The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) shall be the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. AEC envisages the following key characteristics: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of equitable economic development, and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.
-ASEAN Economic Community, Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Since the early turn of the century, ASEAN member nations have been collaborating and cooperating to enhance opportunities between ASEAN countries. The goal of the integration is to enable all member states to move forward unified in three fields; economic, socio-cultural, and political security. According to Anticipating ASEAN Economic Community 2015 by Dr. Paryano, the vision of ASEAN leaders is to transform our region into a highly prosperous and competitive region by 2020. This includes a growth in job opportunities, reduction in poverty, and free movement of goods, services, investment and skilled labor.
What is the ASEAN Integration?
The three Initiatives for the ASEAN Integration (IAI) include human resources development and capacity building, recognition of professional qualifications, and integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing. Essentially, as a result of the AEC, the ASEAN region will enjoy a free trade of goods, services, investment, skilled labor, and a freer flow of capital.
What does the ASEAN Integration mean for HR?
Human resources is a priority for the member nations of the ASEAN Integration. HR development and capacity building plays a key role in the ASEAN Integration goals, and we can expect to see breakthroughs in professional qualifications, development of financial policies, enhanced communication infrastructure and connectivity, development of intra-ASEAN electronic transactions, and industry integration to promote regional sourcing.
This means that local applicant pools will expand into regional pools, as it becomes easier for any member ASEAN country to hire employees from another. It also means that your own employees have a higher chance of being hired by another company. Both your employee hiring opportunities and your competition as employers will increase.
How can I benefit from ASEAN 2015?
Your business has an exciting new opportunity to quickly, easily, and effectively hire talent from other ASEAN countries. HR leaders should be gearing up to recruit and onboard great talent that was previously out of reach due to country borders. Many of the barriers that made hiring talent from another ASEAN country difficult will be demolished.
What are the risks of ASEAN 2015 to my company?
Economic advancement relies on human resources. Unless people have equal access to education, training and capacity building, the Philippines may be deprived of a large pool of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs.
-Civil Service Commission Chairman Francisco Duque III
A company is built on the backs of its employees, meaning your most valuable business asset is your human capital. However, because the work pool has diversified, the number of other companies trying to hire one of your own top performers has increased.
Replacing an employee, especially a newly hired one, costs money, time and productivity. In fact, replacing a single employee could cost up to 150 percent of his or her annual salary.
How can I equip my company for the ASEAN Integration?
In order to ensure your company is the most competitive it can be, and prevent your best employees from jumping ship in favor of greener pastures, make sure you offer industry competitive compensation, more benefits, and better learning opportunities. Keep your best employees and attract new talent from across the region with these three essential steps.
1. Streamline Efficiency
Strengthen and professionalize your business processes. Make it easy and enjoyable for your qualified employees to get hired and do their work.
Your initial application process is an indicator to what the company culture is like, so make sure your candidates aren’t put off by tedious or repetitive tasks and a lack of information. It’s easy to recognize whether a company invests in its HR by the quality of entry tests, training, and the respect with which applicants are treated. For example, does an applicant have to wait for hours in a reception area before their interview?
Likewise, current employees shouldn’t be bogged down with logistics that aren’t part of their job. If you hire someone for a marketing position, they shouldn’t have to pour over financial and legal documents.
2. Focus on Job Fit
Make sure you have the right people in the right positions. You can evaluate job fit using assessments that look beyond previous experience and qualifications, and instead focuses on core competencies, such as the skills, personalities and strengths and weaknesses of each individual employee.
Understanding each job candidate as an individual will help HR match the best candidate to the job. It’s both easier and cheaper to hire the right person the first time, instead of hiring an underqualified employee, experiencing impaired job performance, and having to rehire and train someone else.
Here are a few questions that can help determine how well your employees match their jobs;
- Are your employees happy with their jobs?
- Are they in the position best suited to their unique set of skills and abilities?
- Do your employees feel challenged in their jobs?
- Can they overcome professional challenges and improve their skills while doing so?
- Is every hire the best fit to both their position and to the company culture?
3. Prioritize Growth
Support your employees’ ambition for improvement and increased responsibility. Recognize exceptional employees and train them to move up (and sometimes across departments) in the company, showing that growth and achievement is rewarded.
– Profiles Asia Pacific, Keys to Successful Organizations: How to Retain Talent
Ensure your employees have adequate access to trainings and seminars, and that they continually grow as professionals. Offer relevant training programs with an emphasis on skilled educators and professional growth. Your training programs should always implement project evaluation to identify the most valuable components of the training, as well as find any faults. When employees see that a company invests in them, they will work harder and invest themselves back into the company.
Overall, the ASEAN Integration is an exciting development that will enable all companies within the ASEAN member nations to trade skills, services and goods freely, and will expand the pool of qualified and desirable job candidates. Prioritizing growth, focusing on job fit, and streamlining efficient processes will encourage employee loyalty and attract valuable candidates to your company.
About the Author
Jocelyn Pick earned a BS and MS in Statistics from the University of the Philippines, MBA and MSBA from the University of Southern California, and is currently completing her doctorate at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Ms. Pick has been in the human resources industry for more than a decade, gaining experience in performance management, job-matching assessments, team-building programs, career and succession planning, organizational development, leadership and consulting. In addition to being a trainer and program designer, Ms. Pick is active in professional associations throughout the Philippines. She is an officer of PMAP, ImPhil and ODPM, and has assisted multiple HR firms spanning various industries. Ms. Pick has worked with leaders, local officials, and educators, gaining an extensive network of national and international HR and educational practitioners.