The One Thing You Must Invest in to Win Hard-To-Find Talent



There is no question: an organization’s ability to attract the right talent is the single most important factor in achieving business growth in Asia and across the world. In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, entitled “Global Human Capital Trends 2016”, it was revealed that ‘Talent Acquisition’ is one of the top four urgent issues facing global organizations today (along with Leadership, Retention and HR skills). This issue is more acute in Asia, where ‘talent’ is consistently cited as a critical pressure point among CEO’s in the region. This can be attributed to demographic shifts (for example, Singapore and Japan have declining population growth), rising people costs and large-scale skills mismatches.

The challenge here is that as a result of globalization there is significant disruption in the way companies recruit talent. Technology, social media, changing workforce expectations all now come into play, creating a whole new dynamic between organizations and talent. Consider these:

There are now More Millennials Joining the Workforce

These young, highly educated and career-driven individuals are reshaping the talent markets in Asia in a whole new way. With greater expectations and a thirst to take the lead sooner than their previous generation counterparts, many organizations are finding it hard to keep up. Once they have gotten everything they can out of a particular company, the chances of retaining them are slim, thereby fuelling the battle for talent. But there’s no choice but to fight, since come 2025, it is projected that 75% of the global workforce will be composed of Millennials. For this reason, organizations need to adapt their HR strategy now, otherwise, they find themselves facing an increasingly desperate struggle to attract and retain talent.

We are Living in the Most Multi-Generational Workforce in History

While a record number of Millennials are joining the workforce, the earlier generation Baby Boomers is refusing to retire. For either financial reason or professional satisfaction, these Asian Baby Boomers are set to stay. The result: a mishmash of employees with diverse needs, clashing cultural backgrounds and heterogeneous capabilities. How organizations can manage this environment in a way that creates synergy and value will be of paramount importance. If not addressed properly, it will result in higher attrition and the company’s competitiveness will be at risk.

Technology Has Transformed the Workplace

Mobility is the name of the game. Consider these staggering statistics:

»»At the start of 2008, there were only 3 million Apple iPhone mobile devices in the world, but come 2017, there will be an estimated total of 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide.
»» Facebook had just one million users back in 2004 but now has an estimated 1.59 billion users today.
»» Cloud computing generated $41 billion revenue globally in 2011 and is expect to reach $241 billion by 2020.

This means employees are now more empowered than ever before. They are now more aware of better opportunities and can follow through with lightning speed, making it harder for organizations to retain talent and keep them engaged.

While these trends seem to pose significant challenges for multinational companies that require extensive human capital, Asia is in a unique position to take advantage. Not only is the region home to an estimated 4.3 billion people, which is equal to 60 per cent of the global total of 7.1 billion people, but it also cradles more than 718 million young men and women aged 15 to 24 years (United Nations 2015 statistics). Companies looking at young, educated and cost-competitive talents are all eyes in this region.

The One Thing You Should Invest In

So, the key question, really, is: how?

Organizations can choose to invest in different areas to attract talent. After all, each organization or industry has its unique characteristics and areas of investment may vary from one to the other. But if there’s one thing that you should invest in to win hard-to-find talent, it is: BRANDING.

In a comprehensive study entitled “2015 Global Recruiting Trends” conducted by LinkedIn, Branding was identified as a key driver in attracting top talent in Asia. According to the report, “Talent brand is what talent thinks, feels, and shares about your company as a place to work. A strong talent brand reduces cost per hire by over 50% and lowers turnover rates by 28%.” Moreover: “75% of global Talent Acquisition leaders say talent brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent.” So the next big question is, what are some of the steps to enhance your company branding?

Branding Best Practices

Get Your Marketing/Branding Department Working with HR When was the last time your company’s online image had an overhaul? Is marketing effectively branding the company the way that HR and recruitment needs? If not, change your company’s priorities by getting these two departments talking and working together.

Redesign Your Careers Website Which demographics are you targeting? If it’s millennials, do some market testing and discover how your careers website is perceived. This does not just mean looks, but also usability. Most important of all is making sure that your careers page is optimized for mobile.

Hire a Videographer to Record Employee Stories In order to engage millennials, hire a video editor to create a series of videos, which tell compelling stories using real employees. Make sure these are accessible via your career website.

Promote Your New Brand via Social Media Once you have overhauled your online presence, it’s time to relook at your social media strategy to make your new brand visible. Monitor the effectiveness of your posts (likes, shares and comments), then adapt you strategy as you go.

Adapt Your Branding Strategy According to Company Needs All this branding and promotion takes time and has an associated cost to the business. Some branding actions will be to generally promote the company whilst other efforts will be to attract applicants from specific demographics to specific vacancies. As the needs of your company change, along with the number and types of vacancies that need to be filled, offer a range of marketing/branding actions (along with their costs), to support the recruitment process depending on the value of the roles that need to be filled.

The 21st Century Workforce

Years, even decades, from now, future observers might look back at 2016 as a pivotal year in workforce management. Having the right people doing the right job is critical to achieving that business growth. Attracting top talent is, therefore, priority number one for business leaders who want to invest in— and win—the future