Human Resource

How to Foster Connection Between Employees

Every organisation must ensure employee connectivity. As more people adopt hybrid working methods, technology-assisted interactions and meetings become more common. However, this does not necessarily mean that employees feel connected to one another.

In fact, according to BetterUp Lab’s recent report, “The Connection Crisis: Why Community Matters in the New World of Work”, as cited in Human Resources Online’s recent articleemployees are less connected to one another than ever before.

The study, which involved over 3,000 workers in the US identified several trends, which are among others:

  • 61% of employees do not socialize with coworkers outside of work.
  • 53% dislike collaborating with their coworkers
  • 44% of employees lack a true friend at work
  • 43% feel disconnected from their coworkers
  • 38% distrust their coworkers
Hactic HR

The results are alarming, as employees who do not feel like they belong are reportedly more stressed out at work, more likely to experience burnout, lonelier, and more likely to experience anxiety and depression.

Happy Colleagues

In the wake of the Great Resignation last year, many employers began putting employee experience at the top of their corporate priorities. As well as increasing rewards and creating a positive work environment, it is also important to ensure that people in the workplace feel connected to each other; beyond virtual meetings, in order to create engaged employees and happy workplaces.

In what ways can we foster meaningful communication, collaboration, and connection between employees?

  1. Ensure everyone feels welcome and comfortable at work:
    It is important that everyone feels comfortable and safe at work, and this can be achieved through an open and welcoming environment.
    Employees can exchange personal stories and anecdotes regularly, as well as participate in social events that can help them get to know each other in a relaxed setting.
  2. Ask employees for their opinions and thoughts:
    Listen to what they have to say. Surveys and polls can be used to accomplish this, making it easier for everyone to participate and feel included.
  3. Create a culture of kindness and care in the workplace
    A culture of kindness and care in the workplace goes a long way to preventing loneliness. By helping team members understand their importance in the team, leaders can also instil a sense of belonging in them.

Many of us spend a great deal of time at work. In this sense, connecting with employees and creating a work environment that brings out the best in them is one of the best things a company can do.

Human Resource

Making It Easier For The Unemployed To Find Work

For the first time since the first Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced in March 2020, the national unemployment rate fell below 4 percent in April 2022, compared to 4.6 percent in April 2021.

Though the unemployment rate has not yet returned to the pre-pandemic level of below 3.5 percent, a country is considered to have achieved full employment if its unemployment rate is below 4 percent. This is certainly a positive sign. 

Still, there are some concerns; one of the most prevalent is a mismatch in the job market, which can lead to issues such as brain drain and underemployment.

Malaysian Women

Even though much has been done to address these issues, it seems we have relied heavily on traditional solutions for a long time. It is fine to use tried and tested methods, of course. This is because we have been creating more job opportunities, making jobs more attractive, and most recently, increasing the minimum wage.

However, there are still more than 160 thousand inactively unemployed people, such as those who lack the skills or access to affordable training to find work. Many also believe there is no work available or that they are unqualified. These factors are preventing them from finding work.

Motivating these people to start applying for jobs requires boosting their low morale as well. For example, the inactively unemployed can attend workshops (especially physical workshops for those without access to the internet) or attend programmes where they can learn basic computer skills, how to write a CV, have their CVs reviewed, and prepare for job interviews.

As a nation strives to become developed, it must begin with approaches that support and empower job seekers. In addition, it must identify the circumstances that prevent them from sharing the benefits of development.

Human Resource

Unemployment Among Recent Graduates

According to the Graduates Statistics 2020 published by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), there were 5.36 million graduates in 2020, an increase of 4.4 percent from 2019 (5.13 million). 202,400 of them, or 4.4 percent, were unemployed, which is an increase from 165,200 (3.9 percent) in 2019.

Nevertheless, many recent graduates are still struggling to find full-time employment. 

According to the graduate tracer study conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education, the marketability of Malaysian graduates in 2020 dropped by 1.8 percent to 84.4 percent compared to 86.2 percent in 2019. This was attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recent article, Utusan Malaysia and the Malay Mail discussed this phenomenon, with some of the interviewed respondents citing inability to find opportunities that suit their chosen field of study and job compatibility issues. Often, these factors lead graduates to settle for part-time jobs, gig jobs, and even positions that aren’t suited to their qualifications, and sometimes with low pay. 

 In other words, there is a huge mismatch between the job market and the skills needed.

Corona virus un employment Report

On 25th May this year, the Ministry of Higher Education has announced five initiatives aimed at addressing the declining marketability of graduates during the Covid-19 pandemic period, including the KPT-Career Advancement Programme (KPT-CAP), Teaching Factory Programme, TVET Transformation Programme, flexible and micro-credential programmes, as well as mobility programmes.

All of these are good starting points, but the implementation remains the key to their effectiveness.

Additionally, it is necessary to re-examine and future-proof the courses and syllabus in universities, focusing not only on the demands of today’s job market, but also ten or even twenty years from now, especially with the growing demand for digital and technical talents. Otherwise, we risk losing our talent as they migrate to other places for better opportunities.

We cannot afford to waste more time and risk being left behind in the race as we work to develop the economy of the country.

Professional Development

Malaysia’s Brain Drain: What is the Cause?

In the year 2000, one out of ten local graduates migrated, indicating that Malaysia has a serious brain drain.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this is twice the world average. Despite the numbers being similar to Singapore and Hong Kong, they are incomparable to Malaysia because that is typical for small and open economies.

Twenty years later, the situation has not improved. The nation’s brain drain has been growing at an average rate of six percent per year. There are now an estimated two million Malaysians living and working overseas!

In an online survey on the r/malaysia Reddit page back in August 2021, only 9 percent of the 3,200 Malaysians polled said they were satisfied with their lives in Malaysia and would not consider leaving. A whopping 28 percent, in the meantime, said they had considered moving to another country, but would most likely stay.

Lady with bag - Recruitment agency

Additionally, although we are importing workers into Malaysia, most of them are low-skilled, with 60 percent having only primary education or less, and the number of high-skilled expats has declined by a quarter since 2004. This is further compounded by the fact that we have not been able to replace the talent that is lost because the skilled workforce is not entering the country.

Additionally, although we are importing workers into Malaysia, most of them are low-skilled, with 60 percent having only primary education or less, and the number of high-skilled expats has declined by a quarter since 2004. This is further compounded by the fact that we have not been able to replace the talent that is lost because the skilled workforce is not entering the country.

It is easy to point out that wage and cost of living are the main reasons for brain drain. In Canada, for example, entry-level positions start at US$38,000 per year (equivalent to RM150,000 annually), whereas in Malaysia, fresh graduates earn about US$7,000 (equivalent to RM30,000 annually).  Brain drain is caused by a number of factors, however.

We must look further and dig deeper in order to reverse the brain drain. Brain drain is also attributed to a lack of career prospects and unavailability of opportunities in specific fields. Malaysia’s economy is largely based on production and manufacturing rather than research and development, making it difficult for those seeking skilled employment to thrive and grow.

For now, Malaysians will increasingly seek greener pastures elsewhere if we don’t do something about the declining standards of living, regrettably.