By DR SIVA SITREMBALAN
In the private sector, one common term that has been used for more than a decade is talent development. While some perceive that the production of graduates is not meeting the needs of the employers, there have been efforts made by government agencies in the name of partnership.
The question is whether we have really addressed such needs, or has it become another political eye wash for all. We will not deny that these efforts have helped to meet the demand for talent, especially for technical skills in the low and mid-level professions.
Having been in the human resources (HR) field for more than three decades, ranging from British, Malaysian, Japanese and American organisations, I have come to realise that the need for talent, or to be more specific, the actual level of talent for different organisations varies.
The best example that we can see is HR competencies for HR professions. There is a big difference between a HR manager in American and non-American firms. In American firms, if you were to succeed, you would need a variety of knowledge and skills, with strong emphasis on leadership and integrity.
It may not be the same in other organisations, based on my experience, where execution of HR operations would be sufficient. The point here is that talent demand varies from one organisation to another.
The immediate partnership that private sectors should focus on is to invest highly into interns. Provide on-the-job training and engage them closely, so that they will have some level of understanding of job opportunities upon graduation.
To ensure a win-win situation, we need commitment from both sides. Employers need to create a learning environment within the organisation by providing sufficient opportunities for interns to assimilate and network. Avoid using interns as temporary resources.
Interns must also commit to demonstrate their integrity through understanding how success is achieved at the workplace, and adapting to the work culture within a short period.
When both parties are on the same page and engaged, the chances for having a formal conversation about a job upon graduation will definitely arise. Employers in private sectors must be ready to support the holistic needs of the nation. They should give full commitment to developing their interns even though they do not have hiring needs in the near future.
When everyone starts to practise such ways, in the near future, the influx of talent pool would be much higher and employers would have an extensive choice of talent to fit their vacancies.
The other point is, employers must be ready to lose junior talent who will move from one organisation to another so that they can learn and strengthen their skills to prepare them to eventually take up more senior roles.
Tying junior employees through training bonds or other types of contract should be put to rest in the interest of developing the talent pool for the nation. I hope that this idea will be explored further within and outside organisations, and will become a reality in the near future.
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