Talent Crunch Asia Style

Via CNBC, I learn that although Asia is the place for growth, there’s a ‘talent crunch’. And the Number One talent gap?

Salespeople.

There’s an annual survey in this regard by personnel providers Manpower. They also interviewed the head of ERP firm SAP Asia, Steve Watts.

Hiring and retaining good staff appears tough in Asia. It’s not that there’s not enough jobs, it’s that there aren’t enough people. Specfically, everyone wants people with experience. And this is a smaller talent pool in Asia. The region is “talent rich but experience poor”.

New to me was what Watts termed the “old Hewitt model” of employee engagement. He interpreted his development of this as;

say – stay – strive

Hiring and retention is not an event, but a process you have to work at every day. His policy – shaping an impressive retention rate of 92% across 20 countries – was that people who service customers should live within 2 hours of those customers they service. No jumping on planes for them. You must talk in local terms, even down to how the traffic was this morning. This builds trust and delivers great IP. So fundamentally, they operate locally.

He further believed that people don’t move for money alone. They ask themselves do I have empowerment, do I enjoy who I do it with, can I relate to the strategy, and do I make a difference.

Two points of Sales interest struck me on this. The first was to wonder how many experienced salespeople I knew had headed to Asia. It was more than I realised. I’ve even done it for stints. And thoroughly enjoyable they’ve been too.

The second was on the point of customer service proximity. I love that insight into ‘talking local’. If that is my edge on a bid, then I will mercilessly push it. If the alternative being considered by your prospect cannot match your delivery closeness, you must hammer that differentiation.

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