Developing Leadership Capital and Capability

April 8, 20152:50 pm920 views
Developing Leadership Capital and Capability
Developing Leadership Capital and Capability

Interview with: Phil Holdsworth, Head of Asia Pacific, & Mei Ling Chan, Director, Learning & Development, Impact International

“Getting, growing and keeping talent demands a holistic approach, and leadership and management development runs right through the middle of all of them,” says Phil Holdsworth, Head of Asia Pacific, Impact International.

“Organisations need to put the leadership talent into situations that will stretch them and take them beyond their current role, as well as import skills through training programmes. People must feel they are growing as individuals, that their career path is clear,” he adds. To be successful, companies should be agile in how they respond to employee needs and expectations, according to Mei Ling Chan, Director, Learning & Development.

Impact International is a sponsor company at the marcus evans Southeast Asia HR Summit 2015, taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 7 – 8 May.

Capitalising on the Current Growth Momentum

In Holdsworth’s experience, working with Human Resources (HR) directors around the world, for the HR function to succeed in the current market in Southeast Asia, it needs to become a core part of the organisation instead of an internal service provider.

HR directors must influence the C-suite. They have to start with the right vision, Chan says, and share it with the people who work with them.

To better respond to local needs, many large organisations today are shifting away from a single centre of learning and development to fixed, local, decentralised HR functions.

Local markets need talent that is grown locally. They know the market better, understand the business and can respond better in most circumstances. Global expertise and know how can be shared in a digitally connected world but localisation seems critical for desirable business results,” she highlights.

“There is a shift towards thinking globally but acting locally, and we have seen many organisations achieving this by decentralising the HR and talent management function. Employees have to be empowered to act locally. That provides organisations with greater resilience and agility to respond to an ever-changing marketplace. Talent managers must be close to the talent and the talent close to the business.”

The War for Talent in Southeast Asia

“Some Southeast Asian markets have a considerable pool of young talent who have studied or worked abroad, and decided to return back home. The war for talent is quite strong. We must develop these individuals and give them the career opportunities they are looking for. They want to be exposed to different functions, to develop new skills,” Chan advises.

“Successful HR directors have buy-in and commitment from senior executives to own the development of leaders. That is key to talent retention,” Holdsworth comments. “Retention is far greater when people feel senior executives have a genuine and authentic interest in their development.”

Innovation, Not Replication

Best practices that have worked in the West may not always work in Southeast Asian companies. “HR must move away from replication, to innovation. HR managers need to innovate their own processes and ways of working, as opposed to just execute effectively,” he concludes.

For Chan, this all leads to diversity and inclusion. “A lot of good things happen when people from diverse backgrounds come together. People must be allowed to flourish and be heard. There are many unpolished gems in the region who need the opportunity to lead.”

Author: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

About the Southeast Asia HR Summit 2015

The Southeast Asia HR Summit is the premium forum bringing elite buyers and sellers together. The Summit offers regional HR leaders and consultants and solution providers an intimate environment for a focused discussion of key new drivers shaping corporate priorities and HR strategies. Taking place at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur Hotel, Malaysia, 7 – 8 May 2015, the Summit includes presentations on how to maximise employee performance, equip top talent with global competencies, attract and retain top professionals, and develop versatile leaders.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website here.

Read also: Long-Term Leadership & Innovation

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