The economic growth over the past two decades has opened up many new jobs and job opportunities that didn’t exist before, and has propelled the demand for skilling, and education, so that the existing human resource could be trained and utilized.
This growth in business, both in the manufacturing and services sector, has created demand for new study courses and new educational degrees and diplomas in the educational institutions and has given rise to hundreds of new coaching institutes imparting short-term courses and skill development programs. With technological changes and old systems and processes getting replaced by newer latest ones, some jobs have forever gone. Youngsters are going in for new job roles which require various domain specializations and regular upskilling to chart their career growth.
The whole of Asia has been witness to this upsurge in new jobs and new desirable skills and corresponding requisite competencies. When the market and industry were expanding, and when there was good money supply, it was easier to spend on human resources to train and equip them to perform the desired tasks, but whenever the recession crept in, investment in human resources training was one area that first bore the brunt, as unnecessary expenditure. This surely doesn’t apply to all the companies out there, but companies whose market share is low and profitability just about average would invariably be the first to cut the frills.
I am talking with regard to Asia, and especially China, South Asia and Southeast Asia because these have been the recipient of a larger chunk of foreign direct investments, and the maximum development in both manufacturing and service sectors happened in these parts of the world in the last two decades. Several factories and IT companies moved into countries such as China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Philippines to take advantage of cheaper costs of trained and skilled resources as well as of cheaper real estate and associated support services.
It is thus imperative that the companies in Asia focus on and invest in hiring and retaining their best human resources, and one of the ways they can do so is by exposing them to a world-class work environment, and advanced training opportunities.
Most companies today are not structured keeping in mind long term vision probably because they are not sure of the changing scenario of their industry and whether they shall remain invested competitively. The short term focus makes them treat their employees as machines and not as a body of skills, wisdom, and emotions. This is dangerous because when employees are not cared for, their commitment and dedication gets diluted.
Companies in Asia have to invest more in building robust HR organizations which can capitalize on the cultural diversity and equity of Asians, and make them more mobile and capable to work anywhere from anywhere delivering the same amount of effectiveness. Organizations must focus on training all their mid-management employees with managerial and leadership skills keeping in mind the hygiene factors needed when they have people of different ethnicity, culture, and language working in their teams.
Apart from creating a lean and horizontal organization structure, the organizations today are facing challenges of keeping their talented people motivated and creatively engaged so as to reap maximum output of their knowledge and skills. With increasing competitiveness among companies, organizations cannot afford to fail on quality and delivery commitments and these have an effect on their employees suffering with burnout and stress at work, which further gets reflected in their personal relationships at home and family. The pressure today is not just on the marketing & sales functions, but equally on Production, Logistics, Finance, and HR too.
With the increased pressure to perform and to climb up the corporate hierarchy ladder faster, employees in the lower to mid-management levels tend to work in silos and do not bond well at work to accomplish a task collectively in a more efficient way. A lack of teamwork has many pitfalls. One, it creates unwanted emotions and unhealthy rivalry, and two it deprives the team of a shared learning opportunity.
The reason why there is a large number of training and skilling organizations mushroomed over the last two decades is to address the challenges of lacking team-work and healthy and creative engagement between employees so that their individual talent can be best cultivated. And companies who have engaged these agencies to foster and nurture teamwork have benefitted too.
The need to manage the senior managers and leaders is even greater, and interestingly an ignored one in companies of mid-size to small size. While larger organizations with multiple manufacturing and office set-up have addressed this issue quite effectively, the smaller growing organizations have lacked initiative on this front. But I know some organizations who during their growth curve have consistently invested in getting their mid and senior level managers trained on leadership and other subtle managerial traits are today large size, profitable, and with commanding market shares.
In the coming half decade, we are going to see quite a few disruptions, some of them on technology front and some on companies becoming more focused on their core expertise instead of becoming too diversified just for the sake of becoming a conglomerate without any synergy between the group companies. When an organization is focused on its core business and technology segment, it becomes easier to manage people talent and non-human resources as well.
The technologies that are coming into play into our lives are driven by IoT, Industrial IoT, Data science, and Artificial Intelligence in almost all areas of work, be it manufacturing or service sector.
All these shall be supported with the launch of faster 5G telecommunication networks coming into most countries, both developed and developing. Technology adaptation will take some time as existing infrastructure has to be modified and human resource manpower also needs adequate and systematic learning to get the best benefit out of the changing environment. More jobs and tasks shall be outsourced and there would be more part-time employees to take care of them.
In a nutshell, while exciting time awaits post-Covid19, an area that all organizations must accord due attention to is to manage their people to retain them, rotate them, and empower them to take ownership and be individual leaders in their own space. An organization that helps create a good number of entrepreneurs will be lauded more than one that fails to create evolved and inspired leaders.