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HRM ASIA April 2017






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Dear HRM Asia readers,

EDITOR Sham Majid




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HRM Asia Pte Ltd 60 Albert Street, Albert Complex #16-08 Singapore 189969 Tel: +65 6423 4631 Fax: +65 6423-4632 Email: ©HRM Asia Pte Ltd, 2017. All rights reserved. Republication permitted only with the approval of the Editorial Director.

APRIL 2017

hat started in 2003 as a small-scale networking event has now morphed into Asia’s biggest HR showpiece, with thousands of eager-eyed HR and business professionals turning up in droves annually to learn top-notch workforce and talent management strategies and tips from the best in the business. As HRM Asia’s HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 turns 15 this year, it is fitting that we turn back the clock and review the illustrious history of one of the most eagerly-anticipated events on Asia’s HR calendar. In this special cover story, we chat with speakers from previous years and trace the evolution of HR’s blue-ribbon event to what it has become today. Speaking of evolution, perhaps no company in the world better epitomises this idea of adapting to change than GE. In this month’s edition of Leaders Talk HR, GE Southeast Asia President and CEO Wouter van Wersch shares how the 125-yearold giant has stood the test of time and evolved from being the inventor of the lightbulb to a fully-fledged, global digital industrial business. If you’re focused on culture, you may have already come across what Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg terms as one of the most crucial documents to have ever emerged from Silicon Valley. The PowerPoint deck outlining Netflix’s employee and performance culture is regarded as the stuff of legend far beyond California. In an HRM Asia exclusive, we chat with Scott Domann, Director of Talent at Netflix, who sheds light on the company’s famous blueprint and also offers a sneak peek into his HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 presentation, The Netflix Culture and High Performance. You should also receive a copy of the HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 Free Expo Guide along with this month’s issue. This is your ultimate resource to the two-day event, and gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with the exhibitors, book-signing sessions, and the popular Expo Power Talks. We look forward to meeting you at HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017! Best Regards,

Sham Majid Editor, HRM Asia CONTACT US:

MCI (P) 110/07/2016 ISSN 0219-6883

Read something you like? Or something you don’t? Perhaps there’s some insight we haven’t considered? Have your say on HRM Asia’s news, features, and contributions by emailing:

APRIL 2017



WRS_HRM_420x268mm_5mm Bleed_Mar2017_v1_PATH.pdf



2:36 PM


The main event

Since 2003, HR Summit & Expo Asia has been a key focal point for the HR community in Singapore and around the region. Now in its 15th anniversary year, HRM Asia takes a look at the past, present, and future of this standout workforce management conference




Cruise control


Eyeing a bigger future


Building on the Netflix culture

Wouter van Wersch’s name card might carry two job titles, but the President and CEO of GE Southeast Asia says his sole objective is keeping the flag of the 125-year-old industrial technology company flying high.

The countdown is on for Malaysia’s Vision 2020 ambition to achieve developed economy status. The mission was first voiced over 25 years ago, but – as HRM Asia learns – there are still plenty of skills-related hurdles blocking the path.

Scott Domann, Director of Talent for Netflix’s marketing, public relations, and international teams, says the company’s culture deserves every bit of its strong reputation. But both he and the business that has brought a whole new level of disruption to the broadcasting sector say there is more in store.


APRIL 2017




40 36

Behind the village spirit

Despite a global headcount of over 20,000 employees, communication giant Havas espouses the ideals of community and kinship within its ranks. HRM Asia finds out how these principles shape its HR strategies.


Business or b-leisure?

“Never mix business with pleasure,” or so they used to say. With an increasing number of business travellers now extending their trips for leisure motivations, the “b-leisure” trend is redefining both how MICE players market their offerings, and the corporate travel policies of large organisations.


HR’s new, vital challenge

If change is the only real constant in business today, then it is high time that HR got on board. So says guest contributor Rita Trehan as she lays out a vision for HR leading the charge for innovation in Asia.

REGULARS 6 News 12 Leaders on Leadership 48 Up Close and Personal 49 An HRD Speaks 49 HR Clinic 50 HRM Asia Congress Insights 54 Reader Advice

APRIL 2017






UNCOOPERATIVE FIRMS LOSE OUT Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has rejected over 500 applications for work visas, from companies that were “not cooperative” when it cames to hiring and developing the local workforce. Some 250 Singapore companies have been put on the ministry’s watch list. Among these, 50 were further deemed as not “receptive or cooperative” to guidance from the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, representing employers, labour unions and government. Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say says over 500 Employment Pass applications from these firms have been rejected as a result. All visa applications from companies on the watch list will be more thoroughly reviewed. Lim says most of the flagged firms have since improved their HR practices. These “reformed” firms have collectively recruited some 800 Singaporean workers.


PM SETS “PREMIUM FRIDAY” EXAMPLE Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spent the first edition of “Premium Friday” meditating, as the nation renowned for its assiduous working culture took a first small step toward improved work-life balance. Premium Friday is a non-compulsory national campaign that urges employers to release their staff at 3.00pm on the last Friday of every month. The inaugural day took place on February 24. Major conglomerates, including automakers Nissan and Toyota, beverage giant Suntory, and brokerage Nomura are taking part in the government-backed initiative. As was Prime Minister Abe, who also attended a concert and visited a museum on his afternoon off. However, many organisations have chosen not to participate. “Premium Friday” was introduced to battle both sluggish consumer spending and the notoriously long working hours that have been blamed for Japan’s high incidence rates of karoshi, or death from overwork.


APRIL 2017



RECRUITMENT VIDEO BACKFIRES An Australian Government department’s employer branding effort is an online hit, but for all the wrong reasons. The Australian Department of Finance attempted to boost interest in its graduate programme by producing a video highlighting the variety and responsibility of work in its Canberra office. However, the video, entitled Game Changers, has delivered a whole lot of laughter and relatively few candidates. The three-minute scene tracks a handful of actual graduates as they prepare for an important presentation, chatting among themselves about how “stoked” they are to have such an opportunity. Some more senior managers and, finally, Rosemary Huxtable, Secretary of the Department, are also featured. The recruits are real (not actors) but the conversations they have feel contrived and unnatural. The presentation that they are all looking forward to does little to change the stereotype of government work as administrative and dull. The Department says the video cost A$4,000 (S$4,300) to produce and aimed to reflect “the variety of work, cultural, and social experience” that graduate recruits can expect.




PAID MATERNITY LEAVE EXTENDED Women in India’s organised sector will now have access to paid maternity leave of up to 26 weeks. India’s Parliament has approved the bill which expands maternity leave from the current 12 weeks, for all businesses employing 10 or more people. The entitlement will apply to a new mother’s first two children, followed by 12 weeks’ maternity leave for the third and any subsequent children. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed on March 9. “This is my humble gift to women, a day after the world celebrated International Women’s Day,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said. Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi also lauded the new rules, which passed after an extensive four-hour debate. “I am very, very happy we have made history today. This will help thousands of women and produce much healthier children. We have been working on it for a long time,” she said.




CAREER SWITCH HELP The Singapore government is offering extra assistance to professional workers looking to switch careers. As part of this year’s Budget announcements, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say revealed that the existing Professional Conversion Programme would see an increased subsidy cap, up to S$4,000 for regular participants. The programme subsidises up to 70% of the monthly pay of those undertaking a career conversion. Businesses who hire those who are 40 years and older, or those who have been unemployed for more than six months will receive a more generous subsidy and a higher cap. They will receive a 90% subsidy of the monthly pay at a higher cap of S$6,000. Lim says the programme can now support organisations who recruit the professionals, managers, executives and technicians at up to S$5,700 a month.

A new manpower law aims to stop employers hiring staff on revolving five-month contracts. Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello says the Department Order 174 legislation bans the practice of labour-only contracting, and also outsourcing work in the event of a strike. It explicitly ends the so-called “555” schemes, where employers issue new contracts for staff after five months’ work, such that they do not qualify for statutory benefits available after six months’ service. Any other practice designed to withhold workers’ rights are also banned, including employers asking their workers to sign post-dated resignation letters and waivers for minimum wage and welfare benefits. A new unit of 200 workplace inspectors will be created to ensure employers comply, Bello added. But workers groups’ say the new provisions do not go far enough. They warn a loophole in the agreement means companies can still avoid regularising their workers (after six months) by hiring through external agencies.

APRIL 2017






SCHULTZ MAKES WAY AT STARBUCKS Howard Schultz has stepped down as the CEO of US coffee chain Starbucks. Kevin Johnson, previously the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer, was expected to take over the reins from April 2. Although Schultz’ departure was announced in December last year, the move does come amid a difficult business and political environment for the company. The company made a vocal protest against US President Donald Trump’s first immigration executive order, and has since faced a boycott from supporters of the present US government. On January 29, following Trump’s immigration ban announcement, Schultz had vowed to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. Sales have slumped since then, but Schultz does leave the company in good stead overall, with a market value of around US$83 billion (S$116 billion).


HEADSCARF BAN LEGAL ACROSS EUROPE The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has made it legal for employers across the European Union to ban workers from donning visible political or religious symbols, including the Islamic headscarf, at the workplace. The ruling was passed as a result of two cases that were referred to the ECJ by Belgian and French courts. In the first case, a Muslim woman was fired in 2006 by a Belgian company for insisting on wearing her headscarf, while another was dismissed by her French employer for wearing her headscarf to client meetings. “An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination,” the ECJ said in a joint statement regarding the two cases.




BANKS LOOK FOR NEW HOME As the UK prepares for its departure from the European Union, some of the world’s largest financial institutions are considering making other European cities their main hubs. Goldman Sachs could move as many as 1,000 jobs out of London to Frankfurt, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley was reportedly scouting for new office space in both Frankfurt and Dublin in February, with an initial transfer of around 300 currently London-based workers planned.


APRIL 2017


Chinese investments have created nearly 30,000 jobs in Africa over the last two years, more than the capital inputs of any other country. This was largely due to foreign direct investments from private Chinese firms, Standard Bank Group economist Jeremy Stevens has revealed. Although China ranked only seventh in terms of the number of projects being undertaken on the continent, Stevens said it still created the most jobs because Chinese firms were more willing to hire locals. In Kenya for example, China ranked as the fifth-largest job creator between 2002 and 2015 solely through foreign direct investments. Some 93% of Chinese-owned companies hired Kenyans during this period. These numbers were testament to the cooperative agreements worth some US$50 billion, signed between China and African states in the first half of 2016, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a visit to five African nations last year.






FRESH LAYOFFS FOR BOEING US aviation manufacturer Boeing plans to make further layoffs in May, which it says will affect up to 500 workers. The news comes after 1,800 unionrepresented employees accepted voluntary buyouts in March, part of the company’s ongoing cost-cutting efforts. Some 1,500 of those workers were members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union. Boeing offered them a week of pay for every year of service, up to 26 weeks, plus six months of additional medical insurance. Another 300 engineers, who were part of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, also accepted the buyout, but will only receive three months’ medical coverage. Non-union members also accepted the severance offer, although Boeing declined to confirm the number.

Uber has taken another hit in the wake of recent workplace sexual harassment claims, with president Jeff Jones deciding to leave the company. “It is now clear that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber,” Jones said. Uber’s troubles began in February, when Susan Fowler, who was previously a site reliability engineer at the ride-hailing service, wrote in a blog post that her then-manager made sexual advances towards over the company’s internal chat channel. She said the HR and senior management teams acknowledged the harassment, but did little to rein the manager in at the time. The company has since launched an “urgent investigation” into her claims, and Uber says the findings will be made public soon. In a separate brand-damaging but unrelated incident, senior vice president of engineering Amit Singhal was forced to resign from Uber. A sexual harassment claim made against him at his former employer Google came to light, ending his stint just two weeks after it began.


VISA RULES EASED Mexico is set to relax foreign hiring rules to allow firms to employ a higher proportion of international staff. At present, only 10% of skilled workers in any one organisation can be foreigners. But a new, higher quota is set to be announced in the coming months. Mexico hopes this will enable the country to attract more international companies to set up shop there. In particular, Mexico is eyeing the information technology (IT) sector as a key growth area. It has created 30 specialist IT clusters housing 1,500 companies in recent years, and the country currently hosts the third highest number of IT professionals in the world. This number is expected to grow by 7% over the next three years.

