95%) is commonplace, is the only way to stop competitors getting diverse values. In Asia, successful organizations training and career development can actually the benefit of training and education that are looking to retain the best people increase turnover, particularly among low- investments. will need to understand the context they’re skilled workers. It is not the up-skilling in itself operating, gain insight about how their that’s the issue, it’s the career progression Understanding how the issues of increased employees think and feel about working there, that must follow. If appropriate reward isn’t opportunity and training is contributing to and use specific strategies that reflect these forthcoming once the new skills are acquired, high turnover in the region is the first step, local insights. In short, successful organizations employees will start to look elsewhere, and and putting in place those mechanisms to will need to ensure they have an inclusive, very quickly. combat them will go some of the way to global culture that is flexible enough to reflect maintaining competitive advantage, but there a local mindset. Relying purely on a reputation are also other insights and tools employers built elsewhere is not going to work. can use to stem the tide of turnover.
    • 14 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTcaPTure The mooD. Across Asia, and particularlyin China, growth has been rapid and social change has beenvast. The sense of excitement and nation-building that’s occurring in many countries in the region is palpable.The economic shift from west to east has • what is the company’s purpose in doing immense local impacts for the way whole business here?nations see themselves and companies must consider how they fit into this picture and • what specific role does company Xmake this part of their ongoing proposition to have to play that no one else can play in employees. the region?Rather than just ‘doing business’ in Asia, • what will be the effects of this purpose companies will increasingly need to sell their on the broader community? company purpose to employees—not just • how will company X contributewhy they’re doing business in the region, positively to the process of development?but how they’re doing it. If businesses don’t satisfactorily answer questions like these, • why should employees feel proud to be retention will likely remain an ongoing issue: involved in this? Why, as much as how, business is done in the region is relevant to staff retention.
    • 15 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTConneCting Company purpose withCommunity benefit. Much is made of the differencesbetween western and eastern culture, not least of all the greater importthat eastern cultures place on community, family and the greater good.There are examples on both sides to the Being part of change for the better is a key Perhaps one of the most inspiring examples Creating a vision that’s relevant to the contrary, as no culture is homogenous, but motivator and loyalty-building hook for of this is Narayana Hrudayalaya health city in region is something many companies will the less individualistic tendencies of eastern workers in the Asian region, particularly in still India, which has built scale and specialization not be accustomed to. Visions that center culture are a source of significant competitive developing economies such as China. In fact, into medicine to dramatically reduce costs. around “being the world leader in…” need advantage if companies understand how to a recent Kelly survey found that a full 61% to seriously consider their local relevance. operate within that context. of employees across China said they would “We decided, given the shortage of surgeons Turning company vision into a retention tool take a less or lower paid role if they felt it in India, to hire expat Indians from overseas. is possible here, but for many organizations, This is not to say that the secret to retaining contributed to something more important To attract them we sold a vision. Come back it will need some tweaking to get there.people in Asia is to present a ‘soft’ culture or meaningful to the organization. This is and be part of building a new India. ... Work with no specific focus on the individual— compared with just 27.5% in Russia, 33.5% in for us and you’ll be able to help and cure so workers everywhere do have individual South Africa and 47.9% across all countries many more people in a week than you can goals and needs. However, it is to say that surveyed. There are differences across Asia in Europe or America. And because of the something big is happening in the region and too (people feel far less ‘stirred’ by the vision doctors come back to India – to work almost everyone feels it. It’s an historic time nation-building cause in Asian countries that far longer hours and for much less money and retention does require companies to are already developed, such as Singapore) than they did before.... We were brave communicate and deliver a kind of inclusivity but change is happening all over the region, enough to think bigger than anyone else in the nation-building wave. and generally, they want to understand and and passionate enough to get others to see their contribution to it. back our vision.”
