Asia is ready for workplace change. Work is changing and the adoption of new technology is progressing fast. With this, mindsets around mobile working are maturing, and organisations are increasingly responding. A compelling trigger for change is the talent attraction and retention challenge that is maintaining its top position on the Asian CEO agenda, as pointed out in our latest thought leadership piece, Driving Effective Workplace Change in Asia.
Particularly in the largest cities, high-caliber talent is:
- • scarce (in 2030, China will be confronted with a lack of 20 million employees),
- • expensive (wage inflation is outpacing productivity improvements in India and China); and
- • difficult to keep (employee engagement can be weak in emerging countries).
Multiple factors are aggravating the situation. Expanding companies (both domestic and international) are vying for the same highly skilled talent in Asia without which they cannot achieve their global ambitions. In some countries, including China, the talent pool is shrinking because of an ageing workforce. In others, in spite of large talent pools, higher education curricula do not align with employers’ needs, leading to an employability deficiency with a double-digit proportion of candidates not meeting multinational companies’ standards.
For companies to become talent magnets, they have to improve their employer brands, an area in which Western multinationals used to be better equipped. Today, competition has become tougher with a number of domestic companies also armed with very strong brands. Aligning the workplace with organisational brand is important to provide work environments that materialise the brand’s promises and reinforce the stickiness of talent to the firm. Illustrations of corporate real estate’s (CRE) contribution to improving brand equity include the creation of “branded environments” and the sprouting of a new generation of cutting-edge campuses for India’s services firms.
The ingredients for success in the talent marketplace include offering attractive working environments, spaces that enable collaboration and facilities that promote health and well-being. However, physical workplace factors aren’t enough and CRE must consider the workplace as an expanded realm. Other crucial factors for talent attraction and retention include supporting individual technology preferences, enabling flexible work programs, empowering people to perform, rewarding them appropriately and providing them with access to experts and mentors. To achieve this, CRE will need to join forces with other departments such as HR and IT.
One of CoreNet Global’s CRE 2020 bold statements predicts the emergence of a super-nucleus of functions. Talent is an area where effective cross-functional collaboration is within reach. An opportunity that CRE teams are starting to seize in Asia.
About the author
Anne Thoraval is the Head of Corporate Research for Jones Lang LaSalle in APAC, based in Singapore.