APRIL 2017




Acquiring hidden gems Recruiting talent is no longer a bread and butter process, with a plethora of factors playing decisive roles as to whether organisations are able to snag the most in-demand skills. HRM Asia share some revealing insights from the first of three Talent Forecast reports by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry.

Almost two thirds of Talent Acquisition (TA) professionals (57%) report that sourcing qualified candidates is harder today than it was one year ago EASY VS DIFFICULT JOBS TO FILL For TA leaders in Asia Pacific, research and development roles are the hardest to fill (22%), while administration roles are oversubscribed (1%).


Main factors affecting recruitment in Asia-Pacific »» »» »»


Rapid business growth  20% Need for new skills in a changing market       20% Economic uncertainty  19%

APRIL 2017


WHAT APPEALS TO CANDIDATES TODAY Benefits package on offer


Career progression

21% Company culture


Looking five years ahead, TA leaders think that benefits will have been displaced by:  Company Culture


 Flexible Working


 Company Mission


The vast majority of AsiaPacific organisations say that they already use contingent workers »» »»

on a regular basis   38% on an ad-hoc basis  38%

Asia’s Leading Business Platform for Innovating HR – Stay Connected


A Must Attend For SMEs: Perspectives From SMEs, For SMEs Join us at the SME Summit 2017 and get your answers to challenging SME workforce management issues and best practices. Debate, share ideas and walk away with practical tips and advice from some of the most prominent SME movers and shakers in Singapore today.

Cultivating a Strong Ownership Culture in SMEs for High Performance and Productivity

Becoming the Employer of Choice – Creative Recruitment Strategies for SMEs to Win the Talent War

Lawrence Lim Chief Operating Officer CoAssets

Dr. Jaclyn Lee Senior Director, HR & Organisation Development Singapore University of Technology and Design

Creative & Practical Tips on Building Sustainable Leadership Programmes for Employees

A Frank Conversation in the Workplace: Tips on Implementing Good Dialogue to Boost Employee Morale in SMEs

Chris Tan Head of Talent Management Global HR Services Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO) & The China Navigation Company (CNCo)

Nicholas Goh Council Member, Workforce Advancement Federation & CEO Verztec Consulting

3 Keys to Unlock Your Team’s Agility & Potential

L&D Toolkit for SMEs – Best Practices in Developing a Self-Directed Learning Culture & Implementing Cost Effective Training Programmes for Your Company

Michael Podolinsky Asia’s Productivity Guru

Lawrence Chan Senior Manager, Learning & Development NTUC Income

+ Exclusive SME Assistance Clinic Get the lowdown on “Government Support Schemes for Workplace Excellence”. A representative from WAF will be sharing on government-led initiatives and funding support available for SMEs such as P-MAX@WAF, Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme, SME Workplace Health Package & WSQ OMNI Programme. Don’t miss this chance to hear all about the schemes, how to apply for them and participate in the FAQs!

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What are the most difficult decisions to make as a leader?


s a business leader overseeing 14 highly diverse operations across the region, I have learned from experience that it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the many differences existing in each market. Based on specific priorities, a good balance needs to be struck in all areas of decision making. While market maturity and customer requirements may differ from country to country, a leader’s upmost priority is to ensure the company’s consistency in its efforts to provide the best possible experience to every single customer. Customers’ needs must be met despite the differences, and this can only be possible if you have a strong team of people to support you. Be it in the past, in the present, or the future, the fact that people are a

company’s most important asset will never change. Hence, the most difficult and challenging decisions are usually those that involve human relations. People working in the company come from all walks of life with different backgrounds, work experiences, and perspectives. All these play a part in how you should treat and handle each issue. What may motivate a sales professional may not motivate an administrative employee, and it is up to the leader to tell the difference and act in accordance with their needs. I believe that taking the time to observe, engage and train people is the biggest and most beneficial investment any company can make; it’s definitely time well spent. Communication with my people will always remain as my top priority, no matter where I am.


PATRICK FIAT General Manager Royal Plaza on Scotts

12 APRIL 2017


ne of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had to make as a leader was to know when to pull the plug on a project. This happened when we tried out a new dining concept. The Food and Beverage and Marketing teams had worked hard to build up the product from scratch. I had to decide whether we should keep it going or close it. It was largely derived from the analysis of the situation and calculated risks, but it was not simply a business decision. The most difficult portion of making the decision was due to its tendency to affect the team’s morale and lead to disappointment. For this project, I sat down with the team to go through all the options and to recognise the time and effort put into the project. After discussion and careful deliberation with the key team members, I made the tough call to end the project for the benefit of the organisation. Having

MASASHI HONDA President and CEO, Fuji Xerox Asia-Pacific

the team’s support was important as the spirit and logic behind the decision should be cascaded down to the more junior talents to ensure that all members are aligned with the organisation’s goals. The organisation also neeeded them to re-channel their energy into other areas where it was required, and to keep the team spirit high. Being transparent with information and decisions is one of the ways that we live up to two of the hotel’s employee value propositions of “trust” and “respect”. Talents involved in the project who had questions or wanted to share their feelings and thoughts were invited to drop by my office during Open Door Fridays. The open communication helped to ease the distress and in turn, build stronger rapport amongst the team. Employees’ emotions and the workplace happiness index are crucial in our business. We believe that “happy staff make happy guests”.

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14 APRIL 2017


e control


Wouter van Wersch’s business card might carry two job titles, but the President and CEO of GE Southeast Asia says his sole objective is in keeping the flag of the 125-year-old industrial technology company flying high Kelvin Ong


our personal assistant is calling Wouter. You have a 4.30 planned. We might have to end thi…” “It’s ok, we’ll work around that,” Wouter van Wersch, President and CEO of GE ASEAN, reassures me, before the communications manager could finish her urgent thought. We were only midway through what would end up a 52-minute long interview, but if the Dutch-born van Wersch was in a hurry to get to his next appointment, I could not tell, as he puts me at ease about getting through my long list of questions. “We have all the time in the world,” he iterates in a light accent. This is the draw of van Wersch, who despite being the leader of one of the largest organisations in Southeast Asia, and someone who has built his career exclusively at global, multibillion dollar corporations like Alstom, Airbus and Vivendi Universal, still has a laidback way about him. He simply enjoys a good conversation. As I learn throughout our exchange, van Wersch is a comfortable, perhaps even eager, orator, seamlessly navigating a myriad of questions with both candour and acuity. He is just as happy detailing his life and experiences, as he is discussing his business and people strategies for GE. He reveals that this is actually his second stint in Asia – he lived and worked in China and Indonesia in the early 2000s. In 2011, after six years back in Europe, he was assigned to take charge of Alstom’s Asian operations based in Singapore, an opportunity he quickly took. As he puts it, “I had started to miss the dynamism of Asia”. This need for adventure perhaps explains why the sales and marketing veteran seems so at home throughout our interview, maybe even thriving in its ambiguity. Having spent his formative years in France before going across to the UK and back to his native Netherlands for tertiary studies, van Wersch credits these early experiences

APRIL 2017


LEADERS TALK HR for his ability to transition smoothly into different jobs and environments. “It’s not about people adapting to me, I am the one who has to adapt to them and their culture,” he says. Now sitting at the helm of GE Southeast Asia, this flexibility has allowed van Wersch to embrace the biggest job of his life thus far. He has big plans for the region (“I want to define where GE will be in Southeast Asia in 2025”), but believes his most important task is to ensure all 10,000 employees across the region work well together towards the same goals. That’s because at his core, van Wersch maintains that he is a team player with a keen interest to not only “support” his people, but also “challenge” them. “I don’t like people who think they are the best, or have a big ego. It’s always a team effort,” he remarks. Indeed, van Wersch is the first to admit a leader is only as good as the people around them. “I have a great support

system here, without whom I would not be able to do my job well,” he says. And as a team player, van Wersch loves having open, honest dialogues with employees on an organisation-wide feedback app called Performance Development @ GE. GE, which operates eight business units including oil and gas, power, transportation and aviation, in a historic move last year eliminated all semblance of former CEO Jack Welch’s infamous “rank-and-yank” style of performance ratings. Constant feedback and conversations are now favoured over the practice of automatically culling the bottom 10% of the workforce each year. “The world today is not the same one as when Jack Welch was heading the company,” van Wersch clarifies, adding that the new performance management tools show the organisation is changing with the times. As the communications manager signals to me to wrap up the interview, I ask van Wersch how he would rate his performance at GE up to this point. He laughs at the the question, but almost immediately goes into deep thought. “On a scale of one to 10, I would give myself an eight,” he pauses. “No erase that, maybe a seven.” Either way, he admits there is still room to grow in the years ahead.


GE turns 125 years old this month. What has been the key to its continued longevity?

One of the key characteristics people need to have nowadays is to be flexible and adaptable. If you look at the

ME MYSELF I I love: To put together a team of people, define a common goal, and win together. I dislike: People who don’t have the right values and can’t be trusted. My inspiration is: To work on subjects that matter and help to make the world a better place. My biggest weakness is: Being impatient. In five years’ time, I’d like to; Be able to look back and say that I’ve found a good work-life balance. Favourite quote: “Sometimes you win; Sometimes you learn” - John Maxwell

16 APRIL 2017


LEADERS TALK HR volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world that we live in today; it is very unpredictable. So there is a need to constantly adapt to the environment that we are in. If GE wants to be successful as a company, we need to always be changing, looking at new opportunities, and making the best out of what is happening around us. In our 125 years, we have constantly been reinventing ourselves. It all started with a lightbulb, and now we are a digital industrial company – the first such organisation in the world. If you look at a map of all the innovations we have been behind, it’s amazing. It is not only technical innovations, it is also innovations in terms of how we run the company – such as in performance development. We’re constantly looking at how we can do things differently, and better.


How does this philosophy translate into your people strategy?

GE is a very big company. We have eight different business activities. When you have a company with close to 300,000 people, the biggest challenge is to make sure everyone works well together. That has been my biggest push here. Of course, everyone has different approaches and objectives, but as a leader, I need all skills and personalities. To be successful, the number one factor is the people. If you don’t have motivated employees, or employees dear to the vision of the company and really willing to give their best, then the organisation will fail. So that has been one of my top priorities: making sure that our people feel happy, have fun at work, but are also committed to working hard. Our people are our strongest assets. One of the things I’m trying to push more and more – which is not always easy – is that I want all 10,000 employees across Southeast Asia to feel like they “own” GE. They need to be our ambassadors, to help us find new ideas, products and developments. That’s why we launched a concept unique to GE called the GE Store. This is a platform that has a number of functions and activities to help the different teams communicate with each other, and perform together as one GE.


With that said, how does GE Southeast Asia view diversity and inclusion?

We push to be very local here. I have a very limited number of expatriates in the region because I want the locals to be in charge. I want Indonesians to run Indonesia, Singaporeans in Singapore; and I think we are doing this very well. We still need to improve in terms of gender diversity. I saw the figures this morning - we’re at 26% (female representation across the workforce), but I want to get this number up to around 40% in the coming years. So there’s a lot to be done. Of course we are also promoting all other types of diversity. We want our employees to be working in a safe environment.

Everybody is welcomed at GE. They are here because of their skills. Having a diverse organisation is rich and fantastic. I love it when I have all these different nationalities, people coming from different horizons, cultures and religions; it makes things much more interesting, and this openness is what makes GE what it is.


GE also invests over US$1 billion globally each year into training and development. Is that right?

That’s a big amount, right? I was with the CEO of another very big, worldwide company yesterday, and when I said we were investing that amount into training, his mouth dropped open because they invest much, much less than that. So training is a big key for us. But we are very lucky to have built up a very strong learning organisation inside the company. Externally, we also have training modules that are dedicated to our customers. We also have training for government officials. So we really leverage the skills we have and the tremendous experience we have built over the years, to be a differentiator. We have our GE Management Development Institute in Crotonville in the US, a huge campus that employees from all over the world go to for training. It’s a place that has very strong innovation vibes. There are many leadership development courses for entry-level staff, up to the most senior levels. I just spent three weeks there myself for the executive development course, and I was there with 17 of the top company leaders.


What kind of leader are you?

