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ISSUE 16.6

Fuelling success Price inc. GST $9.95


Don’t compete with rivals. Make them irrelevant.



Find out more at

– Professor W. Chan Kim

In today’s overcrowded market, battling head-on results in a bloody “red ocean” of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Discover how the Blue Ocean Strategy™ in Action programme (Sept 29 & 30) at SIM Professional Development can lead future companies to create “blue oceans” of uncontested

Design Thinking for Business Success July 7 & 8 Strategic Planning & Thinking July 11 – 13 Strategic Supply Chain Management Aug 18 & 19 Managing Human Side of Change Sept 26 & 27

market space ripe for growth.

Other Executive Programmes

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HRM Asia Pte Ltd 60 Albert Street, Albert Complex #16-08 Singapore 189969 Tel: +65 6423 4631 Fax: +65 6423-4632 Email:


Dear HRM readers,


f you think that established global organisations are immune from the difficulties of retaining their most precocious talents, you may want to revise that opinion. According to our cover story interview with Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia, his company’s steepest challenge is to keep hold of its brightest employees. So, how does the German automobile giant prevent a bad retention story from unfolding? On top of constant rigorous training to ensure that staff are wellversed in all aspects of their roles, Pannes says appreciation is one of his most utilised methods to keep employees happy and content. How, you may ask? Among other initiatives, the company showcases its appreciation by letting employees drive its fleet of cars, organising driving events and having professional drive trainers. Staying on the topic of giants, this month’s HR Insider takes us behind the scenes at Microsoft. Lee Murphy, Senior HR Director AsiaPacific, shares why innovation is the name of the game for the tech conglomerate and elaborates on how the organisation is recalibrating its HR strategies and people agenda on aspects such as talent management, diversity and inclusion, and employer branding. This edition of HRM Magazine also includes a wrap of HR Summit 2016, which took place on May 17 and 18 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre. More than 4,000 attendees thronged the Summit over the two days, and were treated to a plethora of rich, informational and insightful sessions on management and HR topics from a diverse mix of HR professionals, C-Suite leaders, motivational speakers, bestselling authors and thought leaders. It was truly heartening to see everyone immersing themselves in such a stimulating environment, and we sincerely hope you can apply some of the lessons learnt back into your own workplaces. On a personal note, I would also like to place on record my sincere thanks to the entire team at HRM Asia for making the Summit a huge success as well as to all attendees who graced the event.

Best Regards,

Sham Majid Editor, HRM Asia CONTACT US:

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 16.6 COVER STORY 14 Fuelling success The key lessons that Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia, has learnt from international markets are not going to waste. He uses that experience and the full potential of every employee to steer company growth. HRM finds out more.

14 FEATURES 18 Truly Asia’s finest HR platform

Held on May 17 and 18, HR Summit 2016 showcased a stellar line-up of global experts, esteemed HR Heads, and C-Suite professionals who delivered exclusive presentations on the most important HR issues, challenges and opportunities of today.

23 Cultivating that homely feeling

There is much more to klapsons The River Residences Bangkok than just stunning views. HRM road tests one of Thailand’s best serviced apartments for relocating staff.

24 Doing away with tradition

While the technology sector continues to be fraught with volatility and disruption, Lee Murphy, Senior HR Director, Asia-Pacific, Microsoft, shares with HRM why the organisation is warmly embracing these trends.

29 A balancing act


Salary transparency is often seen as a valued strategy that firms should aim for. But what limitations does the policy have, and how can HR balance the good and the bad aspects to drive the organisation forward? HRM finds out.

34 HR Generalist or specialist?

While the profession itself comprises of many career options, HR often


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34 24 demands practitioners choose between becoming either a generalist or a functionspecific specialist. Should HR professionals be deeply immersed in one niche function, or should they become a jack of all trades? HRM looks deeper.

38 HR: Whose responsibility is it?

Douglas Tan, Group HR Director of Vicplas International, shares why top management needs to be HR-savvy and “walk the HR talk”.

42 Keeping a watchful eye

Maintaining workplace health is essential for an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing, and is often seen as a corporate responsibility. How can HR monitor the welfare of its workforce? HRM finds out.


46 How to avoid assignment failure

Relocating to a new land can be both an exhilarating and a daunting experience for employees. HRM provides some useful tips for a smooth transition.

52 Aligning the HR plan to business strategy

Amy Tan and Uwe Kaufmann from Centre for Organisational Effectiveness (COE) share some tips on aligning an organisation’s HR plan with its business strategy. They say HR leaders should be proactively planning for both expected and unexpected shifts in business demands and talent supply.

56 Business-critical skills for HR

HR professionals need to have a keener sense of their business environment, as well as the ability to analyse organisational data to become a more effective business partner. We look at some critical skills that could help HR meet this challenge.

60 Cooking up a storm

L’Oréal Brandstorm is a complex ecosystem of competition, ideas, creativity and inspiration. The end product of this initiative is to cultivate and mould talent the L’Oréal way. HRM finds out more.

62 HR Young Gun

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

64 Optimising talent flow

Flexible work schedules, employee training programmes, and an open and collaborative work culture have helped Fast Flow become an employer of choice in the SME space.

REGULARS 4 News 12 Leaders on Leadership 49 Talent Ladder 50 In Person 50 Resources 51 An HRD Speaks 51 Twenty-four Seven 59 HR Clinic ISSUE 16.6









Asia-Pacific-headquartered firms currently make up 40% of the companies in the Fortune Global 500, surpassing those headquartered either in Europe or North America. Recently released, the 2015 Fortune Global 500 ranking shows Asian multinationals (MNCs) have tackled and triumphed over considerable challenges, including timezone barriers, shortage of experience, and the need to manage highly-diverse cultures. According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2016 Asian Trailblazers Study: Masters of Multitasking and Transformation, some of the obstacles Asian MNCs have experienced include: • Chinese multinationals coping with a range of elementary issues and needing to formulate compatible internal frameworks both; • Indian multinationals having to adapt family business legacy frameworks. Younger generations of leaders are reconfiguring inherited structures to versions that are scalable and can work beyond Indian shores; • Japanese and South Korean multinationals having to focus on enhancing efficiency and sustainability in order to fully realise the potential of earlier acquisitions; • Southeast Asian MNCs, which usually commenced as owned businesses, now working with second- and thirdgeneration leaders.

Hiring the wrong candidate for a position is becoming a bugbear for Indian businesses. A new study has found that while 62% of companies concede they are committing errors in recruitment, 53% attribute these to a shortage of efficient tracking mechanisms. The study showed that 78% of recruiters take less than five minutes to review a résumé. This can lead to ambiguous job descriptions and not taking the cultural fit of a candidate into account. “The study reveals that there is still tremendous scope for optimising the hiring processes in India Inc,” Times Business Solutions Head of Strategy Nilanjan Roy said. According to the study, 90% of companies believed it was tough to calculate the average cost of recruiting a worker, while the remaining 10% claimed it took a substantial amount of money and resources to calculate. The study also highlighted that the chief internal recruitment strategies across the survey’s respondents included interviews, background and reference checks, and onboard training. External investments included the costs of job postings, paying for consultancy services, employee referral payouts, and relocation expenses. The study polled 800 businesses across the professional sphere in India.

“Asian MNCs face a multitude of HR-related challenges, ranging from the very basic, such as getting consistent compensation and benefits data, to the very sophisticated, such as leadership development, embracing diversity and inclusion, and enabling globalisation through internal cultural change,” said Gavin Watkins, director of the Client Development Group at Willis Towers Watson. The study revealed that one of the methods Asian MNCs are adopting to manage this level of change is to “leapfrog” several of the elementary changes implemented by their more developed peers, and undertaking radical moves early on. For example, some companies have passed over some customary aspects of specific HR positions and jumped straight to more strategic positions, such as those utilising workforce analytics, concentrating on employee engagement, or devising holistic wellness programmes. The Willis Towers Watson 2016 Asian Trailblazers Study: Masters of Multitasking and Transformation was conducted between March and September, 2015.


REVEALED: MOST DESIRED WORKPLACES A considerable proportion of Australians are keen to snare a role with either the government or with one of the country’s most popular airlines. According to a poll of over 10,000 people around the country, commissioned by Randstad Australia and New Zealand, over half of working age respondents would fancy working for Virgin Australia, with slightly fewer citing that they would select rival company Qantas. Frank Ribuot, chief executive officer of Randstad Australia and New Zealand, explained the public perception of 150 of Australian organisations with the largest number of employees favoured the aviation sector. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection


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was also among the top 20 options. “The sector is rated highly for strong management, worklife balance, being environmentally and socially aware, as well as for offering career progression opportunities and excellent salary and employee benefits. It is perceived to have more attractive attributes than any other sector,” said Ribuot. The research also revealed that the majority of Australians (84%) deem travelling for work as a coveted bonus. “Many Australians consider the opportunity to travel as part of their job a tremendous benefit alongside their salary,” said Ribuot. All in all, 46% of people polled claimed they would fancy being employed for aviation firms. Over one-third selected the state or federal government because they were able to afford long-term job security, good work-life balance, and social and environmental awareness.



Accommodation must-haves for business travellers


WHEN WELLBEING SCHEMES FAIL One in two employees say they would depart their positions if their wellbeing requests were not taken care of. This is according to a poll of 2,400 professionals across New Zealand and Australia, recently conducted by recruitment firm Robert Walters. For those who were keen to leave, perks such as flexible work hours, onsite gyms, healthy eating initiatives and childcare facilities were crucial considerations when looking for their next job (87% of workers). The survey found that one in two (48%) respondents would take time off if they were having wellbeing problems, 43% would work less diligently; and 26% would begin to “hate” their employing company. A staggering proportion of recruiting managers underestimated the importance that workers placed on health and wellbeing initiatives. Eighty one percent did not think that employees would quit if their health

and wellbeing requests were not fully supported. Although many medium-to-large firms possess wellbeing programmes (64% of those polled), only one in three (29%) consists of a programme that is useful, well-structured and heavily utilised. Approximately half of hiring managers and workers agreed that their company’s health and wellbeing efforts could be enhanced (59% of managers and 56% of employees) so they could be better used. A crucial aspect of executing a scheme successfully was considered to be how vigorous senior management was in supporting the programme. “Staff consultation when developing a health and wellness programme is paramount, as it provides businesses with a true understanding of what initiatives are most important to their employees,” explained the Wellington-based director of Robert Walters Shay Peters. “Some examples of innovative perks our clients have included in their health and wellbeing programmes include; a day off for each employee’s birthday, paid days to volunteer for charities, subsidised gym memberships and sports teams, on-site childcare, health insurance, and one even provides a two-hour fortnightly house clean for employees.”

Arthur Kiong

Chief Executive Officer, Far East Hospitality


usiness travellers often look for a place to call home, however temporary. Corporate bookers often face difficulties trying to match the right accommodation choices to what their overseas clients are looking for. Here are some tips on choosing the right accommodation: Connectivity is key Staying connected is essential for any business traveller. Some of our serviced residences offer portable handy phones that allow guests to make unlimited local and international calls to selected countries, provide mobile internet on-the-go, an online city guide and exclusive privileges for guests to stay connected while traveling. Staying close with family Serviced residences are an economical alternative to hotel suites, while providing the same level of security and comfort. Additionally, monthly activities offered at some serviced residences, such as barbeque dinners, city tours and river cruise help families settle in a new environment.


APPRAISAL SYSTEMS REAPPRAISED A significant proportion of firms in India have rejigged or are planning to reconfigure their staff appraisal systems. According to the Performance Management Trends Survey conducted by PwC India in 2015, around 52% of respondents cited having changed or having plans to implement changes in their staff appraisal structures. Factors such as the emerging younger workforce, technological breakthroughs, and economic growth have resulted in numerous obstacles for organisations operating in India. Hence, their need to alter their staff appraisal frameworks. “We are at the point of inflection

Great location Given the fast-paced environment these travellers operate in, easy accessibility to the Central Business District is key. Corporate bookers should look for accommodations located in prime areas, with easy access to shopping centres or supermarkets located within minutes from the serviced residences.

that requires organisations to not just cut costs, but transform the way performance is driven and measured. Current systems are focused on shareholders. However, in today’s scenario, employees are key stakeholders of the business,” PwC India’s Leader of the People and Organisation practice Padmaja Alaganandan said. Only 12% of respondents thought that their present performance management framework was highly effective in accomplishing its espoused purpose. As many as 93% of the respondents acknowledged that supporting business goals was the chief purpose of the exercise.

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Combining the best of an apartment and hotel Business travellers are also looking for a home away from home, but with hotel quality service standards. Serviced residences provide comfort and convenience from housekeeping services, fully-equipped business centres and kitchens, to free shuttle services provided to key central business district locations. 5



Why screening senior executives should be a priority



TOP CHALLENGES FOR NEW MANAGERS New managers face a number of challenges, but which is the most daunting? A recent survey by Robert Half revealed that the most difficult part of becoming a manager was balancing individual responsibilities with time spent overseeing staff. This was cited as the biggest challenges by 32% of the respondents involved in the study. The survey participants were asked, “In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of becoming a manager for the first time?” Their responses were: • Supervising friends or former peers: 19% • Motivating the team: 17% • Prioritising projects: 16% • Meeting higher performance expectations: 16% “Becoming a manager for the first time is not always an easy transition. More than simply adjusting to a new

Drs. Erik Schmit

EVP & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, First Advantage


eadership is more than a position or title; it is action and example. When companies rely on their senior executives to set strategic direction, galvanise employees and steer them towards success, appointing the right captain becomes mission-critical. This process begins with acquiring an accurate and an in-depth understanding of the candidate’s background. It is a common misconception that candidates for a senior executive position would not stoop to falsifying or hiding information. In a perfect world, we could perhaps accept everything provided by a candidate at face value. In reality however, discrepancies do exist. According to First Advantage’s 2016 Asia Pacific Annual Trends, discrepancies relating to employment history are most common (57.7%), followed by education (19.3%) and database (18.9%). Database checks refer to a name check against a collection of various databases that include media, addresses, passport identification, company registry and more. Today, many leading organisations opt for an in-depth, investigative background check—one that goes beyond the standard criminal record searches as well education and employment verifications—to proactively uncover “the good, the bad and the ugly” about a candidate. As more executives live, study and work abroad, it has also become increasingly important that employers are able to procure such information on a global basis, and in a timely manner. The success or failure of any company depends, to a large extent, on its leader. Background screening cannot guarantee business success but it can certainly help ensure that the right candidate is at the helm—and that could make all the difference.

role, moving into a supervisory position requires adapting to others’ work styles and needs,” said Tim Hird, Executive Director of Robert Half. Hird also highlighted the importance of empowering employees. “New managers do not need to be everything to everyone,” he said. “Resist the urge to spread yourself thin trying to meet all the demands that come your way. Delegate projects to capable staff, which will free up time for you and demonstrate confidence in your team.”


MEN GET TO THE HEEL OF THE ISSUE Plenty of professional women struggle to make it through a work day in high heels. But in a first for the fashion publishing sector, four men have tried to adhere to the controversial dress code of their female counterparts, and captured the experience on video. High heels are still the expected wear for women in many professional workplaces across the West, as was highlighted recently when Nicola Thorp was sent home from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) London office for not wearing heels. Thorp was a temporary worker assigned to PwC through an outsourcing company. The professional services firm has since changed its policy to allow flat shoes. The UK’s Stylist Magazine got involved with the debate, by asking some of its male staff to wear heels to work. In the two-minute long video posted on the magazine’s Facebook page, the


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men seemed to know that they were in hot soup from the start. One of them compared his stilettos to wearing ice skates, while another said, “I’m not going to lie, I think I might break my ankles”. The obstacles they faced were just about familiar to most women as they struggled to climb up the stairs and walk on grass lawns. The video ends with one of them giving up and walking barefoot across a street. Another held his pair of black heels and said, “I’ll put these in the bin, I reckon.”





HR professionals are increasingly taking up the mantle of staff counsellors and confidantes. More than half (53%) of HR professionals have provided counselling to employees at least once in the past two years, a new study by MetLife has found. In fact, the number of HR professionals who have provided mental health and stress counselling to employees was found to be more than double the number who had to resolve a workplace dispute. Of this group, 76% said they were surprised by the personal and private information that they were told. A further 22% stated they had provided marriage and relationship counselling to employees. “It shouldn’t be HR’s job to provide mental health and stress counselling – it really is a specialist area – but it has an important role to play in developing an appropriate supportive framework,” said Rachel Suff, Employment Relations Adviser at Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). “A really important part of that is training for line managers to understand what mental health means. If they are not trained, it can be really stressful for them to have those conversations and spot issues.”

An Australian academic is calling on professional workers to indulge in an afternoon nap in order to function at full capacity at work. Fiona Kerr, a Neural Specialist with the University of Adelaide, says the best naps take 15 to 30 minutes and help boost alertness, memory, cognition and mood for the remainder of the day, The Daily Mail has reported. Those who have regular naps may find themselves more capable of storing, retaining and recalling information faster and more efficiently. However, Kerr warns about having naps that are too long.


“Between 30 and 60 minutes isn’t good, because your brain will think it’s heading into rapid-eye-movement mode,” she told The Daily Mail. “Equally, if you have more than one and a half hours, your brain thinks it’s going into a full sleep cycle, which explains the fuzzy head feeling people get when they’re woken after this period.” She advised employees to try going to a quiet and dark place in order to have a better nap time, or relax for 20 minutes and concentrate on breathing.


FIRM CREATES INTERNAL WIKIPEDIA A Canadian e-commerce company, Shopify, has created an innovative way for employees to get to know each other quickly. According to The Financial Times, Shopify has recently launched an internal Wikipedia which holds a variety of information on employees in the workforce. Here, each employee is allocated a personal profile page where they can share information about themselves and

also explain how they like to work. From this system, other staff members can research their colleagues in terms of what teams they work on and how are their individual personalities. “It gives new hires the essentials they need when they start: who’s who at Shopify, projects on the product road map, and talks that are being livestreamed across the company,” said Shopify’s Konval Matin.


