Today, we are living in an age of convergence: convergence of content, convergence of offerings or products, and convergence of technology. Indeed, convergence is one of the strongest emerging byproducts of globalization. While most organizations are still grappling with convergence, innovators are thriving in it and consumers are devouring it!

Convergence has stormed the Asian markets, and it is changing expectations—and related processes and methodologies—at record speed. Therefore it is only fair to expect organizations to think about the competencies of its talent to manage and work within it.  

Understanding the talent supply chain

One of the biggest challenges affecting organizations in Asia is the adequacy and quality of talent. Managers are finding that new hires rarely meet expectations. Strange as it may sound, this seems to be the issue plaguing most organizations today, resulting in huge amounts of money being spent on “talent sourcing” and “talent development” projects. Let us run through the talent supply chain to understand where the root cause might lie.

Students are going through an education system in which recruiters claim to be “inappropriate.” As a result, corporations are focusing on re-engineering the education system by offering industry-relevant curricula or providing faculty and absorbing an increasing number of people at entry levels. At the other end of the supply chain are line managers who are being asked to step up, demonstrate extraordinary leadership skills, and groom talent to finally deliver what is required by clients (which itself, changes by the minute, of course). Working at both ends has not really helped in providing the necessary results. A review of the middle of the supply chain is sorely missing.  

Enter competencies

Most organizations continue to hire people using the traditional job descriptions, proficiency levels, and multiple levels of filtration. The result: an extraordinary amount of time, effort, and cost spent on hiring. Not to mention, there are parallel projects running on how to reduce that cost.

While one cannot underrate the importance of a job description, the key thing to note is that in the convergent world, key competencies are emerging that recruiters would do well to make a note of and recommend for inclusion. Why? The middle of the supply chain has a strongest likelihood of affecting the ends of the supply chain, such as the source and the output.

Let ‘s review these competencies to understand them better, and to evaluate how they could help organizations in hiring “adaptable” talent that is more suitable to a dynamically convergent world.

Mindful networking. While networking is a great competency to have, organizations need to be able to distinguish people who are able to network at fast speed, across the globe, and in a purposeful manner. It is through mindful networking that high performance is more likely and, hence, only fair that recruiters evaluate candidates for this competency.

For example, recruiters can measure networking by reviewing a candidate’s individual’s LinkedIn contacts. One might think of this as overkill for all roles across all levels, but this would be invaluable for people in consulting, sales, and senior-level positions. For work that needs to be delivered out of a center in Asia, this becomes extremely critical.

Contextualization. We are all overloaded with information. How can recruiters and managers measure workers who merely are up-to-date on emerging trends and those who are able to apply the latest information to work demands? By being able to access one’s network or resources in the context of one’s work, people can dramatically enhance their performance.

Speed in execution. If we are to survive in this age of rapid change, we had better look for people who are able to demonstrate speed in execution. To be sure, there needs to be a balance of successful projects with failures, as well as an ability to demonstrate one’s capacity to take risks and experiment. However, speed in being able to learn from failures and taking quick corrective recourse is even more crucial for distinguishing high performers from the rest.

Bottom line

There could perhaps be many other competencies like learning ability, capability to deal with ambiguity, and so forth. I contend, though, that if these key skills mentioned above are present, the others would be implicit.

Going back to the supply chain: If these competencies were fed into the education system as key expectations of corporations, think of the adaptable resources we might be able to create!

What do you think of these competencies? Do you believe there are others which organizations in the Asian markets need to bear in mind?