Learning & Development Asia 2024
The evolving role of HR in talent attraction and development for the digital-first maritime industry

The evolving role of HR in talent attraction and development for the digital-first maritime industry

Maritime organisations face an urgent need to attract the right talent that can help ease them through a digital transition. The role of HR is thus magnified, playing a crucial role in pivoting the firm from a traditional to digital-first mindset and engendering a culture of change. Ng Hwee Leng, Director, People & Organisation, IMC Industrial Group, shares more.

The human resource (HR) function has undergone dynamic shifts in its role and overall impact in shaping organisations in recent years. Yet what remains unchanged is the fact that human capital is still arguably the most important asset of any firm.

The task of maximising human potential falls within the purview of HR. To meet the needs of a changing business environment, HR and business leaders are increasingly leveraging a digital approach to bridge the talent gap, harnessing data-driven insights as well as frontier technologies such as analytics, digital labour, and artificial intelligence to augment current talent recruitment and development processes.

The evolving role of HR

Going beyond managing employee welfare, satisfaction and career development, HR is increasingly paving the way for organisations' strategic growth. Organisations should focus on people and organisational development to enhance employee experience, as well as a better alignment of shared purposes and goals for sustainable engagement among the workforce and potentially higher talent retention rates.

Ensuring that the right person is fitted to the right role is also critical, where organisations are then able to harness the full potential of their employees, build on their strengths and remain agile in a rapidly evolving market.

The essential nature of HR in maritime talent

With the advent of digitalisation in the maritime industry, job roles and functions have become more complex and require employees to possess additional technical and digital capabilities.

Maritime organisations face an urgent need to attract the right talent that can help ease them through this digital transition. The role of HR is thus magnified, playing a crucial role in enabling organisations to pivot from traditional to digital-first mindsets and engender a culture of change.

Not only does this drive resilience and long-term growth, but it also repositions organisations as future-ready and forward-looking, that can attract the tech-savvy youths of today.

What HR professionals can do to drive this change

Adapting to the current state of the industry, IMC has developed a holistic approach to our talent development and management strategy.

On the talent acquisition front, it is vital to identify the right person for the role, considering attributes such as values, mindset, purpose, competencies and their overall fit to the organisation’s culture.

We find that a public-private collaboration with industry organisations such as the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) can help to create a sustainable pool of talent that we can tap into. Their Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office organises engagement activities to grow the public’s awareness of maritime opportunities and correct misperceptions of the industry. The website is also a useful resource for both jobseekers and maritime employers, where organisations can access a pool of resumes, and jobseekers can apply for their desired job roles with ease.

However, talent acquisition is just the first step.

With disruption the only certainty in today's fast changing economy, re-evaluating roles and competencies based on new industry requirements, and reskilling employees for evolved roles are critical components in the talent management process.

At IMC, we have realised that the formation of learning and wellness communities has paid dividends, providing the space and structure for our employees to learn, share knowledge, and support one another. It is also key for our leaders to lead by example, participating actively in training workshops, continuously encouraging the adoption of new technologies and innovations.

As we look to transform our business and operating models due to the evolving needs of market conditions, mindset changes are one of the most critical components in the entire process. Rather than the need to get it right the first time, employees should be encouraged to experiment and build on small successes. This would enable a shift in learning agility and develop evolving and relevant skills, as well as competencies of the individual.

Talent development for the future

Culture, gender equality and diversity are equally important factors for employee retention and aligning culture with core business goals and key drivers. A safe and supportive environment for all colleagues through coaching and a structured buddy programme for new joiners will allow them to tap on the much-needed support until they find their footing in the organisation. This should be supported by leveraging data-driven insights to better HR practices and focus on matters that enhance employee experience, enable their performance and support their development and wellbeing.

With the demand for talent heating up in a post-pandemic reality, HR practitioners should recognise that their role is transformational as opposed to being transactional and take the requisite steps to drive organisational growth for a digital-first economy.

Photo / Provided [Pictured: Ng Hwee Leng, Director, People & Organisation, IMC Industrial Group]

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