EIGHT TYPES OF WORKPLACE DISTRACTIONS Contrary to popular belief, the internet and social media are not the pressing cause of employees’ extended coffee breaks and chitchats. The State of Workplace Distractions Survey revealed that the causes of these distractions actually lay with more traditional pursuits. The most common ways workers reported procrastinating at work, in order of the activities that take up the most time, are: • Taking breaks to the office, kitchen, or water cooler • Taking trips to the bathroom • Participating in small talks or gossip with co-workers • Corresponding (via phone, e-mail, text) with family members • Online personal errands (such as paying bills or shopping) • Corresponding with non-work-related friends • Using social media for non-work-related reasons • Watching television (including via mobile and computer)

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Does your organisation encourage employees to lead a healthy lifestyle? Addressing health-related issues and their effects on the workforce has become a global priority for employers. As such, more organisations are making significant investments in health and wellbeing programmes. HRM shares some insights from the 2015/2016 Staying@Work Survey – Asia Pacific

How important is the implementation of health strategies at work?

It is essential

37% It plays a moderate role

59% Improve physical health

TOP 5 Health issues at work


53% It is essential

69% Improve safety

Priorities of health 63% Develop a healthy culture and productivity 62% Improve health/risk awareness strategies




70% Improve productivity

37% It plays a moderate role

52% Lack of physical activities 44% Stress

Barriers to implementing health strategies

30% Lack of sleep

in their lives

41% Lack of budget and staff 37% Lack of evidence on returns 32% Lack of actionable data 31% Lack of engagement 30% Insufficient financial incentives

Asia Pacific


I prefer to manage my own health



I don’t want my employer to have access to my personal health information



The initiatives offered do not meet my needs



I don’t trust my employer to be involved in my health and well-being



I am not sure about the activities offered



My manager would not be supportive of my participation



Source: • 2015/2016 Staying@Work Survey – Asia Pacific • Some iconographics are by and ISSUE 16.6


36% of Asian employees believe that their employers have encouraged them to live a healthier lifestyle




of Asian employees view health as a top priority

32% Overweight/ Obesity 23% Presenteeism




of Asian employees feel that employers should take an active role in promoting healthier lifestyles



NEW APPOINTMENT FOR CARTUS IN CHINA Ryan Hull, a seasoned business development executive with more than 10 years’ experience, has joined global relocation services Cartus as Strategic Business Solutions Director – China. Focusing on providing corporate relocation solutions to companies in China, Hull is based in Cartus’ Shanghai office and reports to Nigel Passingham, Vice President, Strategic Business Solutions EMEA & APAC. “We are delighted to welcome Ryan to Cartus. He will be a valued addition to our sales team in the Asia-Pacific region,” Passingham said. “Ryan has worked in various business development roles for global corporations in China, which will serve him well in his new position.” With experience of working across borders, Hull has an understanding of western and eastern markets and a proven ability to recognise and address client requirements. Hull speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese. He has a Double Master of Science degree in International Affairs from the London School of Economics and Peking University, Beijing and an International Studies degree from the University of Maine. Hull’s proven ability to build relationships with decision makers will be key to his role at Cartus. In previous roles, he has driven successful business development strategies, while growing an organisation’s client base to support growth and success. In addition to his native US, he has previously worked for global corporations based in Xining, Qinghai and Shanghai. Most recently, Hull served as a Corporate Business Development Manager for one of the world’s leading companies, providing services for the development of the labour market.

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IT TEMP-POSITIONS TO GROW The number of temporary roles for information technology (IT) professionals will rise as businesses begin to see short-term hiring as a cost-efficient and flexible method of supporting IT assignments. According to the latest Hays Quarterly Report, organisations are now trending towards temporary and contract recruits when sourcing for talent to work on crucial IT schemes. “Short-term hires prove to be the best choice for employers who require specific niche skill sets for certain projects,” said Lynne Roeder, Managing Director for Hays in Singapore. “This allows employers to circumvent headcount constraints and hire relevant talent as and when needed.” Hays also noted that vastlyexperienced IT talent with more skills and experience than what is needed will also be more useful in temporary positions. “Over-qualified talent are able to make an immediate impact on a project, drawing from their deep expertise and past successes,” explained Roeder. “They welcome the flexibility and sense of achievement that comes from working a full project cycle on a shortterm contract basis.” In addition, senior-level interim technology professionals will also be keenly sought-after as firms look to poach top talent to add strategic value at a regional level.

“Interim IT directors are sought after to complement the existing IT teams,” said Roeder. “An ever-increasing number of international organisations are operating in Singapore, prompting the hiring of senior-level interim technology professionals to act as a sounding board to chief information officers.” She also noted that the attitude of IT talents was changing as they become more willing to assume temporary roles and contract work. “More candidates are now considering temporary work as a career choice and not just as a foot in the door,” Roeder said. “They are able to fully demonstrate their capabilities in short-term roles and gain valuable experience working on diverse projects. We believe the trend will continue in the foreseeable future as IT professionals discover the value of working on high-impact projects with shorter delivery timelines.”

WORKING TOO HARD FOR NOT ENOUGH For administrative staff in Singapore, the work seems to be growing, but the pay is not. In its yearly survey of more than 500 executive assistants, personal assistants and secretaries in Singapore, Page Personnel has found that a whopping 84% witnessed a rise in their workload over the past year, and 72% felt inadequately compensated, partly because of the extra day-to-day responsibilities. Over half (51%) of these

administrative professionals also feel underappreciated at their workplaces. The lack of freedom in decisionmaking was cited by 62% of the respondents as one reason behind this feeling. “From our survey findings, it seems that the acknowledgement of executive and personal assistants remains low, with most of them feeling underappreciated in their organisations,” said Kirsty Luce, Director, Page Personnel Singapore.


How do you boost the motivational levels of the people you manage?


o effectively motivate our employees, we need to ensure that we are turning the magnifying lens on ourselves. This lets us understand the people we work with and how we can create meaningful experiences that add value. For me, accepting and catering for generational differences is vital to maintaining a happy and effective business. Generation X and millennial staff have very different skills, ways of working and approaches to learning. From a management point of view, this means that we need a balance of both when thinking about engagement and the environment we work in. At TNS, we have changed a lot of the ways that we interact with our teams to account for these differences. Previously, our training for the more junior members of staff was oneway and top-down. As a result of feedback from our millennials, we have shortened sessions and have made them more impactful, visual and

appealing to this younger cohort. Our business is pushing the boundaries of research using new digital tools and platforms to better understand consumer behaviours. To do this effectively, we need the valuable enthusiasm of our digital-savvy millennials as well as the experience of our Generation X colleagues. Everyone has a role to play in knowledge development, and our role is to ensure that we are facilitating these exchanges in a meaningful and engaging way. “Buzz” sessions, where younger employees share their thoughts on developments in the digital world, provide millennials with a voice and fulfil their need to make a valuable contribution to the business. Other employees find these an accessible way of keeping up to speed with the latest digital advances. We have also found that flexible, activity-based working has encouraged people to mix, and has stimulated more conversations.


ROSHNI MAHTANI Founder and CEO, Tickled Media –

12 ISSUE 16.6


he tricky thing about motivation is that though it can be stimulated externally, it’s fuelled internally. No matter how many programmes you launch to boost morale, if your team doesn’t identify with what the company is doing or trying to achieve, then they’ll merely see their job as time clocked in and out. So for us, it’s a matter of selfmotivation and that starts at hiring. At Tickled Media, we are parents for parents. Our content team for especially, is composed of mums who really understand what our readers are going through. We, in turn as a company, understand our parent employees. Their biggest motivation is providing for their children and also spending time with them, so we implement a lot of family-friendly policies like flexible work schedules, welcoming kids at the workplace during lunch times and


Managing Director, TNS Malaysia

when daycare plans fall through, and providing breastfeeding facilities. As a regional office, it’s vital for us to emphasise teamwork. We encourage face-to-face calls and more conversational – not to mention, efficient – correspondence via instant messaging. We also set aside time and resources for bonding activities like going to the movies. One of my favourite initiatives is our “gratitude wall” over the Slack social platform. “Ticklers” are encouraged to tag and thank someone every day for favours big and small, or things they simply appreciate about each other. It’s a small gesture that really goes a long way. Lastly, we’re very data-driven as a company, so we do a culture check every now and then. We analyse our areas of strength and those needing improvement through anonymous surveys on different aspects of company culture.


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The Productivity Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme

Talent Management as a Tool for Business Transformation 29 July 2016 | Singapore

CHRO Series 2016, HRM Asia’s principal event specially designed for CHRO’s to learn from their peers. At CHRO Series 2016 we will explore how Senior HR leaders need to broaden their skill sets, enhance their credibility and gain a holistic understanding of their organisations in order to use talent management as a tool for business transformation.


CHRO Series 2016 will explore the following: • How the role and responsibilities of the CHRO is evolving • What impact the C-Suite has on culture and engagement • Human capital strategies that align with high growth • Eliminating engagement barriers to drive better performance • How to develop, engage and empower your workforce • How to create ‘digital ready’ leaders and capabilities

• • •

We qualify all participants based on job function, strategic responsibility, and budgeting authority to ensure you are guaranteed to meet and engage with an elite group within the HR landscape. The following are the essential requirements: I sit in the C-Suite or directly report to the C-Suite I control or directly influence where HR budget is spent I manage corporate strategy at the regional, divisional or group level

Featured speakers: Laurence Smith Former Managing Director HR, Group Head of Learning & Talent Development DBS BANK

Lorraine ParkerClegg Vice President HR Asia Pacific MEDTRONIC

Gaurav Hirey CHRO – Africa, Middle East & APAC MILLWARD BROWN

Dr Sandra Pereira Group Director, HR & Talent Management TELEDIRECT

Tarun Gulrajani Head of Human Resources – Asia Pacific REHAU

Lawrence Tan Director of Human Resource PUBLIC UTILITIES BOARD

Jayesh Menon Global Organisational Effectiveness Leader & Director MICRON TECHNOLOGY

Hong Siu Ming SVP and Head of Group Rewards & Employee Engagement GREAT EASTERN LIFE

Ajit Iyer Chief Talent Officer SINARMAS AGRIBUSINESS & FOOD

Zarina Piperdi SVP Human Resource & Fleet Management SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Chandrani Chakraborty Global HR Head ANZ

Angela Ryan Chief HR & Talent Officer GROUPM ASIA PACIFIC

Annella Heytens VP Human Resource APJC CISCO

Contact Me to Register: Luke Lai | Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email:



You have been working with the BMW Group for over a decade now. How did the organisation manage to retain you for so long?

The key lessons that Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia, has learnt from international markets are not going to waste. He uses that experience and the full potential of every employee to steer company growth. HRM finds out more


You have gained extensive international experience, having worked in the automotive industry in many markets. How has that honed your leadership skills?

I did not think that I would stay During my first posting in the UK, longer than 10 years within one I received intercultural training Naadiah Badib company in the beginning. At most from the company. This helped me companies, a typical employee to better understand the different would stay for an average of three cultures which is especially useful in years. However, this isn’t the case for BMW. What my current role in Asia. I am in charge of 13 markets and I drives my motivation is having a senior leader who can have learnt the importance of adapting may management offer some advice and who I can learn from. I also had style to the culture of the market. I believe that you also the opportunity to work in three different countries have to have your own personal leading style and that you where I got to learn more about the different cultures. have to have a certain set of principles to abide by. Only This channeled me to focus on employees and their then can you adjust according to each culture, bearing in development. mind that you have to be more careful in some areas.


You took over the reins at BMW Group Asia in November 2014. What is one key change you have made since your appointment?

It always happens in big organisations that employees work in silence. To increase communication in the office, we have collaboration areas within the departments where staff can get together. We also have open meeting areas, instead of closed rooms, to encourage open conversation. We also have added screens in these areas where we can connect our computers for easy knowledge sharing.

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How do you interact with your staff?

I am a big fan of having no hierarchies, so my door is always open for anyone. I encourage everyone in the office to have a casual lunch or coffee with me to discuss strategies in further detail. I visit the headquarters often so I may have more information to share with my employees. I would like to break the tradition where a CEO is the only one who knows everything and instructs employees on what to do. I try to make use of the knowledge of each and everyone in the company.


BIO BRIEF After working with the BMW Group since 2002, Axel Pannes was appointed the Managing Director of BMW Group Asia in November 2014. Prior to his appointment, Pannes held various positions in the BMW Group’s headquarters in Munich, Germany. He has also worked in the head office of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Goodwood, UK. His experience includes work in sales and marketing, business development, sales channel strategy, as well as retail development. Pannes’ last position was as the Vice President of Retail Development for the BMW Group.

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“Appreciation is one of the most important management tools that I try to use often. It does not necessarily have to be about money all the time” Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia


As one of the leading brands in the automotive industry, what are some HR challenges the BMW Group Asia faces?


Does the BMW brand help in attracting talent to the company?

The biggest challenge is to find talent and retain the talent we have within the company. I think BMW’s brand is helpful in getting talent attracted to the organisation. In addition, we develop our employees and invest a lot in training in terms of both management and technology. These people then become more attractive to other employers. Personally, I am attracted to the company because it always offers something new. It definitely helps that I have a passion for the product, which is also evident among many of the employees. I would also like to have more staff from BMW Group Asia in our headquarters. We are a German-driven company so we find that there are a lot of German expatriates around the world. It would create a stronger impact if we are able get the knowledge and the cultures of other parts of the world in the BMW headquarters.

The BMW brand has been around for the past 100 years and according to Forbes, BMW was voted the top premium car brand in the world with an estimated brand value of US$27.5 billion. While this notable achievement would attract talent in Europe and even the US, we realise this is maybe less the case in Asia. In Europe, or Germany in particular, BMW is the preferred employer across all industries. Once you’ve

ME MYSELF I I love: My two-year-old son. He is at a very cute age at the moment I dislike: Bad driving My inspiration is: Talent. I like to develop people, coach them and watch them grow My biggest weakness is: Being over-competitive In five years’ time, I’d like to: Be an inspirational leader for the upcoming generation Favorite quote: “Second place is first loser”

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got the job, you tend to stay on. In Asia, this is slightly different as there are many brands to choose from. This is even more so in a country like Singapore, which plays a strategic role as Asia headquarters for many multinational companies and global brands.


How closely do you work with the HR team? What are its strengths and how do you harness them?


How does the BMW Group Asia strive to stay ahead of its competitors?

The HR function is vital to the success of the BMW Group. It is important enough that we have a board member in headquarters dedicated to HR. At BMW Group Asia, HR falls under the responsibility of our Director of Finance, who has 15 years of experience in BMW across the region. Given his deep understanding of our culture and the variety of nationalities we work with, he’s well-suited to manage Hwee Min Tan, our HR and Administration Manager. She proactively drives HR initiatives in the company.

Apart from constantly innovating our products and technologies to cater to the needs of our customers, we also invest a lot in training our staff to ensure they are equipped with world-class skills to handle their jobs. Our HR department is also constantly on the lookout to groom our staff to ensure they grow with the company. In fact, BMW Group Asia just celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, and I’m proud to say that some staff have been around for that long! One such staff member is Mary Chan who first joined BMW Group Asia in 1985 and has only recently retired to become a full-time grandmother. Such stories are not unheard of at BMW Group, and I attribute these long-lasting relationships to the vast opportunities that we offer to our staff, both in terms of vertical growth within their departments and opportunities to move across departments and functions.


How do you reward and recognise employees?

On the product front, we have programmes in place where employees can drive our cars, and participate in driving events with professional drive trainers. Appreciation is one of the most important management tools that I try to use often. It does not necessarily have to be about money all the time. When an employee has done a fantastic job within the last quarter or month, we make sure that their efforts are noticed. One example of our practice is to present them a framed postcard which is signed by the management team. I find that sometimes, small gestures like these mean more to an employee.

Finding his footing The confidence and passion that Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia, possesses for the automotive industry is similar to most car enthusiasts. At the snap of a finger, Pannes can easily recognise the various BMW models, their specifications and of course, their prices. However, his bold step into the automotive industry was initially challenged by another interest he had for the air travel industry. During the course of his studies, Pannes was involved in several projects for German airline, Lufthansa. He recalled that he would hang the planes he received from Lufthansa from his room’s ceiling while BMW car posters were pasted on the walls. In the end, his lasting interest for BMW won out, and paved the way for his career. “I am a passionate driver and I have never lost that passion for the product,” Pannes said. “It’s always important to have a real product that you can show someone else and be proud of.” “Therefore, BMW is a perfect fit to that passion.”

Pay raises are effective but they are given once a year and then forgotten.


What aspect of the organisation are you most proud of?


What is one unique fact at BMW Group Asia that not many know about?


What was the most difficult decision you had to make as a leader at BMW Group Asia?

I am proud that we are very international. The office is not the biggest around the world but we host 16 different nationalities. We also have six different nationalities within our eight member management team. They bring a wealth of experience and a variety of culture to the table.

We have an equal ratio of female and male employees in the office. This may be quite unusual for a car company where you would probably expect more men. In fact, many of our departments here are dominated by women.

The most difficult decision was to let go of redundant staff because of business reasons. This is why I’ve always believed in grooming our staff and keeping their skills relevant and constantly updated, which reduces the chances of this happening.

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R Summit 2016, organised by HRM Asia, was a spectacular success, bringing together a diverse range of bright minds in a conducive setting for learning, sharing, reflection, and networking. Held on May 17 and 18 at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, more than 4,000 attendees thronged the venue, with the event itself being split into six streams: C-Suite Symposium, Strategy, Retention, Talent, HRM, and SMEs@HR Summit. Tan Kok Yam, Head of the Smart Nation Programme Office in the Prime Minister’s Office Singapore, kicked off the Summit by delivering a keynote address that touched on three key factors: HR practices, technology, and the workforce. He explained that all three factors were interlinked when it came to maximising human capital. Tan also addressed the aims of Singapore’s Smart Nation programme, which are to leverage on technology and to see how Singaporeans can use it to build a better community.

