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Keys to building a competitive workforce in Asia

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With decreased productivity seen across Asia, raising employee productivity is a challenge faced by organisations across industries.

In Asia, most markets have seen a slump in labour productivity in nearly all markets, with the exception of India, Indonesia, and Philippines.

Singapore and South Korea showed the largest drops in productivity per person with 3.12% and 2.34% respectively, while China including Hong Kong has seen a 1.92% decline in productivity, according to a report from Workforce Analytics Institute (WAI).

The report titled Employing Analytics to Enhance Workplace Productivity includes insights from interviews and surveys with over 50 HR professionals in Asia. Based on its findings, the report lists three key approached for companies to enhance the productivity of workers in Asia.

1. Developing leadership to drive productivity: Where significant changes to the work environment are planned, as is the case for most productivity interventions, communication, preparation and transparency are key.

2. Enhancing employee engagement: Designing incentive schemes to motivate employees, or creating physical and virtual workplaces that promote teamwork, collaboration and engagement are ways to provide a healthy environment for high performance.

3. Leveraging technology to raise productivity: Technology is best utilised for communications, equipment upgrades, self-service systems and training.

Siddarth Mehta, leader, workforce planning & analytics, Mercer, commented on the report: “Across Asia we are riddled with economies showing weak or slowing growth. Against this backdrop, productivity combined with rising wage pressure poses a serious threat to organisations’ profitability.”

“Additionally, in Asia, where the demand for skilled labour far exceeds supply, companies in the region are encountering substantial difficulties: They are realising that the link between productivity and business performance is one of an organisation’s key resources and if effectively managed can lead to significant payoffs.”

“Gone are the days when productivity could spike simply with the introduction of technology. Going forward, companies need to be more innovative,” he added.

Caitlin Pan, Ph.D., senior researcher, Asia Region, of The Conference Board and an author of the report, commented: “To foster a culture in which consistent productivity growth is possible, organisations need to develop a systematic approach toward tracking and analysing the quality of their productivity interventions.”

“We often see companies start a number of initiatives and continue to pursue them without a clear understanding of which, if any, has a positive impact on organisational outcomes including profitability.”

“Feedback is useful, but measuring and qualifying the quality of the interventions will lead to enhanced productivity. Before designing and implementing an intervention, it is imperative to determine the current productivity levels so as to effectively evaluate the changes in productivity,” she said.

View the full report on Employing Analytics to Enhance Workplace Productivity here.

ALSO READ: The productivity secrets of successful HR leaders

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