Using outsourcing to understand drivers in Asia/Pacific
This article was guest-written by Kieran Scally, Vice President – Solutions, APAC, Ochre House.
Recruitment process outsourcing and talent management strategies are often guided by employee motivation and drivers, but on a global scale what really engages staff will vary from place to place. As the Asia/Pacific region becomes increasingly important to the global economy, organisations in this area need to ask themselves what really motivates their employees.
Typically in western culture, the criteria used by employees to gauge whether their career is advancing tend to focus on three key factors:
- Am I developing my skills in my role?
- Are my skills good enough that I can teach others?
- As I improve, am I being recognised by my superiors and rewarded appropriately and financially?
It doesn’t always work the same way in Asia/Pacific though. The measures employees tend to rate their career progression on, in rank order, are:
- The professional title on my business card – what status do I get from this? How does it affect the way the world sees me?
- How much money do I earn – determining the level of pride my family have in me and the more I can pay for in support?
- How many people do I manage? What does this mean for my status and influence in the business?
So, as long as job title, money and team size are moving north, many employees are likely to believe their career is advancing; skills and abilities rarely factor anywhere in these considerations.
As larger numbers of employers look to attract and retain talent by meeting the criteria listed above they are, in effect, creating over-inflated expectations within the workforce, an issue facing the recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) industry in the region.
With the emphasis placed on job title and status, the result is a workforce with highly ranked titles whereby the job requirements don’t necessarily align with those of similar titles globally. As organisations increasingly begin operating at an international level this can cause disconnect between similar, internal roles across the globe.
For example, if a company opens an office in Spain, an Asia/Pacific employee applying for the same job title in the new office may struggle as they come up against external recruits with the same title but more experience and skills. In order to balance this out, organisations themselves will need to work at shifting the perceptions of career development in the region.
Perhaps, as the west has lots to learn from the east, so too do we have something new to bring to the table. It is impossible to change hundreds of years’ worth of culture and that is certainly not what we are recommending.
Ultimately this is not going to change unless employers understand not only how they should approach the workforce, and why, but also that any change will be a slow and subtle process. Adjusting a behaviour which has been engrained over an extended period of time cannot be done overnight. Instead APAC organisations should be encouraging staff to stop and analyse their career progression, their skills and where this can take them.
About the Author
Kieran Scally is a commercially minded professional with extensive knowledge and experience in talent management and RPO. He is focussed on developing Ochre House’s presence in APAC and operationally responsible for services delivered across the region.