Raving about C-Suite Symposium and SMEs@HR Summit The C-Suite Symposium featured some 18 ISSUE 16.6


Held on May 17 and 18, HR Summit 2016 showcased a stellar line-up of global experts, esteemed HR Heads, and C-Suite professionals who delivered exclusive presentations on the most important HR issues, challenges and opportunities of today

heavyweight speakers, including Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Deloitte Institute at the London Business School, Dr Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 Global Management ThoughtLeader, best-selling author and worldrenowned leadership coach, and John Bunch, advisor to the CEO of US company Zappos, among many others. Dr Goldsmith shared some fascinating insights on leadership via his exclusive workshop, which was broken into two parts. He also dazzled the plenary audience with his session on how individuals behave based on his new book, Triggers. He said he found the Summit to be

extremely engaging and praised his audience for their attention and active participation. “The audience during my sessions were really participative and dynamic, and this is what I love about such events,” he said. “Wherever I coach, I love interactions and two-way dialogues. This was precisely what I saw at these sessions. I also found the HR Summit to be wonderfully organised, and extremely detailed with many different sessions on a wide range of topics.” “The attendees were very focussed and passionate to learn.” Birkinshaw also conducted an exclusive Master Series Workshop entitled, “Fast/ Forward: The Twin Imperatives for Making your Company Fit for the Future”. In his 150-minute session, delegates were able to learn about how leaders can guide their employees and the organisation to be future-ready. They were also given some tips on how they can find or develop the most suitable leadership style to do just that. On top of this, he gave nuggets of information on how leaders can respond to more complex operating


PLATFORM environments and shared a three-step process to help organisations become fit for the future. Attendees raved about the quality and class of the C-Suite Master Series workshops, having been exposed to some of the finest and sharpest brains in motivation, leadership, and organisational development. Another stream that earned plaudits was the SMEs@HR Summit stream, introduced for the first time in the Summit’s long history in Singapore. Such was its quality and interest that even though the stream was fully occupied, more chairs had to be placed at the sides of the room to allow for the more than expected numbers. Delegates were impressed by the depth and breadth of topics covering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as the practical solutions for firms looking to tackle a wide range of manpower issues. Rosiah Ismail, Head of HR, Jamiyah Singapore, delivered a compelling presentation, outlining her “Performance Management Toolkit for SMEs”. She offered some tips and tricks on how to implement an effective

performance management system, including to set no more than five “smart” objectives to ensure that employees can deliver up to expectation. Another speaker in the SME stream was Anna Lim, Executive Director of The Soup Spoon. Delivering her speech in a room packed with delegates, Lim shared a 360-degree perspective on the organisation’s talent attraction and engagement strategies, as well as how the firm grew from its roots. Delegates learnt in depth about some of the challenges that The Soup Spoon faced, how the firm overcame those issues, and the measures it took to make the brand more attractive to both customers and talent.

tech giant is looking to craft a culture whereby ten times the improvement on any particular issue should be the norm. Bunch, from online US shoe and clothing retail giant Zappos, shared some deep and thought-provoking insights on his company’s famed “Holacracy” philosophy. This entails the elimination of all corporate hierarchies and ensuring that employees instead work across different “circles”. Bunch revealed how Zappos is embracing this whole shift, how it impacts on HR in terms of engagement, recruitment, and talent management, and what the major obstacles to Holacracy have been.

Compelling sessions Joanna Flint, Country Director of Google Singapore, shared how her organisation is driving a culture of “10X thinking”. She said making 10 percent improvement on some business aspects was not significant; rather, the ISSUE 16.6


POST-SUMMIT WRAP discussion Amanda Goh, CEO of Edelman involving senior HR Singapore, and Miao Song, CIO and and C-Suite heads Vice President of IT in Asia-Pacific, from Levi Strauss Johnson & Johnson, both shared the & Co., Vodafone, same sentiment, stating that technology Millward Brown enables and provides employees with the and Tower Transit need for “high touch”. However, they Singapore. The also warned that companies will need to quartet shared how balance and work with both touch and their respective face-to-face channels effectively. organisations In a unique and fresh take for HR, were spurring Akash Karia, Communication Expert and Desmond Kuek, President and Group CEO of SMRT Corporation (right), engagement bestselling author, taught attendees how chats with Channel NewsAsia presenter Steve Lai (Left) through their own to master storytelling techniques in the Roshni Wadhwa, HR Director of unique non-monetary programmes. style of TED talks. He also explained how L’Oréal Singapore, delivered an For example, Levi Strauss & Co. keeps the techniques can help build loyalty and insightful presentation on a current its employees engaged through its get others to buy into their visions. topic that many HR professionals were extensive community work schemes, He added that HR professionals can able to relate to. while Millward Brown’s activity-based use storytelling when hiring and even Her session, “Revamping the onworking style offers a dynamic and free when presenting the employer brand to boarding process to attract, engage and setting for its employees to work in. candidates. retain millennials”, showcased the unique The rise of the contingent workforce Additionally, he explained to delegates programmes that L’Oréal has in place. was also heavily discussed at this year’s how they can build curiosity into their Some examples she touched on Summit, with Dan Spencer, Chief presentations, sharing some of the most included the company’s six-month Talent Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi Asiaeffective stories that multinational roadmap designed specifically for new Pacific, sharing how the advertising companies like Google have used to hires, and a programme that focuses conglomerate organises its own talent convey their messages. solely on culture to help employees fit in pool to meet today’s complex and niche This year’s HR Summit’s Free to the company. labour demands. Workforce Strategy Sessions and brandWith the rise of millennials in the The digital era also presents new new Expo Power Talks were also a big workforce, Wadhwa encouraged HR challenges for HR, such as how to keep a hit with attendees, with overwhelming professionals to listen to this group in millennial workforce engaged. responses garnered for both features. an individual manner, in order to attract “This 4th Industrial Revolution, which Attendees were afforded useful and and retain them. comprises of the rise of mobile technology practical insights on a wide range of There was also a frank question-andand social networks, is redefining the way topics including leadership development, answer session with Desmond Kuek, organisations approach their business,” networking, culture, gender parity, President and Group CEO of SMRT said Jimmy Koh, Managing Director productivity, and consulting. Corporation. In an in-depth discussion and Head of Investor Relations and For the first time ever, two university with Channel NewsAsia presenter Steve Research of the UOB Group, at the C-Suite students also got into the act of presenting Lai, Kuek shared how SMRT is driving Symposium Panel Discussion. by sharing their own observations of how its own transformational and culture change. He also candidly shared his insights on a wide range of topics involving the transport giant. Social networking site Twitter also shared with audiences its unique performance management system, with Bala Subramaniam, Head of HR, South Asia and Pacific, highlighting that if the company’s employees “do not make mistakes, that means we’re not pushing Akash Karia, Communication Expert and bestselling the boundaries enough”. author, speaks during his Expo Power Talks Session There was also an interesting panel 20 ISSUE 16.6



Attendees got the chance to browse through a host of exhibitors organisations can manage the future workforce they are set to join. The HR Clinic, which was a new concept to the HR Summit, was also well-received among attendees and Wadhwa, in particular. This was where delegates can approach an expert to discuss their top concerns in a one-toone manner. Wadhwa was especially impressed with how HRM Asia was able to customise the event to minute details such as this. “It was a targeted networking plan where people who have a specific need or looking for a specific kind of solution, were linked to the experts and were able to spend time with each other,” she said. “This was a new edge and I loved the concept.”

The rise of software One recurring theme at this year’s HR Summit was the increasing importance of software in HR. At its exclusive cocktail reception, IBM’s Southeast Asia Workforce Science and Analytics Leader, John Lim, shared the company’s Talent Insights tool, which helps industry professionals address common challenges using analytics and predefined questions. The cocktail reception, organised by IBM and exclusive to C-Suite Symposium delegates, also afforded them the chance

to meet, network and hold discussions with their counterparts in an informal and relaxed setting. In addition, Workday, a financial management and human capital management software vendor, also launched its latest targeted cloud solution for HR and finance at its C-Suite VIP luncheon. More than 70 exhibitors were also on hand to showcase their different offerings to attendees, creating ample opportunities and scope for product demonstrations and potential collaborations. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claimed the inaugural Best Exhibition Stand prize, an award that will be handed out every year for the best use of space at the free HR Summit Expo.

Giving the thumbs up Kevin Mulcahy, Workplace Futurist and author who also spoke at the Summit,

had glowing praise for the HR Summit. “Part of speaking is about how wellmatched you are to your audience. I felt that the audience I spoke to was a really good match for my subject,” he said. “There was also a diverse set of people in the audience, from those in large companies, to small companies, and to non-profit organisations. I was also amazed by the number of people who flew to Singapore to attend this event.” Karia also echoed this sentiment. “I was surprised to see a number of high-quality speakers delivering such powerful talks,” he shared. “Some sessions were 20 minutes and that allowed speakers like me, to deliver the most important takeaway in a shorter amount of time.” “The other longer workshops allowed us to go into further depth with the audience members.” Ewan Clark, Global Head of Leadership and Team Effectiveness, ‎Standard Chartered Bank, attended the Summit for the first time in 2016, and was similarly impressed. “The scale is really impressive,” he explained. “There was a nice blend of regional and global speakers, organisations and a nice mix of thinkers, authors and practitioners.” Bunch shared that he was delighted to have acquired knowledge of HR and business practices from an Asian perspective. “It has been really great to see how organisations around the world, especially in Singapore and Asia, think about business and its challenges,” he shared. “I’ve really learnt a lot and it has been great to get that global perspective.” Once again, HRM Asia would like to thank all attendees for gracing this event. We look forward to your continued support and to seeing you again next year at the Summit on May 3 and 4, 2017. ISSUE 16.6


See You Next Year!

3 & 4 May 2017 Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre



Cultivating that homely feeling There is much more to klapsons The River Residences Bangkok than just stunning views. HRM road tests one of Thailand’s best serviced apartments for relocating staff


estled on the banks of Bangkok’s renowned Chao Phraya River and overlooking the Thai capital’s bustling metropolis, klapsons The River Residences Bangkok is a cozy abode that fuses luxury with a distinct personal touch. Located within the North Tower of the luxurious “The River” condominium property, klapsons boasts 69 expansive rooms and suites that have been cleverly constructed to fully take in the majestic river views. I recently spent four nights in the wonderfully spacious 68 square-metre one-bedroom Residence Room, and can attest to its comfort and facilities. The balcony outside the master bedroom offered a fantastic vantage point for the Bangkok skyline, with the

klapsons Residences • Residence Room – one bedroom (68 square metres) • C Suite – two bedrooms (113-115 square metres) • Residence Suite – two bedrooms (134 square metres) • River Suite – three bedrooms (231 square metres) • klapsons Suite – three bedrooms (232 square metres)

Sham Majid

city especially illuminating into a wide spectrum of lights after sunset. Space was a key theme throughout the room. From the kitchen area to the dining hall all the way to the master bedroom and bathroom, the room was laden with openplan spaces, coupled with a sleek and classy interior design, all meant to offer guests a warm and tranquil place to call home.

Creating homely vibes With klapsons The River Residences Bangkok opening its doors to relocating staff seeking accommodation for one month or more, it is especially imperative that all rooms and suites are designed to make guests feel right at home. For families who are keen

The interior of the Residence Room to prepare meals within the comfort of their apartment, every residence has a fullyequipped western kitchen. When it comes to entertainment, each apartment is also stocked with 30 cable TV channels and radio stations, and even has an in-room entertainment MP3 player and Bluetooth sound speakers. All rooms are also kitted out with Wifi internet access, ensuring that everyone is connected for work and play. With klapsons The River Residences Bangkok having recently launched its new Flexi-Stay package, which offers guests the opportunity to book a special rate for 30 nights and to use them as they wish throughout a 12-month period, guests can select either a onebedroom or two-bedroom suite. This flexibility will enable relocating employees or leisure travellers to experience a truly

unique type of hospitality within their own time and schedules.

A host of facilities Those who are keen to work out a sweat can enjoy the state-of-the-art fitness centre, while the riverfront infinity pool and two outdoor lap pools on the fifth and 23rd floors respectively allow guests to unwind after a long day at work. There are also two multipurpose outdoor courts and a sky garden with a landscaped relaxation area. Keeping in line with the river theme, klapsons The River Residences Bangkok even has its own private ferry service, where guests can cross over to the other side of the city for free throughout the day. All in all, my stay at klapsons The River Residences Bangkok was filled with breath-taking views and first-class hospitality in the Land of Smiles. ISSUE 16.6



Doing away with


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While the technology sector continues to be fraught with volatility and disruption, Lee Murphy, Senior HR Director, Asia-Pacific, Microsoft, shares with HRM why the organisation is warmly embracing these trends Sham Majid


hen it comes to making an assessment of the technology sector, Lee Murphy, Senior HR Director Asia-Pacific, Microsoft, espouses a mantra that has been chanted by none other than the giant’s global CEO. “Our CEO Satya Nadella says our industry does not respect tradition; it respects innovation,” he says. “I think it’s a great line in relation to how we deliver on the cultural transformation of the company.” It’s no surprise therefore to learn that Microsoft is undertaking a deep cultural and business transformation at the moment. “How we are aligning our HR strategies and people agenda to that is in terms of

AT A GLANCE Total number of employees at Microsoft (Singapore): 1,000 Size of the HR Team (Singapore): 25 Key HR Focus Areas: - Building a growth mindset in the leadership team to enable business transformation and drive sustained high performance - Intentional and sustainable planning to improve impact and quality of talent across Asia-Pacific - Drive cultural transformation across Microsoft with the growth mindset, inclusivity, and global customers at the centre - Strengthen Asia-Pacific people manager effectiveness so they can be “stewards of talent” and help build a highly engaging work environment

our talent management, diversity and inclusion, and being an exceptional place to work,” Murphy explains. “There’s really been a reset in terms of our people strategy to make sure it’s aligning with the CEO’s vision and mission.”

Embracing disruption As with any organisation in any sector, disruption becomes the only true constant during times of change, especially in light of the internet-like speed of digital transformations that have been occurring. Murphy says the speed by which new business models have emerged has been “extraordinary”. “From our perspective, we’re trying to make sure that we build that needed agility,” he says. But what exactly constitutes “building agility”? Murphy cites the work of Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researchers on motivation. “It’s about moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, and whether you believe that intelligence is static or that you continually grow in terms of your outlook,” he elaborates. “Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? It’s really challenging our incumbency thinking and putting the customer first in what we call a ‘customer obsession’. This customer mindset is at the forefront of Microsoft’s current cultural and business transformation. “The customer is at the centre of all that we do, and the way we look at the quality of our leaders in terms of their leadership attributes,” says Murphy. Collaboration is also a key theme

of Microsoft’s blueprint, whether it is with partners, customers, or even with competitors in the marketplace. Murphy stresses that this is about building “One Microsoft”, breaking down the silos and challenging mindsets. “When you get to this scale and size, how you keep reinventing yourself as a company is absolutely critical,” he says.

Key areas With Nadella constantly touting the potential of cloud computing since he took over the hot seat as Microsoft CEO, it’s not surprising when Murphy discloses that cloud computing is among the two key technology trends being witnessed by the company, alongside “Big Data” and analytics. “Many of our customers and even partners are in the middle of HR systems or process replacement (moving toward more analytical systems),” he explains. “Why are they making this shift? It’s the ease of use, data accuracy, and also the business demand for analytical decision-making.” Away from the technology space, Murphy says another critical area is workforce diversity and inclusion (D&I). “It is critical that our D&I focus is truly representative of the consumer and customers we live among and work together with,” he explains. “How we’re harnessing that from an Asian perspective is critical.” Developing the Asia-Pacific talent agenda and building diverse teams for Microsoft’s strategy and activities is critical and a key HR challenge, says Murphy. Another key aspect is what Microsoft terms “manager excellence”.

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HR INSIDER “We are asking our leaders to transform while performing. You need to deliver those quarterly results but at the same time, have enough space to engage in innovation and disruption in the marketplace. That’s a huge stretch for our leaders,” explains Murphy.

Different breeding grounds With Microsoft possessing a plethora of well-known products, such as Skype, Azure and Xbox, Murphy says the “sheer breadth and depth of markets” is a major hiring challenge. “We have a very broad talent pool that we’re seeking to attract, and we are then scaling up those teams into businesses, and at the same time, balancing between developed and growth markets,” he elaborates. Another aspect is sourcing those multiple products and solutions, shifting to solution-selling rather than product-centric selling, and then trying to find the right talents and capabilities in that space. In fact, Murphy says the talent pools for cloud-related skills are not yet deep enough. “The other area is digital transformation and we’re trying to get the digital natives and deeper marketing skills into the organisation,” he states. While Murphy concedes Microsoft’s main talent pool has generally come from the information technology (IT) industry, he says that due to the nature and complexities of the company’s sales processes and products, the organisation is now making a clear shift away from these types of skills alone. “We still value many of the skillsets and capabilities within IT, but we are clearly looking at non-technology sectors,” he says. “For example, we’re going into the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. Currently, we’re talent sourcing in 10 different industry segments such as pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics,

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Culture’s not written on a wall Lee Murphy, Senior HR Director AsiaPacific, Microsoft, has a unique outlook on corporate cultures. “Describing a company’s culture is how you observe it and what you actually experience. It’s not what’s written on the wall itself,” he says. So, what culture is Microsoft aiming to foster? According to Murphy, its working towards a culture based on growth mindset, customer obsession, diverse and inclusive and making a difference in the world. system integrators and mobile operators; we’re really looking broadly.” Murphy says another reason why Microsoft is sourcing for non-technology talent is to bring diversity of thinking into the organisation. The company wants to bring a broader experience into teams, which helps drive the organisation’s cultural transformation. In its efforts to build diverse teams, Microsoft has devised a two-year programme called the Microsoft Academy for College Hires (MACH). The programme is for undergraduates and Master of Business Administration graduates from all around Asia-Pacific. Microsoft is also well-connected to the leading universities and colleges in Asia and runs multiple internship programmes with its educational partners. In addition, Murphy says Microsoft runs a female-specific programme where it goes to colleges and universities to attract women to the technology industry. “We’ve been really focussed, especially in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand. It’s a really exciting programme where we’re going out to these universities and building the value proposition of joining technology as a career.

“We have diverse leaders from across the technology industry and not only from Microsoft. We rolemodel, showcase and story-tell in terms of why it’s attractive to come into the technology industry. That’s critical from our perspective in terms of making the industry, but also Microsoft, an attractive place to work.”

Developing performance through feedback While Murphy says the company is not much different from other firms in terms of possessing learning and development roadmaps, it also has targeted development interventions, which work concurrently with broader functional development of domain expertise. “When you talk about cloud, or sales management, depending on a particular function including HR capabilities and business partnering skillsets that we develop on, we have a performance development system that is about feedback and development,” he explains. This is documented in every performance and development discussion, which Microsoft has a minimum of thrice yearly for every employee. “Each of them has what we term a ‘Connect’,” Murphy says. “You’re looking back at their performance and the impact that they had, and also looking forward at the specific areas that we spend time on in terms of development.” “It’s critical from a development perspective that we get this peer feedback and that it’s built into the development piece through some of the functions. Some of these functions are more sophisticated than others.” Microsoft also places a significant emphasis on its development of managers. Murphy says the organisation has a particular programme for its 250 top leaders across Microsoft Asia-Pacific, called the APAC Leadership Forum.

