Leading companies get serious about building Asia capability

Media releases

Diversity Council Australia’s Leading in the Asian Century report published in September last year revealed there is significant scope to better cultivate workforce Asia capability (or A-Cap) in Australian organisations.

In a new series of case studies following on from the report, DCA has worked with Norton Rose Fulbright and The Star Entertainment Group to demonstrate how organisations can build Asia capability.

Lisa Annese, DCA’s CEO, said these organisations understand the business case for fostering workforce Asia capability.

“There is little doubt that Asia presents enormous opportunities for Australian organisations. Seven out of Australia’s top ten export markets are in Asia, and constitute 66% of our total export market. More than 50% of the world’s population lives in Asia and its consumer demand is worth US$10 trillion annually, similar to the U.S.

“However, our research found only one in ten (10.8%) of all Australian workers have excellent Asia capability and one third (34.7%) have none or very little. Close to two-thirds of workers have no or very little working knowledge of how to effectively manage in Asian business contexts.

“As these case studies show, there’s a lot organisations can do to build their Asia capability. The first step is to establish a clear business case linked to business goals, as well as to measure existing levels of (Asian) cultural diversity and capability to establish a base line. From there, they can set a strategy with transparent and measurable objectives to achieve the desired outcomes,” said Lisa.

The Case Studies

To access the case studies, download from the links below:

Key factors in the Norton Rose Fulbright and The Star Entertainment Group’s case studies were:

  • Reviewing the organisation’s business strategies with the aim of making the most of the Asian opportunity and Australia’s multicultural society
  • Assessing the Asia capability profile of the workforce.

DCA's Guidelines

DCA’s guidelines on how to capitalise on workforce Asia capability include:

  • Create A Compelling Case. Review your organisation’s business strategies to ensure these are making the most of the Asian opportunity and Australia’s multicultural society.
  • Craft an Asia Capabilities Framework. Develop a Workforce Asia Capabilities framework which: defines and describes individual and organisational Asia capability; identifies which particular Asia capabilities are critical to meet your organisation’s operational needs now and into the future; and specifies how Asia capabilities will be monitored and reported on over time.
  • Analyse Your Workforce Asia Capability. Use DCA’s survey tool to measure and benchmark the Asia capability profile of your workforce.
  • Recognise & Reward Asia Capable Talent. When recruiting, promoting and remunerating, place high value on candidates having Asian experience, Asian cultural identity, multiple cultural identities and experience working in or managing culturally diverse teams. Research shows people with these experiences and characteristics have higher Cultural Intelligence and can generate positive outcomes for the business.
  • Develop Your Workforce Asia Capabilities. Invest in building the Asia capabilities of your workforce and your leadership team through providing Asian cultural capability and intercultural awareness training, immersion experiences for staff (e.g. overseas placements in Asian offices, study tours), and access to written information and resources on Asian markets and cultural/political environments.

Interviews are available with Lisa Annese, DCA’s CEO, and representatives from Norton Rose Fulbright and The Star Entertainment Group.

Media contact: Diane Falzon, 0430 596 699, Catherine Petterson, 0419 447 331.

About the project

‘Asia capability’ (A-Cap) is defined as individuals’ ability to interact effectively in Asian countries and cultures, and with people from Asian cultural backgrounds, to achieve work goals.

Leading in the Asian Century: A National Scorecard of Australia’s Workforce Asia Capability is a partnership research initiative between Foundation Platinum Sponsor, Norton Rose Fulbright, Platinum Sponsor, Telstra, Supporting Sponsor, the CIMIC Group with assistance from Asialink Business.

The Leading in the Asian Century Synopsis Report released last year can be downloaded here and the Full Report can be obtained from DCA. Take the test to find out your Asia capability – visit http://dca.org.au/whatsyourasiacapability/