Tag Archives: leadership

Recruiting Trends – 2012

The Year of the Dragon came early this year on the lunar calendar.  The dragon is the mightiest of the animals on the zodiac and is particular auspicious.  Let’s take a scan of what 2012 has in store for Human Resources Recruiting, especially in Asia Pacific.


Social Media

Leveraging social media will continue to make in-roads for recruiters in Asia Pacific.  Relatively, use of social media is much behind those in western countries.  As I survey HR professionals throughout 2011, I find that not many recruiters make use of the platform.

Some of the barriers include not knowing how to use social media.  While others claim they have other priorities and not enough time to network.  Many HR managers also cite internal corporate/IT/HR policies as limitations on online access.

HR professionals and recruiting teams much look for solutions to tap into “untapped” talent.  Driving unbridled talent into your organisation must be a priority on any HR agenda.



Keeping top talent thriving in your organization is paramount for any HR team.  Despite the recent economic downturn, top talent recruiting has not subsided.  As the western economies gain traction on jobs your company’s top talent will be tempted with more opportunities and greater financial incentive.

In Asia, tenure continues on a downward trend and is here to stay.  I suspect every company have experienced first-year turn-over is a common experience.

HR leaders need to reconsider their perspective and approach to employee retention.  Loosing top talent, especially unfavorable turnover, is detrimental to an organization.



My senior leaders constantly tell me to recruit the best talent available.  I have written on this topic recently, Six Qualities of a Senior Executive.

Business climate is constantly changing and evolving.  Top organizations require a certain caliber of leadership who can thrive with change, communicate with all levels of stakeholders, lead/manage with integrity and inspire the organization to do better than it ever has.


Internal Staffing Capabilities

I have a particular difficult time recruiting in-house recruiters for my team.  It is not that I can not find interested applicants.  On the contrary, there are a plethora of applicants.

The gap is identifying recruiters who understands the business.  Thus, the requirement is beyond having the experience in filling requisitions.  Understanding the business strategy and how our recruiting efforts is intricately tied to organization success.

Read my previously blog post, “HR’s Role: Building Winning Teams,” and the need for recruiters to play a more consultative and trusted advisor to organization leaders.



The above four items will be my personal focus area for 2012.  I’m sure the business drivers will require me to modify my focus.  However, these are the starting points for me to work with my team on being prepared for the year ahead.

ASTD-STADA Asia Pacific Conference (Day 2 of 3)

Kevin Oakes of i4cp on Linking Learning and Development with Talent Management

Another exciting day at the ASTD/STADA Human Capitals Conference.  Today’s blog focuses on two topics, social media and talent management.

Social Learning

Tony Bingham, president and CEO of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), kicked-off the day on the topic of social media and it’s role in learning and development.

  • Using the iceberg analogy, only 10% of knowledge is derived through formal learning. Yet, most of us learning professionals spend the most time here. Learning professional have to start focusing on informal learning.
  • According a Cisco study, new grads and young professionals will not accept a job if the company policy bans social media.  Moreover, one-third of prospective applicants will prioritize social freedom over salary. Value contribution not time spent.
  • In an IBM study, the rapid escalation of “complexity” is the biggest challenge for organizations.  While, creativity most important leadership competency needed.

While the social media is a hot topic it may still be too early to derive conclusive ROI.  However, we do know that this is how many of us obtain information and is fast coming the new normal for how people learn.

eLearning vs. Social Learning

Julie Clow of Google talked about leadership development in the cloud. She posed the question of how this is different between e-learning and social learning?

  • Traditional eLearning method is takes content and repackaged it for training.  In social learning, it is not about simply aggregating or creating high-cost simulations out of existing content.
  • Creating and implementing learning modules faster is better than slower.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • Just as learning is an iterative process, it is perfectly OK to tweak your content along the way.
  • All social media by nature is based on user generated content.  Why not let your employees generate their own learning content?
  • Lastly, Interaction increases engagement and ownership in organizations.

Integrated Talent Management

In the session delivered by Kevin Oakes, CEO and founder of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), led the discussion on an integrated approach to learning and development with talent management.

  • He suggests that he L&D function can be the glue that unites traditional HR silos.
  • Research have consistently shown that a highly engaged workforce hires for attitude and trains for skills.
  • For example, in the recruiting process, while the recruiting function hires talent for long-term culture fit, L&D can build integrated training plans.
  • Both L&D and recruiting teams can partner to develop long-range workforce plans.
  • Leaders like to see data about their org and comparison to competitors or industry. Putting the right data in front of organization leaders can raise the bar and value of talent management.  Difficult to do but, necessary.

Leadership Pipeline

The last session today is Building Leadership Pipeline panel super discussion.  For many, this is the reason we are all here at this conference.

