Articles Abridged: A Summary of What We Talked About Throughout the Year

Move aside, Spotify Wrapped, Aisling’s Articles Abridged is here!

For the past year, we have shared our thoughts and commentary on various workplace trends and issues on our social media and website. As we leave 2022, for our last post for the year, we would like to bring you a quick round-up of these topics that we’ve covered!

1) January

When we entered 2022, there were a lot of uncertainties going on: The reopening of a lot of businesses saw a huge chunk of the Malaysian workforce being required to come back to the office. However, the onset of new variants such as Omicron led to organisations pushing for the continuation of the hybrid workforce model for businesses that can afford to.

The hybrid workforce has certainly become more normalised now, but we are definitely going to be seeing more variations of it next year!

2) February

From navigating the multiple Movement Control Orders (MCOs); deciding on working arrangements; adapting to digitalisation and a new HR management system, and dealing with the challenges of talent retention amid employees’ concerns, the past few years have seen HR leaders dealing with various challenges, and it could not have been easy, given how rapid the changes could be within .organisations, particularly during an unprecedented pandemic.

To support the future of work, with an emphasis on the “human” element, we talked about the things that could be done to redefine the role of HR.

3) March

March was an eventful month – with the then Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announcing that Malaysia would enter the endemic phase of COVID-19 in April, to plans to enforce the new minimum wage rate, to yet another round of EPF withdrawal which was seen as a necessary step to ensure the livelihoods of many Malaysians.

4) April

In the US, the pandemic sparked an unexpected shift in power from employers to employees – leading to the highest quit rates in 40 years. The phenomenon quickly spread worldwide, becoming known as The Great Resignation.

Experts opined that while the situation might not be happening in Malaysia, what we are facing is better described as the Great Reshuffle, where an overwhelming majority of job seekers did not give up their employment status, or if they did it wasn’t for very long, opting for another job opportunity somewhere else that offers them a better opportunity or career advancement.

5) May

The pandemic has changed how we deal with our mental and physical health. We spoke about how leaders and companies should start considering new ways of implementing solutions that support and promote employee wellness.

As the world of work evolves, the authenticity of workplace wellness programmes is key to recruiting and retaining the best talent.

6) June

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.

It is easy to blame the cause on the rising cost of living. However, brain drain is caused by a number of other factors, which need to be looked at further, and it needs serious attention to ensure that those seeking skilled employment are able to thrive and grow.

7) July

In July, there were suggestions to start implementing a shorter work week. Studies and surveys, however, suggest that Malaysians actually prefer the flexibility of working whenever they want, over a shorter work week

One of the reasons is that many believe that a shorter work week would come with some trade-offs, such as having to work longer hours in order to squeeze five days’ worth of work into four.

8) August

In August, the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (Samenta) shared in an article published by The Edge that Malaysian SMEs need between one million and 1.5 million workers. Malaysia’s shortage of skilled workers is not an isolated problem, as even developed nations are experiencing the same problem

It has been suggested that we increase our reliance on TVET graduates, especially since their skills are required for operations that require automation and technological transformation.

9) September

“Quiet quitting” was the buzz phrase that has been gaining traction among workers, especially Millennials and Gen Zs in the United States following the Great Resignation. In essence, this phenomenon can be described as workers refusing to go beyond what is expected of them in their jobs.

We looked into what constitutes Quiet Quitting, the factors contributing to it, and what can HR do to address the issue.

10) October

In Malaysia, general elections are held every five years. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolved the legislature on 10 October 2022 at the request of the incumbent Prime Minister, and the election date was announced to be on the 19th of November 2022.

As elections are about choosing the party that best represents our interests, we delved into whether the outcome of national elections has any impact on employment and whether voting directly affects hiring and firing in the economy.

11) November

Acting Your Wage was the latest trend causing a stir among young workers. The principle behind this trend is to do only what you are paid to do at your workplace. This is due to the different demands and expectations coming from these young workers as a result of the generation gap, their upbringing and the shift caused by the pandemic.

We spoke about how leaders can connect with younger employees and help them feel part of the team as part of an effort to attract and retain top talent.

12) December

Despite heading towards the end of the year, many organisations are still looking to reexamine their business direction, and as layoffs sweep through companies, both globally and in Malaysia, comes the latest trend – career cushioning.

Simply put, career cushioning is when employees look to add security to their professional life and prepare for the unexpected, whether starting to prepare for a job search or actively looking for a new job that feels more stable.

We discussed whether employees should be worried about this trend, and what can they do if employees are engaging in career cushioning.

For the past two years, employees have been seeking out greener pastures and demanding greater pay, better working conditions, more work-life balance, and more opportunity to further their careers as a result of the pandemic, which prompted them to reassess their priorities in life. This resulted in a fierce talent war all over the world and spurred various workplace trends.

It goes without saying that most HR leaders aim to make their company a great place to work, and this goes beyond just ensuring that the office has a fully-stocked pantry, a beanbag-laden seating area or a foosball table.  Ensuring that a company becomes the best workplace ever also involves nurturing an environment where employers are celebrated and appreciated and the ability to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of work.

We are excited to see what next year would bring!

Till then, we at Aisling wish you a very Happy New Year!

Read all our past (and future) articles for free on our website here. We share new articles every Friday!

Happy new year
Professional Development

Are Workcation the Future of Remote Working?

Remote working is becoming a norm for many organisations all over the world, and one trend propelled by this development that has particularly been gaining traction is workcation – a portmanteau of work and vacation.

Simply put, it is when one combines work and leisure, working full-time while staying in a holiday location. One could be working while sipping coconut water from a beautiful island resort; from a cosy mountain cabin, exploring new unbeaten paths and replying to emails whenever possible; or from a bustling metropolis, exploring the shops lining the streets while taking up con-calls and meetings in trendy cafés.

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, many organisations are still encouraging remote work practises, which also leads to a growing number of workcations. In a survey last year, a staggering 85% of the 3,000 Indian workers surveyed said that they took a workcation. Meanwhile, in a global research of eight nations, 5,500 respondents said they planned to turn a business trip into a vacation in 2022.

Meanwhile, South Korea hopes to launch the K-culture visa and the workcation visa – two brand-new visa categories that are hoped to draw in more tourists from outside and boost the country’s struggling tourism sector.

Working Women

Clearly, workcation is not just a passing fad among employees.

But if we combine work and vacation, what happens to our work-life balance?

Empowered by the ‘work-from-anywhere’ mentality created by the pandemic,  a workcation allows one to explore new places while fulfilling their day-to-day obligations, giving them the best of both worlds.

For some, this might actually be the solution to their creative block. After being cooped up in their home offices for months, a change of scenery helps them recharge their mental and emotional batteries. The ability to explore new places also scored highly as a motivating factor.

However, the ability to focus on work while on a workcation also varies massively depending on the job. Some job requires a constant stable internet connection, the space for an ideal set-up requiring multiple screens, and unwavering focus – which can be hard when one is at a new, exciting place and their desire to explore is at an all-time high.

Should employers be wary of this trend

Trust plays a big part in companies allowing their employees to go on a workcation. It can be easy to forget about one’s actual business commitments while experiencing the thrill of discovering a new location.

It could also be more difficult to stay on schedule, maintain real-time communication with the team, and maintain control of the situation, which can end up being quite disruptive to the team’s synergy. Because of this, not all employers will happily allow a workcation. Hence, employees who plan on going on a workcation should also take extra measures to set themselves up for a successful stay.

Further, if an organisation has just recently gone remote, it might not be the best time for the employees to all start going on workcations.  Cooperation and communication are huge parts of a seamless remote working setup, and it may take time before everyone involved can feel at ease with the new configuration.

That being said, workcation definitely has its perks, although some people still prefer to keep work and play apart rather than mixing up the two. 

This trend might not stop anytime soon, but at the end of the day, both employees and employers need to manage their expectations when it comes to workcations.


Career Cushioning: What Employers Need to Know about the Newest Workplace Trend

We have witnessed so many workplace trends driven by the pandemic and technological advents this year – from the Great Resignation and the Quiet Quitting to the Acting Your Wage movement.

However, the storm is far from over. Many organisations are still looking to reexamine their business direction, and as layoffs sweep through companies, both globally and in Malaysia, here comes the latest trend – career cushioning. 

Simply put, career cushioning is when employees look to add security to their professional life and prepare for the unexpected, whether starting to prepare for a job search or actively looking for a new job that feels more stable. They could also be polishing their resumes in search of a position or workplace that better aligns with their values.

But it is not just that. The growing cost of living and worry about losing their jobs have caused workers to adopt a new career strategy that incorporates networking and skill-building. Instead of aggressively looking for a new job, the current trend emphasises increasing their individual worth and futureproofing their skills so that they will be recognised by the industry.

New workplace trend

In a way, it is an extension of upskilling and reskilling – touted as the strategic response to the changing skill demands of the industry.

LinkedIn Economic Outlook, which includes the commentary on trends seen in LinkedIn’s Economic Graph data, stated that job seekers on LinkedIn dramatically increased the intensity of their job searches in September, with the average number of applications increasing by 18% over the year. 

The same report also noted an increase in discussions on the platform on economic uncertainties. The number of postings using the phrases “layoff” or “retrenchment” rose by 17.9% compared to last year, while the number of posts using the term “recession” shot up by an astounding 879%.

Should Employers be Worried?

As with upskilling and reskilling, employees looking to improve their marketability in the long run by acquiring useful skills is a good thing and will also benefit the organisation they are working for.

But unlike upskilling and reskilling, where employers usually provide training during office hours, the act of career cushioning is done by employees’ own volition. It might raise a question of ethics if employees attend classes or look for jobs during office hours when they are supposed to be focused on their main responsibilities. It might also come at the expense of productivity.

Hence, to keep employees focused, it is important that companies and leaders be as transparent as possible. Employees’ anxieties come from not knowing what is going to happen to them, and this can happen even at an organisation where no restructuring or layoffs are being planned. News of organisations in the same industry or hearing about a loved one or a close friend losing their job can increase worry and anxiety.

