6 Talent Management Trends Surfacing in Asia

Add bookmark

Francis Mok

Putting in place a talent management strategy is critical in an organization’s structure. This is common knowledge in the business world. However, how many companies are actually practicing this effectively?

With the Asian economy bouncing back, this has never been more important in today’s context, especially with a rising demand for talent in a limited pool of supply.

Francis Mok, Group Human Resource Director of Jebsen & Co. and Vice President of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management, speaks to Human Resources IQ’s Bryan Camoens on the talent management challenges, trends and the talent management industry in 2020.

What are some of the challenges faced when trying to get the senior management to buy-in to your talent management program?
Francis Mok:

The major challenge is "how does the talent management program link to the business?" The second challenge is "how do you know the program works?" The third challenge is justifying the investment in talent management.


More importantly how essential is it to ensuring that the management team walks the talk and how could not having this jeopardize the entire program?
Francis Mok:

It is absolutely critical for the management team to walk the talk about talent management. This is the first and foremost critical success factor. By starting the justification with business requirements, the talent management program aligns nicely into the business strategies and business goals. By involving the management team in the nomination, assessment and selection process, the ownership goes to them naturally. By inviting them to be mentors of the high potentials, their involvement is glued to the success of the program.


What are some of the key factors that must be taken into account when linking talent engagement to continued growth?
Francis Mok:

It is the other way around. Talent management, including talent engagement, has to start with the business objectives, including continuous growth. The only single major reason for management talents is to ensure sustainable growth of the business. Through building of the leadership pipeline, we ensure supply of talents, future leaders, to take the organization to another horizon.

What are some of the difficulties in clarifying the differences between the roles and responsibilities of management and HR?
Francis Mok:

Misalignment and wrong positioning. It is very difficult to explain to management the role they should play if HR takes on talent management as an HR initiative. That puts HR in a very difficult position in the first place. However, by positioning HR as the business partner of the business, to help build the human capital to fulfil business objectives, the role of HR is very easily explained as HR does not own the process. Business units require the right leaders to achieve business goals. HR helps business units to identify, develop and place the right leaders to meet business objectives.

Where are some of the trends you see in the talent management industry in Asia?
Francis Mok:

The war for talent, especially in China, is even more severe. The market demand for talent management professionals has never been so high. Some of the observations:
  1. Talent management is rated top priority in many organizations
  2. More organizations are linking talent management to business strategies
  3. Definition of talent is less vague.
  4. Talent management is gaining momentum at all levels, senior executive’s talent pool, successor pool and fresh graduates. A more holistic view on building the leadership pipeline is taken.
  5. Competency based assessment and more vigorous assessment is getting more popular.
  6. More attention is paid to manage Gen Y, the new market force coming into play to replace the retiring baby boomers.

With talent management beginning to evolve, where do you see talent management in the 2020?
Francis Mok:

I do not have a crystal ball. However, like many good management practices, talent management will not offer any competitive advantage 10 years from now, as those who pay no attention to talent management will be already extinct from the market. The earlier one takes on proper planning and implements talent management, the chance of survival increase.