    • 16 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTDouble haPPiness. Retention strategies must do two things simultaneously to be successful: keep people working for an organizationfor longer, and make the most of the people that are retained.If we already know that company culture we’ve already seen how this needs to be retention. A 2011 Kelly survey reveals that live and deliver upon the core values of the and country culture need to work together conceived of and communicated in light more employees here than anywhere else organization, to demonstrate a responsibility to form a cohesive, local story and value of social change, community and in the world are likely to cite ‘management to them, their community and society at proposition to employees, what of how development. A clear purpose might get issues’ as the main reason they are looking large. For managers who are used to focusing employees feel about the work they’re people in the door and it might get them elsewhere for work, which could indicate only on the bottom line, this will require a actually doing? excited about making a contribution, but two things: significant cultural change. much more needs to follow.People who are happy at work put in far • employees here are more sensitive to Being open, and concentrating on more effort, work longer hours, and are ‘Happiness’ is also dependent upon feedback management relationships harmonious interactions is far more important more productive than those who aren’t. and recognition, and this fundamentally not just to the business of turning a profit, They are also more likely to stay with you comes down to the way people are • managers here are grappling more with but also to retaining staff. longer and be more receptive to change. managed. Research and surveys into the demands of high growthSo, what elements of work contribute to what makes people satisfied in their jobs Research shows that employees in this part happiness and is there a specific story to consistently turns up the same answer: good of the world are also looking for a different tell about what makes employees in the relationships with managers. kind of relationship with their managers. They Asia-Pacific region ‘happy’? For businesses operating in the Asia- want and expect an openness, honesty and One element of employee happiness, and Pacific region, there does seem to be a authenticity that isn’t as critical elsewhere. therefore retention, is purpose. In Asia, specific element to management-related Above all, they want and need managers who
    • 17 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTThe imPorTance of fleXibiliTy.With typically fewer annual leave entitlements and a longerworking week than many western nations, Asia has notbeen the preserve of workplace flexibility in the past. The process of development has meant balance work with other interests that the only way to get ahead has been to and commitments. get plenty of education and work harder than everyone else, and even in current And many countries in the region are generations who have it significantly easier discovering the benefits of this approach. than their parents did, these attitudes have Despite South Korea’s history of very long lingered on. Now, the need to attract and working hours, Samsung Tesco has tapped retain workers is seeing flexibility become into younger generations’ desire to have part of the workplace culture. better work-life balance and have developed a number of initiatives to help people work According to the World at Work report, just more efficiently, such as flexible working. In 7% of organizations quantify the return on unstable times, looking at flexible working investment from flexibility programs. Despite options and contingent workers, instead of how few organizations measure their worth, workforce reduction or reduced benefits, the anecdotal evidence is strong—people can be a more strategic alternative to want and need more flexibility, and younger manage workforce costs.generations particularly expect this to
    • 18 | enTer The Dragon | global culTure, local minDseTmainTaining conTinueD high growThfaces several significant people challenges in Asia.• increasing opportunity has led to high Even here, with these challenges, there are turnover; job-hopping and poaching from approaches that are working to attract and other employers are significant issues retain the right people. Flexibility, a strong, locally relevant culture and purpose, as well • some traditional approaches to as the right kind of leadership for the times is retention don’t work—up-skilling and more critical here than elsewhere. training can actually contribute to turnover Retention is, and will likely continue to be, a major issue for businesses across the region. • finding the right talent to manage the Gaining key insights into which elements scale of businesses and expansion plans of business culture and workplace practice amid high growth is getting harder actually contributes to retention will likely be the difference between thriving or just • employee expectations are changing, surviving in this highly competitive talent particularly among younger generations market.
    • 19 | enTer The Dragon | making The shifT: qualiTy anD service in The new economymakingThe shifT:qualiTy anDservice in Thenew economycheap goods fast: that was the basis of theasian manufacturing revolution. but the shapeof the economy is fast evolving. making themove towards better service and higher qualityrequires a new type of ‘harmonious’ thinking, anda different approach to workforce strategy.anThony raja DevaDoss
    • 20 | enTer The Dragon | making The shifT: qualiTy anD service in The new economya Diversifying economy. Nobody ispredicting the end the manufacturing boom in Asia, yet.The amount and speed of production is The list of impressive data for China goes That said, there are changes happening going to take an awful lot for any other region on, and on. And clearly, the flow-on across the Asia-Pacific economy. A growing to beat, and the underlying mechanisms effects across the region are significant, as shift towards quality goods and services is of the manufacturing industry are unlikely Australia’s robust economy and the growing creating new opportunities. However, with to change to quickly, as evidenced by manufacturing industries of Vietnam and these come some different challenges for some jaw-dropping facts such as: Indonesia can testify. business in the region.• china will soon manufacture more steel For any other country in the world, the than the entire world combined manufacturing statistics for China are just simply inconceivable. While China’s • chinese exports hit $us162 billion in government would be happy to see some june and $US874 billion in the first half of lower export figures in favor of a greater the year, both up nearly 20% year-on-year focus on the domestic economy, even those analysts that are predicting a downward trend • in 2010, china made 64% of all toys, in Chinese dominance in the manufacturing and $US4 out of every $US10 worth of sector know that significant change will likely knit apparel exported in the world take a generation or more—nothing drastic is going to happen quickly.
