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ISSUE 16.8

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Dear HRM Asia readers,


re you increasingly coming across terms such as innovation, automation, agility, and flexibility when discussing workplace challenges and targets with your colleagues and HR counterparts? These are more than just buzzwords trending at the moment. Rather, they are key components of an economic transformation now taking place, and the “smart workforce” framework that is developing alongside it. As Singapore continues to evolve into a “Smart Nation,” its workforce will need to embrace all of these innovation and technological changes. Employers here should be encouraging lifelong learning, and developing agility across their human capital. In this month’s exclusive cover story, we ask senior HR heads on what it takes to be a “smart workforce” in Singapore, and how they are driving this in their own organisations. Sticking to the theme of agility, we also share how eBay is constantly innovating in light of global technological trends. Klaus Duetoft, Senior Director of eBay’s shared HR services platform in Asia-Pacific, explains how the organisation robustly advocates the development of human capital as a key pillar of its strategic growth. This month’s edition also delves into the topic of romance in the workplace. We speak to HR professionals and CEOs to ascertain how their organisations respond to relationships between staff. While some have strict codes of conduct to stifle office relationships, others adopt a flexible stance, allowing love to blossom in a professional setting.

HRM Asia Pte Ltd 60 Albert Street, Albert Complex #16-08 Singapore 189969 Tel: +65 6423 4631 Fax: +65 6423-4632 Email: ©HRM Asia Pte Ltd, 2016. All rights reserved. Republication permitted only with the approval of the Editorial Director.

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Sham Majid Editor, HRM Asia CONTACT US:

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

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



CONTENTS 16.8 COVER STORY 18 Ushering in the smart era

As Singapore presses on with its bold and ambitious “Smart Nation” blueprint, another “smart” revolution is quietly making its presence felt in the workforce. HRM Asia investigates how HR is equipping employees to join the smart workforce of the future.


FEATURES 12 Managing from the dugout

He has held senior leadership positions in many organisations for more than 20 years, but the career trajectory of Lee Meng Tat, CEO of Non-Alcoholic Beverages for Fraser and Neave, has been anything but orthodox. He likens his leadership philosophy to being a football manager.

24 Scaling amazing heights

12 2

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Despite being a world-leading marketplace, eBay is far from resting on its laurels. Klaus Duetoft, Senior Director of MyHR with eBay Asia-Pacific, says human capital is at the forefront of the organisation’s operating model.

29 Cupid in the cubicle

When it comes to romance in the workplace, Singapore companies are moving away from blanket bans and embracing more flexible approaches.



34 Bad apples

It only takes one poor attitude or dysfunctional employee to poison the entire fruit bowl of an office. HR practitioners explain why it is vital to contain the “virus� of toxic employees.

39 Strategic shapeshifters

Across Asia-Pacific, many HR departments are expanding their scope beyond administrative tasks. HRM Asia examines how and why the talent management function is experiencing a metamorphosis.

42 Joining forces

As organisations strive to find solutions for complex issues, engaging in collaboration with traditional competitors is emerging as key to championing for the advancement and growth of their respective sectors as well as for tackling urgent global challenges, as HRM Asia finds out.

48 Co-working for HR success


Co-working spaces are cropping up all over Singapore and the region, offering the chance for small businesses and sole operators to work together and project a more established image. For one health technology startup, there are also clear advantages for workforce attraction, retention, and development.

4 News

50 HR Young Gun

47 Resources

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

52 Spearheading industry change

With its suite of innovations, Concorde Security is transforming security jobs, re-inventing itself, and shaking up an entire industry.

10 Leaders on Leadership 47 In Person 49 An HRD Speaks 49 Twenty-four Seven 54 Talent Ladder 55 HR Clinic ISSUE 16.8









India’s employees feel that a negative culture has begun permeating through their workplaces. This new downbeat culture was cited by nearly half of India’s professional staffers as the most bothersome aspect of their offices, a new TimesJobs survey has shown. Fifty two percent of employees polled listed their work environment as “bad” while only 20% rated it as “good”. The remaining 28% of workers expressed some positivity by highlighting that their organisations were at least on the road towards fostering a robust work culture. “An engaged and motivated workforce is crucial in today’s hypercompetitive environment to ensure success,” said Nilanjan Roy, Head of Strategy, Times Business Solutions. “So, a dissatisfied employee is a liability that no organisation can afford.” The survey also shed light on a number workplace complaints expressed by employees.

Australian businesses are expecting more from their staff, typically in terms of more overtime and extra hours for one-off tasks. Very few are compensating their staff for the extra hours they are clocking in. Findings from the 2016 Hays Salary Guide show that three in 10 companies raised overtime and extra hours over the most recent financial year. However, for 62% of employees on a non-union contract, this overtime was not paid for. Of the 30% of firms in Australia that raised their use of staff overtime, 36% did so by five hours or fewer weekly. An additional 31% increased overtime by between five and 10 hours per week on average, while 10% cited that overtime was increased by over 10 hours each week. Meanwhile, 60% of companies said overtime and extra hours had remained unchanged year-on-year while just 10% had reduced the overtime required of staff over the last year. “Business activity is increasing, and while employers are prepared to add to their headcount, they also expect their existing staff to chip in and help with rising workloads,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand. “But with employers keeping the salary purse strings tight, and 62% of non-award staff not being paid for their overtime, bosses need to seriously consider the financial, as well as physical and emotional, impact of the extra work on their employees.” Deligiannis stressed that employers should adopt a mindset that they should compensate for overtime work. “After all, almost two-thirds of employers (64%) say they experienced increased business activity over the past 12 months, and 70% expect further increased activity in the year ahead,” he said. “There could also be a good business case for adding a permanent or temporary member to the team to help relieve pressure on existing staff.”

