Addressing employee needs critical for sustained organisational growth

Moving to the virtual platform, HR Tech Festival Asia 2022 highlights why an organisation’s people are key to long-term success.
By: | May 12, 2022

The pandemic has exacerbated many organisations’ focus on performance, with a disconnected workforce subjected to more frequent check-ins and monitoring. When this happens, people are more likely to leave than they are to perform.

The key to retaining talent, however, is perhaps more simplistic than many may think, suggested Ruby Kolesky, Co-CEO and Heart of Product, Joyous.

She highlighted, “Feeling loved is what will make people perform and stay. They need empathy and constant encouragement to keep trying things and to feel safe to make mistakes.”

At Joyous, the focus is about having open conversations and an inclusive approach that seeks continuous feedback and respecting the collective views of the whole team. “How do you go from being yet another thing that happens to people, to helping make things happen with people?” Kolesky asked during her keynote presentation at the Women in HR Technology Conference.

One of the exciting virtual conference tracks offered to attendees on Day 2 of HR Tech Festival Asia 2022, the Women in HR Technology Conference provided HR leaders in Asia Pacific with key insights to advance workplace gender equity.

Another widely attended conference track was the HR Leaders’ APAC Summit, which discussed the fundamentals HR must focus on to help their organisations address current and near-term challenges, while laying a foundation for successful growth.

For instance, as the war for talent continues to intensify, what can organisations do to improve the talent experience, asked Matt Alder, Producer and Host of The Recruiting Future Podcast; Mervyn Dinnen, Author, HR & Talent Acquisition Analyst.

They recommended a personalisation approach, where the focus is on the experience rather than the process, where employee needs are prioritised over organisational needs, and where employees can learn and growth.

The co-authors of the book Digital Talent also highlighted how talent in a world of digital transformation want to know the new skills they need to learn and how their roles are evolving.

They also proposed that the ability to learn new skills is one of the main things potential candidates are looking for when choosing a new company. Organisations on their part, should do more to consult employees in the decision to invest in any learning and development (L&D) technology.

While salary and job security are still highly valued by many employees, 30% of the global workforce are viewing flexible hours as an increasingly important part of their jobs, revealed Nela Richardson, Chief Economist, ADP.

Drawing on findings from the ADP People at Work 2022, A Global Workforce View report, Richardson highlighted, “Flexible work is not just about being able to work from home. It is also about having the flexibility to go to pick up your kids from school and take elderly parents to the doctor.”

Reflective of a seismic shift in employee sentiment regarding flexibility, 53% of employees say they would like to get work-life balance with total pay package cut – 33% say they are willing to take up to 5% pay cut to have the flexibility in when they work and 28% say they are prepared to take up to a 5% pay cut if provided the flexibility of where they worked.

65% of employees also indicated that they would consider looking for another job if their employers insisted on a return to the workplace.

With Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) emerging as a key long-term business strategy for growth and risk protection, HR has a pivotal role to play in leading the change agenda and translating ESG into impact, said Ning Wong, Principal, DaggerWing Group.

She added, “HR needs to redesign organisation-wide job roles and incentives, and work towards refreshing employee value proposition (EVP), and defining what ESG means for the business, its leaders, and employees.”

To help HR leaders operationalise their ESG strategy, Wong offered seven key tips:

  • Dispel ESG confusion and commit from the top.
  • Prioritise and build an ambitious, staggered, and holistic roadmap.
  • Build a change engine that accelerates impact.
  • Re-balance leader incentives and support their actions every day.
  • Activate a tiered learning and engagement model focused on deepening understanding, fostering pride, and harnessing passion to get involved.
  • Articulate and embed a clear learn-as-you-grow mindset and effect behaviour changes.
  • Break down measures into smaller outcomes.

HR Tech Festival Asia 2022 also saw the debut of the ASEAN Human Development Organisation (AHDO) Summit, which examined the state of human development (HD) at work and how this can be improved in the ASEAN region.

In one of the ADHO Summit sessions, leading practitioners from Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia shared their thoughts on the transformation of HR, growth of HD, what HD organisations look like, and what are the priorities for today’s HR leaders.

Dr Bob Aubrey, Founder and Chair of the Advisory Board, ASEAN Human Development Organisation (AHDO), and moderator of the session, said, “What we learned in discussing with HR professionals at the conference and in the panels is that their job is defined as HR but their careers are in HD. Young professionals entering the field see HD as a career opportunity and they don’t want to be locked into traditional HR.”

Declaring the ADHO Summit a success, Dr Aubrey added, “As a community and as a movement, the ASEAN Human Development Organisation is young, having started in 2018. But its cross-border connections and thought leadership for the region has made it an important source of purpose, information, and support for the HR community.”

Over at the HR Tech Festival Online conference track, Low Ann Ann, Senior Director, Talent Development, APAC, LinkedIn, highlighted that a hybrid world of work is driving employees to display a greater desire for growth and learning that is in line with career development

Agreeing with her assessment, Que Lay Peng, Head of Customer Success, SEA, LinkedIn, added, “Employees are continuing to discover what they want and it’s so important for employers to meet employees where their needs are as career development becomes a focus.”

Employers to be clear about skills profiles, job descriptions and understand the skills needed for those jobs, and to put aside bias and think about the sources of talent that can be tapped on internally, Que and Low added.

A meaningful diversity strategy requires an inclusive and localised approach and real change can only be achieved when a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategy is supported by the right training, technology, and leadership commitment, said Joy Koh, Head of Growth and Advisory, APAC, AMS.

Organisations in turn, are realising that they need to be more deliberate in terms of the DE&I strategies that they want to employ and to ensure accountability for any change, said Natalie Tait, APAC Talent Acquisition Executive, and Singapore Head of HR at Bank of America.

Both Tait and Koh were joined by Curtis Baker, APAC Regional Inclusion & Diversity, and EX Lead at DOW, in a panel discussion that highlighted the importance of building a culture within the organisation that creates a real sense of belonging for employees.

Training, when combined with coaching, increases more productivity than training on its own, said Yu Dan Shi, APAC Principal Behavioural Scientist, CoachHub.

In the coaching process, coachees develop their own solutions that are tailored to their respective context and the support provided by a coach is highly personalised and focused. This, she explained, increases the transfer rate of what has been learned and reflected upon into everyday life, and leads to positive effects on the individual and the organisation.

Yu also highlighted how organisations are increasingly benefitting from digital coaching, which is measurable, scalable, accelerates learning transfer and bahavioural change, adopts a personalised and individualised approach, and can be carried out from anywhere.

READ: Asia’s HR community rethinks workforce and workplace strategies

HR Tech Festival Asia 2022 continues from May 12-13. Click here to register for Asia’s largest HR tech event and learn how you can power up your HR teams for a successful year ahead!