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Brave new world for Cambodia SMEs.

Reposition your business in the digital age. Businesses in Cambodia were very happy before COVID arrived and forced many business owners to adapt to these new challenges in order to survive and hopefully thrive in the future. SMEs are the heart of any thriving economy, there are 510,000 registered firms in Cambodia, and more than 90 percent of them are SMEs. The rapid pace of digitalization has caught many off guard and are struggling to find new customers and generate revenue. Pre-COVID revenue was coming in and business owners were making a decent income, but now their customer base has shrunk and there is more competition now than ever. It’s an experience that many SMEs go through in their business journey. One of the key factors in running a business is understanding the customers’ wants, and expectations will change over time, and it’s up to the business owners to adapt quickly to the market shift or face dwindling revenue and eventually closure of business Success in business is straightforward, businesses that are able to grow and scale to new heights are those that are able to evolve or innovate their products and services to meet the ongoing changes in customers' tastes and needs. The key is the ability to quickly discover and pivot your business strategy to fit and align with their future needs. As many business owners are currently facing, this is not an easy process. New digital technologies such as e-commerce, social media marketing trends are all the rage at the moment. There’s no road map to success just because you have embraced these new mediums. Technology is moving so fast that the truth is, you will always be chasing the technology. There will always be a gap between a customer’s needs and the response to that need. The magic formula is that a successful company can’t just adopt technology and automatically be aligned with their customers. The best way to understand and meet the needs of the customer gaps is to UNDERSTAND your customers. Customer-centric gap analysis 1. Understand where you position with customers

This is an essential step but many business owners fail to perform this on a regular basis. Getting feedback from your customers to improve service, product, future needs. Also focus on people that are not your customers. Understand why they are not buying from you, and buying from a competitor, where are they buying from, what will it take for them to buy from you. Once you understand the market needs then you can properly position your products and service to address the buying customers’ needs. 2. Analyze and Strategize Once you have collected the data, the next critical step is to be able to analyze it and create a strategy to fill in the gaps and needs of your target customer range. If done properly, this is where product or service innovations will be achieved. The new strategy will reposition your place in the market to kick start your next level of growth and capturing more of the market share. Assess your Competitive landscape
Who are the main competitors that are going head to head with you? Understand the point of difference that they are offering and why customers are going to them. How are they marketing to their audience, why is it effective? What do you have as your unique selling point? The better you know your competition the better you will be able to change your business to play to win in the future. Identify Opportunities and Gaps in the market
The more research and data you have the better chance that you be able to come up with a unique service/product to fit your target customers’ needs. This will provide you an unfair advantage over your competition. Go find that Niche/Emerging market
Where are your current non-customers? What does your new potential customers look like? how do they behave? What are their buying patterns? By finding these unmet market needs, you have the potential to have these customers to yourself for the time being as long as you can provide and meet their needs. 3. Evolve and Refine Be Agile and Act Fast
The data and research will provide you insights but it’s up to you to implement things fast. Maybe it’s a new service, a product variation, or better support. Whatever you decide, take the first step and keep moving. First to the market, holds the lead position. Test and Test Again
The market is ever-changing, the customer behavior is constantly changing also. As more Cambodian embrace the digital economy. They are just at the beginning of their customer journey. As the digital market improves, their behaviours will change to reflect the ongoing improvement in taste, habits and trends. We need to constantly monitor and be on top of these behavioral changes. Fail Fast and Reiterate
In the West, we like to move fast and test out our ideas before we put them into the plan. Iteration is a key component of successful entrepreneurship from our findings. Don’t be afraid to pivot, change and modify your product/services. Keep moving and trial new ideas and products, this is where innovation thrives. Good luck on your journey and keep pushing yourself to new heights. The future of a better Cambodia is driven by SMEs.