Close to 47% of them said they were bothered most by only vague career growth pathways, while 30% revealed a poor boss or reporting manager was the biggest issue. Employee learning and development, or the lack of it, also heavily dominated the thoughts of employees. Close to 22% of the polled workers cited a shortage of learning and development prospects and nearly 70% of those individuals said they had no access to any learning and development platforms at all. The survey canvassed the views of more than 1,000 professionals across different sectors.


SALARIES ON THE RISE Salaries for experienced and skilled employees in China are expected to rise between 8 and 15% this year. The China Salary Guide for 2016-17, recently released by ZW HR Consulting, shows there is a general shortage of workers with both strong technical and general business skills in China. This is causing employers to increase their salary offers for those staff that fit the bill. “The year (2016-17) is likely to turn out to be a reasonably good period for skilled professionals,” says Joyce Jing, General Manager of ZW HR Consulting. “Many employers are expecting to increase salaries by more than eight per cent in the next 12 months”. The salary guide considers wages earned across 10 different industries and professions, including accounting, banking and finance, and HR. Candidates with dual language (English and Mandarin Chinese) skills are in particularly high demand across both Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities, and can expect salary hikes of up to 25%, the research has found. Frank Yu, Chairman of ZW HR Consulting, said the company was expecting high levels of hiring activity to continue throughout the coming financial year. “Candidates with international exposure, good language skills, market knowledge and who are well-disciplined will continue to receive multiple offers, as well as counter offers from their current employer,” he said.


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Connecting with employees through a Singaporeinspired identity


INNOVATION GAP REVEALED Organisations and their staff have different ideas about the role of innovation across their businesses. A new report by Hudson, titled Today’s Workforce Demands Tomorrow’s Skills, has highlighted that while close to nine in 10 Hong Kong companies think they encourage and reward innovation, only 17% of employees concur. Workers’ pessimistic attitudes towards their companies’ innovation claims are further exacerbated by the fact that close to a quarter (24%) of them say their businesses do not promote innovation at all. “There is a mismatch between the views of corporate leaders and their teams,” said Siddharth Suhas, Regional Director of Hudson Hong Kong and Guangzhou. “While employers think they encourage new ideas, these are not being filtered down to the workplace.” Findings also showed that a major proportion (84%) of Hong Kong

Arthur Kiong

Chief Executive Officer, Far East Hospitality

professionals polled were either actively or passively sourcing for new job prospects. Hudson believes this could be related to the innovation divide. “Those who take a dim view of their organisation’s capacity to innovate and adapt may look elsewhere for an employer that will provide a more stimulating environment,” said Suhas. The survey also charted recruitment intentions in the country, and revealed that one in four hiring managers (27%) in Hong Kong was aiming to boost their permanent headcount over the coming six months. The report took into account the views of more than 600 employers and employees.


iving the Singapore mantra of striving for excellence in everything we do, Far East Hospitality created a unique identity of Singapore-inspired hospitality, tapping on our culture to inspire and connect with our staff. Behind our service ethos are four pillars: comfort without excess, aesthetics without being ostentatious, attentiveness without being pretentious and lastly, relevance with elegance. As a company, we are very mindful of cost management but always from the view point of productivity, and not lower quality. Higher productivity enables us to be more competitive in our compensation and benefits in order to attract the best talent available. For us, taking care of and motivating our team members involves going beyond the superficial as we believe in enlivening our core values everyday by reflectively taking stock and being accountable to each other. Managers frequently ask for feedback on how they can better lead. Underlying the four pillars, perhaps nothing is more Singapore-inspired than providing our employees with every opportunity to upgrade themselves. At Far East Hospitality, we pledge to provide every associate with 100 hours of training every year. We also sponsor overseas trips for our team members and their families once every two years on the condition that they share their learnings on their Art, Building, Culture and Dining (ABCD) experience with their team upon their return. As employees seek out companies that share passion and provide local relevance, I am glad that our philosophy in providing Singapore-inspired hospitality appeals to our talent.


JOB APPLICANTS FAVOUR COMPANY WEBSITES An organisation’s website is the most utilised resource for Indian professionals when applying for new roles. This is according to professional network site LinkedIn’s 2016 India Talent Trends report. The report revealed that more than half (58%) of professional-level candidates take a look at the firm’s website before submitting their job application. Forty-six percent of respondents also spend time reading reviews about the organisation. India professionals are more likely to read company reviews than their global peers, the report cited. “In India, where job seekers are digitally savvy, companies need to take control of their employer brand, given the thirst for information from prospective employees who may have


many alternative career options,” said Irfan Abdulla, LinkedIn India’s Director for Talent Solutions. “By pro-actively sharing information that accurately profiles their companies, recruiters are fostering a great candidate journey that could yield better results.” New job prospects continue to entice professionals in India, with 90% in the country keen on hearing about new openings. Those switching positions are most captivated by learning about a firm’s culture (67% of the survey’s respondents highlighted this), perks and benefits (54%, and employee perspectives (53%). LinkedIn polled 932 of its members in India between January and March this year, as well as 251 members who switched companies between February and March.

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Employees in the US and Canada feel they are drowning at work. Some 40% of staff feel burnt out, according to a recent study by Staples Business Advantage. These respondents cited heavy workloads, timeline pressures, and a lack of job security as the top reasons for them feeling overwhelmed at work. More than 90% of the employees surveyed said they worked more than 40 hours a week. However, they were not spending that extra time getting ahead of their work. Rather, they were using it to catch up on outstanding tasks. Another 65% stated that workplace stress affected their personal lives, with many taking official leave to get away from it. The survey, which gathered responses from more than 3,000 workers in the US and Canada, also asked how companies could reduce employee fatigue. Some 63% of respondents believed a more flexible work schedule would help to prevent burnout. Other factors that could help to reduce fatigue were decreased workloads (59% of respondents cited this), active encouragement to take breaks (52%), and improved technology to improve communication and process efficiencies (35%).


