5 Mega HR Trends – From The Chapman Consulting Group

CGThe Chapman Consulting Group just completed their Beijing visit on Nov 7.  Below are the trending HR topics from their perspective.  The Chapman group has grown from a Singapore HR boutique to global search firm.  They work with Multinationals in placing HR people into companies located in Asia and also international minded HR leaders into global HR roles.  Their perspective is especially insightful especially with the reach they have into HR community whom they source for and companies where they place candidates.

Chapman Group’s 5 Mega Trends

  1. Employee size is getting larger and geographically complex
  2. Competition to attract talent is intensifying
  3. Large organizations are not necessarily being better.  Need to articulate their talent brand
  4. Talent wanting more choices in their careers
  5. Technology is shaping the speed and efficiency of business

Employee & Organization Size

Emerging markets continue to be the focus for many companies.  Companies are dependent on these regions for market growth.  In order to tap into these markets, companies are faced with decisions with both of how to structure their organization and the optimal placement of leaders and decision makers.  Many companies are seeing headcount growth in emerging market regions, often time, growing at a fast rate than at headquarters.

Leading Companies Are:

  • Moving leadership to emerging markets
    • this means placing leadership into emerging markets
    • these could be expat roles or locally hired
    • but, companies acknowledge that having key leaders in the region enables faster decision making with on-the-ground insight
  • Increasing regional and international movement of talent
    • these job rotation or short-term assignments helps with developing global market knowledge
    • create internal network for better cross-regional collaboration
  • Moving pillars of business, if not the whole divisions, to emerging markets
    • For those companies who are in China as a “sell to” market,  it is cheaper to move the business closer to the consumer base
  • Making hiring decisions based on talent
    • Progressive companies are hiring the best person regardless of location.  For example, some companies may place a regional role in Beijing, and not regional HQ, if that is where they are finding the best talent
  • [China Specific]:  The Chapman Group is not finding as many Chinese business leaders moving out of China as compared to the past.  Instead, there are many more Chinese returning to China due to the rising economic strength of and job opportunities in China.

2. Attracting Talent

In The Chapman Group’s work, they are finding that local companies are being very aggressive in attracting talent and competing against multi-national companies.  I am finding that this is the case in my work and industry.  Recently, we saw that Hugo Bara who left Google to join a Xiaomi, a high-profile China smartphone maker, some might know it as the “Apple of China”.

Local companies are fighting hard to gain market share for talent.  This adds complications for companies, both local and multinationals, with another set of competitors in the market.  There could be implications for more cost resulting in potentially higher salaries.  Recruiting will be more difficult for multinational brands as they try to differentiate from local brands.  Local employers will have to increase their human resources talent management system in order to attract and retain employees.

Leading Companies Are:

  • Hiring for talent that not only fit in with the company culture, but also for organization capability.
    • Companies should be assessing whether the candidate has the capacity to grow as the company grows
  • Creating more diverse interview panels to leverage on assessing and evaluating talent
  • Developing talent plans that takes into consideration how to attract local talent, developing that set of talent and, managing for the exits (and acknowledging this will be the case) of those talent to local companies.
  • [China Specific]:  While it may true to that local companies are paying above market for the best talent, with MNC or international experience, company bosses are also expect extremely high results and long working hours.  There are many professionals who find it difficult to adapt to local Chinese company culture and are opting to return to western MNC companies.

3.  Large organisations are not necessarily better

While there are advantages of being a large multinational company it also comes with potential barriers to competing for talent in emerging markets.  Decision making may be slower as approvals may need to be secured from headquarters.  In the region, local businesses are making decisions on the fly.  Agile decision making for key talent needs to be a top priority for multinational companies.  Recruiting for diversity is also an important objective.  Setting up interview teams that reflects the candidates experience and background will help drive for better hires.

Leading Companies Are:

  • Decentralizing their hiring decisions to local leaders to hire people that better reflect the market needs
  • Increasing diversity on interview panels that reflects the local talent market for better and faster hiring decisions
  • Using social media a communication channel for differentiating their global employer brand and local differences

4.  Talent are wanting more choice

Companies need to change their mindset when working with a newer generation in the workforce.  The younger generation may not necessarily stick to a single professional or functional area but are willing to move in and out for their core functions to gain exposure and experience.  More often than not, the younger generation make changes because they may find it boring in their current role and want a change of pace.

As compared to previous generations, job grade promotion is not what draws the current generation to stick around a company.  The Chapman Group noted that very few companies are very good at creating a dynamic work environment for a new generation workforce.

Leading Companies Are:

  • Recognizing that it is acceptable to hire employees with resumes showing shorter tenure and more career breaks
  • Offering stints for geographic and cross-functional mobility
  • Providing opportunities for employees to move in and out of their core functions

5.  Advances in HR Technology

The Chapman Group highlighted that technology is driving significant changes and HR professionals need to understand and harness that information.  Because of this availability of HR systems, this has driven globalization more quickly.  For example, sourcing for applicants is a global process these days.  It used to be applicant databases tended to be country or region specific.  An example of global HR systems could be the likes of LinkedIn.  These HR systems are generating abundant of data, aka Big Data, for decision making.  HR professional need to capitalize on insights generated from their organization data.

Leading Companies Are:

  • Leverage their HR systems for data to their advantage as opposed to being a distraction
  • Fully utilize smarter social media to build stronger employer brand and internal employee interactions


Disclaimer:  I have known The Chapman Consulting Group for many years.  They hosts networking events in the APAC region and I have attended their events in the past.  They do a great job in bringing in HR leaders for discussions on current trending topics in our field.  However, this blog post does not represent an endorsement of their products and services and I have woven my own experience in this post. This is for informational purposes only. There is no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information.

Leave a Reply

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