Workforce Management Problems Beginning To Hurt

Image credit: iStockphoto/SIphotography

The pandemic was a lot of things to many companies and employees. But for CHROs, it meant they had to quickly adapt to a talent crunch that could hobble their companies’ recovery.

This was highlighted in the recent survey by PERSOLKELLY, an HR solution provider in APAC. Conducted with YouGov, the “2021 APAC Workforce Insights Report” surveyed 1,500 employers and hiring decision-makers from different industries in 12 APAC markets. These include Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The survey, conducted in July 2021, noted persistent, outsized human resources and workforce management issues triggered or made worse by the pandemic. It also offered insights into current hiring problems and workforce management strategies beyond COVID-19, with up to 85% of the respondents facing challenges building their workforce.

This is a challenge for companies in Asia-Pacific economies looking to take advantage of the APAC growth recovery, which the Asian Development Bank forecasted will be 7.2% in 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyday work, and companies have had to relook at the way they hire, retain and nurture their people. At the same time, Asia Pacific remains a vibrant market with excellent opportunities as companies continue to expand regionally and globally. Winning in this landscape means gaining the best talents quickly to take advantage of opportunities to scale,” said Elvin Tan, regional director and head of operations at PERSOLKELLY APAC.

While companies want to capitalize emerging opportunities and capitalize on market conditions by expanding locally, regionally, or beyond, they must overcome major roadblocks. The survey respondents pointed to the top three: constraints on global mobility due to the pandemic, a lack of talents available locally, and a high drop-out rate in specific segments.

The report noted that flexibility would be crucial to building a future-ready workforce. Close to half of the companies surveyed are open to hybrid work arrangements — a mixture of home and office.

“Firms that offer hybrid and remote working arrangements are more likely to attract and retain talents, but some firms face challenges managing these new working styles,” said Tan.

Companies are beginning to realize that it is easier to hire and retain employees who are open to hybrid or remote work arrangements to make hybrid working successful. This was not necessarily a trait that companies looked for before the pandemic.

Having location flexibility allows recruiters to manage overseas talents without bringing them to the country where the company is based. Fifty-five percent of the companies who struggle to fill positions locally said they are willing to engage overseas talent remotely. This approach also allows them to overcome the talent constraints imposed by local governments managing local unemployment due to the pandemic.

While companies see value in these strategies, they face challenges in implementation. The main roadblocks are uncertainty about how to track and monitor the performance of employees, language and culture, and working across time zones.

Image credit: iStockphoto/SIphotography