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Case study: Why HP Indonesia's Country HR Lead believes talent retention is "far more important" than acquisition

Case study: Why HP Indonesia's Country HR Lead believes talent retention is "far more important" than acquisition

In essence, Dian Wanni believes, being able to retain talent means you already have great talent - thus, playing a role in overall employer branding.

While Indonesia has a large population, Dian Wanni, Country HR Lead (pictured above) at technology company HP, acknowledges that it is still difficult to acquire quality candidates who are equipped with the relevant skillsets required in today’s workforce. This is especially the case with roles that are niche, for which very specific skillsets are required, she notes.

In the IT industry, she elaborates, roles specialising in engineering, software or product development are hard to fill as supply is scarce — thus, the struggle to acquire talent lies in hiring candidates for specific jobs rather than general ones.

“It is really challenging because we have to ‘hunt’ [for talent], and we must make sure we get the right people the positions, and it means that we must look at what talents available and who are the ‘active’ ones available,” Dian adds.

A different approach should then be used to attract the passive candidates [than] to attract the active candidates.

Talking from the point-of-view of the technology industry, she takes the scenario of hiring an engineering software developer, for which there are specific qualifications and requirements that mean HR has to “really look into” the capabilities of the candidates in the market.

In this second part of a five-part series exploring Indonesia's great talent shortage, the leader talks to Olive Goh about the HP's approach to tackling the issue at hand.

How HP secures talent

As HP recognises the need to secure both active and passive candidates, it looks to overcome the talent shortage through not only its talent attraction strategy, but also its talent retention programme.

Regarding talent acquisition, HP focuses on expanding its network through multiple platforms online and offline. Online, it uses social media platforms such as LinkedIn, to broaden its outreach to potential candidates; and also connects with candidates through communities and discussion groups. This allows the company to identify and know more people with the suitable qualifications who can fill roles when necessary. Through this, it is able to build many talent pipelines so that if there is a need in future to fill a certain role, there is a candidate in its pipeline.

Apart from the above, Dian shares that the team adopts a direct approach when it comes to passive candidates working in other companies, noting the importance of offering candidates a key differentiator, ensuring that candidates will be drawn to the offer and consider it more seriously.

Coming to talent retention, Dian believes this aspect is far more important than acquisition, “because retention means you already have your great talent.” In line with this, Dian and team make it a point to adapt with the market standards to maintain a competitive edge in its benefits offering, therefore benchmarking movements in the market while monitoring what other companies are offering and providing as benefits to employees.

According to the leader, some of the benefits that have stood out include:

  • Hybrid work, which has become particularly prominent recently. As a new normal after the pandemic, this benefit is something that employees value and what helps retain them, she shares. In driving this, HP adopts certain arrangements for people to come into the office, so it does not require them to come every day while it is also based on the schedule of their own team. However, they are also welcomed to the office to meet their colleagues in person to collaborate rather than via Zoom or Teams, she adds.

  • Upskilling and reskilling employees through growth talent programmes. These programmes, which are popular among employees, were designed to help teams grow more professionally within the company, and in their roles. For example, salespeople, can upgrade their negotiation skills and influencing skills, while those in technical roles can upskill their technical abilities.

More importantly, HP recognises the importance of company branding when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. In particular, Dian calls out the firm’s efforts to spread awareness about its culture through brand promotions, and by showing off life at HP on social media platforms. If potential candidates understand what the company is about, and its priorities such as sustainability efforts, they are more likely to resonate with the brand and this can appeal to candidates, she affirms.

Ambitions looking forward

Anticipating upcoming trends in the next three to five years, Dian highlights rapid AI disruptions, in the markets and industries as challenges that HP must adapt to. To address and adapt to these, she therefore sees the need for HP to reinvent its ways of work and in its strategy, leverage AI in its business.

Meanwhile, with respect to Indonesia’s talent landscape in the next few years, HP plans to equip talent with future proof skills so that they are not left behind when AI and machine learning are implemented. This can be done through bringing together its people to better understand AI, such that it is able to take advantage of AI in their work and daily processes that can be simplified through technology. B

"By equipping talent with future-proof skills, HP would then be able to cope, and be a part of the latest digital transformations, heading towards becoming a future-ready company.

"We have an eagerness to learn as learning is a lifetime job. By keeping an open mind, having the ability to receive or learn something new, we can understand and keep updated with happenings locally and abroad, enabling us to face any challenge in the everchanging market head on.”

This readiness and preparedness can only be achieved through upgrading talents’ skillsets, enriching the quality of talent, she adds.

Important HR skills leaders need for the new-age workforce

Concluding the interview, Dian identified three key skills that CHROs in Indonesia need to effectively manage the new-age workforce.

Firstly, she emphasised the significance of strong business acumen, highlighting the importance of understanding the company's challenges, vision, mission, and targets. This understanding enables HR to prepare and support the team in achieving company goals as employees are more motivated to grow and walk with the company in achieving its goals.

Secondly, comes the importance of communication skills, including both effective communication and influencing abilities in defusing complex situations. She acknowledges that HR professionals often encounter challenging situations with stakeholders and employees and stressed the need for excellent communication to prevent issues from escalating and to manage them effectively.

Lastly, she highlights the importance of analytical skills for HR professionals. This skill enables them to prioritise tasks, identify what is urgent versus important, and make informed decisions that support employee well-being and business growth.

On a personal note, she finds the need to stay up to date with current changes in the market, latest HR trends, and initiatives by other companies in the industry. This understanding allows her to better cater to the needs of her company as by studying such trends, she can leverage or better HP’s initiatives and benefits to be a key differentiator from other firms.

In that effort, she has joined few communities with other HR leaders where they discuss what happens in their company and how they perceive some of the changes in government regulations. Such sharing and information can be filtered and refined to apply to HP, implemented well designed strategies which can benefit employees greatly.

Photo: Provided

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