Asia’s Top HR Blog

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Sleep Your Way to the Top

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By Yvonne Manzi
Guest Writer, University of London

In this short and quirky TED talk, Arianna Huffington attacks the trending culture of sleep deprivation as a way of being more productive and reaching success. We should, she says “literally sleep our way to the top”, because a sleep deprived person is not a productive person. Being terribly busy and fitting an unthinkable number of activities within a day may give us a feeling of accomplishment and productivity, but in the long run will drain us of energy, pace and creativity – all traits that are key to the successful individual.

Can’t sleep well? Here are a few simple tips to help you get those extra Z’s at night.

1. Keep regular hours so you can have a set body clock
2. Create a restful and pleasant sleeping environment
3. Exercise regularly (but not before bedtime!)
4. Make sure your bed is clean and comfortable (keep it tidy)
5. Tone down the caffeine – even if you drink it in the morning, it upsets your natural balance
6. Don’t overindulge in caffine, smoke, food or alcohol
7. Write away your worries – keep a journal so you don’t mull everything over before bedtime

…and if all else fails, don’t drink liters of coffee but learn to nap! A 20 minute nap can completely revive you.

So take it from Arianna, “the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting more sleep.”

See the TED talk here: How to Succeed? Get more sleep.

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Strategic HR

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Article written by Sherry Perkins, Profiles International

Our friends at Profiles International recently posted this very true and interesting article on the strategic role of HR within an organization. Let us know what you think about this – you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Examining your seat at the table…

The strategic role of Human Resource Management (HRM) has never been more prevalent as a topic of discussion among HR managers, OD professionals, and senior executives. Nearly every business and professional magazine or scholarly journal features an article that focuses on the strategic influence of human resource management and its effect on the achievement of business results. Few would refute the importance of an organization’s most valued asset: human capital.

Nor would many argue with the essential contribution of those who specialize in the acquisition and optimization of this most valued asset. Yet, the seemingly unspoken resolution that human resource management takes a secondary, if not tertiary, seat of importance at the business table is in direct conflict with the presumptions of the critical role of HRM.

How many of us have been brought to the strategy table long after the business strategy has been determined? Perhaps we have joined the meeting on the last day, to hear the strategy and to be given a directive to hire and onboard a team to support the strategic direction. How many have been excluded from the strategic planning process all together, but rather were sent an email that asks us to develop a communications plan to articulate that strategy to the company-at-large? Most of us have encountered at least one of these occurrences, and may feel that our contribution to the business strategy and direction has been less than influential.

In truth, strategic talent management is a critical business component of strategic business planning, in and of itself. The dynamics of global business management, cultural influences, political and economic factors, intercontinental influences, generational issues, open systems management, and team leadership make the focus on human capital essential for organizational sustainability and growth. What mindset, then, is at the base of flawed thinking that human resource management is merely a support role to the real work of business?  How is it that the business mission, vision, and direction may be documented without any concrete discussion regarding the people resources that will translate that mission, vision, and direction into reality?

There is little doubt that HR managers, HR professionals, OD experts, and talent management specialists are more knowledgeable of people systems and processes than ever before.  We are highly trained, well read, experienced, and certified in every aspect of talent management.  Our learning is intentional, directional, and focused. We are experts in our field and recognized for our craft by each other and by leaders outside our discipline. What more could be desired to take our rightful seat at the table of decision makers?

The not-so-simple answer is that we must understand the businesses with which we intend to integrate. The executives want to know that we “get it” – that we understand the business we are in and can be trusted with ensuring its long-term sustainability. We really cannot fully support what we do not fully understand, and even if we could, we may not be viewed as credible. We must be able to articulate the business direction, the potential inhibitors and enhancers to progress (both internal and external), the trends in the industry, as well as what must be done to remain competitive.  We must learn the language of the industry and the metrics that define success.We must substantially contribute to discussions outside our immediate vernacular.

We must offer proactive HR/OD solutions that are fully integrated into business strategy, so they are not seen as add-ons or “personnel programs”. No executive will trust his/her business to those who are only tangentially connected – we must be all in. Want to be invited to the business table? Bring the meat!

