One of the enduring challenges for companies in Southeast Asia (SEA) and Asia as a whole has been employee recruitment and retention. According to Seek Asia CEO Peter Bithos, a job portal operator, Asia faces a shortage of tech workers to fill various roles. Thus, it has become increasingly common to find high talent hoarding and limited talent sharing in the SEA tech industry.

Talent hoarding is the tendency for managers to prevent their best employees from working with another team inside the company. As such, these managers prevent the workers from acquiring new skills and feeling valuable to the organisation. Instead, they stifle their career progression, leading them to leave and seek work with a different company that meets their needs.

Tech jobs aren’t going away according to SEEK Asia CEO

For modern-day businesses, talent sharing is essential to help keep the organisation agile and adapt to challenges as they arise. It allows employees to move to other departments, gain new skills, and offer their unique abilities to the other team to help them complete a project. An excellent example of when role-sharing was crucial was during the COVID-19 pandemic when many workers had to handle tasks previously worked on by other employees.

Sharing talent is not just limited to departmental needs but can also be applied to companies collaborating to form a marketplace for in-demand skills. Company A can lend its employees to Company B in an emergency. In other instances, workers benched during low-activity months can work for another business where they feel appreciated.

Impact and benefits of hoarding or sharing talent

Despite the mass layoffs witnessed in 2022 in the SEA tech industry, companies continue to face challenges in filling vacancies and finding the right talent to take the business forward. Many employees need upskilling and reskilling, making it difficult for managers to call upon them to work on more complex projects. Hiring is also being pushed back because the economic landscape worldwide is not on the right track, with many countries heading into a recession. 

While streamlining services and reducing costs, it has become clear to many companies that hiring employees from within is a better option and would have a more significant impact. An internal hiring policy keeps everyone engaged and offers skill-based experiences that can enhance an employee’s feelings toward the organisation. 

There is a tendency for managers to hoard the best talent for themselves to ensure they can meet the company’s goals faster. Many companies have adopted the idea of an internal marketplace whereby talent sharing among departments can occur. The challenge is to convince managers and other leaders to share workers to benefit the business.

How to promote talent sharing in your business

According to Employment Hero’s Remote Work Report, the COVID-19 pandemic changed how workers saw their jobs. Many decided to ask for promotions, salaries, benefits, and more. Employees who do not get what they want for their career progression may choose to join the long list of people resigning to seek fresh pastures in other companies.

Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that managers must shift their mindset to support internal mobility and employee growth. Workers need greater responsibility and the space to manage their career progression. Furthermore, the best employees may not have the right skill for a different project. Thus, flexibility in using an internal talent marketplace to get the skills needed for a task is better than shoehorning your most reliable employee into an unwanted role.

Leaders should be aware of the threat of organisational silos. When companies restrict their workers from interacting with other departments, it runs the risk of employees not seeing the company’s big-picture goals. Eventually, this scenario creates silos whereby no one knows what other departments are doing, leading to miscommunication, reduced innovation, and a lack of productivity within the company.

Employees can become resentful of managers that mistreat them or ones who suppress their career progression. Turnover surges in the company indicate an underlying issue that should be fixed, so focusing on sharing talent should be a priority.

Finding the right balance is key moving forward

The practice of talent hoarding the best workers in the SEA tech industry is no longer a viable business model in the current age. Employees seek fulfilment in their jobs and require skills-based work experience to thrive in the company rather than being kept in one role because they are the best at it. 

It is vital to find the right balance of talent sharing in a tech business to ensure the best talent remains engaged and feels they are making a valuable contribution to the growth and success of the company. It will enable the organisation to stay agile and cope with any unforeseen challenges, as it did a few years ago when COVID-19 emerged.