I’m a very hands-on leader. Of course when I lead an organisation of this size, I need to empower my people. Empowerment is the way of being successful, simply because I only have 24 hours a day, and cannot be everywhere! I have great teams to support me as well. So I pick and choose the areas to be hands-on in. In some areas – such as when the teams might be struggling, or when they don’t really know how to take things forward – that’s when I will be much more involved. I try to focus on the places where I can have an impact. If I cannot have an impact, it’s a waste of time. I need to inspire my teams, I need to push my teams to be curious – they need to look outside at what is happening outside of our traditional industries, have broad networks. I give the direction globally, and then I’m there to help the teams be successful.


What advice would you give to up-and-coming managers to move up the career ladder?

You need to have sincerity, curiosity, be trustworthy, be committed, work hard, and be a team player.

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Power up your workforce management skills and knowledge at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017 – Asia’s largest workforce management event of the year! Tailor your learning experience with a dynamic line-up of speakers, world-renowned management gurus and experts, workshops, Expo Power Talks and more. Choose from over 75 speaker, sessions and 6 dedicated conference streams covering:

Exclusively for CxOs and CHROs this conference is the most senior gathering of business and management professionals at the event, shining the spotlight on the collaboration between business strategy and human capital management. Dr. Bicky Bhangu Director – Singapore Rolls-Royce

Dato’ Hamidah Naziadin Group Chief People Officer, CIMB Group & CEO, CIMB Foundation

Hari V Krishnan Chief Executive Officer PropertyGuru Group

Aspa Lekka Managing Director Foodpanda Singapore

Redesign Rethink your workforce management strategies! Hear first-hand how these leading HR practitioners have successfully moulded and altered their operations and processes to meet today and tomorrow’s most pressing challenges – whilst maximising business opportunities. Olivier Le Lann Director Human Resources, North and South-East Asia Tesla

Klaus Duetoft Senior Director, MyHR, APAC eBay Inc Asia Pacific

Scott Domann Director, Talent Netflix

Ong Chin Yin Head of People Grab

Experience Address crucial issues around everything the workforce values in their employment relationship – rewards, benefits, work-life balance and more - ”It’s all about the experience!” Tan Lee Choo Head of HR Philips ASEAN Pacific

Tim Rath Chief People Officer Lazada Group

Vinitaa Jayson President, HR Procter & Gamble Asia

Dr Andrew Epaphroditus Tay Director (Health and Productivity) Singapore EHS Shared Services GlaxoSmithKline

Develop Bringing you the latest innovations and best practices, these speakers will get you right on track to tackle today’s staffing and talent development challenges. Joanna Miller Market HR Director, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia American Express

Eric Wong Head of Talent Acquisition, APAC Fitbit

Shazlina Shahriman Head, Talent Management, Group HR Management PETRONAS

Register NOW and receive over 50% off!

Raman Sidhu Global Head of Learning - Global Commercial Shell

Thrive Covering a diverse mix of hot HR and management topics all in one dynamic stream, THRIVE offers you the best ROI with 2 full days of presentation and case study sessions starting at S$295 +GST. Gary Lee Chief HR Specialist, Global Talent Development, Group Organisational Development GRUNDFOS

Donna Hanson Technology & Productivity Strategist

Jenny Ooi Senior Vice President, HR USG Boral

Michael Podolinsky Asia’s Productivity Guru

+ Exclusive Presentation by World Renowned Management & Performance Gurus Brian Tracy Peak Performance Strategist, Worldrenowned Leadership & Success Coach

Prof. Gary Hamel Thinkers50 Global Management Thought-Leader & Author

+2 Hour Workshops with each expert- Exclusively in

+ Don’t miss:

HR Summit Workshop Series All new 2-hour Workshop sessions for more in-depth discussions and practical tips with extended networking opportunities! Deepen your learning experience - choose the Workshop that best suits your interests and learning objcetives: •

Effective Communication and Networking Strategies - Keys to Boosting Your Career and Business Development, Today conducted by Gil Petersil, Communication & Strategic Networking Expert

From Managing HR to Organising Talent Around Analytics - Get Started On Your HR Data Analytics Journey conducted by Jaclyn Lee, Senior Director HR and OD, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Also available to non-conference attendees. Visit for more information

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Pantone Code: Pantone Red/Orange V PMS 1795 Pantone Black

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The Main Event

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or the around 500 HR professionals in attendance, HR Summit Singapore in August, 2003 presented an up-tillthen never-before seen opportunity. With two days of networking, high-profile speakers, and unique new perspectives on HR and workforce management in Asia-Pacific, the event was one of the first to bring HR leaders together as a distinct, professional community. Across the single stage, the enthusiastic audience heard a wide range of topical presentations for the time. Olympic gymnast Brenn0n Dowrick delivered a worthy keynote presentation that started off typically enough – as he explained the sacrifices, dedication, and motivations involved in building an elite sporting career. But the presentation changed gear when the pommel horse champion explained that all gymnastics was traditionally performed naked, as the apparatus was ushered on stage. Fortunately, under his suit was more modern athletic gear – which he stripped down to re-perform his finalist routine from the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Singapore-based Tony Poulos was also part of that

By the numbers: Delegates (2003): 513 Delegates (2017): 4,207 Growth (2003-2017): 720% Total delegates: 41,555 Lunch buffets (2003): 1 Lunch buffets (2017): 3 Coffee stations (2003):4 Coffee stations (2017): 9

Since 2003, HR Summit & Expo Asia has been a key focal point for the HR community in Singapore and around the region. Now in its 15th anniversary year, HRM Asia takes a look at the past, present, and future of Asia’s standout workforce management conference

Speaker presentations (2003):13 Speaker presentations (2017): 101 Growth (2003-2017): 675% Total speaker presentations: 1,184

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COVER STORY inaugural HR Summit conference. An expert in software development and telecommunications systems, Poulos shared how the coming revolution in mobile phone networks and wireless data would impact the world economy over the coming decade. Local recruitment specialist Benjamin Tea also spoke to the HR Summit audience. He shared how the HR profession was changing rapidly from the administrative roles of the last century, and outlined some of the skills workforce specialists would need in order to adapt to that evolving future. “I was speaking about how HR can best manage vendors and outsource providers to get the best value from the market,” Tea, today a talent acquisition leader with Motorola in Singapore, tells HRM Asia.

Bigger and broader HR Summit grew a little more in its second iteration, as it would do for most of the next 13 years. An estimated 950 delegates joined the 2004 HR Summit, again in August of that year, hearing from the likes of Lydia Goh, then a director with PwC Consulting, Low Peck Kem, then an award-winning HR Director with Agilent Technologies, and Mohit Nayyar, then HR Manager with Proctor & Gamble. A team of elite, Air Force fighter pilots – known collectively as Afterburner – also stole the show with their militaryinspired look at ensuring flawless execution in high-pressure scenarios. From there and then, HR Summit grew exponentially, in both its reach and impact. Now, in its 15th anniversary year, the event stands alone as the benchmark workforce management conference in the Asia region.

The thinkers Some of the biggest names in management research and thought leadership have delivered their best ideas on the HR Summit stage. In 2008, Chester Elton delivered a keynote plenary session on how recognition practices helped to engage people and accelerate their performances at work.

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Such was the positive audience reaction, Elton was invited back to share his “carrot principle” again with Singapore audiences at HR Summit 2009. HRM Asia worked for many years to bring the undisputed father of modern HR, Dave Ulrich out from the US. While he did visit the region for some special one-off events, it was in 2014 that he made his long-awaited debut at HR Summit. It was fitting then, that he offered both a keynote presentation on the main stage, sharing what HR professionals needed to do to prepare for an uncertain future, and a Q&A-style workshop with more than 300 delegates. World renowned business advisor and management consultant Ram Charan headed up the speaker lineup at HR Summit 2015, along with The Success Principles author Jack Canfield. And in 2016, HR Summit shared the expertise of not one, but two Thinkers50 List members: Whitney Johnson and Marshall Goldsmith. Johnson focused on ways to successfully disrupt industries and even organisations themselves. Goldsmith meanwhile, urged the sellout plenary session of HR professionals to focus more on the real-world behaviour and outcomes of the employees under their watch, rather than devising evermore complex programmes and models.

The business leaders As well as the best of international theorists, HR Summit and Expo Asia delegates have also been able to share in the expertise of business leaders and HR professionals at the coalface. Every year, the event hosts the leaders of gamechanging organisations from around the world. They share their best-practice case studies on areas such as talent attraction and retention, performance management, employee engagement, and workforce strategy. Koh Ching Hong, Managing Director of Fuji Xerox Singapore (HR Summit 2005); Lucan van Wees, Vice President of HR for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (2007); Manoj Varghese, Director of People Operations


200 The 2007 HR Summit featured four conference streams. The event opened with a plenary session shared by Bob Tan, a council member of the Singapore Business Federation, and Halimah Yacob, Assistant Secretary General of the National Trades Union Congress.

The inaugural HR Summit in Singapore featured Australian Olympic gymnast Brennon Dowrick deliver the keynote presentation, including a recreation of his pommelhorse routine from the 2000 Sydney Olympic final.


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COVER STORY Across five conference stream, the HR Summit in 2011 featured world-famous ballet artist Li Cunxin closing out the first day. He shared how he rose from utter poverty and perservered through the harsh training regime of the Beijing Dance Academy to become one of the best dancer’s in the world, only to then make a career transition from the arts into finance.



The undisputed father of modern HR was the headline presenter of the 2014 HR Summit. Dave Ulrich helped guide delegates to the packed-out session through his tailored model of workforce management, and also shared how organisations in Asia could prepare for the uncertain and fast-changing future ahead. Ulrich also led a smaller-scale Q&A session with more than 200 delegates discussing their most pertinent HR challenges.

2009 Themed “Winning Strategies for Times and of Challenge and Change” and taking place in the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, HR Summit 2009 featured a keynote address from W. Mitchell, who shared how he overcame two debilitating motorcycle accidents to become a mayor and US Congressional candidate.

2016 Singapore’s best-known Olympic athlete (prior to Joseph Schooling’s victory later that year) shared the spotlight of HR Summit and Expo Asia 2016 with one of the world’s most famous management thinkers in Marshall Goldsmith. But local track star C.Kunalan more than held his own, sharing with delegates how they could build a high-performance culture within their own workplaces.


ore t e of his Sydney



HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 takes place at the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 3 and 4. This year’s event features consistent Thinkers50 list member Professor Gary Hamel delivering two separate sessions on how organisations can become truly innovative, and also on breaking down bureaucracy across established businesses. Other speakers among the 101 scheduled presentations are: leadership coach Brian Tracy, futurist Michael McQueen, Scott Domann (Netflix), and Shazlina Shahrima (Petrnonas).

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COVER STORY What’s in store for 2017? HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 returns on May 3 and 4 at the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre. With over 4,000 attendees expected, the event promises to once again build on its strong reputation to deliver the best in workforce management ideas, case studies, and analysis. Among the more than 100 speakers scheduled are:

Professor Gary Hamel

Hamidah Naziadin, CIMB Group

Brian Tracy

Eriko Talley, Facebook

Scott Domann, Netflix

Hari V Krishnan, PropertyGuru

This year’s event takes place over six different conference streams, covering the full spectrum of HR specialisations and today’s challenges for employing organisations. They are: • The C-Suite Symposium • Redesign • Experience • Develop • Thrive • SME Summit.

Site tours Step inside the regional headquarters of some of the world’s most innovative and employee-focused companies. HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 is for the first time offering a company site tour programme.

Workshops Delegates can also take part in more in-depth learning. The small-group workshops will give participants hands-on training in technical HR topics, such as workforce analytics and internal communication.

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for Google in Asia-Pacific (2009); Jessica Tan, Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore (2012); and Desmond Kuek, Group CEO of SMRT Corporation (2016) have all graced the HR Summit and Expo stage over the years, along with dozens more of Asia’s best business and HR talent.

The inspirers Finally, HR Summit and Expo Asia has also been home to some of the world’s most engaging and inspirational professional motivators. Whether it was the how-to-guide to overcoming diversity of W.Mitchell (HR Summit 2009); the rags to riches story of “Mao’s Last Dancer” Li Cunxin (2011), or the “never say die” rewards of “accidental” Olympic gold medallist Steven Bradbury (2014), HR Summit and Expo Asia has always delivered speakers who can inspire delegates to think about their organisational challenges in new, often game-changing ways.

