Innovation And Agility: The New World - IRC Global Partners Conference, Shanghai

We are happy to announce that the IRC Global Executive Search Partners -- which CnetG is a part of -- was recently named the world’s largest search alliance with 83 offices in 47 countries by Hunt Scanlon.
This keeps us globally connected to other founder-owned search firms while being locally committed, and we have returned from our annual global partners conference with fresh insights from HR practitioners across the globe.
Since this year’s IRC Global Conference was held in Shanghai, keynote speakers Juergen Ries (MD of ASYS China) and Shaun Rein (China Market Research Group founder and managing partner), explained how the Dragon Nation is looking to Industry 4.0 and technical transformation towards its “Made in China 2025” aspirations.

Meanwhile, the expert panel saw thought leaders and regional chiefs from heavyweights like ARK Design, IBM, Mahle Aftermarket, Arcadis, and OgilvyOne elaborate on how innovation and agility will pave the way for businesses going forward in this new world.
Key points from the discussions showed that successful innovation strategies merge strong recruitment for creativity and agility in workforce talent with up-and-coming technologies, to create better brand presence and employee engagement.

·    IRC New Zealand member Grant Pryde noted the ability of state-owned enterprises in China (50% of the country’s economy) to innovate, as well as the use of robotics and developments in renewable energy. Pryde, who is Asia Pacific Leader for the IRC NGO and Not For Profit Practice Group, noted the bursts of innovation in companies like Foxconn.

"Being the largest search alliance in the world, IRC offers clients credible sector expertise through the growing maturity of various practice groups, especially with the industrial and manufacturing group led by Michael Kantel.” (of IRC Germany).

·    IRC South Korea president Steven B. McKinney, concurred noting that all of the alliance’s partners have an ownership mindset, believe it is important to do more than required to ensure client success, well-positioned in their marketplace, and can be trusted to use best practices in delivering their services.

“Our partners take the risk out of doing business in their country. All of our partner firms are filled with seasoned professional with many years of experience in the industry and executive search. At this year’s conference, we learned all about each of our countries and discussed specific examples of success that can be translated to clients in other parts of the world,” he said.

·    IRC Philippines member Grace Abella-Zata pointed out some strategies that have worked for expert panellists: data analytics, focus on open and creative people, hiring from the outside, job rotations, and the ability to respond quickly to local conditions.

Abella-Zata, who is Asia Pacific leader of IRC’s  Consumer & Retail Practice Group, remarked that an amenable culture can help implement innovative or new strategies (proving some relevance to top-down systems) --  as seen in China.

·    Japheth Worthy of IRC Japan focused on the importance of brand engagement via social media, as well as stakeholder or shareholder reports. Worthy, who is Asia Pacific Practice Leader for IRC Healthcare & Life Sciences, noted that the Chinese market is ripe for medical device players.

·    Rania Abdalla of IRC Egypt and UAE highlighted recruitment best practices that were shared as well as ways for recruiters to be more innovative and agile. Rania, who is also Global Practice Leader for IRC’s Consumer & Retail practice group, focused on how government can support innovation (as seen in China), and mindsets that define success.

·    IRC Australia member, the newly- appointed President of IRC and Global Practice Leader for Education Rohan Carr highlighted the genuine benefits that a global alliance brings to IRC partners and the strength of China and impact it will have on the globe over the next 20 years. “The way China works is unique and we cannot apply normal principles in looking at it or dealing with it.” Carr elaborated further on China’s education revolution and the effect it would have on the sector globally here on the IRC Blog.
He also noted an increasing need for executives who have a genuine global perspective and can operate within an environment of uncertainty, the impact of technology and digitisation on all aspects of business, and the importance of environmental and energy issues.

·    IRC Australia member Peter Nisbet: “No matter what your business is, it has faced or is likely to face disruption -- therefore innovation and agility must be high on agenda.” He said employment strategies must take into account 3 points: that the next generation of employees will have very different expectations of their employers, retention as big an issue as recruitment, and the fact that technology is now embedded in both business and personal lives.

·    IRC Malaysia & Thailand Member Raj Kumar Paramanathan – who was recently appointed Global Practice Leader for IRC’s Energy, Natural Resources & Infrastructure Practice Group – found that as more and more talents in China are drawn towards the spiraling new start-ups in the areas of digital and technology, it will become more challenging for multinational companies to attract them.

IRC’s partners from around the world also discussed country and region-wide trends and challenges from a talent management perspective. We learnt what talents there are overseas that we can bring to Malaysian shores to fill up skills gaps locally.
Manish Mehta and IRC India
We recognise the borderless nature of finding top talent, and the innovation and agility needed to adapt to fast-moving trends, and hope to bring these new insights to empower our services better.  To cement this, CnetG aims to develop studies around talent management and digital transformation trends in the coming year, to help clients craft hiring strategies for the workforce of the future.
An article by Cassandra Elisabeth Praba (Associate Consultant).