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ISSUE 16.4


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Dear HRM readers,


t was wonderful seeing so many of you at our annual HRM Awards, which took place on March 4 at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. It was a great opportunity for our HR friends to relax and mingle with their peers over a hearty meal, while being fêted for their hard work and achievements. The winners share their secrets to success in the HRM Awards Commemorative Guide, which comes together with this issue of the magazine. Company culture is a key selling point in HR’s quest for top talent. This month’s cover story reveals that culture is not an accidental occurrence. While it can be nurtured organically, it involves a very deliberate effort from different stakeholders, and the values and ideals have to permeate throughout the business. Keeping up with the times is critical when hiring millennials. In our HR Insider feature, Straits Construction shares how it is changing perceptions of the building industry, and creating a talent pipeline for the future. On a personal note, I will be leaving HRM Asia after six memorable years, and relocating overseas. It has been a real pleasure and privilege hearing your HR stories, and presenting them to a wider audience. Thank you for the taking the time to entertain my numerous interview requests despite your busy schedules, and for sharing your insights with me. Many of you have become good friends, so please keep in touch! Our editorial team will continue to bring you the best in HR news and information, and we look forward to your continued support!

Best Regards,

Sumathi V Selvaretnam Editorial Director, HRM Asia


MICA (P) 065/07/2015 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’s news, features, and contributions by emailing:



CONTENTS 16.4 COVER STORY 28 Culture@Work A positive workplace culture can boost collaboration, innovation and overall business results. HRM speaks to seven top companies about their winning ways.



14 Getting future ready

In the construction sector, technological and manpower developments can occur in the blink of an eye. Straits Construction is one company taking the altering dynamics and cultures of the new-age workforce in its stride, as HRM finds out.

18 Unleash your full potential

The link between sports and business may sound fanciful, but Gavin Freeman, Sports and Business Psychologist, believes that it is the secret ingredient for leaders to emerge as “Business Olympians� in the boardroom.

22 Striking a balance

Small and medium enterprises are often asked to do more with less, increasing their productivity levels to remain competitive. In


ISSUE 16.4




this exclusive interview, Filippo Fanin, CEO of German food chain Brotzeit, says that increasing efficiency should not come at the expense of the customer experience.

32 Walking the CSR talk

With corporate social responsibility now being enshrined in the culture of organisations, it has become imperative for head honchos to spearhead the charge.

36 Spoilt for choice

As the much vaunted SkillsFuture initiative gets underway, Singaporeans will now have thousands of approved courses to deepen their craft in any particular field. HRM speaks with some training providers to get the lowdown on their own repertoire.

44 Going above and beyond

More companies are looking to customise their corporate events in an effort to create a good impression. HRM finds out the ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’ of executing the perfect event.

50 DBS: Cultivating entrepreneurial minds

As banks increasingly shift towards digital functions, DBS is looking to build a steady pipeline of young talent who can engage in innovative solutions to the issues of tomorrow.

54 HR Young Gun

Every month, HRM speaks to a young university talent hoping to carve out a career in HR upon graduation.

56 Slices of opportunity

Amid the manpower crunch businesses face today, Pezzo Singapore resorts to the rare talent pool and strives to train employees to the best of their abilities.

54 REGULARS 6 News 27 Leaders on Leadership 38 HR Clinic 43 Talent Ladder 47 Twenty-four Seven 48 In Person 48 Resources 58 An HRD Speaks ISSUE 16.4









A shocking 30% of employed women in Japan have encountered sexual harassment in their workplace. This is according to a Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry survey, that was unveiled recently. The most common type of sexual harassment involved unwelcome comments about age, appearance, and other external characteristics (53.9% of survey respondents had experienced this). Unnecessary physical contact stood at 40.1%, followed by comments or questions on sexual issues (38.2%), excessive questions about the worker’s private life (36.8%), being forced to sit, drink or sing karaoke alongside bosses (35.2%), persistent requests to go out for meals or dates (27.5%), and outright sexual propositions (16.8%). The survey also revealed that about 60% of the respondents who cited that they had been sexually harassed claimed they had simply tolerated the behaviour. The Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry will step up attempts to educate firms about the significance of avoiding sexual harassment, as well as providing required instructions. The survey was the first of its nature and was conducted in September and October last year. About 26,000 women, aged 25 to 44 and working at 6,500 companies participated in the research.


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Convincing Hong Kong workers to utilise technology in the workplace could be a tough ask for their employers. According to Randstad Hong Kong’s Q1 Workmonitor research, languishing second last in Asia, only seven in 10 (71%) employees in Hong Kong view technology as having a serious effect on their work. On the other hand, workers in India can clearly identify experience technology’s impact on their jobs (95%), followed by those in China (92%), Malaysia (90%), Singapore (84%), Australia (81%), New Zealand (78%) and Japan (60%). Hong Kong workers are also not as determined to upgrade their technology as their Asian counterparts, with only eight in 10 (83%) workers thinking they required more training to stay afloat with the advancements in technology, behind India and Malaysia’s 89%, China’s 88% and Singapore’s 88%. Michael Smith, Director of Randstad Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, explained

that despite Hong Kong possessing one of the highest Internet and mobile usage rates worldwide, technology applications appear to be restricted to social use. “It is a surprise that, as a highly-advanced city that considerably benefits from technology, Hong Kong employees are less keen to embrace or capitalise on technology at work than their Asian counterparts. While Hong Kongers spend increasing hours online a day for purposes such as entertainment and networking, they do not seem to have the ‘technology for business’ concept seeded in their mind,” Smith said. “Another possible reason is that implementing and training on technology requires investment, which may deter some decision makers from promoting it, while the traditional ‘if it is not broken, don’t fix it’ mindset may play a role in dragging technology adoption at work as well.” Randstad’s Q1 Workmonitor survey polled over 400 respondents in Hong Kong.


PREPARED TO WORK FROM HOME FOR LESS The lure of working from home is certainly tempting many Australian workers; tempting enough for them to accept a pay cut. According to a recent survey by recruiting firm Hays, 55% of Australians are ready to drop their wages by up to 20% so as to work from home, with a further 22% ready to assume a drop of up to 10% for the same opportunity. The survey of 8,654 people revealed that only 23% claimed to be content to commute if it means more money. “Australia’s hard work culture sees us regularly featured in the list of countries with the longest working weeks in the world,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand. “Given this, it isn’t surprising that Aussies want to work flexibly in order to improve their work-life balance, even if it means taking a pay cut.” “Some want to reduce stress and improve their mental and physical wellbeing by eliminating an exhausting commute. For others, working from home, even one or two days a week, can be the make or break of staying in their job.” However, for some employees, working from home has not been what they had expected. “Some home workers feel isolated from their team and colleagues, and it takes selfdiscipline in order to get through a to-do list rather than take the dog for a walk,” Deligiannis said. “So if you are easily distracted, need social interaction or cannot ignore domestic tasks, working from home might not be for you.” “Of course there are also jobs that do not suit working from home as they require face-to-face client interaction or your presence at a particular work site, such as for tradespeople, medical professionals and teachers. However roles that are essentially completed in front of a computer can certainly be performed from home.” The poll was conducted between December 2015 and early February 2016.




FRUSTRATION FOR APPLICANTS Organisations in India are incurring the wrath of job candidates for their silence when it comes to acknowledging or replying to applications. A recent study by highlighted that 48% of professional job market candidates of “India Inc” claimed they send out 20 job applications monthly, but that companies only replied to applicants who are shortlisted. India Inc is a term frequently utilised by the Indian media to refer to the formal (government and corporate) sector of the country’s economy. TimesJobs’ study, which analysed the job-searching experience of more than 1,100 candidates, found that 86% of respondents claimed they did not receive any response or explanation from the recruiter or HR department for job applications that were not accepted. Meanwhile, only 70% said they got official responses only when their profiles were shortlisted.

“A rejected job-applicant is like a spurned suitor – and must be dealt with tactfully and quickly,” said Vivek Madhukar, Chief Operating Officer of “We live in an era where job seekers have real-time information access. For instance, TimesJobs’ ‘Job Insights’ shows candidates how many others have viewed and applied for a job along with demographic breakdowns of the applicants. “Not receiving feedback on their applications is not what these well-informed professionals expect from organisations today. You may not just lose their personal interest, but in turn, they may spread their disappointment among their peers with negative word-of-mouth about your company.” The study also showed that 55% of candidates would not apply again to a company that had not replied to their previous job applications, although this changed with the level of seniority involved. For example, 60% of junior workers confessed they would continue to apply to a firm that had not acknowledged their previous applications. However, 55% of middle-level employees and 41% of senior-level staff said they would only re-apply to a business if it had responded to their previous application.

ISSUE 16.4







EMPLOYERS RESORT TO PAY RISE TO RETAIN STAFF An increasing number of companies are offering salary increments to retain employees. According to a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 50% of private sector employers stated that they would provide a pay rise of at least 2.7% in 2016. Some 37% of respondents also said they were already offering pay increases as counter offers to employees who planned to leave their firm. This act is more commonly seen in large organisations, with more than 250 staff. In 2015, 45% of such companies offered salary increases to employees who were considering resigning. IT and software firms were most likely to go all out in their efforts to retain key staff.


Over two-thirds of them made a counter-offer to individuals seeking to join another employer last year. Over half of financial services and food and beverage companies also said they provided pay increases last year to individuals planning to leave. “While increased wages and more jobs is good news for individuals, there is a chance that this trend could erode many businesses’ hardwon labour cost competitiveness,” said CIPD Ireland Director, Mary Connaughton. “The increased use of counteroffers to keep talent also highlights that many Irish employers are struggling to keep key people at current pay levels as employment opportunities in the labour market increase, raising questions about future talent pipelines.”


STAFF GROW DISAPPOINTED A third (33%) of UK employees have reported that their career progression to date has failed to meet their expectations. This is according to the Employee Outlook Survey: Focus on Skills and Careers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Of this group, 26% identified poor quality career advice and guidance at school as a key factor to blame. However, three in 10 of them mentioned that they were in the wrong career, and that their present job did not give them a chance to reach their potential. The most common workplace factor behind career disappointment was identified as poor line management, as cited by 39% of respondents. This was followed by a lack of effective training programmes (34%), and negative office politics (34%). “Poor career advice and guidance is holding back too many people at the start of their working lives and contributing to the increasing gap

Well-being support for 48 million employees across 56,000 organisations in 200+ countries and territories. Learn More at: 8

ISSUE 16.4


between the jobs that people end up in versus the skills that they have,” said Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD. “This skills mismatch undermines job satisfaction, employee engagement and ultimately productivity.” “For many, this problem is then compounded when they do enter the labour market by poor line management and a lack of effective training, meaning their skills are often left unidentified and underdeveloped. Good line managers coach and develop people and identify and help build on their strengths so they can reach their potential.”







Employers in Canada can expect to see some headcount changes in their organisations this year. Fifty-five percent of millennial workers – between the ages of 18 to 34 – indicated their plans to leave their present employer, the ADP Canada Sentiment Survey revealed. Among these millennials, 27% would like to find a new job, 11% were looking to start their own business and a further 10% hoped to go back to school. Across all respondents, 15% would like to find more flexible working hours. Others wanted to work less (14%), hoped to work remotely (eight percent), or wanted to receive unpaid time off (three percent). “HR teams are under tremendous pressure to keep the right people in the right jobs and to build a strong funnel of talent so they can respond to changing business needs,” said Virginia Brailey, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at ADP Canada. “They are challenged, however, by a growing administrative burden that takes time away from high-value strategic work such as driving culture and engagement.”

A tough performance review is always uncomfortable for an employee. However, the manager on the other side of the desk is likely to feel just as squeamish about delivering difficult news, a new survey conducted by Harris Poll has found. Over a third (47%) of business leaders in the US reported to feeling uncomfortable having to give direct feedback or criticism about an employee’s performance. Another 69% stated there was something about their role as a leader that made them uncomfortable when communicating with their employees. Apart from feedback, respondents listed these other communication fronts that had them preferring to be elsewhere: • Demonstrating vulnerability : 20% • Recognising employee achievements: 20% • Delivering the “company line” in a genuine way: 20% • Giving clear directions: 19% • Crediting others with having good ideas: 16% • Speaking face-to-face, rather than by email: 16%

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What are your major HR concerns? A fair proportion of issues faced by businesses today are related to HR. These challenges have a ripple effect across all areas of the organisation and a direct impact on the bottom-line. HRM shares some insights from a new report by the Society for Human Resource Management




Next 10 years

Employee engagement

38% 20%

Developing the next generation of leaders

31% 39%

How do you overcome

HR ISSUES? 33% senior leadership Support from

29% technology

HR information systems/


Greater investment in employee skills/development Organisational leadership

Competitive compensation offerings

29% 24%


Retaining high-performing employees

26% 23%

25% HR leadership

Overall employee retention


Sourcing for talents with specialised skills

24% 20%

Competitive benefits offerings


24% 26%

Competitiveness in talent market



Managing business changes



Collaborative corporate culture



MOST VITAL HR SKILLS HR expertise Relationship management


Leadership and navigation




Business acumen


Source: • Business and Human Capital Challenges Today and in the Future Report by the Society for Human Resource Management 10 ISSUE 16.4





of C-suite executives view HR as a strategic role


of C-suite executives expect their firm to change HR functions in future

86% of firms still use traditional employment models



HAYS EXTENDS MANCHESTER RANDSTAD INVESTS IN GAMIFICATION FIRM PYMETRICS CITY PARTNERSHIP Randstad Innovation Fund has “Quality of hire and diversity Recruitment firm Hays and English Premier League outfit Manchester City Football Club have announced a renewal of their global partnership, with Hays committing to a further three years’ sponsorship of the club. Hays will remain known as the club’s recruitment partner. It has assisted the club in building its team off the football pitch, including positions across its legal, finance, HR, commercial, marketing and communications teams not just in Manchester, but also in London, Asia and the US. “Our partnership with Manchester City has been transformational in ways we hadn’t anticipated,” said Sholto Douglas-Home, Chief Marketing Officer, Hays. “We were so confident in the progress that we’ve made to date that we signed the renewal before the third year of our original relationship finished.” Tom Glick, Chief Commercial and Operating Officer of Manchester City Football Club, said the two organisations reflected each other well, with both becoming increasingly global, digital, and mobile. “The story we’re telling is how to recruit and build a winning team and how important that is to organisations of all types, and Hays is producing fantastic content which is accessible to its broad audiences,” Glick explained. “We have relied on Hays to help us build our organisation. “We are more than a squad of players and an academy; we have a whole professional set-up, which Hays has helped us to find great people for. We’re extremely excited to continue to grow with Hays.” The next three years will witness further dynamic content, which has become a feature of the collaboration, both externally and as part of building employee engagement across Hays’ global network of offices. Hays will also collaborate with Manchester City to craft new and exciting digital and social content reaching audiences all over the globe.

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made an investment in Pymetrics, a pioneer in the use of big data, neuroscience and gamification to draw personal career and job recommendations. Based on a combination of simple games, each of about two minutes on a web or mobile interface, Pymetrics amasses millions of data points and measures 90 dimensions, across cognitive and emotional traits. The quality and vastness of Pymetrics’ recommendation engine helps in guiding talent towards the right career, jobs and cultural fits. “Pymetrics is at the forefront of data science which gives graduates and job seekers powerful insights into their career and job opportunities,” says Paul Jacquin, Managing Partner Randstad Innovation Fund.

greatly benefit from an unbiased understanding of a person’s profile.” Frida Polli, CEO and co-founder of Pymetrics, said his organisation is looking to revolutionise talent management through the application of technologies. “The support of the Randstad Innovation Fund both financially and as a thought leader in the HR technology space is important to help us achieve our mission towards better diversity and career fits, enabled by data science,” Polli explained. As a strategic corporate venture fund, the Randstad Innovation Fund is amassing a portfolio of early stage HR technology investments. The aim is to amalgamate Randstad’s expertise and reach with entrepreneurial spirit and technological excellence.