An ever-expanding event It is not just in terms of delegate numbers that HR Summit and Expo Asia has grown over the last 15 years. The conference has also expanded more than six-fold to now include multiple streams, the free HR services exposition, and a wide range of innovative and interactive learning platforms in addition to the main stages. The 2003 event took place over 1,850 square metres of one floor of Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre. HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 is back at the since-renovated Suntec centre on May 3 and 4 this year, and will occupy over 13,000 square metres across two levels. It’s not just one personality commanding the crowd at any one time now. The introduction of multiple conference streams from 2005 has meant delegates have been able to mix and match sessions according to their own HR specialisation or interest. This year’s delegates can choose from six different streams, designed with every HR focus area and budget in mind. Since 2014, there has even been a parallel SME Summit, showcasing the specific challenges and solutions of workforce management in smaller organisations. With small and medium enterprises employing 56% of the total workforce in Singapore, there has never been a more important time to consider HR issues from this standpoint. The expansion continues in 2017, with several new additions. For the first time this year, HR Summit and Expo Asia will include an HR insider’s tour of several game-changing workplaces in Singapore, including the local headquarters of Google, Lego, and TripAdvisor. Also in 2017, delegates can participate in small-group workshops across technical HR topics, such as getting the most out of workforce data and analytics. Led by highly experienced HR professionals, these will provide stimulating discussions to enrich each participant’s HR Summit and Expo Asia experience.


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The countdown is on for Malaysia’s Vision 2020 ambition to achieve developed economy status. The mission was first voiced over 25 years ago, but – as HRM Asia learns – there are still plenty of skills-related hurdles blocking the path Kelvin Ong


he Malaysian Government has not been shy about its ambitions to attain high-income status for the country by the end of this decade. This goal, encompassing economic, political, and social development was formalised as “Vision 2020” in 1991 and the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 represents


what current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak says is the country’s “final leg” of that long race to “enter the arena of developed nations”. In these last five years, the government hopes to attract a total of MYR 236 billion (S$75.4 billion) of investments, creating 470,000 more jobs. But even with these targets in place, is Vision 2020 too ambitious? Najib himself admitted in the same speech in 2015 that two crucial issues have to be addressed before real progress can be made. Firstly, the ratio of skilled workers needs to be increased to at least 40% of the workforce. Most developed economies’ workforces are made up of roughly 50% higher-value workers. Next, Malaysia’s gross national income per capita (GNI) needs to increase to US$15,000 (S$21,925) per year. This would require a roughly 30% increase on

the US$10,570 (S$ 15,000) GNI recorded in 2015.

Hitting the magic figures HR Minister Richard Riot Jaem has noted that the skilled talent shortage in Malaysia is proving a major roadblock to those goals. He says skilled workers make up only 28% of the country’s workforce, still 12 percentage points lower than the 40% target identified in the latest national plan. “The percentage of high skilled workers in Malaysia is still low compared to other developed countries,” Riot said last year. Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan expressed similar concern for the low number of skilled workers, which he said was holding back labour productivity. The 11th Malaysia Plan calls for a


target of 3.7% annual growth in labour productivity, but this would also require a sudden surge. The five years leading to the start of that plan saw average productivity growth of only 1.8% per annum. Shamsuddin says the small size of the skilled workforce in Malaysia makes it difficult for the economy to attract highvalue investments, as hoped for in the plan. This shortage also saw Malaysia tumble down five places to 19th on last year’s IMD World Talent Report, which assesses and ranks the ability of 61 countries to develop, attract and retain talent within their economies. A study conducted by JP Morgan and the Singapore Management University late last year aimed to pinpoint the development gaps in the Malaysian workforce. The report authors found that the country faced three key skills

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challenges: a lack of quality skills-based and job-relevant training; outdated school curricula; and poor soft skills, including declining English language proficiency. All these challenges, the study revealed, were in turn, largely due to an information gap between educational institutes and industries on the types of soft and technical skills needed.

Education gap This school-industry gap is particularly obvious in key growth sectors like oil and gas, and electronics and electrical manufacturing, information and communications technology. Of the 26,900 oil and gas jobs hoped to be created between 2016 and 2020, around 40% will be high-skilled jobs, such as those based in engineering and geology. Yet, by 2020, research firm Ipsos says there will still be a shortage of at least 300 engineers and 1,500 technicians in the East Malaysia state of Sabah, alone. But the trend is most pronounced in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, also the third largest contributor to Malaysia’s services sector. According to the National ICT Association of Malaysia, only 10% of new ICT graduates today are actually employable, with the remaining 90% requiring substantial further training before they become work-ready. The situation is compounded by the fact that the curriculum offered in local ICT schools is not keeping pace with the rapid growth of the sector.

Building a pipeline Even more traditional industries, such as the fast-moving consumer goods business, are not being spared the effects of talent scarcity, says Swadheen Sharma, Country Head of snack manufacturer Mondelez Malaysia. Sharma says skill requirements continue to evolve rapidly, and this is one of the root causes of the imbalance. “In today’s learning economy, talent needs to upgrade its skills and stay 28 APRIL 2017


versatile for long term success, and this is a challenge that not everyone can address successfully,” he says. “Those that do are sought after by a number of potential employers, which further enhances this sense of talent scarcity.” To overcome this problem, Mondelez Malaysia allows younger employees to expand their skill sets by rotating across different job functions. For example, the iTaste Graduate Trainee initiative involves a custom 12-month programme, designed to develop and nurture selected graduates through experiential, on-the-job learning. This exposes trainees to the company’s various business functions and operations, thus also benefitting the career growth of each individual involved.

Too little, too late? But Mondelez is one of only a few companies to have found some form of solution. And the national government is also struggling to provide economywide reforms that could grow the pool of skilled workers. The 11th Malaysia Plan identifies the national Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector as the main vehicle to develop skills for higher value industries. It expects 60% of the 1.5 million jobs it hopes to create before 2020 will require TVET-developed skills. The strategy has also seen the government allocate MYR 1 billion (S$317 million) to the Skills Development Fund, up from half of that in the plan covering 2011 to 2015. Through this programme, local TVET graduates have greater opportunity to secure high paying jobs in the oil and gas, aviation engineering, shipping and automotive sectors, among other industries. But according to the JP Morgan-SMU study, TVET institutions have not been able to produce graduates with the right skill sets to meet the requirements in those parts of the economy. Shamsuddin says results after one year into the current plan also indicate that

the government still has some ground to cover in terms of training take-up rates. He notes that many lower-skilled workers are more concerned about keeping their current jobs than looking to upskill. They are under both real and perceived pressure from immigrant labour, who are willing and able to work for lower wages. There are currently about 3.6 million foreign workers in Malaysia, significantly more than in previous decades.

The brain drain This skills conundrum is further complicated by a series of other deeprooted problems. Data from the government-owned TalentCorp agency, for example, indicates a persistent movement of skills away from Malaysia. Some 2% of tertiary-educated aged 25 and above are now living and working outside of the country, generally because of higher salaries and improved career prospects. In 2010, there were over 310,000 Malaysians living in OECD countries, of which some 55% held higher learning certificates. Mondelez Malaysia’s Sharma says the private sector has the biggest role to play in reversing this damaging trend. “What are companies doing to ensure they retain these talents and they continue to work in Malaysia?”, he asks. As part of the Mondelez International Group, Sharma says Mondelez Malaysia’s strategy is to provide its local employees with development opportunities to work in other Southeast Asian offices and hold regional roles. But most home-grown companies do not have as great a regional presence outside Malaysia, and the government is now looking to do its part to attract educated Malaysians back home. Through TalentCorp, which was set up in 2011, the government has revamped the Returning Expert Programmes. This provides tax incentives and exemptions for high-skilled workers returning to Malaysia for permanent work, and also allows foreign spouses and any children

MALAYSIA to become permanent residents. Over 3,000 returning experts have been approved by the programme since it was revamped in 2011. But few local stakeholders think that is enough to have any impact on the Government’s targets. They are finding it difficult to attract people back on wage terms only, given that most will be earning higher after-tax incomes elsewhere, even when the potential incentives in Malaysia are factored in.

Exclusivity issues Prime Minister Najib’s speech at the 11th Malaysia Plan’s launch also revealed another potential conundrum. The government’s targets and skills development priorities are operating in tandem with its Bumiputera (Malay race) Economic Empowerment Agenda. Introduced in 2013, this aims to ensure the local Malay population has strong access to economic opportunities, including jobs. Prime Minister Najib said the Bumiputera agenda was both important and relevant, because the number of local Malays was growing.

Today, they comprise 68% of the national population, up from 62% in 1992. “Initiatives for the Bumiputera are not only necessary but must be implemented. The Government will definitely continue to champion Bumiputera policies, but they will be based on meritocracy among the Bumiputeras,” said Najib. “Furthermore… we are fully committed and determined to achieve 30% Bumiputera equity ownership (of locally-listed companies) by 2020.” Some have warned that this policy of protecting the indigenous workforce may be counterproductive to the Malaysia Plan’s other intentions. Local observers say the Bumiputera policy has not yet filtered into the private sector. Laurence Yap, Head of HR at Dexon Electrical Engineering, tells HRM Asia, that local businesses cannot afford to be too choosy. “In the private sector, the Bumiputra policy does not hinder the companies to hire skilled talent,” says Yap. “There is no limit as who we want to hire in the private sector, and meritocracy is the key thing here.


“The Bumiputra policy is more prevalent in government-linked companies.” But that influence in public services is strong and growing. One employment area where Malay Malaysians do have greater job security is in the civil service, where they form 85% of the total workforce. As The Economist reported in 2013, government contracts were likely to favour Bumiputera-owned firms, further stacking the odds against other social groups. Dr Ong Kian Ming, Minister of Parliament for Serdang in Selangor state at the time, was adamant the policy would do more harm than good. “The Bumiputera divisive, unnecessary and in the long-run damaging to the economic and social cohesion of the country,” he told Free Malaysia Today newspaper in 2013. “(Prime Minister) Najib should… carry out a serious audit of all of the existing government programmes which are targeted at the Bumiputeras to find out their weaknesses, to plug the leakages and to improve on their performance.”

Should I Stay or Should I Go (Back)? A key part of Malaysia’s Vision 2020 is to encourage skilled expatriates to return home. HRM Asia speaks to two Malay professionals with different views. Yap Shi Li Founder, Merry Bees Live Music, and founder, ShiLi & Adi Yap ShiLi left Malaysia as a 15-year-old in 2000, having received a scholarship from the Singapore Ministry of Education. She has since stayed on and built a career as an entrepreneur in the neighbouring island city. Returning to Malaysia is not on her agenda. “After seeing this list of incentives, I still would not go back to Malaysia, because I have studied, worked, and lived in Singapore for 17 years,” she tells HRM Asia. “My network and career are well-established here. If I went back, I would have to start from scratch.”

Nelson Gerard Lawrence Danam Consulting Manager, Deloitte Consulting Malaysia Nelson Danam worked for seven years in Australia, before successfully signing on to Malaysia’s Returning Expert Programme. He says it was a combination of career development opportunities and the enhanced quality of living that drove him to move back to Malaysia. Importantly, he says the dream of high-flying international careers is not the reality for the majority of overseas-based Malays. “I have seen many of my peers and fellow postgraduates moving to Australia or another country, trying to penetrate the job market and fail even after trying continuously for a few years,” he says. Source: TalentCorp Malaysia

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FLIPPING THE SCRIPT Online broadcaster Netflix has not only revolutionised programme viewing, it has also transformed the traditional talent management function through a highly intricate manifesto called the Culture Deck. Scott Domann, Netflix’s Global Vice President of Talent and HR, and a key speaker for HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017, shares more Kelvin Ong


here is a scene in House of Cards, Netflix’s first-ever selfcommissioned original series, where Frank Underwood, an ambitious US politician who plots, schemes, betrays, and literally murders his way to the US presidency, vehemently challenges the instructions of his boss and soon-to-bepredecessor. He turns to the audience to acknowledge the boldness of the move: “Sometimes, the only way to gain your superior’s respect is to defy him.” 30 APRIL 2017



Gaining respect at House of Cards’ broadcasting partner is not so political, and a lot safer, with Netflix deliberately celebrating the risk takers and disruptors. A core tenet of the company’s culture is the concept of “freedom and responsibility”, Scott Domann, the Global Vice President of Talent and HR for its Marketing, Public Relations, and International teams, tells HRM Asia.

