Last March 22, Talent Management Asia 2018 was held at the SMX Convention Center at SMX Aura. The event brought together some of the nation’s Leading HR Professionals from a wide range of companies to discuss key insights on how the Philippines can stay relevant globally when it comes to managing their workforce.

The event kicked off with the first speaker, Rahul Singh, former Country Manager for American Express and Genpact Philippines. He spoke about the importance of selecting the best talent, most likely a passive candidate, ensuring that you nurture their growth through learning opportunities like job rotations, having clear authentic leadership when handling a team, and empowering the workforce to make choices and decisions in order to let them do their best work. He also mentioned that the organization shouldn’t shy away from celebrating well-tried failures, because when something fails that’s where many learning opportunities happen, and employees become wiser for the next time. Another key insight from Singh was to ensure that you continuously build your talent pipeline.

A total of 10 speakers followed Singh, providing the audience with a jam packed program on all things Talent Management.

Here are the 3 key insights I gained from the conference:

  • Agility in a shifting multi-generational workforce – Baby Boomers are retiring, as an ever increasing number of Millennials continue to enter the workforce. Many companies are struggling to understand how to best develop, engage, and retain Millennial talent. Most of the speakers touched on this point during the conference.  Organizations must take a hard look at their current company culture, norms, and metrics. When organizations become realistic about their current situation, they can see the gaps that need to be addressed to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. The faster they address these needs the better, as the workforce demographics shift, the way business is conducted will also feel the effects. Millennials are less traditionalist. They thrive in a more collaborative environment where they feel a sense of purpose about their job.  Organizations need to be able to quickly adapt to the changing times, especially when it comes to their talent. If they don’t, they are at risk for a compounded problem of higher turnover rates, increased hiring costs, and lower productivity and engagement.
  • Continuous Learning- Many of the Speakers brought up the importance of continuous learning. It is no longer enough to only tackle new hire orientation. Learning is a process that needs to be utilized throughout an employee’s career with the organization.  This can take many shapes and forms, and is not limited to the traditional methods of learning. Although in the Philippines corporate learning is traditionally classroom based. Organizations shouldn’t rule out the e-learning or mobile learning respectively. Another suggestion was job rotations. Employees who are A players possess skills that can translate over different departments.  Job Rotations enable employees to understand the different parts of the organization and how they work together to achieve a common organizational goal. Others also suggested Coaching and Mentorships as a way for managerial employees to hone their skills and enable employees to work through work difficulties from someone who has had previous experience in the same situations which facilitates holistic learning. When organizations focus on continuous learning they up skill their employees, therefore equipping them to handle more complex tasks and ensuring that they develop the target competencies needed to excel in their individual development. This also helps develop the organization’s internal pool of talent, increasing the chances for top performers to be considered for promotions and decreasing the need to hire externally.
  • Knowing Your Purpose – It is important for employees to know that they’re doing meaningful work that aligns with the organization’s goals. When they feel appreciated and valued, productivity increases, turnover decreases and employees are happier and more engaged, which makes a direct correlation to the improvement of the organizational goals of the company. Knowing your purpose is an important part of employee engagement. When an employee’s personal sense of purpose is complemented by their purpose at work they remain engaged. Employees will work harder, use their initiative, and make sensible decisions about their work, allowing the company to operate more efficiently and ensuring that the positive effects can be felt by everyone from the Top Management to the Customers.

The conference was capped off with a Panel Discussion about “How Leading Multinationals Build and Sustain Their Talent Pipeline,” where they answered audience questions. The panelists were: Hiyasmin Mattison, Chief Human Resources Officer of Sun Life Financial, and Jaspreet Kakar, Chief Human Resources Officer of AXA Philippines. They both agreed that it all begins with finding the right talent for the company, the A Players, and then ensuring that they continue to remain engaged when they join the organization. Employee compensation and benefits are no longer enough to retain talent. Top talent wants more in the form of learning opportunities, career advancement, and working with companies that support their personal passions and interests.  In a nutshell, talent wants to work with companies that care about them too. Companies at their core thrive when they start to focus not only on the customers, but on the well-being of their talent. When companies take care of their people, their people are more invested in doing their best on the job, increasing productivity, and customer satisfaction. Overall, it was an interesting topic and a good conference that left many of the HR & Management Leaders in the room strategically thinking about how they could put into practice what they learned during the conference.

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