NTUC LEARNINGHUB COLLABORATES WITH ANALYTICS FIRM QLIK Training provider NTUC LearningHub has partnered with Qlik, a visual analytics firm, to offer courses on how to utilise Qlik to develop dashboards to garner more optimal insights from data. Interested participants can now register themselves for classes to learn how to obtain data-driven insights through Qlik visual analytics software. More companies across different sectors such as banking, retail, logistics and telecommunications are utilising visual analytics to capture the full picture in their data to provide better customer service, increase productivity, as well as sales prospects. “Being able to analyse data is a skillset that is gaining importance in Singapore and around the world. With the explosion of internet technology, there is a lot of data out there. If we are not able to crunch the data and present our findings in a useful

format, we will be overwhelmed by data saturation,” said Kwek Kok Kwong, CEO, NTUC LearningHub. “All companies should therefore invest resources to equip their staff with such a skillset so that they can in turn crunch and present data in a format that is useful for supporting better and faster business decisions. Our partnership with Qlik is aimed at creating this future skill in our workforce.” Terry Smagh, Managing Director and Vice President for Qlik Asia, said his firm is happy to be partnering with NTUC LearningHub, an organisation that offers quality hands-on education to those who need the required skillset in their job functions. “This collaboration enables us to empower employees with data analytics knowledge and skills. This in turn helps organisations connect their people and data, to drive insights at the point of decision,” he said.


Learning opportunities and salary

are key factors to attracting young talent Learning opportunities and benefits at work rank highly among students as important attributes for their first jobs, says a job hunting survey by STJobs


hen searching for their first job, undergraduates in Singapore seek a number of qualities from their future employer. These are ranked as follows: 1. Learning opportunities 2. Potential salary package 3. Benefits at work 4. Stepping stone 5. Travelling opportunities 6. Stability at work

Learning opportunities was the most important attribute when searching for jobs as students view the ability to pick up new skills, and knowledge of the job, as compensation for their lack of relevant working experience and exposure to market insights. Salary package was another important attribute identified by the survey’s respondents. Fifty percent of degree undergraduates and 36% of diploma undergraduates expressed their interest to work in Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) as they believe that MNCs will offer a higher starting salary. Only four percent of

the degree undergraduates and 10% of the diploma graduates are willing to work in start-ups. Forty seven percent of diploma undergraduates expect a starting salary between $2,000 - $2,500, while degree undergraduates are expecting between $3,000 and $3,500. While learning opportunities and salary top the table, undergraduates are also looking for tangible rewards such as work benefits and travelling opportunities. Stability at work, on the other hand, was the least important partly because the respondents are still young and not afraid to try different opportunities and face any challenges ahead of them. Final year Accountancy student from the Singapore Management University Koh Tee Chuan, said: "I would like to pursue a career in the Accounting and Finance sector after graduation. In the search for my first job, learning opportunities and cross-regional exposure will be my priorities for consideration. As a start, I believe it is important to gain as much professional experience as possible and joining a company that values training will allow me to grow and develop myself professionally.” With this, companies can look into their recruitment strategy to attract and hire the best as the new millennials enter the workforce.






Total number of employees (Singapore): 737 Size of the HR Team (Singapore): 8 Key HR Focus Areas: - Develop a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP) - Talent Acquisition and Management - Compensation & Benefits - HR Analytics

14 ISSUE 16.4




enneth Loo, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Straits Construction, offers a wistful smile when he compares today’s workforce with that of yesteryear’s. “When I started as an engineer, I worked a seven-day week, with only one Sunday off every fortnight,” he says. “But now, you can’t fight the wave.” Chan Kah Leng, Head of HR and Administration, Straits Construction, says employees now want regular time off and space at all levels. “Employees will now ask ‘what can you do for my work-life balance’?” she explains. “That is why the management, being forward-looking, hears them and tries to devise policies that enhance their worklife balance. We cannot give 100% of what they want, but we balance it out.” Loo says another key factor to consider these days is empowerment. “Gone are the days when you have a very authoritarian kind of management system, where employees run if the boss asks them to run, stop if they’re told to do so, jump and so on,” he explains. “In order to retain people, you need to grow them. A lot of people, especially Generation Y and millennial employees, are looking at career progression and opportunities.” Loo says this doesn’t mean that if a company pays employees an extra hundred dollars, they will be loyal and stay with it. “Those days are gone. Employees look at the total package. Things such as work-life balance and flexible hours were once unheard of in Singapore, especially in the construction industry,” he says.

Changing perceptions Loo says the construction sector is currently going through a downturn. “We have just come out from a phase where we had unprecedented growth,” he cites. Loo says during that time, possibly the biggest problem for companies in

In the construction sector, technological and manpower developments can occur in the blink of an eye. Straits Construction is one company taking the altering dynamics and cultures of the new-age workforce in its stride, as HRM finds out Sham Majid

the sector was retention. “If you look at the sectorial Manpower Plan that the government has been talking about and things such as SkillsFuture, it’s always talking about building a Singapore ‘core’,” he explains. “I think for our sector, it’s probably trying to continuously build a strong local workforce and of course, to retain and get young people to join our industry. That is the biggest challenge we have.” Loo admits that construction is an industry that a lot of people shy away from, especially locals in Singapore. “So, the big challenge is to get people to be interested to join. Construction is always labelled as dirty and dangerous. This is the perception and the harsh reality we have to face,” he says. “That is why we need to change.” Loo says that the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), together with other stakeholders in the construction, has come up with a rebranding roadmap to change the public perception of the industry. “I think the perception of people towards the industry is important. That’s one of the big challenges to get new entrants,” he says. “Of course, the other challenge is that the demand has been more than supply over the last few years. That was the big challenge and we had to get people moving around.”

Building a training pipeline for talent While all sectors in Singapore are regulated to some degree, Loo concedes the construction sector is often more strictly regulated than other parts of the economy. “The government is tightening foreign labour and Singapore’s construction industry is probably one of the most regulated in the region,” he says. “We have no choice but to adopt practices to be more manpower-lean and to embrace technology.” Acknowledging this, Loo says the quality and skillsets of the people that the organisation has will also have to change. “The new people who come in will have to be ready for the new challenges. Internally, we cannot say that we will switch everybody over,” he notes. In order to equip employees to be future-ready, Straits Construction started its own internal training unit, called the Training and Development Department, or TDD. “We are probably one of the few construction firms of our size to have such policies,” says Loo. According to Chan, TDD is a separate department to HR. “This is the construction industry, so the knowledge is very specialised. That is why we set up a different department to look into the training and development of all the staff,” says Chan. “For HR, while we can attract talents in, it’s a big challenge to retain them. Part of the strategy is to train and to impart knowledge onto them. So, TDD plays a very important role in retaining them because we have different choices of training. For example, Ng Kian Soon, Manager (HR and Administration), Straits Construction, says safety is first and foremost the most important thing for a Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) engineer. “Secondly, they will have to go into their individual speciality. We also ensure that we follow the BCA academy training courses. So, we send them for specialist diplomas in M&E,” he shares. “It’s the same for project engineers. They must know safety first and then

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HR INSIDER legislation, such as the things to look out for on construction sites and of course, the day-to-day functionalities and competencies, such as project management skills, scheduling, and communication with consultants.” Another example of the organisation’s resolute commitment towards the learning and development of its staff is its 12,000 squaremeter facility in Tuas, complete with classrooms and lecture rooms. “ToolBox is the building name and it’s our productivity centre,” Chan says. “There, we concentrate both on staff and workers’ training. The conducted courses include leadership and soft skills to enhance gaps that may appear as employees progress with their careers.” In fact, Chan says some of the organisation’s employees from TDD are qualified trainers. Ng says the centre has been accredited by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to conduct Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses such as productivity, innovation and quality. “Sometimes, when the training analysis done by our training team calls for it, they also look at aspects and train our colleagues for some of the soft skills like Microsoft Excel and Office, and technical writing,” he adds. Leadership opportunities are also

intertwined with training and career advancement. “As staff move up the career development levels, the project sites and departments give them the opportunities to lead in certain small projects, exercising their leadership and management skills,” Chan explains.

Communication counts Another core aspect of Straits Construction’s business is communication. With the current workforce being young and very tech-savvy, Chan says most of them appreciate an open communication culture and the policies that the organisation makes. “In the present scenario, Generation Y and millennial employees expect answers and they want to have transparency and an explanation of how the policies work,” she explains. “That means we have to communicate quite a bit in order to explain to them why we have arrived at certain decisions. That will be the main thrust of the company’s strategies from an HR point of view. Hence, we conduct a lot of engagement sessions and we get them involved in a lot of areas.” In fact, Chan reveals the organisation went through its biggest engagement session two years ago, where it found almost 100% of the staff was engaged in its work. “We got a consultant to come in and talk about the company and the

aspirations. From there, we derived certain points that were brought up most commonly, and we analysed them one by one,” Chan elaborates. “Subsequently, we have had smaller engagement groups. So, we go by job families. It happens once or twice a year.” Loo says during the first large-scale session, the company made sure it got feedback of what employees really wanted. Communication is further facilitated by Straits Construction’s “open and friendly” culture, Chan says. “We are always open to communication and we don’t close our doors; all the bosses’ doors are open,” Loo explains. Loo says the organisation’s young team also fosters a vibrant atmosphere.

Sourcing for talent While Loo says foreign hiring at the work permit level accounts for more than 50% of Straits Construction’s international workforce, moving up to the next levels, the organisation comprises of engineers and management staff. “In that line, you’ll probably have a higher percentage of locals. We have a policy of always trying to hire locals first but sometimes, it might not be possible,” he explains. “But, our foreign labour is all within the government’s quotas.”



Chief Operating Officer / Executive Director

16 ISSUE 16.4

CHAN KAH LENG Senior Manager – Human Resource & Administration



HR & Administration Manager





HR INSIDER Loo says those who go through the Institutes of Technical Education and polytechnics enter the organisation at a supervisory level. “We get our talent from many avenues. We participate in the BCA scholarship programme and we offer scholarships to get students and also interns in. Of course, we also recruit them after their graduation,” he shares. Five years ago, the company also introduced a management trainee programme and tailored it to suit the construction industry specifically. Chan also explains the organisation constantly participates in career fairs to attract talent, tapping onto both local and overseas universities. Tellingly, Loo says Malaysia is often a better source of talent recruitment than other international locations. “For Malaysia in particular, we find it better in the sense that they fit and assimilate much faster into the culture of Singapore,” he adds.

Devising different rewards Ng explains for all employees who join Straits Construction, the organisation has developed a salary grade and structure and that there is a career path for each job family. “For example, a fresh grad will go for structured training for the first two years to make sure they are compliant and that their core competencies are all matched. Once they are done with that, we assign them a mentor to make sure that they know how to manage a site, and there will also be coaching as well from the older generation colleagues, who have been with the company for more than 20 years,” he explains. “Every year, we have two appraisals to appraise them accordingly. If they are up, they can either be promoted or upgraded. This is how we make sure they have a structured career path ahead.” According to Chan, there is a difference between promotion and an upgrade. “Promotion is whereby you take a responsibility that is at a higher

A new construction frontier Straits Construction is currently undertaking its Integrated Construction and Prefabrication Hub (ICPH) project. “That will be a state of the art facility, not only in Singapore terms, but probably around the world,” says Kenneth Loo, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Straits Construction. “It will be a fully-automated precast production hub.” According to the company, the ICPH “is one of the key initiatives the government has introduced to upgrade the productivity of the construction industry by adopting highly productive technology and automation”. level than what you’re doing now, probably in terms of know-how or problem solving. In an upgrade, you’re actually doing the same job, but your responsibility is a little bit bigger. In terms of salary structure, it’s still a difference in the hierarchy, so employees know they have moved up a level, but it’s not tantamount to a promotion,” she elaborates. Ng says all rewards tie back to other factors such as economic and company financial factors. “We will definitely reward the stellar performers. We will definitely have certain components to reward them accordingly so there will be differentiation,” he shares. “Moving ahead, the talent management team is looking at being more sustainable in the long-run because talent management is affected by the projects, and also by market conditions. That is why we do have a different tier of rewards. Line managers also identify successors for positions. Once this has been scoped out, Ng says the company then identifies the talent pool and who are the ready-now and ready-later.

Chan stresses there is constant communication as to where employees’ gaps are, and if there are gaps, they will go for development and training such as attending courses, and their mentor will step in to coach them. In addition, Ng says Straits Construction also has long-service awards and the best employee award of the year which the firm will hand out at the year-end dinner and dance. “This year, we have three groups: managers, project and support groups respectively. This allows us to cast the net wide and really reward talents,” he explains.

Being sustainable Ng says the organisation “cannot please everybody”, but the management is forward-looking enough to recognise the key thrusts of employee demands, such as social well-being. “For example, in terms of corporate social responsibility, we adopted Club Rainbow, a charity to help children with life-threatening illnesses, and we also have a family day,” he says. Ng says the company also tries to get colleagues from various departments to come in and work together, and to hear from each other. “Hence, they have a chance to break the communication barrier and present their proposals to the management,” he adds. “In this way, people will feel management are not sitting in ivory towers.” Loo emphasises that the company tries to differentiate itself as an employer of choice, rather than to fight a constant war for and against talent. “You have to differentiate yourself from the rest, especially in today’s context. There is no point paying a hundred dollars more when at the end of the day, the next guy down the street will also do that. That’s not sustainable and we look at sustainability and the value proposition.”

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UNLEASH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL The link between sports and business may sound fanciful, but Gavin Freeman, Sports and Business Psychologist, believes that it is the secret ingredient for leaders to emerge as “Business Olympians” in the boardroom Naadiah Badib


What is a “Business Olympian”? How can this mindset help HR gain leverage in the boardroom? The Business Olympian mindset is best described in a sentence in which I ask you to consider the difference between “good” and “great”. My definition is the ability to perform consistently under pressure. It is the last part of the sentence which is of most value to organisations. We are all very good at achieving greatness when the climate and the environment are in our favour. However, it is when the opposite presents itself that we truly see the great rise up. Our ability to perform consistently under pressure drives the Business Olympian mindset. The challenge for most senior executives and those in boardrooms is that they are, or should be, outwardfocused and strategic in nature. This suggests they are thinking across a twoto-five-year horizon and are attempting to predict the future economic state. They are then tasked with creating a strategic plan which takes all the 18 ISSUE 16.4


variables into account and sets the tone for the business. The Business Olympian mindset not only builds the ability to perform under pressure, but also creates a culture in which the team is aligned to the strategy, understands the “why” behind it, and utilises its discretionary effort to ensure success. Our goal is to support individuals to be more than leadership trained, but to be leadership fit.


In your books, you say the mental skills required in sports can easily be applied in the corporate world. How so? Both my books have gleaned lessons learnt from elite individuals and how they can be applied in alternate environments. We all recognise that theory is easy to understand and conceptualise in a classroom, just as it is easy to kick a football into the net at training. The challenge comes in demonstrating those skills under pressure and applying the knowledge to a real situation. My first book, The Business Olympian,

proposed a simple model in which the ability to perform under pressure is impacted by four distinct variables: resilience, discipline, sustained appropriate focus and a healthy ability to interpret events. Each variable is dependent on the others and therefore, you need to master all of them to effectively develop the Business Olympian mindset. Many individuals I have worked with have been able to master the second or third, but under significant pressure the cracks in the third or fourth become apparent. Unfortunately, traditional learning environments can only go so far in developing these skills. Thus, we have developed a series of experiential simulations designed at challenging individuals across all the variables at the same time. The goal is not to create failure, but to create merely the perception of failure and allow the emotional brain to interpret it. The emotional brain has no propensity for language, so we need to see how it reacts to situations, not how it interprets them.

GAVIN FREEMAN My second book, Just Stop Motivating Me takes it to the next level. I explore how the emotional brain drives our motivation and develop the “Motivational Mindset continuum”. The continuum posits that the same activity delivered in different contexts or environments could be driven by a different form of motivation. The continuum has two poles: “motivated to succeed” and “motivated to avoid failure”. Imagine a situation in which you either view failure as a stepping stone to success or a direct attack on your ego and psyche. I am sure you are starting to get the picture.


What led you to study this link between sports and business?

