HRBoss Blog

HR Trends 2014 in Asia

1. Focus on Employee Retention
In Singapore 2014, demand for local talent will reach unprecedented levels in reaction to the Fair Consideration Framework legislation by Ministry of Manpower (MOM). As a result, organisations will be investing in retaining local talent and re-evaluating recruiting practices to ensure the new compliance standards are met.
The Hay Group study forecasts an average turnover rate of 24 per cent in the Asia-Pacific over the next 5 years. Crucially, Asia-Pacific high performer turnover is also significantly higher than in the West: take the 9.1%  of high performer turnover rate in Asia-Pac and compare it to the 4.3% in the US and 6.4% in Western Europe.
In 2014, we will see HR shifting their focus to workforce planning and developing retention strategies to hold on to their talent. Issues such as poor leadership and management, lack of training and development opportunities -as well as the assciated lack of rewards, recognition and career progression - need to be addressed. Providing job rotation opportunities is already a common option for organisations in Singapore and Japan to keep employees engaged and we predict this practice will become more widespread.
Steven Yeong , Chief Talent Evangelist of Singapore-based recruitment consultant company Hof Consulting, stresses the need for retention and succession planning in Asia.
“In Europe, we see an uptrend of organisations investing in employee retention strategies but in Asia, companies are not doing well in terms of leadership and succession planning. That’s the reason why employees are leaving, especially the mid–level executives… There is a need to keep employees on the right track and give opportunities for employee progression.”
2. The Rise of Asian Talent

At international business forums and industry events across the region there is a distinct lack of Asian leadership, with the overwhelming majority of panellists and keynote speakers coming from the West. 2014 will see a general questioning of the absence of Asians in these leadership roles – quite simply, “Where is all the Asian talent?”

The creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is set to shake all of this up and will certainly boost Asian business leaders’ profiles in the global business arena. We predict that 2014 will see organizations laying the groundwork for these seismic shifts in the Asian business landscape. Organisations can expect a borderless workforce across Asia in 2015 and need to prepare for this.

As a result, we predict that entry of Asian Talent into global roles for international businesses will become more prevalent. As more multi-national Corporations are seeing confidence in Asia and establishing offices in the region, Asian professionals will be given more opportunities by providing local insights and intimate knowledge of the Asian market. We will also start seeing an increase in the number of Asian employees sitting in the global headquarters of organisations. Bring it on.
3. Big Data for HR (Workforce analytics)
Big Data became a mega buzzword in 2013 and this hype is set to continue throughout 2014. The focus this year will continue to highlight the benefits of a Big Data people strategy for HR. The use of data analytics for HR will mean that more data-supported decisions can be made when forecasting and exploring those awkward ‘what-if’ scenarios. In line with employee retention strategies, Big Data systems also helps you identify potential flight risks and talent gaps.

According to Kevin Xia, HRBoss North-Asia Regional Director, “With Big Data technology, C-suite leaders are no longer making guesswork-based decisions, but are working with tangible data, having more tools and legitimacy. HR Big Data analytics platforms, like EmployeeBoss aggregate employee data from all existing HR and business systems into one single overview. Creating visibility across your employee landscape by building multi-dimensional organization overviews easily with embedded Business Intelligence, real-time analytics and a powerful reporting engine. EmployeeBoss is about empowering HR with data-driven insights which can support strategic business decisions at C-suite level. Ultimately, EmployeeBoss helps HR to properly leverage Big Data analysis and gets them knocking at the door of the Boardroom”

Move away from guess-work and make clever decisions about your workforce with HR Big Data in 2014.
4. Elevating HR to the Boardroom
Asian organisations are beginning to realise that, for long-term growth and business success, HR must shift from being admin-focussed to strategically-minded in order to take their seat at the Boardroom table. 2014 will be the year that sees HR take another step in this direction and gets them knocking at the Boardroom door.
Recognising that Talent has a direct impact on business performance and risk, top-level leadership teams are now including HR in the formulation of business strategies. C-suite HR professionals are participating in board meetings to discuss the role of Talent in order to ensure that the organisation has the talent it needs to deliver on business goals.
However, the battle for a seat in the boardroom will take more than just HR competence. In 2014 and beyond, it is about adding genuine strategic value to the business. Workforce and Talent analytics brought about by the rise of Big Data will transform HR, squashing the time and effort needed for HR to carry out administrative duties, such as payroll and reporting. Armed with the right tools for efficiency and analysis, more time can be invested on implementing employer branding strategies or forecasting future needs for organisational success.
5.   Embrace the Digital

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in business across the board and, with the generation of techno-philic Millennials as the new emerging workforce, it’s high-time for HR to leverage the new developments in business tech.

Multiple HR processes can be streamlined by going online. For example, using breakthrough Applicant Tracking Systems to manage all the applications in one place, on one platform, hiring processes can be optimized greatly. HR can escape ‘Excel-hell’ by using interactive and realtime HR dashboards. One-click reporting tools make laborious HR reporting cycles a relic of the past.

By engaging in social technologies such as social recruiting, video interviewing, webinars and online staff training modules, HR can become more interactive and engaging.
By moving these applications to the new generation of Cloud, SaaS-based models, HR doesn’t even need to burden their in-house IT department… plus implementation times and costs of these new HR techology platforms are generally quick and cost-effective.
6. The Golden Age of the ‘Expat Package’ is over.
It was good while it lasted, but 2014 will be the year that the gradual decline of premium Expat packages will come to fruition. Across Asia, locations that were previously regarded as ‘hardship’ destinations for Expats have risen through the ranks to become seen as desirable places to live. Take for example Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai- traditionally viewed as ‘emerging’ markets and corporate backwaters, these locations now top the hot-lists of places where top talent would consider working.
2014 will see foreign talent competing with local talent to work in these locations, so the bloated Expat packages of pre-2008 will decline in favor of local or 'local plus' remuneration schemes. Why import expensive foreign talent when homegrown talent in these key growth markets can compete on competitive local terms?
2013 saw the salaries for top HR talent inflate in Hong Kong, Singapore and China. In 2014 we predict that costs for top HR talent in these key regional hubs will match the salaries of their counterparts based out of New York and London. As a result of this salary inflation, we are seeing a recalibration of salaries across mature and maturing markets.