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Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. to hold its 1st Talent Assessment and Development Conference

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By Jabrielle Vincee Delfin
Marketing Associate, Profiles Asia Pacific

The leader in online assessments in the country, Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. will hold its first ever international conference in the country entitled “ITADC: International Talent Assessment and Development Conference”.

In collaboration with Profiles International, the conference aims to help organizations provide positive, sustainable solutions to the most pressing issues in the workforce, and help take talent management to the next level. As a leader in providing up to par HR solutions, Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. gives importance to the development of talents by bringing their passion, expertise and resources and commitment to greatly contribute to each organization.

The Talent Assessment and Development Conference features two days of presentations focused on renewing individual and organizational vitality and preparing for the future of recruitment with topics such as Filipino benchmarking, career planning, building a competency framework and creating a coaching culture. One of the highlights of the said event is the certification training. At these sessions, clients receive in-depth training that outlines all elements of the science behind assessments. Attendees learn how to use the products for maximum impact in their own organizations for activities such as benchmarking positions within the company and training and developing their employees.

The conference boasts noted industry experts, both local and foreign. Senior-level HR executives from some of the country’s most prominent organizations and industries are expected to gather for this year’s event.

Taking place December 4-6, 2013 at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City this year’s conference is designed to give attendees a more in-depth educational experience to help bring new ideas and plans to the attendees’ organizations.

Take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity and be part of history; for more details visit the event website

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Coaching New Employees: The Challenge and How to Face It

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By Jabrielle Vincee Delfin
Marketing Associate, Profiles Asia Pacific

New employee orientation and job-specific training serve important purposes.  Coaching, however, is a critical key that is set aside unfortunately once too often. Coaching new employees can be a hard task. As their supervisor you often have little information about the new employee’s strengths and weaknesses and probably know less about their behavioural tendencies, reactions to stress, or other personality characteristics. These latter traits could give you an idea about potential performance issues and their solutions. This awkward position invariably causes a loss of productivity and must negatively impact turnover. Anyone in HR knows the cost that comes along with turnover. The problem – information deficit, the challenge – how to acquire it.

There are three steps in helping your new employees get engaged:

1. Find out the employee’s expectations of the job. Whenever a new employee is hired, always address any questions or confusion the individual may have about the job. Find out whether the job is what really interests the individual. To help confirm or clarify the employee’s perspective of the job expectations, review together a copy of the job description, department’s goals, and company’s goals.

2. Learn about the employee’s expectations for professional growth. Some employees work for just the pay check, and some have specific professional development interests and ambitions. Recognizing and gathering relevant resources to help support and build a plan for each individual’s interests help strengthen employee loyalty.

3. Give feedback about the employee’s performance. Consistent and constructive feedback becomes effective when focused on raising awareness and on improving performance results.

Employee coaching usually involves the managers and employees meeting regularly to discuss and explore each employee’s career goals and development.  But basically that would just take a lot of time and effort. Other companies would incorporate assessments into their recruitment process – assessments that provide supervisors with concise description/discussion on jobfit issues the new employee is likely to have. One of the assessments doing this is the Profile XT – a tool with many reports provided for many different purposes. The language in the report provides flags areas in job related language that should be reviewed with the employee so they know before they start that some elements of the job will be more challenging for them. This “preventative coaching” is more likely to be well received because it occurs before a performance issue has surfaced. The supervisor can be the good guy by providing helpful advice about challenges the employee needs to know about going in to the job.

Always know the direction you need to take your business and the talent you need to make it happen.  Each employee should come out of every formal and informal coaching meeting with a strong picture of both the specific performance goals to achieve and how his or her contributions impact the department and the company as a whole.  When you make the time to commit towards helping develop your employees, you not only make an important understanding of how much you expect them but also an important impression of how much they are being valued.

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Strategies to Measure and Utilize Your Social Media Presence

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By John Pick
Guest writer, Profiles Asia Pacific

Social media has taken the world by storm and has quickly become an essential networking and recruiting tool. For job and internship seekers, it’s important to keep up with the latest technology by learning how to use social media sites to your advantage.  For entrepreneurs and recruiters it’s important to determine which social media platform aligns with your objectives. For example, if you’re a business-to-business brand marketing an upcoming conference, you’ll want to consider LinkedIn.