After spending over 10 years with Olympic and professional athletes, I was continually presented with situations where the most talented individuals failed at the final moment and the lesser talented individuals took home the gold. In some cases, an individual achieved results beyond their own expectations and did so with poise. The transfer into the corporate world was a bumpy ride as I was initially met with scepticism and a little intrigue as to what sweaty football players could offer. It soon became apparent that the need to perform under pressure was almost identical and the psychology was exactly the same. Individuals perceive their world with an event-neutral mindset. This is due to the fact that our emotional brain, which interprets everything, has no propensity for language. It simply feels something but has no words nor does it actually need to describe it, to make sense (our logical cognitive brain desperately tries to do this). So when we remove the person from the task and simply look at how they are responding, the task –be it presenting to the board or kicking a goal – can be viewed in a similar light. We remove the physical elements and simply focus on the psychological aspects of performance and, as they say on Broadway, the performance must go on.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER Gavin Freeman’s background is as diverse as it is unique. He is a fully registered psychologist with experience in both the sporting and corporate worlds. He has held a director position within a large consulting company and has also been an internal Head of HR. Freeman was the team psychologist for the Australian Winter Olympic team in Turrino 2006, for the Australian Paralympic team in Sydney in 2000, and also for the Australian Olympic Archery team in the same year. At a professional level, he has worked with a variety of athletes from the best sporting leagues around the world including the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the Professional Golfers ‘Association. Additionally, he was the psychologist for a team at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. His first book, The Business Olympian, investigates the mental toughness of elite athletes and how these skills can be easily transferred into the corporate world. His second book, Just Stop Motivating Me was released in February 2016.

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What are some common blunders organisations face in building a high performance culture? I am a fan of lists so here we go: • We forget to ask, “Why do I do what I do?” We become fixated on what we do and what is expected of us. • We fail to realise that people in teams have multiple skills that they can bring and the diversity of the group should be heralded over and above job titles.

• Trust is the only variable that needs to be considered and if it is left wanting, so will the group be. • People make up teams, not systems and processes. Thus, people need to communicate to be effective. We often lose the message between communicating accountability and creating accountability. • Your leadership shadow is vital as you will impact on more than just your direct

team. If you are not consistent and authentic, you may as well give up now.


What are you looking forward to during your presentation at the HR Summit 2016? I look forward to sharing views and ideas with a diverse range of people who can both challenge and support ideas, and ultimately push us all to think outside of the square.

Catch Gavin Freeman ‘LIVE’




at HR Summit 2016 In his HR summit 2016 presentations, Gavin Freeman will discuss: • The model of a high performance mindset and how the mental skills athletes develop can be easily transferred into the workplace • Strategies to understand one’s motivational mindset and change your own approach to motivation • Out-of-the box approaches to motivating employees

17-18 May 2016 • Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre PLENARY SESSION Master the High-Performance Mindset of a Business Olympian ‘LIVE’ Interview with one of Singapore’s Greatest Athletes, C.Kunalan Exclusively at the HR Summit 2016, performance psychologist Gaven Freeman – best known as “The Business Olympian” – will interview former Singapore Olympian Canagasabai Kunalan. In a live Q&A session, the 100 metre record holder will cover a range of topics such as how he developed a passion for competition, the hurdles he faced, his training regime and how he developed the mental skills to stay on top of his game. In addition, Freeman will share how the same set of mental skills can help to develop a winning mindset in the workforce and in the boardroom. The link between sports and business may sound rare but professionals can gain insights into the mental skills that can be developed to complement their physical abilities in order to achieve a high performance mindset. The unique twist will also help professionals to see how mental skills play an essential role in the corporate world.

STRATEGY SESSION Just stop motivating me Gavin Freeman’s second session will into the human consciousness to uncover a wider motivational continuum which determines our ability to maintain or change how we approach work. His second book, Just Stop Motivating Me, is the basis of this presentation and is the product of many interviews with various CEO and professionals (including the CEO of Deloitte Australia and Nelson Mandela’s personal bodyguard). The results are quite extraordinary and reveal why we should stop motivating people and instead create an environment where workers choose to motivate themselves and use their discretionary effort to benefit their organisation as a whole. Participants will also be given a questionnaire designed to help them understand and develop their own motivational mindset.

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Filippo Fanin was appointed CEO of Brotzeit in November, 2014. He has half a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry, and has held key positions in Brotzeit’s parent company as Group Financial Controller and Chief Financial Officer. During this period, the had the opportunity to master food and beverage operations, customer relations and brand concept development. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Fanin also served as the brand’s strategic advisor and was actively involved in strategic thinking, brand development and management. Fanin aims to grow and strengthen Brotzeit into a top global franchise, through a customer-centric business philosophy that goes beyond simply improving service standards. He has strong beliefs in prioritising the customer experience and incorporating the generous, fun, and inclusive personality that German dining should represent. Fanin is a graduate of Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

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Have you always been passionate about food and beverage?

Small and medium enterprises are often asked to do more with less, increasing their productivity levels to remain competitive. In this exclusive interview, Filippo Fanin, CEO of German food chain Brotzeit, says that increasing efficiency should not come at the expense of the customer experience

recipe on the spot. Any issues can be fixed immediately and special requests are easier to accommodate. Yes. I am Italian, and in Italy Once you go into a centralised everybody is really passionate kitchen arrangement, this ability about food, the history behind the is reduced. The quality of the ingredients, and the recipes. Things experience for the customer is also are still very traditional in my going to be reduced. Our ability to country. Everybody really takes care maintain our brand positioning and Sumathi V Selvaretnam of food in a very special way. pricing power will be challenged. In the push for productivity, What are some key pressure consultants often miss out or points that Brotzeit faces underestimate adaptation costs. as a small and medium enterprise (SME)? A central kitchen requires a very large investment in We are still a very labour intensive industry. We are a full the hundreds of thousands at the very least. For a small service restaurant and do very little at the central level. company, this is a big sum of money. The volume that you Our food is made at each outlet, guaranteeing quality. require to ensure that you obtain the maximum efficiency It requires people and we currently have 170 employees from this investment is also higher than what a typical across our six outlets in Singapore. SME can provide. A key challenge is how we can have a business model that is sustainable in the current environment. We have a Why is training and development important for cap on the amount of foreign labour. We want to guarantee employees? a certain brand experience, the quality of ingredients, When you train people, they become more service and food to our customers in order to be successful. confident and productive, and stay with you longer. A If you start to increase efficiency, it may require some person who is well versed in what they have to do produces compromise. It is easier to create great food if you have a more. full kitchen at the back of your house. The food is always New recruits attend on the ground training for three to fresh and the chef is always there, and able to modify a four weeks . They are not exposed to customers but shadow



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LEADERS TALK HR existing employees. They are shown how to do certain tasks. For example, a runner learns how to pick up food and deliver it to a table in a proper manner, while a chef learns some of the basic recipes. All of these drive productivity simply because people are more prepared for the job and can multitask better, because they are less stressed. They feel more competent and can deliver more work than they would otherwise.


What is your current turnover rate, and what steps are you taking to boost retention?

It is 50%. The industry is very competitive. Everyone is chasing after the same pool of people. Talented employees who are very keen and passionate are limited in numbers and command a higher price. Companies are more desperate to get the right people on board. However, there are too many restaurants being created, and this is not helping. The pool of people educated in food and beverage is shrinking on a per restaurant basis. During our orientation programme, we explain the career path available, how long it takes to make each step and what additional training they will need. Senior leaders share their experiences with new joiners. We try to reward our people and also train them to become trainers themselves. We want to make them feel important and special. We want to make them feel that they can train and become a role model for others, so that they are more invested in the company. Better performing employees are given clear feedback on the performance and opportunities for additional training. This is easier for Singaporeans as there are many incentives for them. Some 60% to 65% of our workforce is made up of locals. We also have a strong pool of foreigners in our company and want to recognise those who have been

here for eight to nine years. Despite the regulations, these guys carry our brand in their hearts. It is beautiful to take care of them and ensure that they stay with us for another ten years or more.


How do you reward and recognise your employees?

We have long service awards yearly to recognise those who have been with us for more than five years. They get special gifts such as trips to Europe and are called up on stage at our annual party to receive their prizes. Some of our dishwashers have been with us from the beginning and they get a solid prize. This sort of loyalty for the company needs to be rewarded. We have special gifts and pay packages for people to join the training programme and become trainers and mentors for new joiners. They receive a gift and a higher salary. The

ME MYSELF I I love: My family, food, travel, and sport I dislike: People having a disproportionate opinion of themselves My inspiration: People putting their values before their personal interests In five years’ time I’d like to be: A leader who has stayed humbled, and that managed to grow the careers and professionalism of the people who worked with us Favorite Quote: In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years

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“When an employee goes beyond what we teach them do, that is the best sign that they are ready for career progression” training team also has special outings with the training manager. Store employees go out on a monthly basis after work where the company pays for a meal and drinks. This is still a very tough job, with unsociable hours. You have to work in the evenings and weekends when everybody else is having fun. It is not an easy industry to work in, particularly in this day and age where people have flexible working hours and work from home arrangements. It takes a lot of effort for one to stay in this industry.


How do you empower your employees?

We tell our service employees that customers drive our business, and are everything for us. They are free to make decisions and use different tools to be proactive and please the customer. We tell them to put their own personality into their normal procedure of doing things and go the extra mile. We encourage them to add their own accent to their service style and food quality. When an employee goes beyond what we teach them do, that is the best sign that they are ready for career progression.


What is the biggest leadership lesson that you have learnt?

There is no one size-fits-all approach to management. You have to go under the skin of your employees and understand what motivates and drives them. You then have to apply different management styles to different people. Maintaining transparency and consistency is important. You need to connect with people and let them feel that the company is behind them.


As a CEO, what workforce issue keeps you up at night?

I am concerned about how to retain and give opportunities to the talented people that we have. I know I won’t be able to give career progression opportunities to some of them due to reasons such as future quota changes or other legal issues. We are not growing fast enough for this and you need growth to move everybody up. This is one of the industry’s big challenges.

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MANAGING CONFLICTS AND POOR PERFORMERS MASTERCLASS The Essential Guide for HR and Line Mangers to Identify and Mange Disputes at Work

26 - 27 May 2016 | Singapore 26 - 27 May 2016 | Singapore

Webster’s dictionary defines conflict as a sharp disagreement or opposition of interests or ideas. Anytime people work together, conflict is a part of ‘doing business’. Conflict is a normal and natural part of any workplace. When it occurs, there is a tendency for morale to be lowered, an increase in absenteeism and decreased productivity. It has been estimated that managers spend at least 25 percent of their time resolving workplace conflicts – causing lowered office performance. Typically there are two responses to conflict: run away (avoidance) or ‘battle it out’. In either case, we often feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with the results because no resolution has been achieved. By learning to constructively resolve conflict, we can turn a potentially destructive situation into an opportunity for creativity and enhanced performance. The Manging Conflicts & Poor Performers Masterclass is specially designed to provide practical skills that enable you to manage conflicts and turn any difficult situation around. You will be able to identify the sources of conflicts and understand people’s confrontational behaviour. Throughout the program, strengthen your negotiation and communications skills in any difficult situation and learn the guiding principles when handling inappropriate behaviour at the workplace. Led by Tess Brook, a communication specialist and conflict coach, she will bring you thru the phrases of confronting conflicts to solving the conflict and moving further to motivating individuals. This masterclass will be delivered in an interactive professional environment. Concepts and ethical dilemmas will be explored through group exercises, case studies and discussion. You will also be involved in short demonstrations on theory, practical exercises with case studies.

Led by:

Learning Objectives

Tess Brook


• Founder of the blog, The Trouble with Talking, that provides a fun examination of communication breakdowns and a more serious exploration of the relationship between communication and credibility. • Worked in the construction and mining sectors for 15 years which then migrated into large scale Change Management roles across various industries. • Chair for Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA) Queensland Chapter.

• • • • •

Understand the fundamentals of relationship dynamics and conflict situations Adopt a professional and appropriate style of behaviour when handling difficult people and situation Learn 8 guiding principles for managing inappropriate workplace behaviour Equip yourself with the manager & organization toolkit to managing poor performers Empower yourself and boost your confidence in dealing with conflict situations

Supported By:

Contact Me to Register: Azrielle Looi | Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email:


How can mentoring help both the mentor and protégé?


t IKEA in Southeast Asia, we base everything we do on our vision to create a better everyday life for the many customers and people in our organisation and according to our values. As a part of this, we encourage mentorship and believe that it is an important part of creating a great place to work – it is about really listening to each other! At the age of 49, I realised that it would take more than determination to become what I needed to be for my colleagues and myself. It took years to overcome denial, and also a mentor to make it happen; embarking on the journey to become “a better me”. We are living in a world that encourages “communications skills” but has become increasingly poor at listening. We often confuse “speaking up” with leadership. So despite all the speaking, we rarely ask the right

questions: the questions and input that bring the best out in others, not in one’s self. That is where the mentor comes in! It can be said that mentoring is the easy job. The mentee is the one that has to find the willingness (as most have) and the ability to change. Sure, the mentee can leverage on strengths, but the challenge is to dig in and help the mentee address the matters that really stands in the way for “the better me”. What then is in it for the mentor? As little as possible! However, the mentor becomes in a better position to become a good mentee, and thereby get the opportunity to reach their own potential. Seen from a company perspective, this is a fantastic chance to break out of the normal organisational structure and instead match mentors with mentees to cascade passion and personality through the whole organisation.


PETER WOMERSLEY CEO Singapore, J. Walter Thompson Singapore

ife is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”: Albert Einstein Mentoring is an incredibly powerful tool and, when done effectively, can act as a valuable learning process for both the mentor and the protégé. In today’s hectic lifestyle, I find mentoring is far more effective if both the mentor and the protégé manage to carve out quality, undisturbed time for reflection. Both parties tend to get out what they put in. The fact that mentoring is nonjudgemental and removed from the formal performance management system allows a more open and free discussion. In today’s ultracompetitive workplace, less experienced employees can be hesitant to open up about their concerns for risk of being seen as failing in their role. A mentorship programme is therefore the perfect environment for a free dialogue.


Managing Director, IKEA, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, Ikano

Whilst the tangible benefits tend to be more weighted towards the protégé, there are also many associated benefits for the mentor. We are all the product of our experiences and apply this knowledge when appraising situations. Mentoring exposes us to a world of different perspectives, which helps us reassess some of our beliefs or assumptions. Change is a constant in modern society, so it’s incredibly important to keep informed, up-to-date, and therefore relevant. Mentoring discussions are a great way for two individuals, usually at very different stages of their careera, to share and appreciate different points of view and learnings. Ultimately, successful mentoring sessions can result in a feeling of reward from knowing you have made a difference to someone’s life. We all strive to keep learning new things, and in order to do this, as Einstein says, we must keep moving.

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@ S



Winning ways from top companies

A positive workplace culture can boost collaboration, innovation and overall business results. HRM speaks to seven top companies about their winning ways

leep pods designed for power napping at work; a bamboo garden with a foot reflexology path; as well as a games area with foosball and pool tables: these are some of the great employee amenities at the open-plan Singapore office of software company SAP. According to Jairo Fernandez, Senior Vice President of HR, SAP Asia Pacific, such recreational facilities help support the company’s high performance work culture. A great work culture serves as a magnet for top talent. In a 2015 survey by recruitment solutions provider FutureStep, nearly 61% of respondents said that organisational culture was the most important recruiting advantage for global organisations, followed by a leading employer brand at 26%. Building a strong culture must be a deliberate and on-going effort, says Rachel Ong, CEO and Founder of ROHEI, a learning and development consultancy. “A company cannot just put up its values on the wall for employees to read, and expect that a strong culture will be built. A top down and company wide effort is required.”

