Across most of Asia’s diverse markets, competition for talent is more intense than ever as domestic brands — historically seen as second place to overseas multinationals, as far as candidate preferences are concerned — compete with their foreign counterparts for top candidates.
The only exception, it appears, is Japan, where working in a well-established domestic firm, like the Toyotas and Panasonics of the country, is seen as more prestigious and stable than top foreign multinationals. Professionals who hope to gain international experience would rather choose to join a local firm and opt for an overseas transfer than join a foreign company.
Outside of Japan, the rise and globalisation of domestic brands in other parts of Asia have caught the eye of many employees, who now see the potential and advantages of joining a local firm.
China, in particular, has seen the meteoric rise of various local brands, now multinationals in their own right and visible to the world. Of these organisations, 21, including Internet giant Alibaba and online travel agency Ctrip, have been listed in Forbes’ Asia’s Fab 50 Companies list. The list also includes companies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Successes and challenges
For many domestic companies, success usually comes from ensuring compatibility between products/services offered and market demands as well as localising their talent pool to leverage employees’ market knowledge, among other reasons.
However, many face the perennial challenge of finding candidates who have an international perspective, strong knowledge of local markets and the requisite language skills. As they find success within their home countries and look to expand overseas or execute successful IPOs (initial public offerings), the search for talent would have to be taken a step further — this means acquiring true Asian knowledge plus experience in other markets.
In the past, domestic brands have had to work hard at making themselves more attractive to prospective hires, be it through creating a more international corporate culture, introducing better pay/benefits, and ensuring clearer project and performance management processes. This is working in China where 44% of domestic employers surveyed said they would provide increments of 6-10%, almost on par with foreign multinationals (46%).
Those who are highly successful at hiring have two secrets to success: they simply hire the right people for the job — those who have the right skill sets and share company values — and they figure out the most effective platforms to engage their target audiences.
3 ways to hire the right people
1. Promote your company values. Does your culture reward teamwork or competitiveness? Or do you value customer service, creativity or innovation? Promoting your company values will help attract like-minded individuals and increase the likelihood of finding the perfect match.
2. Have a compelling employee value proposition (EVP). Top performers want to know what sets your company apart. What does it stand for? How is achievement recognised and rewarded? Aim to promote these attributes through your online platforms, public relations or even word-of-mouth. Remember to separate your employment and consumer brands.
3. Be open-minded. Often, the best candidates exist outside of your industry. A high-potential candidate with strong transferable skills will often do well even in another industry, when given the right training. They may also bring with them new and innovative perspectives that will help move your business forward.
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