#1: Engage in Social Media Listening

In this case, “listening” refers to the act of actually listening to your follower’s post rather than just shooting off posts of your own throughout all your social media networks. Listening is one of the most often overlooked uses of social media, yet it’s probably the most important. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re missing the point of social media.

For example, Twitter provides powerful search tools that allows you filter through tweets about your company. These tweets come from people who are already customers or potential customers. Monitor their tweets on a daily basisEngage with them, answering their questions, adding value and helping them whenever possible.

Twitter is an amazing tool for providing real-time customer service. You can learn things like:

  • Exactly how many people you’re helping
  • If you’re growing that number of people
  • The issues customers are experiencing with your business
  • What’s broken in your business

#2: Create a Rating System for Your Social Engagements

This is a simple yet effective strategy to use when you’re trying to generate awareness and buzz. It’s a smart way to measure the response to your efforts on Facebook, Twitter or any other social channel you’re using.

The technique is a simple one. Using Facebook as an example, whenever you post an update on your page; whether it’s a photo of an upcoming product, or a status promoting an upcoming event, keep track of how many likes, comments and shares and assign a point value for each one.

Likes show support and comments indicate a deeper interest but shares are most valuable because they move the update beyond your page.

During a campaign, a quick sum of values will help you determine if your efforts on Facebook are moving you closer towards your goal or not.

#3: Use Your Social Media to Add Value, Then Sell and Measure

The strategy comes from providing great content that influences your client’s values before asking for the sale. Social Media provides great opportunities for you to accomplish this.

For example, say your restaurant is rolling out a new healthy menu. You develop various social media pages under systems such as Facebook and Twitter for posting pictures of your visually appealing dishes. However, these systems allow you to create content around the importance of healthy eating and curate information on your Facebook Page about farmers’ markets in your area. You can even reference blogs by other people outlining the importance of healthy food.

You offer this content to build trust with people.

Then offer a coupon for your restaurant on your Facebook Page. The number of people who claim and redeem your coupon is a result you can quantify.

For more information check out Rick Mulready’s article at

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10 Steps to Assembling a Formidable Team

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

Teams are one of the most important components of, well, everything. They are the ones who “fight the foes no single hero can withstand”, or simply the ones who come up with the best ideas and solutions.

Great teams are not all about intelligent members – they work on chemistry. You can put the smartest people together in a room but if they are all too similar, or if they don’t connect on a human level, you won’t achieve the results you need. There are a number of psychological dynamics that occur between individuals which need to be understood before you can match the right people into effective teams.

PsyBlog recently compiled various findings on the subject from the past few years, and came up with 10 exteremely insightful points that you should keep in mind when creating a team.

1. Prioritise social skills

Surely if you want to build a fantastic group, you put the smartest people in a room together? Not necessarily.

According to research conducted by Woolley et al. (2010), highly performing groups need social sensitivity.

So it’s not about putting all the biggest brains together, it’s thinking about the social dynamic. Who will listen to others? Who will share criticism constructively? Who will have an open mind? Whose will back other people up?

2. Mix genders

Since women’s social skills tend, on average, to be a little stronger than men’s, including women is one way of prioritising social skills.

Woolley et al.’s study reached the same conclusion: teams which included women did better than men-only teams.

But that doesn’t mean you should take it to the logical extreme and build women-only teams: it’s all about the mix. For example, Hoogendoorn et al. (2011) found that teams with equal gender mixes outperformed male-only and female-only groups in a business exercise.

3. Build trust

It’s very hard for people to work together effectively if they don’t trust each other. They also have to appear trustworthy to others or it may be difficult for them to do their job.

Teams that appear more trustworthy (hopefully because they are!) have been shown to perform better when negotiating with other groups (Naquin & Kurtzberg, 2009). After all, would you do business with a team you don’t trust? Not if you can avoid it.

The problem is that in groups people perceive the trustworthiness of the group by assessing the least trustworthy member.

So, in terms of trustworthiness, one bad apple really can spoil the bunch.

