Talent shortages remain a major concern for businesses in the Asia Pacific, according to our recent survey and report on workforce agility[i].
For the study, we surveyed 210 C-suite level executives across Singapore, Australia, India and Malaysia. They span industries including banking, financial services, life sciences, healthcare, medical services and manufacturing.
Half of the respondents report that there is already a lack of available talent currently, while 61 per cent expect talent shortages to negatively impact their business in the next three years. Among Singaporean respondents, this figure was even higher at 75 per cent.
With the majority citing product and service innovation as a key driver of business growth, ensuring the right talent is in place now and for the future has never been more critical. Yet, I was surprised to learn that 58 per cent have a talent plan covering only the next three years or less, leaving their long-term workforce requirements in limbo.
Herein lies the irony: many organisations expect their Human Resource departments to execute their workforce strategies. Yet, only slightly more than half of the companies surveyed bring HR to the table when developing business strategy - 59 per cent in India, 53 per cent in Australia, 51 per cent in Malaysia and 50 per cent in Singapore.
While recognising that HR has the potential to elevate business strategies, they question its ability to meaningfully contribute to business planning, with only 37 per cent believing their HR function is fully capable of providing strategic workforce insights.
The ability to attract and retain people with valuable skills is vital for companies seeking to promote innovation, reduce risk and stay competitive. As critical labour skill categories continue to tighten, organisations need to be forward-looking and critical in their thinking when developing and planning their workforce strategies.
I believe this gives HR leaders an unprecedented opportunity to step up and play a role in aligning talent with business strategy through strategic workforce planning (SWP).
SWP is a key enabler towards developing a talent roadmap that will secure the resources needed to support strategic priorities. It uses quantitative and qualitative data to build a framework so that companies can understand the kind of talent they need to achieve their business outcomes.
When done well, SWP determines the talent needed to deliver organisational capabilities, correlates internal and external talent supply and demand factors, and generates insight for talent gap analysis not just for current but also future states.
Utilising tools such as segmentation, talent mapping, environmental scanning, demand analysis, gap analysis, and integrating workforce analytics, insights into future workforce requirements, such as new capabilities and positions, can be forecast, prioritised and measured.
It enables a supply chain methodology that is talent-centric, to ensure the future health and stability of your workforce, and identifies actions and investments required to address current and future needs.
SWP makes clear how business strategy can be operationalised through human capital. I have laid out the broad strokes of SWP here, but the magic is in the details. Please do contact me for a discussion on how SWP can work for your organisation.
[i] Workforce Agility Barometer: Navigate Asia Pacific’s Future Talent Frontier, KellyOCG 2017