How future-ready is your workforce in Singapore?

Zihao Chua, Associate Consultant with Aon Hewitt's Talent & Performance Consulting Team, shares what companies in Singapore need to do in 2017 to get their workforce future ready.

Based on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) latest macroeconomic review, the market continues to look grim for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs).

The MAS attributes this to a combination of slow economic growth and skill mismatches—with an increasing number of redundancies also seeing retrenched PMETs struggle to find new jobs. The MAS advises that workers “should equip themselves with the necessary skills to fill the jobs that are currently available and will be in demand in the coming years.”

This sentiment is echoed in Aon’s Best Employers Singapore 2016 study, where 68% of CEOs named critical skills shortage as one of the key people risks to their business. This awareness and foresight has driven leaders of many Best Employer organisations to respond positively by developing a culture of learning and development in order to deliver the right results.

How can you develop a culture of learning and development?

1. Prepare current employees for future jobs at your organisation

In this age of disruption, it’s critical to assess the competencies of your current employees in relation to your business strategy for the next 5 to 10 years. Instead of looking outwards for skills that your organisation lacks, look inward to support your current employees in their development needs so that they will be able to acquire the skills required to perform well for hot jobs of the future.

2. Create an engaging user experience

The average adult now spends 2.5 hours a day on mobile devices and has come to expect consumer-grade experiences from their employer. Desk-bound training programmes are no longer compelling—instead, employees seek modern and mobile-ready interfaces with programmes prescribed to their needs and interests. Cloud-based learning solutions also enable employees to learn on the go, and at their convenience. In fact, 90% of Fortune 1000 companies plan to replace their on-premise HR software in the next four years and most will move to cloud-based systems.

3. Consider a formal mentorship programme

Career development for employees typically involve moving into leadership roles. By implementing a formal mentorship programme, organisations can develop an effective leadership pipeline. Knowledge transfer through mentorship provides a less structured way of learning that benefits both parties—junior employees can cultivate leadership skills while senior employees are able to fine-tune their management styles.

4. Utilise employee feedback to fine-tune programmes

Adopt a continuous listening strategy, with regular pulse checks throughout the year. Then, make use of the feedback provided to improve your learning and development programmes according to your employees’ aspirations.

5. Assess skills continuously

Equipping your employees with the right skills for future roles is only the first step. Your organisation must also track the effectiveness of your learning and development programmes by putting in place a robust assessment solution to measure impact on performance. With this data, business leaders can get a clear understanding of the overall organisational capability in order to fine-tune business strategy as well as other aspects of the talent management process such as recruitment, succession planning, workforce planning, and more.

6. Build your employer brand around learning and development

By dedicating resources into learning and development programmes, you are assuming that employees are willing to acquire relevant skills, take up new challenges, and grow alongside your organisation. With this assumption, there’s a need to attract—and more importantly—retain the right employees. That’s why it isn’t enough to build a culture of learning and development. You also have to build a brand around it by promoting your organisation as one that offers excellent career opportunities to strong performers.

What does success look like?

Naturally, the rate of success for your organisation can only be determined by your organisation. According to the Aon Best Employers Singapore 2016 study, 86% of Best Employers focus on helping employees acquire new skills and competencies (market average, 61%). In addition, employees in Best Employers organisations are 17% more likely to be satisfied with Learning and Development. Furthermore, employees at Best Employers are 1.3 times more likely to feel their organisation offers excellent career opportunities to strong performers

As an organisation, learning and development may be a steep investment to begin with—but they come with great rewards. With a more skilled and sustainable workforce, your organisation will be ready to take on the challenges of these difficult times to come.

About the author

Zihao Chua is an Associate Consultant with Aon Hewitt's Talent & Performance Consulting Team based in Singapore and is currently the Singapore Project Manager for Aon Hewitt’s flagship research study, the Best Employers Asia programme.


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