HR INSIDER “We bring them into Singapore for two days. With the networking and side meetings, it has evolved into very impactful leadership development,” he explains. This year’s theme focussed on “Organisational Accelerators”. Murphy says participants discussed the factors behind the organisation’s cultural transformation. “We spent a lot of time looking over that through surveys and focus groups. We then had diversity and inclusion sessions. We work a lot on diversity for our leaders, unconscious bias training, case studies and coaching,” he adds.

“We have good systems and processes in place to drive the ‘what’, but the “how” is also critical. The emotional intelligence, the growth mindset, the empathy, and humility: authentic leadership is what we are looking for,” he explains. “If you get the right leaders in place, that employee engagement will follow and you need to create an environment where people are enjoying coming to work.”

Impact, not activity

Microsoft’s CEO Nadella has also stressed that leadership is about getting the best out of people wherever they are. He says everyone should be “bringing their ‘A’ game” and finding deep meaning to their work. “It’s critical that you find a meaning and purpose to your work. How you create that compelling and higher order is critical,” says Murphy. He stresses there must be an alignment between an individual’s set of values and what the vision and mission of the organisation are. Hence, Murphy says Microsoft spends a lot of time on leaders who

The technology giant’s employees are rewarded not on their activities, but rather on their impacts. According to Murphy, this is anchored on the “Connect” system that underpins the performance and development framework. “We don’t have a ratings or ranking system; we’re one of the first companies worldwide to remove our performance ratings. You then have to align rewards according to impact,” he says. Murphy says there are no predefined ratings or distribution. Managers and leaders are guided on how staff should connect on the reward framework, but at the same time they are held accountable for their decisions. The notion of evaluating impact instead of activities also ties back to employee engagement, with Lee

focus on the “how”.

highlighting that finding purpose and

Aligning values

meaning in one’s work and creating a feedback culture is vital. “This peer and collegial support is critical in the way we work and is fundamental to anchoring people. “We also focus on recognition and having a culture of celebration. It’s also about recognising the small wins, both formally and informally,” he elaborates. Hence, having leaders that personally care and who are passionate about their people is fundamental. “We also have an accountability and ownership culture and it’s critical we hold people accountable and people also enjoy that accountability because it also drives their performance,” says Murphy.

From competitor to partner Murphy says the technology sector has become more collaborative in recent years. Traditionally, it used to be all about the competition; but now, an organisation has to be part of a broader ecosystem. “So, I think there’s been a real shift within the organisation and we’re getting that feedback,” he explains. Murphy says that in the four to five external interviews he undertakes weekly, many of the candidates acknowledge seeing a shift in Microsoft. “As a consequence of that, they really want to be a part of our journey,” he says.



HR Senior Director, Asia Pacific


HR Lead, Asia Headquarters (AHQ), Asia Pacific


HR Lead, Singapore and New Markets, South East Asia

JUANITA PETER Business Manager HR, Asia Pacific


Business Manager HR, Asia Pacific

NATALIA KOVACS HR Lead, Asia Headquarters (AHQ), Asia Pacific


Recruiter, Talent Sourcer, Asia Pacific, Japan and China (APJC)

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BALANCING ACT Salary transparency is often seen as a valued strategy that firms should aim for. But what limitations does the policy have, and how can HR balance the good and the bad aspects to drive the organisation forward? HRM finds out Naadiah Badib


n the past, hiding pay information from staff was a strategy leaders believed reduced pay dissatisfaction among the workforce. Today, with the compensation information floodgates open, workers have access to real data which allows them to decide which companies they want to work for.

With the rise in technology, employees now have access to online platforms like Glassdoor and Jobstreet that offer crowd-sourced information about compensation regimes searchable by job, industry and even across international markets. Individuals can look at equivalent jobs in their organisation and

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WORKPLACE TRANSPARENCY competitors – both locally and globally – and study where their individual salaries stand. A recent study by The Wall Street Journal revealed that 60% of millennial workers, and 53% of older staff use these sites. On top of these readily available resources, employees can also seek other methods to discuss their salaries. The same Wall Street Journal survey discovered that millennial workers are more likely to discuss their pay with parents (71% stated this) or their friends (47%). Some 38% of them also stated that they were less likely to talk about pay directly with their co-workers. In comparison, older employees are substantially less likely to discuss their salaries with co-workers (only 19% said they might do this), friends (24%) or parents (31%).

Significant impacts Apart from making salary negotiations easier, pay transparency can have some other major benefits for both employees and employers. First, it can help to ensure that equal workers are paid fairly for equal work. If there are fewer secrets surrounding salaries, it becomes harder for any pay inequity to arise. Secondly, it boosts productivity. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to be more engaged at work and less likely to think about whether they are being underpaid. These were two key findings from a recent study entitled, PayScale 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report. It discovered that one of the top predictors of employee sentiment – measuring the workforce’s overall satisfaction – was a company’s ability to communicate clearly about compensation. Open and honest discussion around pay was also found to be more important than typical measures of employee engagement, such as career advancement opportunities and employer appreciation. More importantly, most employees do not actually know how they are being paid relative to the market. 30 ISSUE 16.6


This is especially evident with the fact that 45% of people who are paid above the market rate, believe that they are paid on level terms, while 64% of those who are paid at the market rate believe they are underpaid. Interestingly, three percent of those who are paid below the market level believe they are overpaid. “Employees have a better understanding of how their compensation package is derived at from the job level they are pegged, to

Do your employees negotiate? Salary negotiation is not as common as one may think. According to Glassdoor’s Salary Negotiation Insights Survey, close to three in five (59%) US employees accepted the salary they were first offered at their current job without any negotiation. Women were less likely to negotiate than men. Sixty-eight percent of them accepted the first salary they were offered, compared to 52% of men. Notably, older workers – aged 45 to 54 – negotiated their salary less than younger workers. Of this group, 66% accepted their initial salary offer without negotiation. This was in comparison to 55% of those aged 33 to 44, and 60% of those aged 18 to 34.

where they are positioned in the salary range, to how their salaries are kept competitive through the annual market data refresh,” explains Christina Moh, HR Director, Asia-Pacific at Elsevier. According to her, pay transparency allows employees to have a clear understanding of how salary benchmarking is done in the workforce and, promotes trust and appreciation of the company’s efforts to stay competitive to the market. Satyakam Mishra, Head of HR at Bata, adds that pay transparency has a healthy impact on employees. “Organisations should be transparent enough to share the grade or band structure as it motivates employees who aspire for higher positions,” he says.

Drawing the line But while these HR professionals see salary transparency as an admirable organisational quality, others note that it does come with a price. Ravi Bhogaraju, Global Head of HR Textiles and, Head of HR Asia at Archroma, says organisations are typically transparent about their principles, but not as open about numbers. “Being transparent about number increases the risk of a never-ending debate on how much and why some people are paid a certain way, and others are not,” he says. The HR department may also find itself in arguments with employees or vice versa. Moh shares that there can be instances where HR will have to manage employees who have unrealistic expectations of where their salary position or competencies are. On the other hand, employees may find that their managers are not strong or mature enough to manage a good explanation of their own individual salary position. She also says that if the limitations are not handled well, it can deepen the level of mistrust in the system, and not resolve it. “It goes into a bigger black box then

WORKPLACE TRANSPARENCY before salary transparency was in place,” Moh says. This could also potentially increase the perception that staff are not paid fairly for the work they do and therefore, increases the chances of turnover significantly. Bhogaraju also adds that transparency can potentially disrupt the flow of the workforce. “It can be a huge distraction as employees tend to obsess over the numbers and morale can be impacted,” he explains. “Overall, this could lead to a loss of focus and productivity.”

Factors of discontent There are two predominant types of unhappiness that may arise when employees are unsatisfied with their compensation. Bhogaraju says the first is when employees feel they are undervalued. To them, this is evident on the paycheck they receive. The other is when they feel that they are not compensated in line with their peers, where staff may feel a sense of injustice. Moh further reiterates this point. She says that when staff feel their responsibilities do not equate with their pay, or there is an insufficient differentiator between a high performer and an average performer, employees will believe they have been unfairly treated. Another issue is when staff hear of peers leaving to do the same job but with a higher package.

HR’s role At Elsevier, manager workshops are held to give managers a good grasp of how compensation and benefits packages work and help them deal with difficult questions that staff may ask. This is followed by workshops on the employee side to help staff understand the overall compensation philosophy of the organisation as well as the processes behind benchmarking and salary positioning.

Conducting quality conversations with staff When it comes to employees’ pay, clear communication is critical. Christina Moh, HR Director, Asia-Pacific at Elsevier, shares her top four tips for managers conducting difficult salary conversations with their staff. They are: • Understand the strengths and development areas of your staff • Understand their aspirations and their motivations. Not everyone is looking for more pay when the basics are being met; employees tend to shift their focus to a higher level of need such as learning opportunities and challenges • Support their professional development, not just within the current role but also, for their future role • Identify the key talent in your team and how to develop their potential further. This can come in the form of projects and informal mentorship

“HR needs to be consistent in applying the compensation ‘rules’ as consistency breeds more trust in the system and removes the conversation from ‘haggling’ to applying the principles of compensation,” Moh explains. To avoid undesired situations, Mishra stresses that HR has a fundamental role in facilitating transparent communication at work. “HR need to ensure there is 100% uniformity in terms of compensation structures and all employees are aligned with the salary structure of the company,” he says. “Any changes in the salary plan or structure need to be communicated effectively through employee communication or town hall meetings.” Bhogaraju adds that HR can also help to clarify if, and to what degree, the organisation wants to be transparent about salaries. “Transparency for the sake of transparency can hurt the organisation,

and morale can drop drastically,” he explains. “Once clarified at a leadership level, HR plays a vital role to educate line managers and the employees about appropriate salary-related communication.” “It is important that HR is enabling, but the messaging needs to be managed through the line functions and the leaders.” Bhogaraju says managers should understand that employees seek a number of things in their jobs: support, value, regular feedback and the opportunity to grow in their careers. “If managers truly care about their team members they should provide a holistic interaction with them by understanding them, their situations, their aspirations, and how they can support them in different areas,” he explains. “If you don’t care, then irrespective of how much you pay them, they will not want to stay in the organisation for long.” ISSUE 16.6




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A While the profession itself comprises of many career options, HR often demands practitioners choose between becoming either a generalist or a function-specific specialist. Should HR professionals be deeply immersed in one niche function, or should they become a jack of all trades? HRM looks deeper

Sham Majid

fter starting out in sales and then moving into marketing, Michelle Phipps, HR Director, Asia-Pacific, Brown-Forman, later moved into HR projects which she says gave her a “business dialect” that would eventually help her throughout her HR career. “I moved into HR projects where I could watch HR generalists and specialists work together to deliver business results and growth,” Phipps explains. She then made the switch to a role that was heavily specialised in education, training and development before finally settling down to build a longer-term career as a generalist. “As a generalist, I’ve worked with some brilliant specialists including organisational psychologists who have built transformational leadership programmes and astute diversity experts who have been right on point,” says Phipps. “My studies are varied, from a Master of Arts in HR, to a PhD in Communications and a keen interest in psychology and economics. I prefer the ‘helicopter view’ of the generalist, but also greatly value the expertise and focus of the specialist.” Meanwhile, Ravi Bhogaraju, Head of HR in Asia for Archroma, says he began his career as a management trainee before moving onto specialist roles and then shuttling back to a generalist position. “This movement between generalist and specialist roles in my career has developed my knowledge and perspective from a number of different viewpoints. A holistic viewpoint is critical to creating sustainable impact and ultimately gaining credibility with your stakeholders,” he shares. Tarun Gulrajani, Head of HR – Asia-Pacific at Rehau Corporation, says his HR journey has “definitely evolved”. “I consider myself now to be a businessman first and a HR leader second. If I don’t understand the business or if I’m not able to grasp the challenges or pain points that a business is experiencing, I’m not going to be truly effective as a HR leader,” he explains. Gulrajani reveals he commenced his career as an HR specialist in talent acquisition and mobility, then took on roles in learning and development. Later, he moved on to become a HR specialist in compensation and benefits. He is now on the move again, this time to an HR generalist role. “However, it’s a full circle now as I consider myself to be a HR specialist focusing on being a strategic HR Leader influencing organisational development and organisational transformation,” says Gulrajani.

Where is the value? So while both HR generalist and specialist roles are required in today’s HR scene, which HR function adds more value, or is more significant? Phipps says this is a difficult question, as both generalists and specialists add value in their own ways using the knowledge they possess. “In my experience, smaller companies will start with a generalist who will get to know the business, build the organisation strategy, and then contract or hire the specialists as necessary to help the business deliver on its people plan,” she cites. ISSUE 16.6


A CAREER IN HR Phipps stresses that in today’s HR field, both generalists and specialists must have business partnership skills, influencing expertise, and commercial acumen in order to challenges and build productive relationships within the business. “I believe it is competency, and building productive relationships that will differentiate between a good generalist or specialist and a not-sogood generalist or specialist,” she says. Gulrajani feels that adding value to any business and providing true business partnering is a “mindset” and not merely a “function”. “It’s like asking a sales team whether business development personnel or customer service personnel are more important,” he says. “To truly wow the customer, both have a role to play and are equally important.” On the other hand, Bhogaraju believes the value of a generalist or specialist comes from how they are deployed within the context of the organisation and its own HR function. “In a large organisation that has a number of resources that can be organised and deployed, a specialist function can be

designed to add value as an expertise centre. In a relatively smaller or medium-sized organisation, generalists are more common as they need to assist the business on a number of different topics,” he explains.

Which is in demand? According to Morgan McKinley, 2015 saw a shortage of experienced HR specialists, with many positions left unoccupied in Singapore. Nevertheless, Gulrajani says whether an HR generalist or specialist is more appealing for hire, depends entirely on an organisation’s size and needs. “There is no cookie-cutter solution,” he says. “For some organisations with a large employee base, complex matrix structure and personnel in multiple geographies, a hybrid solution of having HR generalists in every location and HR specialists in a centralised location may work well.” Phipps says businesses usually start with a generalist who has the capacity and experience to know the HR tools and practices externally, and who can then build the people strategy from the business strategy.

What are the chief differences between HR generalists and specialists? While it is hard to ascertain which role is more important, there is no doubt there is a clear distinction when it comes to the job functions of an HR generalist or specialist. According to Tarun Gulrajani, Head of HR, Asia-Pacific at Rehau Corporation, HR specialists generally have a greater depth of knowledge in their area of expertise, such as in compensation and benefits, or learning and development. He says HR generalists, meanwhile, usually possess the depth and breadth of knowledge on some, but not all aspects of HR. “A HR generalist could be doing payroll, while also assisting in hiring of certain talent, in addition to conducting employee orientation or certain training sessions,” states Gulrajani. Based on the experience of Michelle Phipps, HR Director, Asia-Pacific, Brown-Forman, generalists have broader HR experience and are usually the first people that the business connects with for advice and consultation on people initiatives. She says the specialists on the other hand have deeper and often rich data and external best practice expertise in specific areas. “In the past, for me, specialists largely dealt with the business via the generalists. Now, I think it is more common for both generalists and specialists to blur the lines of each other’s areas and each represent the HR function to serve the purposes of the business,” adds Phipps.

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However, she believes it is imperative that specialists are available either in a contract, consultancy or centralised capacity to then be able to advance specific areas. “It’s difficult to say which one is more appealing unless the strategy and business direction is clear,” says Phipps. “Some generalists are great strategists for instance, while I’ve also seen great specialists transform a business’ leadership and culture with the right tools and programmes.” Bhogaraju says what’s increasingly important is that HR professionals understand the business they are working with and how it makes money. Only then, can they use that understanding to create effective initiatives and solutions that plug in well to create impact. “It is becoming less important what label you have. What is more important is how you can add value to the business,” he says. In that sense, Bhogaraju feels that a well-rounded generalist has a shorter learning curve. He says Singapore has a rich talent pool and organisations can find candidates of different levels of expertise and skills. “That’s very positive,” he says. “In general, HR professionals at most levels struggle with business acumen, keeping pace with the needs of the business, and creating simpler and effective solutions that create impact here and now.” While Gulrajani notes that Singapore is a regional hub for many organisations, he says this can foster an unconscious bias towards HR specialists that understand the Asia-Pacific region being based there, with HR generalists being based in remote or regional offices. Phipps also feels that HR has evolved to the point where specialists richly complement the work of generalists. “Instead of payroll, training or recruitment, generalists are now much more immersed in the business as a ‘commercial’ function. Specialists too have evolved so that they are required to know best practice externally and partner with generalists and the business to build growth,” she adds.

A CAREER IN HR Personal observations Although Bhogaraju stresses that it is important for HR professionals to amass as much knowledge as possible whether they are HR generalists or specialists, he says generalists can become lazier in knowledge acquisition as there are a number of different areas they need to cover. They also know that specialists are there to back them up. “In that sense, they carry the risk of developing blind spots of knowledge and will eventually provide subpar advice to their businesses,” Bhogaraju warns. Specialists on the other hand, he says, are great in their field but struggle with a broader view of the business and this impacts other aspects of the people agenda. “They carry the risk of ‘tunnel vision’ and may also eventually provide subpar advice. Irrespective of where their starting point is – professionals have to make a constant effort to be well-versed in their

thinking and advice,” Bhogaraju states. Gulrajani says there are no limiting factors whether one chooses to be an HR generalist or specialist. “It’s your attitude that can create the pros and cons,” he says. Phipps meanwhile, says she loves being a generalist because she gets to drive the overall organisational capability strategy of the business. “The ‘con’ about this is that the generalist can be ‘a jack of all trades and master of none’, particularly if there is no specialist around to provide in-depth analysis,” she shares. However, she says a downside to being a specialist is that unless the company is big enough so that there is a full department of specialists, control over strategy is limited.

Is pay a factor? Does salary play a key role as to

whether an HR professional aspires to become an HR generalist or specialist? Gulrajani says “that may definitely be the case”, especially in HR analytical positions, which he says are becoming more sought after as organisations see the value of analysis of HR data. “However by the same token, I have seen certain HR business partners being paid equally well as they have both the depth and breadth of experience of various HR functions and can truly value-add to the departments they partner with,” he adds. Bhogaraju feels that compensation is a factor that plays into decisionmaking more than it actually should. Phipps says compensation is not a crucial consideration for her. “Every generalist or specialist I’ve known does it to fuel their passion; not because of the money,” she says.

