Tag Archives: gen y

Talent Management in Emerging Markets (China, Indonesia, India)

In my most recent interview by Sumathi V Selvaretnam of Talent Mgmt CoverHRM Asia I shared my insights on managing talent in China.  In particular, she asked if I can discuss and share my experience on key HR challenges, managing Gen Y or the after 80’s generation (八零后) and approaches to developing talent.

There is no shortages of stories of the level of difficulty companies face in attracting, developing and retaining talent in China.  This will be an ongoing issue for the near term (maybe a bit longer).  But these are the issues HR leaders will need to grapple with and look to strategy and solutions to mitigate negative impact to business results.

A Paradox

In a country with the world’ largest population it remains difficult to find qualified talent to market demands.  Companies face a tremendous uphill battle firstly, to find required talent; secondly, after talent is identified, company HR teams need to provide basic training to get new hires up to speed.

Demand is clearly outstripping supply in labour markets.  Global companies with a strong presence in China are expanding from first-tier cities into second and third-tier cities. Their continued expansion creates and even demand for human resources.

Chinese firms are beginning to build strong global brands with an entrenched foothold in China and now expanding globally. They are now competing against internationally recognised corporations for global market share.

Little Emperors

China categorize their generation groups by decades.  The Gen Ys are those born after 1980’s.  This generational group were born after the cultural revolution but grew up during China’s rapid economic rise.  Another term for China’s Gen Y is “Little Emperors,” who grew up in single child families as a result of China’s single-child policy.  Parents and and two sets of grandparents doted on the child.

China’s Generation Y are also a privileged class who come from a generation of “Little Emperors.”  They have high expectations of the employers and managers, and are eager to climb the corporate ladder.

They don’t realise that beyond the surface level, racking up a few projects does not equate to depth of experience.  Generation Ys will look for other employers for career growth if it is not offered by their current employer.

A Marathon

There is no magic pill to solve China’s talent development needs.  HR need to direct resources to talent development programs and training plans should include both the hard and soft skills.  Given the talent quality is still weak competition for talent is as fierce as ever.  Development talent and leaders in China is a marathon, not a sprint.

Despite growing demand, Chinese universities and technical colleges have not kept up with academic and industrial training to meet the needs of industry.

Internships or other forms of co-curricular education are also not the norm.  This leaves many Chinese graduates ill-equipped for entry-level work…

 Rather than focusing on a single top performer HR directors need to work with business unit heads to identify several replacement players in case the incumbent employee resigns.


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Gen Y Training and Development – Featured on Slideshare

Wow! My presentation, “Secrets to Entry-Level Employee Development,” was featured on the homepage of Slideshare earlier this week.  I’m not quite sure how all happened but, I am surprised and happy that my presentation was selected by Slideshare.

This presentation was presented at the HRM Singapore 3rd Annual Talent management Congress 2011 on Nov 23-24, 2011.

A large part of the content was drawn from a recent employee feedback forum with new grads my company hired 1.5 years ago.  The feedback was fairly consistent with issues faced by the workshop participants.

Please take a look and feel free to leave your comments.

Asia HRM – Social Media Congress

A shout-out to Eka Talji at Key Media for putting together a great line-up of speakers for the recent Social Media Congress.  She included speakers from the APAC HR Head at Facebook, Madan Nagaldinne, to Gen Y social media guru, Patricia Lalisan from Alcatel Lucent and Dell’s head of social media, Damien Cummings, spoke about what they do in the social media.  The rest of the speaker lineup are click here.

Inside Facebook Human Resources

The internet is being rebuilt around people.  It was initially built for browsing, later for search and now, it is social.  Businesses are also being build around people.  Consider the music industry and news industry.  New business such as Spotify and traditional news, New York Times, for example are retooling themselves in a social world.  Madan Nagaldinne, head of Asia HR for Facebook, see that the traditional form of HR business partner, where HR working with BU heads is outdated.  HR need to organize themselves around the people.

At Facebook, the HR mantra is to deliver “awesomeness.”  Turning the traditional HR model on it heads, HR is required to identify “non-goals” but instead focus on those few things that have the biggest impact.

The top-down model of making decisions by top-level managers is no longer working.  Decisions are being made through multiple channels around employees and customers.

Gen Y and Social Media

Gen Y Patricia Lalisan was hired into Alcatel Lucent to manage their social media presence.  Working within the employee communications team Patricia suggests the need to create communities that people want to be a part of.  Businesses need to create environments that uses engagement to form ideas.  First is to define the strategic intent, what is the outcome desired by the organization.  Explore a host of non-traditional communication platforms and create a culture that allows employees to express themselves.

Having multiple channels and platforms is important for Gen Y.  They grew up in a connected world as digital natives.  Thus leveraging on social media outlets is completely natural to them.  At Alcatel Lucent, the company are using web chats and conferencing for employee dialogue directly with the CEO.  Blogs and enterprise social networking platforms allow employees to dialogue and exchange ideas that now changing how Gen Y engage and work in the workplace.

Social Media Policy Practices

Having a sound social media policy helps companies profit from this platform.  Damien Cummings from Dell discussed how his company manages their overall social media strategy.  The use of social media allows all employees within a firm to become brand ambassadors – allow your employees to talk about your brand.  Enterprise social networks are fast becoming the new intranet.

Having a formal social media policy enables organization to better navigate through the far reaches of social media.  While it is fairly easy to develop a policy, it takes discipline to execute the policy through regular training.  Employees should be formally certified before allowed to represent your brand in blogs, twitter or other social media channels.  As a rule of thumb, consider “the boss rule.”  Before posting anything publicly, would you want your boss to see it.

Wrapping Up

Participants recognize that there are inherent risks in social media.  Negative publicity can often go viral and spread like wild fire.  Human resources heads need new skills for navigate the complex web of social media.  Whereas social media has a feedback loop other traditional media do not.  Thus, HR can not hide behind policies.  They need to interact with people and create dialogue.  Hierarchy will be less important.

As Patricia mentioned in her presentation, in order to innovate, you must be innovative.  So, stop being boring.


Twitter:  #socialmediacongress

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