Sumathi V Selvaretnam

The intangibles making a difference Trust emerged as the cornerstone of workplace culture in most of the organisations that HRM Asia spoke to. “The concept of trust is an intangible one but companies built on a foundation of trust will encourage openness as employees become more engaged in the success of the business,” says Fernandez. Employees also value a culture of openness and transparency where the company’s goals are clearly agreed between staff and their leaders, he adds. The management team at ROHEI adopts an open-door policy to facilitate open and honest communication with staff. Employees are encouraged to give feedback to each other and the management team. “Feedback is a gift,” says Ong, “We value both appreciative and developmental feedback because it sharpens each of us individually and as a team. Computer storage and data management company, NetApp also believes in the value of feedback and open communications. “Our employees value a listening culture, because it means open

communications with each other where they feel safe to candidly express their concerns and grievances,” shares CY Yau, Head of HR, NetApp Asia Pacific. Many organisations operate in different geographies, and find that respecting the diversity of different regional teams can go a long way in helping employees feel a sense of belonging. Computer data storage company EMC empowers its workforce to focus on activities that are important in their local geographies. “For example, a few years ago the Singapore office recognised an opportunity to improve our camaraderie and pride scores,” says Jocelyn Macedo, Vice President of HR, Asia Pacific, EMC. “The local leadership team supported the creation of a local site committee – an employee taskforce enabled to drive initiatives important to the local team, including networking, social meet-ups and local community-based events.” This programme has seen great success and engagement over the last few years, culminating in EMC gaining a top 10 placing in the local Great Place to Work rankings. ISSUE 16.4


CORPORATE CULTURE Employee perks Leading companies have established a wide range of interesting perks in order to build and maintain a desired culture internally. Here are some of the most unique. • SAP Weekly bootcamps on Mondays where all employees are invited to join interest groups ranging from dragonboat, soccer, tennis to running clubs. It also runs a FitSAP programme where employees who clock a minimum of 8,000 steps a day for a quarter will gain credits to their flexible spending account which can be used for healthcare, employee wellness, family wellness and personal work expenses. • ROHEI Staff polls are gamified to encourage employees to share ideas and suggestions. Respondents are given incentives such as coffee and restaurant vouchers. The company also holds weekly fitness classes. Complimentary drink vending machines and biscuits are provided in the office. • Salesforce The office has a pantry with a vending machine that provides complimentary snacks and drinks. Staff also receive seven days of paid time off a year to volunteer with a charity of their choice. • Facebook The company has a well-stocked pantry and sleep pods. It provides unlimited sick days, changing rooms for parents who want to bring their children to work, and a vending machine full of technology products and performance-based rewards. • NetApp The company offers a flexi-choice scheme that allows employees to trade in some of their annual leave for other benefits related to healthcare, family and leisure. Employees can also take one week’s paid leave (on top of their allocated annual leave) to contribute to the community in whatever way they wish.

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Positive leadership An organisation’s leadership set the tone for its culture. Having motivational leaders who bring energy and passion into the organisation is important, says Lee Murphy, Senior HR Director, Microsoft, Asia Pacific. “You need leaders that you can learn from, who are supportive of your own growth and development, and who accept feedback.” Fernandez from SAP concurs. “An authentic leader who is trusted has a higher level of credibility and is instrumental in rallying employees to the company’s vision.” At ROHEI, CEO Ong conducts weekly staff “discipleship” sessions every Monday morning to build trust and inspire her team. She also writes a note to all staff at the end of each week to share updates and stories of team wins and employee contributions.

HR as an enabler By partnering with the business, HR can act as an enabler of core behaviours that define an organisation’s culture. At NetApp, the “Catch Someone Doing Something Right” initiative encourages employees to applaud and endorse their peers for doing something positive to help the company, a customer, partner, or society at large. “We also recognise employees for displaying commendable behaviours that resonate with the company values through our ‘Living Our Values’ award,” says Yau. As an extension of its open-door policy, NetApp also organises manager forums and employee chat sessions across the region, where staff get to regularly meet the company’s executives in small group settings. The HR team at cloud computing company Salesforce is known as “Employee Success,” as it prides itself in helping employees succeed. It organises “Brown Bag Lunches” with each team to share policies and programmes. “These events also serve as a forum for employees to channel their concerns in a comfortable, informal setting,” shares Ismail Shariff, Asia Pacific Vice President of Employee Success at Salesforce. “We also regularly conduct employee engagement surveys to help

us understand where we are doing well, where we could improve. and where we are trending up or down when it comes to creating a great place to work.” HR is also responsible for ensuring that organisations have contemporary policies and practices that are competitive in the marketplace, says Lee from Microsoft. “HR needs to make sure that we are bringing the outside in.”

Hiring for cultural fit Research from the Society of HR Management shows that the employee turnover from hiring someone who is a poor cultural fit can cost an organisation between 50% to 60% of that person’s annual salary. It is thus critical for hiring managers to ensure that the person they have in mind has values and goals that align with those of the organisation. Culture starts from the moment a person is hired, so the hiring process is crucial, says Eriko Talley – Head, HR (Asia Pacific), Facebook. The social media giant deliberately hires only people who believe in its mission. “Our journey to connect the next five billion people on the planet is just beginning, and we are looking for people who believe in what we’re doing, who treat one another with respect, and who bring new perspectives to the complex problems we’re trying to solve,” Talley says. The company has a preference for “builders”. “Regardless of whether we’re hiring an engineer or a finance analyst, we look for people who like building things. People who thrive at Facebook look beyond the status quo – they love creating new things, and figuring out how to continuously improve the way we’re working and the products we’re building,” explains Talley. While Facebook wants to hire bright minds, it does not select people based on academic or test scores. “We look for people who have proven, by rolling up their sleeves and making a direct impact, that they’re the best at what they do. Focusing on impact is one of our core values, and when we’re interviewing people, we seek to understand how they’ve made an impact in the past.”

CORPORATE CULTURE Apart from actively hiring for values, Facebook also believes in referrals. “Our HR team frequently holds Facebook ‘Ninja Hunts’ where we sit down with employees and ask if their friends would be interested in working here. We actively collaborate in sourcing candidates,” says Talley. Similarly at NetApp, employee referrals are a significant component of the talent acquisition programme. “We have witnessed a success rate of between 30% and 40% of our hires coming through the employee referral programme. An employee who refers a candidate understands the requirements of the role very well, knows who could subscribe to our NetApp culture, and could anticipate who would be a good fit for the role. After all, talent attracts talent,” says Yau. Salesforce looks for candidates who are game-changers, risk-takers, and boundary-pushers. “We welcome

What destroys culture? A recent study on workplace culture found that HR and employees have a disjointed view on what erodes workplace culture • HR professionals and people managers claimed that “a high-stress environment” and “company growth” were the two workplace factors with the biggest negative consequences on workplace culture. • Conversely, workers believed that “not having enough staff to support goals,” “unhappy or disengaged workers who poison the well,” and “poor employee-manager relationships” were the major challenges to keeping a positive workplace culture. Source: The Workforce Institute at Kronos and WorkplaceTrends Employee Engagement Lifecycle Series

disruptive people who challenge the status quo, dream up innovative ways to get things done, and see the world with fresh eyes,” says Ismail. “We look for people who are collaborative, compassionate, and good listeners. Our employees seek to understand the needs of their teammates and customers in order to solve problems and deliver success.” At Microsoft, the focus is on behavioural



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Walking the

CSR TALK With corporate social responsibility now being enshrined in the culture of organisations, it has become imperative for head honchos to spearhead the charge. HRM reveals more

Sham Majid


hen it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), Timothy Cheong, Group HR Director, Banyan Tree Corporate, says all organisations need to ask a fundamental question of themselves: “Are we convinced that what we are doing as a company is for the good of the environment and people we work with?” “If we cannot truthfully say that, then all CSR efforts will dim in significance when work pressure piles up, and when the finance numbers tell us this is not a pragmatic approach towards doing business.” Cheong stresses that conviction for CSR must start from the top and be demonstrated by examples. “Our associates see how seriously we take the CSR culture from the beginning in the choice of our hotel sites. This also 32 ISSUE 16.4


extends to: the business partners we work with who carry similar convictions; the design of our hotels to blend with the heritage of the land; the resource conservation programme we put in our hotels; and most of all, the efforts we put in to develop both our local associates and the people in the community. As all these catch on, CSR will become second nature to them,” he explains. Banyan Tree is well-placed to share its insights when it comes to CSR. The organisation clinched the Best CSR Practices gong in the 2016 HRM Awards in March.

Leading from the front Michelle Lee, Head of Sustainability, Asia, Lendlease, says creating a sustainable future is not something new

for her organisation either. In fact, CSR has been an integral part of its culture for more than 50 years. “We do so by influencing the design, construction and operations of the places we create, ensuring that they are safe, environmentally sustainable, and inclusive to all users, and we always engage with the community during the process,” explains Lee. Tiffany See, Executive Director of HR in Asia-Pacific at technology giant Dell, says the conglomerate has been reporting on CSR activities since at least 1998, when it published its first Environmental Progress Report externally. “The Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan clarifies our long-term commitment to CSR and outlines 21 specific goals,” she says. “We encourage others to establish

CSR TRENDS clear paths for their own companies to integrate CSR into their overall business strategy and corporate DNA.” Wong Keng Fye, Head of Human Capital, Maybank Singapore, says its mission is to “humanise” the financial services sector. “The group endeavours to do so not only through efforts to finance economic development and provide modern financial services, but also through innovative community programmes that impact the lives of marginalised members of society,” he stresses. “The Maybank Foundation, a major vehicle for the group to positively impact many of Asia’s most needy communities, is supported by the keen involvement of employee volunteers. It’s not about scoring points – it’s about what we can do to build a better tomorrow.” Lee says Lendlease pays attention to how it can ingrain sustainability, its key guiding principle, into everything that it does. “Leaders walking the talk and acting as role models are also very important in reinforcing this culture,” she explains. “We have very strong management support for all the community activities that we have organised. Every year without fail, you will see the management at the community events working alongside colleagues. Every employee, regardless of seniority, gets down and dirty to do their bit for the community.” Likewise, Wong cites that leadership is important when it comes to encouraging staff to participate in CSR events. “At Maybank, our senior management are involved in setting the strategic direction of CSR,” he says. Lee says there is also a supportive culture where managers provide employees with the flexibility to support community projects during office hours, including the time used to plan and coordinate the event. “Every year for the past 20 years, all employees globally participate in ‘Community Day’, where they participate in community projects. Globally, over 7,800 employees have contributed over 600,000 hours to over 350 community projects.”

Banyan Tree’s CSR principles Embracing the Environment

• Resource Conservation: Banyan Tree has accredited assessor Earthcheck audit the energy and water conservation at each hotel and property. • Greening the Environment: The organisation sets targets for planting trees in each hotel and property. • Other efforts: Hotels have other location specific conservation efforts such as breeding sea turtles and doing conservation research with local universities.

Empowering People

Banyan Tree sets aside training time for its hotel associates to mentor young people in the community on hotel skills, such food and beverage, housekeeping, or language and mathematical skills so they can be gainfully employed in the future. If opportunities permit, the company helps these “trainees” to run a restaurant (such as the “Seedlings” restaurants it has in Phuket and Hoi An) so they can earn an income. The company also has ad hoc and ongoing voluntary programmes at aged homes and orphanages.

Her counterpart Cheong also cites that CSR is “very much” in Banyan Tree’s DNA. “In fact, when we started developing our land in Phuket more than 20 years ago, CSR did not enter our mind specifically. It was simply how to make an abandoned mine into a viable business so that the people around our land would find employment,” he explains. “Since then, whenever we venture into different parts of the world to operate hotels and properties, the DNA of Banyan Tree is to be a responsible steward to the land and to the people who invited us to this venture. So that’s the starting point.” See also cites says it is critical that community outreach is a key employee engagement pillar and that the function is led by senior executives with representation from team members. “HR can help to ensure that a framework and infrastructure support are provided to team members, such as the Employee Resource Groups at Dell. These are a great way to build networks, engage with team members and gain a sense of fulfillment,” she says.

Beyond the usual practices See says the organisation’s “10x20 goal”the Dell 2020 Legacy of Good plan, is about setting an aspirational goal of seeing its technology generate 10 times more benefit than it takes to make and use it.

“We are driving to achieve the following by 2020 in each of our focus areas: environment, community and people,” she says. “In 2015, Dell Singapore organised a total of 580 independent events, resulting in over 7,200 volunteering hours. More than half of our Singaporebased employees participated in these activities.” Some of Dell’s key CSR schemes include its youth learning initiatives that help underserved young people access technology and education (In 2015, Dell increased the number of children directly impacted by these programmes by more than 100,000), working with the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore in 2015 to provide technology-based education opportunities to children with intellectual disabilities, supporting children’s cancer research, working with global charities, and undertaking leadership in the field of recycling. “Dell is now the world’s largest technology recycler with take-back programmes in 78 countries. The company now is 71% of the way to its ambitious 2020 goal (to recycle 2 billion pounds, or 907,000 tonnes of material in a year,” See explains. Lee says Lendlease’s CSR approach spans economic, social and environmental aspects of service. ISSUE 16.4


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CSR TRENDS “Lendlease’s sustainability framework comprises of 12 aspirations and among those that guide us are health and wellbeing, community development, diversity and inclusion, and training, skills and employment,” she elaborates. For example, Lee says Lendlease has designed its managed malls to be inclusive to people with different abilities and needs, by ensuring a design philosophy that is accessible to all. The Jem mall in Jurong East was awarded a gold accreditation for urban design by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore. “All Lendlease managed malls in Singapore are BCA Green Mark Platinum awarded,” she says. “Jem also worked with Pathlight, a special school for children with autism, to showcase their artwork in the marketing suite and parent’s rooms. Cheong says Banyan Tree’s CSR programme is predicated on two principles: “Embracing the Environment” and “Empowering People”. Aspects under the former include resource conservation and greening the environment, while empowering people comprises training time for hotel associates among others (see: boxout). Meanwhile, Wong says Maybank’s key CSR programmes are focused on providing financial inclusion for low-income families. “We assess the needs together with our community partners and try to address these through our programmes. We also organise various events to provide volunteer opportunities for our staff according to their different interests and passions,” he explains. Examples of Maybank’s CSR activities include the matched savings programme and insurance for low-income families (see: boxout).

Empowering Millennials According to The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, nearly nine in 10 (87%) young workers believe the success of a business should be measured by more than just financial performance.

Maybank’s CSR offerings • Matched savings: Maybank’s programme, CASHup, stands for “Cultivate a Savings Habit”. Through this, the bank matches the savings of low-income families up to S$1,000 to encourage them to cultivate good savings habits. • Insurance for low-income families: The Breadwinner Protection programme provides free personal accident insurance for lowincome families, to give financial protection and peace of mind. • Global Corporate Responsibility day: Maybank staff around the world show their commitment to the community by taking part in meaningful initiatives on this day each year.

In addition, findings from the Aflac Corporate Social Responsibility Survey Fact Sheet showed that 66% of millennial workers were likely to invest in a company well-known for its CSR programme. Lee says feedback from millennials during job interviews and career fairs, have also indicated that non-monetary rewards play an important role in their ratings of potential employers. “These include clear career development paths, job satisfaction, and opportunities to give back to the society. “Our Community 365 programme empowers millennials to lead community projects and give back to society sustainably,” she explains. Wong says new job applicants to Maybank have also indicated an interest in the CSR opportunities that the organisation offers. “We share our CSR efforts and volunteer opportunities with new staff as part of their induction programme, and the response is often encouraging,” he says. “We are also seeing more fresh employees participating in our volunteer events, and these millennials bring with them a lot of passion, enthusiasm and creativity in doing good for the community.”

According to See, it is not just millennials but most talented professionals that want to work for organisations that exhibit good corporate citizenship. “Our focus on CSR helps us attract team members that share our vision to make a difference. Over the years we have started sharing our values, commitment and contributions in CSR with potential candidates,” she says.

