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HR in Thailand: where next?

Submitted by on Wednesday, 10 October 2012One Comment

Those familiar with the HR Crisis in Thailand may not be surprised at the latest findings from this global research study carried out by Kelly Global. With Thailand included in this HR study covering over 168,000 professionals in 30 countries, here’s a summary of what we think are the most interesting findings:

· Most employees worldwide (53%) believe that the best way to grow their skills is by changing employer.

· In highly-prized technical roles (including IT, engineering and healthcare) a whopping 76% on average said that changing jobs was an asset, not a liability.

· Even when they are happy in a job, 54% professionals in the APAC region say they will still look for another job (but this number falls, interestingly, to only 35% in Thailand).

· Most employees in the APAC region feel they are in a strong position when bargaining for a job (in Thailand 68% of professionals agreed with this statement).

HR in Thailand – up to the task?

This survey covers worker attitudes. But what’s happening on the ground?

The role of HR in Thailand seems to come under regular criticism by CEOs, Business Unit managers and even HR professionals themselves. Here are some of the more common complaints that we hear:

  • ‘HR is preoccupied with functional tasks. It does not help with the strategic role of boosting employee engagement and equipping the company for tomorrow’s challenges’
  • ‘HR is not commercially-minded. It does not link what it does to business needs or outcomes.’
  • ‘HR seems content with maintaining its position instead of taking initiative to help the company move forward.’
  • ‘HR has no interest in what we really need from them.’

These are just some of the more typical comments that we hear time and again from discussions, interviews and surveys. The general feeling is that HR is preoccupied with admin, and strategic tasks like helping boost execution, employee engagement (i.e reducing the staff turnover caused by the attitudes above) and employer desirability, as well as address the chronic skills gaps many of these companies face, go ignored.

All the while, staff turnover in companies involved in the skill sets above (IT, healthcare and engineering) is running at an annualised 21% on average.

Bottom line: HR in Thailand is not up to the task.

Mind the staff turnover / skills gap doom loop!

On a strategic level in HR, all things are interconnected.

Take the interviewing process. Hire a candidate effectively for a role, and a virtuous circle is created.

But hire a candidate unsuited for a given role, and a doom loop is created where:

– Customers are treated poorly or don’t get what they want

– Managers have to micro-manage and firefight

– Other colleagues grow frustrated and become disengaged

– Quality and morale plummet, employees (usually the best) leave and…

– Customers become disengaged and are lost.

All the time, while managers and employees are then forced into focussing on the ‘urgent matters today’, the critical task of developing skills for the company’s tomorrows is neglected! As this becomes a reality with no escape, your best people then leave However, there is a way to overcome this state fo affairs…

What you can do to beat the doom loop

Stuck in this syndrome, either aware of it or not aware of it, many managers are resigned to their fate: a career of firefighting. Worse, the companies concerned are usually oblivious to the huge costs incurred in any one of the areas above – staff turnover alone usually accounts for 10% of sales!

But it does not need to be so.

The doom loop can be beaten by recognising that it is itself a system and then creating a system that will defeat it and promote a virtuous circle.

3 Key components of that system are:

1. Employee Engagement as a discipline. To manage, you need first to be able to measure. Running employee engagement surveys as a discipline helps you detect early risks of employee attrition – nipping them in the bud – and create meaningful, strategic HR initiatives that promote greater levels of capability and commitment. Read more about employee engagement here.

2. Career pathing as a discipline. We are shocked at how few companies perform career pathing activities with their staff. Wake up guys! In the survey above, you can see that people are leaving because they feel they have more opportunity to boost skills in another job than with their existing employer – so what are you doing about that? Employees want to improve, yet their perception is that their best hope of doing so is by quitting their jobs – wake up HR! Find out more about career pathing here.

3. Customer engagement. Employee engagement will never be seen as essential if it is not linked to company financials and customer engagement. This creates the connection to reality, meaning and urgency. For best effect, companies should also link KPIs to customer engagement levels.

Call us now to discover the benefits of an HR supercycle!

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of career pathing or creating an HR supercycle, simply call us on +66 2 639 3550 or contact us using the form here.


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