The Global Competitiveness Survey for 2016-17 reveals that, out of 138 countries, Sri Lanka has been ranked 91 in relation to the ability to attract talent compared to Singapore which has been ranked 4 and Malaysia 11.
Similarly, in talent retention, we are ranked 50 compared to Singapore which stands at number 3 and Malaysia at 8. In terms of talent development through training, while we are ranked 51, both Singapore and Malaysia are among the top 10 countries in the world. The findings are indicative of the long way, we need to go in talent management and development, if the country were to graduate from a lower middle income country at present to an upper middle income country in the foreseeable future.
“Despite the ‘not so bright’ picture at the macro level, there are many success stories at the enterprise level amongst the EFC membership,” noted Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director General Kanishka Weerasinghe.
At the upcoming annual symposium of the EFC aligned on the theme of ‘Sustainable Enterprises- Creating value’, expert panelists drawn from EFC member companies will enlighten the audience on ‘Talent Management’ which involves the strategies and processes of attracting, managing, developing, motivating and retaining key people in an organization who can add value to achieve business goals. “The purpose of talent management is to create a competitive advantage for an organization but sustainable organizations, which abide by 17 sustainable development goals articulated by the UN, should go beyond that,” noted Diesel and Motor Engineering PLC (DIMO) Human Resources General Manager Dilrukshi Kurukulasuriya, who will be among the panelists. Such enterprises, Kurukulasuriya notes, should share a ‘responsible mindset’, as their focus is not merely financially-oriented.
Talent Management, though crucial at enterprise level, should ideally be done in partnership with the government as the quality of education and types of education a country provides matters to create its talent pool notes the Senior HR Professional. The enterprises, however, should provide lifelong learning for their employees to keep pace with changing business landscape whilst offering competitive compensation to retain good talent in the countries, she says. Winning back our own talent which has migrated overseas is also urgent, she added.
The EFC, as one of the most respected and accepted employer organizations, can be an advocate and also the facilitator to encourage more sustainable talent management strategies at national level, observes Kurukulasuriya. “Many large organisations today use international expertise to train their talent and develop talent management mechanisms within their organizations. The EFC can help the small organizations to acquire similar expertise by partnering with international specialists and facilitate public private partnership,” she adds. Given the mismatch between country’s talent pool and the expanding economy coupled with ‘greener pastures’ available for local talent overseas, retaining the ‘right kind of talent’ becomes more challenging, observes Hemas Holdings PLC Human Performance and Leadership Group Director Murtaza Esufally. The senior professional who will be on the expert panel deliberating on ‘Talent Management’ at the Symposium, further asserts that equity in talent management can be a difficult ‘balancing act’ today. “We need to balance individual rewards with team based rewards. At the same time we need to reward outcomes that are desired in the organization.” The equity should be mirrored in making available to all employees the rules of the game, the expected culture, values and the organization’s goals and reward schemes, says Esufally, adding that, today many senior employees need recognition as much as they need rewards. “There are many small ways in which good talent can be recognized which maybe low cost to the organization but have high value to the employee.” In the digital age, HR needs to poise as a better business partner and focus more on talent management says the senior HR professional who cites technology and centers of excellence as tools in doing so. Having cutting edge practices in HR for productivity management such as Lean and Six Sigma are also imperative he notes. “In all these areas, the EFC can play a decisive role in bringing in top resources and lobbying for laws and practices to suit the growing needs of the market and emerging industries.” Attracting and retaining more women in the work place and in senior management is also a want of the hour, maintains Esufally who calls upon the EFC in becoming a catalyst of change.