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ISSUE 16.7


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Dear HRM readers,


hile partnerships between employees and management occur naturally in every organisation, Starbucks has taken the term to a whole new level. So much so that all traditional employees at the global coffeehouse chain are referred to as ‘partners’, while Celestina Lee, who heads the HR team at Starbucks Coffee Singapore, holds the official title of Partner Resources Director. In this exclusive cover story, Lee shares how Starbucks strives to inculcate an environment where every single partner is afforded multiple opportunities to rise through the ranks. In line with Starbucks’ motto of inclusivity, Lee also elaborates on how this permeates across different HR aspects such as employee engagement, rewards and recognition, and training and development. Also in this issue, what do the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, Canon Singapore and TripAdvisor have in common? Although they are vastly distinct companies operating in different industries, the trio can boast of impending or recently-completed offices which are designed as an employee’s dream. Chic interiors, swathes of green spaces, and fluid seating arrangements wired with smart technology: these are just some of the many features incorporated by these firms as they attempt to rouse their staff to perform at optimum levels. HRM goes on a virtual tour around these locations and highlights how the organisations are designing their offices to ensure they can attract and retain precocious talents. This month’s issue also delves into gamification. We share how companies are banking on game-based learning and other interactive technological tools to engage different generations of the workforce and to foster a culture of learning and training. And does cultural fit play a significant role when you’re looking to hire someone? How do you ensure that a particular candidate does fit into your organisational culture? Adele Png, Talent Development and Acquisition Leader of Philips, pens an exclusive article for HRM and shares some fascinating insights into what entails culture. She also offers some valuable tips as to how organisations should determine the cultural fit of any candidate. Happy reading everyone!

Best Regards,

Sham Majid Editor, HRM Asia CONTACT US:

MICA (P) 065/07/2015 ISSN 0219-6883

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CONTENTS 16.7 COVER STORY 28 Brewing up an inclusive culture

Whether it is in training and development, rewards, or even just making great coffee, Starbucks aims to involve every one of its employee “partners� in the process. Celestina Lee, Partner Resources Director, Starbucks Coffee Singapore, tells HRM more.

28 FEATURES 14 Driving business to the next level

For a company that is close to 140 years old, standing still amid a sea of change is never an option. Thomas Holenia, president of adhesive technologies and consumer goods giant Henkel in Singapore, shares that same indomitable spirit when it comes to moving with speed and precision

19 Hiring with the season

Organisations often resort to hiring temporary manpower during peak periods of the business in order to cater to the surge in demand for their products and services. HRM explores how HR can prepare this group for the busy season ahead.

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22 Form meets function

Driven by changing organisational styles and priorities, the modern workplace of today features more communal spaces and flexible work stations than ever before. HRM gains access to some of the most contemporary offices in the region.

42 22 32 Game time

Different companies play by different rules when addressing organisational objectives. HRM finds out why some employers are exploring game-based talent management solutions.

36 Hiring for the right cultural fit

Assessing cultural fit is an important aspect of any interviewing process. Adele Png, Talent Development and Acquisition Leader of Philips, says employees attuned to organisational culture are also more likely to stay with the employer.

42 Keeping pace with technology

The fusion of technology and HR is gathering momentum across many workforces. How can HR stay relevant and make full use of these new platforms to drive their business value? HRM explores.


46 Getting down to work

Corporate meetings are still happening every day, but the format and layout of many of these affairs have become anything but ordinary. HRM shares how planners are leaving no stones unturned in their quest to keep their clients focused purely on professional matters.

52 A premiere of epic proportions

While many organisations are still getting to grips with the SkillsFuture movement, OCBC Bank has already rolled out a three-pronged approach to develop the skillsets of its massive workforce. HRM delves deeper into one component which included a “premiere� event.

54 HR Young Gun

REGULARS 4 News 12 Leaders on Leadership 41 In Person 41 Resources

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

50 Talent Ladder

56 Room to grow

51 An HRD Speaks

Companies that invest in the continuous growth and development of their employees stand a higher chance of retaining them for the long haul, says commercial printing and advertising house, Ngai Heng.

51 Twenty-four Seven 59 HR Clinic ISSUE 16.7









Companies in China need to channel their energies on cultivating fair and inclusive performance management measures. This will help them compete for the talent they will require as the economy transitions from basic production to value-added skills and services. According to new research entitled High-Impact Talent Management: Talent Management Maturity in China from Deloitte Consulting, a meagre 15% of Chinese businesses have managers and direct reports evaluate progress towards goals together. This contrasts against 41% of the 454 companies in the Deloitte survey population with more than US$750 million in annual revenue. The report also found that Chinese businesses should aim to increase fairness and transparency across their performance management practices. By making

Employees in India are expecting positive career advancement news within the next 12 months. According to Michael Page India’s Job Confidence Index for the first quarter of 2016, a staggering 73% of workers are anticipating a promotion during the year ahead. However, the survey, which offers a present and historical glimpse into job seekers and their experiences sourcing jobs in India, revealed that there has been an overall decline in confidence levels as opposed to the last quarter of 2015. Additional findings from the survey showed that: • 62% of employees in India are content with their working conditions, as opposed to 54% in the rest of Asia-Pacific • The city of Bangalore has the most content workforce, with 75% of respondents happy with their general working conditions • New skill development (42%), wages (40%) and enhanced working conditions (39%) continue to be the chief three reasons for finding professional work in India “(Employees) seem to be pinning their hopes on their annual performance appraisal and will only look at changing roles if the new role offers better opportunities in terms of skill development or a hike in remuneration,” Sebastien Hampartzoumian, Senior Managing Director of Michael Page India, said. “The drop in overall confidence levels can be attributed to a general belt-tightening witnessed in the start-up sector, which fuelled job growth in the last quarter.” Bangalore’s lead as the most content workforce was followed by Mumbai (62%), Delhi (62%) and Chennai (58%). “This is primarily due to Bangalore’s image as India’s own Silicon Valley. Adoption of global practices such as Bring-Your-Own-Device, flexible work hours and mature employee benefits programmes gives Bangalore a definite edge over the other metropolitan cities,” explained Hampartzoumian. The study featured responses from 688 employees from mid to senior levels, across organisations and sectors.

those practices more explicit, Chinese companies are more likely to see robust business and talent outcomes, the report found. Sourcing for alternative incentives to talent with necessary skills was cited as another requirement in the report. This entails designing a well-formulated, integrated talent blueprint, where, for example, leadership, learning and diversity, and inclusion practices are combined. The research also included 235 Chinese companies with more than 100 employees.


WHY FLEXIBLE WORKING MATTERS An overwhelming 97% of Australian professionals polled believe that working flexibly impacts positively on productivity levels. This finding was derived from the Morgan McKinley Flexible Work Practices Survey recently published by professional services recruiter Morgan McKinley. Ninety-four percent of employees also indicated that the prospect of working flexibly assisted in enticing and retaining talent. Nevertheless, 37% of staff believed that working flexibly restricted their career advancement. The survey revealed that eight out of 10 Australian professionals have the option to work from home or have flexible starting and finishing times. Still, 63% of them said they felt obligated to work in addition to their contractual or office hours. Overall, nearly three-quarters (77%) of polled professionals thought they clocked more than their contracted hours, with 22% of those quizzed working 10 hours or more than their agreed hours per week.


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“Australians in full-time jobs officially work 38 hours per week. However, our research paints a different picture,” said Morgan McKinley’s joint Managing Director in Australia Louise Langridge. “Professionals are continuing to work long hours and are not even paid for much of the extra time that they put in. “Millions of staff will go the extra mile every week without compensation. Bosses who encourage long hours in the office should re-think their approach as stressed, tired, over-worked staff are disengaged and less productive.” The research was conducted in April 2016 among over 1,000 professionals across a variety of sectors including accounting and finance, financial services, technology, engineering, science and office support.



Far East Hospitality:


Service from the heart

HR MANAGERS LOOKING TO GENERATE MORE SKILLED JOBS Armed with a renewed sense of optimism and business confidence, HR managers in New Zealand are looking to expand the number of professional-level positions. According to the latest survey by Robert Half, 22% of the country’s HR managers are aiming to create additional roles for professional-level employees in the second half of this year. The survey found that overall business confidence was steep, with 83% of the respondents being more optimistic in their organisation’s growth outlook, as compared to last year. A significant 64% of New Zealand HR managers aimed to keep present staff levels constant (only replacing vacated roles), while 11% planned to freeze or reduce their present permanent headcount. A further three percent were looking at redundancies. HR managers noted that talent shortages were rising, with 85% highlighting that it was “challenging” (27%) or “somewhat challenging” (58%) to source for skilled professional-level employees in the current market. The chief reason for this challenge, as cited by 39% of HR managers, was general demand outweighing supply,

Arthur Kiong

Chief Executive Officer, Far East Hospitality

followed by the low numbers of niche technical experts available (34%) and a shortage of commercial, business skills (18%) in the market. Although searching for and hiring highly-skilled staff remains an issue, retaining the best talent is another major challenge, with 76% of HR managers worried about losing their best people to other job prospects this year. “Highly-skilled professionals remain in demand in 2016, as companies focus on making strategic recruitment choices and sourcing the right talent,” said Megan Alexander, General Manager of Robert Half New Zealand. “Companies are also increasingly relying on a flexible hiring policy. Interim professionals are being used more than ever, giving companies the flexibility to respond more quickly to business changes.”


question I am often asked is – what drives our brand DNA of “Singapore-inspired hospitality” that sets Far East Hospitality properties apart in such a competitive landscape? As guests become more discerning, it is my focus on providing service from the heart that drives me to shape, empower and inspire my team. The starting point is to build a team made up of individuals who genuinely care and have passion for others. Without this basic guiding principal, it will be an uphill battle for any leader to instil a sense of pride and service. The key to getting the most out our staff is to empower them with a level of autonomy that allows them to make certain decisions quickly. For example, our staff has gone the extra mile by accompanying a sick guest to the nearest clinic, even buying a special herbal mixture for a guest who was recovering from a major surgery. These personal touches from our staff truly create meaningful and unforgettable experiences that come from the heart, which then make our guests choose to come back to stay with us. We also believe in rewarding our service champions to further motivate them, and also highlight their efforts to other employees who can be inspired to do the same. I believe that leaders should inspire staff to provide customer service from the heart through their own actions, serving as role models and walk the talk.


TELECOMMUTING APPEALS FOR PROFESSIONALS The notion of telecommuting appears to appeal broadly across the professional Indian workforce. According to a recent international survey on workplace flexibility by Randstad, 53% of the respondents from India cited that they preferred the


option of telecommuting, while 47% wanted to work from the office daily. Nearly an equal proportion of male (52%) and female (54%) respondents revealed that they would fancy telecommuting if given the option, with this preference popular among those aged 45 years old and above. The survey also uncovered the weekly working hours of Indian professionals. Forty percent of the respondents from India clocked in more than 45 hours weekly while 46% of men worked more than 45 hours weekly, as compared to 32% of women. On average, women clock in 35 hours and men work for 39 hours weekly. The survey canvassed the thoughts of around 7,500 respondents from India.

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The French put in the least amount of hours at work in Europe every year. A new report from Eurostat and CoeRexecode found that French workers clocked up 1,646 hours on average in 2015, the fewest of any European country. This was 228 hours, or approximately six weeks of full-time work, less than the number of hours UK workers put in on average. The French also worked 199 hours less than Germans in 2015, and 130 hours fewer than Italian employees. Finnish workers used to hold the distinction of working the fewest hours in Europe, but that mantle is now held by the French workforce. Among the French workers, government sector workers were most responsible for the drop in ranking. They recorded only 1,569 hours at work on average in 2015, actually below the legal requirement of 1,607 hours annually. A separate study last month also named the French cities of Paris and Lyon as the two cities with the shortest working weeks in the world.

A dull and unchallenging job can have negative, long-term effects on your brain. New research from Florida State University has revealed that a lack of stimulation at work can lower memory and concentration. The study found that more complex occupations resulted in stronger cognitive performances later in life. This connection was especially true for women. Lead researcher Joseph Grzywacz claimed the brain was a muscle and needed exercise to stay in shape. He said people may lose brain cells if they are in a job that does not adequately stimulate the mind. The study examined 4,963 individuals’ workplaces and their ability to complete tasks, manage time, pay attention, and apply information learned.





Unemployment in the UK dropped to an 11-year low of 5% for the period between February and April this year. This is the lowest rate recorded by the Office for National Statistics since October 2005. The office notes that the total number of unemployed people in the UK fell to 1.67 million in the period, down 20,000 from the previous quarter. The employment rate (percentage of the workforce employed) remained at a record high of 74.2%, with the total number of employed individuals increasing by 55,000. Growth in earnings, excluding bonuses, also increased over the quarter, from a 2.1% year-onyear rise in 2015, to 2.3% this year.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has concluded its talks with the Swedish Pilot Union (SPF), after a disagreement on wages and employment contracts saw 400 local pilots go on strike in June. Both parties have since reached an agreement. This will feature a 2.2% pay increase for the year ahead, short of the 3.5% raise the union had initially pushed for. Nearly 1,000 flights were cancelled during the strike, affecting a total of 100,000 passengers. “It has been a difficult process and we are relieved that the strike has been called off and that our customers can take their flights as planned. I deeply regret that so many customers have been affected,” said Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS. The new agreement between SAS and the SPF has been backdated to take effect from April 1 this year and is valid for a total of 12 months.

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“The practical issue here is cognitive decline associated with ageing and the thought of, ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it’,” Grzywacz said. “Both of these issues are important when we think about the long-term health of men and women. Designing jobs to ensure that all workers have some decisionmaking ability may protect cognitive function later in life.”





Employees around the world have spoken through their own digital actions. LinkedIn’s first ever “Top Attractors” list, which tracks the online network’s users’ engagement with different employers on the platform, has found Apple as the most popular employer of choice in the world. Cloud software developer Salesforce and social network Facebook took second and third place, with well-known internet brands Google and Amazon rounding out the top five. The list takes account of job advertisement views, connections with staff, and the staying power of new hires to assess which organisations are most effective at attracting and retaining staff.


HIRING GROWTH SLOWS DOWN The pace of hiring in the US hit a five-year low in May 2016 this year. The Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, found that the rate of hiring fell to 3.5%, down from 3.7% in March. This is the slowest rate since August 2014. US employers added 38,000 jobs in May, the fewest since September 2010. Although unemployment rate fell from 5% to 4.7%, this was mostly due to a drop in the number of unemployed individuals actively seeking work. Job growth for the three months to the end of May averaged 116,000 jobs per month, a steep drop from the average growth of 219,000 over the same period in 2015.


Professional staff in the UK remain sceptical of wearable devices provided by employers. New research from PwC has found that despite a 118% increase in sales of “wearables” (accessories that incorporate electronic functions) in the UK last year, only 46% of participants said they would accept a free piece of wearable technology if their employer has access to the data it produced. This sits a little strangely with the revelation from the same survey that 65% of workers want their employers to be more involved in their health and wellbeing, given wearable technology is well-positioned to help do this. But workers are wary of personal data being misused. Four in 10 reveal they don’t fully trust their employer to use data for their benefit. “Employers haven’t been able to overcome the ‘big brother’ reaction from people to sharing their personal data,” said Anthony Bruce, people analytics leader at PwC. “If employers want to overcome the trust gap they need to show that they are serious about data security and communicate openly with their staff about the benefits for them.” Millennials are most comfortable with sharing personal data. Fifty-nine percent of the generation are open to using a smartwatch provided by their employer. Comparatively, only 30% of employees aged 55 and over are willing to adopt these devices, even if there are clearly-communicated benefits.


TRUST DEFICIENCY HARMING ORGANISATIONS Do your organisation’s staff trust it? Surprisingly large numbers of employees around the world do not have significant faith that their companies are looking out for their best interests. In fact, a new EY study titled Global Generations 3.0 found that only 46% of full-time employees placed a “great deal” of trust in their employer. Trust level is only slightly higher when it comes to individual bosses and colleagues, with 48% revealing that they trust their co-workers. The survey of some 9,800 fulltime workers at companies of varying sizes across eight countries, found that participants from India, Mexico and Brazil placed the most trust in their current employers, with 66%, 65% and 59% of employees in each country respectively having a positive view of their organisations.