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RESPONSIBILITY IS IT? Douglas Tan, Group HR Director of Vicplas International, shares why top management needs to be HR-savvy and “walk the HR talk”


ithout a doubt, HR is a CEO’s job. Why? This is simply because so many companies claim that employees are their greatest assets. Shouldn’t it always be the CEO’s job to take care of the company’s greatest assets? Let’s assume a hypothetical scenario whereby a CEO helms the HR function and that they can do the job better than a HR professional.

Performance, performance, performance…

assigned certain roles, which seem like poor fits. Probably, HR folks have more feedback and information coming from a range of sources. The sad thing is that even though one is a poor fit, the person is most probably there to stay, and since they are in the top brass, there is nothing HR can do about it. The CEO could do a better job in ensuring the performance system is fairly applied to the top brass as well, and this is crucial, as a key position holder has significant impact on the effectiveness of the organisation.

Since ancient times, the success of great leaders has always depended Architect of culture on their ability to maintain a high The top leader and not HR, usually performance team of key position sets, defines and reinforces the holders. This is company culture. analogous to a CEO who The CEO is the most makes sure that the visible leader in the performance of the top organisation, and their brass is checked and decisions, actions and managed. behaviour directly In fact, if you do not personify the company already know, your culture. in the organisation, and their HR team members are For example, there is decisions, actions and behaviour directly personify the company always talking among no way a company will culture themselves about why have a high performance some top people are culture if its key position

The CEO is the most visible leader

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holders are deemed as non-performers redundant staff, is able to control and by the on-the-ground staff. Normally, retain key personnel, and is also able to sentiments coming from the ground assimilate new staff into its culture. tell an important tale. If the company takes over redundant Take for another instance, where a headcount or undesirable staff in an company wants to create a culture that acquisition due to its unwillingness recruits, engages and retains talents to pay compensation to release these but is unwilling to pay competitive employees, the negative impact wages, invest in human capital or these staff have on the culture and empower its staff. operational efficiency All its efforts will be of the organisation will In reality, the reduced to empty talk far outweigh the cost and a waste of time and of compensation, as it energy. Such practices might even result in the will almost guarantee eventual demise of the that talents do not organisation. stay. The CEO should Making such HR in managing the HR function personally eliminate decisions requires such incongruence a lot of business of practices that are acumen. Sometimes, incompatible with the desired culture money spent on HR related matters they want to build and reinforce. is well worth it but can be difficult to substantiate with facts. In reality, the Applying business acumen focus of mergers and acquisitions is The HR profession generally attracts geared towards operations and finance, people who enjoy working with other neglecting the HR aspects which have a people, but who are typically shy of far-reaching impact on the success or numbers and lack financial acumen. failure of the deal. This is why many HR professionals focus all their efforts on HR issues Getting staff to “believe” independent of important businessHR has a long list of policies, standard related issues, and are often not operating procedures, and work present when major business standards to uphold, of which I am decisions are discussed. quite sure most are based on two key The problem with this is that the principles: “logic” and “fairness”. human capital dimensions are often However, these are just ink on paper. lacking in the discussions. There is What really matters are the no one at the table to make sure the actions and behaviours of the top company has enough people, with management. For example, if the the right skills and knowledge to CEO allows members of the top complement the business strategy. management to behave badly, such as Thus, instead of always expecting an through bullying, being disrespectful HR employee (who probably has the to subordinates, or granting or least idea on how to run a business, receiving special treatment, these operations and manage financial actions override what the policies are aspects) to have business acumen, trying to achieve: putting across the this trait is a “must-have” for a CEO message that the company upholds and and they will be able to apply business practices fair systems and approaches. acumen to their HR strategy and align As such, I would say that although it to the business strategy. HR is often the steward of rules and For example, if it is a business standards, the CEO is really the person strategy to acquire a technology through who gets the company to “believe” a merger or acquisition exercise, it that such rules and standards exist. is imperative that the company has a complimenting HR strategy to Conclusion make sure that it does not take over While this is just a hypothetical

HR professional supports the CEO

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scenario, I am sure the above resonates in many HR professionals. It boils down to one question: “Is HR empowered enough to do its job effectively?” In reality, the HR professional supports the CEO in managing the HR function. However, in order for the HR professional and for any of the HR initiatives to be effective, the CEO and management must first understand the rationale and impact of these initiatives and take ownership of their execution. In fact, these key position holders, especially the CEO, must be HR-savvy so as to not only align HR strategies to compliment important business strategies, but to also incorporate business acumen into HR strategies and then “walk the HR talk”. Ultimately after all, “employees are the company’s greatest asset”.


Douglas Tan is an experienced HR practitioner specialising in local as well as overseas HR projects and has been particularly successful in setting up HR frameworks for startups, listed companies and multinationals. In his current portfolio as Group HR Director, Vicplas International, he oversees the HR function of the region.

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Organization Development and Design Congress 2016 Re-imagining Organizations, Transforming Work 20 – 21 July 2016 | Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza

Business leaders in the 21st century face daunting, complex and unrelenting challenges. The key to meeting these challenges lies in utilizing the expertise, and commitment of people to enhance organizational performance. Organizational Development practitioners possess the required organizational resources and competencies can help leaders address these very issues. However, organisations and practitioners in Asia are considered to have somehow lagged behind their peers in this area. What can O.D. practitioners do to have a greater impact? What assistance can O.D. professionals provide? How do you choose a right OD intervention or change management model? HRM Asia brings to you our Organization Development and Design Congress 2016 that has been developed to help you become a strategic partner to take your organization to the next level!

Featured Speakers

Why Attend • 2 Key Learning workshops

Two intensive workshops on OD as a Strategic Partner and Facilitation Skills for OD Practitioners to upskill new OD Practitioners and refresh your current OD competencies. Atul Gaur HR Director - Global Travel Retail Diageo

Christian Chao Director (Organisation Development) /Principal Consultant Civil Service College Institute of Leadership & Organisation Development

Ying Yuan Ng Director, Human Resources and Organisation Development Singapore Economic Development Board

• Best Practices Exchange:

Building and Sustaining a High Performance Internal O.D. Practitioner Team – Hear OD experts from Public and Private sector share their journeys of building up OD in their organizations

• Highly Participatory Discussions:

An interactive mix of integrated case studies, panel discussions, engaging group exercises, open discussions

Richard Yeo Vice President, Talent and Organisation Development Singapore Post Ltd

Jayesh Menon Global Organisational Effectiveness Leader Micron Technology

Betsey Strobl Talent and Organization Effectiveness Lead, Asia Pacific Mondelēz International

Sylvia Koh Chief People Officer Crimsonlogic

Haiyub Kadir Regional Learning & Development Manager (Southeast Asia) Flextronics

Eric Yim Global Learning Manager Shell

+PLUS Mini workshop: Facilitation skills for OD practitioners • What are the core skills to be effective facilitator • What tools and techniques you can apply • Facilitating Large Group Processes for Change Half-day Workshop: OD as a Strategic PartnerOptimising your OD interventions • Aligning HR strategic, HR business partner and OD • Exploring the systemic balancing of the various orgnaizational elements • Building your capacity as a OD practitioner

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


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Maintaining workplace health is essential for an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing, and is often seen as a corporate responsibility. How can HR monitor the welfare of its workforce? HRM finds out Naadiah Badib

F Riding a stationary bike to work? Employees in the UK can look forward to an interesting way to work out, while on their daily commute. A fleet of new exercise buses called “Ride 2 Rebel” will be launched in London later this year, CNBC has reported. The buses will travel to and from four pick-up points in North, South, East, and West of London and travel into the city. Commuters will be able to ride stationary bicycles on the moving bus as it takes them to their workplaces. “For those who want the components of a class but perhaps don’t have the time to commit during the day, this provides a great solution for them to maximise time they would otherwise be spending just travelling to work,” James Balfour, one of the studio’s founders, said.

or some, achieving a good balance of work and life may seem like an impossible feat. This can be especially so for professionals who work around the clock in the increasingly demanding work culture that many face. According to a study by Harvard Business School, 94% of working adults work more than 50 hours a week, and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours a week. The cumulative effect of increased working hours can also be damaging to one’s wellbeing. A recent survey by the UK’s Mental Health Foundation revealed that nearly three in 10 employees experience a mental health problem as a result of their work or workplace. It believes this rate will likely increase with the rise in the UK’s working hours. Thirteen percent of the country’s working population currently works 49 hours or more per week. Dawn Wong, General Manager, HR and

Administration at Rakuten Asia, says health already plays an important part of the working culture in Singapore. “It is a fundamental element that allows us to work or function properly, and to deliver our roles as employees or individuals,” she says. But work stress is still prevalent across the country, and comes in all forms. “Stress can propel and give people the motivation to attain their goals at work and life, but on the other hand, it can also cause havoc in people’s lives,” she adds. “Employees these days are more ready to be up for a challenge rather than stick to mundane work. That requires agility both in the mind and body.” “All this points to ensuring a certain balance between work and health.”

Addressing the imbalance Everyone understands that health is important. However, employees often neglect their own warning signs when work comes into consideration. ISSUE 16.6


BALANCING WORK AND HEALTH Their priorities will shift focus, and health can sometimes be the last thing on their minds. In fact, higher than normal workloads have proven to be a trigger for work-life imbalance. This is a point emphasised by Dr Wong Kae Thong, General Manager of AsiaMedic. There are also several other contributing factors that he cites. These include inadequate manpower resulting in staff having to take on additional work outside of their job scope and the difficulty in living up to the expectations of a superior. Wong notes that companies understand that a healthy workforce translates to a better organisation, with less absenteeism and higher engagement. “From an organisation’s point of view, employees are the most important asset,” she says. “It is therefore important to create an environment that is conducive enough for employees to realise their highest potential. This is paramount to the success of retaining them.” At Rakuten Asia, the wellbeing of employees is closely monitored, even to the most minute detail. For example, the firm has actually created an in-house playroom for employees to take time off and to bond with their teammates. After office hours, yoga lessons and workshops are open to all staff. The company also provides a variety of healthy snacks and even salad bento for employees. To create awareness on health and wellbeing issues, Rakuten Asia has partnered with vendors to host roadshows and talks.

From a health perspective Dr Wong says at least 20% of the employees consulting with Asia Medic were concerned about the imbalance between their professional and personal aspects. The common health issues identified included lifestyle and diet-related concerns, as well as stress related problems. In some cases, employees were diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases. These involve the heart and blood vessels

Contributing factors to a stressful work life There are several factors that may lead employees to feel stressed at work. According to a report by The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, they include: Design of tasks Heavy workload, infrequent breaks, long work hours and shiftwork Management style Lack of participation by workers in decisionmaking, poor communication in the organisation, and a lack of family-friendly policies Interpersonal relationships Poor social environment and a lack of support from co-workers and supervisors Work roles Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, or too many “hats to wear” Career concerns Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion Environmental concerns Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions, such as crowding, or noise or air pollution which may cause numerous problems including a process called “atherosclerosis”. This develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. The buildup narrows the arteries which in turn, makes it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow and ultimately cause a heart attack or stroke. Long and tiring work hours can also lead to anxiety and sleep disorders. Sleep disorders are characterised by abnormal sleep patterns that interfere with physical, mental and emotional functioning. In fact, stress or anxiety can cause a serious night without sleep, as well as a variety of other problems. The recent Healthy Living Index by AIA considered respondents’ satisfaction with their health and the extent of their healthy behaviour. It ranked Hong

Kong as the least healthy city among 15 markets in Asia-Pacific. Residents there reported sleeping for an average of only 6.5 hours per night and spend 3.7 hours online for work outside of office hours. The Asia-Pacific average for this trait was three hours. Hong Kongers also gave themselves only 6.4 out of 10 on their own state of health, lower than the regional average of 7.3. About 74% felt their health was worse now than five years ago. Singapore, on the other hand, was ranked 11th place, with 61% stating that they were satisfied with their health lifestyles.

Making a difference The role of a manager is to develop their people, and give them challenges to enable them to grow and achieve in the business. Developing people is challenging, and developing a team that suffers from burnout is even more so. This is where HR comes into play. The department can advise managing employees and help them to focus on the rewards that come when they have a healthy workforce under their management. “I believe HR needs to be the enablers in shifting mindsets and providing ample communications and education to the managers and business owners. They need to highlight that it is important to look into the balance of work and health,” Wong shares. Flexible working hours are arranged at Rakuten Asia so that employees are able to run their errands before or after work, at a time that is suitable for them. In addition, AsiaMedic’s Dr Wong says managers should have realistic expectations about the productivity of their staff. He says they have a pivotal part to play in encouraging employees to exercise, eat well and to go for regular health check-ups. “Today’s HR role is not only providing conventional basic necessities, but also things such as medical and insurance coverage,” Wong explains. “HR will have to take a proactive role to convey the importance of having a good balance of these two components, and get that buy-in from business owners.” ISSUE 16.6



How to avoid

ASSIGNMENT FAILURE Relocating to a new land can be both an exhilarating and a daunting experience for employees. HRM provides some useful tips for a smooth transition


n unsuccessful international assignment can be costly for any business, as it often results in lost opportunities and failed business goals. Addressing employee concerns early on in the process can help prevent future issues, and allow for a smoother transition. According to Cartus’ most recent Global Mobility Policy and Practices research, which surveyed 172 relocation managers around the world, family and personal circumstances are the top reason why some employees turn down the offer of an overseas assignment. “Even if support is provided, employees are cautious for their 46 ISSUE 16.6


By Sumathi V Selvaretnam

family’s integration into the new environment. Companies can consider implementing a cross-cultural training programme to ensure that employees and their families have a smooth transition into their new location and can fully integrate into their daily living and work situations,” suggests T.J. Spencer, Vice President of Sales and Managing Director of Asia-Pacific for Oakwood Worldwide. Stress can also occur in “split family” situations when the assignee and family live in separate geographic locations during the assignment, with the employee travelling back and forth, the Cartus survey found.

Compensation and benefits was the third most important concern noted. The local currency can make employees nervous, says Spencer. “Researching local currencies and gaining an understanding of general pricing in advance, will help employees feel more confident about cost containment, prior to relocating,” she explains. Another concern is the provision of quality accommodation. “Employees might be concerned that the accommodation will not meet their requirements. They need to feel comfortable in their surroundings, be based in a favourable location close to their place of work, and be


able to set their own schedules and enjoy daily activities in a home-like environment,” says Spencer. Being in a foreign environment can also raise questions about employee safety. Keeping staff safe and healthy is a key HR responsibility. “Employees may find the move to a foreign city overwhelming and unfamiliar,” she states. “Feeling safe and secure in the new environment will help put them at ease. For some employees, it may be their first time away from home, so being informed of current events and happenings, as well as having local contact numbers is important.” Lastly, a degree of culture shock will

International risk assessment Some points to consider on international risk assessments are: • Whether your international policy covers all the people, places and activities involved

• Travel planning and vaccination schedules

• The risk profiles of the individuals you’re sending overseas (and of their families, where relevant)

• Communications arrangements

• Political, medical and security risks of the countries involved • Infrastructure and contacts in the countries involved • Cultural awareness and training

• Personal safety and security training • Details of accommodation • Traveling within the country, including driving • Information management • Contingency and emergency strategy and response • Debriefing strategy

Source: Safety Without Borders by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

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RELOCATION always be experienced, but will impact some employees more than others. A visit to the new location prior to the move can help set expectations and put employees at ease, while also connecting them with other employees who have relocated to the area, Spencer suggests.

HR taking the lead It is important that HR gets involved in the relocation process at the earliest opportunity, ideally as soon as the business need for an assignment is identified, says Kenneth Kwek, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cartus Asia. “Working in partnership with the business at this early stage ensures that the best candidate is selected, the relocation policy is adhered to, the programme offered suits the requirements of the assignment, and the individual assignee’s needs are taken care of,” he says. “The business should ensure the assignee and their family receive all available training, support and guidance to ensure their relocation is a success.” An effective candidate assessment process can help companies identify and manage risks and avoid surprises. Selecting the right person for the position gives organisations the best

chance of assignment and ultimately protects the investment made. Cartus for example, offers its clients a candidate assessment programme that provides upfront awareness for both the company and the employee. It gives both parties the chance to make an informed decision about the relocation. “Most specifically, the programme provides an understanding of existing competencies and skills gaps; and builds awareness of candidates’ cultural styles and behavioural traits, and how these might impact on job performance in a new location,” says Kwek. “The programme also highlights potential challenges due to motivational, lifestyle or family issues that may affect social interaction, communication and cultural adjustment.” Once the right candidate is chosen, Cartus also supports the assignee with a range of relocation services. From arranging a preview trip and finding a suitable home, to arranging schools, visas and transport of household goods, it offers full support to the employee and family for the assignment duration. Serviced apartment providers such as Oakwood Worldwide can also help HR manage the costs of relocation. It offers flexible contracts – allowing both short and long stays – with rates that are not




Why employees turn down an overseas assignment • Family or personal circumstance: 76% • Spouse employment issues: 65% • Compensation and benefits issues: 31% • Schooling quality or availability: 29% • Concerns over the impact on career: 23% Source: Cartus’ Trends in Global Relocation: 2014 Global Mobility Policy & Practices

subject to fluctuations throughout the year. “Serviced apartments also provide larger living spaces with equipped kitchens that minimise the costs of dining out at every meal,” says Spencer. Oakwood Worldwide also provides on-the-ground- support in every location it operates in and has a comprehensive, proactive crisis management plan in place to minimise the impact of unanticipated events.