COVID-19 Forced Digitalisation of Cambodia's Workforce

Published on Asian Vision Institute - March 31st, 2020
By Victor La The current health crisis being faced by nations across the globe, has placed most of its worldwide population on edge. Facing this unprecedented situation, governments and all stakeholders race against time to save lives of the people infected by COVID-19, which has now escalated into a pandemic. Cambodia is not exempted from this phenomenal occurrence and has started to feel the economic impact of this crisis. More companies are implementing the remote working concept or “working from home” (WFH), and the government is implementing policies to flatten the growth curve of the virus outbreak and settle in for the “New Normal”. The “New Normal” is a term used in business and economics, which refers to the conditions following the recent financial crisis and global recession – a negative scenario for economies that was once abnormal, is now normal. This remote working concept has been a common practice mostly by progressive companies in developed countries, long before this pandemic arrived. Perhaps this practice will be here to stay, since it has proven to positively impact businesses through their employees delivering and even exceeding expectations, despite not working traditionally at their physical offices or workplaces. We need to harness and empower the workforce of 10 million young Cambodians to build a sustainable and prosperous future, now. Otherwise, we would have missed out on vital national building process, by not developing the potential of these promising young people - at an average age of 25 years. Many countries in the world are envious of this young workforce, but they must first be developed and properly guided. This is where business leaders and government agencies in the form of Public-Private Partnership (PPP), must work together to help identify potential, then develop and mobilise them. Technology such as AI-based work motivation systems can predict up to 98% accuracy in identifying potential to build teamdynamics to increase productivity, create analytics for us to improve recruitment, and mentor and understand what drives our young workforce today. We are in a very unique position to clearly lay down the groundwork and foundation for us to utilise technology to build human resources and the ecosystem. These pillars are essential to start working together cohesively to catalyse the growth of Cambodia. History will look back on this time and the significant transformation, remembering this opportunity to build a better nation and equip ourselves for Industry 4.0. As our nation moves towards 5G, this will enable us to connect devices to the Internet, store and process in virtual clouds, automate mundane tasks and empower new technologies – hence the call for digitalisation of the country. This shift in mentality could allow us to leapfrog the traditional stages of development. Cambodia has 8.5 million 4G subscribers, already consuming digital content at a high rate, just needing the right push to design and integrate ways to incentivise and engage users, to adopt new technologies. It is pertinent to make this part of their everyday life by raising public awareness of the benefits of digitalising education, commerce and finance, creating a usage pattern that will simplify the transition into the digital economy. This endeavor, of course, needs the whole community to work together. The government’s support will play a significant role towards this initiative. Hence, the business community along with all stakeholders, need to work in tandem with the government to drive this digital transformation initiative successfully. Another economic aspect that will be positively influenced with this digitalisation is moving towards a cashless society – establishing a new collaborative digital finance landscape. This advancement should focus on consumer experience by seamlessly integrating the digital payment, digital banking, digital payroll, and digital government services (NSSF, Taxation Filings). Mass adoption will be achieved when SMEs can operate efficiently and increase their productivity and earnings through this integrated ecosystem. Especially the younger generation, the transition to the national currency will be easier if we make the customer journey user-friendly and personalised. Overall, it should exhibit features that enhance their digital lifestyle and commercial innovations, in line with their on-demand needs. Digitalisation is going to affect our daily lives, however, what will define us is if we are going to actively drive change or continue to wait for external assistance. The time is now, to enable technology, localise services to increase productivity and commerce through digital infrastructures. Further empowerments of our young workforce to drive the businesses in Industry 4.0 are critical factors in achieving this goal, for the benefit of the country and its people. Young Cambodians that are technology-savvy, open-minded, and forward-looking will boost their nation’s workforce to a new level of productivity and efficiency, by taking advantage of digital technologies. These technologies do not necessarily have to be the most advanced or cutting-edge like AI or Blockchain, it can be as simple as moving away from paper, by using your phone or computer. The most crucial factor is the mindset and willingness to change. View the original post here.

