HR TALENT TALENT DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP
Singapore – According to Emertius Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, the current Asian economic climate is perfect to nurture both business and HR leaders for the future.
The minister added that companies need to develop capable talent with the knowledge to lead in Asia if they want to excel in the region. However, organisations need to have the right human capital strategies as one of the challenges leaders will face is the complex cultural and business diversity within the region.
Goh said management teams have to be able to adapt to local sensitivities and business practices before they can tailor their organisational strategies accordingly.
“Senior executives, whether Asia-based or otherwise, need a deep understanding of the varied business, regulatory and human capital landscape in Asia,” Goh said in his speech at the 2011 Singapore Human Capital Summit this morning.
However, companies have to be acutely aware of the Asian talent’s expectations and needs before they can attract and retain the cream of the crop.
A study by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) last year found that Singaporeans value retention factors such as training and development, job opportunities and career advancement. Locals also look for workplace flexibility and an environment where they are encouraged to innovate.
Goh said companies need to provide these criteria if they want to hold onto their talent in the tight job market.
Studies have found that training programmes do result in boosting productivity and staff engagement levels, which led to better customer satisfaction and profits.
“Employees raised their skills, earned more, were more motivated and took on more job responsibilities,” Goh added.
According to the minister, Singapore has excelled in developing and nurturing leadership talent both in the political and public sectors. Therefore, it is a good position to share its experiences with the rest of the region.
“Singapore has grown from a third world to a first world economy because of our emphasis on leadership, talent and skills training,” Goh said.
Respondents in the MOM survey agreed, with seven in 10 saying Singapore was “a good place to develop intercultural sensitivity, better communication skills and a tolerance for divergent views”.
To help develop globalised local leaders, the Human Capital Leadership Institute was launched last year. The joint enterprise by MOM, the Economic Development Board and the Singapore Management University aims to help raise the capabilities of Asian leaders through high-level industry engagement and networking.
However, Goh stressed that Asia must not depend on low cost labour to attract investments, and need to improve the productivity of the regional workforce instead. “Improving the quality of people will result in concrete benefits,” he said.
MOM has announced the launch of its National HR Scholarship programme this year in a bid to attract more talent into the job function.
MOM aims to pair students pursuing HR degrees with industry leaders upon their graduation so companies can benefit from having skilled HR professionals who can enhance their people management strategy.
However, Tan Chuan-Jin, minister of state for manpower, said most local students do not have a good understanding of HR as a business discipline. He added the lack of exposure could lead to misperceptions that a career in HR is “not as prestigious, challenging or rewarding”.
Tan said the scholarship will help young talent “better appreciate the strategic role that HR plays” within businesses.
Goh agreed that such an initiative will “nurture a deep pool of HR talent… [and] raise the profile of HR as a profession”.
Five scholarships were awarded this year, and MOM will grant up to six HR scholarships annually.
This year, MOM also gave out seven book prizes totalling S$3,000 to top graduates specialising in HR, and freshmen who aced their core HR module.
Tan said he hopes these awards will “encourage the recipients to continue pursuing their interest in this field”.
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