Find­ers keep­ers, only with big data

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG - By CHAI HUA in Hong Kong


Af­ter col­lect­ing red en­velopes dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, many em­ploy­ers find their staff start­ing to jump ship. In help­ing cor­po­rates re­tain and re­cruit more tal­ents, Caleb Baker, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Asia Pa­cific and emerg­ing mar­kets at Alexan­der Mann So­lu­tions (AMS), sug­gests that they em­brace the trend of big data.

With the help of big data, em­ploy­ers can know be­fore tar­geted can­di­dates send out a re­sume and can con­tact them in ad­vance.

Also, ac­cord­ing to an AMS re­port, com­pa­nies that use em­ployee-per­for­mance data to im­prove on­go­ing tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion out­per­form their com­pe­ti­tion by 58 per­cent.

Baker of­fers an ex­am­ple. “We search job boards for a par­tic­u­lar po­si­tion and find out there may be 1,000 peo­ple qual­i­fied for the job. What big data will do is de­cide maybe 70 of th­ese peo­ple are be­hav­ing a way that they may be open to a new po­si­tion.”

“If we can pri­or­i­tize who we call and in which or­der, it is huge ef­fi­ciency … es­pe­cially for re­cruit­ing low-ranked em­ploy­ees,” Baker ex­plains.

Ac­cord­ing to the CTHR Re­cruit­ment and Salary Trends Sur­vey for the last quar­ter of 2015 by jobs por­tal CT­good­, as many as 80 per­cent of 316 em­ploy­ers polled

Thou­sand Tal­ents Plan”, at the end of 2008, to bring in top over­seas tal­ents to the Chi­nese main­land over the fol­low­ing five to 10 years.

Shen­zhen had re­cruited about 150 tal­ents by the end of June 2015 un­der this plan since 2008, in­clud­ing ex­perts for sci­en­tific search projects and busi­ness lead­ers of ad­vanc­ing tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies.

Baker has par­tic­i­pated in the pro­ject as a con­sul­tant and is “very ex­cited” about it.

As he puts it: “It is a part of the strat­egy to ef­fec­tively buy ex­per­tise, quickly ac­cel­er­ate Chi­nese ex­per­tise and trans­fer knowl­edge.”

“There will also be a level of ex­cite­ment from tal­ents to get said they had dif­fi­culty find­ing the right peo­ple for non-man­age­rial and en­try level po­si­tions.

Baker says the anal­y­sis of in­for­ma­tion such as per­for­mance re­views, em­ployee sur­veys, com­mu­ni­ca­tion pat­terns, as well as staff e-mail and cal­en­dar, helps to re­veal a thor­ough pic­ture of what mo­ti­vates an em­ployee to stay and what causes them to quit the job.

Aus­tralia-born Baker has lived and worked in Asia for about 15 years, build­ing a unique ex­pe­ri­ence and un­der­stand­ing of mul­ti­ple coun­tries and cul­tures.

“My ice­break­ing topic with lo­cal staff is largely around food,” Baker laughs. “My first ad­vice to in­ter­na­tional tal­ents is if you want it to be like home, don’t come.”

Hav­ing been in the in­dus­try for over 15 years, Baker has per­son­ally brought more than 200 in­ter­na­tional tal­ents into the re­gion.

In to­tal, he has done over a few thou­sand in­ter­views for his teams and clients, seven in­ter­views a week on av­er­age.

But the most un­for­get­table one was a video in­ter­view sent by a can­di­date ap­ply­ing for a po­si­tion for his team seven years ago, which was “for­ward think­ing and clever”. It was also unique and so per­sonal that it caught his at­ten­tion and he could not ig­nore it.

“My phi­los­o­phy is sim­ple: hire ca­pa­bil­ity over tech­ni­cal ex­pe­ri­ence. What I am look­ing for is peo­ple who have cu­rios­ity.”

Ten years ago, the in­dus­try was about good peo­ple who knew how to re­cruit and hire good peo­ple, but that is only a small part of the value now.”

into any mar­ket, par­tic­u­larly China, which is a very ex­cit­ing mar­ket.” But af­ter re­cruit­ing th­ese in­ter­na­tional tal­ents, the main­land busi­ness com­mu­nity must know how to man­age them, re­minds Baker.

“It will be a big shift for them to open up to dif­fer­ent ways of work­ing and en­gag­ing tal­ents in dif­fer­ent ways,” he ex­plains.

Rather than more in­tense com­pe­ti­tion, Baker sees the main­land as a source of greater op­por­tu­nity.

In 2015, his com­pany grew 25 per­cent on the main­land and he says it is be­com­ing more im­por­tant to their global strat­egy be­cause it is sta­bi­liz­ing, rather than grow­ing rapidly.

“The great­est op­por­tu­nity in

China is that it is get­ting hot­ter for tal­ents and ex­perts who can de­liver great re­sults,” he says.

“Multi­na­tional and even lo­cal com­pa­nies with big in­vest­ments, such as for build­ings, need to have bet­ter out­come for share­hold­ers.”

“In ad­di­tion, due to the salary in­fla­tion and com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment of the last five years, th­ese share­hold­ers ex­pect bet­ter and ef­fi­cient de­liv­ery,” he adds.

This has re­sulted in con­tracts with clients who not only want his com­pany to find tal­ents but also guar­an­tee their per­for­mance.

Con­tact the writer at grace@chi­nadai­


Caleb Baker, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Asia Pa­cific and emerg­ing mar­kets at Alexan­der Mann So­lu­tions, says tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion in to­day’s world is all about how com­pa­nies uti­lize tech­nol­ogy, so­cial me­dia and data analy­ses.

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