Bosses must know staff's needs to create quality workforce

I agree that building up a quality workforce may help us stay economically competitive ("Maintain Singapore's edge with quality workforce" by Mr Young Pah Yin; Dec 29, 2016).

However, many employers do not have a clear idea of what characteristics a quality workforce should possess or how to go about creating one.

New hires may bring with them superb communication skills, technical capabilities and even the capacity for self-management.

However, they still need to scale-up in areas that are more employer-specific.

Developments in the industry may require them to adapt and unlearn and relearn some of their skills in order to enhance their performance at work.

To develop high-quality employees, the organisation has to know the needs of its workforce, such as its job designs and requirements for not only the present but also the next five years or more.

Data needs to be assessed to zero in on skill and competency gaps, ride on opportunities for growth, and develop staff to work towards strategic management objectives.

The cultivation of a healthy corporate culture is crucial, and an effective management will help in the essential task of winning the respect and support of employees. Employers must not lose sight of the fact that it is their staff that drive performance, maintain smooth daily operations and, ultimately, ensure the success of the business.

Scaling up the knowledge and skills of employees through professional training courses, modified roles and on-the-job development is just as important as searching for new talent that possesses the relevant aptitude and experience.

The effectiveness of workforce development can be monitored by studying outcomes in areas such as new work processes, employee feedback, performance appraisals, opening up the lines of communication and reaping the benefits of staff training.

Insights gained through staff satisfaction surveys and reaction to the management's efforts at reforms should also be closely monitored.

The cultivation of a healthy corporate culture is crucial, and an effective management will help in the essential task of winning the respect and support of employees.

Employers must not lose sight of the fact that it is their staff that drive performance, maintain smooth daily operations and, ultimately, ensure the success of the business.

The last thing that any company needs is a disaffected workforce owing to its management's indifference.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2017, with the headline 'Bosses must know staff's needs to create quality workforce'. Print Edition | Subscribe