Seven tips for a smoother relocation • Have a documented relocation policy that is benchmarked regularly to ensure it continuously meets the needs of the organisation, the destinations involved, and the profile of the assignees moved • Ensure that employees are set clear assignment objectives so they know what constitutes success. Support them not just during the outbound move, but for their entire assignment and take steps early to ensure that their repatriation is well-prepared • Create an internal expatriate report forum. Invite employees to record their tips and destination experiences following an assignment to share learnings and to connect with other employees in the country • Get organised. Help employees to ensure all paperwork and documentation is up to date, all parties have been notified of changes of address, and all visas have been applied for and approved

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• Support the family. Ensure provisions have been made for the whole family to integrate into their new surroundings. This will minimise any problems that could negatively impact focus and productivity • Maintain regular communication. Correspondence with each employee should not stop as soon as they arrive in their new location. Employees should know who to call in case of emergency and be provided with ongoing support and communication throughout the assignment • Provide cross-cultural training programmes. Whether moving in the region, or to the other side of the world, a degree of culture shock will always be experienced. Mobility managers should encourage employees to attend cross-cultural training and language courses to aid integration and build connections with fellow expatriates Source: Cartus and Oakwood Worldwide



Carole Le Meur

Adrian Ho

Nutan Singapuri

Barry Callebaut has recently announced the appointment of Carole Le Meur as its new Chief HR Officer. In addition to this, Le Meur will be a member of the company’s executive committee. She will report directly to the CEO of Barry Callebaut, Antoine de Saint-Affrique. Le Meur joins Barry Callebaut from Baxter Healthcare where she was based in Zurich and served as Vice President of HR, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She then relocated to Singapore where she was Vice President of HR for Asia-Pacific and Vice President of HR (Intercontinental) for Baxalta prior to its spin-off from Baxter International. Prior to this, Le Meur worked as an Executive Search Consultant in the healthcare and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors. Le Meur started her career in FMCG marketing with ICI Paints and Dulux. After these stints, she served in sales and marketing positions with Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals for seven years. Speaking on Le Meur’s appointment, de Saint-Affrique said “We are excited that Carole Le Meur is joining us and we will also have her on the executive committee. Good talent and talent development is more than ever at the heart of our company’s success.” “Carole comes with an enormous depth and diversity of HR expertise, coupled with business experience, which made her the ideal candidate to push our global HR strategy forward.”

Adrian Ho has taken on a new role at Eighteen Chefs as Deputy General Manager of HR. In his new position, Ho will be responsible for partnering key stakeholders in bringing the group to new heights, particularly in introducing a new brand, Seng Kee the Black Seed. He will also seek to take the established Eighteen Chefs Brand overseas. His immediate task is to institutionalise the HR practices, adopt a structured training model, maintain the company’s competitiveness with benchmarked compensation and benefits, and to remain focused on the vision of creating “Good People, Great Food”. Prior to this, Ho was the HR Manager of the Riverview Hotel for close to four years. However, he decided to move into the Food & Beverage (F&B) sector, as he always wanted to contribute to the local F&B scene. He also felt a need to recharge his passion in the business of talent development, policy-making and human capital strategies. Ho brings with him 19 years of experience, spanning from private to government-related organisations, local and multinational corporations. As an HR practitioner, he believes the work of developing human capital to the fullest is a work in-progress. “People, being the core of the business, face different stages of life, and as a business, we must embrace our staff by making a constant effort of managing them,” he said.

LinkedIn has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Nutan Singapuri as Senior HR Director, Asia-Pacific. She will be working closely with all HR functions in the Asia-Pacific region and globally as well as with the region’s senior leadership team. She will also work towards an HR mission in building a high-performing and healthy company. Among other things, she will ensure a strong employer brand and continue to recruit and retain top talents. She brings with her more than 20 years of working experience across industries. The last 15 years were focused on HR where she held various HR leadership roles in a number of large global organisations, including Microsoft, GE Capital, Cargill, and SingTel. More recently, she was the Head of HR for Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific region. Singapuri noted that she has enjoyed her roles as both a generalist and specialist. “What I enjoy most is partnering with senior business leaders to shape and execute the talent agenda within organisations to fuel business growth, and also playing the role of coach to my teams and business leaders,” she said. “I was also fortunate enough to have had experience leading initiatives, such as mergers and acquisitions, integration, talent management and organisational development in emerging and growth markets.”

Chief HR Officer, Barry Callebaut

Deputy General Manager, HR, Eighteen Chefs

Senior HR Director, Asia-Pacific, LinkedIn

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Senior Project Manager, Talent Management, Grundfos

How many years of HR experience?

I have been a talent specialist and people developer for over 13 years, with roles spanning across different industries including consulting, retail, and manufacturing.

Why HR?

Although my academic disciplines were Computer Science and Finance, my professional interest was more inclined towards working with HR. I started in HR by chance when I was approached to join a consultancy firm while I was still in university. As my HR career progressed, I started to specialise more on in-house people development specific to talent management, learning and development, and HR strategy. Having worked with fellow HR professionals from various industries and sizes, I am privileged to have learnt some of the best people practices and to have implemented them within my organisation.

Why Grundfos?

I joined Grundfos in 2015 as they offered me an opportunity to explore and grow in the global talent management space. Being able to collaborate with likeminded colleagues to bring an idea to fruition and making a sustainable difference through our water technology makes my job so much more enjoyable.

Biggest achievement?

In my previous organisation, I was given the challenge to build the learning and organisational development function in a short span of time. I managed to successfully overhaul the performance management system, build a succession pipeline, and develop learning and development modules that were closely aligned to business needs.

After hours?


Finding work’s true calling N

ot everyone is able to land themselves the perfect job. However, individuals can make amendments and improvements that propel them towards a successful career. The recently-released Born for This guides readers to do just that. The book realistically addresses the conundrum of trying to find work that you really enjoy. Each chapter begins with a specific objective which is meant to help readers in finding the work they were truly meant for. It is accompanied by numerous examples and stories to illustrate the point. Towards the end of each chapter, a clear goal is articulated. Author Chris Guillebeau also offers actionable content and practical tips that allow readers to identify and hone their talents and passions. One key strategy that he introduces is the “JoyMoney-Flow” model. The concept allows readers to think through what they like to do, what supports and sustains them, and what they are really good at, in order to achieve a fulfilling career. The book is filled with anecdotes on how Guillebeau and others have found rewarding work that hits a sweet spot between joy and money. Born for This is not the usual step-by-step guidebook but instead, is a valuable resource for brainstorming what works best for you and your career.

I usually take time off to spend with family and friends or invest in developing myself professionally and personally through reading and keeping myself updated on the latest in talent development, business and HR.

Title: Born for This


Publisher: Crown Business New York

My family is based in Singapore. Due to my hectic work schedule across different time zones on weekdays, I usually spend weekends with them.

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Author: Chris Guillebeau

Price: S$39.15

AHRDSPEAKS HR needs to speak “business” H

ave you experienced this; you make a presentation of your HR initiatives to the C-Suite and nearly everyone at the table gives you their personal perspective? They will respond while quoting what they have heard, read, or seen what other companies have done on the topic you just shared. This is followed by the second take. The CFO shares the financial performance of the organisation, providing a slew of statistics and data and then recommends a course of action. The room is quiet, with a few heads nodding in approval. He or she also shares relevant analysis based on information gathered from the organisation. We should thus expect no less from an HR leader.


We need to tailor our HR initiatives to how they can improve the business and what value they can add to the organisation. We can only do this if our HR business partners fully understand the business challenges and appreciate how the people agenda will help them tackle these challenges. Recently, I shared HR’s strategic workforce plan for the organisation. In the plan, I shared data on the demographics of the workforce available in the market in relation to the kinds of jobs available in the organisation and the workforce we currently have. I also shared the implications for the organisation and the measures we need to undertake. The business leaders agreed on the need to

8.00 AM I make use of my travel time to keep updated with what’s happening around me. I access our company intranet to read updates about my organisation. I also check online news and social media to look for industry updates and trends.

10.00 AM

Rowie Vindollo -Vicente HR Manager, Asia-Pacific, William Grant & Sons Singapore

Meetings with business leaders to build strategic partnerships, give progress updates, and discuss matters that require HR support. This is also when I get approached on employee queries or concerns. I listen, ask questions to clarify, and give sound recommendations.

11.00 AM I focus on sourcing potential candidates and the in-depth

review how the workforce was organised so as to better engage and retain the new workforce. We also agreed to redesign the jobs as the new workforce available in the market was better qualified and some of the current job roles were too narrow to engage this new workforce. HR leaders need to draw the same respect on their professional integrity as one would accord to the CFO. This can only happen if HR leaders can share their analysis on human capital data that has business implications on the organisation. This will then make the senior management take notice of the people agenda and discussions will be based on factual data rather than on personal perceptions.

Lawrence Tan HR Director, Public Utilities Board Singapore

screening process to fill multiple roles. I also catch up with candidates who are currently going through an interview process to keep them interested in the job and in our organisation.

meetings with office managers in Australia, South Korea, China and Taiwan in the afternoons. These typically regard new hires, HR updates or employee communications.

12.00 PM

6.00 PM

I spend lunch as a “me-time” to get recharged from a busy workday or have a lunch meeting with a partner recruiter to discuss hard-to-fill roles.

Before leaving, I save a few minutes to think about what just happened in my day. It is a brief pause to consider what worked well and what didn’t work and to appreciate someone for kindness extended. This is also when I start to plan for my next day and the remaining week, keeping in mind the learning for the day.

1.00 PM I dedicate this time for HR management matters, such as updating the HR system with employee records or designing an onboarding plan with a hiring manager.

2.00 PM I generally have Skype

7.00 PM Time to go home. It is usually a long day but I am always going home as a better person than the day before.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY Amy Tan and Uwe Kaufmann from Centre for Organisational Effectiveness (COE) share some tips on aligning an organisation’s HR plan with its business strategy. They say HR leaders should be proactively planning for both expected and unexpected shifts in business demands and talent supply

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n uncertain labour market, coupled with a rapidly changing marketplace creates the need for organisations to proactively plan for shifts in business demands and talent supply. At the same time, the business implications of Singapore’s ageing workforce positions human capital planning as an essential element of comprehensive business planning. However, many organisations are only just beginning to see the value of such planning and may be at a disadvantage if they don’t build a structured planning process that ties human capital strategies to business goals. Workforce planning allows organisations to better meet the challenges of a rapidly changing economy. By aligning shifts in demand with the existing and future supply of human capital, organisations optimise their workforces to meet business goals, increase market share, and ultimately improve employee engagement.

This article describes the workforce planning approach and illustrates the strategic alignment of workforce planning.

Aligning HR Plan with Business Strategy

Preparing workforce planning Workforce planning is a major project. A typical challenge teams will face is a lack of buy-in from the leadership team, starting with a lack of involvement of HR in strategy planning. This results in a missing link between workforce priorities and business strategy. Proper preparation includes: • Agreeing on the lead for the workforce planning process. To be effective, workforce planning should be led by corporate planning and HR • Assembling a team of dedicated members. Workforce planning should involve all affected functions, as well as finance • Gathering all information needed. Workforce planning typically takes place on an annual basis, and is

usually done in conjunction with the annual strategy planning process. Workforce planning usually takes several weeks to complete.

Strategic Workforce Planning Approach by COE

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Time Study and Resource Gap Analysis of one process

Deployment Strategic workforce planning should be done after a thorough workforce analysis. The basis for this analysis is the system of core and support processes run by the workforce in question. Workforce analysis without accompanying process analysis could lead to having the right workforce for the wrong process. Therefore, the logical steps for strategic workforce planning are: understanding business priorities, translating them into process priorities, and then deriving workforce priorities out of both.

PHASE 1 Understanding strategic priorities Current strategy and future strategic moves are influenced by external forces like the market environment and competition, as well as internal factors like stakeholders and employees. Understanding the business goals for the next few years help define the expected demand for human capital, and should include factors like retirements, turnover and new roles being created. A series of scenarios for the more likely situations and the respective responses will help make the workforce plan more robust. Additionally, it is necessary to study the status of customer satisfaction such as through service level agreements, and the degrees of employee satisfaction, staff turn-over, job acceptance and other HR metrics in order to understand 54 ISSUE 16.6


whether the current organisation is able to meet future needs. Moreover, customer requirements change over time. We cannot assume that the same processes which meet customer requirements this year will be able to do so in the next few years. Understanding strategic priorities as well as future customer demands and requirements are key fundamentals for strategic workforce planning. To determine future supply, forecasting models based on interviews, focus group results as well as historical trends will be helpful.

PHASE 2 Projecting strategy into process priorities Processes are the tools through which an organisation can execute its strategy. Often, they have been designed years ago for a slightly different strategy and somewhat diverse customer needs. Processes typically lag behind the strategy. They only get amended when there is a rather pressing need. This is why a thorough analysis of core and support processes is recommended in order to identify performance gaps. Indicators for performance gaps can be found in customer satisfaction data, employee survey results and a list of other measures a company has put in place to manage performance and staff. Value analysis is a good method to calculate process efficiency. However, an organisation should not base new planning solely on internal measures. As important as it is to develop the

strategy based on external data, it is equally crucial for processes to be benchmarked against the “best in class”. Since only some selected areas of an organisation undergo benchmarking at any one point in time, functional benchmarking is recommended for industry-specific processes and generic benchmarking for more industryindependent processes. The outcome of the gap analysis and benchmarking exercise is a list of opportunities. This list needs to be evaluated and prioritised regarding the costs, benefits, risks and potential impacts of each. Small changes – like taking out an unnecessary step from a process – are normally easy and quick to be implemented. Process improvement activities require some data collection and root cause analysis to enhance performance such as reducing the cycle time of a customer application process. Most challenging, sometimes costly, risky and more time-consuming are process redesign activities that start with a “clean sheet of paper” approach. Performance gap list and benchmarking help gauge what method to choose. Predicting the workforce for a less transactional activity such as policy writing, processing of complex applications or managing employee engagement, seems to be harder since the activities have much more variability in the processing time needed. However, it pays to collect information on the big picture, such as the demand variation over time. Obviously, workforce planning does not require process changes per


“Workforce analysis without accompanying process analysis could lead to having the right workforce for the wrong process” se. However, deriving workforce and competency needs out of existing processes without checking their appropriateness and performance could be a missed opportunity resulting in an improper workforce projection.

PHASE 3 Defining workforce priorities Workforce planning needs to be started at a process level by assigning headcount and the competencies required for each step. Existing process steps and benchmarking serve as a guideline for deriving workforce needs. Data gathering can be done during open interviews, structured focus group sessions or even through time study. Whereas manufacturing processes are highly structured, regulated and enforced by machines, service processes are typically less methodical, resulting in more variation in processing times for certain steps. Time studies are necessary for processes with rather large variations. A robust set of processing

time data is a key necessity for the integrity of the overall result. Moreover, even if customer demand changes to a small degree in future and if processes get amended, the process step will change too. Hence, this information will be useful for future planning activities, too.


The YOG case study An outstanding example of innovative resourcing strategies integrating very different ways of workforce sourcing was the Singapore Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010. Workforce planning for the YOG was broken down into five phases, with the first being the preparation and the last one being the dissolution. The five phases required remarkably different workforce numbers and skills. In order to keep costs low and still deliver extraordinary results, the workforce had to be recruited, trained and deployed in a very flexible and yet reliable manner. This, for Singapore’s largestever event, had been prepared by an organising committee consisting of more than 500 term-contract employees who knew that they would be out of a job in September, 2010. Additionally, the games were delivered by about 1,300 short-term assigned regular staff (often borrowed from ministries, agencies and companies in Singapore), a large number of interns who came in as fresh graduates and who all received relevant development at the YOG, as well as more than 20,000 volunteers from all over the world who received their own basic training.

Uwe H Kaufmann is the Singapore-based managing director of Centre for Organisational Effectiveness, a business advisory company focusing on the Asian Market. He has extensive experience in implementing process and organisation improvements and change for various industries.

Conclusion By employing business strategies to align shifts in demand with the existing and future supply of human capital, organisations optimise their workforces to meet business goals, increase market share, and improve employee engagement. Workforce planning allows organisations to better meet the challenges of Singapore’s rapidly changing economy. Since no one is able to predict the future, the best workforce planning approach is the one that caters for many different scenarios and establishes a robust system to deal with each of them.

Amy Tan is a partner and director of Centre for Organisational Effectiveness, and based in Singapore. She has more than 20 years of experience in human capital management and development. Her expertise is in HR strategy, review, and planning, competency modelling and organisational development. Tan also served as workforce director at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

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Business-critical skills for HR

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HR professionals need to have a keen sense of their business environment, as well as the ability to analyse organisational data to become more effective business partners. We look at some critical skills that can help HR meet this challenge


EOs today understand that the way they organise their human capital is critical for the long-term health and growth of their businesses. HR is their main ally in this process. In recent years, HR professionals have been becoming more in tune to the needs of the business. The Global Human Capital Trends 2016 survey by Deloitte revealed that HR has made significant progress in the areas of employee engagement, culture, analytics, and the adoption of cloudbased technology. In the same survey, respondents’ rated readiness in the area of HR skills had increased by 14% since 2014. The percentage of respondents who rated their HR teams “good” or “excellent” also rose by 6.2%. Companies are now seeing the value of helping HR gain new business critical skills. In 2015, 66% of companies were focused on reskilling their HR, and in 2016, this increased to 68%, the survey found. However, HR still needs to push on. According to the Deloitte survey, only 17% of HR teams report they have a “very good” understanding of their company’s products and profit models; a mere 14% believe they are highly skilled at addressing global HR and talent issues; and only eight percent have a “very good” understanding of cybersecurity issues.

Analytical skills Having the ability to analyse organisational data is critical for

HR to have a stronger voice in the boardroom. Yet many HR professionals today lack the skills required to gather, analyse and interpret such data. A 2015 survey commissioned by HR information system service provider Fairsail revealed that of 150 senior leaders in business and HR, 38% claim to have little, basic or no understanding at all of workforce analytics. It is thus critical for HR to keep up to date with the latest business intelligence and workforce analytics software. Such tools can help HR interpret employee behaviours associated with staff retention, job satisfaction and competencies. These can then be presented to senior executives in a more statistical and qualitative way. “Regardless of the operating model an organisation chooses, HR has a crucial role to play in bringing unique insights about the organisation’s people to business debates, informing strategic decision-making. Action around HR analytics is an essential way in which they can develop this commercial mindset, inform the people agenda, and increase visibility of HR’s impact on the business’s performance indicators,” says Jill Miller, research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Immerse yourself in the business Job rotations are a great way for

By Sumathi V Selvaretnam

employees in the HR domain to gain more business acumen. A survey by CIPD found that almost half of HR directors were not in a HR domain in their previous jobs. Seven out of 10 HR directors worked in roles outside of HR five job roles earlier. According to CIPD, this could mean that time spent learning elsewhere in the business or rotating in and out of HR could be valuable in reaching a senior HR position. Google is an example of a company that hires business professionals for HR roles. It then gives them rotational assignments so that they can learn more about HR, while advising business leaders at all levels.

