2021 in review: Talent returns to the forefront of HR agendas

YEAR IN REVIEW: It’s been another 12 months of rapidly changing, and always challenging, conditions for business in Southeast Asia. As the region prepares to welcome 2022, many of the issues from the pandemic remain unsolved.

A relatively new variant of Covid-19 is rapidly increasing caseloads in key global markets, and it is not yet clear how the largely well-vaccinated populations of Southeast Asia will cope with a similar wave, when (not if) it comes. Likewise, businesses looking for some sense of assuredness on movement restrictions and workplace practices will be waiting at least a quarter, and more likely a year for the long-awaited “new normal”.

Remote working has been the order of the year, but herein there also remains an uncertainty. While talents have largely taken to working from home, employers remain on the fence about the broader productivity implications. Many are heading into the new year still looking for permanent, likely individualised solutions that can keep talent working at their best.

Part of that movement toward full remote working has been the rapidly intensified efforts to digitalise business across both customer-facing and back-end processes. Like other issues discussed in Chief of Staff Asia’s Year in Review report, the need for digitalisation and digital transformation had certainly been present before the pandemic.

In 2020, this needed to be accelerated, and organisations that were able to quickly align to the unprecedented circumstances made great gains. This year, the pressure on those that were slow out of the blocks 12 months earlier only intensified. At the same time, those that did undergo transformation projects are realising that these are continually evolving. This is the year that the concept of “permanent transformation” became a reality.

Chief of Staff Asia entered the scene in July 2021. And our team of journalists and business commentators based throughout the Southeast Asia region are proud to present this first Year in Review, looking back at all of these issues and more. We hope your organisation and HR team have been on the positive side of all of these changes and challenges, and we look forward to bringing you more news, insight, and analysis in 2022 and beyond.

This report is available for free download for all Chief of Staff Asia subscribers.

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