Roots of reinvention Given Netflix’s current reputation as a media visionary, it’s only natural that this autonomous culture developed in tandem with the business’ own evolution. The company launched as a brick-andmortar DVD rental mail service in 1998, with only 30 employees and 925 titles. But amid declining DVD demand and the

growing possibility of video streaming, the company announced its plans to rebrand and restructure in 2011. Less than two years later, House of Cards premiered. This not only reintroduced Netflix to new audiences, but also revolutionised the way television formats were consumed. It introduced “binge-watching” and high-speed video streaming to the masses, a concept more established broadcasters previously thought would be impossible to pull off. But with the success of that and other series, content viewing was changed forever. Netflix went on to take a significant piece of the pie traditionally shared by the established broadcasting players in the US, including ABC and CBS. This same principle and penchant for risk-taking and reimagination has also guided Netflix’s talent management

model, flipping the HR function as the rest of the world still knows it, on its head. And all this is manifested in the famous Netflix Culture Deck, a 124page Power Point presentation, which Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg once referred to as “the most important document to come out of Silicon Valley”. It might be seen as a risk, but if there is one ingredient Netflix knows is needed for an invention to succeed, it is commitment. And the company has plenty of that across its workforce.

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WORKPLACE CULTURE out” differently at Netflix than many other workplaces. The company stresses its value statements pay more than lip service. They are not just “nice-sounding” declarations that might otherwise be meaningless in reality, says Domann. Through the Culture Deck, Netflix cites the example of US energy company Enron, which collapsed in 2001 after one of the world’s biggest corporate corruption scandals. Netflix notes that Enron once had the values of “integrity”, “communication”, “respect,” and “excellence” displayed proudly in its office lobbies, but those ideals were nowhere to be found in the company’s actual business practices. Keen to avoid such hypocrisy, Netflix genuinely follows through with its values, Domann says. In particular, its “freedom and responsibility” tenent means giving employees the freedom to make even the most critical of decisions, while requiring them to also take full ownership for their actions and results. Domann says the organisation strongly encourages employees to use their judgment and take risks that are likely to drive the business forward, and then share ideas and feedback candidly. The ultimate goal is to create an environment where high performers can thrive among like-minded talents. “We encourage them not to ask permission to do every little thing,” says Domann.

Research-based innovation Through its own research, Netflix found that most companies today actually limit employee freedom the larger they grow. This comes from an instinct to control the chaos that emerges as businesses become more complex. Organisations start introducing more and more processes, sacrificing employee liberty for greater perceived optimisation. But Netflix notes that this has a counterproductive effect on a company in the long run. While highly-successful process-driven companies might be very 32 APRIL 2017


efficient, they minimise the need for innovation, and this ultimately drives away the “innovator-mavericks” of the world. When market shifts occur, these organisations may find it difficult to adapt quickly because they do not have the agile skillsets required. So the new media company decided to go off-script, designing its HR model with the goal of increasing employee freedom as the company grows, rather than curtailing it. Netflix hoped that by enforcing a culture of freedom, it would continue to attract and nourish innovative talent for a long time, leading to higher chances of sustained success. “Instead of managing the process, we are focused on solving problems with our business leaders, hiring and coaching our talent, and finding innovative ways to bring our culture to life across a global team,” says Domann. To reinforce the importance of its corporate values, Netflix also ties these directly to pay and performance. It rewards, promotes, and sometimes dismisses staff based on how closely they exemplify these codes.

No vacation days? The values of freedom and responsibility is also reflected in the company’s welldocumented “no vacation” policy. This does not mean employees do not receive any leave benefits, but rather, without a fixed number of vacation days each year, it is entirely up to each individual staff member to decide the length and scheduling of their time away from the office. The policy – or lack of one – was first born out of the idea that if the company does not track hours worked per day or per week, then why should it track annual leave days? “We’re all working online some nights and weekends, responding to emails at odd hours,” Netflix explains in the Culture Deck. “We should focus on what people get done, not on how many days worked,” it

continues, noting that employees often find their best inspiration and ideas when they are outside the office. Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings, who leads this policy by example, takes at least six weeks’ vacation every year, a fact that he is “very open about internally”. “You often do your best thinking when you’re off hiking in some mountain, and you get a different perspective,” Hastings told CNN in late-2015.

Inclusive environments To effectively embody such values, Netflix expects all its potential hires to demonstrate a total of nine behaviours. These include having good judgment, being highly curious, courageous in questioning inconsistencies, and being honest about expressing even negative thoughts. “In a more global cultural environment, we hire people regardless of the location, who share the traits we value,” says Domann. But he says the company understands these behaviours can take some getting used to, especially since so many staff will transfer from organisations where this type of working is not emphasised. Netflix has also been focused on creating inclusive environments across all of its offices, reflecting its values of diversity (which also extends to the characters on its self-commissioned programming). As of the end of last year, the company’s US leadership team was made up of 62% men, and 38% women, while its technology team comprised of 78% men and 22% women. These numbers for female representation, along with those measuring racial diversity, are higher than the averages across Silicon Valley businesses, but Netflix is not resting at this point. Domann says the company is continuing its push for greater diversity and inclusion. To attract more women to join its workforce, it extended its parental leave policy to allow new parents, as well as their spouses, as much

WORKPLACE CULTURE as one year of unlimited and flexible paid leave. These policies also apply to the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, where Netflix hires across a broad range of roles, including public relations, recruitment, content, marketing, and business development. “We are excited to be here,” says Domann. “Singapore is a city that is constantly reinventing itself and that is reflective in its talent pool of highlytech savvy, skilled and globally-minded individuals.”

Ever-evolving model But Netflix’s unique approach to HR is not without its detractors, who have criticised that its laissez-faire model is excessively unstructured, leaving too

much to employee interpretation. In fact, with regards to the “no vacation” policy, employees have complained that they are unsure of what is an acceptable vacation length, so many end up taking fewer leave days than they would if regular leave schemes were in place. Peer pressure, and pressure from line managers have also caused some workers to not fully access their rightful entitlements. Domann, who got his start in HR as an intern with Warner Music Group, before progressing to social networking site Facebook as a HR Business Partner and now Netflix, acknowledges the argument, but says Netflix is not rejecting standard HR practice. “On the contrary, it just means the role

evolved in a culture like ours, which makes things all the more exciting,” he says. “I won’t speak for the rest of the HR team, but always thinking about how our business and talent needs are shifting definitely keeps me engaged and excited.” Domann, who is presenting in the Redesign Stream at the HR Summit and Expo Asia 2017 on high performance teams, says he is looking forward to giving attendees more insight into Netflix’s unique culture and how its HR team works. “I’m passionate about our culture and our talent...and I hope the audience can take away some insights that will help them think about their own company cultures,” says Domann.

Up close with: Scott Domann

of HR has

Based in: Los Angeles, California. Academic background: BA in Psychology from the University of Kansas; Masters in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from New York University. Mantra: “Leading with gratitude”. What does that mean: I feel very fortunate to have the career and experiences I have had, and will always dedicate time to giving back to the community. Is the glass half full, or half empty? Half-full for sure. I’m a pretty optimistic guy. I like to assume good intent and look at all angles of a problem objectively to make the best decisions possible. Your presentations are complete and you have 24 hours in Singapore. What’s on the agenda? I’ve been reading about the contemporary art galleries in Singapore and would love to check those out. I’ll also grab dinner with my friends here, and make sure to get as much sleep as possible to keep fighting the jet lag! APRIL 2017


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36 APRIL 2017



D THE E SPIRIT Despite a global headcount of over 20,000 employees, communication group Havas espouses the ideals of community and kinship within its ranks. HRM Asia finds out how these principles shape its HR strategies Sham Majid


hen you’re heading the HR function for one of the largest global communications groups – with employees dabbling across a wide spectrum of roles – streamlining people practices can be an arduous, and even intimidating prospect. For Kevin Zhang, Director of HR, Asia-Pacific, Havas, it is a throwback to the past that helps he and his team maintain focus on the big picture. With Havas comprising chiefly of creative and media work, the organisation has steadfastly refused to view these different arms as two separate units. Reminiscent of a village-like culture, where residents tapped onto the collective wisdom of their peers and relied on unity to overcome trials and tribulations, Havas aims to be a single community. This “Village”, as it is known within Havas, entails the creative and media departments coming together to foster a communal atmosphere. The mentality cascades down to manpower needs and even forms the basis of the organisation’s HR policies

and practices. “As a business, we’re integrating a lot more between our media and creative businesses,” says Zhang. “This is why we’re breaking down the walls in between our two departments and many offices are partnering together. Our offices are coming together as one unit.”

Open and fun culture Cultivating a village-like atmosphere doesn’t impede what Zhang describes as the “very fun culture” at Havas, especially due to the nature of its work. For example, floor spaces in its Singapore office have been deliberately designed in an open manner to allow employees to easily connect and collaborate with each other on projects. Many senior leaders also sit in open cubicles, reflecting the company’s opendoor policy. “Because of the culture we have built, there is also a lot of fun with the clients that we work with, and with the products that we work on. A lot of our creative people get their best ideas when they’re at the office due

to the open concept and collaboration opportunities,” says Zhang.

Building relationships to find talent With technology and digitisation permeating the media sector and disrupting the way employees in the creative industry work, Zhang admits the industry is presently undergoing “a

AT A GLANCE Number of employees: - 250 in Singapore - 2,500 in Asia Pacific - 20,000 in globally Size of the HR Team: - 4 in Singapore - 27 in Asia Pacific Key HR Focus Area: - HR as a business partner - Attracting, retaining and developing talent - Learning and development - Career Development - Performance Review - Embracing company culture APRIL 2017


HR INSIDER dramatic shift”. “Things move incredibly quickly. Hence, we really need our employees to understand the different platforms and at the same time, react quickly to the market conditions,” he says. One pressing recruitment bugbear for Havas in Asia-Pacific is finding talents who possess creative skill sets in digital media. For instance, the organisation has found it difficult to hire candidates for user-experience design positions in the last few years. “Even though we have all these open positions, we just cannot find the right talent fast enough and at the same time, our competitors are also going after all these talents,” says Zhang. The organisation banks on the relationships its employees have cultivated with educational institutions and external markets to alleviate its talent crunch. For example, several Havas employees double up as adjunct professors in

universities across Asia-Pacific, and tap on these networks to source potential employees. “Our CEO in the Philippines has huge connections with the universities over there so they actually adopt those programmes and act as partners with the organisation,” says Zhang. Managers in Havas are also empowered to recruit as and when they deem fit. These managers are not from HR departments. Rather, they hail from the accounts, creative, and media teams. “The hiring managers are connected in the market, so they really are the right people to go out and hire the best talent,” says Zhang. Besides tapping onto open platforms such as LinkedIn and online job postings, Havas also has a referral programme in place that tries to incentivise its employees to share contacts who could be good additions to the team. Employees who successfully refer a

My Favourite Friday Employees from the creative department of Havas’ Singapore office convene from 1:30pm onwards on the second Friday of the month for the company’s “My Favourite Friday” programme. Kevin Zhang, Director of HR, Asia-Pacific, Havas, says the Managing Director will address employees on the month’s happenings, including client pitches won by the company as well as the pitches they are targeting. What follows next are a series of sharing sessions by employees. Zhang says, for the past few months, one of the creative department’s employee who is digitallysavvy has been sharing with colleagues about user experience functions within virtual reality. “He has allowed employees to wear the device on their heads to experience this type of augmented reality,” he says.

38 APRIL 2017


candidate will get a monetary reward. In addition, the company is creating its own database where swathes of résumés from candidates will be stored and then scrutinised when roles become open. “We’re increasingly participating in events where we are amassing contacts for potential roles,” says Zhang. “We have also made a number of acquisitions in Asia and that’s given us a good story to tell in that we’re really serious about our expansion.”

Fluid career paths The loose and open structure crafted in Havas is also translated onto the employee development front. There are no fixed or defined career pathways for employees, and flexibility in manpower and operational needs allow staff to dovetail freely between creative and media functions. “What that means is that if you have a very strong talent coming up and if they are rising more quickly in the process, or if they’re doing amazing creative or account-servicing work, we have a fluid career map for them,” shares Zhang. “It’s really based on their performances for these individuals who want to move up the career ladder.” This framework is all the more pertinent considering that many millennials who join the business don’t necessarily know where they want to be in the long-term, says Sheryn Small, HR and Talent Director – Australia. For example, in Havas’ Sydney office, there have been many instances where the organisation has facilitated opportunities for employees to move within the agency from different departments. “We’ve had an account executive moving to the planning department, and had an account manager becoming a copywriter. We’ve also had one of our top designers moving to a user -experience role. So, it’s good to create opportunities for people to move around the business,” says Small.