Developing recruitment processes key amid digital adoption: Experts

The future of work mandates that businesses must adopt digitalisation and automation to remain competitive, by improving efficiency and managing an agile workforce. By building a proper ecosystem, the technology could enable rapid change, engage the workforce and empower staff in the whole company.. Recruitment has come a long way since its humble beginnings as printed box adverts in the local newspaper. According to market analysts QY Research, the global recruitment market is predicted to be valued at more than $334.28 billion by 2025, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 5.63 percent. And with business beginning to recover and look towards post-pandemic growth, it has never been more important to have effective recruitment in place. According to global niche technology staffing company Next Venture, technology has and will continue to have the biggest impact on recruitment. “Mobile devices are changing the pace of recruitment. More than 85 percent of people access the web on a mobile device every day, while in excess of 25 percent of Google searches containing the word ‘job’ come from a mobile device.” It said that technology has also expanded the market, not only giving people limitless opportunities to search, connect and engage with organisations, but forcing recruiters to match them with agility, flexibility and action to secure the best candidates. “This has also led to businesses accessing a much more diverse range of candidates. Social media has been instrumental in changing the face of candidate-recruiter relationships, with both using the medium to scope out culture, values and track record. In Cambodia, according to Vy La, the owner and founder of Accel8Asia, a platform for recruitment, placement and talent management, many companies in Cambodia are now looking to improve their recruitment processes. “Recruitment in Cambodia is still very traditional, with human resources and recruitment professionals still dependent on their gut feeling when hiring. In the last 12 months, many companies have had to transition to digital, for which they were woefully prepared – and COVID has forced many to reconfigure their operational processes,” he said. “[Therefore], many companies are now looking for a competitive edge by finding new ways to hire, retain and develop talents and are looking at ways to more efficiently understand data and analytics to provide their company more accurate and predictive decision-making in the hiring process. The future of recruitment is about people, not necessarily the job. Because many roles evolve or change over time the most essential asset is the quality of the talent within a business, he added. “Having a diverse talent pool and high soft skills such as adaptability, culture, collaboration and innovation will make your team perform at a high level of productivity and adaptability. Having a data-driven talent analytic tool to provide these insights gives companies the leg-up on their competition not only locally but as we start looking outward to the international market. Employers need to have more empathy when it comes to hiring and developing their talent in today’s market. Otherwise, companies will be left behind because competitors will employ more data-driven insights to discover, retain and develop talented staff,” he added. This is an exert of a post from Khmer Times: Tom Starkey, February 2, 2021

Fostering Innovation Culture in a Business Environment.

How will Cambodia foster an innovation culture to compete with our ASEAN neighbors? បណ្តុះវប្បធ៌មនវានុវត្តន៍ក្នុងអង្គភាពអាជីវកម្ម វាគ្មិនកិត្តិយស Mr Victor La, CEO, ACCEL8ASIA

Scale and grow your business with the right marketing strategy.

— In The News — As the Cambodian economy seeks to resume growth in 2022, industry experts say that implementing more sophisticated marketing strategies. Accel8asia CEO, Victor La shared his view on how SMEs can capitalize on growing and scaling their potential with proper marketing strategies. Read more of the article here. Article by- Thomas Starkey ======
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Smart Recruitment

Traditional Recruitment doesn't fit the Cambodian demographic. COVID-19 has wiped out 195 million jobs globally, employees and employers are going through a similarly challenging time to survive this pandemic. Everyone is looking at various options to navigate through this crisis in order to reposition themselves to adapt to the changing business market. Once we have better control of the virus and the market opens up to a new dawn. Will employers stick to traditional recruitment method of hiring a recruitment agency to filter through hundreds of CVs. Interview candidates that have literally limited work experience or skills to perform the required roles. I've been through this process over the course of 3 months prior to the outbreak. In Cambodia, there are hundreds of recruitment agencies that promise you the best talent pool of candidates and proven selection process. Yet time and time again, candidates were way below expectations. The recruitment and talent management segment in Cambodia is unique to the rest of the world. There are approximately 8 million young workers and about 160,000 entering the market each year. Majority of these candidates have limited experience and skill so there's no way for traditional recruitment agencies to be able to assess the potential of these young employees by their experience and skills. Next time you are involved in the recruitment process, there is a way to make the entire process not just faster but smarter and most likely to be successful. To ensure the next employee you bring on is the best candidate for the role but someone that’s going to stay, succeed and with the right motivations. This will bring your company to new heights. The developed world is already using big data analytics to drive human capital management. AI and Machine Learning need a huge amount of data, gathered from a wide array of sources, internal and external. Which can be mined to create insights and drive your business forward. 90% of all the data in the world was created in the last 5 years. Many businesses are using big data for sales, marketing and advertising; for example Google, Facebook, Uber, Grab, NetFlix to name a few. If you have a People Analytic Platform that can assess, compare and predict the workplace behaviour and motivation of employees. This ability will transform the Cambodia recruitment and talent management market. Why would we need big data for recruitment and talent management in Cambodia? Currently, all decision made in recruitment has been based on previous experience and most of the time, based on gut feeling or instinct to select your next hire. Big data and Machine Learning will analyse current data with learned patterning to ultimately assist us in making an informed predictive data-driven decision. This will allow you to correctly recruit and place the right people in the role with maximum accuracy. The traditional way of recruitment is by looking at an application. Filter through the resume, identify and grade people with previous experience in that role and industry. Then you bring them in for an interview. Many companies in Cambodia is facing a large percentage of turnovers and it’s costing companies a huge sum of money every year. The chance of someone staying and succeeding in the role had nothing to do with whether or not that person had prior experience. AI-driven Machine Learning enables you to understand the data and work motivation of these candidates prior to even the 1st interview. Many HR managers even forgo the CV and would like to see the AI-driven report first to select their top candidates to interview. Once hired, onto the Talent Management phase. Each business or even recruitment agencies will have their own personalized and comprehensive People Analytic Database which they can tap into. Recruitment using an internal Talent pool has been around but when combining this with big data and analytics, it improves the predictiveness and quality of data in the talent pool immensely. In turn, this will also keep the people in your talent pool engaged and empowered. This smart talent pool will also allow you to proactively look for people with the right skills, experience, temperament, motivation, personality and cultural fit. "Skills can be taught and developed, but it's much harder to find people with the right mindset and attitude geared toward success" Julia Bonner. This is why we should look at changing the way we recruit for talents in Cambodia. The return of investment will be immeasurable as we are able to unlock what drives a person's passion and motivation. Having this knowledge for both candidate and employer to share with each other will only drive the passion and culture-building. The technology is available now in Cambodia to be implemented across many sectors. The country's success is dependent on how well we can recruit and manage talent as a nation. It's time that we look at technology to enable us to scale to new heights and bring everyone on this journey.

Talent Acquisition and Management in the Digital Age

Accel8asia News: Join Accel8asia and AVI (Asian Vision Institute) for The Digital Talk Series, Episode 8 - Talent Acquisition and Management in the digital age. Who should watch the video?
- People looking for jobs
- People seeking to develop skills for the future
- HR managers and directors
- Senior management
- Managers/team leaders
- Entrepreneurs

Using tech to empower

The future of work mandates that businesses must adopt digitalisation and automation to remain competitive, by improving efficiency and managing an agile workforce. By building a proper ecosystem, the technology could enable rapid change, engage the workforce and empower staff in the whole company.. Khmer Times’ Sok Chan, spoke to Victor La, country director for QHR Solutions in Cambodia to explore how technology empowers businesses of all sizes; especially in the integrated human resource management (HRM) sector. KT: Why is HR management considered to be the backbone of a company? Victor: HR has always been a key component of a company but has never been recognised as so. Since COVID-19 struck, the HR department or strategic HR planning has come to the forefront of all companies facing this unprecedented challenge. Companies now need to be able to react to changing business operations and conditions, have access to data and be able to communicate with their workforce in real-time. Chief executive officers (CEOs) and HR directors alike are now expediting their digital transformation regarding human resource management to cloud-based, automated and mobile-enabled systems to properly manage their workforce that is dispersed in various locations. KT: What are the important things in maximising employees’ potential? Victor: The ability to recognise and develop employees’ potential is critical for a company to maneuver from survival to profitability in the post-COVID-19 business landscape. Understanding of work attitudes and motivation will enable engagement and empower employee-employer relationships. These skills are essential for both employee and employer for future skills development and career-planning. The desire to learn and evolve will be key attributes that employers need to instill in their people. It is especially imperative in Cambodia. An agile workforce in Cambodia needs to be motivated and fully engaged in its skills development. HR leaders need to explore new ways to engage and empower their employees. Also ask, what they can do in order to achieve this. KT: What are the factors that affect an employee’s work behaviour and habits? Victor: Technical skills can be taught and learned. However understanding a person’s attitude and motivations toward work is the key to effectively develop and manage talent within a company. Success factors can be broken down into key areas to understand an individual’s motivational groupings; action level, scope, authority, environment, action direction, communication, task direction, responsibility, work approach, influence, change, rules, convincer inputs and interest filters. Understanding these dynamics and how they fit into the required role and job will allow an employee and company the ability to develop and manage an individual, team and company culture. It’s about building a success factor model that will allow a company to cultivate and take it to the next level. It’s the people and culture that will drive success in the competitive battle for talent in Cambodia. KT: In terms of employees’ high turnover rate, does having an effective human resources management address this issue? If so, how does a company obtain an effective human resources management? Victor: The recruitment and talent management segment in Cambodia is unique to the rest of the world. There are approximately 8 million young workers and about 160,000 entering the market each year. The majority of these candidates have limited experience and skill so there’s no way for traditional recruitment agencies to be able to assess the potential of these young employees by their experience and skills. A company must ensure the next employee it brings on is the best candidate for the role but also someone who’s going to stay, succeed and possess the right motivations. Understanding a person’s motivations and continuous development will increase employee job satisfaction, learning new skills and career development that will flow to rewards and recognition. Talent management on this level will not only lower turnover rate but will create a healthy talent pool for a company to successfully navigate through any challenges and ensure future vacancies can be filled internally. This will not only reduce operational, hiring and training costs but will also sustain a company’s culture. This is an exert of a post from Khmer Times: Sok Chan, July 27, 2020

Why HR leaders are focusing on behavioural skills?

During these challenging times, workplace relationships and developing talent as a competitive advantage is critical to building success. Currently, many HR leaders are facing an unprecedented challenge. The HR function has been mostly viewed as an administrative area of the business. Now HR is being called upon to lead the company into the new business future. No matter the size of your company, getting back to business means transitioning quickly to profitability, balancing workforce motivation and productivity. All the while, discarding old methodologies by implementing new processes to recruit and develop an agile workforce. The ability to recognize and develop behavioural skills are critical for a company to maneuver from survival to profitability, in the post-COVID 19 business landscape. Understanding of work attitude and motivation will enable engagement and empower employee-employer relationship. These skills are essential for both employee and employer for future skills development and career planning. It is especially imperative in Cambodia, the desire to learn and evolve will be key attributes that employers need to instill in its people. An agile workforce in Cambodia needs to be motivated and fully engaged in their skills development. HR leaders need to explore new ways to engage and empower their employees. Also ask, what can they do to learn in order to achieve this? Mindset is what will matter in the new workforce. The ability to uncover key abilities and reframe themselves to better adapt to future crisis and instabilities. HR leaders understand that the old methodology, procedures and policies need to be replaced with new methodology that is employee focused in order to enable, engage and empower an agile workforce to face any oncoming challenges. * Building a community to foster change and improve Cambodia: If you like be part of this movement, please connect and we can start building a community to be the change. Share with your network and start the conversation.* photo credit: