The hook for blue-collar workers

As the economic reopening collides with a tightened labor market, businesses are squirming to attract and retain blue-collar workers.   

Shortage of blue-collar labor still haunts businesses  

Despite the talks of automation displacing everyone, in Vietnam, blue-collar occupations are and will still be in high demand, especially amidst the economic rebound, the supply chain diversification and most recently, the flood of workers not returning to work.  

According to the General Statistics Office, until 15 December 2021, approximately 2.2 million people returned home from key economic regions when coronavirus caseloads were spiking [1]. As COVID-19 curbs were lifted, 58% of the labor force intended to return to Ho Chi Minh City for work, while 42% decided to stay put [2]. This led to a severe lack of workers.  

During the 1st quarter of 2022, some regions witnessed a labor shortage of around 120,000 workers, indicating a 2-3% increase compared to previous years. The top categories seeing the highest demands are manufacturing, processing, etc. [3]  

A recent survey also revealed that the 2022 labor needs are estimated at 700,000. The shortage could peak during the second quarter of the year in the advent of business’ gradual recovery from COVID-19.   

Workers are grappling  

“The main reason lies in the lack of a well-rounded compensation package and other benefits to ensure workers’ wellbeing,” said Mr. Dung Dao – The Minister of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs. Indeed, many businesses demand skilled workers but still lack desirable employee benefits [5].  

The higher cost of living post-pandemic also represents a major concern. The CPI (Consumer Price Index) of the 1st quarter in 2022 has increased by 1.92% compared to 2021 [6], while the regional minimum wage stands still for the past two years.  

“Workers, even ones with seniority, had to return to their hometown partly due to insufficient savings,” said Ms. Lan Pham – Vice-head of the Institute for Workers and Trade Union.   

The hook: better welfare  

In the hope of untwisting the blue-collar labor market, the Vietnamese government has issued several policies, one of which was subsidizing rental fees for workers working at industrial parks and major economic regions (Decision No. 08/2022/QD-TTG dated 28 March 2022). The government also proposed a 6% increase in the regional minimum wage by July 2022.  

On their part, businesses are handing out pay raises and bonuses to attract and retain workers. The 2022 survey by the Worker Newspaper reported $VND 250,000 – 350,000 monthly pay rise.  

Not only paychecks, employers are also offering additional benefits to better care for their blue-collar workers. Many businesses are investing in their workers’ future by funding training courses in foreign languages and computer skills [9]. 

Another increasingly attractive benefit is on-demand pay or earned wage access – that is, allowing workers to instantly access their earned yet unpaid wages. The solution has been widely embraced by multinational corporations like Walmart, McDonald’s, etc., and helped them ease their workers’ financial burden and reduce turnover rate [10]. The appetite for “pay on the day” is also growing in Vietnam, with the adoption of major corporations such as Austdoor.  

A falling number of COVID-19 infections, a pickup in economic activity and the supply chain shift to Vietnam have led to higher demand for blue-collar manpower and created an enormous headache for businesses. To navigate such talent shortage, businesses simply need to rethink their employee benefits and perks.



[1] More than 2.2 million workers to return to their hometown, 2021 – VnExpress Newspaper 

[2] Blue-collar labor market report during and after the COVID-19 lockdown, 2021, website 

[3] Solutions to overcome labor shortage, 2022 – Vietnamplus Newspaper  

[4] The key points to attract and retain employees after Tet, 2022 – Voice of Vietnam Newspaper  

[5] The increasing labor recruitment demand in 2022, 2022 – Worker Newspaper   

[6] Socio-economic Statistics in the first quarter of 2022, 2022 – General Statistics Office  

[7] Which keys to attract and retain workers?, 2022 – Vietnam Economic News 

[8] For a collective voice, 2022 – Worker Magazine  

[9] CHALLENGES IN RECRUIT SKILLED LABOR: Vocational training associated with business needs, 2022 – Worker Newspaper 

[10] Even, 2022 

Gen Z Workforce: How to Jump on The Band Wagon?

A 14-year-old entrepreneur providing vocational training for people in poverty; an 18-year-old teen named among the Times “Top 100 most influential people in 2013” are just a few headlines featuring Gen Zers in the past few years [1]. 

Every other generation has had its chance, and now it is Gen Z’s time to shine and make its mark in the business world. Businesses should seize this opportunity and take in fresh Gen Z talents to further their growth.  


Gen Z, Who?   

Born between 1997 and 2009, Gen Z are hailed the digital natives who are taking the world by storm. They barely know about the lined telephone, boxed TV, cassette tapes, or life without Google [2].   