4. Use humour

If a group members don’t seem to trust each other, then perhaps it’s humour that’s missing. One study by Professor William Hampes has found that people whose sense of humour is stronger are rated more trustworthy by others (Hampes, 1999).

Similarly, when group dynamics are strong, people start joking around together and will tend to talk to each other outside work. Humour can be a signal that groups are getting along and can even help create that buzz that makes some groups so great to work in.

Humour has all sorts of benefits including reducing stress, boosting creativity, communication and team cohesiveness (Romero & Pescosolido, 2008).

5. Mix introverts and extroverts

We tend to think of the extroverts as superior ‘team-players’: they mix better, pipe up more in meetings and generally seem to be getting on with others more smoothly.

But introverts have their place as well. Introverts certainly don’t blow their own trumpets and aren’t often noticed at the outset, yet eventually the group comes to value them.

That’s what Bendersky and Shah (2012) found in their study of introverts and extroverts working together. In general, as the team evolves, extroverts do worse than people expect and introverts do better.

6. Define goals and…

One of the greatest barriers to effective team performance is pretty simple: they don’t know what the goal is.

A study of 500 managers and professionals in 30 different companies found that it was an unclear vision of the goal that was stopping them performing effectively.

7. … define roles

OK, everyone knows the goal, but do they know what they’re supposed to be doing to achieve this goal?

It seems like a pretty basic step, yet it’s frequently unclear to team-members exactly what their role is.

Unclear roles become particularly problematic when the situation changes and the team has to adapt. If the roles aren’t clear then each person doesn’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. And that’s a recipe for disaster.

8. Spread the story

For people to work together effectively they need to know what the story is in a more general sense.

Where have we come from and where are we going? It’s about more than just goals and roles, it’s about the assumptions we are using and the knowledge that we share (or don’t).

Psychologists sometimes refer to these ‘stories’ as mental models.  We construct these mental models of the world outside to help us navigate it and work out what to do next. When the mental models of groups are better aligned, they perform better.

For example, Westli et al. (2010) found that when medical staff at a trauma centre shared mental models their performance was better, over and above specific teamwork skills.

9. Concise communication

When teams make mistakes, one of the most common reasons is that they failed to communicate effectively.

In complex environments, information will often be coming from many different sources. We’re all awash in information nowadays, or maybe drowning is a better word; emails get cc’d to everyone, and who knows what’s important?

Teams that perform best clearly communicate the most important information before they’ve even been asked for it and filter out the junk.

10. Leadership

Teams invariably benefit from good leadership. Naturally it’s about motivation, structuring tasks, analysing what needs to be done, allocating goals and so on, but it’s more than that.

The best leaders are also trying to nurture their teams by addressing some of the soft skills above. They are getting the mix of personnel right, encouraging concise communication, spreading the group’s story, using humour and building trust.

Now can you see why Marvel’s Avengers always triumph?

What do you think are the most important factors in successful teams?

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Profiles Asia Pacific launches HR SMART

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

On the 27th of February 2013 Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. launched HR Smart, the first unified talent management system in the Philippines.

HR Smart is a global HR solution company that is used to support a user base. Today it has over 13,000 clients in 30 countries and its core product is its unified talent suite.

HR Smart avoids the lengthy and less-coherent implementation of integrated solutions. The key features of talent management are applicant tracking, performance management, learning management, career development. The unified suite does all four of these in one central database. For example, as soon as a person is hired and thus moved from ‘applicant tracking’ to ‘performance management’, the information is retained automatically.

An integrated solution, on the other hand, is disparate; “you still have your 4 major applicant trackings… but in an integrated solution the data is usually housed in different databases for each module, and that causes the end user to have to have additional implementation to write feeds back and forth between these databases as they install additional modules” said Tom McKeown, global VP of sales for HR smart.

This is an important addition to the Philippine business world, as human resources are one of the key factors in the success of a company. Malcolm Pick, National Director at Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. said that this “advanced talent management system will allow local HR departments to get into the 21st century.”

Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. is the only licensed provider of HR Smart for Manila and Luzon.