HR INSIDER “Lofty” ambitions Havas has crafted fixed training programmes for its more than 20,000 employees globally, and there is a strong culture of follow-up for each event. Employees who have attended these programmes engage in sharing sessions with colleagues, and try to apply the lessons learned into their projects as early as possible One key training programme is a four-week global exchange programme, called Loft. Employees participating in the programme, known as “the lofters”, travel to another agency in a different country and gets mentored by a more senior colleague. They earn the opportunity to sample a different culture and witness the different ways that the agency can operate within the same brand organisation. These employees then share the lessons learned with their home agency upon return. “When you talk about the US and Europe, these places are rich in creative content and when employees come back, they share their learning experiences with their colleagues and try to apply it within their own operations,” says Zhang. Employees undertaking the Loft programme also blog and share their experiences in the hope that other employees will follow suit. “It gets everyone excited, and everyone wants to become the next ‘lofter’,” shares Zhang. Small has witnessed first-hand the benefits of this programme. One of her colleagues in Sydney participated and still keeps in touch with several colleagues he met while overseas. “He deals with them on an almostweekly or fortnightly basis through the sharing of ideas. It brings all the offices a lot closer together as well,” she says. This essence of constant dialogue and sharing personifies the village culture


painstakingly crafted by Havas. Many creative and media groups also engage in informal sessions where they share with each other about the work they have undertaken, when pitching ideas or proposals to clients. Employees simply sit on the many beanbags strewn around the office and bounce new ideas off each other. “They bring those examples back and share with the rest of the team, explaining how they came up with such concepts and why did they pitch it in this particular way,” says Zhang. “This is a key strategy for us to engage with millennial employees, because they really want to learn from others.”





Director of HR, Asia-Pacific

HR and Talent Director - Australia

Engaging Matilda With Havas employees relying on their creative juices to come up with creative and compelling media products for clients, it’s no surprise that the organisation’s engagement efforts stretch beyond the norms of any company. One example is a programme called Matilda taking place in the Philippines. An employee from its office was so passionate about books that she created a library for a school for disadvantaged children in Manila. “The school didn’t have a library so they went in and cleaned the place, painted it and filled the whole place up with books. This was one of the projects done for the Philippines and we endorsed it,” says Zhang.

Rewarding contributions Havas makes rewarding talents for their contributions a key plank of its reward and recognition strategy. One of the most prominent annual rewards and recognition programme for Asia-Pacific is the organisation’s global leadership meeting. While the leadership team convenes to discuss strategies to move the business forward, it also consists of a rewards and recognition awards night.

HR and Talent CHUENAMORNPHAN Manager - Singapore HR Manager - Thailand The top two performers from each market are invited for this global leadership meeting, and Zhang says it’s a “huge privilege” to be attending. “We will recognise employees for the contributions they have made to the organisation and they get an award for their performances,” he shares. In 2015, the organisation also kicked off a programme called the Red Collective, where employees who continue to perform and deliver are provided with a small stipend on top of their regular salary. “We’re in an extremely competitive market and employees do leave because they get better opportunities and better offers in other markets,” Zhang says candidly. “But the reason why a lot of them also stay is because we are investing in their careers and we are offering them career pathway and mobility platforms.”

APRIL 2017



BUSINESS OR B-LEISURE? “Never mix business with pleasure,” or so they used to say. With an increasing number of business travellers now extending their trips for leisure motivations, the “b-leisure” trend is redefining both how MICE players market their offerings, and the corporate travel policies of large organisations Kelvin Ong

40 APRIL 2017



-leisure”. The blended word describes the practice of extending business trips for leisure purposes, and has moved from an occasional incident to a trending phenomenon in recent years. While the concept of mixing work and play on travel is certainly not new, when and how exactly did it start to become such a trend? The authors of the Routledge Handbook of Hotel Chain

MICE took “b-leisure”-style trips that year, with nearly half even saying that they added personal travel days to “every” or “most” business trips. Nearly 80% of respondents also agreed that adding leisure days to business travel increased the overall value of work assignments.

Adding days; added benefits Some trade observers believe the rise of b-leisure has coincided with the growing focus on employee wellness and work-life balance. Imagine, for example, flying halfway around the world for a three-hour business meeting, then immediately turning around to get on the first 16-hour flight back home. Instead of driving their employees to the ground, companies are now leveraging the leisure component of their travel to provide their staff with more flexible, and often tailored experiences. Bertrand Saillet, General Manager at FCM Travel Solutions Southeast Asia, says this leads to “happier, better-rested, and more productive employees”. The proliferation of metasearch engines, which comb the prices of air tickets and hotels listed on all travel-related websites, is another factor fuelling the b-leisure surge. Trivago and Skyscanner, for example, aggregate and compare prices from a whole host of platforms and providers. This removes the need for travellers to go through travel agents, thereby allowing business travellers to conveniently make their own leisure arrangements and select the most affordable addons. Even non-traditional holiday accommodation options like Airbnb, a short-term lodging web portal that matches guests with home or vacation rental owners, lend themselves naturally to the idea of b-leisure travel. A spokesperson for Airbnb Asia-Pacific tells HRM Asia its range of accommodation options allows “business travellers to explore the local neighbourhoods and live like locals during the weekend,” once work is out of the way. The spokesperson says Airbnb’s data show that business travellers stay an average of six days, compared to four days for leisure travellers, indicating some extra days added for vacations. In fact, almost 15% of business travel stays are 10 days and above.

Constant phenomenon Management, published in 2016, found that the trend of formally incorporating leisure activities into business trips can be traced back to the late 1990s. In fact, in a 2000 US survey, 51% of respondents said they “sometimes” or “often” combined business and leisure on their work trips. By 2014, this figure had gone up substantially. A Bridgestreet Global Hospitality survey found that over 6 in 10 respondents

Alvan Aiau, Vice President, Global Sales and Programme Management, Asia-Pacific, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), counters that employees across the ranks have been tagging on personal time to their business trips for years. But he says b-leisure has been receiving more attention lately because mobile devices and constant connectivity have blurred the lines between work and personal time. Today, people can work from anywhere, at any time, he says. “This has allowed people to think about what to do during APRIL 2017


MICE their free time and work time, and so the lines between both are blurred, which is also why b-leisure is talked about more now,” says Aiau. CWT’s 2016 white paper on b-leisure also found that it was not a new phenomenon. Based on a subset of 7.3 million flights taken by 1.9 million business travellers in 2015, CWT found that 20% stayed an extra Saturday night either at the beginning or at the end of each trip. These values were largely unchanged since a similar survey in 2011, indicating no significant growth in b-leisure, only an increase in awareness. It would seem that this spotlight on b-leisure has not translated into higher demand, but perhaps merely led to more organisations and HR now paying closer attention to the potential benefits. Aiau explains that even with more companies sending employees overseas, the number of b-leisure trips has not jumped exponentially. This is because travellers have a fixed capacity for b-leisure. What this means is when they do it, they only take a maximum of one to two b-leisure trips per year, almost irrespective of how much they travel. In other words, b-leisure travel does not scale with the total amount of corporate travel. General Manager of Pan Pacific Singapore Gino Tan believes

Staff just want to have fun Cities in the US and Europe are the most attractive b-leisure destinations for travellers from Singapore, with close to a third of trips to Houston and more than a quarter of trips to Paris being b-leisure trips. This correlates with Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s white paper on b-leisure last year, which found that the greater the distance between the origin and destination cities, the higher the likelihood of leisure add-ons. Top 10 b-leisure routes out of Singapore: 1. Houston (31% of trips including b-leisure add-ons) 2. San Francisco (30%) 3. New York (28%) 4. Paris (26%) 5. London (21%) 6. Tokyo (15%) 7. Sydney (15%) 8. Melbourne (14%) 9. Seoul (11%) 10. Taipei (11%) Source: Carlson Wagonlit Travel, July 2016

42 APRIL 2017


that while b-leisure travel will always remain an essential option, sentiment towards business travel in general is likely to remain subdued in the current economic climate. “There’s a general cautiousness across most sectors and corporates are expected to manage their budgets more carefully this year,” says Tan, adding that this will affect b-leisure numbers as well. To counter this, Tan says Pan Pacific Singapore has had to look beyond merely selling room nights, and instead focus on delivering superior products and service. Those are factors that can influence a business traveller to extend their trips with the property, he says. For instance, one of its Singapore hotels, Parkroyal on Beach Road, offers a complimentary shuttle service to tourist precincts such as Marina Bay, Chinatown, and Orchard Road, making it easier for guests to explore the city. Through strategic tie-ups (such as with the HSBC Rugby 7s tournament in Singapore), Pan Pacific is also able to offer unique experiences to business travellers who are extending their trips.

Flexible travel policy a perk Still, given CWT’s research shows the rate of b-leisure trips has stayed constant since 2011, observers say it is likely such travel


“Adding b-leisure guidelines to your travel policy could be a wellcalculated investment” options will remain in steady demand for a while. That same research found that younger travellers are significantly more likely to take b-leisure trips, and want to do so. For those aged 20 to 25, the rate is close to 15%, the highest of all age segments. With this group of millennials now moving into managerial

positions and roles that traditionally require more business travel, organisations will naturally be looking toward ensuring options to extend are available on each trip. Indeed, in a survey commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board, it was found that Asian business travellers now enjoy greater autonomy and are demanding more flexible travel policies. Some 56% of respondents viewed business travel as a perk, rather than an unwelcome job requirement. “For companies with frequent business travellers, adding b-leisure guidelines to your travel policy could be a wellcalculated investment used to attract and retain employees,” says FCM Travel Solutions’ Saillet. Organisations that are able to leverage on their travel management partners to provide additional services to business travellers can also benefit from substantial cost savings. This is because they are able to negotiate for better deals or additional value-adds due to the extended trip, while the cost of the extension itself will generally be borne by the traveller, he adds.

APRIL 2017




If change is the only real constant in business today, then it is high time that HR got on board. So says guest contributor Rita Trehan as she lays out a vision for HR leading the charge for innovation in Asia

44 APRIL 2017



cross the world, the winds of change are blowing more rapidly than ever, strong enough to change the landscape and reshape the global marketplace. Demands for growth and innovation are greater than ever, and

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR as technology, social disruption, and scrappy upstarts change the very way we conduct business, the ground beneath most businesses is ever-shifting. But there is one tenet we as HR leaders must adopt that is certain: we must lead the charge for change and innovation in our own businesses. If not, we will be left behind. “This is not what we do,” you may say to yourself. “We manage the people. The Operations or Technology divisions manage the shift to a more robust technical, virtual platform.”

Heavier responsibilty I cannot disagree that those divisions must take ownership over these aspects of the company. It is, however, HR’s responsibility to manage how these new innovations impact talent acquisition, talent management, and how the workforce meets and exceeds corporate goals. We are the owners of this lifeblood of the companies we serve: these resources human. If we are worth our mettle, we must step out in front and lead as to how innovation can be used to serve corporate capacity. We must respectfully stand in our

strength when any aspect of innovation or disruption affects corporate capacity. HR, People, Talent Management – whatever you wish to call us, we are the owners of how all resources of a workforce variety impact our company. Capacity is how any corporation meets the goals set forth by its board and management. As the leader of this aspect of your company, feel free to add another moniker to your desk: consider yourself Chief Capacity Officer. Innovation directly impacts capacity. Therefore, you must lead its design and implementation, or you might find yourself irrelevant along with other aspects of 20th century business. In my book, Unleashing Capacity: The Hidden Human Resources, I explain this concept along with the very real situation in which HR finds itself: we are being dismantled for not keeping up with those sweeping, changing winds of business. We mean no ill. We wish to serve; truly, it is why we exist. However, if we only assist in reaction mode to orders from managers and the C-suite, we are already too late: chained to the very processes and “old rulebooks” of how things have always

“We must direct change in our our organisation: technology, robotics, virtual workplaces, emerging talent, and social disruption are the means through which we will find a secure, powerful future.”

been done, we sink to the annals of business history as we are outsourced and dismantled piece by piece. We are at a watershed moment where we must realise that it is not a new organisation model that will save us; that we should not purchase a new enterprise system to show our level of innovation.

