HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE - BY GARY WOOLLACOTT, HORTON INTERNATIONAL, THAILAND

Posted on 29/11/2019

Much has been published recently on the difficulties of recruiting qualified and effective staff.  This has become a problem in many sectors and seems unlikely to improve in the short term.  Too many companies are chasing too few talented human resources and, as a direct consequence, the price of that talent has been rising.  Thailand’s economy has been growing consistently over the past few years and it seems that this growth is set to continue for the medium term, at least.

What can companies do to ensure that they attract the best talent in the market?  

An obvious answer is to plan carefully their HR needs, ensuring that line managers involve the HR function as their business plans evolve, and setting up a rigorous selection process.  That’s in an ideal world; the reality is that many companies have a knee-jerk reaction to staffing requirements and only seek talent when their own people leave.  This is, of course, on the assumption that an internal promotion is neither appropriate nor possible.

Talent Pipelines

Some of the more forward-thinking companies have set up talent pipelines, whereby they identify suitable individuals – and may even approach, interview and assess them – in order to understand the shape of the market before they actually need to move on a recruitment project.  This may be done either in-house, or with the help of an HR specialist.  It involves an investment in both time and money (real outlay, or opportunity cost) and the pay-off is not seen immediately.  However, when a resignation happens, the company is poised to act quickly, drawing on its knowledge of external talent and may be able to make an appointment within a shorter period of time than usual.  Due to the costs involved, those companies that make use of this strategy often tend to do so for only the most senior or key positions.

In a very tight labour market, as we are seeing now, building a talent pipeline may not always work.  Candidates have many options in a rising market and it simply may not be enough to approach them with an offer and expect them to accept.  

Recruitment Expediency

Even using a recruitment agency in Thailand or executive headhunters may not bring the desired results if the grass is thought to be greener elsewhere.  At the same time, it can be a mistake to dither over an appointment in a market like this; if a hiring manager sees someone who is both highly suited to the position and very interested in it, chances are that other organisations may also be talking to him or her with similar ideas in mind.  Delaying a decision in times like this may well result in a lost candidate.  

Employee Scruples

Another issue that is, sadly, not uncommon at all levels of management is that too many candidates think it is acceptable behaviour to accept a position and then continue shopping around for another with the full intention of accepting a better offer.  Hiring managers should abhor this type of behaviour and might bear it in mind when interviewing candidates who have accepted an offer elsewhere, working out their notice.  If the candidate is willing to do it to another company, then he or she may have no hesitation in doing it again.

Good Communication and Honesty

Having attracted talented people, companies sometimes forget that post-recruitment dialogue is just as important as the pre-recruitment seduction.  Employees who feel that they are treated just as another resource to be exploited may react badly to that, particularly if they were promised something else before joining the company.  Misleading statements during the recruitment process or broken promises after can only lead to dissatisfied employees and, in a worst case scenario, an early and unexpected departure.  The management of human resources is a time-consuming and expensive process and events like this come at great cost.  Few employers actually know how much it costs to recruit, train and retain talent: for those that do know, the exercise is illuminating. 

Employee Retention

The constant companions of retention are training, development, promotion and rewards.  Surprisingly, some companies do not use any of these tools to try to retain their staff: the work alone is supposed to provide the satisfaction levels necessary.  These are sometimes the same companies that complain about high levels of staff turnover.  More enlightened companies recognise that the use of differing combinations of retention tools is necessary for different candidates.  It is definitely the case that one size does not fit all, and line managers will need to pay increasingly more careful attention to the methods by which they hope to retain their staff.

Thai Labour Law Favours Employees R

Finally, a few words on those employees that organisations choose, for whatever reason, not to retain.  The Labour Court provides an excellent source of recourse for employees who have been genuinely wronged by their employers.