The tight labour market has heightened the need for companies to attract, develop and retain highly-skilled workers. Michael Kunkle, principal consultant for Right Management Hong Kong, finds himself on the frontline of the battle. Rick Gangwani talks with him about the state of the industry, the ‘human age’ and being in the zone
What are the areas of talent management in which your company specialises?
We mainly focus on five key areas: leader development, organisational effectiveness, employee engagement, outplacement services, workforce transition and talent assessment, which includes one of the hot topics in Asia right now – sales team effectiveness.
What are some of the other ‘hot topics’?
One of the big things that people are asking for in Hong Kong and Greater China right now is high potential programmes. They want to retain and develop their top talent. Manpower Group has actually done a lot of research in this area, and even helped coin the phrase “the human age”.
What is “the human age”?
This refers to the transition from an era of capitalism – where if you had money, you could grow – to an era where the pivotal thing that allows you to grow is your talent. Capitalism, we’re saying, has been replaced by “talentism”, where whoever has the best people, and can hold on to them, is going to be the winner.
What does your role involve?
My role is to build up the capability of our consultants in the Hong Kong and Asia-Pacific region. I’m doing that in two ways. First, by building up the capabilities of our existing consultants through training and development. And second, by hiring additional consultants. Like our clients, we are growing our operations and finding ourselves in a position where there’s a lot of work in the marketplace.
What does one need to be a consultant?
Experience in human capital consulting, or 10 years’ experience in a senior executive HR [human resources] role.
How would you describe the ideal consultant in terms of ability?
One who is able to quickly assess situations using data and, based on their industry knowledge and experience, can listen and partner with a client to develop successful