BREXIT SHAKING JOB SECURITY The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has left many employees concerned about job security. A new survey by the Chartered Institute of People Development (CIPD) and People Management magazine found that 36% of employers had seen staff express concerns over their long-term future since the shock referendum result from June 23. The survey also found that there had been an increase in workplace tension and division following the vote to leave the UK, with almost one in ten respondents reporting a related incident. Another 25% of employers said incidents had been hinted at, but not officially reported. Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, said, “There is no doubt the vote to leave the UK has had a significant impact on the workplace, with many people worrying about their future employment prospects. “This is especially true of non-UK nationals, with many clearly concerned about their ability to continue to live and work in the UK after the vote.”


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Starbucks in the US has launched a new compensation and benefits programme for employees. From October, all staff members in companyoperated stores in the US will receive at least a five percent increase in base salary. But the biggest change will involve the coffee house chain’s employee health programme. Global CEO Howard Schultz said the new initiative included a shift in health insurance coverage from a single carrier to a private health exchange setup where employees could select their preferred benefit levels and carriers through an online portal. Instead of offering three levels of healthcare coverage via only one health insurance company, staff who work at least 20 hours a week can now choose from six different nationwide providers, as well as five different levels of medical plan. “Much like a travel site, our partners (staff) will be able to navigate an easy-to-use online platform to choose between more insurance carriers and coverage levels at more competitive prices to help them find the right plan for their own needs,” said Ron Crawford, Starbucks’ Vice President of Global Benefits.


STAYING MUM ON MENTAL HEALTH Employees are avoiding mention of mental health issues, instead claiming other reasons for taking medical leave. A recent survey of nearly 2,000 working adults in the UK found that 21% of respondents believed that their careers would be negatively impacted if employers knew that mental health issues were the actual cause of some of their absences from work. That’s because 30% of the respondents felt they did not have a close enough relationship with their line manager to talk openly about mental health. Conducted by Westfield Health, the study also noted that more than one-third of employees felt their line managers were more interested in getting staff on medical leave back to work quickly than providing any altruistic support. Another 32% felt they were treated differently after coming back from mental health leave. The executive director Westfield Health, David Capper, said that this stigma surrounding mental illness at the workplace is ultimately bad for business. “Without open, honest conversations in organisations, many employers probably think they provide a good support package for employee illness; but actually they’re failing to address one of the most common problems,” he said.





Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has expressly banned employees from playing the hugely popular Pokémon Go at work. Like millions of people around the world, many Boeing employees have become obsessed with the unique augmented reality game, which become a global sensation within just a few weeks of its official release last month. In an internal memo, Boeing said the creature catching game had been installed on more than 100 company devices. One employee had also been injured at work while distracted by the game. “Due to the popularity of Pokémon Go and users not being able to make the conscious decision to not play Pokémon at work, we had to react and disable the Pokémon app from all devices,” the company advised its staff. “The blacklist (of banned applications) removes all that we consider to be carrier bloatware and now also the Pokémon Go app.”

US broadcaster AMC Networks, home to the highly-rated zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead, has offered voluntary buyout packages to some 200 employees. This works out to roughly six percent of the company’s total workforce of 3,000 employees. No particular departments were being targeted in the move, AMC has said. All staff who have worked at the company for over 10 years have been given the option to voluntarily exit. However, the take-up rate among that group is expected to be only between 10 and 15%, which would equate to only 30 voluntary redundancies. The job-shedding plan has been one result of the company’s falling stock price, down 14% over the last three months. While The Walking Dead remains the highest-rated


FLEXI-WORKING GAINING GROUND Employers in the financial services sector are hearing the call for flexible-working options. A new Mercer study, titled Global Financial Services Executive Compensation Snapshot Survey, found that more than a third (37%) of financial organisations have introduced, or are planning to introduce, flexible-working initiatives as part of their employee benefits programmes. Flexible hours give employees the freedom to structure their own work days. Along with flexi-working schemes, employers are also looking to launch a slew of other employee benefits, such as non-monetary recognition schemes and remote working options. The study, which polled 68 financial organisations across 20 countries globally, found that 34% of respondents were planning to introduce, or already had a non-monetary employee recognition scheme in place, aimed at improving talent attraction and retention rates. Additionally, 43% of organisations said they had or were planning to introduce remote working programmes, allowing employees to work from anywhere outside the office. Half of the respondents also said they planned to make changes to their performance management processes over the next 12 months.


drama series in the US, it suffered falling ratings in its most recentlyaired season. AMC is the third major American media company this year to initiate a redundancy programme. In May, Discovery Communications also asked staff to voluntarily leave in an effort to cut between US$40 million and US$60 million in annual costs. In June, roughly 400 employees accepted buyouts from 21st Century Fox as it worked to reduce costs by US$250 million a year.


APPRECIATION TRUMPS PAY: TECH INDUSTRY SURVEY Sometimes, a simple “thank you” is all it takes to keep employees happy and boost retention rates. A new global study by services provider Appirio found that when considering a job offer, knowing that management regularly shows appreciation to staff is one of the most important factors influencing candidates’ decisions. According to the study of technology industry professionals, paying higher salaries is not the most important key to retaining employees. Only 4% of respondents said they were concerned with how regularly a pay review was conducted when deciding their career paths. Comparatively, 60% of participants named appreciation from management as the top

factor when taking up a new offer. Over half (55%) of workers value receiving a “thank you” from their managers when they have done well, with only 8% saying they would feel disappointed if the same project didn’t result in a cash reward. Harry West, head of worker experience solutions at Appirio, said, “Our survey found that appreciation, connectedness, and emotional safety all outrank compensation as important factors in career decision-making. “Employee engagement can’t be solved by simply showering workers with raises and bonuses — companies must be dedicated to providing transparency, support, and technologies that keep high-end technology talent happy.”

