Despite economic headwinds, nearly six in 10 executives globally expect their businesses to post stable or high growth. Yet, when planning for the year, leaders in Asia are most concerned about the increasing cost of capital and debt, the tight labour market and competition for talent.
Human resources leaders in Thailand echoed similar sentiments in the Global Talent Trends (GTT) Study 2023 by Mercer, which includes a survey conducted with close to 2,500 HR leaders globally.
Specifically, the HR leaders -- representing close to 100 companies -- said they are concerned about lack of workforce capability and future skills (47%), too many priorities that distract their employees (40%), and balancing transformation plans with a survival mindset (38%).
The survey uncovers the ways organisations are redesigning work and the workplace, especially in light of sociopolitical and economic changes, and identifies talent-related trends to enable organisations to thrive in the future of work.
Key findings of this year's survey include the need for employers in Thailand to enable new ways of working for employees and focus on developing a skills-based organisation to attract the right talent. A partnership approach with flexible work and competitive rewards for employees is recommended.
Nearly seven in 10 employees said last year that not being able to work remotely or hybrid permanently is a deal-breaker when considering whether to join or stay with an organisation. In Thailand, 61% of employers surveyed offer flexible work options for all employees, higher than the Asia (50%) and global (56%) averages. However, more can be done to ensure that the remaining companies recognise the importance of work flexibility in talent attraction and retention.
To combat the impact of inflation, more employers in Thailand (27%) adjusted pay or offered cost-of-living adjustments to employees paid below the market median, compared to an Asia average of 20%.
Thai employers also exceeded the Asia average in providing a cost-of-living adjustment or other wage increases for the most heavily affected segments (33% versus an Asia average of 22%). This is a more sustainable way of managing compensation for organisations.
To attract and retain talent, organisations need to differentiate themselves beyond having fair pay policies, and also prioritise employee well-being, which encompasses not only physical but also mental, social and financial well-being.
In fact, more than nine in 10 employers in Thailand are focusing on how their benefits offerings can better boost employee engagement in 2023, according to Mercer. For example, 48% have plans to expand benefits to be more supportive of all segments of the workforce this year (versus an Asia average of 40%). Ensuring the job security of gig workers is less of a priority -- 46% of respondents in Thailand and Asia said they have no plans to do so.
However, employers in Thailand lag Asia in many other areas, especially in supporting employees' mental well-being. Just 13% of employers provide crisis management support to employees following a traumatic event (versus an Asia average of 21%) and 23% provide on-demand access to virtual mental health providers (versus an Asia average of 26%).
One of the areas employers in Thailand have struggled to make progress on is enabling a skills-based organisation. While 60% of them (versus an Asia average of 56%) have a clear understanding of the talent needs across their organisation, HR leaders have yet to catch up on the development and deployment of their talent.
About three in 10 companies have an internal talent marketplace to facilitate talent sharing, as compared to 40% in Asia, and just 33% (versus an Asia average of 60%) nudge employees to undergo training based on their job and skill aspirations.
On using tools and technology to better measure and assess skills, companies in Thailand are also trailing Asia. Compared to an Asia average of 41%, only 22% of Thai employers use AI-driven talent intelligence platforms to understand skills, while 43% use psychometric tools to measure potential (versus an Asia average of 53%).
"It is heartening to see a growing trend of employers in Thailand exploring and implementing new ways of working that address employees' evolving needs. Various types of flexible work models have been adopted in many organisations," said Juckchai Boonyawat, president of Mercer Thailand.
"However, this is just one piece of a puzzle, and we urge employers to prioritise overall employee experiences by reducing employee exhaustion and redesigning work with well-being in mind for a start.
"Leaders should also take proactive steps to safeguard the employability of their workforce by investing in their development, upskilling and reskilling their talent, and use technology while doing so."