HR goes digital Digital solutions offer an innovative way for HR to attract, engage and retain talent. According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, mobile and other technologies could allow HR leaders to revolutionise the employee experience through new digital platforms, apps, and ways of delivering HR services. What this means is that systems related to areas such as onboarding, learning and development, and performance management could be offered together as apps, greatly enhancing the employee experience. HR departments have been slow to embrace the availability of such technology. Research from Deloitte shows that only seven percent of ISSUE 16.6



companies use mobile technology for coaching, 10% for performance management, eight percent for time scheduling, 13% for recruiting and candidate management, and 21% percent for leave requests. To have success in this space, HR teams will likely have to partner with their IT departments, adopt design thinking, use integrated analytics, and analyse vendor solutions carefully, says Deloitte.

HR as negotiator The ability to win “buy-in” from stakeholders is another key business skill that would benefit HR, says Theresa Ong, Coaching Division Manager of Executive Coach International. “People are interested in what’s in it for them. Just like how you want to improve your company, different stakeholders also want to do so, but they will view it from their perspective,” she states. “What is their perspective? Is it more revenue? More efficiency? A solution to a problem they have?”

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“Many great ideas fall through because of the lack of finding the right person for the right job for execution and lack of follow-up to ensure that the work is being done” Theresa Ong, Coaching Division Manager of Executive Coach International

“Listen out for what they want, what they need, and what is important to them in order to create a buy-in that will align your key stakeholders with you.” People are more ready to act when they are aligned to a common goal and vision, especially when these goals are aligned internally with their

own personal goals and wellbeing, says Ong. HR also needs to be able to execute and follow through with its ideas. “After having a great alignment meeting or a proposal approved, the execution and follow-up skills allow the ideas to be manifested into reality. Many great ideas fall through because of the lack of finding the right person for the right job for execution and lack of follow-up to ensure that the work is being done,” says Ong. Executive Coach International offers a Professional Coach Training Programme that allows individuals, and especially those in HR roles, to enhance themselves with listening skills to understand what is important to a person so that they can create this buy-in. “Through coaching, the HR directors and managers who attend our training, have found a way of helping others to help themselves, by asking probing questions that allow an individual to relook at their lives and self-generate a solution that will work for them,” Ong says. “Each employee is a unique individual with their own unique mix of history, behaviours, wants, needs, motivations and experiences that make up who they are today.”


How can HR help employees to drive their own career advancement?


R has a catalyst role to play within the organisation to help employees manage and drive their careers. Initiatives should focus on changing employees’ mindsets to current realities: • Mindset I: A shift from a sense of “secured employment” to one of “secured employability”. Where previously careers and job security were with the organisation, employees now need to take personal accountability for developing and shaping their own careers. • Mindset II: A shift from learning on an as-needed basis to life-long learning. Employees need to proactively identify current and future career requirements. They are required to “stay in school” and keep learning to continue to add value to their business. HR also needs to manage the core people processes to support employees in driving their own careers. This include: • The performance management process to

drive individual development plans for career development. Managers and employees should collaborate on career plans, development areas and goals • Learning and development initiatives that are aligned to both the business and the career needs of employees. Staff should reskill themselves with specialist and transferable skills while having a broad industry knowledge • A talent management strategy and succession planning process that’s supported by an internal job opportunities programme

Sureash Kumar

Director – Global Talent and Organisation Development, United Test and Assembly Centre

Ask our HR experts. Email your questions to

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Team Epicphany – Singapore Management University

COOKING UP A STORM L’Oréal Brandstorm is a complex ecosystem of competition, ideas, creativity and inspiration. The end product of this initiative is to cultivate and mould talent the L’Oréal way. HRM finds out more Sham Majid

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hen “Team Epicphany”, comprising of Singapore Management University (SMU) students Jessica Lim, Tan Li Tong and Sharon Li, was unveiled as national champions at the 2016 L’Oréal Brandstorm finals in Singapore, it earned the right to pit its combined wits against representative teams from around 46 countries in Paris this month. This year’s Brandstorm event, partnering with French pharmaceutical brand La Roche-Posay, asked participating teams to entice a new generation of consumers aged between 15 and 25 with an international recruitment blueprint, based entirely on digital channels. Team Epicphany eventually came out

tops from a pool of 132 students across 44 teams in Singapore.

The story behind L’Oréal Brandstorm Roshni Wadhwa, HR Director of L’Oréal Singapore, says L’Oréal Brandstorm is an innovative and strategic recruitment initiative dedicated to spotting and selecting the best marketing talent available. Student-teams work on a given business challenge from a L’Oréal brand or distribution channel with guidance from the company’s executives. Having been launched in 1992, Brandstorm has been running for 15 years in Singapore and has since attracted the participation of over 4,000 young talents.

“Throughout the competition, Brandstorm allows us to have a thorough, on-the-job evaluation of participants in order to identify and recruit young, marketing talents who are able to bring passion and innovative ideas into the company,” explains Wadhwa. “It is a key pillar to our business strategy worldwide as it builds our reputation as an employer and provides a source of young, creative talents who nourish the business.” Wadhwa says it is these talents who have enabled L’Oréal to grow into the largest beauty company in the world. They have also helped build its reputation for ethics and innovation. “Our numbers speak for themselves – in 2015, we reported €22.5 billion (US$25.2 billion) in sales, plus 12.1% sales growth and €4.4 billion (US$4.9 billion) of operating profit,” she highlights. Across the world, Wadhwa says between 150 and 200 Brandstorm participants are recruited each year for internships and full-time positions. “In Singapore, we often recruit Brandstorm finalists into our local Management Trainee programme, with a handful of them having gone on to build international careers within the group,” she explains.

The mechanisms behind Brandstorm According to Wadhwa, the Brandstorm journey has a global standard framework. “The idea is to have a fair competing ground across the countries,” she says. Every year, L’Oréal’s International team in Paris develops a unique business case study centred on one of L’Oréal’s international brands or distribution channels.

Brandstorm challenge in 2016 Teams in the 2016 L’Oréal Brandstorm competion were asked to analyse opportunities in the health and dermo-cosmetic (skincare) market. They had to consider the consumer path, online services and purchase channels, and plan online communications campaigns in line with the La Roche-Posay brand’s strong commitment to offering a better life for all types of sensitive skin. “This year marks a new era for Brandstorm,” said Vincent Ong, General Manager of Corporate Affairs and the Professional Products division of L’Oréal Singapore.“The students were challenged to be more digital, more social and more entrepreneurial, and the results were impressive.” Teams of three are challenged to devise a thorough business strategy, taking into consideration all commercial aspects. “Depending on the business case study, these may include the development of a product concept, design packaging, service models, distribution channels, and identification of key competitors,” explains Wadhwa. The teams are also expected to outline consumer expectations, needs, usage habits, and trends. In Singapore, the organisation partners with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS) and SMU. “Students from these universities are invited to apply in teams of three. The teams then go through a qualification round followed by a semi-final round within their campus. The winning team from each campus is then invited to compete at the Brandstorm National Finals,” she explains. Wadhwa says this year’s challenge was based on real-life business issues involving digitalisation. “It is well-known that the world is quickly becoming a digital one. The weight of digital in our 2015 sales was

2016 L’Oréal Brandstorm National Finals in Singapore

incredible – €1.3 billion (US$1.5 billion) or 5.2% of L’Oréal’s consolidated sales came from e-commerce,” she elaborates. “Today, there are over 4.5 billion beauty queries on Google each year, over 15 billion views of beauty on YouTube per quarter, and over 160 million addressable beauty ‘addicts’ on Facebook.” Wadhwa says teams were tasked to develop a digital recruitment strategy that would help the La Roche-Posay brand realise its key vision - to have at least one La Roche-Posay product in every home.

Scouting for talent Due to the duration of the competition – it takes around six months from registration to the international finals in Paris – Wadhwa says Brandstorm allows the company to have a thorough, onthe-job evaluation of all participants. “We frequently recruit not only from the winning team, but any student whom we feel has the right talent, qualities and fit for L’Oréal,” she states. “This is a key objective of Brandstorm – to spot marketing talent in the journey.” Moreover, Wadhwa stresses that the competition provides students with “a best-in-class platform to turn theory into practice”. “Through the six-month journey, students are given the opportunity to work on real challenges and to experience state-of-the-art business and marketing thinking, including the latest trends in digital and retail. They take on the role of international managers in the world’s leading cosmetics company,” she says. Just as importantly the students are able to experience life in L’Oréal through the competition, and are attracted by the thrilling experience and culture of excellence. ISSUE 16.6



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? Learning of different HR practices across companies and cultures, understanding best practices from a theoretical point of view, and postulating the practical implications of various research findings: studying HR has certainly been an enjoyable learning experience these past years. It all started when one of my professors shared her experiences in the HR field. Having always identified myself as a “people person”, I found myself increasingly drawn towards the profession. One thing led to another and eventually, I found myself in a HR generalist role for my summer internship. Each day, I looked forward to going to work – I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with different groups of people, working on projects and learning what other HR functions did. I have never looked back since.

What aspect of HR do you hope to specialise in upon graduation? Upon graduation, I hope to go into either campus recruiting or learning and development.

The top three things you want from your HR career? Primarily, I want the work that I do to improve the lives of others – be it in terms of better work-life integration or shaping a vibrant and cohesive work environment where employees look forward to coming to work every day. My greatest satisfaction comes from successfully matching the right fit to the right role and I hope to be able to do so throughout my career. Helping deserving candidates

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land their job of choice and helping managers find quality candidates – that is what motivates me. Lastly, a big bonus will be having the opportunity to play a part in shaping the landscape of the HR field in the future.

What challenges do you anticipate? There is an increasing disconnect between employers and millennial aspirants, particularly for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Further, even with the HR scholarships that the Ministry of Manpower has rolled out in recent years, there may still be increasing inequality in terms of HR talent across companies.

Your HR career five years from now? I recognise that I am but one cog in a huge machine. In order for the HR function to operate as a well-oiled unit, each cog has to play its part. Thus, my aspiration for the next five years is very simply to help others to do their jobs better, while being the best that I can be. In the process, I also hope to contribute to integrating and streamlining different HR functions as well as fostering an even more cohesive work environment in my company.

Hobbies or inspiration? As a Career Champion in Singapore Management University, I work with the university’s career centre to help students find and secure internships and jobs – something I enjoy doing outside of school as well. At present, I’m in the midst of crafting a Career Skills Workshop for the youth in my church, using what I’ve learnt. I’m also exploring the idea of interviewing HR professionals,

Wee Zi Cong Final-Year Economics student, Second Major in Organisational Behavior and HR, School of Economics, Singapore Management University

career coaches and hiring managers across various industries to garner their viewpoints on what makes an outstanding candidate. I hope to then consolidate their responses into an online resource to help undergraduates better navigate their university life. In the midst, I also hope to help employers understand Generation Y aspirants a little better. As for the spare time that I have, I enjoy going for a good workout, reading, meeting up with friends and volunteering at a soup kitchen. I’m currently also looking to publish my first book to raise funds for an orphanage.

Bridging the gap between hiring managers and Generation Y candidates:

HR’s catalyst role By Wee Zi Cong


ou mean you’re allowed to question the way things are done in your company?” my friend asked, stumped. I was telling him about the day I first met my manager and I’d asked him how I could best contribute to team. His answer was, “Well, we have been doing things in the same way for a long time; it’d be great if you can help us to see if there are any processes that we could improve on or even do away with.” Yet, my friend was told off when he tried to do just that at his company. Sendhil Mullainathan, a professor of Economics at Harvard University, wrote in an online article that “Idealism and inventiveness are two of the best traits of youth, and finance especially could use them.” It isn’t every company that readily capitalises on the strengths of its Generation Y employees. The reasons are many, but much of today’s literature only prescribes onesided solutions to address this issue. Even while some of the ideas may be useful, particularly in the short term, in order for there to be lasting synergy in work relationships, a coordinated effort from both ends is needed.

Misaligned expectations I believe that the disconnect starts at the hiring process. As a Career Champion at Singapore Management University, I find that many students do not know what they want to do for a career and that most of them pursue academic achievements and leadership positions in a bid to make

their résumés look more impressive. From my campus recruiting experience however, I find that rather than communicating that building a relevant skillset would bolster their chances of landing their job of choice, employers are concentrating their efforts on fine-tuning their own Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) to ensure they cater to millennials’ wants instead. As a result, a mismatch of expectations is created from the onset and one-sided solutions may inadvertently create more problems instead of solving the root issue. For example, undergraduates who make a better fit for a role may be displaced by those who are interested only because of the attractive EVP. The end result is that the firm pays more for someone who is not as good a fit, and who may eventually leave when they realise that the role is not what they wanted to do. Evidently, better two-way communication is needed and this is where HR can step in.

The role of HR I believe that the key is to understand Generation Y aspirants at the ground level. This is by no means an easy task for hiring managers who have umpteen deadlines and targets to meet. Therefore, HR should firstly look to convince them of the need to take time out to invest in their talent pipelines. They should then set up communication channels which hiring managers, HR, candidates, as well as current Gen Y employees can utilise

on a regular basis to better understand one another. On the other hand, HR should also help Generation Y aspirants along their self-discovery journey. This could be through setting up interest groups at universities, mentorship programmes, cross-industry focus group discussions, or industryspecific career skills workshops. By understanding what employers expect of them and having a clearer picture of what each job entails, they can better build their skillsets and experiences towards the required criteria.

Moving ahead There has been a major shift in the prevailing attitudes, beliefs and wants of the younger generation and this will only accelerate in the years ahead. Once we think that we have understood a generation, the next has likely already come by. If efforts are directed at adapting to the current generation, they may well again become obsolete in a matter of years. Companies must therefore adopt a flexible approach that factors in such rapid changes. By fostering mutual understanding between millennials and the older generation, companies can tap on the drive, the innovation, and the idealism of the younger generation while also leveraging on the experience, network and knowledge of senior employees. The benefits of an intergenerational workforce are clearly substantial and efforts to actualise those gains must be maintained.

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Flexible work schedules, employee training programmes, and an open and collaborative work culture have helped Fast Flow become an employer of choice in the SME space

By Sumathi V Selvaretnam


t is the quality of people that the company employs that will determine its success,” says Karen Fan, Group HR and Administration Manager at drainage specialist Fast Flow Systems. “SMEs face tremendous competition in hiring local talent. This will continue to be one of the biggest challenges we face,” she says. According to Fan, budget constraints make it harder for SMEs to attract and compete with multinationals (MNCs) when it comes to salary and benefits. “The pace and rate of change in an SME can be visibly faster and often different in nature to that of an MNC. Employees sometimes find this different work culture difficult to accept and adapt to,” she says. Such manpower constraints can be a key factor hindering an SME’s capacity to actively grow the top line amidst expansion and development opportunities, says Fan.

Setting the tone Realising these challenges, Fast Flow adopts a multi-pronged approach to attract the best talent through its doors. Some of its recruitment methods include job portals, referral programmes, direct invitations to passive job seekers to apply for vacancies, as well as headhunting through external sources. The company, which has a current workforce of 184, also actively participates 64 ISSUE 16.6


At the Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards 2015 in trade fairs related to the industry and offers internships to students from Singapore’s educational institutions. However, Fan feels that it is the engagement that takes place during the actual candidate interview that is the crucial differentiator. “This is the time when we are able to showcase our company to candidates and alleviate any negative assumptions about SMEs,” she says. “As such, HR’s interview competencies are most important in attracting and inspiring candidates to see the opportunities within SMEs.”

“This process is sometimes underestimated by SMEs.” According to Fan, an interview must be interesting and positive for both candidates and the company. It is important to prepare well for the interview and ensure that there is a potential fit for the role, she says. “We outline the role and the challenges that are involved, and link the candidate’s experience and aspirations to the role. It also helps to show the progress of the company as an SME and share our future plans,” Fan says.


Building competencies in the construction industry The CoreTrade national learning and development scheme was introduced to allow the construction industry to build up its core group of competent workers in key construction trades who will serve to anchor and lead the construction workforce, and raise its quality and productivity levels. CoreTrade provides a platform to retain the better and more experienced workers by providing a clear career progression path and giving them due recognition. It allows one to move from a basic skilled worker, to a registered CoreTrade tradesman specialising in specific trades, and then progress to become a registered CoreTrade trade foreman, and, eventually, a CoreTrade Supervisor.

Helping talent flourish Fast Flow strongly believes that employee training and development initiatives are a key driver of retention. It has been stepping up its efforts in this area since January last year. The company now offers an in-house training programme that was developed and introduced for all grades of employees, including assistant pipe fitters, pipe fitters and supervisors. Conducted by the company’s project managers, the programme has been successful for both the workers and company, helping boost productivity. Some 25 employees have also gained a formal CoreTrade qualification (see: boxout). “These initiatives not only help workers in developing self confidence and upgrading their skill levels, but each worker’s potential is identified and the person becomes motivated to work not only for the company but for themselves as well,” says Fan. The company is currently creating its own in-house training videos for staff. These will cover common work processes, such as the basics of pipe installation. Fast Flow also sponsors the education of promising employees who are keen to

Fast Flow Lions Cricket team — Operations Team

pursue a degree, diploma or other trade qualification. The company introduced its first sixmonthly performance review programme earlier this year. “This will facilitate better communication and regular work feedback between employees and their managers and supervisors. It also allows for quicker corrective action and better work management,” says Fan. The performance review is part of the company’s Performance Incentive Programme. “The programme is based on performance targets that are set for each employee. These are linked and interrelated to company goals, which also facilitate working teams and individuals to be better connected on shared work plans and problem solving,” says Fan.

Company culture Fast Flow offers its employees an open and collaborative work culture and this is reflected in its management style. In its open-plan office, most managers sit with their teams. “Our CEO and senior managers invite staff to meet and speak to them at anytime,” says Fan. Fostering such a work culture is not just about communication and keeping everyone updated, says Fan. “It is about giving people the space and opportunity to develop their work areas and jobs. If they can handle the responsibility and deliver the required performance, they are empowered with more,” she elaborates. “This is the greatest opportunity in an SME. If an employee can demonstrate their ability to be responsible, accountable and diligent in their work, they will be given more space to develop.”

