How to build a skills-based human resources strategy: skills landscape in Indonesia


From challenges you may face to guidance on implementing skills programs that cut across all demographic groups of the workforce, senior human resources officials introduce us to the skills landscape in Indonesia. All the highlights from a recent roundtable hosted by Workday and moderated by Aditi Sharma Kalra of HRO.

Bring respected and highly experienced HR leaders into the room (albeit virtually), and the magic happens! Aditi Sharma Kalra of Human Resources Online recently had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion, organized by Workday, on the theme: “Building, Buying or Borrowing Talent – What’s Your Skills Strategy? “, featuring :

  • Anton Hendrianto, Head of People and Culture Development, Bank Muamalat Indonesia & Executive Director, Muamalat Institute
  • Sri Rejeki Dharmadi, Corporate Human Resources Manager, Metrodata Electronics

In this article, we’ve rounded up some of the key ideas distilled from the conversation to dive deep into Indonesia’s skills landscape – challenges faced and overcome, strengths and weaknesses of the trip, and the way forward. Read on for the conversation snippets.

# 1: The state of the skills strategy: where are the priorities?

In a one-off survey, more than half of event attendees said they have a satisfactory skills framework in place, while less than one in five (17%) currently do not. About a quarter (27%) said it was either in the works or not as officially instituted as they would like at the moment. Our panelists certainly fall into the category of people who have a solid skills strategy in place.

For this segment, the main priorities are to develop technological capabilities, adapt and creatively seize the opportunities that exist – in addition to retraining staff in alignment with the business strategy, almost like a “back to basics”. .

What’s also important in this pandemic environment is to focus on productivity – where HR and business data is combined to derive predictive insights that can impact performance. Panelists agreed that this is essential because it allows HR to speak the same language as the company.

# 2: Build, Buy, or Borrow: What’s the Preferred Skill Strategy?

For organizations in Indonesia, a typical ratio of internally trained talent to external talent is 80:20, in other words, 80% of talent is “built”, while 20% is “bought or borrowed” . To achieve this high internal target, 8 to 12 man-days are likely to be allocated for training per employee each year, which is interesting, almost equivalent to annual leave and welfare days.

For the first pillar, i.e. talent development, several accelerated development programs must be put in place, from the early stages to the upper levels, to meet the requirements of the company. Among the many ideas put forward, our speakers told us about:

  • A 12-month fast-track program that turns service staff into sales staff;
  • An accelerated program for junior employees to accelerate into management and leadership roles; and
  • Special routes for those who do not have a taste for human leadership, such as technical consultants and specialists.

A mantra that guides all of these programs is that learning can happen anywhere and learn anytime.

In the past, when learning was still done in the classroom, it was limited to a limited number of participants. But with e-learning, opportunities have opened up for the majority of the workforce.

Now we come to the second pillar, namely talent buying, a strategy that is particularly useful for developing industry-specific or urgent skills (such as digital expertise). Knowledge sharing is made possible through programs such as secondments which allow sharing of wisdom and experience.

Finally, the third pillar, namely talent borrowing, is generally used to tap into a pool of consultants, but also particularly useful for accessing young talents through internships, apprenticeships, etc.

# 3: Source of skills data: Who needs development in what?

In order to determine the current and future capabilities of employees for each level and position, employers use a skills matrix approach. It can indicate exactly what kind of development a person needs, not only in terms of skills, but also skills such as communication and leadership.

Technology plays an important role in producing this information, especially when lead and lag indicators are fed into the system for optimal data analysis. What employers are looking for are platforms that are easy to access, user-friendly, and provide all the information in a single dashboard, including the insights generated by combining talent data with sales data. This results not only in generating insights, but more importantly, in predictive analytics.

# 4: Freshly Prepared: Programs to Develop Top Talent

During our conversations, several ideas emerged about programs that can effectively develop the skills required within the workforce. Some of them include:

  • Coaching: whether you use an app or a face-to-face approach, the coach-coachee relationship can flourish beyond just line managers and their staff.
  • Video Library: Netflix-style learning catalogs are becoming increasingly popular with modules often going into the thousands, giving staff a plethora of choices.
  • Marketplace: An interactive, online community where retired staff can showcase their products, services and knowledge that staff can select and “buy” using their learning credits.

# 5: Overcome the challenges: How do you overcome the skills barriers?

The first challenge highlighted during the conversation was the fact that in an ever-changing world it is becoming increasingly difficult to encourage employees not only to accept but to adapt to change. Leaders are tackling this problem by ensuring that in-depth, quality training content is consistently available at the fingertips of employees.

Second, the importance of sharing experiences and hearing from senior leaders cannot be overstated. As such, the involvement of top management, through storytelling or real technical simulations, can ensure high participation rates.

Making some part of the training mandatory is an important step in securing adoption.

What also helps is another “me”, the mentoring me. When employees have a buddy system in place, knowledge sharing is sure to happen as they bounce off real world issues.

# 6 Fatigue on the screen: real or myth?

Definitely real, our experts say – but that doesn’t mean they haven’t designed workarounds for it. If you find that your staff are tired of constantly being placed behind a screen, make sure you have exhausted the following checklist:

  • The training platform should be user-friendly and include a minimum of steps for employees to start their learning journey.
  • Involve your management and board of directors in the training tutorials – whether as a key sponsor of the program or simply as actors in the L&D promotional video, having known and respected faces giving the he example will surely generate more interest.
  • Apply a “softer” approach to change management. Make sure employees know “what’s in it for me?” »- as an individual, team, department or union member. Highlighting the purpose and mindset makes the point of constantly improving skills to stay relevant.


In the midst of all the talk about upgrading skills, we didn’t hesitate to ask our speakers about some of the new skills and learnings they have acquired during this difficult time.

Go beyond the traditional VUCA and prepare for the new VUCA – vision, understanding, clarity and agility, as the leaders have dubbed it. The new VUCA is more focused on resilient and dynamic leadership that requires innovation and creativity every day.

Second, having the will to win, they urge their peers. Stay adaptive and ensure that your workforce is consistently developing the three most important skill sets, regardless of industry: mastery of technology, flexibility and adaptability, and creativity and innovation.

Main photo / 123RF

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