  • David Chin is HR Head-Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).  His company facilitates world trade and he manages talent that is truly globally dispersed.  Chin reminded us that he can’t simply walk down the hall to identify HiPo’s.
    • Moreover, most of his employee base are not on a ships.
    • His employees need to be skilled with data analysis and planning.  NOL must be able to track each metal box (the containers), what is inside it, and where it is headed.
  • Mohana Mohariff is General Manager of the Leadership and Talent Management group at Telecom Malaysia.  Her business transformed from fixed wired-lines to mobile wireless and is now borderless. For her, managing talent has changed.
    • She used an illustration where employees are beginning to understand that one has to be a talent before getting promoted.
    • Now, her task is to educate managers how to identify talent and, not just for the sake of getting team members promoted.
  • Victor Magdaraog is VP at DDI Philippines.  He suggests that the key to value creation is knowledge and talent.
    • Thus, talent management in of itself should not follow a strategy.  But, talent is your strategy.  You can either acquire, development or retain your most talent people.  Without talent, you don’t have a strategy.
    • Leadership is also not a democracy. Only a select few can become your organization leaders.  However, leaders cannot work without strong followers.  Thus, an organization cannot simply focus on just its HiPo’s but also the core group for development.

Thus, today’s focus is about creating environment where talent can thrive in an organization.  We know that organizations who want a highly engaged workforce cannot work in silo HR functions.

Creating cross-collaboration work environments will help its players and as a team excel.  Social learning are best approaches to maximize cross-functional and global learning opportunities.

I’m looking forward to the third and final day of conference tomorrow. Continue to watch out for live tweets at #asap2011

6 Qualities of a Senior Executive

20111108-162227.jpgI am working with my recruiting team this week on “Building Winning Teams” – our purpose for existence. A critical topic is on recruiting leadership candidates.

Finding management and leadership talent in China has been elusive for many companies. Not only are global multinational businesses competing for “leadership” talent but so are local China enterprises, who are fast becoming global players. Competition is heating up for a small pool of candidates.

We discussed the key qualities in evaluating an executive candidate’s potential.

6 qualities of a senior executive:
1) Tactical (do the work of today)
2) Strategic (drive the business of tomorrow)
3) Leadership/Management (get teams organized to do the work)­­­­
4) Influential (partner with HQ and customers)
5) Creative (solve complex problems)
6) Passionate (it’s not just a job)

By the way, these qualities not only apply to senior candidates but also with all levels of the organization. It not only takes leadership but also the entire team to move an organization forward.

Asia’s Leadership Challenge

Leadership ChallengeIt is said that the 21st century belongs to Asia.  Discussions of economic shift from the west to Asia is an on-going theme.  For Asian countries to rise to the occasion having an ample supply of skilled leaders is of paramount importance.

In earlier years, companies set up small representative offices to drive sales into the Asia market.  Fast forward to today, Asia has become the largest revenue stream for these same companies.  They have built large scale organizations through organic expansion and complex joint ventures.

Multinational companies have long utilized expats from headquarters to bridge the leadership gap.  But, this option is getting too expensive in current economic climates.  Local staff is pushing for key and senior leadership roles.

Looking to reduce cost and meet the rising demand of local staff for leadership positions companies are at a paradoxical moment.  The decision facing companies is either continuing to spend money on costly expats or risk loosing key local staff if there are not promotional opportunities.

What companies have know for a long while is the limited pool and shallow depth of leadership talent.  Competition for talent is not only from other Western multinationals but also from the rising Asian multinationals.

With the seemingly insatiable Asian growth, companies must consider shifting organization resources closer to the marketplace and at the same time focus on management and leadership development.

Asian Leadership Focus

Dealing with Change:  Heidrick & Struggles says that aside from depth of experience, the most important quality needed in a China executive is the ability to cope with rapid change (Heidrick & Struggls China Perspective IV, 2010).  Changes occurring locally is happening at a much fast pace than perceptions back at the home office.

Cross-Cultural Competency:  The senior executive is also required to have bi-cultural and cross-cultural competency to bridge corporate and in-country teams.  They need the ability balance cultural norms in Asia (i.e., humility and in-direct communication style) with those from Western countries (i.e., direct, confrontational). They must clear through both geographical and cultural distances (China CEO: Voices of Experience).

Corporate Clout:  Furthermore, China leaders need a strategic ability to rethink China as an integral part of the company’s core operations, not just as another international office.  Having corporate clout of influence is needed to drive research and development, product development, and manufacturing and customer requirements with the boardroom back at headquarter offices.

People and Team Development:  Recruiting and retaining key talent remain the highest priority for companies doing business in Asia.  To overcome this obstacle companies must make decisions to constantly provide development and training opportunities.  According to Development Dimensions International, the most critical skills for Chinese leaders are motivating others, building trust, retaining talent, and developing and then leading high performance teams (Leadership Success in China: An Expatriate’s Guide).

Leadership is at the center of focus if companies are to succeed in the Asia marketplace.  Investing in leadership development programs and retention of high-potential performers is a daunting task but a necessary one.