Japanese, British and US workers on the other hand, are least likely to do so, with only 21%, 33% and 38% respectively stating they trust their company. Respondents who had little or no trust in their employers said the top five reasons for this were: unfair compensation (53% cited this as one reason); unequal opportunities for promotion (48%); lack of strong leadership (46%); and high employee turnover (43%). “The research findings underscore the importance of cultivating a workplace culture that values open communication, inclusive leadership and collaboration,” Nancy Altobello, EY’s global Vice Chair of Talent, said. “Senior executives who understand the factors that impact trust within their organisations will be able to drive employee engagement and retention.”

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Compensation and benefits trends in Singapore Salaries, bonuses and benefits are often on the top of employees’ minds. How are organisations meeting their expectations? HRM shares some local insights from The Annual Elliott Scott HR Survey 2016

Does your salary match the market rate? DID YOU SG Global KNOW 53% 49% 44% 38% 7% 9% Below market rate

At market rate

Above market rate

What type of benefits does your firm offer?








71% Global




Average bonuses








Average salary increments




What are the rates of pay raises and bonuses?







Are you satisfied with your change in compensation this year?



55% 57% SG



45% 43% SG




48.5% 51% SG


51.5% 49%

Source: • The Annual Elliott Scott HR Survey 2016 • Some iconographics are by and 8

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of local respondents are able to work from home, as compared to 58% globally

16.5% of local respondents stated that they felt disengaged in their jobs, as compared to 14% globally


of local respondents believe that HR has a seat at every executive table, as compared to 66.5% globally

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FRASERS HOSPITALITY EXPANDS ITS PORTFOLIO Frasers Hospitality will be opening 48 new serviced apartment properties across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa by 2019. The expansion includes debuts in 21 cities, including Dalian, Yangon, and Tokyo. Key openings in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia will also help to build the company’s footprint in the Southeast Asian region specifically. Also in the works is Frasers Hospitality’s first serviced residence in the city of Gurgaon, India, which is slated to open in 2017. Its growth sparks the organisation’s progress to meet its global target of 30,000 units over the next three years. “Global expansion is very much on the agenda of Frasers Hospitality, and we will always be on the lookout for growth opportunities, whether it be organically or through acquisition,”

said Choe Peng Sum, CEO of Frasers Hospitality. “Reaching the 30,000 unit growth mark in the next three years not only increases our portfolio by 30%, but further anchors the group’s presence in dominant cities worldwide.” “The rapid expansion plans strengthens our global footprint which is in line with our vision to be a leading global hospitality group.”

ASIAN CEOS PUSHING FOR DIGITAL WORKPLACE FRAMEWORK A significant 47% of CEOs in Asia have revealed they are actively leading the charge in digital workplace strategy. This is according to the recent Economist Corporate Network (ECN) report entitled Drive or Delegate? Digital workplace strategy, talent management and the role of the CEO in Asia. The report, sponsored by Hays, was based on a poll of more than 500 regional and country CEOs in Asia. It found that CEOs deem a digital

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workplace blueprint as a key way to transform their organisations from within and enhance productivity levels. Improving employee engagement and managing talent more efficiently were deemed to be less crucial goals. “While business transformation is necessary, the employee experience should be a fundamental consideration when planning a digital strategy,” said Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia. “Technology today enables greater flexibility for when and where your employees work, in real-time and across geographical locations. Employers must consider how staff engagement can be optimised with technology, to facilitate increased productivity in the workplace.” The report also highlighted that 50% of CEOs used social media to engage with staff, although the CEO focus groups also felt that face-to-face conversations and town hall events should not be dismissed.

SAP APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENT TO LEAD SMALL BUSINESS SOLUTIONS With effect from July 1 this year, Barry Padgett has taken on the role of President of the SAP Business One, SAP Anywhere and SAP Business ByDesign teams. SAP has combined the three teams into one organisation so as to focus on building effective front-office and back-office solutions that serve the unique needs of today’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Padgett steps into the role after almost 20 years with Concur Technologies, serving in various leadership positions. His roles there included stints as Chief Product Officer, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Vice President of International Sales and Marketing Director for the AsiaPacific region. He brings to his new role a deep understanding of best practices for building and delivering solutions to the SMB segment. “With customers increasingly expecting real-time service from all companies, regardless of size, small and medium business owners need to respond, without having large, internal IT organisations to support their efforts,” said Padgett. “I’m very excited to help drive this new organisation focused on meeting the needs of SMBs with front-office and back-office solutions designed specifically for them.”


What is one behaviour or trait that can derail a leader’s career? T here are some common characteristics that define the most dynamic and inspiring leaders that we know today. From my perspective, the best leaders tend to appear confident, possess positive values, and are strong in a particular skill or ability. Over the years, I have observed that no matter how good or confident a leader may seem, they will have feelings of insecurity that creep up to varying degrees, depending on the situation and the task involved. This is because no one is perfect and not everything is always under control. If not managed in the right way, this can derail a leader’s behaviour, decisions and even result in missed opportunities. Insecurity can affect how a leader interacts and builds relationships with others. Being overly suspicious of people’s intentions and doubting their sincerity will limit the leader’s ability to listen or allow others to contribute.

It will also impact the leader’s response and reaction to the team, supervisors or partners. It can also breed fear. This can be the fear of failing, fear of being seen as less competent, or the fear of being replaced. This impacts a leader’s ability to make objective decisions. Insecurity can push a leader to focus on weaknesses, rather than strengths. It can lead to them nit-picking on what’s not working and not worrying about the possible negative outcomes of a pessimistic outlook. These, in turn, lead to blind spots and can cloud the leader’s ability to spot the right opportunities. We are not expected to be able to fully overcome feelings of insecurity. Rather, it is important to reflect and examine the root cause behind such feelings and work out a solution to address it. The best way forward is focus on our strengths, accept our weaknesses and learn to love ourselves. From there, it’s an upward journey.


SHERWIN SIREGAR CEO, Atlas Sound & Vision

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ome mistakes that leaders make are that they get too focused on the bottom line and profits, and also, they get distracted from the core values and vision of the company and its value and interest to the customer. This may cause the leader to lose the engagement of its employees. At Atlas, every customer’s experience is important. We aim to create the best memories for our customers through sound and vision within our engagement with them. Every employee plays a part in creating this experience. Thus, it is important that the employees are driven with passion in what they do and bring out the best as they do their jobs. Some steps leaders can take to avoid the behaviours mentioned are to: • Take time out to remind themselves of what the essence of the company is, why people join and stay, and why customers support and buy; • Focus on what’s strong and manage


Managing Director, ZenithOptimedia

what’s wrong. The job of a leader is to articulate a singular rallying call to their people; • Empower employees to make choices that matter to them; and • Seek feedback and always ensure that the employees are engaged. Leaders should make them feel that they are a vital part of the team Given the economic climate today, leaders are often under pressure to produce short term results. For Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (SMEs), it’s often about the Corporate Maslow’s hierarchy, fighting fires, and ensuring sustainability. Their conversations are more about “surviving”, and not “thriving”. Managers have a great role in building up employees’ morale so they are inspired to create better experiences for the customers, the company and themselves. Above all, leaders need to provide clarity.

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Tell me briefly about yourself and about your career journey

For a company that is close to 140 years old, standing still amid a sea of change is never an option. Thomas Holenia, president of adhesive technologies and consumer goods giant Henkel in Singapore, shares that same indomitable spirit when it comes to moving with speed and precision

Hence, it’s obviously important to be close to our customers and to move very fast with the market. When we talk about supply chain and global sourcing activities, in my role, it’s very important to be close to our markets, partners, suppliers as well to be close to our sales people who must understand what our customers and consumers need.

Right now, I’m President of Henkel Singapore and at the same time, the Managing Director for our new Henkel global supply chain hub in Asia. I’ve been with the group for 20 years in several roles and locations. Sham Majid Before moving to Singapore, I was in Shanghai, China, for three years, leading our global sourcing for raw materials (which I am still doing). I’m Austrian and have Henkel employs about 50,000 people globally. What worked in several Western European countries such as France are some key HR challenges for the organisation? and Germany, in Eastern Europe, and in Asia. First of all, it’s important to understand our vision as noted earlier. That automatically requires the organisation What is your leadership style? to have managers and leaders at every level who are capable of I’m someone who really likes to drive things to the driving the company forward. next level. For me especially, everything is about At the same time, we are expecting our people to have a change and speed. At the end of the day, Henkel is a company global mindset. We are a global company, and we want to that is very active in fast-moving consumer goods as well as be a global leader, which is an important requirement of a in technologies. multinational organisation. Our vision is to be a leader in both brands and technologies. It is also a challenge to find the right talent for the many



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BIO BRIEF Henkel appointed Thomas Holenia as President of Henkel Singapore in February 2016 to oversee the company’s businesses and operations locally. Concurrently, Holenia is the Managing Director of Henkel’s global supply chain hub in Singapore. Before moving to Singapore, Holenia was based at Henkel’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Shanghai as the Corporate Vice President of Global Purchasing (Raw Materials) and Head of Purchasing for Asia-Pacific. Today, he continues to hold both positions. Since joining Henkel in 1996 in his native Vienna, he has been instrumental in directing Henkel’s global sourcing and purchasing business. With a Business Administration background, he brings with him 20 years of international experience, having lived and worked in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as in Asia. Prior to his career with Henkel, Holenia worked in sales and business management for the construction industry in Italy and Austria.

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LEADERS TALK HR different brands and products. At the end of the day, the talent market is very hot. There are many multinational companies around. I think Henkel is in a good position with the programmes we have for employees to grow within the company. However, it is a challenge to find the right people who can operate in a global context and drive the organisation to the next level. In Singapore, you are very well-positioned with a good education system and excellent universities, which definitely deliver a lot of talent to the market and the multinational companies.


How would your employees describe you?

They would definitely say I’m somebody who goes for excellence, and also has a certain eye for details. I’m certainly somebody who is interested to understand backgrounds; why are things as they are? At the same, I also want to know how has that change contributed to our objectives and challenged the status quo or driven things forward.


How do you interact with your staff?

Very directly. When I have the chance to be around physically in the office, I’m very approachable. I have an open-door policy and we work in an open space concept. From that perspective, it’s very easy to interact directly. The other part of my team is the global team. There is a heavy use of modern technologies such as video conferencing, teleconferencing and Skype. Parts of my global team are based in Europe and the Americas; so this is how I spend the evenings.


You have more than 20 years of international experience. What are some key differences of managing employees in both continents?

There are quite a few differences. Europeans tend to be much more direct and straightforward. Asians, however, tend to hold a little back. But at the end of the day, this doesn’t say anything about the effectiveness or efficient use of time or knowledge in either region. For us, it’s important to value our people as they are. Hence, diversity and inclusion is very high on the agenda and we truly believe that diversity is a competitive advantage for this company. If we really want to be a global leader in brands and technologies, then we definitely need to have a diverse team. For us, diversity not only means nationalities; but is very much also about gender and a multi-generational workforce. It’s about really bringing teams from all over the world with different experiences and backgrounds together, and then forming a common agenda.


Can you describe Henkel’s corporate culture?

The company culture is very much driven by our claim that “Excellence is our passion”. It’s everything about driving change very quickly. We simply want to be the best in everything we can do. Hence, it’s a very performancedriven culture and one that is rewarding for our people.

ME MYSELF I I love: Good food and drinks – and watching a great game of ice-hockey I dislike: Dishonesty My inspiration is: “Impossible is possible” My biggest weakness is: Impatience In five years’ time, I’d like to: Have established the global supply chain hub in Singapore as a Centre of Excellence within the Henkel group and developed many of our people to take up leading roles in the organisation Favourite quote: “A target is a target” (Henkel’s former CEO Kasper Rorsted)

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LEADERS TALK HR It’s one more reason why we really need a diverse set of employees to really understand the different markets in the world.


What kind of career progression programmes do you have in place?

We have several programmes in place but I want to emphasise mainly on one part. We have an annual evaluation of the performance and potential of our employees. We call them Development Roundtables where department heads evaluate each individual. Afterwards, there are development dialogues with employees to really talk about their respective development areas and assets. It is formalised as a once-a-year initiative, but there is also continuous dialogue, which depends on the respective managers. For our top talents, we offer additional opportunities. We have a concept which we call “Triple Two”, which allows people to move regionally within different functions and business units to acquire additional knowledge from across the company. It’s obviously different when you work in adhesive technologies compared to beauty care. It’s also different when you work in China as compared to in Brazil or Germany. With this concept, top talents really have the chance to rotate to different functions and businesses, as well as geographically.


What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

I think it’s really bringing together a diverse team that is striving for a common objective. In my role, a diverse team is starting a new Centre of Excellence global supply chain hub in Singapore, which we launched in November last year. At the start, we only had 16 people there, but these 16 people were from 10 different nationalities with totally different backgrounds and experiences. We are bringing them together into one global team and coordinating towards one common goal. For me, that is the biggest challenge. At the same time,

A new chapter The Henkel global supply chain hub was established in Singapore in November 2015, following the successful operation of the global supply chain headquarters in Amsterdam. The role of the global supply chain organisation is to align the company’s purchasing, production and logistics processes across all business units and functions. This includes supply planning, sourcing, manufacturing, inventory and distribution. “This harmonisation across the entire company will lead to higher process standardisation, improved customer service levels, and enhanced efficiency,” says Thomas Holenia, President of Henkel Singapore. “The goal is to enable a scalable business model and strengthen Henkel’s competitiveness in terms of speed, agility and efficiency.”

it’s also finding and attracting the right new talent with this global mindset.


What is your top tip for aspiring leaders?

The most important definitely is to be yourself and to be passionate about what you’re doing. At the end of the day, the passion makes the difference between “good’ and “great”. The more you can show that and the more you can drive this eagerness forward, and if it’s visible and perceivable, the greater the difference for your next career steps.

Triple Two Philosophy A major focus of Henkel’s talent management programme is offering talented employees with international and inter-disciplinary career development opportunities. For its top performers, the organisation offers a leadership development concept called “Triple Two”, which is based on job-rotations to two different roles, two countries, and two business units. From these experiences, top talent gain an in-depth understanding about international business and sharpen their management skills by learning to balance cultural sensitivities with job demands. At the same time, these high-performing employees develop a broad network inside the company, with opportunities to exchange ideas all over the world. The diversity of talents across different countries, different roles and different business units serves as a driver for Henkel’s long-term success.

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00cial T* 6 $4Spe + GSg 201 veBird 045 4 Au Sarly $1 efore Ea ly S er b t Onegis

BEST PRACTICES CONGRESS 25 August 2016 | Maxwell Chambers HRM Awards Best Practices Congress is the highly anticipated follow-up event to what is known as the ‘Oscars’ of the HR industry – HRM Awards 2016. This year, the congress brings together winners and special recognition winners from HRM Awards 2016 for an in-depth sharing of the internal practices that make them the indisputable industry leaders in their respective categories. For the congress, we will focus on critical functions of HR e.g. Talent Management, Leadership Development, Graduate Development, Engagement and Retention, Training & Development and Recruitment Strategies.

Featured speakers:


Best Talent Management

Best Graduate Development

Tricia Duran HR Director Singapore & Regional HR Director, Functions Asia Africa Russia UNILEVER

Glenn Loh Human resource team leader and Head of Campus Recruitment and Development UBS AG SINGAPORE BRANCH

Best Recruitment Strategies

Best Engagement & Retention

Tiffany See Executive Director, Human Resources, APJ DELL

Michael Chua Head of Industrial Relations and Employee Engagement, Human Resources SMRT

Best Training & Development

Best Leadership Development


Col Fred Tan Wel Shi Head of SAF Centre for Leadership Development (CLD) SINGAPORE ARMED FORCES

Best Health & Wellbeing Kwee Ee Lee SVP, HR DBS


• •

• •

Featuring Winners and Special Recognition Winners of HRM Awards 2016: We have gathered our Winners and Special Recognition Winners of various categories from HRM Awards 2016 to share their best practices and their journeys in creating HR best practices All Star Panel Discussion: Future of HR: Trends Shaping 2017- Hear the industry experts share their view in HR challenges and trends for 2017 Networking & Cocktail Session Enjoy a casual networking session at the end of the day with your HR peers and leaders

Best CSR Timothy Cheong Group Human Resource Director BANYAN TREE CORPORATE PTE LTD

Official Venue Sponsor:

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




Organisations often resort to hiring temporary manpower during peak periods of the business in order to cater to the surge in demand for their products and services. HRM explores how HR can prepare this group for the busy season ahead


taffing issues are a common problem across a wide range of employers. It is not just about having the right numbers of people, but also about having them at the right times. This is particularly common during festive holidays when many organisations face an increase in business at the same time as many staff are looking to be on leave. It can also happen during offpeak seasons, or when key employees are absent due to sickness, maternity leave or other factors.

