By Michael Switow
As Asian companies negotiate the starts and stops of the COVID-19 pandemic—economic contraction, altered ways of working, plus new opportunities and challenges—an increasing number of HR decision-makers and employers are unhappy at work.
A recent survey by JobStreet reports that nearly half of Singaporean hirers say that being the bearer of bad news, including announcing layoffs and salary cuts, has left them psychologically drained, whilst one-third of employers report being unhappy at work.
Meanwhile, the economic downturn and the results of July’s elections are leading Singapore’s government to rethink its approach to foreign talent. Whilst still encouraging multinationals to establish regional headquarters in the city, it is also raising the minimum salary requirements for foreign hires, particularly in the finance industry. This is bound to impact recruitment and possibly employee morale in the year ahead.
What’s the best way to address these issues? Communication, communication, communication.
“My leadership team started communicating on a completely different level,” says Joe Schott, Shanghai Disneyland Resort president and general manager, reflecting on the park’s 15-week closure. “We took a lot of time to just share our feelings. You have to know somebody on a more personal level when you’re going through something that makes you that vulnerable.”
When gauging employee sentiment directly, though, don’t expect negative attitudes to show up in pulse surveys. Adverse feedback is often discouraged within Asian companies, notes PeopleStrong’s Practice Leader for the Future of Work Adrian Tan. “You’re going to get very skewed data unless you uncover ways to ensure that biases do not come into play,” he advises.
Read more about how to utilise data instead of sentiment in our look at HR analytics, Data-Driven Strategy. In this edition, we also explore tips for implementing pay-for-performance solutions and how one recruitment agency is stepping up efforts to reintegrate returning overseas professionals—an example of finding opportunity during a moment of challenge. Learn about the approach in Making Pay-for-Performance Work.
“People need to have a positive outlook in order to get the most out of their personal and professional lives,” Schott advises. “I’ve seen the power of positive thinking work through my entire career and I can’t underscore how important it is during the course of this challenging situation.”