Case Study


Winning the Talent War
Kulicke & Soffa
To win the War for Talent, Manage to Succeed

“A successful paradigm shift was instilled among those who were keen on pursuing T-shaped professional competencies in order to grow and stay employable.”




The economic revival has seen an increase in manpower demand and, consequently, greater competition between organisations vying to recruit, and retain, the best available talent. Kulicke & Soffa, a US multinational corporation and a leading supplier of semiconductor assembly equipment, tools and materials, took a proactive approach to this ‘War for Talent’ by collaborating with STADA in designing a performance management programme for its middle management ranks.




The key to driving the performance of the K&S workforce lay in an integrated approach that aligns training, performance and overall talent management. The K&S managers recognised that merely being competent and thorough within their own job scope was insufficient. In this competitive market place, managers need to have 'T-shaped competencies', that is, possessing deep skills in their area of expertise plus a broad knowledge of horizontal or associated skills such as management, coaching and performance management. By becoming ‘T-shaped professionals’, they will have the necessary coaching skills to engage, grow, manage and strengthen the talents under them. The first step was the development of ‘Managing for Success’, a customised training programme on coaching skills to engage, manage and nurture the teams for K&S middle management level.


72 managers went through four runs of this workshop that was conducted over three weeks. Line manager participants were able to transfer what they learnt to their team members. More alert in looking out for employees who went the extra mile and made positive contributions, they promptly recognised and rewarded such workers publicly during staff meetings or team briefing sessions. Such actions tend to motivate and better engage employees and improve staff morale. There was also a discernable shift in attitude towards problem solving where team members were willing to take ownership and view issues objectively, and collaborative suggestions and support were more forthcoming. Teams could now prioritise their tasks better. Performance review sessions were more open and line managers more willing to give negative feedback when necessary. 



A successful paradigm shift was instilled among those who were keen on pursuing T-shaped professional competencies in order to grow and stay employable. Many who participated shared that they were now inculcating this mindset to their direct reports.



  • Effective talent management and retention happens when management shares the same understanding and is equipped with the right tools and techniques in managing the performance and career progression of the talent under them.

  • Improving retention takes a holistic approach in encompassing an employee’s life cycle, from recruitment to performance management competency development, succession planning, career development, employee engagement and retention.

  • The most important driver to attract, engage and retain talent lies in management’s concern for their people’s development.


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