The ability to learn fast and adapt well is also a well-known trait for this generation as they grew up with the Internet, the eternal source of free and easily accessed information.  


Gen Z at Work  

When it comes to work, Gen Z has a few specific requirements.  

Flexibility. Having grown up amidst rapid changes in technology and business models, Gen Z has long been recognized for their flexibility and ability to pivot in the workplace. So they expect businesses to provide them with the same [3].   

Wellbeing. According to a 2020 Gallup Poll, Gen Z prefers employers who care about their mental and physical wellbeing [4]. No one wants to be the work hustle, constantly burning themselves out at the office, but only Gen Z was brave enough to voice their opinion and demands to be satisfied.   

Balance. Survey says, 42% of Gen Z prioritize work-life balance over other job perks [5]. Having gone through the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009 and disruptive phases like COVID-19, Gen Z has seen many unhappy workers. So, they set their goal not to overwork themselves since other aspects of life are just as important.   


Gen Z Demands. Businesses Answer  

Taking up almost 30% of the world’s population, Gen Zers will eventually dominate over any other age cohort [6]. The most senior Gen Zers are reaching age 22, either soon or have already entered the labor force. That means it’s in employers’ best interest to take notes of how to woo this new demographic of employees – fast [7].   

Open up. The pandemic has made people realize flexibility is what they want and need. Remote work and flexible working hours are just the starts. Flexible pay or on-demand pay is also on the rise as the newest benefit for employees to have more control over their own earned wages. By giving employees proactive access to their earned wages, financial emergencies can be solved instantly. Personal financial management can also be done with ease.   

Promote employees’ well-being. Creating more personalized or health-oriented benefits can win employees of all ages. The pandemic-sized hit has made everyone realize the importance of health and wellbeing. Businesses should provide them with the assurance of being well taken care of no matter the circumstances. As discovered by HBR, 98% of surveyed leaders plan to newly offer or expand their employee benefits, prioritizing what one’s workers deem essential, like child and senior care benefits or expanded mental health support [8].    

Create a balanced work life. Employers should support a more well-balanced lifestyle with respect for personal time and space or leisure-supported benefits. It may not be the intense, fast-track instant growth businesses want. However, this can prevent burnout and work resentment, issues seen in many environments people deem toxic. In the long run, such a balance can support more sustainable growth for businesses.  


Gen Z is redefining the workplace norm for everyone. As bold and brave as they are, businesses should get ready to adapt themselves to today’s workforce.  











Industry 4.0 Technologies in e-HRM

E-HRM in a nutshell   

E-HRM (Electronic Human Resource Management) uses web-based technologies to monitor all HR systems and activities to achieve operational excellence for the department [1]. Some might argue that e-HRM is the evolution of traditional HRM. However, the fundamental goal of e-HRM is to make it easier to track imbalances between human resource demand and supply inside a company. This system eventually automates the HRM process, allowing quicker responses to employee-related services and HR decisions.   

There are three different types of e-HRM including:   

Operational: basic administrative activities including record maintenance, payroll processing or data management.   

Relational: activities of human relations nature such as recruitment, onboarding and training.    

Transformational: in-depth and HR-focused process like knowledge management and strategic orientation.   

Integrating technologies into the HR management process is not something newly discovered. In fact, HR personnel have been utilizing it for decades. However, the rapid growth and evolution of technology have indeed taken e-HRM to the next level.

E-HRM transformation in Industry 4.0   

Since first publicly introduced in 2011, Industry 4.0 has been breathing immense effect on all business aspects, including HRM. New technologies have significantly improved talent management, turning mindless tools into powerful and intelligent assistants.   

The recruitment process made easy with cognitive computer AI assistants. Companies lose as many as 89% of potential candidates due to a prolonged screening process [2]. Nowadays, various automated AI systems can shorten the process by taking over tasks such as sorting through candidate profiles, scheduling interviews, sending rejection emails, etc [3]. With the help of AI, the recruitment process can be more productive and less biased. For example, IBM AI technologies proactively source and locate individuals from talent pipelines that meet key success profiles, uncovering prospects that recruiters may have overlooked and removing any steps in the search process that could have introduced unconscious bias [4].   

More accurate HR analytics with Big Data. One of the most impactful effects of big data on talent management will be detailed analytics for future prediction. HR managers can use future forecasting to strengthen their long-term HR strategy and minimize hiring, retention, and performance in the future. Making the right decision all comes down to having a sufficient amount of information and data instead of using personal opinion or intuition. Big data provides HR managers with just that.

