Posted by Jon Hull, Head of Resouring, ElectroComponents
APAC talent management
Posted on June 6th, 2012 at 10:29 am

Talent acquisition in APAC – changing a mindset PART II

In my last blog I explored the issue of the alleged ‘talent war’ in APAC, concluding that there is a need to change mindsets in order to move from money as incentives, to a more sustainable and engaging prospect. But how do you go about changing long standing beliefs?

Before we try to solve this problem, I think there’s a need to clearly define it. The conclusions we are making in Asia are actually the same as those we made in the West. It is worth remembering that it was Japanese businesses who were the creators of Continuous Improvement Theories and this is maybe where we might look to understand and frame the problem more thoroughly. Only then can we develop sustainable solutions to this issue.

If we can define the need at an early stage then perhaps some of our talent problems might not be as acute. Research suggests that three out of four hires in UK companies are in some way flawed – therefore are we wasting talent? For example, we recruit the wrong people for the wrong job because our methodologies do not take into account potential for the new role. Instead we focus on what someone has done in the past. This has immense costs to the business and personal impact to the individuals recruited.

Instead of this focus on previous experience, we need to spend time looking at what our business needs in terms of talent and leadership, before focusing on attracting and retaining the right individuals for these needs. This is true regardless of geography and presents an exciting opportunity for a number of reasons.

For example, we know that if we are able to measure traits, behaviours, and characteristics to a standard rather than a comparator, we are able to make better and quicker decisions (assuming we have defined what we want). This in turn leads to more diverse outcomes regardless of where we are in the world – and at the end of the day, isn’t this what HR strives for?

I argue that the mindset of current HR and business leaders is what is holding us back from seizing an opportunity to make the best use of the talent that is clearly out there. It seems puzzling that when Universities across Asia are producing more high quality graduates than the developed world has ever known, the corporate world cannot harness this pool of skill and knowledge.

It seems then that perhaps there is a need to reframe the question about the war for talent. Is it really the case that there is limited availability of talent in APAC, or are we just looking in the wrong places?

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