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Time to change how we find and help our best people achieve

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Time to change how we find and help our best people achieve

Pandemic taught us that more things are possible than we realised, and that includes talent management

Is it strange to hear that a post-Covid “Great Resignation” could be coming when so many people have lost their jobs? Then consider this: A recent LinkedIn survey found 41% of workers were considering quitting.

Organisations must remember that Covid has been tough on everyone. Those who have been sticking to their posts may now be seeking a fresh challenge. The pandemic has also taught organisations and people what is possible, and how work will look in the future with work from home and other changes.

I see some companies already planning and acting on their talent needs. They want to come out of the crisis in the best position possible for new opportunities. These companies are taking on new staff, often from different industries and with different experiences.

Their challenge is to get these new people up to speed quickly and to meet the expectations of their most valuable workers. Those expectations are now very different from before the pandemic. It does not matter if they recruit people who had lost their jobs, people seeking new challenges, or people with specific expertise. What matters is that we all need to think differently in our much-transformed world.

However, there are some insights from how companies approached managing talent during the crisis that we will have to carry into the future.

Talents contribute better if they know you well before they arrive. Because so many organisations had closed their physical offices, Covid meant that new people had to be educated, connected to colleagues and shown “how we do things around here” virtually. This approach to ensuring new people have everything they need before they start, through what is effectively a pre-onboarding virtual experience, is a great tool.

India’s Tata Consulting Services has won awards for this approach, but your efforts in this regard do not have to be complicated. At SEAC, we were able to offer full-time positions to new graduates who completed virtual “graduate boot camps” with us.

Our original purpose was to give these young people entering the worst job market in living memory some experience and hope. The experience also let them get a close look at how we worked, how their potential future colleagues operated, and what we did. This was highly beneficial for all, even for those to whom we offered positions and who declined, because they knew it was not the right fit for them.

Talents develop best by doing. With so many people potentially moving between opportunities and organisations, how organisations manage people development and deployment needs to change. Many are recruited for new skills the organisation doesn’t have. Many organisations’ systems were not set up to accommodate this increased diversity. Also, some people can find ways to contribute that the organisation or even they themselves might not have thought possible — if they know what is needed.

A good example came last week from Boonyanuch Boonbumrungsub, chief marketing officer at Food Passion Co, the operator of Bar-B-Q Plaza. She spoke at our monthly all-hands meeting and shared how her company had freed people to go and make things happen, even if that was not their usual role.

She gave the example of establishing cloud kitchens. The changing circumstances presented new opportunities for talents to develop and contribute to the business. The company used the pandemic as an opportunity to upgrade the skills of its workers to improve their efficiency.

Talents may work best for you if they work for you only some of the time. The definition of talents now needs to be much broader, and this means that we also ned to redefine the systems that manage talent. Thailand’s white-collar gig economy is still small relative to some other countries, but in the future companies will engage such talents more. The more flexible approaches the pandemic demanded have taught us that things previously thought to be incompatible can be incorporated easily.

Covid proved that alternative methods work. I have skilled and inspiring people who don’t want a 9-to-5 position. During the pandemic they contributed to new products and industry-leading learning experiences. They did this working on terms and conditions that made them happy.

We also “borrowed” talent from some of our partner organisations when it was not feasible to recruit or develop our own. This led to some great experiences for our clients from their involvement.

How organisations think about talented people has changed. I think everything we know about what we call talent management needs to be looked at carefully and rethought with great outwardness and openness to what is possible.

Organisations that assume existing systems and approaches are fine are missing an opportunity. They also risk seeing their best people walk out the door for more imaginative employers.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Talk to us about how SEAC can help your business during times of uncertainty at https://forms.gle/wf8upGdmwprxC6Ey9 

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