Helping the organisation Lee says one of the benefits of CSR is positively related to employee engagement, commitment and job satisfaction. “This benefit is especially apparent because our community projects and events that are employee-led. Employees get to experience liaising with community partners and leading a group of colleagues to do something meaningful together,” she says. Cheong points out that Banyan Tree’s CSR efforts have fostered an environment and culture for the company to “work for good”, “build for good” and “operate (the hotels) for good”. “This culture help us question: are all we doing this for the good of the people and the environment? That is where the deeper conversation takes place besides the financials and performance indicators,” he adds. See says Dell sees that the more engaged staff are, the more team members are involved in CSR and employee resource groups. “One of the reasons for this could be a sense of belonging to the cause. With increased participation in CSR, we have noted better engagement through the employee engagement scores on Dell’s anonymous annual employee satisfaction survey,” she states. Wong says Maybank’s CSR efforts have helped to build social goodwill for the company. “Volunteer activities help to increase employee engagement and can be a way for departments to bond outside of work,” he explains. ISSUE 16.4




36 ISSUE 16.4


CORPORATE LEARNING As the much vaunted SkillsFuture initiative gets underway, Singaporeans will now have thousands of approved courses to deepen their craft in any particular field. HRM speaks with some training providers to get the lowdown on their own repertoire Sham Majid


hroughout January 2016, Singaporeans aged 25 years and above have been receiving activation letters for their SkillsFuture credit, with letters continuing to be sent in batches. They will also have been given a step-bystep guide booklet on how to utilise their SkillsFuture credit that will provide access to courses that begin on or after January 1. The initial credit allocation of $500 can be used on around 10,000 approved skillsrelated courses, across 57 functional areas encompassing all the key sectors. Amid the plethora of courses available include those from the Marketing Institute of Singapore (MIS). Christina Ho, Head, Executive Development Services, MIS, says 95% of the courses offered at MIS are eligible for SkillsFuture credits. “These courses are open for public enrolment and are largely targeted at professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs),” she explains. Ho says past statistics have increasingly shown that PMETs tend to be more vulnerable in terms of employability during times of economic slowdown. “This SkillsFuture initiative provides timely support for PMETs to keep themselves updated with relevant skillsets,” she states. Likewise, John Lim, Head of Continuing Professional Education at the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), reveals the SkillsFuture Credit can be used to defray the fees of approved courses, including those conducted by ISCA.

SkillsFuture-specific Another organisation looking to get its course certified for SkillsFuture is Executive Coach International (ECI). “Currently, ECI is undergoing the application process for our coach training

course. Currently, the course is accredited with the International Coach Federation and we look forward to meeting the high standards required by the government.” says Kelvin Lim, Founder of ECI. Lim believes ECI can contribute to the SkillsFuture initiative by getting its coach training course to be approved. He says his organisation will ensure that those looking to become professional coaches will be able to enjoy the thorough training it provides. “Additionally, we are exploring the option of developing shorter online courses that will enable people to get a first glimpse into the world of professional coaching,” explains Lim. “Yet, we are committed to ensuring that these skills are directly relevant to the improvement of their careers.” Ho says there are over 100 MIS courses available under the programme. These cover disciplines including sales, marketing, leadership, personal effectiveness, business management, communications, event management and service excellence. “Participants are definitely spoilt for choices. We have experienced an increase in signups since the launch of SkillsFuture, specifically for our digital marketing and

communication related courses,” says Ho. “Our courses are constantly updated with new topics and the latest insights on business trends. Through such rigorous approach in course design, we aim to bring value and quality to our participants who have chosen to pursue their learning with us.” Lim says the training and professional development division of the ISCA focuses on meeting the training needs of accounting and finance professionals. “Our training courses are developed to ensure subjects remain relevant, fulfil learning needs and aid skills enhancement,” he states. Being part of the SkillsFuture initiative, Lim explains ISCA has launched an initial 15 courses focusing on soft skills and information communications topics such as critical thinking and analytical skills, assisting in the development of a business plan and business analytics and reporting. “These courses contain essential elements that one needs in order to meet the demand of skills relevancy in this highly efficient and productive global environment,” he adds.

Deep mastery of expertise Depending on the proficiency level of the

ISCA’s SkillsFuture credit approved courses • Display Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills • Apply Basic Negotiation Skills and Techniques • An Introduction to the Fundamentals of the Personal Data Protection Act • Assist in the Development of a Business Plan • Lead Workplace Communication and Engagement • Solve Problems and Make Decisions at a Managerial Level

• Advanced Excel for Reporting • Business Analytics and Reporting • Excel Macro Fundamentals • Exploring Data Management with Pivot Tables • Advanced Excel Spreadsheet Skills • Business Analysis and Planning: Using Excel What-If Analysis • Data Management and Analysis in Excel Using SQL • Excel Budgeting Techniques ISSUE 16.4


CORPORATE LEARNING participants, MIS has both foundational and advanced level courses across the various disciplines. “The advanced level courses provide pathways for participants to deepen their knowledge over time in specific areas relevant to their work. This helps in elevating their expertise and thus, promoting lifelong learning,” she says. Lim from ECI stresses that the ultimate drive behind the SkillsFuture movement is to allow Singaporeans to expand their skills and be ready for the world to come. “With the advent of artificial intelligence replacing manual jobs since the turn of the century, Singaporeans have to develop ‘high-end’ skills which are valued in the world,” says Lim. He says coaching is a communication skillset that permits faster and deeper understanding between people. “It reduces situations of confusion between individuals and groups, allowing

SkillsFuture pointers • The Government will make further top-ups to individuals’ SkillsFuture Credit at regular intervals • The credits will not expire and can be used throughout an individual’s lifetime • Singaporeans will be able to use their SkillsFuture Credit to pay for work skills-related courses supported by public agencies, which include: - Courses subsidised by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) - Courses offered by the Ministry of Education-funded institutions (including autonomous universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education) - Selected courses at SIM University, Lasalle College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts - Courses subsidised or supported by other public agencies Source: SkillsFuture Credit FAQ, Ministry of Manpower

messages to be understood quickly and clearly. This skillset allows one to navigate the rough seas of business negotiation with greater ease. It also allows to soothe potential team conflicts,” he explains. In addition, Lim says coaching opens participants up to learning, since it creates avenues of exploration.

“This causes the person to see different possibilities and blindspots and hence, appreciate areas of opportunities that they can upgrade themselves in. “Coaching also brings innate motivations to the surface and creates a willingness to pursue and persist in a better course of action.”

HRCLINIC HRCLINIC How can HR implement flexible benefit schemes without spending more?


t is good to start by making sure that you have a very clear understanding of how the current policy works for employees. Then, with traditional benefit schemes, you would typically find that the utilisations of the different benefits are uneven among staff. Employees depending on their age, family situation, health conditions and interests utilise the various benefit options differently. Most employees do not utilise all of the options available to them. However, some staff may over use and even overspend beyond the budget. It is important to understand how the actual spend looks against the set budget, and then to decide which one you want to use as the basis for defining the new framework. I believe the crucial element is to have clear and transparent communication with employees to clearly spell out the objective of the flexible scheme. This could, for example, be to recognise and satisfy 38 ISSUE 16.4


the different situations, needs and preferences of each employee by empowering them to design their own benefit package within the given framework. On the other hand, you also have to be transparent and highlight that this will also help the company to allocate benefits in an equal and fair way. Likewise, you should clearly demonstrate how the change impacts the individuals based on their past utilisation. Another small technical point is to consider possible taxation changes to any of the benefits within the flexible scheme. HR should define and communicate the individual budget as a gross amount, therefore any future taxation change will not impact the total cost.

Imre Vadasz

Regional HR Director, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Sony

Ask our HR experts. Email your questions to



On Ea av r gi ly ly e st S B er $ ir $ be 17 d 4 fo 9 Sp 0 re 5 e 0 19 + ci Ap GS al ril T 20 * Re

EFFECTIVE WORKPLACE INVESTIGATIONS & COMPLIANCE MASTERCLASS The Essential Guide to Managing Employee Misconduct & Fostering A Legally Compliant Workplace Environment

10 – 11 May 2016 | Singapore

An investigation into employee wrongdoing can be expensive, time-consuming and disruptive to organisational morale. It can certainly lead to a number of legal issues and other unexpected complications if it is not conducted in an ethical, transparent manner with the utmost care and confidentiality. Crucially, a well-executed internal investigation will uphold the company’s integrities and signal to other employees that the organisation will not tolerate misconduct. The Effective Workplace Investigations & Compliance Masterclass is specially designed to provide practical skills that enable you to assess complaints, gather corroborating information and make critical decisions about the quality of investigation work and findings. This masterclass will provide case studies highlighting legal principals and detailed discussion on how these principles can be put into practice. This masterclass will be delivered in an interactive professional environment. Concepts and ethical dilemmas will be explored through group exercises, case studies and discussion. You will also be involved in short demonstrations on theory, practical exercises with case studies (planning & risk assessment) and interviewing role-plays.

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Learning Objectives

Harriet Stacey Chief Executive Officer WISE WORKPLACE

• • •

• Acknowledged leader in investigations, law enforcement and academia spanning nearly 20 years, an employers’ trainer and investigator of choice in matters concerning grievances, misconduct and investigation procedures for government, not-forprofit and private sectors • Lecturer in Policing (Investigations) with Charles Sturt University for 9 years • Operational police experience in both the UK and the Australian Federal Police • Successfully combines her practical knowledge of contemporary workplace investigation principles and laws, particularly those relating to procedural fairness and evidence, with her specialist investigative interviewing skills

• •

Explain the role of an investigation within your legal and policy framework Identify a range of sources of physical and digital evidences and effectively develop an investigation plan Conduct preliminary interviews with complainants and obtain statements of complaint using the PEACE model of interviewing Develop an effective investigation plan and draft letters of allegation that meet legal requirements Evaluate evidence gathered in an investigation and prepare an investigation report necessary for making determination in accordance with international guidelines

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Contact Me to Register: Azrielle Looi | Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email:

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17th May 10:50am - 11:10am Improve Employee Health By Redirecting Current Insurance Spend to Personalised Workplace Wellness

2:50pm – 3:10pm Lead Where You Are: Developing Your Inner Leader to Make a Positive Difference

Rosaline Chow Koo Founder and CEO, CXA Group

Ava Diamond Engagement & Performance Expert

11:30am – 11:50am Productivity Hacks: How to Get Twice as Much Done in Half the Time

3:45pm - 4:30pm Leading Conscious Workplace Culture – How to Build a High Performing Workplace through Values, Ethics, and Leadership

Akash Karia Communication Expert, Bestselling Author & International Speaker (TZA)

Joanna Barclay Leadership Expert, Speaker & Author

12:15pm – 12:35pm Reclaiming Your Life in a Busy 24/7 World

4:30pm - 5:15pm Self-Leadership – How to Become a More Successful, Efficient and Effective Leader from the Inside Out

Cheryl Liew-Chng Work Agility Expert & Author

Andrew Bryant Self-Leadership Expert & Author

18th May 11:00am - 11:20am How to Design TED-Worthy Presentation Slides – Learn How to Breathe Life Into Your Slides, Instead of Draining it Out of Your Audience Akash Karia Communication Expert, Bestselling Author & International Speaker (TZA)

2:20pm – 2:40pm Are Your Communication Skills Up To Par? Terry Williams Engagement and Performance Expert & Author (NZ)

3:15pm - 4:00pm What Organisations Should Take Note Of - Managing the Future Workforce Student WINNERS of the internal HR SUmmit presentation contest from SMU and NTU

4:00pm - 4:45pm Master TED Talk Storytelling Techniques to Build Loyalty and Get Others to Buy Into Your Vision Akash Karia Communication Expert, Bestselling Author & International Speaker (TZA)

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Working together

In February, HRM Asia was proud to present two new congresses covering two integral function areas in HR. The Strategic Workforce Planning Congress and Workshop was held on February 17 and 18, and the HR Business Partner Congress took place on 24 and 25 February


ntensive field research involving HR practitioners and expert speakers have led us to understand that companies today are grappling with an approaching retirement wave and an accompanying loss of skills, current and projected labour shortages. Increasingly, many are turning to Strategic Workforce Planning models to help tackle these challenges and effectively align their human capital with corporate goals. Focusing on one of the hottest topics in 2016, the Strategic Workforce Planning and Analytics Congress and Workshop was specifically developed with the industry to address these challenges and help organisations get the right people in the right positions, at the right time and at the right price in order to execute their set business strategies. The single-day congress was jampacked with HR leaders from Medtronic, Cognizant, State Street, Arkadin, Singapore Aviva, the Public Service Division, Tan Tong Seng Hospital, Ericsson, GE and many more worldclass organisations. Delegates and speakers participated lively debates and engaging panel discussions. Among the highlights were the expert-led breakout

sessions where delegates shared the challenges they faced on their SWP journey. The congress was followed by two highly interactive half-day workshops, titled “Strategic Workforce Planning: Why? What? Who? How?” and “Unlocking Big Data: How to Start the Workforce Analytics Journey”. On February 24 and 25, HRM Asia successfully hosted the HR Business Partner Congress. This congress revolved around the widespread understanding that the conversation about HR having a “seat at the table” is finally over. The HR function has started to play a highly strategic role in business growth and success; with the main roles increasingly populated by HR Business Partners (HRBPs). Now more than ever, HR professionals need a whole new set of competencies related to talent and business to deliver the results their organisations are looking for. The brand new HR Business Partners Congress combined professional education with practitioner expertise and comprised of two days of sessions, each focused on a single area critical to the partnership between HR and business lines. The event featured several panel

discussions focusing on different aspects of the HRBP role, led by HR Leaders from Socomec, Johnson & Johnson, Zimmer Biomet, Illumina, Danone Asia, Twitter, Visa, A*Star, AT&T, and Heinemann. Additionally, three interactive workshops were held focusing on different areas critical to HRBP competencies. These included “Financial Literacy for HRBPs” by James Leong from Visions One Consulting; “Becoming the Change Agent at your Workplace” by Robin Goel from DHL; and “Using Data and Analytics to Support Strategic HR Business Partnering” by Jaclyn Lee from Singapore University of Technology and Design.

UPCOMING CONGRESS HRM Asia is proud to be your partner in progress and professional development. Bringing you quality conferences and training. We have many exciting congresses and masterclasses happening in the upcoming months. Mark your calendars now! • Big Data & Human Capital Analytics Congress 12 – 13 April 2016 • Predictive Human Capital Analytics Masterclass 20 – 21 April 2016 • Conducting Workplace Investigations & Compliance 10 – 11 May 2016 • Managing Conflicts and Poor Performers at the Workplace 24 – 25 May 2016

A panel discussion at Strategic Workforce Planning & Analytics Congress

• 10th Annual Employment Law Asia Congress 20 – 21 June 2016

ISSUE 16.4




The road to modernising HR The recent Oracle Modern Business Summit shed light on how companies can stay in sync with today’s tech-savvy workforce, and effectively communicate with them as they restructure their HR frameworks


ow can HR lead the charge when it comes to modernising itself within its organisation? This was the central theme during the Human Capital Management (HCM) customer panel discussion at the Oracle Modern Business Summit, held on March 23 at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre. During the panel discussion, moderated by Yazad Dalal, Senior Director of HCM Transformation in Southeast Asia for Oracle Corporation, HR and talent leaders shared how they were spearheading their HR modernisation efforts, from talent acquisition to HR processes and employee engagement. The audience was also treated to some fascinating and insightful views on these topics by panelists Beatrice Oger, HR Digital Services Director of Schneider Electric, Sabbir Ali, Executive Director of Group HR at DBL Group, Yo-Hahn Low, Global Head of HR Operations and Technology for COFCO Agri, and Daryl Szebesta, Vice President of Cloud Transformation at Oracle.

Four crucial aspects Dalal also hosted a media briefing, where he shared Oracle’s notion that there are four key factors in delivering modern HR. The four factors demand HR be talent-centric; collaborative; insightful; and mobile and engaging. Talent centricity refers to how organisations find, grow and retain the best people, while collaborative HR is about enabling people and

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Yazad Dalal

teams to work better together. “This can be achieved by integrating social capabilities to enable collaboration throughout the organisation,” explains Dalal. In terms of being insightful, he says HR is expected to give people the information they need to be effective. This means providing complete workforce insights for every department. As for being mobile and engaging, Dalal explains that HR is being asked to make systems accessible to everyone. “In today’s workplace, that means making each piece of the system easy for everyone to use on every device,” he shares.

