Thai HR: Moving toward 2022
Dynamic performance management one of three key areas of focus
published : 25 Oct 2021 at 11:00
writer: Arinya Talerngsri
How must performance management change? How can we build the new combination of skills required at speed and scale? Who can we learn from now? These are three questions on the minds of Thai human resources practitioners.
I spoke recently with more than 500 HR practitioners from a wide range of Thailand-based organisations at the launch of a new HR community. It was insightful to take the “pulse” of this group, which faces more challenges and opportunities than most other departments. It was encouraging to see such a diverse group explore their potential future and become part of a collective effort to help each other succeed in the future.
There was a wide range of interests and priorities. I was most encouraged by their desire to find new ideas and approaches. In my opinion, the Thailand-based HR community has learned the lessons of the Covid era and is being proactive in building new-new solutions.
The role of HR will, continue to grow and evolve. The desire to understand what works now, and what needs to change, is essential. HR is being relied on to do things rarely considered before, such as deep and genuine consideration for mental health and wellness. HR professionals’ curiosity, and their desire to build back better, will also put people back at the heart of HR’s raison d’être. HR really has a unique opportunity to implement radical positive changes like never before.
One example is performance management. In a lot of organisations, existing performance management approaches became useless during the pandemic. What was the point of a biannual or quarterly review when things were changing daily? What use was feedback and suggestions for improvement when opportunities sailed by? What was the point of box-checking exercises when people needed to know immediately what they were doing well, and what to stop immediately?
I cannot predict the future of performance management for everyone, I can share what I saw and experienced. In my organisation, performance management became an ongoing continuous dialogue. It became much more focused on performance than management. Filling in forms and awarding numbers gave way to making positive changes. At then same time, it became much more genuinely people-centric.
It also became much more data-based rather than relying on opinion. If something wasn’t working, the impetus to make changes was clear. This data element drove creativity and innovation, and willingness to do things differently much more quickly. It changed from a dreaded, boring and often unengaging periodic conversation to feedback and in-the-moment coaching or freedom to invent.
I believe this will become the model for performance management in the future. A slimmed-down, leaner approach that is more meaningful for the individual. Approximately one in three Thai HR practitioners are highly curious about this subject.
Curiosity about the future is also critical in driving how we build the required combination of capabilities for the future. Traditional development approaches fell apart during the pandemic. The “Zoom” university model quickly lost its novelty value. What fundamentally changed were both the new capabilities now deemed essential and the philosophy about how to build them.
The increased speed of learning that is required has been a shock to many. But in my organisation, it was the speed of unlearning that was perhaps an even bigger surprise. What was also unexpected was that success in an increasingly technology-driven business environment relied more on human skills than could have been predicted. These skills were not exactly the same as pre-pandemic times and were not deployed in the same way. One in four Thai HR practitioners is highly curious about building these skills at scale.
I believe that in the future, organisations will need to find the right blend of these capabilities for their situation. They have to find ways to personalise and individualise learning and development. A centralised organisational approach cannot react fast enough. How budgets are assigned and investments are made will be transformed. But the empowerment of individuals to pick up the skills they need quickly will be essential.
My advice is to find what works within your situation. Create sharing and community within your organisation to maximise the effectiveness and return on investment of your learning initiatives. There is so much great content and ideas available without cost, or for low investment, but they need to be shared widely to empower the workforce.
HR needs to be curious and careful about who and where they get new ideas from. Many leading HR experts understand this and will remain at the forefront of what is happening. But many who rested on their laurels and reputations will find the situation changed, both inside and outside organisations.
HR practitioners need to look at what is working and learn the lessons of early adopters. They will need to become adept at the strategic translation of emerging practices to innovate them in unique ways in their organisation. They will need to also become good at asking questions to identify the “secret sauce” recipe their unique situation demands.
Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC — Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Talk to us about how SEAC can help your business during times of uncertainty at https://forms.gle/wf8upGdmwprxC6Ey9