Watch this video from Profiles International, to learn about Integrated Talent Management OR you can have a look at the HR Smart website.

For information call Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. at +63 637 8770 or e-mail us at

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Matching People – Why, How and To What?

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

Sooner or later, every executive faces a similar people problem: as part of a large corporation, you may oversee, say, ten regional vice presidents, store managers, or unit heads and must assign them effectively. You know that the management of small variations in their preferences and skills can make a marked difference in their productivity—and in your company’s earnings. Sorting out the possibilities for those ten managers confronts you with 3.6 million permutations.

Faced with so many possibilities, most companies abandon the attempt to make rational choices and instead merely guess how best to assign employees to jobs. By treating people with diverse skills as an undifferentiated resource, these companies forfeit the chance to make substantial gains in productivity, profitability, and personnel development.

But deploying employees more effectively is only the start. A manager who wants the best people to do their best work must anticipate the company’s workforce requirements, provide training tailored to individual goals, and reward employees for hard-to-measure contributions such as coaching. It is thus no surprise that a systematic and continuous approach to fitting the right person to the right job at the right time has long been the Holy Grail of workforce organization. But most managers, search as they might, come up empty-handed. Few companies understand which employees are essential or how best to structure their workforce. As a result, human capital—the skills and knowledge of employees—too often remains an untapped performance lever.

Identify your superstars. The crucial first step is to identify your pivotal workers. In most businesses, not all employees are created equal—a subset, which can vary across business units and may change as a company evolves, always plays a disproportionate role in creating value.

Our experience suggests that workforces fall into six segments: top executives, knowledge workers, middle management, skilled workers, less-skilled workers, and bureaucrats. Depending on the industry, any of these groups can emerge as the most pivotal.

Continually improve productivity. Once a company has identified its pivotal workers, it can start to think about improving their productivity. The trick is to map the biggest productivity challenges that occur as workers move through the stages of their life cycle at the company, but few businesses bother to do so.

Systematically scanning the employee life cycle is the only way to uncover the most intense productivity pressure points that a company and its employees face. The process starts well before people are taken on. To know what kind of prospects to hire, how many, and when, for instance, managers should turn to workforce planning, which is essential to reduce labor shortages or surpluses and to boost utilization (something that can be complicated if demand varies by season or attrition rates fluctuate).

A company should then break down skill levels and retention rates by candidate to find out where to hire people with the necessary skills and how to develop them via training and on-the-job experience. Deployment, the next stage, can be a vexing problem, particularly for professional-services firms that require employees to work on several projects at once. Finally, if high attrition rates threaten overall productivity, companies can reduce them by offering workers varied incentives and continual development opportunities.

The above article is an edited extract from the following source:
Agrawal, V. et al. (2003) “Matching People and Jobs”, The McKinsey Quarterly, issue n. 2

If you have any comments or suggestions, please write below, Tweet us, or write us on Facebook!

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Keep Your Superheroes! 6 Steps to Reducing Turnover

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Article by Jaylyn Schumpert, from Profiles International

Do you know what is important to your prospective and current employees? Do you work hard to meet those needs? If you answered yes to both questions, then you probably have a low employee turnover rate. However, this is not the case for all employers and many companies struggle with the issue of employee turnover.

The average employee tenure at a company is approximately 4 years.  This is barely enough, or not enough, time for a company to fully recoup hiring and training costs. Companies cannot eliminate turnover; however, there are some items to consider when trying to retain quality people.

The following are 6 steps that an employer can take to attract and retain top talent:

1. Evaluate Your Managers
Measure employee turnover by manager; this pinpoints the real problem. Poor managers cancel out all the good things that employers do to attract and retain the right people. Once the problem managers have been identified, help them! Use assessments or other tools to discover what these managers are doing to drive employees away and then provide training to develop them into better leaders. Good management is crucial to employee retention.

2. Create a Recognition Culture
Give your managers the responsibility for seeking out ways that employees go above and beyond. Create awards for excellent performance; this gives everyone an opportunity to be in the spotlight for doing a good job. Great examples of employee recognition include: thank you notes, employee of the month awards, newsletter recognition, service awards, etc. Positive recognition will lead to a more productive work environment.

