Tuesday, October 10

Global HR Executives Focusing on Retention; Looking for Workers With Specific Skills 

Global HR Executives Focusing on Retention; Looking for Workers With Specific Skills

Oct. 10, 2006 -- HR executives from around the globe say one of the concerns that keeps them up at night is the need for workers with specific talents and skill sets and the fact that younger workers are more difficult to retain in the long term.

In a midday panel discussion on Monday with high-level HR executives from the United States, South Africa and Hong Kong, at the HR Leaders Summit in Palm Desert, Calif., the discussion revolved around the employee value proposition and the talent war across the globe, among other topics.
Panelists agree that the talent pool is changing. Workers are showing less loyalty to the company, said Charlotte Mokoena, former group executive, human resources for Telkom SA Limited in Victoria, South Africa.

Telkom hopes to increase their current 50% share in the mobile communications market, among other goals, and Mokoena cites an increasing trend among, younger workers to “job hop.”

“They are not loyal to you, they are loyal to themselves,” she said. “But they are highly motivated, highly intelligent, and unfortunately, highly mobile.” As such, her company is in the process of trying to figure out what will make these sought-after employees stay.

One of the plans Telkom is implementing is tracking the “emotional drivers” among workers. The company surveys employees twice a year and asks questions such as: “Are you happy with your development?” “Are you happy with what you’re doing in your job?” “Are you happy with your career path?”

Another universal theme among the global HR executives is the focus on ensuring that managers are focused on retention and motivation to keep turnover rates low.

Donna McNamara, recently retired vice president, global education and training, Colgate-Palmolive Co., said one of the ways the company plans to ensure future talent is by “trying to influence a culture of respect and making sure it’s integrated throughout all HR systems. Managing with respect is very important,” she said.

Across the globe in Hong Kong, Horace Ho, senior vice president, human resources, Johnson Electric Group, is trying to deal with what he says is the current lack of talent management in Asia.

“We’re based in Hong Kong,” he said. “Unlike other multinationals, our leadership and HR strategy doesn’t come from North America. So with the current environment in Asia, we have to attract talent by building our credibility.” According to Ho, 30% to 40% turnover is not uncommon in many parts of Asia. And he said he worries about how to explain to the CEO why the people are leaving.

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