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How are temp jobs changing in Asia? Contract employees with higher education, specialised skills, and more experience are increasingly the norm in Asia’s workforce today. HRM Asia presents some Asia-Pacific highlights from the Global Temporary Employment Report 2016

Are employers satisfied with their temp workers?











Higher expectations from employers







of temps are required to communicate more with other departments







Specialist temps, instead of generalists, are in especially high demand in these fields:



Financial services


Source: Global Temporary Employment Report 2016 by Page Personnel 8

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of temps have to do more work in less time now

Human Resources Secretarial & Business Support

The rise of specialists

Finance & Accounting



of Asian employers invest in training for their temp workers


of temp staff globally have at least five years of experience

40% Information Technology





of temps have to show greater self-reliance and work without close supervision



of temps are expected to adapt more readily to changing workloads





of employers globally hire temps to do the same tasks as permanent staff



How important is emotional intelligence to leaders?

ince leadership is a relationship between aspiring leaders and those that choose to follow, emotional intelligence is very important to any leader. Emotional intelligence gives a leader the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, show empathy towards others, and, most importantly, defuse conflict. By developing this ability, a leader is able to recognise and understand what others are experiencing emotionally. This subsequently enlightens the leader’s thinking and influences how they connect with others. Emotional intelligence differs from intellectual ability, in that emotional intelligence is learned and not acquired. Remember there is a difference, however, between learning about emotional intelligence and applying that knowledge to our life. Just because we know we should do something does not mean we will,

especially when overwhelmed by pressure which can override our best intentions. To permanently change behaviour in ways that withstand pressure, we need to overcome stress in the moment and in our relationships. Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes: • Self-awareness: A leader must recognise their own emotions and how they affect their thoughts and behaviour. • Self-management: A leader needs to control impulsive feelings, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances. • Social awareness: A leader needs to understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of others, pick up on emotional cues, and recognise power dynamics in a group of colleagues. • Relationship management: A leader must develop and maintain good relationships, inspire others, enable people to act, be good team players, and manage conflict.


FRANKLIN TANG CEO, Philip Tang & Sons

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motional intelligence is a must for leaders. As a leader, you set standards and become the benchmark. People watch you, talk about you, and hopefully admire you. You are expected to achieve the best possible outcome in any situation but in most instances, you are given the least time to react appropriately. In the most trying of situations, leaders are expected to remain in control and think at least three steps ahead. You juggle emotional expectations for internal and external stakeholders, and strive for the best results. As a leader, you sometimes negotiate, and you maintain your cool when things do not go your way. You are also entrusted with human resources, a critical resource of any company. In present times, a large part of any leadership position involves caring for, motivating, and sometimes even counselling our teammates. The ability to do this well rests on being able to


Regional VP & General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore

empathise with people while maintaining your professionalism and being impartial and unemotional, especially in situations when you play judge. Emotional intelligence is one of the most important skills a successful leader should have. I do not see how you can function effectively otherwise. At Philip Tang & Sons, this translates into a culture that is open, communicative and sincere. I am often able to anticipate my team’s concerns and correlate them with their backgrounds and personalities. Knowing their past experiences can help you understand their responses. This helps you tailor an approach unique to every individual. This has clearly worked for us, resulting results in higher morale and a deeper understanding and respect among our team. No two people are the same; when you start to approach them differently, you become a more effective leader.


MANAGING FROM THE DUGOUT He has held senior leadership positions in many organisations for over more than 20 years, but the career trajectory of Lee Meng Tat, CEO of Non-Alcoholic Beverages for Fraser & Neave, has been anything but orthodox. He likens his leadership philosophy to being a football manager


You’ve held diverse positions in many companies. How would you describe your working life


Before the beverage sector, you spent considerable time with EDB. How did you end up working in that space?

Singapore companies venture overseas. So I applied and got an interview. At the interview, they told me I wasn’t a thus far? fresh graduate. I told them that they It has been interesting. had not stated that they were looking I studied engineering but never for one. EDB then said I didn’t have a practiced the craft. At the end of my Second Upper (degree). I guess it was studies, I realised that I couldn’t be an important for them. But I told them engineer. That was when I started to that their recruitment advertisement Sham Majid look around and realised that being in said they wanted someone “different”. business was actually what I liked to do. I told them I studied engineering for With that, I applied and got my four years, became a bank officer and first job at DBS in corporate banking. After three years on then an entrepreneur; how different can one get from that? the job, I decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So I tried They were stunned but told me I was indeed different and that for about one and a half years, albeit unsuccessfully. I gave me a job, albeit an entry level position. then went back to corporate life where I joined the Economic With all credit to EDB, that’s where I learnt a lot of what HR Development Board (EDB) and thereafter the F&N Group. practices are supposed to be. Their HR practices are top-notch. My working life has been interesting because it was at F&N EDB constantly assesses and monitors the performances of that I was seconded to the beer business in China, the toughest their staff. They are very willing to take chances with talented beer market in the world. I was in China for slightly over six employees. And if you add value to the organisation, they do years. And during my three years as CEO of Wildlife Reserves not wait for annual appraisal to promote you. Over a period Singapore Group, I had to deal with angry visitors who queued of 18 months, I rose from an entry-level officer to one that three hours to get into the Night Safari. was handpicked by the then MD to join him at the Singapore Tourism Board as Assistant Director.

Back then, EDB was looking for people who could help

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What is your leadership style? It’s just about being myself. I’m quite clear that I’m not a specialist in any area; which means



Lee Meng Tat was appointed as CEO, Non-Alcoholic Beverages of Fraser and Neave, with effect from May 1 last year. He is responsible for the performance and driving the expansion of the division, with operations and investments in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam. Lee has extensive experience in consumer-focused industries, having carved out a 25-year career in several fields, including banking, tourism, and beverages. He has previously served 12 years within the F&N Group, including as Chief Corporate Development Officer of the food and beverage division; and sat on the boards of several of its subsidiaries. Prior to re-joining F&N, Lee was CEO Wildlife Reserves Singapore, where he was responsible for the management of world-class leisure attractions in Singapore, namely the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. Lee holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) from National University of Singapore as well as a Master of Business Administration from Imperial College, London. He also attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. ISSUE 16.8



that I need to have some value-add whenever I go to any organisation. Due to the fact that I have been seconded and sent to many organisations, I think I have found out a way to try and add value to wherever I go. That is to fully recognise that I do not know everything about the business I have joined, and that there are many good people who know the business and functions better than I do. My role is to look at the whole organisation, and at what issues it is facing, and how can I help it to progress from where it is currently, to where it wants to go. I think my value-add comes in looking at the issues, mapping out a plan to bring the organisation forward, and then putting

in place a team who can work together to achieve that objective. I always tell people that my management style is like that of a football manager who has never played football before. When I go in, I need to find the right players who can be the strikers, midfielders, defenders and goalkeeper; the best in their respective positions. Then, I need to work with them on the tactics to win the game. The players have to work as a team on the field. If anybody is not playing well, then as the manager, I have to make the change, regardless of whether the player is a superstar or not. If I have to substitute the star player , I don’t care whether he comes out feeling angry. I will substitute the star player if he’s not contributing to the game plan as we have agreed.


How would your employees describe you?

They will say I’m very tall and have a very serious face! Wherever I’ve been, after a while, my employees will tell me that they were scared of me when I initially joined the company. I do have a serious face; I can’t help it as I was born with it! But, after a while, all of the employees realise that how I look and what I do are actually different. In all organisations I’ve worked with, the first thing I do is get to know the people. I’m actually quite a joker. I’ve been told by some of my bosses not to joke too much. Usually, at board meetings.

ME MYSELF I I love: To develop people to their fullest potential I dislike: Inconsiderate people My inspiration is: Singapore’s pioneer leaders and pioneer generation. They built the Singapore of today by trusting each other and working together as a team My biggest weakness is: I do not have any hobbies In five years time I’d like to: Take a back seat or do something different, as the team that I am building now would be ready and able to take the organisation forward Favourite quote: “Don’t do to others what you do not want others to do to you”

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But, I’m just trying to be myself. The point is that we cannot be too stifled. We just have to be ourselves. For me, I think people will say that “he’s just one of us”.


What are some key HR challenges for Fraser & Neave?

F&N is a long established company. Although we’ve been around, are steady and stable, and everyone knows about us, the flip side is that people will call us an old-economy company. People nowadays are very attracted to the new-economy companies. We’re talking about the Google and Amazon types of companies. First of all, it’s about where they want to work. The name is the first thing. Our challenge is that we have a good name, but an old name. It is also the products that we are in. We are doing soft drinks, dairy products and ice cream. It’s something that you see and need and you buy every day. But, it is a steady, established business. So, our challenge is getting people to understand that we do also offer an interesting and varied experience for people and that there’s a lot for them to learn. We are also a regional company, so an opportunity to work with us is not just about only working in Singapore. In fact, a lot of our employees here are also out in the region most of the time because that’s where we are expanding. Like all companies who are not in the new world, challenge number one is getting people to join us. Challenge number two is, like all companies in Singapore, it’s particularly difficult to get people in Singapore. That’s a fact of life.


How do you balance your business needs along with the public health issues associated with soft drinks?

We are fully aware of the public health concerns associated with soft drinks. We started out with 100 Plus during our 100th anniversary. It has become the number one drink in Malaysia and is up-and-coming in Singapore. The key is balancing the needs (and wants) of consumers and businesses. To achieve that, besides relying on market research, at F&N, we also work closely with the regulators such as Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB) to promote healthy living. By working closely with HPB, we want to engage and educate the community and influence the consumers to choose products labeled with the “Healthier Choice Symbol”. Today, many of our F&N products are labeled with this symbol because they meet HPB’s Healthier Choice Symbol requirements for “Lower in Sugar” or “No Sugar Added” categories.


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

All organisations have these, in terms of setting up processes whereby they look at an appraisal of how well the person has done, where they can improve and where they can go to. We do track staff developmental progression as we go along and I take a personal interest in this area. Over the last 11 months, I have actually looked at the career progression of a number of key staff and how they can move to areas that can actually enhance their skillsets and also move them in their career path. I spend at least 40% of my time on HR issues. The process is there. More importantly, other than a process, somebody needs to make a decision and move it forward. That is something that is ingrained in F&N.


How do you interact with your staff?

I am responsible for not only the business in Singapore, but also in the region. I will meet my staff – top management and general staff - in different countries at least once a month. I strongly believe that sharing a meal or having a drink create a closer bond between people. So everywhere I go, I will have a meal with my staff. During my last trip to Myanmar, the country manager told me that the local staff were too afraid to talk to me. I went over to them, with a translator, and started chatting. We managed to break the ice and at the end of it, we exchanged laughter and soon, they started to share business matters with me.


What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?

Putting together strategies is not the hardest part; it’s the implementation that is. Implementation comes through finding people who know what they are doing and who can work as a team. The implementation of what has been formulated is the most challenging aspect.


What is your top tip for aspiring leaders?

They have to be true to themselves. At the end of the day, as long as you’re true to yourself, as long as you help others as you move along, you will rise up naturally. I dislike people who step on others to go upwards. You don’t have to do that. To me, leadership is about helping the team to move along. If we agree on something, go ahead and do it. If you succeed, it’s your effort and full credit to you. If it fails, I will take the responsibility because I decided.

ISSUE 16.8



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The evolution of HR: From transactional to transformational T

he HR function has typically been relegated to a support function in the past, with minimal significance or impact to the company’s business. In an organisation, management would normally prioritise profit centres (i.e. revenue generating parts of the business) over such support functions, which are often viewed as cost centres. No matter how strongly other profit centres or areas of business are doing, without the core functions like HR, they would rapidly cease to do so. As a result, despite the fact that everyone plays a critical role when it comes to the overall success of the business, departments like HR are often overshadowed by the ghost of misperception. With a constantly changing business environment, the traditional function of HR will not be enough. There is a greater push for organisations to be innovative, in order to stay ahead of the competition. Organisations should be thinking about how they can enhance the role of HR and shift it from a transaction-based position to a transformational function.

Differences between transactional and transformational HR Comparing the two, transactional HR mainly involves repetitive and administrative tasks that keep the day to day operations of the organisation running smoothly. These are tasks that have short-term and immediate gains but rarely add strategic or long-term value. On the other hand, transformational HR focuses on strategies that value add to the business activities and looks at aligning the HR function with the organisation’s overall goals. It is important to note that transformational HR is not separate

from the traditional role of HR and is an expansion of it. Components of both transactional and transformational HR are needed to ensure business continuity and success.

Increasing the value of HR in four steps To ensure that the shift from transactional to transformational HR is seamless, there are four key things that HR professionals and departments can undertake during this process. These are: • Getting support from top management • Making use of all available tools first • Focusing on its people • Showing its worth and value It is imperative that HR seeks and obtains support from top management. Without their support, it is more likely that HR will face challenges and obstacles when they undertake this process. Management will be able to provide the resources and opportunities for HR to play a greater and more pivotal role within the organisation.

To be able to show the worth and value of the HR function, the department’s return on investment (ROI) to the company must be demonstrated. As a simple example, by spending $1,000 on a training programme, HR has provided new skills to an existing employee, and has removed the need to spend $3,000 on hiring another headcount. This demonstrates an ROI value of $2,000. This is a very basic example but the fundamental idea is there. By providing concrete evidence that HR is adding value to the company, not only is it protected during hard times, but it may even result in further opportunities for it to contribute strategically to the business. These are just four ways in which HR can turn the corner and enhance its role. It is essential that there is a balance between executing its transactional role and undertaking transformational activities throughout this process. On top of this, HR will need to keep management expectations and employee needs in check. ISSUE 16.8




USHERING in the SMART ERA As Singapore presses on with its bold and ambitious “Smart Nation” blueprint, another “smart” revolution is quietly making its presence felt in the workforce. HRM Asia investigates how HR is equipping employees to join the smart workforce of the future

Sham Majid


hen Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined the country’s “Smart Nation” vision, he envisioned the country to be one “where people live meaningful and fulfilled lives, enabled seamlessly by technology, offering exciting opportunities for all”. Tellingly, Lee cited talent as a vital “ingredient” for building a Smart Nation. “We have to attract the best and the most dynamic people – Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans – to come to tackle ambitious projects, and to start up their companies here,” he explained. A key tenet of the Smart Nation blueprint is therefore building a smart workforce; one that is equipped to tackle the challenges of both today and tomorrow.

Getting smart in HR But what exactly will constitute a smart workforce for Singapore? Dheeraj Shastri, Global HR Strategy leader with Abbott Laboratories, says these are exciting times of rapid change for employers, particularly when it comes to both technological development and flexible learning opportunities. 18 ISSUE 16.8


“This is the time period where technology is changing the way of working, with its fastest pace during the past 100 years,” he explains. “That will also mean making education and training flexible enough to teach new skills quickly and efficiently.” Shastri says this is the first time organisations are having Generations X, Y, and Z all working together in the same environment. He says these very different demographic groups each have varied thought processes and approaches to overcoming challenges. “The workforce is getting smarter and different age groups are using technology in their own ways, whether it is for entertainment, play, documentation or work,” he says. “It is very important for leading organisations to understand these differences.” A smart workforce will also incorporate businesses and employees across all levels, including SMEs. For Sarah Tham, Associate Director of Finance and HR of mechanical and electrical engineering contractor DLE, a smart workforce is a manpower base that continually asks the question: “How do we do it better and faster?”


ISSUE 16.8


COVER STORY ENGAGING THE SMART WORKFORCE A smart workforce will dramatically alter the employee engagement landscape for HR in Singapore. Vineet Gambhir, Vice President HR, Asia-Pacific, Yahoo, lists some useful pointers for HR departments to take into account:


Organisations should celebrate people and not just accomplishments. When employees feel valued, they’re motivated to do their jobs better and are more likely to be engaged. Birthdays, promotions, work anniversaries, and professional achievements are among the important events where people can be made to feel special.

“Always on” engagement

Employee engagement is too important to be just an annual measurement in today’s world of work. Think about it as the “always on” aspect for business, rather than simply banking on an annual survey.

Create a “wow” culture

The culture of an organisation is embodied in the acronym “WOW”: Work; Opportunity; Workplace. The work that people do should be enjoyable. They should feel challenged and, often, victorious. There should be ample opportunity to pursue the projects or work they really want to do by way of a relatively flat organisational structure. If your employees love the work and the environment you have created, they will treat customers better, innovate, and continuously improve your business.


Respect your employees regardless of their grade level or title. Treat people the same way you would want to be treated yourself. A lack of respect can potentially shake the foundation of even the best laid-out employee engagement strategies.

Empower employees

Employees today want to be part of something successful. When people are empowered, they are more engaged – translating to higher levels of productivity and increased revenue. It is important to provide goals, but it’s especially critical to ask employees how they think they can help. When employees feel their opinion matters, they are more engaged and want to work harder.

20 ISSUE 16.8


“This would mean that staff take their own initiative and are able to think of ways to increase their productivity by finding solutions or closing gaps on the ground,” she says. This ethos is inscribed in the SME’s core values, which lists “continual improvement” among them. “As such, our DNA is to always improve on our processes so that we do not rest on our laurels,” Tham says. “Our ultimate goal is to always exceed the customer’s satisfaction by doing it better than before.” Vineet Gambhir, Vice President HR, Yahoo Asia-Pacific, sheds further light on what the “smart workforce” of today is yearning for. “Your work can impact hundreds of millions of users a day, all over the world, and we have the reach to make small but significant changes to the entire internet. This, to me, is what the ‘smart workforce’ wants,” he elaborates. “They believe that the work they are doing is important and has value. They believe they are contributing to something meaningful and take pride in the results of their efforts.”

Plugging skills gaps While innovation, automation, disruption and technology are some buzzwords that epitomise a smart workforce, Shastri says another emerging HR trend is the adoption of social networks. He argues that these networks are now firmly embedded in every HR process, beginning right from the day companies hire, engage and retain employees. Cultivating a smart workforce therefore requires smart planning from HR heads. “The secret is to attract the right candidates who have the strengths, career aspirations and personalities your organisation needs to succeed, and to then match them with the right roles and the right place in your organisation’s culture,” says Shastri. He says the biggest obstacle faced

COVER STORY by businesses today is that they are having to “play catch-up” to the rapidly changing skills-gap generated by an intensely competitive environment. “Leading organisations are creating smarter workforce planning strategies that solve these skill and knowledgetransfer problems,” he shares. “These strategies are proactive, and not only focused on immediate needs, but what an organisation might need three to five years down the line to continue to have an edge over the market.” As is often the case with SMEs, resource shortages can hamper the best of plans. Employees will often have to undertake multiple roles, a strategy Tham is using at DLE. This means that each employee in her organisation is required to possess a broader base of knowledge in different operational aspects; enhancing their skillsets and boosting overall productivity levels. “This helps to expose them to things they have never learnt before, but concurrently enables them to expand their potential,” Tham explains. In order for SMEs to thrive in this smart workforce environment, she says their HR teams need to be resourceful and adaptable. They should be exhaustively seeking data, information and solutions from a plethora of sources. “SMEs must be attuned to what is going on in their industry, such as new government grants that will be made available, or when new regulations will kick in,” she adds. While Shastri says a smart workforce will not eliminate the need for specialists, the sheer speed of technological change means no platform can be expected to dominate a field forever. “The substantial foundational skill the new workforce needs is the ability to develop a working knowledge of new systems in very little time, either to fulfil the expectations of their job, or to work

with specialists,” he elaborates. Shastri says that while data also continues to be an important tool for HR, helping it develop strategies in recruitment, retention and engagement, businesses will still need to be convinced that a particular course of action is worth the time and resources. “This is where the skills and abilities of communicating data-driven-proof in a storytelling way becomes an important technique,” he says.

Flexibility reigns supreme According to the Singapore findings of the Contingent Workforce Index 2016, there are an estimated 300 skilled contingent workers in the country. An inevitable part of a smarter workforce will involve a greater number of freelancers, independent professionals, and temporary contract employees all working on a nonpermanent basis on niche projects and assignments. This group is nimble, adaptive and, more pertinently, favours flexible working arrangements. For companies comprising largely of permanent employees, Shastri says it will be increasingly important to look

at flexibility even in day-to-day task delivery. “How much flexibility are we giving to our employees to deliver a certain task in their own unique way?” he asks. Shastri stresses that businesses should always remember that their workforces are made up of intelligent people, all looking to make a difference to the organisation. However, he says this can only occur if firms cultivate an innovative culture, another key aspect of a smart workforce. “If we put a lot of pressure on employees to deliver a certain task in a certain way, then they are no different from artificial intelligent machines that can deliver that job. We should maximise the potential of our employees and I believe this is also the best way to improve employee engagement and employee retention,” Shastri explains. One of the ways HR can play its part in nurturing an innovative culture is to hire those who embody key characteristics that will add to the working environment, such as imagination, inspiration, knowledge, boldness, and persistence. “There is a need to have a structured thought-process for innovation and to

The Smart Workforce on show

“By 2027, more than three quarters of the Fortune 500 List will be companies we have not yet heard of.” Richard V Foster’s prediction is fast-becoming a global reality and having real impacts on workforces around the world. HRM Asia’s Smart Workforce Summit, in Singapore from 18 to 21 October, will give Asia-Pacific HR leaders the chance to explore and plan for the skills, jobs, and businesses of the future. The four-day mix-and-match agenda features two days of high-level discussion on the Smart Workforce plans and opportunities in Southeast Asia in particular, followed by a hands-on interactive workshop on gamification strategies in HR. Participants can also sign up for site visits to some of Singapore’s most dynamic and forward-thinking organisations, getting a first-hand view of their culture, technology, and systems. For more information, see:

