HR Insights
April 18, 2023

Asia Pacific business trends currently impacting organisations, and how to remain agile

Businesses in the Asia Pacific region keep experiencing disruptions. Here are some insights into how organisations can stay resilient in 2023.

Table of Contents

For many organisations, survival has been front of mind following increasing economic pressures, trade wars, legislative changes, and the highly competitive labour market. Katie Arthur and Shobhit Bhatia from Ceridian's Value Advisory team see several key themes that are likely to shape future success. Organisations must be able to balance operational efficiency, profitability, and customer satisfaction in a market driven by customer needs.

But how?

Ongoing agility, sustainability, and resilience lie in an organisation's ability to "see change before it happens" and move away from relying on the past for insights.

Customer experience remains critical

Organisations must be focused on better understanding their customers to anticipate their future needs. Previously, organisations relied on reputation to drive repeat business with minimal strategic effort. But recent years have shown us that this approach is less effective, with 64% of consumers wishing companies would respond faster to their changing needs. 

Failing to meet consumer needs can negatively impact reputation and profitability. As a result, many businesses face increasingly high levels of workforce disruption and revenue loss. Eighty-eight percent of executives think their customers' needs are changing faster than their businesses can keep up, which often leads to a reactive response approach, ultimately increasing the occurrence of employee burnout and labour inefficiencies.

Across multiple industries, we hear that organisations consider an occasional day of "not operating" as a better choice than providing a poor customer experience when understaffed that could negatively impact reputation. For example, global airline providers have faced ongoing scrutiny from the public due to delays, flight cancellations, and poor service complaints, resulting in public apologies and compensation in some instances. In many circumstances, the damage done by providing a negative customer experience is arguably worse than not operating.

The key for businesses moving forward will be to understand their target markets and ensure the consumer experience aligns with what matters most. In many instances, such as retail, organisations must ensure they can provide a leading consumer experience, both at the physical store and online.

This can be done by continuously leveraging technology to remain unique and agile whilst matching labour levels to consumer demand. Insightful data and reporting capabilities will be essential in better understanding your customers and creating tailored buying experiences to differentiate against competitors. 

Digital transformation is a top priority. Accenture research has shown that organisations that invest in sustainability and digital transformation are 2.5x more likely to be among tomorrow's strongest-performing businesses.

Organizations with a stable cash flow and strong growth trajectory are recognising that now is the time to re-evaluate their current environment to ensure they are set up for a sustainable future. This mindset means organisations are willing to spend money on improving processes to better prepare for the future.

However, 87% of leaders cited the "complexity of existing infrastructure" as a critical barrier to implementing next-generation services. As a result, CIOs are seeking help to simplify and streamline their legacy environments.  Many key decision-makers are advocating for new technology solutions and improved processes to drive organisational profitability and optimisation. Fifty-seven percent of respondents at top-quartile organisations say their senior tech leaders are very involved in strategic planning, versus 17% in the bottom quartile.

Consequently, organisations need to re-evaluate their existing landscape thoroughly. We see that this trend has highlighted the importance of leveraging senior technology personnel together with external consultants or industry experts to ensure business changes will solve both short and long-term needs, whilst considering the unknown.

In line with this mindset, many businesses are reviewing their supply chains to look for alternative options, such as on-site manufacturing or local product sourcing, to lower unexpected costs due to resource shortages, price rises, and delivery delays. From a technology perspective, the key to success is consolidating existing systems into a single system to ensure that associated costs are kept to a minimum and standardised across the organisation.

Employee satisfaction is crucial for organisational stability

Recent years have highlighted that the employee mindset has changed. We continue to see employees no longer willing to stay in a role or at an organisation that aligns differently from their needs.

To this end, organisations need help understanding the needs of their workforce whilst maintaining authority and productivity. Given the rise in hybrid work and the growing awareness around mental health, employers must ensure their people are satisfied, continuously challenged, set up for success, and working to their full capability. Many organisations face high turnover due to poor employee experience, lack of competitive salary, poor management, and dissatisfactory working conditions. Additionally, 45% of HR leaders say their employees are fatigued from all the change, reinforcing the need to provide their people with ongoing reassurance and time to rejuvenate.

Organisations must investigate what matters most to their people by proactively recognising areas of concern and striving to improve working conditions to drive retention, engagement, and workforce stability. For example, 44% of HR leaders believe their organisations need clear career paths. More than ever, today's workforce wants to see their objectives link to the bigger organisational strategy to feel a sense of inclusion and empowerment. Organisations need to ensure their people's development matches the organisation's growth, which in many instances, is continuous and rapid.

Change demands closer alignment within the executive team

Across the globe, HR personnel play a critical role in shaping the organisation's future. Traditionally, HR has been seen as more of a transactional function, but, the pandemic highlighted the importance of effective HR strategies as the glue of the workforce during times of change.

Without a stable workforce, an organisation is exposed to significant risk through turnover, disruption, knowledge loss, and urgent hiring mistakes. As a result, we are starting to see a greater alliance between the CTO, CFO and CHRO. They often share a similar objective: reviewing the decisions made to set the business up for long-term success and undo any mistakes made in previous years.

Recent times have highlighted the importance of collaboration across all business functions to ensure any significant changes address the broader organisation's challenges, yet the most critical challenge remains alignment. The quest for alignment begins with the executive team to ensure that all executives are pulling in the same direction, particularly on significant transformation and change initiatives. With a focus on relevance through monitoring markets and customer needs, leaders achieve executive alignment through the "blocking and tackling" aspects of linking strategy, people, processes, reporting, technology, and data.

Moving forward, greater unity across the executive and management teams will be essential in operating as one organisation working towards the same objectives versus one organisation operating as disparate units with their interests as a priority. Technology will play a critical role in ensuring consistency and alignment across the various business functions to ensure all teams operate efficiently while allowing for independence.

Prioritise strategic initiatives

Enable your people to work on the tasks that drive the highest value by simplifying work-life and redirecting their efforts to strategic initiatives, such as improving the consumer experience or analysing historical patterns to make predictions.

Wanzl, a global retail solutions provider, is an excellent example of an organisation that wanted an effective technology solution and an innovative partner to help future-proof its people operations. Wanzl leverages Dayforce to analyse its labour spending in line with productivity to become more efficient, so people are up to do more added-value tasks.

Invest in your biggest asset – your people

Continuously developing, engaging, and retaining your workforce through effective succession planning and learning capabilities is critical, as it ensures your people feel challenged and understood. Prioritising the development of your people also supports business continuity by allowing your employees to upskill themselves to meet continuously changing role expectations.

With Dayforce, business services company UBT looks at talent within the business, makes sure those high-potential employees are identified and recognised, and shapes careers that are meaningful to them.

Equip decision makers with the right resources

Accurate data is critical for analysing the current state of performance. Dayforce can play a pivotal role in providing a comprehensive view of the entire organisation whilst removing the need for multiple data sources. Harris Farm Markets has seen quantifiable value from Dayforce through insightful, real-time, accurate data, allowing them to identify trends in the business and possible efficiencies and improvements.

According to PwC, 50% of workers are excited or confident about the future of work, and 80% are confident they can adapt to new technologies.  An effective, unified HCM solution can improve work-life whilst driving process efficiencies and providing an ongoing return on investment. Leverage Dayforce to focus on what matters most: building confidence about the future of work.

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