Singapore Regional Staffing Leads Meet-up

I was glad this week wasn’t a travel week and made it to The Chapman Consulting Group’s Regional Staffing Heads Q3 meet-up.  As usual Matt Chapman did a great job of pulling together a group of staffing leads together at Cisco’s Singapore head offices yesterday afternoon.

Here are some of the general themes from the discussion:

APAC Focused Growth
This isn’t anything new.  APAC is becoming the center of hiring activity – for some companies Asia hiring is more than one-third of global recruitment activities.  As firms are looking are reducing overall headcount costs, they are looking to meeting their business demands by hiring in Asia.  In addition to operational roles, leadership positions are also transferring from HQ offices to the region.  However, rather than transferring expats with expensive relo packages, companies are intent on finding local leadership talent.

The challenge is how companies execute their new business model and deployment strategies to grow their business in the region.  Do companies have the right HR development framework in place.  You can’t drag & drop a HQ model into APAC countries.

The recruiting teams are certainly feeling the impact of hiring in large volumes in a region that tends to have fewer leadership supply.  The regional staffing heads are brainstorming with their teams on innovative solutions and alternative candidate profiles (example, considering stay-at-home moms for research analyst type roles).

Internal Mobility
Companies have varying approaches to managing internal mobility.  A couple of firms mentioned that they have a waiting period of between 1-2 weeks before allowing the position for external posting.  Philosophically, do companies view employees as a corporate or department resource?  This is one determinant of how companies can successfully mobilize personnel resources from low to high return projects.

One banking firm is implementing an internal employee database where their resourcing team can access all employees in the company for vacancies.  A sort of internal headhunting.  But everyone agrees that grow from within is a strategy worth pursuing.  Having executive sponsorship can mean success to internal development programs.

Line managers are always nervous about loosing employees and down-time to finding a replacement.  Another bank had an innovative approach to managing internal mobility guidelines:  2+2 and 3+3.  Work two years in a job, give two months notice or 3 years and 3 months before petitioning for internal positions.  This is something every company should consider deploying.  The rules are simple and easy to understand.  There is no bureaucracy.

Social Media
Matt continued the discussion asking how companies have utilized social media for recruitment.  Companies are having difficulty realizing a direct return on investments.  They either cannot track where their applicants first learned of the vacancy or recruiters are driving by volume and do not have time to use social media.  This seemed like a slow start for this group in the room.

While I read HR bloggers and related surveys, mostly from the US, seems that recruiter live and die by social media.  They are on social networks using LinkedIn to find candidates, on Tweeter tweeting their latest jobs, or researching candidates on Facebook.  This doesn’t seem to be the case in Asia.

This is an area where Asia recruiting teams invest more.

Employee Referral
Referrals continue to be preferred channels of recruitment.  One software company mentioned that their China program has an over 45% referral rate.  That’s very good.  And others are evaluating ways to reinvigorate their referral programs, think of new methods to generate interest and beyond the confines of just employees.  Not many companies leverage alumni networks for contacts though.

Drilling down into details, one investment banking firm executive ask for data and correlation of referrals by high-performers and who they refer, if those referrals are also high-performers. Seems that A-players will refer other A-players.  (Hmmm….I’m going to run some data of my own tomorrow.  Let’s see what the data tells us.)

An Observation of Staffing Leads
As we were going around the table with the customary self-introductions I had found an interesting observation.  Of the group, only 3 were native Singaporeans.  The rest of us were “foreigners” who have taken on international roles, moved around and ended up in Singapore.  But this does leave me thinking of where are the local Singaporean staffing leaders?

This attendance is definitely skewed:

Until the next The Chapman Consulting Group’s Q4 Meet-up.

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