Festival of Media Asia: Bridging the Asian talent gap

By , Marketing-Interactive, Singapore | In Media | November 16, 2011
The talent gap has become a problem not just on the local front in Asia, but also around the world.

In an environment where talent is scarce and the turnover rate high, how do you retain staff that show potential? This talent gap has become a problem, not just on the local front in Asia, but also around the world.

Google, famed for its work culture, environment, and employee assistance programme, uses several platforms to recognise the importance of a manager's role. The problem that we faced in Google was, 'How do you bring out the best in managers?" Google's D N Prasad, head of people operations and technology and people brand, Asia-Pacific, at the Festival of Media Asia in Singapore said. And, in addressing the problem, Google created a case study called Project Oxygen, which aims to discover the qualities of managers who have teams that perform better and are happier.

"A good manager empowers the team and does not micromanage. A good manager expresses interest and concern for team members," Prasad said, in explaining some of the qualities Google has identified in a good manager.

William J Manfredi, executive vice-president, global talent management at Wunderman/Y&R, believes in setting clear goals for managers -- 70 per cent financial, and 30 per cent qualitative, to be exact. Wunderman also uses talent assessment matrix to measure performance and potential.

"Simplicity works. I'm not interested in people leaving. I'm more interested in whether they're doing a good job growing and managing talent," Manfredi said.

Shaun Ruming, vice-president, human resources and training at McDonald's Asia-Pacific, West Asia, and Africa, echoes the same sentiment. He said that its goal in managing talents is to ensure the fast food giant has the leadership talent to drive business success, both today, and in the future.

As for Barry Cupples, chief executive officer, Omnicom Media Group Asia-Pacific, who likens the staff and talent pool to an ecosystem, said the five important components are empowerment, engagement, involvements, philosophy, and culture.

The speakers at the session on the Asian talent gap shared a common belief, and that is, good talent is worth investing in, and that companies have a role in empowering and educating staff.

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