December 30, 2020
5 min read

3 Ways to Stand Out in the Talent Market

Written by
Angel Lim

We consider the ways in which companies can make themselves an attractive option for the Asian workforce today.

At TalearnX, we believe talent is the main driver of your organisation’s success. Evidently, we are not the only ones who think so. Organisations from all sectors compete for talent. Some begin their recruitment agenda for the best talent even before they enter the workforce by offering scholarships, for example.

In this article, we consider the ways in which companies can make themselves an attractive option for the talent market today, specifically in Asia.

I. Promote a Learning Culture

The second greatest factor influencing job switching amongst employees in the Asia Pacific region is the opportunity for greater exposure to digital skills that employees can pick up to ‘future-proof’ themselves. The definition of job security in this day and age has evolved to emphasize skill relevance (including soft skills) against constantly changing landscapes. Apart from attracting and retaining talent, a good Learning and Development (L&D) strategy makes you stand out in the talent market, as well as contributing to other business objectives.

Encourage Mentorships

Mentorship/Buddy programs are a great way to establish accountability and solidarity amongst a workforce. Employees can share on each other’s experiences and offer constructive advices upon the situations.

More open and communicative teamwork with older employees is found to be positively correlated with work satisfaction for younger employees in Malaysia. A study on Chinese millennials finds also that a flattened hierarchy in the workplace encourages employee engagement and empowerment. Workplace mentorship programs enhances and encourages learning for participants, strengthening employee performances.

At TalearnX, we practice biweekly one-on-one sessions between managers and employees.

Investing in Learning Management Systems (LMS)

A good LMS platform not only enables corporate training to be rolled out on a mass scale, it also allows businesses to adopt a systematic measurement of crucial data such as rate of employee productivity, engagement and retainment. In obtaining and analysing these data, L&D specialists will be better informed to design their organisation’s content strategy.

In a previous article, we discussed more on what your business can do with an LMS. This includes taking advantage of the extensive playlists created that focuses on upskilling specific traits instrumental for business and career progression.

Investing in the training and development of employees throughout their career is crucial especially in the changing demographic of the labour force. While previous studies have found employee resistance to be one of the main challenges in implementing e-learning in the workforce, the defining characteristic of millennials as a digital savvy generation mitigates this concern.

II. Ensure Work-Life Balance

As the boundaries of work and personal life become increasingly blurred upon the advent of new technology and working from home becomes a norm in response to the global pandemic, work-life balance is once again challenged.

Many workers affected by the pandemic have been displaced involuntarily from their desk-based jobs into their homes. These workers are required to be adaptable and flexible to their various circumstances. Many of them may not have the best work from home environments especially in the developing regions of Asia. Therefore, remote support is crucial for remote work.

It is no longer about how stacked the office pantry is but how employers facilitate this transition in optimizing a work-from-home environment for each employee to perform. How employers handle this situation is indicative of their attitude towards employees.

III. Provide Mental Health Support

The increased level of uncertainty caused by the pandemic in terms of economic security, health and safety has also induced greater anxieties amongst employees. Further, a report by Deloitte finds mental health support to be of greater importance for Millennials and Gen Zs compared to previous generations.

More than half of the workers in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand reported feeling unwell due to work-related stress in a study supported by the Financial Times. The top three countries with employees working more than 50 hours a week in Asia Pacific (i.e. Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Malaysia) were also the top three countries reported for employees suffering from depression.

As mental health issues remain stigmatised, these numbers could potentially be underreported. Consequently, the amount of productive time lost for Hong Kong and Malaysia amounted to more than 73 days per year. That is one out of five calendar days per year and more than one day per working week. In monetary terms, it was found that productivity loss in Korea per person, due to depression, amounted to USD680 per month.

Fortunately, various workplace interventions from smart phone-based therapy to alternative therapy (e.g. acupressure) has been found to be effective in remediating the mental health affliction. Although, there is not one measure that is found to work best across different samples.

Alternatively, employers can also encourage employees to take up their leaves in order to relax and destress, so that they may return to work more productively. Taking long weekends on a frequent basis could also be more effective than taking a long (two weeks or more) vacation, in preventing employee burnout. Vacations can boost creativity when employees expose themselves to new and different experiences.

It is important to note that employers must lead by example in order to destigmatize the issues surrounding mental health in Asia. This includes respecting employees’ time off against the notoriety of a 9/9/6 work culture. Mental health support measures can only be effective if employees are convinced that employers are taking it seriously.

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