Addressing labour demand and caring for staff wellbeing

July 22, 2021 | 14:51
COVID-19 rapidly evolved into an economic and social crisis around the world, but enterprises have plans at hand to minimise disruptions to their operations, including to recruit new employees. Andree Mangels, general director at Adecco Vietnam, spoke with VIR’s Nguyen Thu about the challenges from the latest outbreak and forecasts for the labour demand in Vietnam.

Employers aim to keep their people safe while coping with the current challenges to keep their organisation’s operations running. What are the top priorities of organisations during the crisis?

Andree Mangels, general director at Adecco Vietnam
Andree Mangels, general director at Adecco Vietnam

People’s safety comes first. As people are the core of every business, health and wellbeing should be above all else. COVID-19 not only affects physical health. Social isolation, fear of infection, and financial and job insecurities can also take a toll on people’s mental health and overall wellbeing, which eventually worsen job performance.

Businesses should investigate and quickly respond to employees’ needs in terms of safety, such as allowing remote work and limiting the number of people in the office. The way leaders react during the pandemic can form a mark in the workplace culture and determine whether employees stay with the company.

Besides protecting employees’ health, businesses also need to pay attention to business continuity. With restrictions following the rapid spread of COVID-19, most companies have faced severe disruptions in day-to-day business. Therefore, a continuity plan is indispensable to minimise disruptions, sustain the business, and build resilience. Businesses should decide if they need to prioritise critical processes, suspend non-essential activities, or find alternatives.

Once the pandemic is under control, businesses will gradually reopen and need a plan to win back customers. Consumer behaviour and mindsets may have changed a lot in the last year, so this could be a new challenge for many businesses. For those that have made short-term changes during the quarantine period, such as starting a new online sales channel, they will now need to decide whether this is a rational long-term and permanent shift.

Finally, it’s time for businesses to digitalise. Although it has been a trend in recent years, COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the pace of the digital transformation. Limiting gatherings requires organisations to find alternatives to communicate, collaborate, and complete projects while working remotely. At the same time, customers are also more interested in services with little or no contact with others to limit the risk of infection. What once seemed like a luxury has become indispensable for business continuity and customer engagement.

Could you tell us about the recruitment challenges in the new context?

The major challenge in recruitment now is to switch from traditional to virtual practices. Virtual interviews may not be enough for candidates to evaluate the work culture and future career path. It is also more challenging for employers to observe the body language and how candidates react to the working environment and culture. That’s why more employers are now benefiting from online skills assessments. Psychological assessments are becoming more popular to gauge candidates’ qualifications and resilience. The online corporate assessment services market is expected to grow at a high rate in the Asia-Pacific region over the next few years.

The engagement level in virtual onboarding is also a concern. Without human connection and face-to-face interactions, it’s hard for new hires to set the right tone for work and get a feel for what it’s like to work in the company.

Also, not everyone is comfortable being on camera. Some might feel awkward, leading to a lack of confidence and misjudgment from the interviewers.

What is your forecast for the labour demands of domestic and foreign investors in Vietnam in 2021?

As a result of the rapid digital adoption, technology-related sectors such as e-commerce and fintech are still in high hiring demand. Also in some industrial zones, the manufacturing industry is actively hiring. For the first six months of 2021, the General Statistics Office reported an increase of 8.91 per cent on-year for the index of industrial production, of which the manufacturing industry increased by 11.42 per cent. Except for food and beverage, transportation, and tourism, sectors show a rise in openings.

The investment shift from China to Vietnam is expected to continue, which will open more job opportunities for Vietnamese. The country still has a lot of advantages to attract foreign investment thanks to its young, abundant, and adaptable human resources. The positive impact of free trade agreements will help the Vietnamese economy to gain traction, leading to a significant increase in employment opportunities and hiring demand.

As a global group, how has Adecco supported companies in Vietnam in increasing their competitiveness with a high-quality workforce?

First, we continuously invest in people. Our highly-qualified employees are trained through internal, regional, and global training programmes to enhance their competitiveness. This ensures we have the comprehensive knowledge and understanding advising our clients and recruiting the best-fit talents.

Plus, we regularly release reports and surveys on a variety of related topics to provide our insights on emerging trends. Some content gets updated regularly, such as our Annual Salary Guide, Quarterly Labour Market Update, and surveys on specific topics such as digital transformation. These publications are publicly available for anyone interested.

In addition, we offer tailor-made services to ensure that every unique workforce can be properly supported. Apart from recruiting, we also provide professional reference and background checks to verify the accuracy of candidates’ qualifications. For those who are looking for upskilling or upscaling their workforce, our team can design and customise training programmes specifically for their requirements.

Due to the pandemic, we made online services available to help promptly with human resources needs for companies in Vietnam, including online assessments. Depending on each company’s demand, we can provide assessments on both technical expertise and interpersonal skills such as emotional intelligence.

By Nguyen Thu

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