3 Inside Secrets to Surviving the Skills Crisis in Asia

3 Inside Secrets to Surviving the Skills Crisis in Asia

3 Inside Secrets to Surviving the Skills Crisis in Asia

There is a crisis in Asia which is affecting every business and organization. It’s affecting different regions in different ways but the message is clear, there is not enough skills in the market to support businesses.  Indeed, the very continuity of many business units is threatened.

In some locales, such as Indonesia, the problem isn’t so much a number of people in the marketplace, it’s the quality. In other regions such as Japan, although the quality is pretty good, there simply isn’t enough people in the marketplace. The growth in South East Asia is compounded by the low maturity and expertise of employees, especially at the lower levels. In Japan, it’s the culture of loyalty coupled with a low birthrate, an aging population and a reluctance to restructure in response to market realities that’s causing problems. It’s worth noting that the biggest crisis of skills is LEADERSHIP skills.

The 3 Keys to Survival are the same in both countries and pertain to simply creating a great place to work. These are the priorities which must be addressed in order to survive.

1.      You must become an employer of choice by reputation (more than awards).  If you have a culture of, “Command and control,” where long hours are the norm and fear is the leadership style of choice, nobody will want to work for you. If you invest in learning and growth, celebrate great leadership and understand that making your office look like a playground only works in a creche, you stand a good chance that employees will want to join.

Many organizations I come across win, “Employer of Choice,” awards but on closer inspection, the authenticity is lacking. I recently met an “Employer of Choice Winner” who’s very job title was “Employee Engagement Officer.” I was encouraged by the job title but the reality was that she was merely a compensations and benefits administrator who’s role was nothing to do with employee engagement. It was merely lip service to being an employer of choice and it transpired that, in reality, the “Employer of Choice” was operating a command and control structure based on fear.

2.      Grow and promote from within. It goes without saying that any employer of choice should promote from within but the reality is that most organizations like to bring in, “New blood” from outside the organization to freshen things up. It’s a balance to be struck of course but when the market for skills is as bad as it is, the onus on up-skilling employees at the most junior levels and developing leadership from within becomes hugely important. Many of the more forward-thinking organizations, though a mix of philanthropic ownership and forward thinking are creating Corporate Universities for their organizations. This is a great move. I’m often reminded of a quote from Robert Kiyosaki in his excellent book, “Lesson In Leadership from the Military,” that the US Marines have never appointed a General from outside of the US Marines and you shouldn’t either.

3.      The Little Black Book. Come recruitment time it’s essential to have a database of candidates you can call on.   Most organizations have a good database but how relevant is it?  It can take weeks to scour the recruitment market but staying in contact with candidates who have shown an interest in your organization, in the same way that they stay in contact with customers, is what some of the best organizations do. There is, of course, a range of great Applicant Tracking Systems out there and building an “Employer brand” and consistently advertising, even if it’s just to “Register an interest with us” is a key to being read to strike.

There are of course many other great interventions and options, however, in reality, resources are limited and quick fixes are often just that, quick to work and quick to fail. Becoming a genuinely good employer and profitability are not mutually exclusive. Gallup has repeatedly shown, with huge samples sizes, that organizations who treat employees well occupy the upper quartile of profitable companies globally. Such organizations attract the very best talent from the top universities and they can do that because of their reputation. How can you become one of them?

Watch the video here. https://youtu.be/XDf2oIOgjMI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *