Photo - Anthony Raja Devadoss, Vice President in Asia Pacific, KellyOCG.
According to a new Kelly Outsourcing & Consulting Group survey, Malaysian small and medium enterprises rank higher than larger organisations such as multinationals, conglomerates and government agencies in terms of 'Social Intelligence Quotient' [SQ].
Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Kelly Outsourcing & Consulting Group [KellyOCG] vice president in Asia Pacific Anthony Raja Devadoss said Malaysian small and medium enterprises [SMEs] ranked highest even in the Asean region as having the most SQ, according to the company's 'ASEAN Executive Outlook Survey 2014.'
Devadoss said SQ has emerged as the newest metric to measure organisational workforce readiness, which measures an organisation's human resource readiness to support business growth.
"This aggregated measure (SQ) comprises self and social awareness, evolved social beliefs, and interaction styles of the workforce - of how these contribute to the organisation's ranking in terms of being a Socially Intelligent Organisation (SIO)," he said.
Socially intelligent organisations [SIOs] are better prepared for business growth with their engagement with the workforce, Devadoss said.
Among the survey findings, Malaysian SMEs saw their organisations are more socially intelligent when compared to the majority of Asean countries, he said. "Malaysian SMEs surprisingly revealed themselves to be more SQ-driven, as compared to larger multinational companies, conglomerates and government agencies."
Devadoss attributes this to a larger proportion of Gen-Y hires in the SMEs' workforce as well as the "the higher level of entrepreneurial spirit and agility that drives SQ in Malaysian SMEs."
Small firms grasp SQ advantages
"Our survey also further revealed that Gen-Y are the most socially intelligent among the workforce generations across all senior leadership roles and they are most preferred by the top managements - rated at 91 percent globally and 76 percent in Malaysia," he said.
"This is a positive suggestion for the socially smarter Gen-Y to be equipped with solid vital skills, perhaps as part of an organisation's top performer development programmes, in order for them to take greater lead in the near future," Devadoss said adding that organisational agility and entrepreneurial spirit were driving the SQ trend in SIOs.
"Smaller firms tend to have better ability to underpin the efficacy of social intelligence (SQ) and therefore likely to gain the most benefits out of it," he said. "According to the Survey, more than 23 percent of the global organisations who consider themselves SIOs are predicting significant growth for their businesses."
Devadoss said that in ASEAN, businesses continue to face steep market competition and challenges in achieving profitable growth, delivering constant performance and meeting the increasing expectations of the company stakeholders.
"Leveraging SQ would contribute an increasingly significant role to address these business challenges and organisational effectiveness, in terms of workforce efficiency and productivity, in the next coming five years," he said.
"We strongly promote the fact that SQ is a key enabler that newly emerged for organisations to accelerate the business readiness to respond to changing demands of customers, employees, governments and company stakeholders," Devadoss said, adding that globally business leaders were now faced with managing three or four generations of workers all with their own unique ways of working and behaving, whereby 36 percent posted that resistance to change as the biggest hurdle faced in managing SIOs, followed by the possible risks of aversion culture (20 percent), stiff legal requirements (11 percent) and other reasons (33 percent).
"ASEAN business leaders need to focus on becoming SIOs to enable a more effective workforce, and this means developing the SQ or 'people skills' which includes knowledge of interaction styles and strategies that help to achieve objectives in dealing with others," he added.
KellyOCG's survey was conducted with 326 leaders and executives of organisations globally covering a wide range of organisational types, sectors, sizes and locations. The size of organisations participating ranges from those with fewer than 25 employees to those with more than 10,000, with an average of 4,300 employees.
'SQ' or Social Intelligence Quotient joins the equation to measure organisations' workforce readiness to support business growth. SQ is an aggregated measure comprising self and social awareness, evolved social beliefs and attitudes, and a capacity and appetite to manage complex social change.
KellyOCG is the Outsourcing and Consulting Group of workforce solutions provider, Kelly Services, Inc.