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Sowing seeds to grow next generation
Hilda Poon
update on Saturday, October 22, 2011
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Addressing the development needs of employees is crucial for companies that seek to build the next generation of leaders and strengthen their talent pool.

According to the recently released 2011 Training and Development Needs Survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM), 80 per cent of 90 responding companies have continued to focus on the development of high potential leaders and managers in their talent development programmes.

This year, 'developing talent' was identified as one of the top five important training topics for senior management - the first time since this topic was first tracked in 2010, according to the institute.

Vaughn Richtor, chief executive officer of ING Banking Asia, says the group has always focused on the development needs of its employees and has a succession plan in place as part of its regional human resources strategy.

"We look at succession planning particularly for our key roles and we identify, hopefully, at least three potential successors for each key position," says Richtor.

Once the potential successors are identified, managers will need to find out the development needs of these people in order to help prepare them for the roles.

"Everyone should have at least one development action which has to be in line with the succession plan. I prefer to see if we can fill our vacancies internally in the first instance, because hiring people from outside is risky. At least when you hire someone internally, you know their strengths and their weaknesses, and you know what development is needed to bring the person up to the role," he said.

Does it always work? "Sometimes there are positions for which we look outside," he adds.

Richtor says one of the keys to preparing the potential leaders is to make sure that they are self aware. "We use tools, such as the 360 appraisal tool, to make sure they know how they are perceived. They can [then] understand how their strengths can be an advantage [or a disadvantage] in certain situations."

ING Banking Asia is an arm of the Dutch financial institution active in investment management, life insurance and retirement services across 14 economies in Asia Pacific. It has over 23,000 staff.

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