3. Create a Healthy Work Environment
Create an environment where positive recognition seems normal. In order to achieve this there must be open communication, an attitude of cooperation, and an atmosphere of trust. Communicate with your employees; let the them know where the company is going, how it plans to get there, how their jobs play a part in the grand scheme of things, and why they are the key to your success. Look for ways to show that you are willing to meet them halfway in balancing their personal and professional lives- flexible hours, childcare facilities, birthday leave, etc. Last, but definitely not least, trust your employees. If you want people to trust you, then you have to trust them. Give people a good reputation to live up to and they won’t let you down.

4. Create an Atmosphere of Continual Self-Improvement
Today’s job candidates want the opportunity to develop themselves and to continually polish their skills, abilities, and experience. Invest heavily in training and employee development and encourage employees to take advantage of the programs offered. Give everyone access to training that will enhance their self-esteem, their value, and their skills. Prove to your employees that there is no reason to leave when they can receive training and development from within the organization.

5. Put Your Best Foot Forward
This next statement may definitely throw some employers for a loop; pay employees as much salary and provide as many benefits as you can afford from day one. The goal is to reduce turnover and retain the right people, so if you scale back the initial offer by 15%, will the savings be enough to retain the employee when another company offers more money? Probably not. Put your best foot forward from the start and let everyone know that you are paying as much as you can afford for each position. As a person moves up the ladder, their pay should be adjusted accordingly. Know what each job is worth, and pay it early.

6. Match People to Jobs
Ensure people are matched to their jobs in terms of their abilities, interests, and personalities. When people are placed in positions where job demand and abilities match, where job stimulation and interest match, and where cultural demands and personalities match, turnover decreases and productivity increases. Employers can use assessments to determine the requirements of each position in terms of abilities, interests, and personalities and then use the information to match people to jobs where they will excel.

In most cases we want the quick, easy, and inexpensive fix, but unfortunately that is not always possible. Attracting and retaining the highest quality people may take time, effort, and money. By applying the 6 steps from above, companies can eliminate a large percentage of why people leave and keep the people that are essential to their success.

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Why Are They Leaving Us? – Turnover

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

The most important point to start with here is that talent shortages do exist.

When unemployment rates are high, the mindset and expectations of companies are often that there will be plenty of talent waiting to be hired should the need ever occur. But this is not true for all jobs as the available skilled people are not necessarily the ones you will need. The problem also presents itself in situations of growth, as is in the Philippines. Turnover can be an even bigger threat in situations of growth because it is expected that there will be a job surplus as well as numerous new competitors. These two combined will potentially lead to your employees leaving you for better offers. For example, the Philippine hotel industry is growing exponentially, and this can potentially result in serious talent shortage for both old and new hotels as competitors search for the best employees in the sector.

So what are biggest causes for voluntary turnover?

Limited career advancement. People need to feel that there is a potential for personal growth within the company or eventually they will lose their motivation.

Lack of fit to job. This is caused by bad hiring practices. Ensure your hiring process is at its best so as to avoid hiring people who turn out to be unfit for the job.

Unsatisfied with pay and benefits. When people are worrying about their health or paying off their bills, they are unable to focus on their job. This will lead them to either perform poorly within the company, or to seek employment with a company that allows them to be more financially comfortable. Ensure that your employees are earning enough for the job they are doing.

Management/general work environment. People need to fit the company culture and management style. If they do not, they will be unable to pleasantly stay and work every day.

Lack of flexibility/scheduling. Nowadays people’s lives have become a lot more hectic and unpredictable, and families aren’t run the way they used to be. This means that most people will have a need for flexibility in their working hours. When you hire new employees or plan scheduling, keep this in mind and make sure you fit the people with the right needs to the right jobs.

Lack of job security. Employees who do not feel secure in their job will always look outside for employment opportunities that might be more stable.

One of the keys to reducing turnover is reducing your hiring mistakes. Profiles Asia Pacific offers the StepOne Survey which helps organizations reduce risk in a quick, cost-effective manner by evaluating various work-related values including, but not limited to, personal integrity, reliability, and work ethic.

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