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Table of contents
Wipro provides such training to more than 24, employees, on average, each year.
But such efforts are no longer enough: in fast-changing industries, the skills acquired in school and in company training programs quickly become outdated. So people must learn how to keep their skills and ideas fresh and relevant. Nurturing Entrepreneurialism Within the Company. In the late s, the company asked its couriers to forgo a steady fixed salary in exchange for the opportunity to be compensated as if they were running their own businesses.
Express adopted a piece-rate compensation system that is heavily based on incentives. Couriers receive a base salary of a few hundred dollars a month, but the majority of their pay is directly linked to the number of packages they deliver on time. Systematically Grooming Executives. Astra has made particularly impressive strides in nurturing executive talent. The company sponsors a two-year, graduate-level management program for 12 to 15 candidates each year.
Candidates must pass the program before they are offered jobs. Astra has dramatically improved its ability to hire these management candidates. A few years ago, many top graduates accepted jobs at other companies, often in the banking, oil, and mining industries. In , all of the management graduates joined Astra. The company also has been successful at developing managers and moving them up the ranks. The company also constantly refreshes its executive teams.
The CEO blocks out part of his weekly schedule for regular meetings with individuals, and he makes a point of meeting managers before they go overseas and upon their return. Young adults across emerging Asia care increasingly about such issues as environmental stewardship, integrity, and social commitment when considering future employers.
In the battle for talent, this makes it even more important for companies operating in Asia to articulate their values and ensure that they live by them day to day. Wipro articulated its main values in ; it was one of the first Indian companies to do so. The company has sought to maintain a zero-tolerance policy on violations; those paying even small bribes have been asked to leave, regardless of their tenure, performance, or importance to the business.
Climate Disclosure Leadership Index rates Wipro as a leader in disclosing its carbon footprint. Astra also believes that its reputation for strong values gives it an edge when competing for top talent. In addition to making charitable contributions to public education, the Dharma Bhakti Astra Foundation—established by Astra founder William Soeryadjaya in —works with some 8, small and midsize enterprises across the country to promote job creation and economic development.
A Bad Time to Be Average
Fast-growing companies have developed a number of innovative strategies to cope with infrastructure bottlenecks that can impede growth. Controlling the Transportation Fleet. The secret behind S. Most other couriers still focus entirely on trucks and typically have slower delivery times. As a result, S. Express has achieved an edge in rapid delivery that few rivals can match. Going Digital. One of the most promising ways to overcome the constraints of physical infrastructure in remote areas of emerging Asian markets is to rely more heavily on digital technologies.
Access to the Internet through mobile devices and personal computers is growing explosively across the region, enabling leading companies to reach and serve consumers and businesses far more efficiently. Unilever uses digital technology to create and maintain digital profiles of the small, family-owned shops that account for the majority of its retail sales in nations including Indonesia, Vietnam, and India. Participating at the Grass Roots. Many villages in emerging Asia are so disconnected from telecommunications infrastructure that consumers cannot be reached through conventional distribution systems.
In some cases, the only radio or TV in a village may be in the hut of a village headman. As a result, for many multinational corporations, villages represent a giant, untapped market. To reach these isolated households, Unilever embeds itself in village life through initiatives such as Project Shakti, a program that blends business development with grassroots economic development. Project Shakti offers business training and microfinance credit so that the women can set up their own businesses to distribute Unilever products—often selling door to door.
The Shakti ammas , or mothers, thereby contribute to the village economy. Beginning with only 60 villagers a decade ago, Project Shakti now has more than 60, entrepreneurs running profitable businesses. For its part, Unilever has an entirely new distribution channel in important new markets. Avoiding the Congestion. How could AirAsia quickly build a regional network of low-cost flights despite growing congestion at many airports in emerging Asia?
One in three AirAsia routes, in fact, had never been flown before the carrier inaugurated service.
