Have Asia’s SMEs Got Talent?

April 11, 20178:22 am760 views

Asia’s got Talent, Asian Idol, The Voice… unlike these talent competitions across the globe that attract numerous aspiring singers and dancers to participate and kick start their careers, the same cannot be said for global talent in the workforce.

In fact, according to ManpowerGroup’s 11th-annual Talent Shortage Survey, the global talent shortage is at its highest since 2007 – some 40 percent of employers globally report that they are experiencing difficulty filling jobs. 

Coupled with the challenge of an ageing population, it is of little wonder that 46 percent of employers in Asia Pacific – the highest globally – reported difficulty filling jobs.

With the war for talent at its peak, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have traditionally come across as the poorer cousins of multinational corporations (MNCs), given their budgets as well as the lack of resources to identify, train and retain top talent. However, today, with the help of technology, that is slowly changing.

The economic backbone of most economies in Asia Pacific Japan – many SMEs are looking to leverage tools and solutions to overcome barriers in human resource, from efficiently managing and growing teams to attracting new talent – to stand out and win in today’s digital economy.

Auditioning ‘rock star’ new talent

Hiring the right person, with the right skills and one that fits well into the organisation culture is always a challenge. The right person can have measurable impact on business performance of the company. Recruitment today is complicated with a multitude of sourcing avenues – from employee recommendations, student applications to cold calls from around the globe.

Online talent platforms are valuable source for people to identify opportunities, that closely align with employee skills and help overcome the talent shortage. These platforms not only help build talent pipelines, but enable effective engagement with active and passive candidates. It can also shorten the time frame and reduce cost to hire.

Further, there is an opportunity to gather data and insights on the talent demand for specific skills, such as to enable recruiters to make decisions about training and upskill existing employees. Recruiters can also make strategic decisions about future growth requirements.

See: TAP Will Be Enhanced to Help Improve Productivity of SMEs in Singapore

Millennials – those born between 1979 and 2000 – have become the largest generation in the workforce today. With very different expectations, they demand high-quality digital experience. Cloud-based talent management platforms not only help identify and recruit these candidates; but these platforms help motivate them, improve their productivity and identify new skills to learn, once they start working.

According to McKinsey research, these platforms could help boost global GDP by $2.7 trillion by 2025.

Retaining and managing existing talent

The cost of a bad hire is higher for SMEs. The more feasible option would be training and reskilling of the existing workforce, while helping employees improve and succeed with ongoing feedback and coaching.

Effectively managing employee performance has never been more critical. SMEs need a workforce that clearly understands strategic business objectives to grow, expand and quickly adjust course as business needs evolve. It is not just about creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals, but a continuous ongoing dialogue between the manager and employee about performance.

This not just enables organisations to identify top talent, but also aids in ensuring continued motivation, growth and success, which ultimately leads to organisational success. A transformation approach to HR that puts people first, and provides employees with an overall experience that is both engaging and motivating is need of the hour. While, the strategic use of technology can help identify talent gaps in the organisation and better manage existing talent.

By doing so, it gives SMEs the foundation to perform loud and proudly on a global stage, and thus move one-step closer in their journey to become tomorrow’s MNCs. Ultimately, we do not want SMEs to lose out on the best talent; but emerge as the overall global winner in this competitive space, and retain millennial talent, who still continue to be lured by better career prospects with MNCs.

Author credit:


Anthony McMahon, SVP General Business (SME) and Channels, SAP Asia Pacific Japan


Also read: Talent Management Strategies for SMEs

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