Optimal collaboration tools According to Dalal, today’s workforce are already collaborating and communicating socially. Companies will hold their employees back if they do not also furnish them with communications tools tool they are comfortable with inside the firm. “They will bring their social communities to your work, if you

Beatrice Oger

don’t provide it to them,” he says. For instance, Dalal says Oracle’s collaboration tools are embedded in the performance review or in the goals application. “They do not have to jump out to grab a quote from some other app. It is a part of what they’re doing and a part of their job. It’s meaningful to their jobs today,” he explains. In addition, Dalal states his firm has looked at how people consume in their daily lives, and found that the same marketing best practices that are used to build sales pipelines can be leveraged on building talent pipelines. “Oracle uses your brand to help attract the talent you need. It uses the transparency of employee sentiment about your company to attract talent via referrals. We share knowledge the way people share everything today: with videos, personal testimonials and communities,” he elaborates. “Our applications come on any device. You could view a requisition on your mobile device, check in on your application online, or access it via a tablet.”



Valerie Hayden

Hayden Majajas

Edie Xie

Valerie Hayden takes on a new role at Coats as the HR Director for its industrial division in Asia. Based in Singapore, she will report to Ashok Mathur, Chief Operating Officer, Asia, Industrial. She will work on all aspects of HR to help support the growth of Coats’ industrial business in Asia. This comprises of HR leadership as well as strategic advice on talent management, performance management, engagement, recruitment and rewards. Hayden will also be a member of Coats’ Asia leadership team. Prior to this, Hayden was the Regional Head of HR, Asia-Pacific at Dentsu Aegis Network. She has also held the role of Senior HR Business Partner, Asia with Swiss Re where she oversaw high growth development leadership programmes, succession planning, and Asia HR strategy and implementation. Having been in Asia for almost 20 years, Hayden brings with her over 25 years of HR experiences across a range of industries, including manufacturing as well as hotels and hospitality. Speaking on her appointment, Andy Speak, Chief HR Officer of Coats said, “Valerie’s broad range of experience and base in Singapore ideally position her to provide HR leadership to the Asia management team, and to lead and mentor the Asia HR team.”

Bloomberg has announced the appointment of Hayden Majajas as Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Asia-Pacific. In his new post, Majajas will be working alongside Erika Irish Brown, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, and Pamela Hutchinson, Head of Diversity and Inclusion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will help to lead the company’s global diversity and inclusion initiatives, and serve as a thought partner on the strategy and vision of the region. Based in Singapore, Majajas brings with him 12 years of experience in managing diversity and inclusion within a range of firms, from both the legal and financial services sectors. He previously led the diversity and inclusion teams at Lehman Brothers, Nomura and UBS. More recently, he served as the Diversity and Inclusion Director at energy giant BP. Majajas’ work has been recognised by several global organisations including the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore, and the International Alliance for Women which presented him with a World Difference Award in 2015. “Bloomberg’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is a broad-based global business imperative,” said Bloomberg Chairman Peter Grauer. “We’re focused on attracting, retaining and developing the best people globally to ensure that we outperform in all we do. We are very excited by the addition of Majajas to our global diversity and inclusion team.”

MediaCom China has appointed Edie Xie as its Head of Talent. Her key responsibilities comprise of the development and drive of innovative initiatives and solutions through areas like talent attraction, development and engagement. She will also help to boost learning and development programmes with a focus on leadership to improve the career progression of MediaCom’s talent. Based in Shanghai, she will work together with the local management team to identify emerging talent and to develop attraction and retention plans in China. “Being part of the MediaCom family is such an amazing opportunity. My passion is people, and in MediaCom, I have found my counterpart,” Xie said. “I am looking forward to working with the team to continue to drive our talent agenda forward. The team has a clear vision which I am thrilled to be a part of.” Her new role will see her report directly to Rupert McPetrie, CEO of MediaCom China, while working closely with Anna Zhang, Chief Talent Officer, GroupM. Speaking on her appointment, McPetrie said, “We are extremely excited to have Edie join our team as our Head of Talent. “She has a unique energy and experience that will bolster our leadership team and people initiatives within our market. Edie’s hire is a key appointment and one that shows how focused we are on talent development, engagement and recruitment.”

HR Director, Asia, Industrial, Coats

Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Asia-Pacific, Bloomberg

Head of Talent, MediaCom China

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ABOVE AND BEYOND More companies are looking to customise their corporate events in an effort to create a good impression. HRM finds out the ‘do’s and ‘don’t’ s of executing the perfect event

Naadiah Badib

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lanning a corporate event can be a tricky endeavour in terms of ensuring that all details – from food to location – are covered. The perfect event also takes a hefty amount of time, planning and effort in order to be executed seamlessly. In the past year, organisations have hosted an increasing number of business events. According to a survey by Unique Venues of London, 47% of the city’s venues polled witnessed a rise in dining events and reception enquiries over 2015.


Singapore Pree Holdings Beer Pong Party @ IndoChine

Tipi Walkway @ Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Ninety-four percent also reported a positive outlook for 2016. Of this group, 86% predicted an overall increase in event revenue for this year. Companies in the UK are also believed to be raising budgets in an effort to pull off a successful business event. A survey by the International Special Events Society revealed that these firms spend more than a billion pounds a year (S$1.93 billion) just on corporate events. In Singapore, companies are now striving to keep track of the changing demands in the market. Julie Yeong, Director of Sales, at Wildlife Reserves Singapore says organisations are on the constant lookout

for new ideas and innovative proposals. “They want to be different from their peers and make each event memorable,” she says. A trend that has been prevalent is the customisation of corporate events. This allows firms to meet their specific goals and objectives, she noted. Customisation can translate to conveying key messages to staff, team building and incentives. Choo Yew Meng, Marketing Manager at IndoChine, agrees that firms are in search of how to make their event stand out from the rest. This is mainly because companies want to keep up to the standards of professionals who travel frequently, and who attend many different events for their work. It is also seen as an effective method to leave a deep impression on clients.

Common customisations The right theme acts as an integral tool to set the tone for corporate events. During the planning process, themes can be used to drive decisions about venues, menu selections, messaging, music and entertainment. This was one point Choo stressed upon. Product launches and, dinner and dance programmes, are some events that would typically require some form of customisation, Choo says. On the other hand, Yeong explains that larger events are also often customised. This is especially so for events attended

How do you source for venues? According to a survey entitled, “The Future of Meeting Space: Meet the Millennials”, the top sourcing channels when picking a venue for corporate events are: • Online sourcing tool: 38% • Search engine: 31% • Peer recommendations: 14% • Direct to venue: 14% • Other: 3% by representatives from different regions. Event organisers are then able to showcase their capabilities and will aim to live up to the potential of the destination or location.

Services offered Wildlife Singapore has a strong emphasis on putting its clients’ needs first. The team pays close attention to minute details and listens carefully to instructions. “We are all ears when it comes to hearing from our clients on their needs,” Yeong explains. “We customise our proposals to their needs, offering suggestions and various options for consideration. “Every event is unique on its own.” Given its name, Wildlife Singapore has a unique twist on offer when compared to a traditional event venue. “Here at our parks, we are able to ensure ISSUE 16.4


MICE Is event planning taking a toll on employees? In the run up to a particular event, a quarter of event planners have reported feeling anxious, a survey by QHotels revealed. As a result, more than 70% lose out on sleep the night before the big day. Not having the time to exercise was listed as another circumstance that 53% of the survey respondents faced. Despite feeling tired or stressed, this group admitted to “powering through” when organising events. In addition, the survey found that 98% of event professionals need more time after an event for their bodies to recover. For 48% of them, it would take at least two days to recuperate.

Art Stage Singapore @ IndoChine our venues provide a unique alternative to the usual ballrooms in the hotels and city areas,” she says. “We look towards providing tailored and memorable solutions for a range of events to suit the needs of our corporate clients and their families.” IndoChine aims to offer a “one-stop shop” for its corporate clients. Choo says the firm not only customises the food and beverage options but also goes the extra mile to help coordinate the programmes. If necessary, it will even provide additional set ups. “As the organisers probably have other things to look into during the event, this helps to lighten the load of the customers,” Choo says. Planning the event can also act as a platform for firms to leverage on their expertise and learn from each other. “Since we have been organising so many events, we can share our expertise and ideas with our customers,” he adds.

Top blunders Whether an individual is new to event management or experienced in the field, mistakes can easily happen in the planning and production processes. Companies that are hosting their first event would typically be unaware to the amount of work that goes into their creation. Yet, those well-versed would have gotten to where they are along the same error-strewn road. Events are commonly damaged by cost overruns, poor scheduling and customer dissatisfaction. These could be due to a wide range of aspects related to planning, communication and resource allocation. Based on previous events experiences, Yeong indicated budget was a top issue that most firms faced. “Customising corporate events in most cases, does come with a price,” she says. Apart from budget, considering the event’s objectives and the profile of attendees is equally important.

Amazon Flooded Forest @ Wildlife Reserves Singapore 46 ISSUE 16.4


“We can’t be putting up a ‘black tie’ event at an outdoor venue without investing in an enclosed marquee with cooling units,” she explains. Instead of customising events accordingly to plan, Choo says some firms can go off track. “They prefer to follow the trends,” he shares. “Hence, many corporate customers are willing to try things that are too different which may eventually leave a deeper, negative impression with their customers.” These issues have caused some companies to cancel their events at the last minute. A survey by specialist event insurance provider Expo-Sure showed that more than 40% of UK event organisers had to cancel a business event because of circumstances that were beyond their control. Of these, 66% were forced to cancel a week or less before the event was due to be held. This includes 20% of organisers who were forced to cancel their event on the day itself. To counter these issues, three main factors: budget, target audience and purpose need to be taken into consideration, as Yeong says. One specific example was to prepare even for a rare pool of attendees. “If the group is made up of elderly guests, then special logistics arrangements need to be made to facilitate their movement,” she says. Minute details also need to be thought through in an effort to make these professionals feel included.


6.30 AM My day can’t begin until I’ve had cuddles with my two children and at least two cups of coffee. I load up my bike with clothes for work and enjoy the ride along East Coast Park.

9.00 AM

Nadine MacDonald Senior HR Manager, Microsoft

Leadership team meetings or Skype calls start the day: sharing upcoming initiatives, strategy and execution plans or rhythm of business discussions. Sometimes I start a Skype call on my bike if it’s early. I am grateful for the flexibility and mobility that cloud technology offers.

11.00 AM Mid-morning is usually about one-to-one discussions with

my leaders where we will review the health of their teams, succession planning, career development and general coaching. Meeting with internal and external talent is woven through the day to progress our strategic commitment to a strong mix of diverse talent. Meeting with customers or presenting externally is also a valued experience.

week to think and progress a local or global project, culture or transformation work, in line with the global HR priorities.

12.00 PM

7.00 PM

Lunch time. I can’t go wrong with Mala Chicken from Asian Kitchen with my colleagues, who are fun, brilliant and ridiculously talented.

Finally, my two beautiful children are in their rooms for quiet time, lullabies and lights out. Sometimes I’ll jump back on my laptop for work or global Skype calls, but often it’s just relaxing with a book or Netflix before an early investment in sleep.

2.00 PM I carve out at least 12 hours a

6.00 PM I head home again on my bike, listen to a great Spotify soundtrack and enjoy the downtime and calmness that being disconnected from my precious devices allows.

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IN PERSON KRISHNAN SREEKANTH Regional Learning and Development Manager, Fuji Xerox Asia-Pacific

How many years of HR experience?

I have been both in the Learning and Development and recruitment side of HR, spanning across retail and technology, for a good four years now.

Why HR?

I started my career as an engineer with an information technology giant. My transition to HR happened when one of the heads of learning and development for one of my business units asked if I had considered a career in HR, and it got me thinking. I made the switch to HR as I found myself to be a people-oriented person and I was presented with the opportunity to work to this strength. I must admit, it has been the best decision in my career to date.

Why Fuji Xerox?

I joined Fuji Xerox in 2014, when I was offered an opportunity to work in one of its growing business units. The role was exciting for several reasons, including the scope, the opportunity to work with a global brand, the learning curve, and also the opportunity to learn from (and work with) several business leaders and mentors.

Biggest achievement?

Being in a position where I am able to help people both at work and outside, and making a difference in their lives.

After hours?

My daily exercise routine consists of an hour of weight training and cycling. I also enjoy jamming or organising photography walks with friends and colleagues.


When time permits, my wife Priyanka and I like to travel or try something new that catches our fancy.

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Delivering high performance through rewards A

rmstrong’s Handbook of Reward Management Practice truly bridges the gap between HR academics and practitioners. This handbook provides an extensive guidance on how to use reward processes to improve organisational, team, and individual performances. This fifth edition entails new chapters of research conducted on e-rewards, case studies of international companies, and updated reward system suggestions. Comprising of six main parts, the book revolves around key theories and best practices on rewarding to boost employee performance. It is also based on lessons learned from academic research, reward surveys, and case studies. Some of the areas that these topics cover are: base pay management, rewards for special groups, and employee benefits. The concept is simple: rewards deliver performance. To make the theme work, author Micheal Armstrong provides plenty of straight-forward guidance. For instance, a handful of chapters end with a tip sheet, and its processes are divided into different parts for readers to grasp the information easily. The book is also equipped with exemplary graphics, models and surveys which can be viewed as a practical guidance on designing rewards for all levels of employees as well as for teams and the wider organisation.

Title: Armstrong’s Handbook of Reward Management Practice Author: Micheal Armstrong Publisher: Kogan Page Price: S$120.35 (After GST)


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DBS: Cultivating entrepreneurial minds

DBS employee, Charmaine Chee and co-founder of Cinch, presents at Demo Day

As banks increasingly shift towards digital functions, DBS is looking to build a steady pipeline of young talent who can engage in innovative solutions to the issues of tomorrow. HRM finds out more


eal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer for DBS, says there are valuable lessons to be learned from being an entrepreneur that can’t be learned from textbooks. These lead to skills and traits such as decisionmaking, teamwork, risk-taking, and adapting to changes and uncertainty. “All of these qualities will make students more relevant to the realworld work environment,” says Cross. “That’s what we really want to achieve. We want to instill these qualities in youth so they can rapidly adjust to the changing world, and compete globally.” With DBS increasingly espousing the importance of fostering talent 50 ISSUE 16.4


that has been sharpened with an entrepreneurial mindset, what better way to cultivating this culture than an internship specifically dedicated to honing this very craft? Enter: the DBS “UNI.CORN” internship.

Real-world context According to Cross, the UNI.CORN internship focuses on two key imperatives: identifying and developing talent with an entrepreneurial mindset, and providing training in innovative problem-solving methodologies. “This is one of the key focus areas for DBS as we want to grow Singapore’s start-up ecosystem – this will ultimately

Sham Majid

benefit Singapore’s economy in the long run,” he explains. “Students in the programme will be given real world problems and expected to be hands-on in working towards viable solutions, similar to how a startup team would think and work.” For example, interns could be asked to identify new banking solutions in banking that could pave the way to a new business or design of a new system, service or application. Traits required by students include the ability to utilise their creativity in business and marketing, as well as design and coding skills. “This is different from our other graduate development programmes and

internships where they are typically assigned to specific departments and functions within the bank,” Cross stresses. “UNI.CORN interns will not be assigned business-as-usual tasks.” During the 12-week programme, the DBS Innovation Group will train the students in human-centered design and lean startup methods. “(The internship) culminates in a final presentation and prototype that addresses the problem statement posed by the challenge,” he says. Cross explains the DBS Innovation Group, as well as challenge sponsors such as the DBS consumer banking business, will mentor the interns.

Serving business needs Cross explains that with students attaining problem solving experience within a corporate banking environment, DBS hopes students will experiment, and most importantly, learn to not be afraid to fail. “Despite working within DBS, these interns will be granted opportunities to come up with new ideas for the banking sector,” he says. “This could range from creating a brand new service that none of the banks offer today, to transforming the way banks interact with customers.” Cross also says DBS is looking at how it can transform the banking industry culture and the way banks operate. “We want to be open to new ideas and be bold in learning, experimenting and failing as we create better banking products for the future,” he says. “While every bank is trying to innovate, we believe that working with future talent, people who are bright, young and hungry, will help us accelerate how we re-imagine banking and ensure that DBS and the industry as a whole remains relevant to the needs of its customers.”

