Industry Insider: Retaining talent amidst the 'Great Resignation'? Here's FUJIFILM Business Innovation APAC's approach

Among the many things that are helping, is an HR-leadership collaboration to determine the right mix of build, buy, and borrow strategies in the company's approach to upskilling and reskilling talent for retention.

As a company operating in the rapidly-growing technology sector, FUJIFILM Business Innovation Asia Pacific is no stranger to talent challenges the sector is facing — the need to keep up with growing demands to attract and retain talent in the business.

Adding to that, the company — one that's in the business of printers and copiers among other products — has to deal with the declining volume of customers using print materials, forcing the need to accelerate digital transformation and for internal organisations to stay relevant and sustainable.

How is this panning out for the company, and how is HR working with the leadership team to ensure the right talent strategies are in place to tackle this challenge? In this interview, Priya Sunil speaks to Gwen Wong, Human Resources General Manager, FUJIFILM Business Innovation Asia Pacific to find out.


Sector spotlight: Technology
Based in: Singapore (with a regional remit)

Q What's the #1 talent challenge that your sector is facing? How does it vary from market to market?

With the rapid acceleration of the technology sector, it’s an uphill battle trying to keep up with the demand in terms of attracting and retaining talents. One major challenge is upskilling and reskilling employees. In order to drive transformation and business success, we need employees who are willing to up their competency level and be equipped with the ever-evolving technology skills, and obtain growth opportunities.

However, it appears to be tough with the Great Resignation wave as employees are resigning and hoping to find better opportunities, instead of focusing on upskilling for job advancement in their company. Unfortunately, the Great Resignation is a global phenomenon that is impacting all industries worldwide – no industry or company is spared.

Q Could you share some key developments that are intensifying this challenge?

This challenge is being intensified by the decline in the volume of customers using print, resulting in a need to accelerate digital transformation for customers and internal organisations to stay relevant and sustainable.

Prior to the pandemic, employees ranked organisational branding and reputation as the ninth most important factor in their selection criteria for their future company. However, the pandemic has caused employees to rethink their priorities – pushing organisational branding and reputation as the second most important selection criteria, after job security.

Employees now look for strong company values to shine through in its brand, its philosophy, benefits, and overall employee experience.

Q How are you tackling this challenge, and how closely are you working with your leadership stakeholders on it? 

While the Great Resignation certainly had its downsides, it has also sharpened our focus on talent retention. With support from the FUJIFILM Business Innovation leadership team, we adopted the build, borrow, and buy strategies to fill critical skill gaps and develop talents from within the organisation. Strategic workforce planning with the various head of departments and workforce analytics are also put in place to help determine the right mix of build, buy, and borrow strategies to be implemented.

Employees who continuously upskill and enhance their capabilities while possessing a growth mindset are key considerations when identifying talents.

We have also implemented a 70:20:10 learning approach for designing and executing talent and leadership development. Social and experiential learning, in addition to formal learning, are embedded in talent and leadership development.

Our talent ecosystem is designed for peer-to-peer and expert-to-novice knowledge transfer. Coaching and mentoring platforms are established to help our talents fast track with real-life lessons from global thought leaders and best practice sharing from internal experts. Stretch assignments and problem-solving opportunities are also provided to reinforce learning.

Employee engagement surveys are introduced to help us to listen and understand how our employees are feeling and thinking. We are looking into forming focus groups to drive change based on employee feedback.

Q If you could narrow it down, what is the biggest change you've observed in this sector today, from when you first joined?

One of the biggest changes that I’ve observed is having to manage and engage the multi-generation workforce comprising baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.

People from different generations may have different core values, work styles, and communication styles.

Using Millennials and Gen Z as an example – as new entrants into the workforce, their workstyles have caused organisations to rethink ways to engage them and retain this group of new talent. They grew up in the age of social media and expect instant virtual communication.

We need to change the traditional approach of engaging and communicating with our employees with regular check-ins and 360 feedback. Organisations are also prompted to revise their communication approach, integrating traditional (more face-to-face) vs virtual communication for everyone.

Q Going forward, what should be the next big priority for CHROs in this sector?

The next big priority for CHROs in the technology sector should be focused on supporting employees’ emotional, physical, social, and financial wellbeing. We need to consider how we can design work to channel energy from our employees, not deplete it.

By creating a flexible and open environment for all employees to share concerns, we can better understand and meet the expectations of different generations. All of these considerations are necessary to build an energised and resilient workforce.

Q Finally, how are these challenges affecting your role - how are you proactively preparing for the future workplace?

We have since evolved from being a functional HR management department to becoming a strategic business partner by aligning its initiatives with the organisation’s overarching goals. I believe HR can fuel digital transformation in our organisation by transforming our HR operations and processes through workflow automation, and by tapping on data analytics to better understand our employees' needs and develop effective employee engagement initiatives to unleash their potential and boost loyalty and finally prepare them for the future workplace.

Our foremost priority is to enhance the capabilities of both soft and hard skills of our employees and increase their capacities to take on more challenges and to better adapt to the fast-changing technology landscape. In essence, HR practitioners must now be more strategic, agile, and innovative in role segmentation and work design.


Image / Provided (the interviewee, Gwen Wong)

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