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Business

World is turning

Released at: 22:23, 04/02/2018

World is turning

Photo: Viet Tuan

The traits and skills found among an organization’s leaders are changing as the business world around them changes.

by Ms. Nguyen Thi An Ha / Director, Talentnet

As technology takes over in effectively supporting organizational operations, more and more businesses are deciding to apply digital tools and approaches to drive human resource (HR) innovations that support business transformation and outcomes. To create ongoing improvements to their HR, businesses should keep a close eye on the recently-identified traits of new leaders.

Talentnet conducted its “Fast Research About Leadership Movement in Vietnam” in August on more than 360 respondents in managerial levels and higher nationwide together with 100,000 data points from managerial candidates in Talentnet’s Executive Search Service (ESS). The research found five traits of future Vietnamese leaders: visionary perspective, preference for a professional workplace, career-centric, family caring, and personal values. These five traits are crucial for every organization’s talent attraction and retention strategies addressing hidden expectations of targeted employees.

Insights of leaders 

In an emerging market like Vietnam, being “career-centric” is the top priority for Vietnamese leaders, as they consider career achievement to result in social approval and recognition. Furthermore, “personal values” also need to be highlighted, as leaders nowadays consider joining or leaving a company based on an alignment between the company’s vision and their own personal values, as reflected in certain corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

Though most managerial respondents place “the job” and “personal values” as top priorities, their families are what they really care about. Therefore, in order to satisfy Vietnamese leaders, personal career paths being in alignment with the company’s vision should be given focus, while caring for their families will help boost motivation and dedication.

“Possessing agile human resources in the era of digitalization and innovation is a tremendous challenge for businesses. Technology allows us to access data at high speeds, but if we cannot ‘read’ the story behind the data, then the people management journey will scarcely reach its expected destination.”

Leaders’ Industry 4.0 skills

According to the research, the qualities leaders believe they need to improve in order to cope with the rapidly-changing “gig economy” are “strategic/critical thinking”, “technical skills”, and “leadership skills”. During the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), where the business context changes rapidly and unexpectedly, according to one global survey there are certain new skills considered key drivers for businesses: agility, change management, creativity, and data analysis. Vietnamese leaders are still “some steps” behind globally and both enterprises and talent need more exposure to and must keep track of the rapidly-evolving global economy.

It is clear that technology now shapes the business landscape, and in order to narrow the vision gap in must-have skills between local and global business leaders, companies should pay more attention to new skillsets required in the digital age rather than focusing too much on old-school skills. Businesses should also apply digital transformation to maximize creativity, foster collaboration, improve efficiency, and enhance productivity.

New traits of future leaders

Source: Talentnet`s Fast Research About Leadership Movement in Vietnam, August 2017

Agile HR strategies

There is no doubt that technology leads the revolution in fast-paced, hyper-growth markets. But the role of people remains important. The 2017 Vietnam HR Awards Forum, entitled “Agile Talent - Disruptive Technology for Growth”, organized by Talentnet last August and attracting more than 400 CEOs, business leaders, and HR experts from many industries, discussed the role of technology in the people agenda. It was confirmed by many guest speakers that while technology will change business roadmaps, people can manage and shape the actual path taken.

Low engagement and high turnover are extremely costly for organizations, especially if the people jumping ship are at high levels and have had much invested in them. Therefore, organizations should fully understand the insights and perceptions of their targeted employees, who are mostly leaders and talent, to develop an integrated people management strategy.
Remuneration. According to the Talentnet-Mercer Total Remuneration Survey (TRS) 2017 report, with data from 289,236 employees in 592 well-established multinational corporations (MNCs) and leading domestic firms in Vietnam, the pay gap is one of the factors leaders consider to be crucial. This year, the pay difference in the annual base salary between managers and new entrants was 39 per cent in both MNCs and Vietnamese companies, resulting in the fact that companies tend to provide a higher salary to management positions based on their scope of work and contribution.

Pay gap between local companies and MNCs

Source: 2017 Vietnam Total Remuneration Survey

Culture and workplace environment. In terms of a professional workplace, not only leaders but also employees now favor working in a flat and less hierarchical company. Companies are recommended to build a “flexible” workplace environment where employees can enjoy flexible hours, a flat structure, and agile working processes in order to have more time for creativity and innovation. This is a long process requiring investment in terms of changes to mindset and cooperation across the company. Company infrastructure and facilities are among things that could be considered thanks to technological investment. 

Talent management and development programs. Deep understanding is needed of the perceptions and expectations of employees, especially leaders and talent, in adopting a full people development strategy, including IDPs (individual development programs), coaching/mentoring, and career roadmap.

HR metrics and efficiency. Digital transformation is widely used and invested in all over the world to help companies simplify processes, restore data, and produce more HR metrics for future decisions. A lack of data puts an organization in a tough position in identifying breakthrough ideas.

Digitalization matters

While technology seems to be a “trendy” investment nowadays, there are still some concerns that technology is a double-edged sword. Companies need to assess and define the maturity of their people agenda when considering the proper level of technological investment. Although technology can help automate and take HR functions to the next level, with the right data and the right decision making, the HR strategy remains the most important factor. A clear HR strategy connected to the business strategy, with a defined roadmap and objectives and respective employee segmentation, will help optimize the functions of technology. In addition, the employee experience should also be taken into consideration, so that the company can have a full eco-system that drives employee satisfaction.

"At SAP, innovation in technology and the strategic vision of HR have brought a lot of positive change. The level of employee engagement in recent years has increased by up to 24 per cent, with the average working time being about five years. This is one of the indicators helping SAP to critically evaluate the quality of its HR management.”
Ms. Megawaty Khie, Vice President, SAP South-East Asia (Singapore)

“NatSteel usually invests about 2 per cent of revenue on HR activities. The company also has an academic center for training internal staff. A culture of ‘mentoring’ is also highlighted and given focus. However, at NatSteel, there is a ‘paradox’, whereby the mentor will be a newbie - from the younger generation - due to the company strategy of upgrading and renewing its technology. So, the younger generation, who have grown up in the digitization era, is considered a ‘golden resource’ that meets our needs.”
Ms. Lucy Tan, Head of HR Department, NatSteel Holdings (Singapore)

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