Singapore Business Leaders Unprepared to Manage Hybrid Work Models Required For Long-Term Business Success

Singapore Business Leaders Unprepared to Manage Hybrid Work Models Required For Long-Term Business Success

KellyOCG’s 2021 Global Workforce Agility Report identifies four key behaviors Singapore organisations must adopt to thrive post pandemic

Singapore (July 21, 2021) – The pandemic triggered a seismic shift in how, when and where we work. While majority of Singapore business leaders acknowledge this dramatic change, many are unprepared for how to manage talent, use technology and support employees in this new environment, according to the KellyOCG Global Workforce Agility Report 2021.

“Singapore has responded well to the pandemic by up- or reskilling permanent talent to face new challenges. But, while it’s clear that leaders understand how their talent strategy links to tangible business outcomes, they need to focus more on holistic talent management to address changing demands of employees and they need to prioritise leading-edge technologies for a resilient and agile workforce,” says Peter Hamilton, vice president & regional director, APAC, at KellyOCG.

Among the 13 countries surveyed by KellyOCG in the global report, Singapore boasts the highest proportion of executives planning to permanently offer employees hybrid and remote work options, even when the pandemic ends. Singapore also excels in providing training for employees to take on new skills that have become more essential in the past year.

  • Close to 3 in 4 (72%) executives in Singapore - compared to 59% globally and 58% in APAC - say their businesses will adopt hybrid work models post pandemic; and 36% plan to make remote work a permanent option – compared 25% globally and 22% in APAC.

  • 63% executives in Singapore acknowledge the value of a hybrid work model in order to meet business goals effectively, and 61% (compared to 47% globally and 54% in APAC) have been providing training and upskilling for employees.

However, the KellyOCG report unveils that Singapore executives lag behind global counterparts in supporting employees by alleviating the impact of the pandemic:

  • 43% of Singapore executives, compared to 45% globally and 50% in APAC, are offering flexible work hours in addition to hybrid work arrangements.

  • Only 33% of organisations are providing physical health support and only 36% are providing mental health support, compared to 43% and 46% in APAC respectively.

  • Less than 1 in 5 companies (18%) are providing additional paid time off, behind global and APAC averages of 23% and 24% respectively.

  • Less than 1 in 4 leaders (24%) are re-evaluating employees personal targets to ensure they are achievable given the changes brought about by the pandemic – the lowest proportion in APAC, and the second lowest globally just above the Netherlands (18%).

Amidst the tremendous acceleration in technology adoption, a minority of organisations globally are using leading-edge technologies for workforce planning and management, the survey found. In Singapore, business leaders are facing challenges in deciding what leading-edge technologies is right for their business. While

  • 82% executives in Singapore say technology is critical for long-term business success.

  • Two-thirds (66%) admit they are overwhelmed by the volume of available workforce technologies and not confident in choosing the right ones for their business.

The global KellyOCG study identified a group of leading organizations dubbed the ‘Vanguards’ – who report employee wellbeing and productivity have significantly improved during the pandemic, alongside revenue growth over the past three years. ‘These leaders, which made up approximately 105 of the respondents, have taken a strategic, long-term approach to improving the resilience, agility and wellbeing of their workforces, compared to ‘Laggards’ (respondents who report declining employee wellbeing and productivity over the past 12 months).

Specifically, the data uncovered four key dynamics of the Vanguards’ response to the pandemic that are helping them build a more agile and resilient workforce, and a more profitable business.

  1. Vanguards amplify workforce fluidity. They are more likely to have a comprehensive strategy for bridging skills gaps by employing new talent, bringing on contingent labor (62%), and implementing re-skilling initiatives (52%).

  2. Vanguards are building a better employee experience. Nine of ten (91%) Vanguards say that improving the employee experience is as high a business priority as improving the customer experience.

  3. Vanguards are improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). While many still only pay lip service to DEI programs, Vanguards are around twice as likely as Laggards (67% vs 35%) to have fully developed DEI strategies in place for both permanent and contingent talent.

  4. Vanguards understand that adopting leading-edge technologies is critical to managing a workforce in flux. Many have begun implementing new technologies to alleviate workload pressure and enhance efficiency (64% vs. 48% of Laggards), and nearly half are using technology to gain visibility of workforce utilization and improve the recruiting process.

“Our research shows a majority of executives agree that talent has never been more important as a source of competitive advantage, yet they are ill-prepared to manage and support that talent,” adds Hamilton. “The Vanguards provide a roadmap on key actions that will give businesses the edge they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive and fast-changing marketplace – ensuring their workforce is fit for a future in flux” explains KellyOCG President Tammy Browning.

The report also shares insights from in-depth interviews with five business leaders across industries. These independent experts provide on-the-ground perspectives on how they are responding to the pandemic, their priorities over the coming months, and the initiatives that have been most successful in bolstering workforce resilience.

About KellyOCG:
KellyOCG® connects companies with the talented people they need to fuel and grow their business through our unrivaled global talent supply chain and leading workforce solutions including Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). We combine decades of people industry experience with proprietary insights and a continued focus on technology to produce world-class programs that meet an organization’s unique workforce needs and can start them on their journey to total talent management. Our ability to anticipate what’s next for talent solutions drives us to challenge the status quo making us a trusted partner for our global client portfolio, which spans leading industries across North America, APAC and EMEA. Visit or connect with us on LinkedIn to learn more.

About the survey:
KellyOCG surveyed over 1,000 senior executives, 20% of whom are in C-suite or board member roles, across 13 countries – Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and US – and 10 industries. In Singapore, the survey covered 67 senior business leaders across the country, including at C-suite and Board level.

About the report:
To read the full report and additional insights please click here.