Conduit for change Instead, we must get out in front of our businesses and lead. We must direct change in our organisation: technology, robotics, virtual workplaces, emerging talent, and social disruption are the means through which we will find our way to a secure, powerful future. It is understandable that these claims might seem outrageous, that the suggestion that the technology taking human jobs should be the avenue through which we not only get involved but step out in front of the situation. The Deloitte 2017 Human Capital Trends Report shows that a huge disconnect has already occurred between HR’s perception of where they should serve their organisations and where the business needs them: more than 60% of corporate respondents desired their HR departments to lead them through technological innovation; whereas only a little more than 35% of HR respondents said we should be involved at all, even minimally. This is what I was talking about: we have the perfect opportunity, and we wish to concede it? Technological innovation and social disruption are the key factors determining the future of our businesses, and we want someone else to handle it? Do not be surprised if they take us up on this. We could be obsolete before the decade is over if we continue to think this way. It is not a new model we need to assume the mantel for the best future for HR and the companies we serve; it’s a new mindset. As the Chief Capacity Officers, we must think differently. HR is no longer a service department; we are business owners. We must think of our tools as APRIL 2017


GUEST CONTRIBUTOR About the Author Rita Trehan is a former senior executive and Chief HR Officer, and has more than 30 years of progressive career experience in building operational efficiency, best-in-class process delivery, and technological innovation for workforces around the world. She has worked with leading companies and helped them rethink their approach to HR. Trehan’s initiatives, working with leading companies and helping them rethink their approach to HR, have transformed organsations’ HR functions from standalone departments into value-driven parts of the company, integrated into every area of the business, and every decision made. As an author, Trehan contributes regularly to the Washington Post and Forbes magazine. Her latest book, Unleashing Capacity: The Hidden Human Resource, lays out the fundamental disconnects that frequently occur between a CEO’s vision and their organisations’ capacity to deliver.

Rita Trehan

products and services of our business. For continued business from our managers, the C-suite, and the Board of Directors, we must lead innovation. We must get out in front of the entire business, figure out what’s next, and quickly present how to either use it to our advantage or bolster the company for rougher market conditions. We are entirely ready to make this shift; we need only think like business owners and act like the innovative leaders I know we are.

For the long haul Consider, for example, the emergence of robotics in manufacturing. So many questions can be asked, researsched and answered. Why not figure out how this investment can benefit your organisation? How much money will it save? Can your supply chain and sales teams handle the inventory? What does that mean for the workers on the ground? How can that human capital be redeployed through the organisation or 46 APRIL 2017


trained for another future state? What next-level talent will be needed for those machines and the next-level platform they offer? Is there market demand for a more sophisticated product strategy supported by this automation? Where will you win the war for the talent you need? What talent management tools can be built and deployed for the workforce needed to run it? Although a manufacturing scenario is not all-encompassing, think about how innovation can be used to increase capacity, then design and present a plan for how it can be utilised to ride the winds of change into a brighter, more secure future for your organisation. As the sun rises over Asia and the glow of innovation is bright enough for the world to see, I want HR to soar in this new environment. Let’s make the commitment to lead the charge for change and innovation. As the owners of corporate capacity, it is our duty to make a positive impact on our companies, and innovation is our key to that brighter future.

Live in Singapore Business transformation and capacitybuilding expert Rita Trehan will be bringing a global perspective to the issue of organisational culture when she speaks as part of HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017. Her stream presentation It’s All About Culture – Why We Need to Talk About It and How to Measure It, will get straight to the heart of employee engagement. Trehan will outline a set of practical tools to help HR professionals shape the corporate agenda. She is also speaking in the Develop stream about Rethinking Talent Development—A New Approach to Winning the War on Talent. See: for more information.



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APRIL 2017



HEATHER YANG Director of HR Promontory Financial Group Australasia

Who is Heather Yang, and what defines her? 

I’m someone who loves to learn new things and tackle new challenges.

Complete this sentence. HR is... 

… a great way to meet everyone in the firm and learn about what they do.

What would you be doing if you were not in HR?  I think I would be a doctor, a psychologist, or an anthropologist because I love working with people and learning about them. What is the best part of your job?  Seeing employees happy in their own jobs and growing professionally. What is the worst part of your job?  

The worst part is definitely

having to let people go.

Describe a day in the office 

Every day is different for me. It does not necessarily start in the office because I work for a multinational company, and some days start in the mornings and others start at night.

Describe one outside the office.   I spend a lot of time with my family when I’m not in the office. I also do a lot of volunteering with my son’s school, the United World College Southeast Asia where I am on the board, and also my alma mater, Princeton University. That is a lot of volunteering!  I love to be involved and help people, and seeing both parents and kids at the school enjoying the activities I helped to plan makes me happy. I also find it hard to turn people down when they ask me for help! Add family commitments to the list, how do you stay sane? 

As with all working mothers, the balance between work and family is a tough one. Finding the right balance in terms of what works for you is most important.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received  people is more important than hiring the right skills.

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Hiring the right

“Hiring the right people is more important than hiring the right skills.”


The journey from an MNC to SME


started at Unity Group Singapore in September of 2016 after initially relocating from Australia with my husband to head up HR for Rio Tinto across Asia. After four years and following a restructure, I ended my time at Rio Tinto. After some well-earned time off, I began to think about a new position and the kind of company I’d like to be a part of. After persevering with applications, an offer from Unity Group landed at my doorstep after a few months. Having decided on a change from the traditional Multinational (MNC) I was used to, I decided to jump at the offer.

It has now been five months since I started at Unity Group and I’m proud to say the move was a success. I truly love my new role and the organisation. The business has grown dramatically from five to 50 employees. I have developed an HR and IT Strategy, rolled out an organisational structure, implemented a payroll system, established the onboarding process, proposed a performance management and bonus system, and I am about to announce a health insurance benefits programme. The key reasons I enjoy working in an SME compared to an MNC include:

• Full ownership over responsibilities; • Hierarchy doesn’t get in the way of efficiency; • Ego is left at the door; • A close-knit team; • Entrepreneurship. Unity Group is a dynamic entrepreneurial organisation, the CEO and founder Jeremy Harbour, his business partner Callum Laing, and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Wong are entrepreneurs building a business to help SME’s scale. All of these factors have created a heightened professional connectedness where I am a true HR Business Partner, and nothing beats that.

Karen Pink HR and IT Director, The Unity Group of Companies


How can change-resistant employees be managed?


et me give you some background. Our organisation had developed a new innovation framework requiring full participation and involvement from all levels of the company. However, it was met with resistance from most employees. In order to help staff understand and accept the change, we turned the innovation movement into a “journey” with three distinct phases: awareness, contribution, and entrenchment. We began by providing a list of reasons why the initiative was introduced and how it would align to the vision and mission of the organisation. Next, we revised and enhanced existing employee schemes to incentivise staff and generate participation. To ensure sustained staff interest and participation,

we developed new activities to keep the movement “fun” for employees. To get further buy-in, organisations can also employ the following strategies: • Explaining how the new initiative will be able to help them achieve their own goals; • Identify activists from each division to champion the movement; • Develop a sustained publicity campaign to increase staff awareness; • Simplify existing processes to make submission of suggestions hassle-free.

Peter Chew

Divisional Head (Organisational Excellence), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

Ask our HR experts. Email your questions to APRIL 2017




As organisations look to venture abroad regionally, HR departments are increasingly having to tackle highly-complex and diverse regulatory and compliance issues. Ahead of HRM Asia’s Asia Employment Law Congress 2017, three leading legal minds share their insights on some of the regulatory concerns for HR leaders working in China, Malaysia, and Singapore. What will you be focusing on in your presentation to the Asia Law Employment Congress 2017? The most pressing HR challenges for employers in Mainland China are implementing collective dismissals, dealing with non-compliance issues (particularly related to social insurance, where many employers have been undercontributing to mandatory funds) and handling constant employee arbitration and litigation. I will be focusing my presentation on each of these issues, but will spend most time on the implementation of collective dismissals, because this has become an increasingly hot topic over the past year.

China Jonathan Isaacs, Head, China Employment Practice, Baker & McKenzie

Are mass terminations and redundancies becoming more common in China? What difficulties are involved for HR? Yes - collective dismissals are becoming increasingly common as employers

50 APRIL 2017


restructure or shut down operations in China. Not only are the legal procedures and requirements difficult to handle, but employees themselves are becoming increasingly militant in their demands – across all industries – including through organising collective labour actions and strikes. In some cases where global merger and acquisition deals have been involved, the collective actions delayed or blocked the deal from happening.

Are lawsuits from disgruntled former staff members a problem? They really are. Employees’ willingness to sue their employers has drastically increased over the past decade, particularly in the case of terminated workers. This presents significant headaches for companies because arbitrators and judges are generally very pro-employee. The burden of proof is on employers to justify their actions.


Singapore Goh Seow Hui , Partner, Bird & Bird ATMD

How do you expect the introduction of the Employment Claims Tribunal will change labour relations in Singapore? The new Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT), which replaces the Ministry of

Manpower’s Labour Court, will start hearing salary-related disputes from this month. Any employee can bring a claim to the tribunal, regardless of their salary level or rank, but both parties must make an attempt at mediation first. I see two important changes with the introduction of the ECT. First, companies may be faced with a higher incidence of salary-related claims, given the wider accessibility of the ECT compared to the old Labour Court. The best way to address this risk is to ensure that the company’s termination processes are always legally compliant. Secondly, the role of employment mediation will grow in importance, since it is strongly encouraged by the ECT as a means of alternative dispute resolution.

Do Singapore’s tripartite guidelines on employment issues hold much legal weight?

Singapore’s employment and labour landscape has one unique feature – tripartism. The three partners of employers, unions, and governments work together to produce guidelines on key employment themes and issues, and although they do not have the force of law formally attached, companies cannot afford to ignore them. The recent high profile case involving infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong is a case in point.

What will you be focusing on in your presentation to the Asia Law Employment Congress 2017? I will address the Surbana Jurong case specifically, and will also highlight the implications of the Tripartite Guidelines on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment in this current climate of economic uncertainty.

AN EXPERT FOR EVERY JURISDICTION jobs. The law of unfair dismissal is one of the most crucial aspects of employment law in Malaysia. It is also one of the most misunderstood areas by both employers and employees. HR departments should familiarise themselves with the strict legal conditions that must be fulfilled before an employee can be terminated, since non-compliance can result in significant financial ramifications.

Malaysia Donovan Cheah Partner, Donovan & Ho

What legal issues do HR professionals dealing with Malaysia-based workforces need to be aware of? Based on my experience, HR practitioners find termination of employees to be one of the most challenging facets of their

Will this be the major focus of your presentation to to the Asia Law Employment Congress 2017? Yes – it is very important. I hope to provide some practical insight about the common pitfalls and consequences when a termination is handled wrongly, and also offer some guidance on managing misconduct and poor performance in the workplace.

Jonathan Isaacs, Donovan Cheah, and Goh Seow Hui, are just three of the more than 12 country-specific legal experts presenting as part of HRM Asia’s Asia Employment Law Congress 2017 on June 13 and 14. Delegates will learn the latest legal issues when it comes to employment relationships in each of: Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Australia. Another presentation will consider employment issues for multi-jurisdiction workforces across AsiaPacific. Delegates will also be able to put their own questions and challenges to the panel, during dedicated Ask-a-Lawyer HR Clinics at the end of each day’s programme. For more information, visit http://congress.