Integrated cloud computing system. HR professionals will be able to offer real-time support with an easy-to-use, fully integrated software that is always “on” and accessible across the enterprise. As a result, all process becomes more transparent than ever between both employees and managers. Moreover, thanks to the cloud, large scale deployment can be done in minimal time and effort for any business, especially for multinational corporations.   

Interactive training and learning experience with virtual reality. Especially in times like COVID, when people cannot go outside and have fundamental social interactions, augmented reality becomes the ultimate solution. People can enjoy the incredibly lifelike virtual tour and activities without stepping foot outside of their office or home. It allows people to save some costs for travelling and organizing and ensure safety and minimize on-site accidents. Furthermore, since the reality can be altered according to the organizer, users are given a wide selection of vastly different experiences, keeping it emerging and captivating always.   

Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) in attendee tracking and real-time location system. RFID uses radio-frequency to automatically track objects with the attached tags or so-called “smart labels”. The application of RFID technology in e-HRM are most commonly found in controlling personnel access to office spaces, automatic attendee check-ins for events or keeping company assets in check. In addition, using the RFID system, the talent management team can achieve a greater purpose for outdoor and long-distance monitoring.      

New opportunities come with new threats

Cybersecurity is a significant business concern. Cybele researchers from the cybersecurity firm said they discovered the credentials for over 500,000 Zoom accounts on the dark web, either for sale or for free in 2020 [5]. The online availability of data and personal information exposes businesses to hacking and data theft. In addition, most systems are now hosted online. Therefore, once the security is breached, the whole system can be easily manipulated. Due to this threat, business needs to focus on fortifying their safety, right from the start.   

Technology can be rigid. Technologies can only work with the data they are given. Human cognitive functions such as empathy, intuition and strategic thinking still lack from most automated machines and systems, making them overlook certain qualities in potential candidates. At the end of the day, machines are merely tools assisting humans in resource optimization and decision making.  

Digital transformation is costly. High tech equipment setup can be expensive for companies who wish to transform their internal human resource management systems. The sizeable investment can seem intimidating, especially to SME (small to medium enterprises) with a limited budget and incompatible existing infrastructure.  

When human qualities like independent thinking, common sense and ethical thinking combine with data analytics, the business will achieve much more significant values. Technologies are the future and can be a worthy investment for a business of any size in optimization for the long run. 


[1] e-HRM – Business Jargons

[2] Candidate Experience Statistics, 2021 – Zety

[3] Applying artificial intelligence: implications for recruitment, 2018 – Emerald Insights

[4] The Business Case for AI in HR, 2018 – IBM

[5] Researchers found and bought more than 500,000 Zoom passwords on the dark web for less than a cent each, 2020 – Business Insider

10 Basic HR metrics for non-HR managers

“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace” – Doug Conant, former president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup.

People are the most critical assets of any organization.  

Human resource is one of the factors that distinguishes one organization from another. It gives a company a competitive edge while also assisting in the development of sustainable long-term growth [1]. At the end of the day, whether you are a CMO, CFO or any line manager, you are still first and foremost leading and managing a team of people, which requires an understanding of human resource management.  

According to a PWC’s survey findings, 93% of managers acknowledge the need to enhance their company’s talent acquisition, yet 61% haven’t made the initial move [2]. A possible reason for that would be not knowing where to start since most of them are not HR professionals. Understanding and measuring key HR metrics is how all managers can achieve this.  

HR analytics and metrics  

HR analytics is a methodology that employs statistical tools and techniques to unify and evaluate quantitative and qualitative data from employees, resulting in meaningful insights that can be used to improve future decision-making [3]. When utilized correctly and efficiently, HR analytics may provide firms with the information they need to address challenging issues such as a lack of diversity or a high turnover rate [4].

However, analytics do not just come out of thin air; analytics are derived from metrics. Raw data are just numbers. Metrics are used to formulate and calculate those data into meaningful statistics, which then can be used to analyze and back up directive decisions. Therefore, to have a solid, fact-based and convincing decision, all managers should first understand basic metrics.  

Basic HR metrics to wrap your head around 

Down below are the ten most basic HR metrics that can give you a well-rounded overview of your business human resource’s performance: 


Cost per hire: The cost of employing new staff on average. This figure is calculated by adding internal and external hiring costs, then dividing the total by the number of people hired in a specific period.  

Acceptance rate: The number of offer letters sent out by your company divided by the number of candidates who accept it. 

Training and development  

Completion rate: The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of employees who completed a particular course by the total number of employees and multiplying by 100.  

Training expense: The entire cost of training courses and programs at your company divided by the total number of employees. 