During these periods, employers will often have difficulty ensuring there are sufficient employees to handle extra assignments. As much as employers do not want to overload their full-time staff during these periods, hiring new permanent workers to cover the excess workload over only a temporary period is not a feasible solution. So how can HR counter the issue? Hiring seasonal workers is one commonly used strategy, as FJ Benjamin has experienced. As the name behind fashion and lifestyle brands like Guess, Gap

By Naadiah Badib

and La Senza, FJ Benjamin has a significant footprint in the retail sector and its annual fluctuations. Business rises in particular during festive periods such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali. “The festive seasons are vital and are also considered peak seasons for retailers apart from year-end sales and other megasales throughout the year,” explains Sarah Binti Zainudin, Recruitment Manager at FJ Benjamin, Malaysia. “The increase in the number of customers during these periods necessitates additional ISSUE 16.7


SEASONAL WORKFORCES manpower to manage the workload and to cater to the high demand.” Jason Ng, Country HR Manager, Singapore and Malaysia, at Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), echoes this sentiment. “During the peak season, there will be an increase in sales opportunities and this in turn, requires the organisation to invest more hours in operations to ensure that the customer still gets the best shopping experience,” he shares. “Given that this is a seasonal cycle and usually impacts the organisation during peak shopping periods, it makes more sense to hire part-timers and temporary employees who have more flexibility in working hours.” Companies in the food and beverage (F&B) sector also face tough manpower shortages during peak seasons. Chan Wing Git, Vice President of HR at BreadTalk, says having a roster of non-full-time staff helps it to cope with increased business volumes at specific times of the year. “Part-time workers would be useful in covering the manpower shortages during such periods,” he shares. “There may also be special promotions, such as for mooncakes, where we need additional help in preparing and selling the products.”

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Scaling the factors Seasonal employees are usually required to facilitate, support and complement permanent staff, giving the company some flexibility and also translating to reduced permanent overheads. “The operating cost of hiring seasonal workers is cheaper than the cost of recruiting permanent employees, as the remuneration varies from permanent workers in terms of wage rates, health coverage, statutory leave and other benefits,” Zainudin says. “It is a very cost-efficient option for the employer.” This sort of employment also provides the chance to evaluate a potential new hire before converting them into a fulltime staff member. Zainudin says part-time staff also help to mitigate the effects of high turnover rates among the permanent workforce. Adrian Ho, Deputy General Manager of HR at Eighteen Chefs, says his company uses this strategy for graduate recruits in particular, as they often graduate just prior to the beginning of its peak season in June and July. “These opportunities allow students to have a ‘trial’ at our workplace at their own pace first,” he says. “We can then aim to get them on board when they graduate and convert them to full-time staff. “As the business swings, these part-

time staff can also be adjusted to meet demands and in turn, help us to keep operational costs manageable.” However, hiring seasonal workers is not all chocolates and roses. Some can have a lower sense of loyalty to the organisation, and may also be relatively inexperienced in the role. “They are sometimes less reliable, less motivated, and less committed to their job,” Zainudin shares. “They have lower commitment levels towards the organisation as they are typically younger and less experienced.” The inconsistent productivity levels can elevate training costs, and the time required to get temporary staff up to speed.

How to hire There are two primary platforms that Eighteen Chefs utilises to reach out to interested part-timers. These are through walk-in interviews and by candidates emailing the company directly. Each potential recruit is asked to nominate their preferred outlet location and ideal working hours. The group HR department then forwards that interest to the respective restaurants for direct chats and the formal hiring process. “As part-timers are short-term staff, we try to make their on-boarding processes as hassle-free as possible, without affecting reference checks and documentation,” Ho elaborates. “Sometimes, we collaborate with schools and training organisations that have students who are required to go through work trials.” FJ Benjamin takes a different approach. Part-time and temporary employees there are sourced predominantly via referrals from existing staff members. Word-of-mouth channels are also utilised and the company also occasionally reaches out to previous part-timers. BreadTalk uses traditional job advertisements and recruitment channels for its contingent workforce. The firm also collaborates with schools and tertiary institutions as part of an effort to spread the word on the job opportunities available during school holidays.

SEASONAL WORKFORCES At H&M, employees are required to go through the same recruitment process regardless of their role. “Everyone will go through an assessment centre consisting of various problem-solving activities in teams, followed by a face-to-face interview,” Ng says.

Firms that hired for the 2015 holiday season

Training ad hoc staff


As part of a concentrated effort to equip staff for its busy periods, H&M has a special orientation programme in place. In this scheme, each new staff member is assigned to a mentor where they will be guided on the various processes within each store. These employees are not given high intensity tasks during the initial training phase, so as to allow new them to learn and develop at their own pace, Ng says. At both Eighteen Chefs and FJ Benjamin, on-the-job training is provided to equip seasonal workers with a basic set of hands-on skills. This allows them to adapt to the environment more efficiently and effectively, Zainudin shares. In cases like this, HR will assess each worker’s suitability and interests before conducting short courses to ensure they are able to meet the stringent standards. Both organisations also implement a mentoring and buddy system where parttimers are paired with store supervisors or experienced staff to guide them in their learning and provide direction in their work. Ho labels this scheme as the “best practical way of training ad hoc staff”. At BreadTalk, all outlet employees are put through basic training which covers food hygiene and product knowledge. “They may also be given role-specific and on-job-training training, depending on their jobs roles,” Chan explains. “For example, a part-time sales promoter will be given additional training in sales techniques.”

Planning ahead Organisations should be able to plan ahead to recruit temporary workers for the peak seasons, Zainudin shares. One strategy she recommends is

UPS hired between 90,000 and 95,000 holiday workers worldwide to handle shipping and deliveries. According to The Wall Street Journal, this was about the same number of ad hoc employees it had recruited in 2014. The positions filled included drivers, driver assistants, and package handlers.


Amazon created 100,000 seasonal jobs across its network of fulfillment and sorting centers in the US, Reuters reported. This was part of an effort to meet increased customer demands during the holiday season. Of the 80,000 seasonal workers that were hired in 2014, a large proportion secured regular and full-time roles with Amazon.

Toys “R” Us

In 2015, Toys “R” Us planned to hire 40,000 employees at its stores and distribution centers as part of its preparation for the shopping season. In a press release, the firm stated that this group of workers would take on significantly more hours than in previous years while the company also continued to provide extra hours to existing employees.

to monitor the number of manpower hours required to support the specific business unit. This can be especially useful in ensuring a sufficient number of workers who can support the forecast business plan. “A proper planning of manpower is truly crucial, and businesses often employ seasonal workers to maintain the best service possible, even in extremely demanding situations,” she explains. “It also avoids being overstaffed in the low season.” Ng says that HR can also work handin-hand with the sales department. “Planning ahead is key and taking time to work closely with the sales manager

to understand the sales trends in each market allows us to plan for the estimated increase in workload,” he explains. Moreover, Chan stresses the importance of starting preparations early. “Based on past year requirements, HR should work closely with the Operations department to make a projection of manpower needs and to start recruitment efforts early,” he says. “At BreadTalk, the planning would also include contacting past part-time staff, especially students, to see if they are interested in rejoining, and designing the incentive and reward schemes so that they are attractive to job seekers.” Ho shares that HR should establish longterm relationships with temporary workers. “It is good to maintain continuous relationships with them as organisations can call them back whenever holiday seasons arrive,” he says. Sometimes, temporary workers may actually have a higher short-term income than full-time staff, due to the longer hours they can opt for. “There are bound to be comparisons, jealousy and discontent between fulltime and part-time staff,” Ho adds. “Hence, working hours, benefits, pay packages, recognition and severance pay need to be carefully devised and implemented. “Transparency and fair treatment are also required to be seen and heard. HR practitioners should remember to address these issues to cater to both groups of employees in order to support business growth in the long-term.” Chan recognises that there is a growing trend of employing temporary workers in the F&B industry. This is taking place in several developed economies, including Singapore. “As such, it is important to develop attractive compensation and benefits scheme, and training plans to attract and retain these workers. “Internally, our manpower plans should optimise the flexibility afforded by the temporary workforce, while ensuring that the workers contribute and complement the full-time workforce.” ISSUE 16.7



Artist’s impression of the new GSK Asian headquarters, due to be completed in mid-2017

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FORM MEETS FUNCTION Driven by changing organisational styles and priorities, the modern workplace of today features more communal spaces and flexible work stations than ever before. HRM gains access to some of the most contemporary offices in the region


lean lines, smart technology, green areas, trendy interiors and wide, open spaces – these are some elements of the modern work space. Boasting these features are three multi-billion dollar corporations: pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK); imaging and optical solutions provider Canon; and travel website Tripadvisor, each seamlessly combining contemporary form with high-tech functionalities.

One-stop hub Paul Rogers, Vice President and Head of

Asia, Worldwide Real Estate and Facilities, GSK, says the organisation’s aim for its new Asian headquarters, slated to be completed in mid-2017, is to create a unique space where its various teams and businesses can work together and collaborate more closely in one location. The result will be a dedicated S$77 million eight-story complex at Singapore’s One-North business district, measuring almost 15,000 square meters and able to house up to 1,000 employees. The new hub features a number of spaces and environments to support a range of working styles, preferences and activities.

Canon Singapore

Kelvin Ong

“By offering different types of environments, we give people plenty of choice for collaboration, focused work, brainstorming or taking a strategic recovery, which will improve our productivity and creativity,” says Rogers. Canon Singapore’s new office shares the same goal of becoming a one-stopshop, incorporating every facility and business function under one roof in the name of promoting teamwork across the organisation. The imaging solutions multinational recently moved its South and Southeast Asian headquarters from Keppel Bay Tower in Harbourfront to Galaxis in One-North, investing S$20 million in the new home. Kensaku Konishi, President and CEO of Canon Singapore, says the new premises, which have 44% more real estate, allows the company to implement its vision of a modern work space in line with its corporate values. “We believe that creating a comfortable and safe-working environment goes a long way in promoting staff engagement and, in turn, enables greater productivity ISSUE 16.7


MODERN WORKPLACES How workplace design impacts talent attraction Studies have shown that well-designed and well-thought out work spaces can determine how successful a company is at attracting the best talent. A 2015 report from The Human Spaces, an online community dedicated to the study of workplace design, titled The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, revealed that 33% of all respondents believed the style of an employer’s office influenced their decision on whether or not to take up an opportunity there. The report also showed that office environment and design were important across many parts of Asia. More than 60% of workers in India, Indonesia and The Philippines all stated that workplace design significantly influenced their career decision-making process. The Human Spaces global study of 7,600 office workers, across 16 countries, examined the impact of physical office environments on employee wellbeing. and efficiency – to do more, yet work less,” says Konishi. Tripadvisor Singapore also believes employees’ physical space contributes significantly to their overall wellbeing. “A lot of thought went into the interior concept of our office as we believe that a well-designed office with interesting spaces helps to inspire creativity and make employees happier, more satisfied and more engaged,” says Chris Koh, Regional Manager of “Office Experience” in Asia-Pacific for TripAdvisor. The trendy office, which is located in downtown Singapore, measures just under 1,400 square metres and can accommodate up to 150 people. It features four main meeting rooms named after popular holiday destinations like Santorini, Bora Bora, Sentosa and Ao Nang; smaller meeting and director rooms named after iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, and the Statue of Liberty, and four breakout areas. “We place great importance on workplace design as we want our employees to feel empowered, energised, and happy to come to work and to be here,” shares Koh.

says the new building’s layout is based on an open-plan and hot-desking concept, where employees are not assigned to any one desk, but are strongly encouraged and permitted to sit in different parts of the building at different times. “This ‘ice-breaking’ seating concept facilitates conversations among employees from different business functions, paving the way for easier collaboration,” said Tay. “GSK’s open-plan working design removes unnecessary cubicles, partitions and visual barriers, creating a spacious environment that feels more open, bright and energised, with a good ‘buzz’ in the central collaborative zones, enhancing creativity and productivity,” he added. Tripadvisor subscribes to the same design philosophy.

“We broke off from traditional office norms by doing away with cubicle space and creating an open-concept layout that promotes movement and communication among colleagues throughout the day,” Koh shares. “This design also manifests in plenty of natural light streaming into our workspace which not only brightens the area, but also creates conducive surroundings that can help spur creativity and generate dynamic thinking,” he says. Canon, too, designed an environment that aims to be conducive for conversation and teamwork. “The workplace’s open layout facilitates open communication and interaction between employees throughout the day. Flexible seating arrangements and collaboration areas were designed to encourage bonding and interaction among staff across all departments,” says Konishi. One look at the new Galaxis office and the first impression is indeed about how bright and open the place is. Among the key features are three large, brightly-lit cafeterias where employees can dine, or just simply hang out with colleagues. “Our internal staff survey showed that more than 70% of staff are appreciative of the modern communal spaces,” says Konishi.

Health is happiness Health and wellness are two other

Open spaces One striking similarity between all three new offices is their focus on communal and flexible working areas, and the deemphasising of divisions and departments. Andrew Epaphroditus Tay, Director of Health and Productivity (Singapore) at GSK, 24 ISSUE 16.7


TripAdvisor Singapore

MODERN WORKPLACES considerations that these organisations have when drawing their office floorplans. GSK will be incorporating many design elements and amenities in the new headquarters aimed at promoting the company’s health and wellbeing initiatives. Tay says the organisation plans to encourage increased movement and healthy eating among the workforce, as well as mental health and resilience. “The building has been designed so that employees are encouraged to take the main staircase situated in the centre of the building instead of using the elevators, which are located at the far end. Also, by placing the shared discussion areas near the central stairwell, employees are again encouraged to utilise the stairs,” he explains. There will also be an outdoor walking trail with access to the Singapore Park Connector. Adjustable sit-stand desks will also be provided for employees. Koh says standing desks have been shown to burn more calories, improve productivity and reduce the risk of metabolic diseases and high cholesterol levels. “These workstations and other ergonomic considerations will support healthy working habits,” he says. The Canon Galaxis office features a “Health Corner” on each level, where employees can kick back and unwind. “These are rest areas for employees to get some ‘shut-eye’, relax in or even do simple stretches,” Konishi shares. “We plan to add more health equipment, such as dumbbells and massagers in the near future.” Tripadvisor also has a company policy that promotes healthy lifestyles among its workforce. The office pantry is stocked with healthy snacks, mineral water, juices and vitamin water. On Tuesdays, the company provides freshly-cut fruit in the pantry, and on Thursdays, employees can enjoy lunch together. “We encourage healthy living, with height-adjustable desks that offer the team the option to stand while they work or to sit comfortably on an office chair or on a gym ball. We also ensure the

An employee working in one of Canon’s three cafes availability of shower facilities for those who like to jog or cycle to work,” says Koh.

Smart and green Beyond aesthetics, a large part of Canon’s investment in its new office went into the implementation of cuttingedge technology. The office is enabled with enhanced security features such as a facerecognition system that ensures a safe and secure work environment. Staff feedback also led to the development of an in-house resource reservation system, allowing employees to book meeting rooms, cafes and other function rooms without conflict, which was previously a recurring pain point. The Galaxis hub is also part of the organisation’s green outlook, highlighting its values of sustainability and environmental awareness. Traditional wastebaskets have been replaced by small personal baskets, and cabinet space has been reduced to discourage unnecessary printing and ultimately reduce paper wastage by 30%. Employees are also encouraged to sort their waste disposal into different recycling categories. Office lighting is also programmed to be switched off during lunch hours, and after work. This way the organisation is not only energy-efficient, but it also encourages employees to have work-life balance. “As a Platinum Green Mark building, our office is designed to meet all green efficiency standards, from the furniture to the paint, wallpaper, electrical gadgets and more that we use. Lighting and air-

conditioning units used are also approved energy-saving models, all of which helps us reduce our carbon footprint,” says Konishi.

