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Vietnam – Businesses need top of the class HR divisions

19 November 2013

Human resources of Vietnamese companies which do not have high quality and do not reach international standards are now one of the deep-rooted causes of their low competitiveness against others in the region and in the world. This is the message Dr Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), delivered at the conference on “HRM Roles in Corporate Restructuring" recently held in Hanoi by Business Forum Newspaper in collaboration with Vietnam Prosperity Bank.

The workshop aimed to provide a forum for businesses to access experience in HRM, individual capacity development, corporate synergy, innovation, adaptability, and development with current conditions.

HRM in Vietnamese companies is weak. In the current context, HRM strengthening and capacity building is not only a requirement, but also a great challenge to businesses on the way to successful corporate restructuring and crisis tackling.

"Perhaps, human resource management (HRM) has never been considered a prerequisite for the continued existence and sustainable development of companies as much as today, particularly in the course of corporate restructuring. Corporate restructuring is widely carried out in service, finance, banking and real estate industries among others,” said Dr Loc.

Ms Nguyen Thi Van Anh, CEO of Navigos Search, said outstanding strengths of Vietnamese workforce are a majority of Vietnamese population at working age and young, studious, quick-witted and progressive labourers. However, its workforce weaknesses are poor experience and skills of workers, insufficient high-quality personnel, poor foreign language skills, insufficient skilled workers, and low professionalism.

“These are existing problems of the Vietnamese labour force, but this does not mean it does not have solutions to them. Companies that really focus on corporate governance and HRM will win," she added.

Ms Van Anh said that in corporate restructuring, the role of the human resource division is very important. The HR manager must be a strategic partner of other divisions. Accordingly, HRM processes comprise planning, recruitment branding, recruitment, training and development; performance management and development, succession planning, compensation and dismissal.

Personnel planning must be always associated with the company’s short-term, medium-term and long-term development plans. Personnel planning must be linked to the company’s vision and core values. However, the problem for Vietnamese companies is the laggardness and passiveness of personnel planning.

Recruitment must be considered a strategic stage in HRM. Like inputs in the production process, the company must have strict recruitment process and recruiters must be trained. Employers may not need to recruit all employees, but when assigning HR managers to do this, they must take part in recruiting key personnel. Indeed, many companies do not have a standard recruitment process and do not know what they need. Recruiters are not trained in interviewing and assessment skills.

Van Anh said training and development must be seen as a strategic stage in the HRM process. The company must have strict processes, measure efficiency and be creative in training, not only in theoretical classes but in many other forms. This very training process is the main source to build succession force.

"The change and firing of employees is extremely important work; unpleasant but necessary. Hence, companies must have an employment process that cannot cause shock to employees," she added.

Ms Nguyen Thi Bich Huyen, HR Manager at Vietnam Prosperity Bank – VPBank: Restructuring does not mean reducing staff but working out the best model - the right person in the right place - for development. In the banking industry, banks tend to lay off their staff in the restructuring process, but VPBank, in contrast, has personnel growth of 30%. We have strategic visions and directions; thus, we need more staff to achieve the highest efficiency.

We usually assess employees’ performances and tie their jobs to our business objectives.

Mr Nguyen Xuan Duong, Executive Member of Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association and CEO of Hung Yen Garment Company said: “Caring for and meeting the livelihood needs of employees is an important task in human resource management. This is the key for the company to attain sustainable development. Salary is a decisive factor in HRM; salary must be enough for daily needs and saving for rainy days.”

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