APRIL 2017




hat does the emergence of cloud solutions and new recruitment technologies mean for talent acquisition and talent management in the future? HRM Asia’s Singapore Talent and Recruitment Show, held from March 1 to 3, placed a strong focus on attracting, recruiting and developing the workforce for the future economy, reiterating the Singapore Government’s Committee on the Future Economy report. Nearly 40 senior HR professionals, from startups to multinationals, shared their thoughts (and some tips) on how HR can leverage digital tools to optimise both the recruitment and development functions. IBM’s Asia-Pacific Talent Leader Pallavi Srivastava shared how the

technology firm was using analytics in the areas of salary benchmarking and cognitive computing, to understand job candidates and meet the business’ needs. For example, the company had evidence that more women than men tended to drop off at each stage of the recruitment process. With this knowledge, Srivastava says IBM would then select more female candidates than men right at the start so as to ensure an equal number of men and women hires. “It’s about making insights and actions based on historical data,” she shares. “The data should be used to drive predictions, scale, and efficiency in the candidate selection process.” HR leaders also spoke about their roles in managing digital disruption at


the three-day conference, which was attended by over 100 seasoned industry practitioners from across the region. Sureash Kumar, Global Director – Talent and Organisational Development, said HR leaders would have to guide their teams to become well-versed at change management. “Whether companies are growing or downsizing, HR has to be able to communicate the changes to the rest of the organisation,” he shared during his presentation. For Schneider Electric’s Vice President of Talent Management Peter Wood, there remains a need for HR to step into the business side of things, into “a more strategic role, kind of like a Chief HR Officer-type role”.

role of the recruiter will be, especially since the HR function is always evolving. I’m also here to hear from the speakers about some of the strategies they have put in place in their own companies for the recruitment and retention of talent.

How did the content relate to your work?

Annie See Toh Assistant Manager,

All the presentations were very applicable, and definitely served the purpose of me coming to find out what are some things HR should do to identify talent internally and externally. The session on using social media for recruiting was also something important to consider. My company has a “refer-a-friend” recruitment scheme, which I believe social media can really enhance.

What was the biggest takeaway for you?

These three days have been very informative, especially the session on using talent data and analytics to drive recruitment needs. Cushman and Wakefield I loved the part where IBM’s Pallavi Srivastava talked about how as recruiters, we often deal with a huge volume of job seekers. Can you describe your role and what brought you here to the Sometimes, we encounter a very good candidate who might not be Singapore Talent and Recruitment Show? suitable for the role they applied for. I’m with the talent acquisition team at Cushman and Wakefield. However, with high quality data and analysis, we can put in place a My purpose of coming here today is to understand what the future pipeline of potential candidates for future roles.


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READER ADVICE Is your HR career progressing as you’d planned? Obstacles and barriers come in all shapes and sizes, but seasoned advice is never far away Email: to anonymously connect with the only career advice column exclusively for Asia’s HR community

Dear Laurence, I work in a mid-sized company of around 150 staff, as part of a six-person HR team. My problem is that my immediate boss doesn’t seem to like me. He is always polite, but doesn’t make any effort to interact with me outside of giving his instructions. It makes it an unpleasant place to work, but I don’t think I can get another job because my boss is the only one who can provide a reference. Is it reasonable to ask a potential new employer not to reference-check my current position, and would that reduce my chance of actually landing a new position? Tense atmosphere, Singapore Can I challenge your thinking on this? You are making assumptions about your boss’s thinking based on his observable behaviour only. As an HR professional, you should stop to consider if maybe his personality or his management style is causing you to think this, whereas in reality he may have a very positive view of you; and he may just want to be very neutral in his treatment of his staff. He may also be an introvert. You don’t know if you’re making assumptions that you haven’t formally validated yet. I would urge you to take your boss out to lunch occasionally and get to know him a bit better. At some stage, when you’ve built enough of a relationship and trust to bare your heart, say “Boss, I’d really like some feedback from you on how you think I’m doing”, or “in the meeting last week, I got the impression

you didn’t like what I had proposed – I’d love to understand more about your thinking.” If you’re an HR professional, your job is about people, understanding people and indeed coaching people when necessary. So before you think about changing employer, make sure you really understand your boss’ motivations and opinions. He may actually think the world of you and is just not being very good at expressing it. I’ve seen this happen a lot. People make assumptions that turn out to be the exact opposite of reality.

Dear Laurence, I understand you know a lot about the start-up scene in Singapore. After 15 years with the same large, multinational, I am looking for a big change of scenery and think being part of a small, fast- growing and fast-changing business would help get me excited about HR again. What steps can I take to find new opportunities in this space? Startup curious, Singapore First of all, keep your day job at least in the short term. The critical thing about startups is that they operate by the lean startup methodology which says: runs lots of little experiments and see what works.

So in that spirit, my advice is to keep your day job but get into the startup scene in the evenings and on weekends. There are dozens of great startup events in Singapore every month. Go to these; find what you’re interested in; and identify the types of startups that resonate with you. Think about even just volunteering, or coaching or mentoring some startups. You have 15 years of experience and a lot of small startups would be desperate for advice on how to grow their teams from a senior HR professional. You could add a lot of value to early stage startups by helping them think about teambuilding and professional HR – because typically that’s one of the last things they are able to invest thought into. Get involved, network, volunteer, mentor; and check for yourself if this is something you really want to do. If you are sure, then think about if you want to start your own business, join an early stage company, or work with an established startup that can actually afford (not at corporate rates, sorry) to hire a dedicated HR professional. But understand you will have to do everything in HR, and be very, very hands-on. The job will involve far more proactive work and multitasking than any generalist or specialist HR position in the corporate world. Oh, and make sure you download the app. It features over 600 five-minute case studies on the startup world, interviews with the world’s top entrepreneurs, and insights on what it takes to be successful in a startup. And best of all, it’s free!

Laurence Smith is a board-level advisor to With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including stints and projects with LG Electronics, GE Capital, McKinsey, the World Bank, and as Managing Director of Learning and Development for DBS Bank.

54 APRIL 2017


APRIL 2017


56 APRIL 2017

HRMASIA.COM | Returning the Human to Resourcing

APRIL 2017



Talent Acquisition (High Tech) - 12 month contract

A unique and newly created opportunity has arisen for a Regional HR Manager to run the ASEAN cluster for a multinational organisation within the lighting industry that will be expanding across the region. As this is effectively a start-up function, you will be responsible for the continuous improvement of the HR framework, making sure all global initiatives are rolled across five countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and Hong Kong. Your strong international experience will be key.

A global giant in the tech industry is looking for TA specialists. You will be responsible for the full spectrum of end to end recruitment, including; driving projects, using creative sourcing techniques to attract talent to their organisation. With over six years of relevant in-house recruitment experience, degree qualified, you will also have excellent communication skills and able to influence senior management and stakeholders.

Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

Regional HRIS Partner (FMCG)

Contact Sophie Baker (Reg ID. R1658732) at or call +65 6303 0721.

Human Resource Manager (F&B)

Due to expansion and acquisitions, a new and exciting opportunity has arisen within this global US data management organisation for an HRIS Manager to support the implementation of a new global HR system. Reporting to the Global Head, you will need to ensure the successful roll out of the new HRIS system across each country making sure the requirements are understood and appropriately reflected in the workday business process.

A well-respected F&B organisation is looking for an HR Manager to join their team. Covering the full spectrum of HR; including recruitment, training and development, compensation and benefits, employee engagement and organisational development. With over five years relevant experience and a degree from a reputable local Singaporean university, you will have ideally come from the retail or hospitality industry. Key to the success of this role will be your strong stakeholder management experience and your ability to function well in a fast-paced environment.

Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

Contact Sophie Baker (Reg ID. R1658732) at or call +65 6303 0721

EA License Number: 07C3924

58 APRIL 2017


• Established Chemicals MNC • Drive Workday implementation and provide support regionally • Regional Exposure and Visibility to the Global Team With the roll out of new HR Technology and plans to expand the footprint of the system globally , an established Chemicals MNC that prides itself as a global market leader in its field is currently seeking a HRIS Analyst for Asia with experience of Workday to join the HR Team. As a subject matter expert of the Workday system, you will drive the implementation of Workday across the region and subsequently provide post-implementation support in the day-to-day maintenance and data integrity. You will design test plans and manage end-to-end testing activities and work closely with stakeholders to develop new reporting suites that will aid in business reviews and decision making. The successful candidate comes with knowledge of Workday HCM in an implementation or business as usual environment. You would have demonstrated strong stakeholder management, the ability to work independently, has strong communications and problem-solving skills. Reference number: CC/JD486503 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)

Leadership & Management Training Manager • Newly created opportunity • Develop and execute Training and Development strategies and initiatives • Global exposure One of the world’s leading operator in the maritime industry is currently seeking to hire an experienced HR professional to lead the training arm of the organization, to develop and execute training and development strategies and initiatives. In this newly created role, you will partner the HR team and key business stakeholders in the Organizational Development and Effectiveness agenda. You will be responsible for managing the learning and competency frameworks, develop and propose training plans, manage training calendars and budget, measure and review training effectiveness/ROI to achieve current and future business needs The successful candidate will have demonstrated a strong track record of organizational development and management training, are familiar with training concepts and techniques, and have strong stakeholder management skills.

Reference number: CC/JD484305 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)

Regional HR Business Partner • Europe based Medical Devices Organization • Newly created role • Manufacturing presence in Asia Our client is a US based medical devices organization with a long standing presence in the region. They are seeking an upcoming HR Manager to act as a business partner to the commercial organization and be the point of contact for global leadership for APAC. Reporting to the VP of HR in US, this role will play a key role in rolling out global initiatives in the region, partnering with the commercial business and working on HR agendas of succession planning, talent management and engagement. The successful candidate would come from a manufacturing background with atleast five to eight years of HR generalist and partnering experience. Excellent communication skills and business acumen are important to be successful in this role.

Reference number: NC/JD495344 Contact person: Niharika Chaturvedi (Registration Number R1104291)

Your Human Resources recruitment specialists To apply, please go to and search for the respective reference number. For a confidential discussion, you can contact the relevant consultant for the specific position in our Singapore Office on +65 6511 8555. Aston Carter (formerly Talent2) is an operating company of Allegis Group, the global leader in talent solutions.

Allegis Group Singapore Pte Ltd Company No. 200909448N EA Licence No. 10C4544

Opportunities for Life

RGF HR Agent Singapore Pte Ltd EA Licence No. 10C2978

Talent & Development Director

HR Business Partner and Relationship Manager

• Global Operations • Interesting and exciting new role

• Banking, Financial Services and Insurance industries • Hands-on, challenging and exciting roles

Our client an Asian based company, is an established leader in its market and trusted name in its industry. They are seeking a Senior Talent & Development professional to join their Corporate HQ.

Representing multiple Banking, Financial Services and Insurance organizations, we are currently seeking exceptional and dynamic HR Business Partners or Relationship Managers for several hands-on, challenging and exciting openings.

This new individual contributor role will be a trusted advisor and internal consultant to the senior management. You will lead overall people development strategies such as talent management review and programs, executive learning and assessment. You will effectively influence and work with regional and global stakeholders to drive organizational development initiatives, create a high performance workforce and develop HR programs that propel organizational effectiveness.

You will partner closely with the management team and business leads to ensure that the HR goals are aligned with the organizational plans and objectives. You will play a key advisory role in the areas of and not limited to talent acquisition, development and management; workforce planning; compensation & benefits; performance management and employee relations.

You are degree qualified with minimum 10 years’ experience in a progressive and dynamic environment, preferably industrial sectors. You can lead others through organizational change, possess a broad based perspective and is hands-on. You have an excellent track record in a regional role with preferably exposure in Europe and/or America. Due to the regions covered, you need to be conversant in English and Mandarin. Role is based in Singapore with region and global travel.

You would be degree qualified with at least 10 years’ experience as a HR generalist including minimum 6 years in a HR business partnering role. Preference will be given to those with relevant industry experience within MNCs that have a diverse culture environment. You are a hands-on team player, possess excellent interpersonal, communication, influencing and leadership skills. You would be willing to take up the challenge and is able to operate in a highly matrix and demanding environment.

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at or Audrey Chong at

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at or Audrey Chong at

EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

EA Personnel Registration No. R1105976 & R1105147

RGF is the global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest HR and recruitment services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$14 million annual net sales in annual revenue. For more than 50 years, RGB provides comprehensive HR and talent acquisition services which include retained and contingency executive recruitment and market mapping, senior to staff level specialist and contract recruitment as well as payroll services. RGF operates in more than 45 locations across 26 cities in 11 countries and markets in Asia with in-country specialist consultants. Best Recruitment Firm in Accounting, Banking, Finance; The Executive Search Company of the Year; The HR Recruitment Company of the Year; Best Recruitment Firm, Non-Management Roles and Best Recruitment Firm, RPO. HRM ASIA, RI ASIA, Human Resources magazine


APRIL 2017



Regional HRIS Analyst



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