Fast Flow Design Team Employees at Fast Flow also receive some flexibility in terms of work hours. They can choose to work from 8am to 5.30pm, 8.30am to 6pm or from 9am to 6.30pm. On Fridays, employees end work 30 minutes earlier. Some others have special individual arrangements. “For example, we have an employee who needs to pick up her son after work every day. She has an early start and ends early instead of following the department’s working hours. Being able to work at their own pace permits staff to take care of all their obligations (both at home and at the office),” says Fan. “Reward and remuneration is another key aspect of HR that we need to deal with effectively.” Fast Flow offers a permanent pay raise based on past performance, flexible time, long service leave for employees who have been with the company for more than five years, as well as incentive awards. The company introduced its Employee of the Month Award in April 2014, and some 25 employees have been recognised to date. Fast Flow also organises activities such as bowling sessions, BBQ nights and teambuilding sessions for its employees. Sports equipment is available at all its dormitories and the company encourages staff to take part in competitions, particularly cricket and volleyball. “Both of our cricket teams, Fast Flow Tigers and Fast Flow Lions entered the Huawei Cricket tournament in December 2015 and the MoneyGram Cricket Ke Badshah competition in February this year. They will also be involved in the MoneyGram cricket knock-out tournament which will be held in June this year,” shares Fan. The company also has a winning team in Kabaddi, a contact sport of Indian origin. “This was totally organised by the site workers staying at the Soon Lee dormitory,” says Fan. ISSUE 16.6




Probing deeper into big data and analytics In April, HRM Asia hosted both the Big Data & Human Data Analytics Congress and, just a week later, the Predictive Human Capital Analytics Masterclass. HRM shares some insights from both sessions


he Big Data & Human Data Analytics 2016 was held on April 12 and 13 at the Hilton Singapore. More than 40 participants attended the event, contributing to a deeply powerful dialogue on one of the greatest challenges, and opportunities facing HR today. The event was highly interactive, and included four mind-blowing panel discussions with experts from various industries sharing their thoughts on the role of big data in people decisions and organisational strategies. There were many fruitful and lively discussions where speakers, panellists and moderators shared how they created their organisation-specific frameworks, teams, and practices to utilise big data and analytics to attract and retain talent. There were also case studies highlighting the ways big data can play a role in strategic decision-making . One of the highlights on those two days was an exclusive presentation by Neal Meister and Daniel Kusmanto. This looked at how Micron Technology has established a strategic analytics culture from the ground up. Another key moment was the panel discussion featuring Bhavana Chauhan from Mercer, Roy Goh from Merck, Sharp and Dohme, and Marcus Champ from Standard Chartered Bank. They shared their experiences on deciding whether to outsource the HR analytics function or build a data team from within. HRM Asia would like to extend a very special “Thank You” to all the speakers who took time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences, thoughts, and case studies. It is through the support of our amazing line-up of speakers that we are able to continue to strengthen our programmes. HRM Asia is also proud to have successfully launched the intensive

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A panel discussion on “How to Infuse Human Capital Analytics Into Business Dialogue” two-day Predictive Human Capital Analytics Masterclass for the first time in Singapore. Held over April 20 and 21 at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza, this highly-engaging event featured a lively group of senior leaders from the HR, data analysis and engineering fields. This two-day masterclass was facilitated by Grant Cooperstein, Vice President of Analytics at the Human Capital Management Institute. He brought over 13 years of experience to the table, including knowledge of advanced workforce analytics and planning projects. In his current role, Cooperstein provides guidance to organisations across the globe, enabling rapid advancement in human capital management practices. In addition to his consulting background, Cooperstein has extensive experience as an HR practitioner himself. He held the position of Workforce Analytics Manager at IndyMac Bank in North America. Through a variety of tools and techniques, including lectures, case studies, video, group discussions and excel exercises, Cooperstein provided the masterclass participants with an introduction to HR analytics and the variety of data that can be collected, analysed and visualised to demonstrate

the returns on investment in HR programmes. They left the masterclass well-equipped with the knowledge and skills required to choose the right HR data, measures and metrics needed to analyse their employees and organisation.

UPCOMING CONGRESS HRM Asia is proud to be your partner in your professional development. We bring you quality conferences and training and we have many exciting congresses and masterclasses in the upcoming months. Mark your calendar now! • 10th Annual Employment Law Asia Congress 21 – 22 June 2016 • Managing Conflicts and Poor Performers at the workplace 23 – 24 June 2016 • Indonesia Employment Law Workshop 28 June 2016 • Malaysia Employment Law Workshop 29 June 2016 • Organization Development and Design Congress 20 – 21 July 2016 • CHRO Series 2016 29 July 2016

Opportunities for Life

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

Regional HR Manager

Senior Executive / Assistant Manager – HR Generalist

• Pharma industry • Full spectrum HR role

• Large Established Japanese Multi National Organization • Local / Regional Coverage

Our client is an established Pharma company in Singapore. They are looking for a dynamic HR Manager to oversee the SEA region.

Our client, a well-known Japanese MNC is looking for an experienced senior executive/ assistant manager.

You will be responsible for end-to-end HR duties including talent acquisition, compensation & benefits, outsourced payroll, policies & procedures and personnel development. You will take a proactive approach to recommend the relevant local HR best practices which fits both long-term and short-term plans. You will also be responsible for HR related record keeping, compliance and administrative functions.

You will report to the HR Director and is responsible for the full spectrum of Human Resource Functions, including talent acquisition, compensation & benefits, payroll, performance management, and learning & development. You will work to identify any needs, streamline and improvise HR processes where needed and come up with ideas to refine or create new HR Policies.

To be successful, you should have a degree in a relevant discipline and possess 8+ years of HR generalist experience in a corporate environment preferably within the healthcare/pharma/medical industry. You must be goal-oriented, have excellent communication skills and is familiar with local legislations and good HR practices. Experience in leading new projects or a HR start-up role in new location is highly desired.

Ideally you should hold a Diploma or Degree in Business, Marketing or Human Resources with a minimum of 5 years of HR generalist experience in an MNC setting. Prior experience in streamlining HR processes would be beneficial. You should have superior communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to engage all levels of staff particularly senior management.

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

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

EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

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.



Searching for HR professionals? Look no further than HRM Asia Number 1 Media for Reaching HR Audited at 19,518 copies per month - HRM Asia’s HR job listings reach more HR professionals each month than any other media. And with our competitive pricing you can increase the number of quality responses - whilst saving money!

Please contact us on (65) 6423 4631 for full details

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MICHAEL PAGE Learning & Organisational Development Manager

Regional C&B Manager, South East Asia

Regional HR Business Partner, Asia Pacific & Middle East

› Listed MNC › Pharmaceutical industry

› Global market leader › Exposure in both mature and growing markets

› Team lead › Visibility to senior management

Our client is a well-established organisation with a strong brand presence in the pharmaceutical industry. This is an excellent opportunity for a HR professional of high calibre to join the Singapore-based team as Learning & Organisational Development Manager. Reporting to the Head of HR, you will partner with the business in the design and delivery of the organisation’s overall learning and growth strategy, with a focus on organisational culture and behaviour, and talent and leadership development. You will be a key driver in managing interventions to drive organisational effectiveness.

Our client is a multinational FMCG company with over 22,000 employees worldwide. Reporting to the HR Director, you are responsible for guiding business leaders in developing and implementing compensation strategies that are aligned with corporate needs. You will be the key focal point to lead annual salary reviews and develop compensation plans across the region. Ideally, you should have at least 10 years of experience in C&B or team management with strong foundation of Asia Pacific compensation practices and legislations.

Our client is a professional services business with a strong footprint across Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Reporting to the Vice President of HR, APAC, you will be the key asset in maintaining and building effective relationships with stakeholders. This new role is critical in establishing robust processes and driving a new business-aligned people strategy to propel the business in the expansion of its operations and rapid growth in the region. Leadership qualities, critical thinking and some regional experience are required. You will possess operational capabilities in HR operations, talent management and talent acquisition.

Please contact Rena Lee (Reg. no: R1325462) quoting ref: H3143980 or visit our website.

Please contact Eugene Wong (Reg. no: R1331128) quoting ref: H3246700 or visit our website.

Please contact Eugene Wong (Reg. no: R1331128) quoting ref: H3259250 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.

Get Connected. Stay Ahead.

Human Resources

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


HR Project Manager

HR Business Partner (Based Learning and Development in Hong Kong) Manager

› Part of a HR PMO with a Global MNC › Unique opportunity to deliver Projects

› Global company in the professional services industry

The ability to understand business goals and recommend new approaches, policies and procedures to effect continual improvements in business objectives, productivity and development of HR within the company.

› Newly created position

This role requires you to communicate with various stakeholders both internally and externally. You should have a proven track record in transformation and project management experience. You should be an enthusiastic team player with a strong drive to create a positive work environment. You must have excellent written and verbal communications skills as you will be managing demanding stakeholders with tight delivery timelines.

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

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 Hong Kong as a start. You will also work closely with the HR manager based in Singapore to implement policies and initiatives. Degree qualified with a minimum of 7 years HR generalist experience ideally in MNCs and in FMCG industries. Ideally, you will be a strong communicator with proven success in strategic initiative planning and execution. You also possess the ability to influence senior stakeholders across various functions within an organization. You are hands on, self-motivated and showcase agility operating in an ever-changing and dynamic environment. Reference number: JO/JD53090 Contact person: Jennifer ONG (Registration Number R1324297)

› Dynamic and exciting environment A Leading MNC with strong presence in the FMCG industry, our client has an urgent need for a learning and development manager with experience in change management. The successful candidate will support and be involved in the implementation of training and development framework for entities in Singapore. You will also support in the effective delivery of the overall Learning & Development strategy. Degree qualified with at least 8 years of relevant experience in a training and development experience. You will have demonstrated ability in the execution of training curriculums for employees of all levels. You thrive in a fast paced, result-oriented environment requiring high degree of flexibility and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills to work with global business stakeholders.

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 

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

An Allegis Group Company


You will be involved in the full spectrum of detailed planning and executing the projects which includes highlighting project risks, providing remediation actions and service delivery.

The Human Resources Business Partner is primarily accountable for managing the Corporate HR Function and driving / executing the HR projects and implementation across Hong Kong and Japan.

› Well known MNC in the FMCG industry

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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, SEA Pharmaceutical Industry Regional Position Change Management This leading MNC organisation within the biopharmaceutical industry is entering into an exciting transformation phase through a merger, where there will be a strong focus in change management in the initial phase. It is now seeking a Business Partner for SEA.

Global Compensation & Benefits Specialist, Engineering

HR Manager, Engineering Industry

Group-level C&B Role Strong Development Opportunities High Visibility Role

European Multinational Engineering Company Strong and Stable Operations Work-Life Balance

This multinational engineering corporation has a very established presence in Singapore. It is now seeking a C&B Specialist to support its global operations.

This European industry leader with global operations has a big presence in Singapore. It is now seeking a HR Manager to be responsible for this business unit, which has recorded consistent performance, and to be part of succession planning.

Reporting to the C&B Manager, you will be responsible for supporting strategic C&B initiatives and projects. You will be experienced in the full spectrum of compensation and benefits, including areas like benchmarking, job You will be responsible for developing, implementing, evaluation and levelling, internal/external equity maintenance, and performance management. and evaluating HR programmes and initiatives to support expanding business needs. You will also You will have at least 5 years of C&B experience, align and support in-country HR strategies across ideally in a regional role in a multinational company. the countries within the SEA region. You will be a confident and energetic individual who excels in a fluid and dynamic work You will be degree qualified in a HR domain and environment. In addition, you will possess strong possess at least 8 years of HR experience, along analytical and stakeholder management skills. with strong partnering and operations exposure in an MNC environment. Ideally, you will have at To apply, please submit your resume to Junchen least 3 years of team management experience. at, quoting the job title. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow We regret that only shortlisted candidates will at, quoting the job title be contacted. and the reference number of JS10326. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Reg No: 03C4828 Reporting to the Regional APAC HR Director, you will work with the business to support the full spectrum of Human Resources, with a primary focus on change management, HR transformation, and HR operations.

Reg No: R1107886

Senior HR Specialist, Talent Acquisition (Singapore) Established US Global Leader Retail Industry Exciting Environment This established global leader within the FMCG industry is seeking a Talent Acquisition Specialist to support its growth within the Singapore market as it grows the various prestige brands within the organisation. Reporting to the HR Manager, you will manage the full talent acquisition life cycle, including sourcing, screening, selection, and onboarding. You will partner with hiring managers to build effective sourcing, assessment, and closing approaches with the ability to manage expectations. In addition, you will manage employee engagement and various HR projects. You will be an experienced HR Professional with at least 3 to 5 years of demonstrated successful experience in recruiting a variety of positions, including retail and corporate roles, at all levels. You will also possess experience in managing the full recruiting cycle. Ideally, you will have experience in working in a highly fast-paced environment. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS10343. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No: R1107886

Reporting to the Head of HR, you will be a business partner to the most stable Business Unit of the company. You will work with the business to support its needs across the full spectrum of Human Resources, with a primary focus on recruitment and HR operations. You will have at least 6 years of HR experience, along with strong partnering and recruitment exposure in an industrial or manufacturing environment. You will also have excellent HR operational and team management experience. To apply, please submit your resume to Junchen at, quoting the job title. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No: 03C4828

Head of HR, Australia & HR Business Partner New Zealand (Based in Melbourne, Australia) (L&D/Talent Management Focus), Global Energy Trading Organisation Global Organisation HR Leadership Role Excellent Career Platform This leading industrial organisation with an established APAC footprint is seeking a Head of HR for Australia & New Zealand, who is to be based in Melbourne, Australia. Reporting directly to the Country MD (based in Melbourne) and APAC HR Director (based in Singapore), you will manage a team and be responsible for all aspects of human resources business partnering for several business units covering areas such as performance management, organisation development, rewards, talent selection and management, HR processes, and strategic business planning. You will have wide exposure throughout the organisation and play a key role in supporting the Country MD's commercial strategy. You will be degree qualified and possess at least 10 years of relevant experience in MNCs. You will have the ability to build rapport across all levels and markets, and demonstrate strong leadership skills and a partnering mentality. Candidates who reside in Australia and possess a good knowledge of local labour legislations will be ideal for this role. 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

Newly Created Head Count Exciting Growth Potential Global MNC This is a well-regarded MNC with a regional office headquartered in Singapore. The organisation needs top HR talent to support its rapid development and ambitious growth plan in the region and is now seeking a HR Business Partner. Reporting to the APAC Head of HR, you will be responsible for planning and designing the learning agenda and its structure based on business needs. You will work towards the key objective of enhancing the learning capability of the organisation, which involves acting as a Business Partner from a strategic standpoint and handling operational responsibilities. You will be an experienced HR professional with at least 5 years of experience in Learning & Development and/or Talent Management, along with strong end-to-end exposure. You will be familiar with working in fast-paced large multinational environments and possess a readiness for resolving problems in the face of ambiguity. You should have the gravitas to influence the business in a commercial sense and be willing to ‘roll up your sleeves’ if necessary. 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: R1328933

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APAC Compensation Specialist

On the back of promising growth, an established hospitality MNC with a global footprint is looking for a regional L&D Partner to lead people development efforts. You’ll partner with stakeholders across the region on total development strategies in line with corporate guidelines and aspirations.

A newly created opportunity has arisen in a multinational pharmaceutical for a Compensation Specialist.

You should be a Master’s/Bachelor’s degree graduate with over 6 years of commercial learning & development experience, ideally from hospitality, services or the hotel industry. Prior experience in talent management and succession planning is a definite advantage. Contact Sean Wong (Reg ID. R1101782) at or call +65 6303 0721.

SEA HR Partner An established global advertising and media conglomerate is looking for a Regional HR Lead to champion HR alignment efforts in the region. You’ll partner with line and HR management across the region to implement global HR initiatives and streamline processes. With over 10 years of commercial HR experience, you’ll ideally have strong references within HR shared services, and have championed HR projects and initiatives at a regional level. Contact Sean Wong (Reg ID. R1101782) at or call +65 6303 0721.

EA License Number: 07C3924

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You’ll support compensation initiatives within the Asia Pacific and partner with key HR stakeholders to propose compensation strategies. You’ll need to possess at least 5 years of relevant experience in compensation management, and you’ll be highly analytical and have a keen eye for detail. Contact Kelly Shia (Reg ID. R1552203) at or call +65 6303 0721.

Regional L&D Business Partner This is a newly created position within a global pharmaceutical for a Regional Learning & OD Business Partner to build up the regional framework across APJ and roll out global initiatives. Reporting to the Regional HR Director, this role will encompass the full spectrum of L&D to support the company’s direction in relation to people, leadership capability and high-performing teams. With over 8 years of relevant experience in learning and organisation development, you will ideally come from a similar industry within a global company. Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

HAVE AN EYE FOR TALENT? Regional HR Manager We represent a MNC that is a market leader in the consumer sector with a strong recognizable brand globally. The company culture thrives on empowerment and there is a solid career runway for high performers within the organization.

RECRUITER PROFILE With 10 years of Executive Recruitment experience, Audrey Neo holds a solid track record in partnering with CEOs and Senior Management to build their regional and global HR teams. For a confidential discussion, get in touch with her at or call +65 6435 5621.

This positon will interface closely with the Heads of various business lines in Singapore and Asia region. Supported by a team of direct reports, you will manage all HR operational aspects for Singapore office as well as drive the regional corporate projects pertaining to talent management, succession planning and employee engagement. To qualify for this role, you will need to have at least 10 years of HR generalist experience within a MNC, service or consumer industry

BANKING ON PEOPLE SVP/VP, HR Business Partner We represent a global bank with an international footprint. Due to renewed emphasis on their business in Asia, there is now a HR Business Partner position available within the HR leadership team. You will need to be commercially astute in order to effectively value-add strategically to the business in the area of building talent pipeline, deployment of programs and providing proactive consultancy input on business transformation initiatives. To qualify for this position, the ideal candidate will have a strong track record of establishing credibility and delivering results in a complex and demanding banking environment within a climate of transformational culture change.

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HR MANAGER EXECUTIVE EDUCATION With our Executive Education programmes, a small difference could make all the difference for the career development of your leadership team. Our short, intensive courses give your best people the chance to get better by learning alongside peers from across the region, all facing similar challenges themselves. Bring out the best in your leaders with these six upcoming programmes, or see our full schedule at Time is of the essence. 11 – 15 Jul 2016 Strategic Marketing Management 18 – 22 Jul 2016 Accounting & Finance for Non-Financial Managers Leadership Development Programme 13 – 27 Aug 2016 Stanford–NUS Executive Programme in International Management 15 – 19 Aug 2016 Leading with Big Data Analytics Strategic Management Programme


Profile for HRM Asia

HRM 16.6  

- Fuelling Success at BMW Group Asia

HRM 16.6  

- Fuelling Success at BMW Group Asia

Profile for hrmasia