Emulating past successes The DBS “UNI.CORN” internship follows on from the success of DBS’ HotSpot Pre-accelerator programme which the bank unveiled to promote start-up innovation in Singapore. According to the bank, one of the successful teams coming out from the HotSpot programme was Travez, a one-stop travel platform that offers travel “genies” to plan their customers’ travel needs. The startup was founded by students who had been interning at DBS, working on innovation projects within the bank.

“By fostering innovative thinking, we want to create a workforce and a generation of talent that possesses advanced skills, entrepreneurial thinking and resilience,” he explains. “This will create work-ready individuals who are not only technology-savvy, but possess strong business acumen and technical skills to advance Singapore’s startup and financial technology community.” “This is just the start; the hope is that we will see more smart businesses

and leaders emerging from our programme, who can lead the charge to position Singapore as a global business and technology hub.” Cross says the internship is just one strategy that DBS is using to contribute to Singapore’s innovation culture. The organisation also has its own preaccelerator programme, DBS HotSpot, as well as other initiatives such as the well-known DBS Hackathons. “In DBS HotSpot, we seek to bring a start-up and entrepreneurial mentality into DBS through encouragement of cross-learning between our staff and entrepreneurs,” he explains. “From what we’ve observed, the exchange of ideas has been fantastic and is helping us to open up collaboration within DBS and to contribute to Singapore’s innovation drive,” he says. “These students will bring fresh perspectives to the business, thereby fostering a culture of co-creation within the bank. While the students will be gaining knowledge from us, we also want to listen and learn from the new ideas that they bring into the bank.” In addition, Cross states the bank can potentially leverage DBS UNI.CORN as a recruitment platform for its graduate development programmes.

A robust startup ecosystem Cross says the startup community has become an increasingly more significant part of Singapore’s growth and sustainability. It has been responsible for new technologies, systems and services that contribute to Singapore’s economy.

The DBS Innovation Group team at the HotSpot 2015 Pre-Accelerator Demo Day in December ISSUE 16.4




Driving the human capital agenda The recent launch of SkillsFuture has been perhaps the most telling sign that Singapore is dedicated to developing the country’s human capital. This, among other topics was vigorously debated and discussed at the first-ever Inter-Tertiary HR Symposium. HRM the event’s official media partner, finds out more


uman capital was the order of the day on February 27 at the inaugural Inter-Tertiary HR Symposium (IHRS) 2016, at Singapore Management University (SMU). Organised by SMU’s Organisational Behaviour and HR Society, the event comprised of three plenary sessions. The topics were: Attracting the Best Talent and Developing Them for Tomorrow, Driving Performance in an Organisation with a Total Rewards Strategy, and Enhancing Human Capital to Strategically Drive the Business Forward. Students and guests were treated to some insightful panel discussions and dialogues, based on a wide variety of topics by well-known senior HR figures.

HR conversations The first session, featuring the likes of Foo Chek Wee, Group HR Director, Zalora, and Latasha Gillespie, HR Director, Caterpillar, as panelists, shared some of the main talent acquisition challenges facing organisations today. The participants shared how organisations could stay ahead of the competition in this aspect of HR. Panelists also highlighted some of the global trends businesses should take note of when hiring talent from a cultural perspective, and were asked on how diversity affects talent acquisition and whether there was a business case for it. The second session kicked off with a discussion as to what encompassed total rewards in today’s context. Panelists, including Ng Khian Khar, Director (Group Awards), Singtel and Fermin Diez, Deputy CEO of the National Council of Social Service, shared some of the emerging and widely-used systems to drive performance and engagement

The keynote session discussed ways in which organisations could enhance their human capital to drive value in organisations. In addition, panelists also elaborated on how total rewards can be crafted to drive different behaviours over the short and long-term. The most important session focused on people strategy and HR analytics, with Low Peck Kem, Chief HR Officer, Public Service Division, being the key keynote speaker. Low shared valuable insights such as the Public Service’s approach towards talent development and how her organisation has changed its stance on human capital with the rise of Generation Y employees.

Not just mindshare, but “heartshare” too In an exclusive interview with HRM on the sidelines of the event, Low said with Singapore being a very small country, human capital was the country’s only resource. “At the national level, there are a lot of efforts being put in to look at where we need to invest in to optimise whatever limited resources that we have,” she says. “At the national level, there is also a sectorial manpower programme plan that has been put in place.”

Low says she sits in the HR sectorial tripartite committee where unions, employers, and the government come together to seriously look at where to invest in terms of human capital and HR. “Evidently, HR is playing a very key role in being that catalyst of change in any organisation,” she said. “Eventually, you will achieve greater results if you can win not just mindshare, but ‘heartshare’ too. If people are committed and if the organisation is able to get that passion out of people, the organisation is then able to better achieve those kinds of results.” Low also says every HR Director should be making sure they develop their human capital to be more resilient, and to provide the workforce with skills and capabilities to meet not just current needs, but to really prepare them for future requirements. “That’s where things like SkillsFuture come in very handy,” she explains, giving her own career trajectory as an example. “I started off as an engineer, before moving into manufacturing, and then eventually into HR. When the opportunities are there, organisations must think about how they want to grow and develop their people.”

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HR FROM THE CLASSROOM Every month, HRM speaks to a young university talent hoping to carve out a career in HR upon graduation

What attracted you to HR? Why are you studying it? Since I was young, I have found joy and satisfaction in getting to know people and understanding how each individual behaves uniquely. It is interesting to note the juxtaposition of one person’s behaviour from another. As a diploma graduate in HR management with psychology, my interest was further spurred as I got to learn the theoretical and practical aspects of HR. Opportunities to work in a recruitment consultancy firm and then as a talent acquisition intern in another organisation made this more apparent. These experiences helped me realise my passion in talking to new people every day and consistently looking at things from a different perspective. Presently, taking up Organizational Behaviour and HR as a further major at Singapore Management University has affirmed my decision to pursue a future career in HR.

What aspect of HR do you hope to specialise in upon graduation? I am particularly interested to be part of a Talent Acquisition team upon graduation. Before we can develop and retain employees within an organisation, the most important thing is to find the right candidate with the right fit. It is no longer enough to be skilled in sourcing for candidates and adhering to compliance and hiring standards. One also needs to be adept in employment branding practices and corporate hiring initiatives. With proper implementation, talent acquisition teams allow their organisation to send a well thought out and effective

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corporate message in its hiring and talent development practices.

What three things do you want from your HR career? Firstly, I wish to have the ability and chance to change lives. I believe a great HR professional can have a profoundly positive impact on people. The daily duties of the job make employee welfare and happiness a matter of professional responsibility. Secondly, as I continue to grow in the HR profession, I would like to mentor junior staff as well as aspiring HR hires. Thirdly, I wish to go beyond my comfort zone and be engaged in different aspects of the HR function.

What challenges do you anticipate? As more and more businesses are going global, keeping the right people in the right places at the right times is getting difficult. HR professionals will need to hire the right candidate, one that fits into the values and culture of the organisation. Failure to do so will exponentially drive up attrition rates and consequently increase rehiring and retraining costs.

Your HR career five years from now? I will work towards becoming a specialist within an organisation’s talent acquisition team before moving on to the rest of the HR function to obtain a more holistic view. Within my first five years, I would like to constantly challenge myself to change with the organisation, expose myself to different projects, and widen my network.

Hobbies or inspirations? I am a ballroom dancer and like to

Koh May Lin Third-year business student, First Major in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University dance both leisurely and competitively. I also like travelling as it increases my exposure to the world while broadening my knowledge outside of school. I will be going to Manila this summer for an internship with Unilever, and then heading to Rome for my overseas exchange programme straight after my return! I am also a strong believer in giving back to society. Small efforts count, and if everyone can do a little good for someone else, the world will be a better place.

The marriage of HR and marketing By Koh May Lin


raditionally speaking, the HR and marketing departments usually have minimal interactions with each other. While the HR department tends to place its focus on hiring new candidates and thinking of initiatives to retain and engage current employees, the marketing department on the other hand will focus predominantly on better understanding the behaviours of consumers and the shifts in their preferences. With the increasing usage of technology and social media, more companies have gone a step further in combining these two functions under the direction of one leader so as to align it to the overall company’s goals. In the increasingly competitive business environment, companies are being pressed to attract the best talent. It all starts with the value proposition that a company offers for its future employees.

Building a compelling and effective employer brand In today’s highly competitive job market, having the ability to attract and retain the best talent is key for any organisation. One crucial aspect they cannot afford to lose focus on is employer branding. This is imperative for an organisation as it strengthens its relationships with both existing and potential employees through intangible factors such as image and culture. According to Forbes, forward-looking companies are well aware that talented individuals are looking for not only a job that pays the bills, but also one that provides them with a well-rounded and holistic experience. With this in mind, companies are carefully orchestrating their workplaces so as to convert those

expectations into real experiences on the job. Many companies are now applying the philosophy that there is value in creating memorable customer experiences to HR, and working to keep their own employees engaged and happy. With marketing professionals now becoming part of the wider HR team, they can play a valuable role, applying marketing strategies to better understand the needs of employees and addressing them in the most effective way. On the other hand, marketing the company as an “experience” could also add to the competitive advantage that it has over its rivals. As such, the HR function should seek this opportunity to apply customer segmentation techniques in delivering value to targeted employee groups, by developing employee value propositions (EPVs) that are catered to the different needs and wants of different staff groups.

To create an effective employer brand It is now common for businesses to have a strong online presence. With the rise of technology, it is important for companies to leverage this presence to set themselves apart from their competitors, or to at least keep up with them. Using such platforms can help to build strong relationships with customers and potential customers. We can now see that such tools can also be used in the realm of talent attraction. By integrating HR and marketing strategies, a company will be able to build an effective employer brand that will attract top talent to the organisation. With the rise of social media, employers can also give a glimpse of the company’s working culture to jobseekers, by

promoting the experiences of current employees themselves. The growth of technology has broadened the outreach capabilities of organisations, whether it is through the existing company website and social media accounts, or by setting up new career-focused websites and social media pages. This has opened up possibilities for employers to source the best candidates available to them and to make significant changes to the way that employers communicate with their talent pool. Building a great employer brand can make a world of difference when it comes to hiring. After all, job seekers are more likely to want to work for an organisation which successfully promotes itself as being supportive of its employees and having a constructive and enjoyable work environment.

Conclusion Despite the benefits, it is important for companies to align what is being promoted and the actual experience that it provides internally. Companies that do not manage this effectively run the risk of damaging their reputation. Employees who have left the company might spread bad messages around, and as we all know, such personal experiences have the ability to severely affect a company’s image. The information age has accelerated the organisation in its speed of learning and it is important to adapt to these changes to reap the benefits effectively. With the HR and marketing functions having the ability to bring about great benefits for organisations, it will be important for companies to start leveraging these synergies to bring more success for the business.

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Amid the manpower crunch businesses face today, Pezzo Singapore resorts to the rare talent pool and strives to train employees to the best of their abilities

Naadiah Badib

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izzas are a popular dining choice for parties given their size and how easily they can be shared amongst a large group of people. However, the cravings can also hit an individual when they are alone. This person would require an unusually big appetite to finish an entire pizza. Sadly, this was the case for many Singaporeans three years ago. It prompted Chiang Zhan Xiang, founder of Pezzo, to come up with the idea for the

unique pizza outlet. “We saw a gap in the market and realised that there was a great demand for pizza by the slice,” he shares. Despite the many big players in Singapore, including Pizza Hut and Domino’s, Chiang was determined to venture into the industry with a fresh concept. At these kiosk-format outlets, customers are given the opportunity to purchase pizza by the slice. There is no need to worry about what to do with a full pan serving.


Two-way street Both employees and the management team at pizza retail firm Pezzo believe strongly in an open door policy that can help to foster communication. “We have a flat hierarchy and our leaders try their best to make themselves available whenever their attendance is required,” Chiang Zhan Xiang, Founder of Pezzo, shares. Employees are also encouraged to approach their managers to discuss development opportunities, as the firm values continuous improvement. “A certain degree of autonomy is given to our employees as well,” he adds. “With freedom to explore and propose the best way of getting things done, we foster a greater sense of responsibility and job satisfaction.”

They are also free to choose their own toppings and how much of each are used. Seizing this opportunity, Pezzo set off to provide slices to the masses.

Tapping on rare talent pools Despite having nearly 200 staff under the Pezzo wing, Chiang says the lack of manpower has been a pressing issue. Since its foundation, the company has had a rough time recruiting locals in particular. The tightening of the foreign

labour restrictions added further weight to the talent crunch. To overcome this issue, Chiang looked into flexible working arrangements. “Leveraging on the part-time talent pool is the way forward,” he explains. “There is a big pool of students and housewives who are seeking part-time employment opportunities to earn some extra income during their free time. “To cater to this pool of potential ‘pezzorians’, we redesigned our job timing to provide greater flexibility to meet their needs and availability.” However, Chiang later realised that bringing in the younger generation to meet labour needs was not necessarily the best move. This was because the majority of them did not perceive the food and beverage sector as a long-term career opportunity. Pezzo’s recruitment strategies have since diverted to target the older workforce more predominantly. Although there were initial doubts about this demographic’s ability to perform, the strategy has proven to be a turning point. Frequent training sessions and guidance were offered as part of a larger effort to polish these recruits’ skills in the respective departments. “They have proven themselves to be equally capable and committed,” Chiang shares.

Expanding footprints Since it first started in late 2012, the firm has grown to have 26 branches in Singapore, 44 in Malaysia and one in China. Upon setting foot in each of these countries, there were two key challenges faced. One of them was the search for talents, which was still underlined as a concern even across borders. Although there were already kiosk operators in Malaysia and China, Pezzo’s products and its operational methods were entirely new. “It was extremely difficult to find talents with the same skillsets and expertise we hope to get,” Chiang says. Using the same principal as when Pezzo first started in Singapore, Chiang aimed to develop fresh unskilled applicants into trained specialists. The firm puts a strong emphasis on training and mentoring sessions to mould

staff into the best workers they can be. Cultural diversity was another challenge faced. Working with people of different cultural backgrounds was difficult due to the gaps in working style and methods of communication. To minimise the impact of this, Pezzo focused on creating an inclusive work environment where everyone remains free to express themselves and share ideas. “Our leaders are also reminded to value and respect the contributions of their teams, and provide coaching and mentoring whenever possible,” Chiang says.

Treating employees right Employee engagement is strongly valued at Pezzo. Every year, a Pezzorian Engagement Survey is conducted so the business can understand its employees’ engagement levels. It aims to provide insights into any engagement gaps and to pave the way for managers to develop improved action plans. The firm also holds HR meetings with outlet supervisors to understand their issues and address any concerns. “This initiative provides the opportunity for them to voice out and for us to hear from them directly, allowing better communication and transparency,” Chiang explains. The first Friday of March is set aside for “Pezzo’s Appreciation Day” every year. “We marked this day to remember and show our appreciation to Pezzorians for their dedication and hard work,” he says. The management team writes a personal ‘thank you’ note to Pezzorians and these are given out with a small token of appreciation, which can range from a surprise lunch to gifts of perfume. Pezzo further places a strong focus on employees’ career progression. Regular meetings are held by managers to understand and plan out the development path of each of their staff. One particular employee that benefitted from this system was the previous administration manager in Singapore. She was looking to take on an entirely different role and was trained as a franchise manager last year. In addition to frequent discussions, she was given mentorship and support from the Head of Franchise as well as Pezzo’s directors. ISSUE 16.4


AHRDSPEAKS Delivering holistic HR “H

R folks have great ideas but seldom deliver”. I am quite sure many operational and business leaders will agree with this quote from a senior executive. Being a member of the HR profession, I have some misgivings with the statement. But, it is worth giving thought as to why some in business have this perception. We all hear a lot on talent-related subjects. HR practitioners would have especially encountered new HR ideas relating to talent management, whether it is a new and exciting tool, or a wonderful overarching framework that endeavours to address the specific talent-related issues faced by companies. As the war for talent intensifies, companies might be tempted or pressured to adopt one of

these strategies or talent management frameworks in the hope that it will provide winning talent solutions. The problem is, most probably, these are not the panaceas to your talent needs. You might have heard stories of high-profile talent management projects that promise theoretically superb ideas but are short on concrete deliverables, rendering a proverbial white elephant that is expensive and ineffectual. For a talent strategy to work, a holistic HR approach is crucial . It should link various aspects of the HR function together. I personally make it a point to first create an environment that supports the talent strategy. Each critical aspect of the HR function is designed to play a part in supporting

the talent strategy, and the result is a holistic approach that addresses a range of needs (of the talent as well as the company). For example, talent is sourced both internally and externally, using various platforms. Thereafter, high potentials are identified through a systematic process. The treatment of a high potential involves remunerating them at competitive market levels. Performance indicators tied to bonuses are used to spur higher performance. While monetary rewards are taken care of, the high potential talent is also being placed on an accelerated career track and given exposure to other areas of the organisation. All these show that the company is serious in its investment in human capital and helps in its succession planning.

