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HR lunch with Morgan Philips

The ECCT's Human Resources committee hosted a lunch on the topic "Top skills to succeed in a challenging world and how to identify talented change agents" with guest speakers Christine Raynaud, CEO of Morgan Philips Executive Search and James Li, Managing Director of Cabot Microelectronics Corporation Taiwan. At the event Christine Raynaud presented some key findings from the 2017 Morgan Philips Talent Report while James Li shared his insights on change agents and the transformation in his company.

The Morgan Philips Talent Report, based on surveys and analysis of over 3,000 participants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, was produced for the seventh year. The report covers job market trends, motivations for changing jobs and culture / leadership style preferences of employees.

According to the report's findings, the number of people in Taiwan wishing to change jobs has risen in 2017 (25% wish to change jobs compared to 17% in 2016). Broken down by age, there is more appetite to change jobs among younger and senior employees. Over half of young people (under 35s), plan to change jobs and almost 30% of those over 46 plan to change while only 17% of those between the ages of 36 and 45 want to switch jobs.

While all those under 45, cited money as the primary motivation to switch jobs, remuneration was much less important to those over 46, who cited "company direction" as the most important factor. According to Renaud, other than remuneration, training and career path opportunities are more critical motivations for younger people while those over 35 cited responsibility and challenges as the next most important motivator.

"Talent with change management skills" followed by "Talent with competitive / entrepreneurial mind" were rated as the top skills needed to succeed in 2017.

The report also revealed the leadership style that is most favoured by talented people. 44% of respondents voiced their preference for employers with a competitive work culture and directive leadership style. 27% said that they blossom in an innovative environment and only 17% preferred a collaborative culture.

Every company needs to be prepared for change given the impact of technological advances such as automation, new products and business models, society's focus on sustainability, the environment, health, economic shifts (such as the rise of China and of the East) and changing employee mindsets (the search for more autonomy, influence and agility).

To identify change agents, one needs to ask the right in-depth questions and look for individuals who are open to other people's ideas, adapt well to change, focus on the positive and do not seek stability. To identify entrepreneurs, one should look for people who try to convince others, adapt to change and persevere when confronted with obstacles.

HR teams have an important role to play in driving change because they understand a company's change challenges and can help to communicate the company's direction in a constructive and clear light, review the company's culture and talent to meet change challenges, identify and support "Positive Deviants" internally and hire change agents. It is also important that they embrace change for themselves and in the practice of HR.

In his presentation James Li explained that even successful companies like his needed to embrace the need for change because complacency can lead to stagnation. An analysis of the culture of his company revealed that the current culture had served the company well in the past and enabled it to build many organisational strengths. However, it also revealed a significant aversion to risk and a lack of drive to learn, among other findings. As a result, two years ago the company embarked on an effort to change aspects of its culture, which it outlined in elements of a "Target Culture" where collaboration and open-mindedness and less conservatism would better support future growth. Based on results so far, progress has been made towards achieving the target cultural outcomes.

Lin noted that progress cannot be achieved just through the efforts of HR staff. All employees need to participate in driving and achieving change.