    • 21 | enTer The Dragon | making The shifT: qualiTy anD service in The new economyis The cosT aDvanTage eroDing? Wages across manyAsian countries are still low by the standards of developed nations. Therefore,the idea of quality (and expensive) goods in these economies has been poorly understood—few people domestically could afford to buy them.Much of the manufacturing boom has been is increasingly moving to Bangladesh and around one-trillion dollars) come from small-built on the promise of low-cost, disposable, Indonesia, as well as other developing to-medium-sized businesses. Their focus is on short-term goods. However, as wages begin countries outside of Asia. quality and speed of delivery. They use the to rise, some of the advantage of outsourcing best technology and pay their workers well to jobs and processes to these developing Low-cost production can only be maintained deliver the leanest possible production line. markets is beginning to be questioned. In while wages and skill-bases are low. As fact, Chinese companies are already moving greater opportunity has entered the region, In almost every Asian market, competition is jobs within the country to access lower wages this wave of increasing costs is spreading, increasing, fuelled by both local and foreign in new provinces. China’s biggest corporate and ultimately new competitive advantages businesses. Skills shortages are a constraint exporter, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, need to be created. Increasingly, this is taking on most firms in the region, and are one of employs about a million workers in China the shape of producing higher-value goods the major drivers of higher costs. Jobs can to make Apple iPads, Hewlett-Packard that rely on productivity and technology continually move to lower-cost countries, computers and Samsung Electronics panels, rather than simply on cheap labor. and for some industries and positions this and is opening up new factories in low-wage will make sense. However, efficiencies and Countries such as Germany have already smarter ways of working will also be needed. areas of inland China. recognized this inevitable shiftand are looking And some of China’s jobs are being moved to to capitalize on the opportunity. Many of other countries entirely. Clothing production Germany’s locally made exports (worth
    • 22 | enTer The Dragon | making The shifT: qualiTy anD service in The new economya culTure ThaT values qualiTy. Building a workplace culture that values and promotes quality willbe key to increasing the quality of goods produced acrossAsia, but also to developing a greater focus on service.The growing need for services domestically advantage for India and they are expanding Unhappy employees deliver poor increase harmony between the organization has led to the recognition that there are skills these lessons across multiple industries. performance, and particularly, poor customer and the customer.shortages in this area across the region. India service. By focusing on ‘harmonizing’ the has of course developed a customer-service- For companies in other parts of the world relationship between customer, employer and Some deeply held cultural beliefs can at first led mindset and captured market-share, most that want to follow this example, developing employee and seeing how each affects the be barriers to change, but understanding notably but certainly not limited to, the call a company culture that values and sustains other, HR practices can target specific issues their intent and how they can be center industry. quality customer service will require them of concern for employees to improve their incorporated into new ways of thinking and to think differently. After all, a product or ability to provide better quality goods and behaving is increasingly a challenge that For a thankfully short but significant period, service isn’t good value unless it does what it services. globalized businesses must rise to. Being India’s call centers were becoming the promises. Cost and value are not the same. aware of the potential barriers to the raising source of customer frustration and attrition, Perhaps most importantly, HR will need to of quality and service standards can and will worldwide. Turning this around required how the concept of harmony can help focus on getting the balance right between provide insights to overcome them. a new focus on quality and empathy, as raising potential problems in the organization The Confucian concept of ‘harmony’ provides well a different approach to management with maintaining harmony. The two need a potentially valuable tool for business engagement with customer issues right up not be mutually exclusive, and in fact they in the region looking to enhance quality the organizational chain. While problems can naturally complement each other. The and service. By looking at the value chain undoubtedly remain, customer service raising of customer issues with management between the customer, the employer and the is swiftly becoming a major competitive can instead be framed as an opportunity to employee, it’s possible to understand how business might be done differently.