Employee performance  

Nine-box matrix: Employees are split into nine categories depending on their performance and potential in this well-known talent management tool. It allows you to categorize employees for better succession and leadership planning. 

Time tracking  

Absenteeism: The average number of days employees are absent in a given period, not including approved PTO  

Engagement and retention  

Turnover rate: The number of employees who leave your organization within a given period divided by the average number of total employees (then multiplied by 100 to come up with a percentage).  

Employee satisfaction: The percentage of employees who would suggest your organization to a friend as an excellent place to work vs those who would not, reflecting overall employee happiness.

HR service and software  

Cost of HR per employee: The total amount your organization spends on HR functions divided by the total number of employees.  

ROI (Return on investment) on HR software: Several factors contribute to the ROI of your HR software, but the core formula is the difference between how much the software costs your organization and the money it generates or saves your organization in terms of HR costs.  

The HR metrics listed above will give you a basic understanding of your human resource performance. However, there are plenty more that might also be relevant depending on your business’s specific needs. Moreover, when researched in detail, each of the metrics can significantly affect different aspects of your business’s growth. 


[1] A Study on Talent Management and its Impact on Organization Performance, 2020 – International Journal of Engineering and Management Research

[2] The talent challenge Adapting to growth, 2014 – PwC

[3] HR analytics in Business: Role, Opportunities, and Challenges of Using It, 2020 – Shivam Tomar and Mamta Gaur

[4] Why Your Human Resources Professionals Need HR Analytics, 2020 – Learn Hub

Effective Ways to Boost Employees’ Productivity

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam,  the “golden” ratio of the Vietnamese population will remain until 2039, with the majority of people in the prime working age (from 15-65 years old). Overall, the quality of local human resources is still relatively low compared to other countries in the region. As assessed by the World Bank, the quality of human resources in Vietnam scores a point of 3.79 (on a scale of 1-10), ranked 11th out of 12 surveyed countries in Asia. This is likely one of the main reasons Vietnamese enterprises have not achieved high labour efficiency and rapid growth. The challenge now for local businesses is how to improve the quality of human resources and increase the productivity of workers in particular and enterprises in general.  

The assessment of employees performance 

Performance is evaluated based on the work results, the time taken to do the job, and the resources used to produce that result. In other words, a high-performance worker will be able to deliver high-quality results in the least amount of time and with the minimum use of necessary resources. Analyzed by Joseph Prokopenko in “The Handbook of Labor Performance”, the two factors that determine a person’s work performance are: “the will to do” and “the ability to do”. One will be highly productive and able to achieve great results if in possession of these factors. “The will to do” is basically facilitated by job satisfaction which can be greatly enhanced by a more interesting scope of work or bigger challenges. Whereas “the ability to do” is a function of knowledge, skill, aptitude,… matters that can be improved through educational activities like training, career planning and so on. 

The productivity-boosting “toolkit” for human resource managers  

Clear career pathway. Discuss with employees upfront about their future within the company, clarifying expectations and goals from both sides. With a clear and transparent roadmap, employees will be more focused on working towards the set goals, eliminating doubts regarding a vague and unclear promotion. In addition, having a distinguished orientation also helps employees feel more connected to the company and secure with their current job.  

Continuous learning. In addition to traditional training courses, businesses may consider creating opportunities for employees to experience job rotation to different departments. Interacting and working with various people from other functions will give employees a broader view of the operating system and learn more comprehensive skill sets. In addition, this is also a good opportunity for employees to gain more empathy for other colleagues, minimizing potential conflicts. 

Planning and decision-making process contribution. Being involved in public discussions will help employees feel that their opinions are heard. Not only that, directly contributing to the enterprise’s shared purpose will make workers feel more accountable for their job and more aware of the impact they have on the company’s growth. 

Timely reward and encouragement regime. Rewards can include both financial (allowance, salary, bonus) and non-financial (gifts, vouchers, certificates of merit). However, what matters most is not what workers are given but when. Encouragement right after significant achievements will create a positive mental note for the worker, urging them to do better every time. 

There are various ways for employers to encourage and improve employees’ productivity. However, there is no “one size fits all” solution for every enterprise. It is up to the human resource managers to deeply understand the core of productivity itself then tailor the “toolkit” to their own employees’ wants and needs, achieving maximum results. 


[1] Vietnam ends the “golden” population structure period from 2039, 2020 – Baodautu Online 

[2] World Bank: Vietnam ranks 11/12 countries in terms of human quality, 2016 – Viet Times

[3] Productivity Management: A Practical Handbook – Joseph Prokopenko