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Fighting for talent in the digital age, Malaysian style

AvantiKumar | March 2, 2017
Culture is important in attracting and retaining talent, which is becoming more critical in today's operating environment, said local MD Terrence Yong.


Image (GraphicStock) - Work and life culture


  In common with their peers in the current global business environment, Malaysian companies are finding themselves in a war for talent.  Becoming an 'employer of choice,' is high on the agenda for business leaders in the digital age.

More smaller companies in Malaysia are also stepping onto a platform, which is becoming levelled due to eCommerce, and fighting for talent to help realise new borderless opportunities, often starting in the Asean region. The talent and skills gap remains a concern for the national ICT agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and national ICT industry association PIKOM.

How do companies bring aboard the best of the best and what makes a company a good place to work for?  Computerworld Malaysia recently found an opportunity to pose this question to Terrence Yong (pic below), who is perhaps one of the local tech industry's youngest managing directors.

Terrence Yong -SAP

Yong started with a brief outline of his company's offerings this year, enterprise applications software Company SAP Malaysia "essentially helps companies of all sizes and industries to help them run better. Our goal is to leverage on core competencies in solving business problems to make companies run thriving businesses."

To help achieve that business aim, he said the company is focused on "attracting talent to choose to work with us. The SAP family is now simply packed with fantastic people hosted under one umbrella, all moving towards a common goal. We really work hard offer a diverse and inclusive environment built on trust as the core. Trust is completely essential for growing a culture that inspires innovation, productivity and creativity."

The culture of 'belonging'

Yong went on to say that employees of all levels need to be feel engaged, which will build a certain "sense of belonging. This in turn translates into a willingness to not only excel in their roles but also take pride in serving as brand ambassadors for the company."

"Some people may have the impression that the tech industry has always suffered from horrendous turnover rates and that means it's a terrible vertical to work in," he said. "The truth couldn't be further from that because what I see are highly dedicated people towards a culture of innovation. In our company, we are firm in our support to the people we nurture and strongly encourage them to develop their careers while achieving work-life balance."

Company culture is often seen as ephemeral and relies on leadership qualities. He said another key is to encourage learning. "Learning is a key enabler for the future and no matter what changes in future, that's something that is not going to go away. We survive in a time of ever-shortening innovation cycles and dynamic market requirements. Those who fail to constantly adapt and embrace change, will be lost."

Dealing with attrition

However, Yong does say that attrition is also a phenomenon that must be prepared for. "This is true whether in or out of the tech industry and companies must be prepared to have in place a talent pipeline in order not to disrupt business operations more than necessary."

"This is an area where SAP benefits from its own success actually," he said. "I have to mention that SAP has been recognised as an employer of choice in multiple markets across the globe and part of that is due to us using one of our own products, the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solution. Thanks to that, we're able to reach out the right talent in the right place at the right time."

Retaining talent needs a healthy ecosystem in place. "The company strives to promote healthy living through a reward system to further give employees a sense of belonging," said Yong. "We don't only look towards the younger generation of talent. We also reach out to a fantastic talent pool of multiple generations and in many countries has a vested interest in the wider community. For example, our Back-to-Work initiative is aimed at enabling seamless transition for professional women who are looking to re-enter the workforce after a career break."

"Being an employer of choice is not all about providing perks and benefits, but of understanding the needs and ideals of each employee," he said. "The people are the company, and we grow together. Employees who are nurtured will in the end prove more valuable than any single thing that we can build or create."

This article first appeared on Computerworld Malaysia 2 March 2017.


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