Consider strategies to counter any disengagement by concentrating on some key engagement activities, and prospective aspects. Leaders should also create a promising outlook for the organisation as a whole.

Human Resource

What is Coming in 2023?

Hiring and recruiting trends for a workforce that has been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic

Recruiting and hiring processes have evolved. In order to improve efficiency in talent search, companies and recruitment agencies have had to adapt and find better ways to attract talent – even the best HR companies in Malaysia are not excluded.

Some companies are using talent recruitment agencies for outsourcing and outplacement services – but even they  may find it challenging to draw in talented and qualified individuals from a limited and competitive talent pool as 2023 approaches. The COVID-19 epidemic has permanently transformed the demands and needs of the workforce, and as a result, trends shift.

But as the year draws to a close, it is time for HR and talent acquisition recruitment agencies  to relook at their strategies and anticipate what is coming in 2023 in order to transform their recruiting and retention strategies to become more effective, streamlined, and proactive.

HR Trends

Recruitment Will Become More Proactive

The shift from reactive to proactive recruitment will continue in 2023, with HR using key strategies to find talent before the need to fill a position becomes urgent.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

In 2023 and beyond, more businesses will discover that boosting salaries and offering attractive benefits packages is the best way to draw in and keep talent.

Using Social Media to Showcase Brand Values

Proactive recruiters and recruitment firms have been using social media to find and keep an eye on potential applicants during the past 10 years. Starting next year, we will see more HR specialists utilising social media as a tool to showcase the company’s corporate branding and values. Maintaining a positive reputation for the business should be one of HR’s top priorities, especially as job seekers nowadays look for companies whose values align with theirs.

Creating Diverse and Inclusive Environments

Initiatives related to diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) are essential for businesses that wish to maintain a productive and healthy workplace culture. According to a Deloitte survey, 83% of millennials are more engaged in an inclusive environment, and 47% of candidates actively seek out employers who encourage diversity and inclusion.

Utilising Digital Tools and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software

A growing number of businesses – including talent agencies in Malaysia – are starting to incorporate the usage of digital tools or applicant tracking systems (ATS) into the recruiting process, frequently using a hybrid strategy that combines digital and in-person techniques.

This can help HR and recruiters save time and effort during the hiring process, and assist HR professionals in making more informed decisions when interviewing and hiring candidates.

Social Media


All in all, it is apparent that the world of hiring and recruiting is evolving. HR now has to take a more proactive stance to emphasise values that matter to potential candidates, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their recruiting processes, and enhance engagement and retention.

At Aisling, we combine our customer and talent acquisition approach with our subject matter expertise across our areas of specialisation. Aisling Search & Selection continues to maintain a high degree of positive impact in our partnerships.

If you are interested to know more about what we do and how we do it, reach out to us at!

We are excited to see what is coming in 2023!

Professional Development

Invest in talent development to future-proof your workforce

The talent war will only make it harder for HR managers to find the ideal candidate. According to recruitment specialists and head-hunters in Malaysia, hiring through a traditional application and interview process might no longer be adequate, in such a highly competitive market.  

Digitalisation is transforming jobs faster than ever, so future-proofing the workforce is essential. To achieve this, the workforce must develop not just critical thinking and soft skills, but also acquire new digital skills.

An engaged, capable, and adaptive workforce can transform an organisation into one that is more productive, but talent development should also be prioritised for several other reasons:

Investing in talent development programmes boosts participants' resilience and productivity by providing a toolkit of abilities

It includes skills such as goal-setting and positive visualisation, which are particularly valuable today. Visualisation exercises, which are frequently used at work to achieve professional goals, can also keep anxiety at bay so team members can concentrate on what is important for their professional development and the company.

Additionally, setting objectives keeps your teams motivated and productive.

Positive psychology, reinforcement, and affirmations contribute to employee motivation and productivity

Due to the widespread shift to remote work, a simple compliment or workplace shout-out takes more effort now, compared to the past.

An effective talent development programme would also incorporate self-reflection and confidence-building affirmations.

The need for reliable communication has never been greater

Having a trusted recruitment consultant and talent development agency may help you communicate between leadership, management, and teams during times of uncertainty. As a result, misunderstandings can be reduced, fears can be calmed, and plans can be clarified for the organisation’s success.

By providing leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to find, keep, and develop great employees, one could foster an environment where those employees can and want to perform at their best.

The REACH Ecosystem is one of the best solutions on the market currently that offers a complete learning path. Using automation, this Australian-based assessment platform converts potential into performance. With its People, Culture, and Performance solutions, and development roadmaps, it provides organisations with all the tools and support individuals need to improve their performance.

The following are some of the types of profiling that are conducted and interpreted by Aisling Professional Development’s certified REACH practitioners:

  • Personality Profile
  • Communication Profile
  • Sales Profile
  • Culture Profile
  • Leadership Profile
  • Leadership 360
  • Personal Development Companion
  • Training Needs Analysis,

Successful and agile companies are founded on relevant and adaptable individuals. For employees and organisations to remain relevant in a changing workplace, continuous advancement is essential.

We invite you to learn more about the REACH ecosystem and other Aisling talent development programmes by visiting our website at or writing to Aisling at