    • 23 | enTer The Dragon | making The shifT: qualiTy anD service in The new economyembracing DiversiTy To imProve skills.To get the mix of these issues right, businesses will need to access the kind of talent that can make positive change happen, quickly.This will mean being very selective about Diversity of this magnitude in a rapidly Hiring top talent is important, but an the personnel that will be recruited into growing market can either hinder or enhance organization’s talent portfolio must be this dynamic environment and hiring those business innovation, depending on how it balanced—the challenge is always to get the who can that contribute immediately to is managed. The potential for innovation, right person in the right job at the right time. transformation. Finding those individuals that growth and new ideas that comes with a Workers have different benefits to offer in already have the right skill set is going to be diverse workforce is enormous, provided that terms of age, experience, skills, education, a challenge in such a tight talent market, and its value is recognized. and flexibility, so businesses need to balance this is where flexible and contingent workers long-term goals with day-to-day pressures are likely to be needed. Diversity is not just about ethnicity and when making recruitment decisions. gender, it’s also about varied levels of A focus on creating a diverse workforce can experience and the kinds of skills that Diversity is also a long-term strategic project. also be helpful. different people bring to the table. To It can’t be achieved overnight, nor should capture the benefits of a truly diverse it be looked at as an end in itself. A diverse “Asia” is hardly a homogenous region. The workforce, employers must look at each workforce is about getting the right mix of vagaries of different markets within markets, potential hire, based on the skills it needs to ideas and experience, and if companies of local and fragmented regulation and execute its strategy. If increased quality is the are looking to make major leaps forward in protocols can be incredibly complex, not to aim, who and where are these skills going to quality, the specific skills required to do that mention the convergence of many cultures come from? must be the first consideration.under single organizational banners.
    • 24 | enTer The Dragon | making The shifT: qualiTy anD service in The new economyas The region’s economic base becomesmore elaborate, a greater focus on quality over cost is inevitable.Asia has fundamentally been a cost-intensive required. And to ensure the right people stay market, and that is evolving to a quality- on in organizations to maintain quality and intensive market. The challenge for the service, a culture that values and promotes region is that other developed nations this will be needed.already have the experience, educated workforce and sometimes the global reach The Asia-Pacific region has some cultural that’s required to execute a ‘quality’ and advantages to execute the move towards a ‘service’ strategy. quality and service focus in business. How this is interpreted and the speed at which the To make the shift to quality goods and right talent is accessed to make this happen services, and to do so successfully, new will make all the difference. approaches to talent and diversity will be
    • abouT The auThorAnthony RAjA DevADoss is currently the vice President—APAC with theoutsourcing & Consulting Group of Kelly services. From network services,engineering to e-business solutions, Anthony Raja has worked in both India andMalaysia, within technical roles to the Chief executive officer. he has received hisBachelors degree in science and his MBA in Marketing & Postgraduate Diplomain Computing. he holds membership in various local and international associationssuch as the MIM, human Capital Institute & Association of Career Professionals International. he isthe head of Policy enablement & Government Liaison with outsourcing Malaysia and a memberof the Industry Advisory Board for the Graduate school of Business, UnIRAZAK. he has beenrecently appointed to the hR Capacity Building task force by the Ministry of human Resources,Govt of Malaysia. Anthony is also a member of the hRoA APAC Chapter Board. http://my.linkedin.com/in/anthonyraja http://twitter.com/anthonyrajaabouT kellyocgKellyOCG is the Outsourcing and Consulting Group of Fortune 500 workforce solutions provider,Kelly Services, Inc. KellyOCG is a global leader in innovative talent management solutions in theareas of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), ContingentWorkforce Outsourcing (CWO), including Independent Contractor Solutions, Human ResourcesConsulting, Career Transition and Organizational Effectiveness, and Executive Search.Further information about KellyOCG may be found at kellyocg.com. eXit