Unconventional décor A funky and fresh interior can also play a significant role in motivating employees and spurring creativity. The Tripadvisor office certainly falls into this category, reflecting the global nature of the company and its business. Koh says connectivity and travel were two themes the company wanted to incorporate into the office design because that is exactly what its online services aim to do – connect travellers from all over the world. “We wanted a fun environment akin to a great travel experience so colleagues feel like they’re on a great trip when they come to work every day,” he explains. Using an eclectic blend of materials, furnishings, bright colours and accents, the office combines global and local elements. This is most evident in the four cosy soundproof kiosks located at each corner of the office, designed to resemble London’s iconic red telephone booths. Each booth is named after the direction they face in Singapore, (“Marina Bay”, “Raffles Place”, “Chinatown” and “Clarke Quay”) and allows employees to have privacy when they are on phone calls or video conferences, without having to occupy an entire conference room. “We picked bright colours and integrated a modern vibe to encourage fun, energy, innovation, and a positive atmosphere where everyone can get together and brainstorm ideas,” Koh adds. ISSUE 16.7



00cial T* 6 $4Spe + GSly 201 veBird 295 15 Ju Sarly $1 fore Ea ly S r be e On gist

Attracting & Retaining Top STEM Talent 2016 M ov i n g B eyo n d Tr a d i t i o n a l B o u n d a r i e s 17 – 18 August 2016 | Singapore

They might be moderately little in number; however they pull more than what’s coming to them in terms of economical weight. In the midst of higher unemployment and financial turmoil, we require them now like never before. STEM employment (97 occupations that fall into the science, innovation, building and arithmetic fields) play an important role as for economic growth. They are crucial for national competitiveness, fuelling the economy and creating more downstream jobs. There are a number of factors that are inhibiting new entrants to STEM fields and luring existing participants away to others. These include significant cultural, gender and attitudinal shifts and long-held notions that shape who enters and who stays in STEM-related educational tracks and careers. Companies themselves must understand these forces, and be aware of how they may be contributing to them if they are to be turned around.

Top Key Takeaways:

• • • • • •

Define best practices in attracting & retaining STEM talent Equip yourself with analytics skill sets to source for scarce STEM talent Create effective employer branding strategies to attract and retain STEM talents Promote more women’s involvement in STEM to drive diversity Transition from conventional talent acquisition methodologies to social media and analytics Utilise extensive internship programs as a effective recruitment platform

Featured speakers: Dr Chong Yoke Sin Chief Executive Officer INTEGRATED HEALTH INFORMATION SYSTEMS (IHIS)


Daniel Tan Group Chief Learning Officer TAYLOR’S EDUCATION GROUP

Glenn Loh Head, Campus Recruitment & Development UBS

Dr Elica Kyoseva Assistant Professor -Engineering Product Development SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN

Lakshmi Nagarajan Head of Big Data Analytics HP LABS

Tiffany See Executive Director Human Resources DELL

Lim Tit Meng Chief Executive Officer SCIENCE CENTRE SINGAPORE

Dhananraj Misra HR Business Partner APAC Sales GOOGLE


Crystal Lim Leahy Director of Future Ready Graduates NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

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



Investigation techniques for HR HRM Asia’s recent training masterclass sought to guide HR professionals through the complex business of workplace investigations


group of more than 20 HR professionals took part in HRM Asia’s Effective Workplace Investigation and Compliance Masterclass in May. The highlyinteractive specialist training programme featured a balanced mix of theory and practical exercises to ensure each participant was able to apply the concepts to their own work and organisation. Held at the Hilton Singapore over May 10 and 11, the masterclass inspired many fruitful and lively discussions on strategies. Both the professional trainer and each of the participants shared their challenges in executing workplace investigations and creating the best possible frameworks, teams, and practices to ensure that investigations were executed in the best possible way. There were also further discussions

about how effective workforce investigation processes can save both time and costs for the organisation. The training was led by specialist training professional Harriet Stacey, who boasts a diverse 20-year career in investigations, law enforcement and academia. She was recently engaged by the Australian HR Institute to deliver a nationwide training programme for HR professionals across Australia, and the Singapore masterclass was based on that successful series. A highlight across the two days was a complete mock workplace investigation, in which the participants were grouped into pairs and given different scenarios. These pairs took turns to interrogate for details of the role-play event in order to practice and understand effective questioning techniques used in workplace investigations.

UPCOMING CONGRESS HRM Asia is proud to be your partner in progress and professional development. We bring you quality conferences and training and have many exciting congresses and masterclasses in the upcoming months. Mark your calendars now!

• Organisational Development & Design Congress 20 – 21 July • CHRO Series 2016 29 July • Attracting and Retaining Top STEM Talent Congress 17 – 18 August • HRM Awards Best Practices Congress 25 August • Succession Planning and Management Congress 20 – 21 September • Conducting HR Audits 22 – 23 September • Key Performance Indicators Masterclass 27 – 28 September

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HR INSIDER Whether it is in training and development, rewards, or even just making great coffee, Starbucks aims to involve every one of its employee “partners” in the process. Celestina Lee, Partner Resources Director, Starbucks Coffee Singapore, tells HRM more Sham Majid


ike most HR professionals, Celestina Lee, Partner Resources Director of Starbucks Coffee Singapore, is well-used to multitasking in her job. This also extends to making a mean cup of cappuccino. Starbucks’ national head office, known internally as the “Support Centre” in South Buona Vista, features a coffee station that mirrors the facility used in all Starbucks outlets. It is the place where baristas hone their craft before being dispatched to branches around the country, and it’s also where visitors are welcomed in true Starbucks fashion, regardless of who they are meeting. “All of the ladies here including myself are Coffee Masters,” Lee says proudly. “To earn the title of a Coffee Master, you will need to go through a rigorous training session and there is a test at the end of the programme.” To the uninitiated, the Starbucks’ Coffee Master programme is where all incoming staff immerse themselves in the history and culture of coffee, including how the first beans were found and how the drink became so popular around the world.

Mind your language You may have noticed that Lee’s official designation is “Partner Resource Director”, rather than the traditional HR Director title. She is quick to set the record straight. “I am a Partner Resource Director, not a HR Director,” she says. “The word ‘partners’ refer to all employees of Starbucks. All of us all over the world are called ‘partners’. We are not team members, associates or employees. We refer to anyone working here as a partner.”

Fast and flexible Lee recalls an episode that encapsulates

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her belief that everyone is wellconnected in today’s digital-first era; a scenario she faces every day. “Just recently, I was in a meeting and talking to a couple of our managers when I saw all of them looking seriously at their phones,” she says. “I realised then that while they were present at the meeting, they were actually multi-tasking and tracking what was happening at the store.” With the surge of information passing through the organisation’s ranks, Lee stresses there is a need for HR to react quickly. “I sometimes see something on Facebook or Instagram, or get a text directly from my barista in the store,” she says. “You get to hear very quickly how employees are feeling now.” Lee and Starbucks are also making a keen push for workplace flexibility across the organisation. “People are saying, ‘You won’t miss me, I can be anywhere and still get the job done’,” she says. Lee trusts every staff member, and that is translated into Starbucks’ key

AT A GLANCE Total number of employees at Starbucks Singapore: 2091 Size of the HR Team (Singapore): 8 Key HR Focus Areas: - Recruiting the right talent - Engaging and elevating partners’ experience - Building capabilities - Enabling staff through optimal processes and tools

HR policies such as being flexible, and empowering managers with mobile tools. “Our managers use mobile technologies to monitor what’s going on in stores, and to correspond with their partners, even though they are not physically there,” she elaborates. At the Support Centre level, Starbucks staff are able to work from home up to twice a month, something that fills Lee with immense pride. “It’s for all employees at the Support Centre, although it’s harder to implement this at the operations level,” she says.

Assimilating recruitment into culture Despite today’s digitally-attuned workforce, Lee reveals that Starbucks’ corporate culture remains deeply personalised. “I remember when we were doing our branding and recruitment for our Graduate Management Trainee (GMT) programme a couple of months ago. Soon-to-be graduates had already emailed us telling us they were graduating soon. They knew we were looking for GMTs and they loved Starbucks and had read about us already,” Lee explains. “After some thinking, we realised that we should hold one-to-one meetings with candidates.” According to Lee, there were 400 applications. “We then shortlisted it to 50. Instead of inviting them straight away for a one-to-one interview, we had an open house and shared our Starbucks culture and the GMT programme. As this was an additional step for the job applicant to take, we thought the turnover would not be great, but everyone who was invited turned up,” she says. “We were stunned.”




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HR INSIDER “They just wanted to feel and see what that Starbucks culture they had been reading about all these years was really like.” In fact, Lee says her team receives 10-20 applications daily for positions everywhere. Lee and her partners invest a substantial amount of time during the hiring process. “There’s a first interview, a second interview, and before you start work, there’s a ‘first impressions’ session,” she says. “Even after we have offered you a letter, we still want to meet up with you, introduce you to all the partners in the store, and show you your equipment and what your workplace is like,” she elaborates. “We also advise on what your first and second week are going to be like. You will then turn up at the Support Centre here, sign your letter of offer, and go through your first training, called ‘The Starbucks Experience’.” With all staff keenly aware of what the Starbucks culture espouses, it is perhaps unsurprising to hear Lee say that the company’s chief source of talent comes from the referrals of existing staff. “Since our partners are already here with us and they know what the Starbucks culture is like, they are the best ambassadors and recruiters for us,” she elaborates. “Hence, they help us to recruit their friends and they receive a nominal reward. We also allow them to work with their friends.” Lee shares that Starbucks’ GMT programme, which commenced last year, is the next natural step for the organisation in terms of recruitment. It already employs polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education students in various non-full-time roles. “We realised that when students finish their university studies, they are very keen to find out how else they can stay with us,” she explains. However, Lee says student partners enjoy being at the shopfront and have aspirations to become business

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partners and to open their own cafés. “Naturally, I was already getting a lot of questions such as these. Hence, we decided to have our own GMT programme,” she states. “We had our first batch last year and they are now going through to the supervisory level.” Lee says Starbucks’ next-mosteffective recruitment channel is through its website. “That’s where we have people writing in every day.”

Cultivating leadership and training with coffee When it comes to career development, Lee says partners receive more than a simple career roadmap. “When they come in, they know they have all these opportunities in front of them and they sit down with their managers on a quarterly basis,” she explains. This is known as a Partner Development Plan (PDP), where staff have open discussions with their managers about

Saying ‘no’ to discrimination Discrimination is strictly prohibited at Starbucks, whether it is with regard to gender, race, or disability. In fact, the organisation has been working with Autism Resource Centre (ARC) in Singapore for more than a decade. It supplies café consumables to the organisation for its own coffee outlet and also hired six partners with autism to work at its 100th store in Singapore, when it opened in 2014. Two years on, Starbucks has 10 staff with autism and has plans to hire more from partners from ARC this year. Starbucks Coffee Singapore also works closely with the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, having been among the first to signal its commitment to the Fair@Work Microsite. The Fair@Work Promise is a personal commitment to be fair and inclusive at the workplace; and to not judge people based on stereotypes or biases.

their aspirations and learning needs. Every single partner undertakes a PDP. Lee says managers have access to a career guide that helps them test that their staff can perform beyond their current roles to demonstrate they are ready to take on the next level. For an organisation whose core function is to make great coffee, one imperative training programme designed for partners is ensuring they make their beverages correctly and brilliantly. “That’s our barista promise,” says Lee. In ‘The Starbucks Experience’, the first lesson is about Starbucks’ values, the company’s history, customer service standards and of course, how to make the drinks correctly. “It’s a one-day class where everything is packed in. When they go to the store, on-the-job coaching continues,” says Lee. Starbucks does not structure a leadership programme per se. Rather, leadership opportunities abound at every level. Every quarter, Lee, together with the organisation’s Operations Director and district managers work together to identify all the store managers and allocate them staff according to different talent categories. There’s even a “coffee leadership” portfolio that staff can aspire to. “We have the Coffee Leadership Team. They are the ones who drive the passion in coffee. When you have all that talk and buzz about coffee, it really binds all of us across different departments,” shares Lee. “The Coffee Leadership Team will organise barista championships, share knowledge, and do this all on their own time. That’s something that is purely driven by passion.”

Evolving engagement According to Lee, Starbucks’ employee engagement framework is constantly evolving, just as its staff are. “We realised our managers and partners are evolving. They used to be 21, then 25, and now, they’re 30 years old,” she says. “I’m getting wedding invitation cards and they’re having babies!” Each Starbucks outlet hosts a coffee-

HR INSIDER tasting session every day. “Any manager on duty must start the shift with a very simple coffee, and talk for five minutes before everyone starts their work,” says Lee. Further to this, every quarter, the company’s Managing Director and leadership team will meet all store managers and have an open forum. Lee says managers are very forthcoming as its value is to always challenge the status quo. “Our managers do not feel shy and will stand up to ask questions,” she says. Regardless of whether leaders hail from Seattle, Starbucks’ global headquarters, or from Asia-Pacific, managers are not daunted and will share their concerns, Lee states. “It’s not about their everyday bread and butter issues; the questions our managers ask are also about Starbucks globally and about Starbucks international programmes,” she says. Another simple yet effective scheme to boost employee morale is called “Surprise and Delight”. “If we find that our partners have done a great job, our Managing Director will send something wonderful to the store. We will even do something to surprise and delight partners during events such as anniversaries,” Lee reveals. Starbucks also celebrates partners’ deeds with its “Movement of

philosophy of sharing gains across the workforce. “That is also part of our Starbucks culture where everybody shares the gains because everyone puts in the effort and where we recognise everyone’s efforts,” she elaborates. The partner can’t sell the shares for at least a year. Starbucks also participates in salary surveys every year to ensure it pays its partners competitively. “It’s not something that a lot of companies do as it’s quite a big investment of not just money, but resources too,” Lee concedes. She and her compensation and benefits manager spend around a month studying data and participating in surveys to make sure that partners’ remuneration stays competitive in the market. For the benefits portion, Lee says these are reviewed every two years to make sure they are keeping up with partners’ needs. Partners’ remuneration package consists of a basic salary and a retail incentive programme. Partners also get additional incentives when they meet their stores’ performance targets. “There’s also the everyday pat-on-theback. Our managers walk into the store, not ticking off things but instead, come in and check in with our partners first and recognise the person,” she highlights. Lee says Starbucks’ combination of

Uncommon Greatness (MUG)” award. “When a partner does something really extraordinary for his or her partners or customers, he or she will get a plaque and a very special card,” says Lee.

engagement, development and focus also help partners grow with the company. Starbucks also takes on a data-driven approach to retention through its monthly “Peopling” meeting. “That’s when we actually list down all the stores’ turnovers and we look at the ongoing trends.” Her team also scrutinises every stores’ retention and talent statistics. “That is the amazing commitment our leaders have which I think is a secret of Starbucks’ success,” she says. “We have a staff turnover rate that is way better than the industry. The food and beverage industry’s turnover rate is about 5.0%; at Starbucks, it’s 3.3%.”

Sharing the gains On the rewards and recognition front, Lee stresses that Starbucks is “very serious” about keeping its compensation competitive. So much so that all partners at the company are issued with “bean stocks”; restricted units of actual company stock. “All partners in Starbucks, whether a part-timer or full-timer, will get stock options,” Lee says. She says this is part of a Starbucks






Senior Partner Resources Executive

Partner Resources Director

Partner Resources Executive

Senior Payroll Executive





Total Pay Programme Manager

Assistant, MD’s Office

Payroll Specialist

Admin and Reception Assistant

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Different companies play by different rules when addressing organisational objectives. HRM finds out why some employers are game to explore innovative talent management solutions

Kelvin Ong


amification continues to be a trending topic in the HR industry. Already a multi-billion dollar industry today, research firm MarketsandMarkets predicts the global market will be worth US$11 billion by 2020. Most industry practitioners agree that in this era of digital disruption and a younger workforce, innovative talent management solutions like game-based and simulated learning platforms can really add value to organisations by appealing to people’s competitive and result-oriented natures.

millennials shape the future of work, every company must transform itself as an employer in order to compete for talent,” she adds.

Innovation through gamification

At the recent HR Summit, Susan Chen, Chief HR Director of Indonesian healthcare provider Viva Generik, reiterated how important it was that HR departments become “innovationenablers” to bridge the gap between technologically-savvy employees and their often less sophisticated employers. Millennial strategy “Technology is letting people do things Studies show that millennials now form they could not do before. But innovation the largest part of the global labour force. is not just about technology, it’s about An independent survey from Pew solving business problems. Gamification Research Centre showed that the number does that,” said Chen. of millennials in the American It is for this reason workforce surpassed that of that game-based training The number of millennials Generation X in 2015, becoming continues to be relevant in the American workforce surpassed that of Generation the dominant generation. today, and is sometimes X in 2015, becoming In Singapore, millennials are even unavoidable in a also the majority generation contemporary development in the workforce, according programme. to estimates from HR firm While the use of these Adecco. This is set to increase techniques is not a new further, with Generation Y concept, they are now being Source: Independent survey workers on course to make up used to target a wider range from Pew Research Centre 75% of the Singapore labour of organisational objectives, market in the next 10 years. including HR goals like talent Experts agree that an unconventional attraction, and employee learning and approach is needed when it comes to development. managing these millennial employees, Kulwant Singh, CEO of Knolskape Asiabecause they are also the most disengaged Pacific, a gamification and simulation demographic in the national workforce. software developer focused on talent A Gallup study in 2015 showed that 32% transformation, says gamification tools of millennials, or Generation Y workers, are steadily gaining traction among HR said they were disengaged at work, as practitioners. compared to Generation X, where only “Rather than using the word ‘hot’ (to 28% shared that they were disengaged. describe the trend), it’s better to say “As the influx of young, ambitious that the implication of gamification in employees join the workforce learning is gaining much more attraction across Asia-Pacific, it is critical for now,” shares Singh. companies to recognise that their talent “But it is probably new for HR when management practices and policies will you apply these concepts and elements need to evolve,” said Adaire Fox-Martin, into learning,” he adds. President of SAP Asia-Pacific. Gamification, according to Singh, is “Companies will be better equipped to “the concept of applying badges, rewards, invest resources in the right people and or points and creating a competitive programmes that will drive retention environment to increase engagement”. and help meet business objectives. As “Anyone who is in that environment

the dominant generation

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GAMIFICATION will enjoy competing and try to go up to different levels,” Singh elaborates. He believes gamified employee programmes are more appealing to millennial workers in particular because they often have lower attention spans and enjoy seeing immediate results. He says his own children, as an example, “want to move very fast and have very little patience”. Furthermore, the closeness of these simulations to real world situations makes it easy for participants to relate to the content. “The storylines that they create in the simulations are very realistic, as all the actions and behaviours are based on scenarios that occur at the workplace,” says Singh. This growing use of game applications to ensure millennial workers stay engaged and interested is especially evident in the expected global revenue growth rates of gamified learning products.

Reimagining recruitment Innovation is indeed the name of the game at DBS Bank Singapore. The company’s HR strategy has been based around its corporate values of being: purposedriven, relationship-led, innovative, decisive, and “everything fun”. One way the bank embraces these values is by employing game-based learning programmes. “Our strategy is to reimagine the HR function to support DBS’ goal of creating ‘joyful’ banking experiences,” says James Loo, Executive Director,

“Looking at the journey of job candidates and employees, we asked ourselves how we could utilise digital technology to transform their experiences” James Loo, Executive Director, Group HR, DBS Bank

Group HR, DBS Bank. “Looking at the journey of job candidates and employees, we asked ourselves how we could utilise digital technology to transform their experiences, especially for millennials who form the largest proportion of our workforce.” He adds that DBS implements gamification by applying data analytics and neuroscience to a social platform, of which the end-result is an online recruitment game it calls “Joyful Journey”. Loo says the game is designed to identify talent who have the characteristics of high performers and who are likely to embrace DBS’ corporate values. “We were looking for solutions that engage candidates and employees in a fun and differentiated, yet meaningful way,” Loo explains. “With ‘Joyful Journey’, we wanted to create a great recruitment experience as top graduates are looking

for more than just a place of work.” “Joyful Journey” takes job candidates through a series of personality tests and scenario-based questions, including a behavioural quiz. Upon completing the quest, candidates can use the points collected to redeem rewards, such as an invitation to a networking session with the DBS Singapore Country Head. More than 18,000 applicants across the region have played the game, and it has proven to be beneficial for both the bank and the candidates. “So far, anecdotal feedback from employees and candidates has been very encouraging. We have found that candidates who complete the game are better prepared for interviews, and for work in the company,” says Loo. “Joyful Journey” has been extremely valuable for DBS recruitment managers. “It has helped us to identify the right talent faster, as we receive an average of 80,000 résumés each year,” he explains. “Actions such as repeat visits and plays indicate commitment, competitiveness and aptitude – characteristics we look out for. Often, you cannot uncover these qualities from just doing interviews and reading résumés.”

Points systems

Rajiv Jayaraman, Founder and CEO of Knolskape, facilitating a gamified session 34 ISSUE 16.7


A TalentLMS survey on the effects of gamification supports Loo’s positive assessment of game-based talent programmes. The study revealed that 79% of its


A DBS employee exploring the “Power Your Future @ DBS” app respondents said that they would be more motivated and productive if their learning environment was built more like a game. Additionally, 89% of participants said that a points system would boost their engagement levels, while 62% stated that they would be more motivated to learn if non-static leaderboards were introduced, and if they were given the opportunity to compete with colleagues. The study also showed that these programmes have a positive impact on employees’ productivity. Forteen percent of respondents scored higher in skills-based knowledge assessments, 11% performed better in factual knowledge tests, and nine percent noted an increase in information retention. Knolskape’s Singh seconds these results, using the word “sticky” to describe the effectiveness of simulations on employees. “It is really funny when clients come back and tell us the stories in the programmes because of the stickiness of the simulation. If you repeat a simulation two or three times, it becomes stickier,” he shares. “Now what that means to the HR industry is that it actually increases the retention rates, as compared to a oneday traditional classroom workshop with lots of PowerPoint slides and activities.” Loo concurs, saying that games do help to make the overall training experience more fun and memorable for employees, which in turn aids their retention of information.

In 2015, DBS held an open-house event in conjunction with the launch of DBS Academy, where employees got to learn about the digital resources available to them. The event was gamified through the introduction of a mobile app called “Power Your Future @ DBS”, which integrated learning with play – staff collected points to redeem prizes. “The app recorded over 800 unique accounts in Singapore with up to 18,000 challenges completed over the two-day open-house. Employees gave positive feedback about our showcase and how learning was fun throughout the event,” he says.

Optimised learning Simulated applications, Singh says,

also allow for a more inclusive training experience. For example, only one storyline or scenario is given to participants, unlike in a traditional classroom setting, where each person might have a different story for the given task. “With this, we create one story and everyone has to work in that simulated environment. It’s a common story, hence when you do debriefs and reflections, it is regarding the same story,” describes Singh. He adds that another benefit of the simulated platform is that it optimises and condenses content into a half-day workshop, unlike a traditional workshop which typically lasts a whole day. “Our fundamental philosophy here is that you don’t create leaders by asking them to look at 80 to 100 PowerPoint slides in a day, listening to only one facilitator and having lots of discussions through role plays and playing some activities to keep them engaged,” shares Singh. Singh says the success of gamification for businesses is further highlighted by that fact that Knolskape has a 97% client retention rate. The gamification software developer counts Microsoft, Accenture, Ernst & Young, Insead, Kellogg School of Management and Cisco among its portfolio of clients. “While we thought millennials would be the ones who hooked on, we were really surprised to find that even the mid and senior level employees took on the gamified simulations tremendously well,” Singh adds.

Get gamified at Smart Workforce Summit Sophisticated gamification strategies will play a key role in HRM Asia’s Smart Workforce Summit in October. The Game-based Learning and Gamification Workshop offers a comprehensive master class in one of the most effective HR tools now helping to keep staff focused, engaged and motivated. The workshop will take place on October 20 and is a recommended add-on to the two-day Summit on October 18 and 19. For more details, see:

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Assessing cultural fit is an important aspect of any interviewing process. Adele Png, Talent Development and Acquisition Leader of Philips, says employees attuned to organisational culture are also more likely to stay with the employer


iring for cultural fit is essential for any organisation. Most of us would have seen examples of employees exiting the organisation as a result of organisational misfit, and the negative impact that has on productivity and engagement. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, the attrition cost of poor culture fit can be as much as 60% of the employee’s annual salary. Imagine the negative impact to the organisation if a leader that was hired into a company was unable to fit into its culture.

process. Assuming the candidate has the requisite skills and qualifications, a behavioural interview can be useful to assess cultural fit. This technique looks for examples of how a candidate has behaved in different work situations. For example, an employee who has a pattern of working well in team structures would better fit an employer that organises work around teams and values collaboration, while a candidate that prefers to work independently might feel encumbered to have to engage opinions of peers in decisionmaking. Candidates who appreciate The cultural question empowerment and ownership may Of course, before we can assess cultural struggle in an environment of control fit, we have to understand: what is and, similarly, candidates who culture? work best in structured Organisational culture is a environments may find it system of shared assumptions, challenging to adapt to loosely The attrition cost of values, and beliefs, which structured organisations with poor culture fit can impact how people behave fewer rules and guidelines. be as much as in an organisation. These At Philips, we look for shared values have a strong individuals that want to make influence on the people in the meaningful impacts to their of the employee’s organisation and dictate how environment, and we strive annual salary. they dress, act, communicate, to improve peoples’ lives. So, Source: Harvard Business Review and perform their jobs. we look to see if a candidate Culture influences how values these ideas and is eager employees make decisions. It to contribute to them. also influences organisational Culture can be described values and beliefs, such as team over many dimensions, so it is not collaboration, accountability, risk unrealistic to say every organisation’s taking, flexibility, ethics, diversity, culture is different. It is therefore and entrepreneurship. An employee important for the Talent Acquisition who is a good cultural fit can work well team and hiring managers alike to and excel in the organisation that is understand the company culture and congruent with their own values and break it down into ways that can be beliefs. An employee that struggles with useful in assessing cultural fit during an adjusting to the new organisation’s interview. culture will end up disengaged and Most companies would have clearly eventually exit the organisation, likely defined dimensions and descriptors causing disruptions to operations in the of their culture, and recruiters can use


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these descriptors as a starting point to design culture-specific questions. At Philips, recruiters and hiring managers have an interview tool that describes the key values and competencies, and breaks them down into behavioural descriptors that can guide the assessment process. For example, one of Philips’ core values is “creating meaningful innovation”, and one of its descriptors is “encourages and challenges others to innovate, bringing new ideas and looking externally for inspiration”. To assess a candidate on this value, an interview question could be, “Can you share examples where you introduced new ways of working or new product ideas, and describe that process and the end result?” It is also important to understand that while multinational organisations will have a broad corporate culture, location also influences local company culture. It is therefore good to understand elements of the local country culture and practices, and weave these into interview questions. This is particularly important when hiring foreign talent into a country. For example, some cultures can be described as tending towards independent decisionmaking while others emphasise interdependence. Understanding and assessing how a foreign candidate would adapt and operate in that environment is crucial.

Complex questions There are many tools and frameworks available to help companies assess cultural fit. However, there are also so many dimensions to culture that it can lead to a very complex and confusing list when assessing a candidate. My advice is to narrow down the key areas that are important for candidate success. In my experience, apart from assessing candidate fit to a company’s values and beliefs, cultural astuteness (defined as the ability to get out of one’s comfort zone and successfully navigate through the cultural nuances of a company), taking time to understand the way things are done before making major recommendations, and learning agility (defined as a person’s ability to 38 ISSUE 16.7


“Hiring for the right fit is far from easy, and requires care, time, skill and a multi-pronged approach to interview assessment”

learn, analyse, understand and adapt to new situations and problems), give a candidate a higher chance of success in adapting to a new organisation. Equally important are attributes such as the ability to network and form meaningful relationships, knowing when to leverage on networks, selfawareness, and openness to adapt to change. Candidates that possess these traits have the ability to traverse and adapt to different organisation and country cultures, and have a proven track record of success. Some practical tips for determining cultural fit include: • Take time to understand your company culture before interviewing; it pays to be prepared. • Consider the dynamics of the team and business needs before hiring. • Take time to assess values, and try to keep this separate from assessing competence. Some organisations invest in psychometric testing to improve accuracy in assessment but while I think this is useful, it should be taken as a guide and further validated by face-to-face interviewing. • Give applicants a chance to lead the conversation and make an effort to set them at ease, so that their personality shows in the interview. In fact, keeping questions broad (and following up with probing questions) circumvents candidates preparing well-rehearsed answers to interview questions. • When assessing cultural fit, do not ask personal questions such as those about age, race, citizenship status, or health. • Understand that when assessing cultural fit, it does not mean hiring employees that are exactly the same. In fact, there are studies that show diversity can improve team performance, so hire someone that is different, yet not too divisive in approach, so that they can make a meaningful contribution to the team. • Some organisations invite candidates to spend time in the office to get a feel of the culture and for interviewers to assess fit in that way. I think this is a good practice if interviewers


are prepared to spend the time, and there is a way to safeguard the confidentiality of the candidate. • Be aware of and be prepared to challenge your own biases when you assess fit for culture. I have found having diverse panel interviewers quite helpful in improving assessment accuracy, and revealing blind spots.

possess skills the company does not currently have. In this situation, companies are deliberately hiring out-of-the-box types in an attempt to change the culture, and this calls for very different ways of assessing talent. Indeed, looking for cultural fit takes less importance, but more emphasis is placed on individuals who have experience driving change successfully

When cultures change


In this article so far, I have covered some ground on assessing cultural fit with the assumption that the organisation’s culture remains the same, but what if the organisation intends to go through a transformation? Looking at the challenging business climate today, many are going through some form of transformation in order to survive, and many are hiring candidates from non-traditional sources who

across an organisation. Hiring for the right fit is far from easy, and requires care, time, skill and a multi-pronged approach to interview assessment. However, when applied well and with that investment in time and resources, it can significantly reduce cost of hiring the wrong fit and help organisations better perform over the longer term with the right talent.

Adele Png has extensive regional HR experience across diverse industries such as healthcare, consumer goods, financial services, and technology. She has successfully started up and built HR and talent acquisition functions for multinational corporations. As Philips’ Regional Head of Talent Acquisition, Png leads a team of recruitment professionals across 11 countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific across all businesses.

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Head of Country HR, Asia-Pacific, Telstra International

How many years of HR experience?

I have 16 years of HR experience in a variety of industries ranging from manufacturing, IT start ups, the public sector, HR consulting and, for the last five years, telecommunications. I have been a generalist for the largest part of my career. However, I have also worked in various specialist functions, namely recruitment, compensation and benefits and, very recently, a complex merger.

Why HR?

My primary driver has always been creating meaningful impact, both in the organisation as well as for the people that I work with. HR has the unique vantage point from which it can impact the whole organisation. It also has the unique role of helping people and driving the balance between individual needs and organisational goals. This unique possibility keeps me extremely motivated as an HR professional.

Why Telstra International?

The people make this company a great place to work. Telstra International focuses on Asia to drive its growth. This means exciting opportunities and projects continually arise in this part of the world. The combination of good people and meaningful work is a sweet spot that is hard to find, and as such I look forward to coming to the office every day.

Biggest achievement?

I am particularly proud that I was able to capitalise on my own vacation time once. A few years back on my vacation to the US, I found a programme that I very much wanted to attend. This was a leadership course for women at the Harvard Business School in Boston. What better way to spend time away than with a set of brilliant professional women?

After hours?

Spending time with my husband is a great way for me to unwind. I love animals and my furry four-legged companion at home is a great stress reliever. Also, I share my passion of travelling around the world with my husband.


My extended family is spread across the globe. However, my husband, my dog and I all call Singapore home.


Ready reference for HR W

hether you are an HR professional, a supervisor or even a small business owner wearing multiple hats, you will find The Big Book of HR useful in providing the right information to get the most from talents in the workforce. Authors Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem, both seasoned practitioners, have not just compiled a comprehensive reference of HR laws, regulations and standards, but are also offering HR professionals a hands-on guide to HR management. The Big Book of HR provides a complete overview of HR with topics such as recruitment, compensation and benefits and employee performance development. While the entire book provides a wealth of information on the inner workings of HR, each chapter can stand alone as a quick reference guide on a specific subject area. Each of them covers information on associated legal issues, stories from leading organisations, and discussion questions to test the reader’s understanding of the topic and encourage additional thought. Readers are also guided through each functional area in a concise and practical way through numerous sample form, templates and other resources. The Big Book of HR is a comprehensive HR reference book that covers virtually all areas of the HR field in a single source. It is suitable for anyone starting out in HR or even just thinking about HR issues in a commercial setting and in need of new ideas or alternative approaches.

Title: The Big Book of HR Author: Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem Publisher: Career Press Price: $27.99

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n ever-changing work environment, sharper technology systems, and new cloud-based software applications are just some of the factors driving a technology revolution for today’s HR professionals. Add in the proliferation of social media platforms that are increasingly being used for recruitment, and it’s clear the HR profession is fast-moving into the next generation of talent recruitment and assessment. “The vast majority of hires today are either Generation Y or Generation Z candidates,” says Simon Bradberry, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Resource Solutions. “This means that there is a demographic imperative to acknowledge the demand for new technology solutions. HR needs to rise to this challenge far better than it has done to date.” Interestingly, new technologies to help HR support businesses through anticipating and managing organisational change are also now available. “Human capital management systems allow HR to manage the people aspects of change, so that employees can perform

The fusion of technology and HR is gathering momentum across many workforces. How can HR stay relevant and make full use of these new platforms to drive their business value? HRM explores By Naadiah Badib in a ‘business as usual’ mode,” explains Jack van der Velde, CEO of Unit4, Asia-Pacific. “Organisations need peoplecentric enterprise solutions that provide the tools to communicate, plan and problem-solve in a speedy and cost-efficient manner. “As such, companies need to not only focus on their capabilities but also ensure that their internal functions are agile. They should embrace business change in order to weather the upheaval from the digital disruption the industry is witnessing,” he adds.

Emerging trends New technologies are transforming nearly every part of HR, from sourcing and recruiting talents to performance management, and also learning and development. According to Bradberry, these trends are being seen in almost every aspect of an employee’s life at work including through organisational values such as transparency,

consumer experience, and diversity. “HR is not alone in being impacted by the trends. It needs to recognise them and wake up to what we are witnessing,” he shares. With the prevalence of digital transformation today, van der Velde notes that data analytics continues to be vital across workforces. He says new techniques and strategies are emerging to help analyse the tidal wave of information available. “Smart software packages will autonomously analyse the terabytes of input and then suggest solutions and outcomes to their human ‘masters’,” he says. “Self-learning programmes that uncover insights beyond human comprehension will gain a solid foothold.” Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are also utilising HR technology to drive business growth. They have, in fact, led part of the migration to cloudbased platforms. “They started with applications that were not core to their business mission, and in a short time, more and more ISSUE 16.7


TECHNOLOGY TRENDS mission-critical apps have been moved to the cloud,” van der Velde says. “This year, we also expect the large multinationals to join the party as enterprise-strength cloud solutions are increasing, and security fears are waning.”

Full leverage Organisations can put effective and agile HR applications in place, but if they are not used to their full potential, they risk failure on two fronts. The organisation would see little or no return on investment on the new technology solution, and HR practitioners may have only inconsistent or inaccurate data to base their strategies on. Bradberry says the ability for an HR department to make use of technology is highly dependent on its agility. “In my experience, smaller, newer firms find it easier to rapidly implement and reap the benefits of new technologies than larger, more established organisations,” he elaborates. Well-utilised technology solutions can impact the workforce in a variety of ways, van der Velde notes. In particular, they can help to attract and retain good talent, he says. The right technology solution can also help to plan and match skill levels to project pipeline requirements. Van der Velde says the best-fitting technology products can also help organisations on a strategic level. These integrated platforms allow HR to gather data and perspectives from other departments, providing a holistic view of the organisation’s challenges and opportunities. In addition, the right technology can reduce the volume of administrative tasks, particularly among regional offices where firms can run HR processes automatically and only intervene when necessary.

In-demand services Global company Resource Solutions adopts a unique method to help organisations identify the right technology solutions for their needs. 44 ISSUE 16.7


“We have resolved this by presenting ideas to our clients, identifying the most appropriate tools and then going ‘in to production’ under the umbrella of our service, rather than asking the client to contract directly,” Bradberry shares. “This enables larger organisations to see the benefit of the technology while avoiding some of the red tape – such as developing an internal business case – that might otherwise delay a decision.” Resource Solutions also provides specialist recruiters who are embedded with the client’s HR department onsite. An off-site support team that reviews up to 10 products a month is also part of the standard offer. The best of these new technologies are than shared with the onsite teams to use on a day-to-day basis. Unit 4, meanwhile, offers a selfdriving Enterprise Resource Planning solution as well as a regional offering, the Prosoft HR Management System. “The services and software we provide are meant to free HR teams from administrative tasks so that they can adopt the role of a strategic business partner within the organisation,” van der Velde says.

Ahead of the game The HR function can best keep track of its growing volume of data by investing in the right, scalable technology solutions,

van der Velde continues. In people-centric environments, he stresses that HR should pay close attention to the specifications of technology and what each solution provides in order to stay relevant. In particular, he says technology must: • Address the challenges and priorities of the business and industries; • Deliver an enhanced user experience that combines the best consumer application design with a smart business focus; • Create an architecture that allows users to adapt applications easily at the pace of business change, without external consultants or IT experts; and • Offer customer-defined application delivery, whether on-premises, or on the (private or public) cloud. “More than ever, it’s time for a new focus on empowering people and peoplecentric industries,” van der Velde adds. For HR professionals who face difficulties and time constraints to transform ideas into production, Bradberry highlights the importance of engaging a third party provider. “It is far easier to work with a trusted partner who can do the legwork for you,” he elaborates. “It is a strong case for outsourcing or partnering with an organisation who can add real value to the HR function.”


Do you know a HR team that is kicking goals through its innovative use of technology? They could soon be sharing the stage with the best and brightest strategic talent in Singapore. Nominations are now open for the 2017 HRM Awards. 25 categories will be presented at the gala event on February 27, including the Best Use of Technology Award and the Hays Award for Best Employer of Choice. For more details, see:


The Future of HR: From Transactional to Strategic B

usiness models are transforming at organisations of all sizes from the pressures of market volatility, disruptive technology, mergers, growth, and restructuring. As a result of this transformation, HR is in a unique position to make their organisations successful during times of change through a policy of Human Capital Management (HCM). This involves maturing HR from a transactional role into a valued strategic partner, from an administrator to a business partner who brings innovative solutions to your company’s challenges.

STAGE 1 – Standardisation of process We often find ourselves in Stage 1 of the HCM maturity model where activities are transactional and reactive. The demands of processing core HR information occupy your time. As a result, we struggle to report relevant KPI’s to the business groups, and cannot adapt quickly to new policies or regulations. This is where Standardisation of processes will reduce administrative overheads for more complete records maintenance, especially with multi countries presence.

STAGE 2 - Enable Next would be improving the efficiency by fully integrating a mobile and globalised workforce, pulling meaningful

HCM capabilities can be seen through the lens of a four-stage journey from administrator to strategic partner. Each stage in the HCM maturity model – Standardise, Enable, Optimisation, and Empowerment – brings new capabilities to the organisation, and benefits for the employees. information out of data, and making employees feel both valued and heard. Organisations in this curve need to Enable faster processes and greater self-service capabilities, so that business managers have greater visibility and workers have access to information relevant to their careers.

STAGE 3 - Optimisation The biggest jump comes here – where HR makes a transition to a strategic business partner. This Optimisation phase takes you to an advisory role where you provide greater value. Talent management delivers value in reducing turnover, building channels for advancement and acquiring top performers. Optimising HCM means empowering employees to be more autonomous, which

drives greater engagement. At this stage, challenges include improved appraisals and succession planning to nurture and retain talent.

STAGE 4 - Empowerment Finally, at the Empowerment stage of the HCM maturity model, HR takes a proactive position around employee engagement and business strategy. The business benefits include minimising disruption during change, instituting new programmes for employee engagement, and crafting self-directed career paths. HR can manage its own technology systems rather than relying on IT, for the maximum in responsiveness and agility. In today’s business environment, HR specialists have both the opportunity

and the obligation to become bolder and more strategic in our thinking. While it can be a challenge to elevate beyond the traditional HR roles, there are tremendous benefits to be gained. Let Unit4 help you with our HCM suite of offerings: • Prosoft HRMS, regional multi-country HR software, voted one of the top vendors by HR community • Business World On!, fully integrated ERP for enterprises • HR outsourcing services Visit to begin your journey from a transactional role to a strategic business partner today.

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Getting down to

WORK Corporate meetings are still happening every day, but the format and layout of many of these affairs have become anything but ordinary. HRM shares how planners are leaving no stones unturned in their quest to keep their clients focused purely on professional matters Sham Majid


magine having a car placed in the middle of a function room, or having real-time projection for an event. Or, picture the prospect of hosting a durian party in the carpark. While these scenarios may appear like a collection of zany party themes, Alvin Lim – Director of Marketing, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, says they are actually some of the unique requests the hotel has received from clients holding high-level business meetings in its premises. He stresses it is imperative for planners to deduce the objective of the meeting in question, and the type of results the organisation is striving to achieve. “Do work hand in hand with the organisations to achieve their desired results,” he advises.

Meeting must-haves

Creative setup — Meetings Imagined 46 ISSUE 16.7


Regardless of whether a venue can facilitate unique requests when it comes to company meetings, Lim says there are several fundamental requirements


Legacy Suite — Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza

that all firms will have when booking an external meeting venue. These aspects include accessibility, capacity of the function room, reliability of the meeting venue, attractive rates together with valueadded services, a dedicated event planner who can assist, and the availability of Wi-Fi services and guestrooms should the meeting involve overseas delegates.

“Organisations would prefer to have a meeting venue that is centrallylocated and within walking distance to a MRT station, as this will save time for delegates, be it from their office or from Changi International Airport,” Lim says with regard to Singaporebased meetings. He explains it is also important to determine if the function room meets the needs and requirements of the

event, whether it is a conference, training, boardroom meeting or a team building initiative. Reliability is another significant aspect. “As the success of meetings are imperative for organisers, companies will often hold meetings at venues that can guarantee quality and attentive service; places that are known for hosting great meetings and that have the ability to create a comfortable, conducive ambience for delegates,” says Lim.

Jumping on the bandwagon

Grand Ballroom theatre seating — Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza

It is not only hotels that are rolling out the red carpet for organisations, when it comes to holding meetings on their premesis. Maxwell Chambers, Singapore’s main international centre for hosting arbitration hearings, also doubles up as a venue for local and international corporate functions, including conferences, annual general meetings, and cocktail receptions. ISSUE 16.7



Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza tea break

Boardroom Seating — Meetings Imagined

Cooperation required While the goal of any meeting or corporate event is to have it unfold seamlessly, as though no organisation or planning was required, the reality is far different. Creating that effortless feel, in fact, requires a whole lot of effort, from both meeting organisers and their HR clients. Alvin Lim, Director of Marketing, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, says every successful meeting also involves a great deal of cooperation and teamwork between the two sides. From the initial meeting, and through often several follow-up consultations, it is up to event organisers to explore ideas and requirements with their clients in HR. This includes everything from dietary requirements and preferences to entertainment or environmental additions. “Do find out about the objective of the meeting, and what results the organisation is striving to achieve,” he advises external meeting planners. “Do work hand in hand with organisations to achieve their desired results.”

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The complex consists of 10 customdesigned and fully-equipped hearing rooms and 12 preparation rooms on the third and fourth levels, all secured by a private lift lobby not accessible to the public. Maxwell Chambers’ sleek and customisable room layouts are able to accommodate up to 160 people. Boasting an exclusive and private atmosphere along with acousticallytreated rooms, state-of-the-art audio-visual and teleconferencing equipment, and, most crucially, free wireless internet connections throughout, Maxwell Chambers offers a comprehensive and exclusive meeting service. It allows organisations to engage in fruitful and productive meetings and discussions in a private venue where delegates can focus on their business agenda.

Leveraging on technology According to Lim, some of Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel’s standard considerations for organisations planning meetings at the hotel encompass factors such as the objective of the meeting, the budget, and the needs and preferences

of meeting organisers, such as Wi-Fi, shuttle services, holding rooms, technology, and the dietary preferences of delegates for lunch or tea breaks. With organisations coming up with a plethora of ideas when it comes to conducting meetings to engage their employees, it is absolutely vital that venue providers offer a host of options; something that resonates with Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. “We have eight function rooms and a Grand Ballroom that can be partitioned into three smaller rooms. We also offer The Gallery which is an open area where we can set up with projector and screen for a workshop or as a cocktail area,” Lim elaborates. There is even a website that will assist meeting planners to bring their meetings to new heights. Dubbed the Marriott International’s Meetings Imagined website, Lim says organisations can seek inspiration on a multitude of creative setups and learn about the latest meeting trends. In addition, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel assists organisers to perfect their functions with its Meeting Services app, whereby event organisers are able to stay in contact with the hotel 24-7, and are able to communicate any last minute requests to the hotel seamlessly. Lim also adds that a dedicated event planner will be at the venue from start to finish to accommodate to any requests and to ensure the meeting proceeds in a smooth fashion.



Kevin Zhang

Nicholas Ong

Rohit Suri

Kevin Zhang has joined Havas Group as its Director of HR, Asia-Pacific. In this role, Zhan will lead regional talent initiatives across all key brands of Havas including the flagship brands: Havas Worldwide and Havas Media. He has also been tasked with developing initiatives to attract top talent and learning and development programmes. Prior to this new position, Zhang spent 10 years at the Interpublic Group of Companies as the New York-based Director of Corporate HR. He later moved to R/GA Singapore to lead its HR operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Zhang has also worked as an HR Manager with Alloy Media + Marketing, Dow Jones & Company, and Ogilvy CommonHealth. Zhang specialises in talent management, acquisition, employee engagement, leadership development, and diversity and inclusion programmes. He will report to Michael Lelievre, Chief Financial Officer of Havas AsiaPacific and will work closely with the group’s senior Asia-Pacific leadership. Local HR leads from the region will report to him, and he will also coordinate with the global talent team led by Patti Clifford, Havas’ Chief Talent Officer. On Zhang’s appointment, Clifford said, “Asia-Pacific is a very important market for Havas and the fast-growing nature of the region makes it important for the group to have a strong talent strategy in place. “Kevin is a great addition to lead across the creative and media groups, further solidifying our ‘together’ strategy.”

The state-owned air carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways, has strengthened its management team with Nicholas Ong brought in as a recruitment specialist. In this newly-created role, Ong will focus on talent acquisition needs in East Asia and the Southwest Pacific. He will also roll out new strategies, standard operation procedures, and processes that will add more value to the growing business of Qatar Airways. Through his experience in the recruitment agency environment for 15 years, Ong says his strength has always been in the area of identifying the right talent in terms of soft skills and personality fits. He aims to tailor talent to fit the culture of his client organisations. He has previously taken on sales management roles but felt the need to move into a corporate environment to put his strengths into play. Ong has more than 20 years of experience, with a career that first started in the hotel industry and is now more focused on services. His main HR expertise is in the talent acquisition field. On his appointment, Ong says he hopes that he can contribute to Qatar Airways’ success through careful selection of the right talent. He says his long-term plan is to put in place a proactive talent acquisition plan for the organisation, ensuring it can compete at the highest level of the international air travel industry.

GroupM has announced the appointment of Rohit Suri as Chief Talent Officer for South Asia. He will be responsible for building out talent initiatives regionally, ensuring all GroupM talent have exceptional career experiences and development. Based in Mumbai, India, Suri will report to the CEO of GroupM South Asia CVL Srinivas and Chief Talent Officer for GroupM Asia-Pacific Angela Ryan. He joins the organisation from consumer internet company, People Interactive, where he was Vice President of HR. Earlier in Suri’s career, he also held leadership roles at One97 Communications and Turner International. He brings with him 17 years of experience in change management, business partnership and cultural integration roles. Speaking on the appointment, Srinivas said, “We are delighted to welcome Rohit to our team.” “Given his vast experience across different markets and the several interesting initiatives he has championed in his career, we are sure he will add a lot of value to our business.” Suri says he is looking forward to putting the lessons he has learnt into practice. “GroupM has embarked on an exciting journey which places talent management at the core,” he explains. “I look forward to leveraging my experiences for the growth of GroupM’s business.”

Director of HR, Asia-Pacific, Havas Group

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Recruitment specialist, Qatar Airways

Chief Talent Officer, South Asia, GroupM

AHRDSPEAKS Developing HR differently M

any companies create great frameworks to build capability, which are also peppered with tactical training. Sometimes for HR, only tactical training exists. At Brown-Forman Global Spirits Australia, the HR function is as critical a part of business conversations as Marketing, Operations or Finance. These are some of the things we do to make a difference to the way we develop ourselves, and the way we represent ourselves as a businessintegrated team. Firstly, our strategy to build organisational capability is created by the organisation. We have held strategy sessions using an ideation and strategy format with executive and senior leadership participation. This has provided us with valuable


insights, such as how we can articulate our culture and leverage it to engage those both within our ranks and those who are yet to work for us. Having cross-function and executive team involvement also guarantees buy-in and shared accountability across the entire organisation. Secondly, best-practice sharing with HR teams of non-competing companies helps build relevant and current skills. Apart from ensuring we connect with our global BrownForman HR colleagues, we have often partnered with HR teams of other businesses including multinationals, banks and corporations to network in teams and share ideas. We recently held a “best practice day” with the HR team of Yum! Restaurants South Pacific. We have

8.00 AM I start my day at work by clearing and responding to emails that are urgent and need immediate action or follow up, as well as prioritising a “things to do” list for the day.

9.00 AM

Eugene Tai Senior Manager, HR Business Partner, JLL Singapore

This is my weekly meeting with the HR department for updates from the respective business lines, sharing of best-known practices and lessons learnt from challenging HR issues faced. Key HR programmes and initiatives are communicated for deployment and followthrough.

11.00 AM A dial-in to the regional conference call with several HR business partners within the Asia-Pacific region. During this platform, key success stories

also hosted guest speakers from other industries. The members of the HR team appreciate the connections and we get to compare experiences for some of our own initiatives. Thirdly, our framework encompasses building HR within the industry. I am fortunate enough to be a board member of the Australian Drinks Association (ADA) which has members from many companies across the beer, wine and spirits industry. This has allowed me to work with the General Manager of the ADA and put together a HR Directors Forum. It is a complimentary event and seeks to build capability within the industry not just of HR, but of what HR delivers.

and projects from respective countries are shared and put up for discussion for “crossfertilisation”.

12.30 PM I settle down at the pantry to enjoy my home-packed lunch. While lunching, I’ll look to my mobile phone to view interesting HR articles and updates from HR communities, usually from LinkedIn, HRM Asia or the Singapore HR Institute.

2.00 PM My team and I meet up with our talent acquisition team to review outstanding open roles, progress of interviewing and selection of candidates, as well as finding solutions to fill critical roles that have been challenging to close.

3.00 PM I catch up with business

Michelle Phipps HR Director, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and North Asia, Brown-Forman

heads and managers from my business lines for cases that involve business planning, employee performance reviews, and talent development.

5.00 PM I work to resolve HR issues pertaining to employee data in the Peoplesoft HR information system, working with the corporate finance team and payroll for outstanding cases. If there is a soft-skill learning and development workshop the next day that I need to facilitate, I will run through the materials again and review the participants’ demographics to prepare for the learning methodology.

7.30 PM This is reserved for quality time with family, dinner and relaxation! ISSUE 16.7





While many organisations are still getting to grips with the SkillsFuture movement, OCBC Bank has already rolled out a three-pronged approach to develop the skillsets of its massive workforce. HRM delves deeper into one component which included a “premiere” event

Sham Majid

52 ISSUE 16.7



im Jit Rui, an assistant manager with OCBC Bank’s Business Banking Commercial Service Centre, was looking for some external development opportunities pertinent to his work. What he eventually registered for was not a run-of-the-mill or one-off training programme. Rather, it entailed bite-sized sessions of up to just 90 minutes each on the topic of Analysing Service Quality, all conducted by a variety of different training providers. This initiative was part of a roadshow recently organised by OCBC Bank, entitled OCBC FutureReady Premiere. More than 220 employees registered for the event which spanned two full days on May 23 and 24 this year. The OCBC FutureReady Premiere enabled

employees to partake in small sessions from up to nine different programmes, giving them a unique chance to sample the course before fully committing.

The bigger picture

The OCBC FutureReady Premiere was part of a three-pronged strategy under the OCBC FutureReady programme. With nearly S$500,000 invested, this is a key strategic talent advancement scheme by OCBC Bank to galvanise its staff in their learning and development journeys. It aims to help each member of the workforce achieve their full potential. Alongside the OCBC FutureReady Premiere, the programme consists of a credit component (S$500 cash top-up that can be used for SkillsFuture courses) and the

OCBC FutureReady catalogue comprising of 120 courses selected from the thousands available under SkillsFuture. OCBC Bank staff will be afforded time off from work if they attend modules from the OCBC Catalogue during working hours. “This need to constantly upskill and reskill employees is the reason the bank has invested S$60 million in our OCBC Campus, a wholly-owned 10-storey building in the central business district dedicated as a learning and development hub for employees, and a range of learning and development initiatives that meet the different needs of our employees,” says Yap Aye Wee, Head of Learning and Development, Group HR, OCBC Bank. She says her organisation’s ambition is fully aligned with that of the national SkillsFuture initiative.

A rich learning culture According to Yap, these three components were also crafted in alignment with the bank’s belief in people development. “We believe that learning must enrich our employees in not just their professional capacities, but also in their personal lives,” she explains. Hence, many of the 120 programmes OCBC Bank chose for the OCBC Catalogue entail not only professional, but also personal development. “This twin focus on both professional and personal aspects helps to drive the return on investment of learning over the long-term,” says Yap. “Not only are employees more motivated to sign up for learning programmes when they see a personal benefit, we see value flowing back to the organisation and our customers through the contribution of more engaged, motivated and happy staff.” In order to reiterate its commitment towards employee development, Yap says staff can partake in programmes on company time. The bank believes empowering staff to take their learning needs into their own hands helps to foster “a sustainable culture of life-long learning”. “Employees are free to choose from the many programmes in the OCBC Catalogue and the S$500 cash top-up for

each permanent non-executive employee makes it possible for them to sign up for even more programmes,” Yap elaborates. “The OCBC Catalogue eases the decision-making process and also gives staff the assurance that these courses will complement and not duplicate the more than 900 programmes we already offer within the bank.” The courses in the OCBC Catalogue were selected to ensure a mix of online and classroom training, and to ensure the full suite of offerings caters to the needs of everyone across all ranks and business lines.

Supporting SkillsFuture Yap says the nine programmes from the OCBC FutureReady Premiere ranged from modules on service quality and customer satisfaction, to emotional intelligence and leadership. Each was in line with the bank’s focus on people and customers. “The feedback from employees on the Premiere has been very positive,” she says. “In fact, many told us they enjoyed this format as it fitted nicely into their work schedules and was a refreshing learning break from their work demands.” In addition, Yap says the Premiere also

complemented the SkillsFuture initiative by generating additional publicity among its employees. “Our experience and research show that a strong focus on learning and development is a huge draw to talent as well as a key driver of retention. Based on feedback, we are already reviewing the possibility of another Premiere and adding new programmes to our OCBC Catalogue,” she says. “One thing is for sure - we will continue to find new ways to inspire learning in our organisation. This is good for our employees and that can only be good for our customers and our business.”


Assistant Manager, Business Banking Commercial Service Centre, OCBC Bank

“I have always been keen on customer service analytics, so when the opportunity to attend a preview of the course on Analysing Service Quality came, I went for it. Although this session was just an introduction, it helped me get a sense of what the full course entailed and if it would fulfil what I was looking for, before I signed up and committed to it. In addition, I have also picked up useful tips that I can already apply at work.”

Junie Ong

Associate, Technology Solutions for Consumer Banking, Group Operations and Technology, OCBC Bank “The topics presented during the roadshow were very interesting and relevant to most of us, so much so that I actually signed up and attended four out of the nine sessions available. To my surprise, I really liked the format and the way the sessions were conducted. Being bite-sized sessions, they were easy to understand and still informative and comprehensive enough to enable participants to decide if it was the right course for them.”

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HR FROM THE CLASSROOM Every month, HRM speaks to a young university talent hoping to carve out a career in HR upon graduation What attracted you to HR? Why are you studying it? I had little exposure to HR before choosing this as my specialisation. In my freshman year, I enjoyed studying Organisational Behaviour and I was excited to learn more about the function. Exposure to concepts such as diverse personalities and motivational theories led me to discover more about myself and focus on the factors that drive and motivate people to behave the ways they do. One year on, after several HR modules and opportunities, I must say that I have never once regretted this choice. People are the heart of any organisation, and I want to be part of a team that aids maximising their potential. I consider myself to be people-oriented and my HR journey has been a very fulfilling one. Joining the National HR Case Competition this year also exposed me to HR on a larger scale, where I saw how it could be used to solve business challenges. Listening to the other contestants introduce new perspectives resulted in a truly enriching experience. I would strongly encourage those interested in the HR field to participate in competitions like this. The experience further affirmed my belief in the strategic role that HR plays in any organisation.

What aspect of HR do you hope to specialise in upon graduation? I’m particularly interested in total rewards management. It is exciting to see how reward packages have evolved and need to be flexible and customisable in order to retain talent. With the workplace

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becoming more diverse – through factors such as culture, gender, race, and age – rewards management becomes a significant contributor to the HR department.

The top three things you want from your HR career? Firstly, I hope to have an avenue to contribute my ideas to improve the wellbeing of employees and aid in achieving business goals. Secondly, I would like to connect with people and build meaningful relationships, particularly employees whom I can impact in meaningful ways. Lastly, I hope to learn from experienced mentors and to mentor others in time to come.

What challenges do you anticipate? I anticipate two major challenges: managing talent retention, and the often adverse perception of HR. According to a study by Forbes, 91% of millennials intend to stay in their current job for less than three years. Increasing mobility in today’s society translates into an urgent need for HR to devise strategies to retain talent. Based on preliminary research and from what I hear from people on the ground, HR has garnered a negative reputation as the deliverer of bad news. Ironically, HR departments are also the ones that help employees in career planning and development. This negative perception is a pertinent issue which needs to be addressed in order for well-intended actions by HR to translate into results.

Your HR career five years from now? I’m still keeping my options

Boon Yu Pei Double degree in Accountancy and Business (HR Consulting), Year 2, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University

open, but for now, I hope to start off my career in total rewards management – an area that piques my interest. Having gained insights and experience, I may consider venturing into consulting a few years from now.

Hobbies, or Inspiration? I love cycling. It is a relaxing activity that allows me to explore new places and unwind at the same time. Besides this, I enjoy watching good productions and musicals, and have been a part of many for more than five years.


Angels or demons in the workplace? By Boon Yu Pei


nown as the “Champion of the Employee”, HR has always been the one function representing staff and planning their training, development and career paths within the organisation. HR has to be constantly aware of issues faced by employees in order to be their spokesperson and facilitate improvements. This ideal is in stark contrast to a study by CareerBliss, which revealed that merely seven percent of employees believe that HR actively looks out for them. To employees, HR is seen only when there is bad news: during disputes, exit interviews, and retrenchments. More often than not, HR is seen as the henchmen of senior management. This has contributed to the shaping of a negative perception of HR – making it difficult for HR to effectively improve the wellbeing of the very people who do not have a good impression of them. Ironically, the department in charge of laying people off is the same department that is there to help, therefore causing employees to be hesitant in providing honest feedback. This in turn counters HR’s efforts to address employee needs.

Management vs HR This perception is not confined to employees. All HR functions incur expenses, and this makes HR a prime target in cost restrictions, posing a challenge in

the implementation of policies. Unlike other departments, HR’s performance cannot be easily quantified through sales figures or business outcomes, posing difficulties in articulating the value to the organisation. Many fail to realise that strategic utilisation of HR can enhance organisational performance both qualitatively and quantitatively. Many people view HR as a cost centre rather than as a long-term investment. With HR being commonly misunderstood, how do we get employees to see the world through the eyes of HR?

Increasing visibility In order to instil trust and confidence in the function, it is crucial for HR professionals to be more visible. This serves two purposes. It gives HR professionals a glimpse of things on the ground and an awareness of any discontent regarding personnel policies; and it also shows employees that HR truly cares for their wellbeing. Through the building of individual relationships with employees and managers, HR should strive to understand employees, be their thought partners, and build talent strategies for them. This puts a face to HR, and ensures that it is not merely seen as a distant department in charge of administrative and legal matters, but one that represents employees and works with business partners. While it is HR’s responsibility

to act as a partner with business leaders, and to propose strategies that are aligned to business goals and directions, management also needs to create an environment where it is understood what HR is responsible for and respect for the function is installed throughout the organisation.

Effective communications It is also essential to keep lines of communication open and easy. A two-pronged approach is needed where channels of feedback are kept open; and where HR is able to communicate reasons for new initiatives and policy changes and can keep its procedures transparent. To sum up, improving the perception of HR and having everyone in the organisation value this vital support function is not an easy task, but one that is certainly worth the effort. To fully reap the benefits of implemented policies, and to manage and retain talent efficiently, it is imperative for HR to be seen as a business partner to management, and an advocate to employees. This constant balancing act can be achieved by listening to the voice of employees and ensuring that strategies are wellaligned to corporate goals. HR, when viewed strategically, has the ability to transform an organisation by motivating employees, retaining talent, and influencing behaviours that drive greater growth for the organisation.

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op talent often feel that only larger organisations are able to provide them with the challenge, growth and progression that they desire. This is untrue, says Ida Lee, HR Director, Ngai Heng. In fact, those who can perform well in an SME will find that they provide excellent grounding for the business world, she says. “Working in an SME provides talent with greater opportunities to learn directly from, or be mentored by the CEO. Staff can take on bigger projects when they are more junior, and they can succeed in an environment where resources are arguably more finite,” explains Lee. Employees at Ngai Heng are encouraged to take calculated risks in developing new product and service offerings. “At Ngai Heng, we believe that innovation is fundamental to a company remaining relevant to its clients,” Lee says. “In our safe-to-fail environment, even if the initiative eventually does not pan out, employees are not penalised. “Having an innovative environment is important as, without it, a company will stagnate and eventually become a dinosaur.” While Ngai Heng’s core business is printing, the company has evolved into a full-service communications company. “Our belief in continuous innovation means that Ngai Heng will evolve as the industry and technology evolves. Talents that join Ngai Heng, will therefore be able to learn and grow with 56 ISSUE 16.7


an organisation at the forefront of the communications industry,” says Lee.

Talent retention Ngai Heng believes in helping every employee achieve their personal goals and aspirations. “We believe that as long as Ngai Heng can help fulfil their aspirations, they will stay,” Lee says. The company, which has a staff strength of 145, has introduced a number of HR initiatives to boost retention. It conducts regular career interviews, where employees are spoken with at least three times a year. These interviews take place at the start of the work year, where

Companies that invest in the continuous growth and development of their employees stand a higher chance of retaining them for the long haul, says commercial printing and advertising house, Ngai Heng By Sumathi V Selvaretnam

work KPIs and personal and professional development goals are set; six-months into the work year where employees are provided feedback on the progress of the work year’s KPIs; and once again when bonuses are paid. “These regular career interviews provide both employees and management with continual feedback on their performance,” says Lee. Employees also benefit from what the company describes as a personalised Route-of-Advancement (ROA). Depending on the employee’s inclination, aspirations and assessed potential, supervisors will develop individual career plans with their direct reports.