By , it was flying that route 28 times a week, carrying , passengers annually. Since AirAsia began service at Don Mueang in , annual passenger traffic to Kuala Lumpur has surged from 58, a year to more than , The following are some of the approaches frequently cited by the companies we interviewed.
Finding Creative Ways to Exert Control. One of the most attractive options for entering a new emerging market in Asia is to form a joint venture with a domestic partner. Yet even though most Asian governments have liberalized rules on foreign direct investment in recent years, they still bar foreigners from owning majority stakes in certain industries—a serious stumbling block for companies that want to control their businesses.
This hurdle did not stop AirAsia from successfully establishing low-cost carriers in four neighboring countries. The airline was willing to be a minority partner in joint ventures, but it has been circumspect in its choice of partners. Helping Shape Regulations. Regulatory authorities in emerging Asian economies can often be more receptive to sound policies and best practices than many companies assume. But regulators are wary of adopting new concepts and borrowing rules and regulations from other nations without careful study. Regulators want to understand the implications of changing the rules or authorizing new business activities in their country.
Companies at the forefront of innovation in emerging Asia have had success in winning approval for their businesses by patiently explaining the benefits to regulators. AirAsia has a government relations, policy research, and outreach department that seeks to educate stakeholders and regulators in meetings and various forums.
Wipro engaged with the government to draft new health, safety, and security regulations for employees. Securing access to seamless Internet connectivity and electrical power was a particular challenge at a time when the country faced serious infrastructure bottlenecks.
Procuring land that had been earmarked for the manufacturing industries was another issue. To increase support for sweeping regulatory changes and to secure key government approvals, Wipro worked with industry organizations to highlight the economic contributions of the IT services outsourcing business, such as job creation and higher inflows of foreign direct investment. Due to slow processes, licenses that should have been granted in a couple of weeks often take up to three months to be processed.
Wipro has worked with the government to promote changes to move the system online.
This has made approvals faster, smoother, more efficient, and transparent. Wipro is also working with Indian regulators on labor laws, cyber-security, procurement, tax policy, and foreign trade. Earning a Social License.
2. Socioeconomic inclusion of rural India
One of the worst nightmares of a company that is quickly seizing market share in a developing Asian economy is that its success will provoke a public backlash. Whether fair or not, negative domestic-media coverage and protests against companies that are seen to be damaging public interest in the name of profits can often lead to regulatory actions as well. One way that some fast-growing companies in emerging Asia have averted such backlashes is by earning the goodwill of local populations.
But a lot of stakeholders see Astra as an important national asset. Unilever also believes that its grassroots community-development activities in Asian emerging markets generate public support for the company. For many companies, it is either too late or too demanding of time and resources to gain much competitive advantage by replicating them.
But these actions illustrate the kind of corporate mind-set that allows companies to create their own innovative solutions. But make no mistake: the structural challenges that complicate the business landscape today will remain obstacles for the foreseeable future. Governments are redoubling their efforts to make their economies more competitive by improving their talent pools, infrastructure, and regulatory systems. But change will not come fast enough for most companies. They should do more than adapt to a problematic environment. They should work actively to shape it. Develop an entrepreneurial culture.
Companies need to cultivate an organization in which employees at all levels seek to improve their own performance and that of the overall business. Companies should consider offering performance-based incentives and empowering employees to make decisions that are beyond their usual roles in order to grow the business. For many organizations, this will require a cultural change. Take a long-term view. A willingness to invest in talent, infrastructure, and efforts to shape regulation, as well as other areas beyond the normal scope of business, is evidence of this commitment.
This willingness requires companies to take a different approach than the one normally practiced by MBAs when evaluating the business case for any investment. Create local partnerships. Leaders in rapidly developing Asian economies recognize that their companies are part of an ecosystem and that their success is intertwined with that of other stakeholders.
A willingness to localize and a spirit of partnership are important. Rather than view regulators mainly as potential adversaries, companies should work with them to help create an effective regulatory system that advances the agendas of their business and that of local governments.
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Companies should partner with schools to bolster the education ecosystem and develop the talent pool that their businesses need.