Opportunities for Life

Douglas Tan Ying Piao Group HR Director at Vicplas International

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

HR Manager

Learning & Development Executive

• Local Role • Full spectrum HR

• Reputable organization • Full Learning & Development Scope

Our client is a local listed company in the chemical sector. They are looking to hire a HR Manager for their Singapore office.

Our client, a reputable organization in the Hospitality & Travel Sector is currently seeking a Learning & Development Executive.

The successful candidate will report to the HR Director and support the Singapore plant (500 employees) with the assistance of 6 direct reports. Key aspects to the role will be to provide operational HR services and solutions to support the business. You will be required to lead in recruitment efforts, establish a fair & competitive compensation system, manage the performance evaluation system, administer & review employee benefits, plan & administer training activities and liaise with business leaders to develop and implement HR strategies. You will also be required to oversee payroll and ad hoc projects.

You will need to identify the Learning, Training and Developmental needs of the organization with a special focus on the marketing division. This will include selecting appropriate training courses specific to the skills needed and improvising the competency developmental framework together with external training sources. You will need to work closely with the HR team and the relevant business units to develop and evaluate learning initiatives and to ensure competitiveness of the learning curriculum. You must also be aware of the current learning technologies and innovative learning solutions and best practices. One of your key responsibilities would include the management of the L&D Budget.

The successful candidate must have a degree in HRM from a recognized university and an experienced HR professional ideally with 10+ years HR experience including a minimum of 3 years in a managerial role. You possess an extremely operational, handson and tactical approach as well as the ability to think strategically when dealing with senior business leaders. With a good understanding of local labor law, you have good knowledge of good HR practices and broad exposure to handling HR issues.

You would possess a degree from a recognized university with 3-5 years of relevant L&D experience and some prior experience in Marketing would be advantageous. You must be familiar with L&D needs analysis and have some working knowledge on competency development framework. Excellent communication (verbal & written), stakeholder engagement, interpersonal and analytical skills would be ideal.

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

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Grace D’Castro at

EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467

EA Personnel Registration No. R1108252

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$13 billion 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. Winner, The Executive Search Company of the Year 2015 and for the second year running, The HR Recruitment Company of the Year 2015. SINGAPORE VIETNAM INDIA INDONESIA MALAYSIA PHILIPPINES THAILAND CHINA HONG KONG TAIWAN JAPAN

58 ISSUE 16.4



Senior HR Manager

Cluster HRBP

Site HR Manager

› Global company in the medical devices industry › Reports to Global HR Leader based in Singapore

› Global UK MNC › Business Transformation focus

› Leading MNC in the manufacturing industry › Operational and leadership role

A Leading Chemical services organisation, this company has a 100 year old history excelling in their services across the world with a large presence in Asia for over 50 years.

Our client is a MNC with global presence seeking for an experienced HR manager to join them in the Singapore facility.

Partnering the global business leaders, this role will oversee the HR strategy and operations across the region and will also be the single point of contact for the Regional Office HR operational issues. In addition to daily operational HR responsibilities, the successful applicant can look forward to leading the design and implementation of innovative HR strategies and projects to meet the Organization’s changing needs to drive business transformation. Degree qualified with a minimum of 10 years relevant experience ideally in MNCs. You have project management experience. Ideally, you will have proven success in strategic initiatives planning and execution across multiple geographies. You are hands on, self motivated and flexible operating in a fast paced environment, and possess strong communication as well as influencing skills. Reference number: JO/JD53154 Contact person: Niharika Chaturvedi (Registration Number R1104291)

You will be responsible for working closely with the MD for Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam for implementing and executing organisation transformation strategy from scratch. You would be partnering with senior management to uncover organisation issues and come up with strategic solutions for the long-term. Degree qualified, you have minimum 15 years relevant experience in HR business partnering capacity within MNC with a strong experience in Singapore and regional countries. Demonstrated ability in senior stakeholder management and dealing with transformational issues across countries. Those with change management, merger & acquisition HR related experience and strong project management skills are preferred. You are a hands-on leader with influencing skills, and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Reference number: NC/JD 53350 Contact person: Niharika Chaturvedi (Registration Number R1104291)

Reporting to Regional HR Director, the successful candidate will support functional areas of human resources and serve as a strategic and tactical business partner to all organizations and employees in Singapore. You will also work closely with the South East Asia HR head to implement global and APAC initiatives. You will have at least 5 years of HR experience, preferably in MNCs and in the manufacturing industry. You will have strong experience across the full spectrum of HR with good stakeholder management skills. You will be involved in developing a positive organizational culture and implementing programs for employees. You are hands on, results driven and resourceful working in a fast-paced environment.


Reporting to the Vice President, Human Resource & Coaching, The Senior Human Resources Manager (HRM) is primarily accountable for managing the Corporate HR Function and driving / executing the global people strategy.

Reference number: JO/JD53090 Contact person: Jennifer ONG (Registration Number R1324297)

Your Human Resources recruitment specialists To apply, please go to and search for respective reference number. For a confidential discussion, you can contact Maureen Ho for the relevant position in our Singapore Office on +65 6511 8555 

Talent2 Singapore Pte Ltd. Company Reg. No. 200909448N EA Licence No. 10C4544

An Allegis Group Company


Talent Management Manager

Regional Head of HR

Regional C&B Director, ASEAN

› Opportunity to be a team lead › Strong visibility to the business

› Part of senior leadership team › Highly strategic and business-centric position

› Opportunity to be a team lead › Visibility to senior management

Our client is a global multinational corporation in the manufacturing business with a strong footprint across South East Asia and they are currently looking to expand their businesses across the region. Reporting directly to the Head of HR, you will drive the talent management initiatives for the different business units within the organisation. You will partner with the business to advise them on leadership succession planning, high-potential talent development and performance management initiatives. Applicants should have at least 5 years of talent development experience in a dynamic and fastpaced environment.

Our client is a renowned FMCG brand with aggressive plans to expand further into the region. This position sits at the helm of the HR hierarchy and the successful candidate will partner closely with senior leadership members, providing advisory and strategy from a human capital perspective that will assist the business in their expansion and growth plans. The incumbent will focus on organisational transformation that will help boost collaboration and synergy across all teams and on executive coaching in order to grow a streamlined leadership team with a common direction and goal.

A rare opportunity to join a well-known FMCG organisation based in Singapore. Reporting to the global rewards head, based in London, you will guide ASEAN business leaders in developing and implementing compensation strategies. Leading a team of 6, you will lead annual salary reviews and develop compensation plans that are equitable, competitive, and will encourage employee retention. Ideally you should have at least 15 years of experience in C&B / team management. Strong foundation of ASEAN compensation practices, legislations and trends is highly advantageous. You are also a proven leader, an effective communicator and have worked closely with senior management.

Please contact Eugene Wong (Reg. no: 1331128) quoting ref: 3201580 or visit our website.

Please contact Sheldon Toh (Reg. no: 1438671) quoting ref: 3188960 or visit our website.

Please contact Sean Tong (Reg. no: 1110029) quoting ref: 3192140 or visit our website.

To apply for any of the above positions, please go to and search for the reference number, or contact the relevant consultant on +65 6533 2777 for a confidential discussion.

Human Resources

Get Connected. Stay Ahead.

Specialists in human resources recruitment

15867 | Michael Page International Pte Ltd (EA Licence No.98C5473) is part of the PageGroup. Registered Office: One Raffles Place, #09-61 Office Tower Two, Singapore 048616


15867-AC_SG_HRM_1604.indd 1

14/3/2016 1:08:20 PM

ISSUE 16.3


Headquartered in Singapore since 2003, Kerry Consulting is Singapore’s leading Search & Selection firm. Our consulting team is the most experienced, and amongst the largest, in the ASEAN region.

We offer positions in the following sectors: Banking & Financial Services Commerce Finance

Energy & Commodities

Engineering & Supply Chain Healthcare & Life Sciences Human Resources Legal

Sales & Marketing Technology

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HRMASIA.COM | Returning the Human to Resourcing

HR Manager, Singapore (Luxury Retail) Global Brand Luxury Industry Career Development Opportunities This leading global luxury conglomerate, which has multiple brands under its name, is now seeking a dynamic Assistant/HR Manager to join its team. Reporting to the Senior HR Manager based in Singapore, you will be responsible for the full spectrum of HR. In addition, you will support various business units in the areas of HR business partnering, expatriate management, and employee relations. On top of that, you will work closely with C&B and L&D specialists to improve overall HR processes and policies. Ideally, you will have at least 5 years of HR generalist experience and have worked in the hospitality/retail or FMCG industry. A strong interpersonal skills set and the ability to work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment is important. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and reference number JS9830. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No: R1107886

Regional HRBP (with a focus on C&B), Global Chemicals Organisation SGX Listed Organisation Senior HR Leadership Role High Visibility to Top Management This well-regarded chemicals multinational is growing quickly in the region. To support its ambitious growth plan, it is now seeking a top talent to take on the role of HR Business Partner at its regional headquarters in Singapore. Reporting to the APAC Head of HR, you will adopt a balanced approach towards both the implementation and operational execution of strategic initiatives. In your role, you will create and manage specific C&B programmes and solutions to attract, motivate, and retain top talent within the organisation. On top of serving as a Business Partner from a strategic standpoint, you will also take on operational responsibilities. You will be an experienced HR professional who has relevant experience in Compensation & Benefits. You will be familiar with working in fast-paced large multinational environments and possess a readiness to resolve problems in the face of ambiguity. You will also have the gravitas to influence the business at the commerce level and be ready to roll up your sleeves when the situation calls for it. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Reg No: R1104310

Head of HR, Singapore (FMCG) FMCG Organisation Headcount of 3000 Strategic HR Function This market leader within the FMCG industry is now seeking a dynamic Head of Human Capital of high calibre to support one of the leading brands in their business. Reporting to the Human Resource Director, you will lead a dynamic and experienced team in managing the full spectrum of HR, including talent acquisition, Compensation & Benefits, performance management, and employee relations. In addition, you will work closely with business stakeholders in the areas of business partnering and the development of strategic HR plans. On top of that, you will implement succession planning for the company and provide capabilities for talent management. You will be an experienced HR professional with at least 10 to 12 years of full spectrum HR experience. You will also have high EQ and people management skills, as well as experience in engaging with senior stakeholders. Ideally, you will have relevant experience in the hospitality, F&B or retail industry. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and reference number JS9792. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No: R1107886

HR Shared Services Manager, Global Private Bank High-profile US Bank Stable, Well-capitalised Bank Positive Reputation Globally This US-based private bank, which has a growth mandate in Asia as well as a stable and growing presence in Singapore, is now seeking a HR Shared Services Manager for its Singapore office. Leading the Shared Services team, you will work closely with HR Business Partners and relevant stakeholders to support the HR operational needs of the Bank. In addition, you will provide support across the full employee life cycle, including onboarding, offboarding, benefits administration, and HRIS. On top of that, you will be responsible for payroll processing for Singapore. You will have at least 5 years of HR support experience. Payroll experience is essential and you will ideally have relevant banking experience too. You will also be a meticulous, dependable, and mature individual. To apply, please submit your resume to Junchen at, quoting the job title. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Type of Work: Permanent Region: Singapore Reg No: R1328933

Learning & Development Manager, Manufacturing Industry

Group C&B Manager (Bangkok, Thailand)

European MNC Industry Leader In Its Class Career Advancement And Progression

Global Organisation APAC Coverage Excellent Career Platform

This European MNC is a leader in its field within the manufacturing industry. As part of its expansion plans in Asia, it is now seeking a L&D Manager to join its ranks.

This well-known European company has an entrepreneurial and passionate culture as well as a strong global footprint. It is now seeking a new Group C&B Manager to be based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Reporting to the Regional HR Manager, you will be responsible for the end-to-end Learning and Development needs of the business, which includes every stage from design and conception to implementation and execution. In addition, you will manage the full suite of L&D elements, such as training curriculum and schedules, succession planning, talent management, and L&D projects. You will have at least 5 years of L&D experience with strong end-to-end exposure—ideally within an industrial environment or a related industry. You will also be a dynamic and creative individual who is able to think out of the box. Generalist experience will be a bonus. To apply, please submit your resume to Junchen at, quoting the job title. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Working closely alongside the Chief Human Resource officer, you will take up this key role within the leadership team—at a group level—to design and develop Group rewards strategies to drive a high-performance culture. In your role, you will be responsible for the planning, design, and delivery of an overall Total Rewards strategy. You will also work closely with various functional heads on sales incentives to ensure consistency across the Group and help the organisation stay competitive in the market. You will be an accomplished Total Rewards professional with a strong blend of technical expertise and stakeholder skills. You will also be ready to roll up your sleeves and adopt a hands-on approach when it’s necessary to do so. Ideally, you will also have a regional track record across Asia.

Type of Work: Permanent Region: Singapore

To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT9297.

Reg No: R1328933

Reg No: R1104310

ISSUE 16.4


EXPERTS IN HR TRANSFORMING HR CAREERS Talent Management, Assistant Director

Senior HR Business Partner

An educational institution is looking for a Talent Management, Assistant Director to drive the talent agenda. You’ll be working closely with heads of departments to orchestrate and deliver end-to-end talent management initiatives. This includes managing talent reviews, leadership succession and performance review processes. The ideal candidate should have a Bachelor’s Degree and at least 8 years of relevant experience as well as a proven track record in overseeing the talent agenda, ideally with managerial experience. Contact Kelly Shia (Registration ID No. R1552203) at or call +65 6303 0721.

An exciting, newly created opportunity has arisen within a fast-paced US software organisation for a Senior HR Business Partner for the ASEAN region. Reporting into the Regional APAC HR Director and the General Manager for Sales, you’ll be a trusted advisor, adding value, influencing and providing insights to your key stakeholders as well as the APAC leadership team. Your extensive stakeholder management skills will be key to your success in this role as will your experience of managing complex HR projects cross functionally. Contact Ash Russell (Registration ID No. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

Learning & Development Manager

Organisational Development Partner, Asia

A newly created role for a Learning & Development Manager has opened up in a reputable financial services corporation to support its business requirements and growth in the region. Partnering with the business, you’ll deliver training and assist with learning needs across the region. Your extensive stakeholder management skills will be key to your success in this role. Ideally, you should have at least 8 years of training experience and the relevant certifications. Contact Edwin Lee (Registration ID No. R1546591) at or call +65 6303 0721.

Due to this top hospitality brand’s growth, an exciting opportunity now exists for an Organisational Development Partner, Asia. You will partner with senior stakeholders across the region in designing and rolling out strategic development programs to address competency gaps at all levels. You will be a Master’s or Bachelor’s Degree graduate with a minimum of 10 years of relevant experience and have ideally worked in both consulting and corporate settings. You will also have excellent communication and stakeholder engagement skills. Contact Sean Wong (Registration ID No. R1101782) at or call +65 6303 0721.

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EA License Number: 07C3924

ISSUE 16.4


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HRM 16.4 Culture at work  

– Winning ways from top companies

HRM 16.4 Culture at work  

– Winning ways from top companies