Teamwork may be important, but when it comes to recognition, APAC employees prefer to be seen as individuals, found PERSOLKELLY’s latest APAC Workforce Insights report titled "Personalised Workforce: The Individual vs the Team".
Surveying 9,295 hiring managers and candidates across nine APAC countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, the report revealed 51% of employees preferred to be treated as individuals rather than collectively with other team members.
By country, those from India (59%), Thailand (57%), and Indonesia (56%) placed the greatest value on individuality. On the flip side, respondents from Malaysia (48%), Australia (48%), and Hong Kong (49%) placed the least value on individuality.
In terms of sector, those in the legal (56%), arts/entertainment (55%), and education (55%) industries were most likely to agree that employees prefer to be treated as individuals rather than as part of a team.
By work status, unsurprisingly, freelancers (57%) were more likely to agree that workers today prefer to be treated as an individual rather than as part of a team.
This was followed by permanent full-time workers (53%) as well as casual/temporary workers (50%). While the least likely to value individuality were those who were looking for work (45%).
When it comes to age group, agreement was fairly consistent with slight differences of two to three percentage points.
Gen Z (53%) were the most are more likely to agree that jobseekers are looking for individualised employment experiences, followed by Baby Boomers (52%). While those in Gen X and Gen Y were tied at 50%.
Almost 7 in 10 (69%) agree that this preference for individual treatment stems from the desire of having their individual skills and talents recognised. By country, this was most important to respondents from India (76%), Malaysia (75%), and Singapore (74%). While it was the least important in Hong Kong (51%).
The second reason for the preference for individual treatment came from the desire to be rewarded for personal contributions in the workplace (60%). This motivation was most evident in employees from Singapore (67%), India (66%), and Vietnam (65%). Similar to the previous reason, this was also the least important in Hong Kong (47%).
Jessica Ang, regional head of corporate brands management, APAC at PERSOLKELLY, noted: "Employees are increasingly seeking greater ownership of their careers and more flexibility and autonomy in working styles, and these trends are fuelling demand for a bespoke work experience. Employees will naturally feel more valued in roles which are tailored to their individual goals, abilities, and motivations."
What this means for employers is that managers will increasingly be required to understand the individual motivations within their team and tailor their work experience accordingly, PERSOLKELLY's report noted.
According to APAC employees, the onus is on managers to understand what motivates each of their team members, so they can personalise their work experiences (52%) and manage individual needs effectively without sacrificing the objectives of the team (51%). Striking this balance is vital to ensure continued teamwork, with 41% of respondents recognising that collaboration and teamwork could be impacted if there is too much focus on the individual over the team.
Ang said: "Industries where individualistic roles are more commonplace will naturally record a higher employee preference for individual treatment. Organisations, particularly those which are in these industries, must map out the employee journey and identify key touchpoints, such as the physical environment or through digital tools, so that they can customise roles to meet individual employee needs and motivations."