Ngai Heng annual dinner & dance event


Ngai Heng celebrates SG50 with a movie day out “For example, if an employee who is currently in sales has the desire to further their interest in design, the supervisor will work with them on how to successfully switch tracks. Assuming they have the potential to be an Associate Director, the supervisor will plan a path so they can reach that position via stints in relevant departments,” Lee explains. There is also room for horizontal movements. “If an employee is comfortable where they are, their supervisor will not plan for them to take on new responsibilities. In this instance, the ROA will then focus on how the employee can better contribute in their current capacity. ROA discussions would be based on a five-year rolling time-frame,” Lee says. Training is also fundamental in enabling employees to reach their full potential, says Lee. The company’s career interviews are complemented by individual development action plans which help to document the training needs of each employee in relation to their own career goals. “If an employee is falling short in their management skills or is identified for promotion within the next year, they will be scheduled to attend a management workshop,” explains Lee. “Or, if an employee is lacking the technical proficiency to complete their work efficiently and effectively, they could be sent for specific training, or be assigned to another employee to be coached.”

“By working closely with senior management, the talented employees will then forge a mentor-mentee relationship, which will then see them develop professionally to achieve their fullest potential. Besides recognition for retention, talents are also provided with financial incentives like salary raises and performance bonuses,” says Lee. Lee shares the example of a sales executive who joined the company in late 2012. “She was quickly identified as a valued talent and was subsequently assigned to assist senior management in developing pitches for key clients. She learnt fast, demonstrated her ability to apply what she learnt, and delivered on the project. She was then mentored by an industry veteran and continued to demonstrate her potential and abilities. “In approximately three years, she was promoted from Sales Executive to Manager, and then to Senior Manager.”

Work culture What stands Ngai Heng apart, Lee says, is that while it has over 140 employees, the company still prides itself on being “a family”.

“Our turnover rate is one of the lowest in the industry and we have a working culture that many describe as harmonious, with little office politics,” she says. Ngai Heng offers employees a work environment that is casual and nonhierarchical. “The directors all have open door policies and seek to resolve issues in an open and transparent manner. If we had to describe the work environment, it would be ‘comfortable’, where everyone is respected as an important part of the organisation,” Lee says. It is common to see large groups of staff go out for lunch or take their breaks together.” “Some employees even take overseas trips together,” Lee says. “What helps is that many of our employees have been with the company since we first started and we have essentially grown together.” “In fact, many of our families even know each other and they join us in our annual company dinner and dance.” “The interconnectedness of our employees beyond the workplace fosters a family-like environment.” While Ngai Heng pays competitive salaries, it also believes all employees want to do meaningful work, be treated with respect and value, and grow professionally and personally. “As such, Ngai Heng complements our monetary incentives, and training and growth opportunities, with employee recognition via annual awards, presented in front of their families,” Lee explains.

Career fast-track Ngai Heng offers a Talent Management Programme that actively identifies and grooms rising stars in the organisation. Employees under the programme are assured of a fast-tracked career. They are given opportunities to work with senior management on key projects and accounts.

Ngai Heng staff visit the Dreamworkz exhibition ISSUE 16.7


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“The future is sooner and stranger than you think.” Reid Hoffman, co-founder LinkedIn

A new world of work has emerged... a smart, digital, mobile, hyper-connected and agile world of work where skilled talent prefers flexibility and

fluidity working remotely, part-time or on contract basis. Where new technologies are reshaping the way we work, forcing companies to redesign business models. There is now a pressing need for HR to develop new capabilities and become more technologically savvy. The Smart Workforce Summit will explore these evolving trends while showcasing the skills, technologies and strategies required to keep up with the pace of change and drive this evolution forward. The event will explore the impacts of disruptions both present and emerging such as AI, Wearables, Automation, Globalisation and much more.

Early Confirmed Speakers Include:

Syed Ali Abbas Executive VP HR LAZADA

Laurence Smith ex-Managing Director HR, Group Head of Learning & Talent Development DBS BANK

Vineet Gambhir Vice President HR YAHOO

Bala Subramaniam Regional HR Business Partner TWITTER

Assoc Prof Gerald Seet Gim Lee School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering & BeingThere Centre NTU

Edgar Expression Display & Gesturing Avatar Robot NTU

For more information contact us at or visit

CLINIC HRCLINIC HR How can I use coaching to be a more effective mentor?


oaching targets a person’s internal motivations and the choices that they make around them, while mentoring teaches a person exactly how to do something. Together, they make a formidable combination when it comes to creating highly-motivated individuals. In coaching, the client designs their own action plans. As a mentor, you can provide feedback to incorporate organisational needs into that strategy, thereby creating a holistic plan for both the individual and their employer. Many mentors will have faced situations where their mentees did not heed their advice, or they may have faced difficulties in building relationships with them. Since mentoring involves telling another person what to do, the receptiveness of the person determines the effectiveness. If a mentee cannot relate to their mentor well, even giving the best possible advice and strategies will be fruitless. This is where coaching comes in. For instance, a

manager might aim to use mentoring to teach specific skillsets to their team. Coaching is useful in creating ownership, guiding self-discovery, and helping others to decide the future direction that they want to take. By combining coaching and mentoring, the manager can create more ownership in their mentees and teach them the skillsets specific to their individual job roles. Additionally, one of the key competencies of coaching is to be able to build trust with the client. Coaches are equipped with precise technical skills to pick up the underlying needs that a person may have, even if they are not voiced out specifically. With coaching skills, mentors can give advice tailored to their mentees that can address specific issues that they are facing.

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ISSUE 16.7


Opportunities for Life

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

Senior Manager, Learning & Development

Learning & Development Executive

• Leading industry player • Manage L&D strategic review and framework

• Reputable organization • Full Learning & Development Scope

Our client, a local market leader in technology services is seeking a dynamic Senior Learning & Development Manager to join the HR team.

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

You will report to the Director for Talent and Learning & Development and manage 3 direct reports. You will be responsible for formulating plans and training needs to achieve maximum performance improvement and ROI impact. As the subject matter expert for L&D, you will drive learning programs, leadership and professional development with the view to create a competency-based learning culture and a motivated workforce. You will also continually evaluate training effectiveness and make recommendations for improvement of training quality.

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

You should have a good degree and preferably worked in large organizations with 10+ years relevant L&D experience. You should be hands-on and have sound knowledge of learning strategies. You are a transformational team leader who is excellent in presenting, coaching and has strong written and communications skills. Experience working in IT industries and government sector would have an added advantage. To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at or Audrey Chong at audrey@ EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

You would possess a degree from a recognized university with 3-5 years of relevant L&D experience. Prior experience in Marketing would be advantageous. You must be familiar with L&D needs analysis and have some work knowledge on competency development framework. Excellent communication (verbal & written), stakeholder engagement, interpersonal and analytical skills would be ideal. To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Grace D’Castro at 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.



Junior Human Resources Business Partner

Talent Acquisition Specialist HR Operations Specialist Contract

› Global MNC in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry › Newly created position in the East

› FMCG › Business Partnering opportunity

› Heavy Equipment Industry › Large MNC with multi- brand presence

A leading Luxury FMCG organisation is looking to hire a dynamic individual in the Talent Acquisition team.

This is a very dynamic role for an operationally strong individual who can manage high transaction volume. This role requires working with individuals of rank and file as stakeholders. You would need to liaise with MOM on a regular basis for work pass applications and renewals. Keeping the HRIS updated with employee information, onboarding and termination process.

The successful candidate will support multiple business divisions and serve as a strategic and tactical business partner to all organizations and employees in Singapore. You will also work closely with the HR head to implement policies and initiatives. This role requires working in shift hours. Degree qualified with a minimum of 5 years relevant experience ideally in MNCs and in the manufacturing industry. You will have proven success in strategic initiative planning and execution globally. You are hands on, self motivated and flexible operating in a fast paced environment, and possess strong communication as well as influencing skills.

Reference number: JO/JD450034 Contact person: Jennifer ONG (Registration Number R1324297)

Reporting to Talent Acquisition and Learning Manager, incumbent will work closely with Business Leaders and HR Business Partners to determine talent needs in the Singapore Office. He/She will be responsible for the recruitment life cycle of professional level positions. The TA function is to focus on strategic sourcing and attracting top talents to meet the dynamic needs of the business. The successful candidate will have strong business acumen and ability to partner and hold conversation with business leaders around organization manpower planning. They would have excellent oral/written communication and presentation skills; ability to structure/present ideas to seek consensus and buy-in and ability to drive creative and innovative ideas. The individual will also be highly adaptable; able to cope with high demand, tight deadlines in a fast-paced and dynamic environment. Degree qualified with minimum 5 years of experience including in house corporate recruitment experience is a must. Reference number: JO/JD450034 Contact person: Jennifer ONG (Registration Number R1324297)

This role also requires playing a role in training and coordination internally and externally. The candidate must have an in depth operational experience of minimum 3 to 5 years in a MNC, preferably manufacturing industry with a stable job background.

Reference number: NC/JD449421 Contact person: Niharika Chaturvedi (Registration Number R1104291)

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

60 ISSUE 16.7


Singapore Pte Ltd. Company Reg. No. 200909448N EA10C4544 Licence No. 10C4544 Allegis GroupTalent2 Singapore Pte Ltd Company No. 200909448N EA Licence No.

An Allegis Group Company


The Junior Human Resources Business Partner is primarily accountable for managing the Corporate HR Function and driving / executing the local HR strategy.

ISSUE 16.7


Headquartered in Singapore since 2003, Kerry Consulting is Singapore’s leading Search & Selection ďŹ rm. 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

Head of HR — FMCG

HR Manager (SEA & South Korea)

HR Manager — Private Bank

FMCG Organisation Headcount of 3000 Strategic HR Function

Pharmaceutical Industry Regional Position Change Management

Privately Owned Boutique Excellent Work Environment Central Work Location

This market leader within the FMCG industry is now seeking a dynamic and high calibre Head of Human Capital to support one of the leading brands in its business.

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 on change management in the initial phase.

This privately owned boutique private bank with a growing presence in Singapore has expansion plans on the horizon. It is now seeking a HR Manager to set up the HR function.

Reporting to the Human Resource Director, you will be responsible for leading a dynamic and experienced team in managing the full spectrum of Human Resource functions, including talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, performance management, and employee relations. You will also work closely with business stakeholders in terms of business partnering and developing strategic HR plans. In addition, you will implement succession planning and develop talent management capabilities for the company. You will be an experienced HR professional with at least 10 to 12 years of full spectrum HR experience. You will have good EQ, people management skills, and experience in engaging with senior stakeholders. Ideally, you will have relevant experience in the Hospitality, F&B or Retail industry. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and reference number JS9792. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

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. You will also be the Business Partner for SEA, which requires you to develop, implement, and evaluate HR programmes and initiatives to support business needs as these continue to expand. In addition, you will align and support in-country HR strategies across the countries within the SEA region. You will be degree qualified in a HR domain with at least 8 years of HR experience and possess strong partnering and operations exposure in an MNC environment. Ideally, you will also have at least 3 years of team management experience. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS10326. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

In this role, you will be responsible for meeting the full spectrum of Human Resource needs of the private bank. You will be a very hands-on HR professional with strong operational roots and experience in managing recruitment, training, onboarding, offboarding, and hands-on payroll processing. You’ll also play a pivotal role in setting up and bringing organisation into the HR function as you implement policies and structures. You will be a well-spoken individual with great communication skills and the ability to excel in an international environment. Prior setup experience in Banking and Financial Services is critical for this role. To apply, please submit your resume to Junchen at, quoting the job title. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No.: R1328933

Reg No.: R1107886

Reg No.: R1107886

Talent Management Assistant Manager — European MNC

Country HR Manager — Technology Industry

Employee Relations Lead

Regional Scope Highly Visible Role European MNC

Prominent Organisation Country HR Leadership High Visibility to Top Management

This European multinational company with a strong APAC hub in Singapore has plans to transform its HR and talent management function. It is now seeking a Talent Management professional to join its team.

This is a well-established and well-regarded leading player in the technology industry. It has a strong regional presence and strong commitments in the region and is now continuing its expansion in APAC.

Global Organisation with Regional Hub in Singapore Excellent Career Platform High Visibility to Senior Management

In this role, you will be responsible for the end-to-end execution of talent-related programmes for the APAC region. You will provide administration, coordination, implementation, and evaluation expertise to support the talent and high-potential agenda of the organisation in every way. You will also be instrumental in the assessment, implementation, and maintenance of personality profiling and assessment tools to ensure a consistent and scientific method of talent evaluation. You will have at least 4 years of talent management experience, with good exposure to personality assessment and profiling tools. You will also have strong experience in consulting and execution, with good stakeholder engagement skills. Relevant profiling experience is a must. To apply, please submit your resume to Junchen at, quoting the job title. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No.: R1328933

In this highly visible and critical leadership role, you will oversee and drive HR best practices and a defined talent strategy across Asia. The role features a strategic yet hands-on mandate that sits within a matrix structure and which is fully responsible for all aspects of HR. The broad remit will require your focus to be around building and developing a strong team and HR capability in a demanding, ever-changing environment. Great results, high calibre people, and a solid foundation to build on make this a very attractive opportunity with a lot of potential. You will be a results-oriented HR manager of high calibre, with a successful track record. To succeed in this role, you will also be a good team player who is able to work with minimum supervision. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT10513. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No.: R1104310

(Manager Level)

This MNC is seeking an Employee Relations Manager to support 2,000 employees within the regional headquarters based in Singapore, in partnership with its HR and business leadership teams. Reporting to the Global Head of Employee Relations, you will be responsible for end-to-end case management of disciplinary and grievance cases. You will also be involved in developing and managing relationships with the unions to support employee engagement and performance. You should be capable of working within a matrix environment and dealing with many different decision-makers. Ideally, you are degree qualified in HR, Psychology, or Law and possess employee relations and engagement experience, gained as part of a specialist or a generalist role. This organisation has a good track record in developing the HR careers of high potentials—a fast-track career path beyond this role is possible. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT10540. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be notified. Reg No.: R1104310

ISSUE 16.7



HRBP Lead (Singapore)

An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Head of HR (APAC) to join a fast-paced commercial organisation that is undergoing an exciting digital transformation. You’ll drive the HR agenda in partnership with the business through facilitation and deployment of HR programs and initiatives to achieve talent and organisational objectives. With a strong track record in business partnering within a global organisation across the APAC region, you’ll have been involved in mergers & acquisitions and harmonising functions across different markets.

Hailing from Europe, this promising new entrant to financial services has grown substantially since its inception. They now seek a resourceful, dynamic, all-rounder HRBP to set up the HR function in Singapore. You’ll be instrumental in writing the policies, setting up the frameworks, and most importantly engaging and developing talent. You should be minimum a degree graduate with over 10 years of commercial HR experience, ideally with experience in partnering with creative/ marketing divisions within a multinational. Prior experience in C&B and policy writing is a definite advantage.

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

Regional Talent, Learning & OD Manager (APAC) A global pharmaceutical organisation which has recently gone through some changes, resulting in deeper specialisation, is looking for a specialist within the Learning & Development space to translate strategies into programs across the region. Working with general managers and HR directors across different countries, you’ll be expected to ensure implementation excellence of L&D initiatives, providing expertise and consultation based on corporate guidelines and procedures. You’ll have similar industry experience within a multinational and experience in designing and implementing management development programmes. Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

EA License Number: 07C3924

64 ISSUE 16.7


Contact Kelly Shia (Reg ID. R1552203) at or call +65 6303 0721.

HR Director An exciting opportunity has emerged within a non-profit organisation for an HR Director. This is a strategic role where you’ll champion the HR function and provide leadership in developing and driving HR strategies to meet the organisation’s future plans. You’ll be an HR professional with experience in a management position, have a strong track record in establishing HR strategies in a large organisation, whilst retaining the willingness to be more hands-on as required. Contact Kelly Shia (Reg ID. R1552203) at or call +65 6303 0721.

ISSUE 16.7


HRM 16.7  

- Brewing up an inclusive culture at Starbucks

HRM 16.7  

- Brewing up an inclusive culture at Starbucks