ISSUE 16.8


COVER STORY “The substantial foundational skill the new workforce needs is the ability to develop a working knowledge of new systems in very little time, either to fulfil the expectations of their job, or to work with specialists” Dheeraj Shastri, Global HR Strategy leader with Abbott Laboratories remain focussed on the big picture,” adds Shastri. “You might have some wonderful innovators hidden away in your organisation that you’ve not tapped onto, and the more people you have contributing, the more power you’ll have to generate and develop great ideas.” Workplace flexibility and an innovative mindset can also be fostered in SMEs. For example, with many of DLE’s engineers being based on project sites, Tham says they are not required to come back to the office to submit documents such as quotations. These are transferred electronically through the organisation’s Enterprise Resource Planning system. This system also integrates accounts and the organisation’s project management module. Tham says the platform helps to streamline DLE’s processes so that quotations are submitted and approved online, and then subsequently flowed to the other functions for tracking. “The system helps to consolidate the information on one common platform so that we do not need to extract and re-compile data for sharing between departments,” Tham explains. She says HR departments in SMEs can adopt a slew of measures to further 22 ISSUE 16.8


improve workplace flexibility and harness innovation and technology. This will raise productivity levels and help the business engage in deeper collaboration with colleagues: key traits of a smart workforce. Shastri adds the constant evolution of technology infuses the flexibility to learn. “For example, gone are the days when we needed software engineers to write code. Now, we are entering into an era of artificial intelligence where existing code will write new programmes based on their machine-learning and past routine transactions,” he says. “All routine work down the line will be moved towards automation,” Shastri predicts. “Organisations need workforces that are flexible enough to learn new and non-routine work.” Gambhir stresses that while technology is an enabler to building a smart workforce, it is not the end goal itself. “The main objective should be to create a collaborative and engaged workforce that is interconnected to a common mission and goal. “Technology will just build the house, but it is the people occupying the house that we need to focus on,” he explains. “Technology is a foundation but is of limited use if respect and engagement

are not built upon it; together, they then create a smart workforce. “So the investment needs to be not just on technology but on people as well.”

Engaged and energised So, how should HR craft their engagement strategies to help develop and inspire the new smart workforce? Gambhir says Yahoo is committed to surfacing and fast-tracking the best ideas from across the company, and also recognising the value of its worldclass talent. “Put together, this makes for an engaged and energised smart workforce that in itself, is a big draw in making Yahoo the absolute best place to work,” he shares. Gambhir believes employee engagement in this era is about understanding each employee’s role in the organisation, how connected they are to the culture, mission and values of that organisation, and the degree to which they are enabled and inspired to participate in furthering them. “It’s about giving staff the freedom and openness to think out of the box, creating an environment that empowers them and is open to innovation, and building a diverse and inclusive workforce,” he elaborates. “I am also a strong believer that all engagement programmes should be built on the basis of respect. “Everyone deserves, wants, and is motivated by respect. The job title, salary, and responsibilities are all manifestations of a need for respect.” Tham says it is imperative that HR in SMEs have a keen understanding of the staff within their ranks. “Different generations have different needs and bring different values to the table. HR needs to know their different interests and what appeals to each group of staff in order to be able to engage them,” she explains. “As in any relationship, having an open two-way communication framework will definitely help.”

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laus Duetoft, Senior Director of eBay’s shared HR services platform, MyHR, in Asia-Pacific, has a fun, go-to anecdote when he wants to highlight the lightning-quick evolution of the internet scene. “I tell people that one year in the internet sector is almost four years in traditional businesses because of the speed of change,” he says. “If you follow that principle, I’ve been at eBay for nearly 56 years.” A 14 (real)-year veteran of eBay, Duetoft has seen technologies in the internet sphere arrive, change, and evaporate in what seemed like the blink of an eye. “The internet sector is the type of place where you can’t stand still. You need to constantly evolve, innovate, and finetune your competitiveness,” he says. “It is a fast-paced, highly-competitive, and growing environment.” Driving this rapid technological evolution is a level of competition from both large and small organisations that shows no signs of abating. Despite eBay’s stature as one of the globe’s most recognisable internet brands – it has 157 million active users and 800 million listings worldwide – Duetoft says the company would be vulnerable if it ever stood still. “There are players that we’re facing both globally and in Asia-Pacific.

24 ISSUE 16.8


Despite being a world-leading marketplace, eBay is far from resting on its laurels. Klaus Duetoft, Senior Director of MyHR with eBay Asia-Pacific, says human capital is at the forefront of the organisation’s operating model Sham Majid

There are domestic start-ups, deep and vertical players, as well as bricksand-mortar firms that are moving their operations onto e-commerce platforms or using them as a vehicle to drive additional growth,” he explains. Understanding, forecasting, and building specific HR capabilities, in part through the MyHR platform, is vital in such an environment. “Things like talent identification, talent retention, ensuring you optimise the leverage of your talent, engagement, and capability growth: these are the key drivers for internetbased businesses,” says Duetoft. While it commands a significant global footprint, Duetoft says eBay remains nimble enough to tailor its HR strategies and adapt to the latest technology trends. “eBay has a solid understanding of what is really unique at the company, and what the value propositions, strengths, qualities, and requirements that we need to target are,” he elaborates. “Putting these two together allows us to make sure that we develop HR

AT A GLANCE Total number of employees at eBay (Asia-Pacific): More than 2,300 Size of the HR Team (Asia-Pacific): 31 Key HR Focus Areas: – Talent engagement – Talent development – Talent pipelining


ISSUE 16.8


HR INSIDER and are more than willing to support you to help you perform and succeed.”

What is MyHR? In 2012, the eBay leadership team sought to find a sustainable solution on building a world-class, scalable HR organisation with the flexibility and expertise to match the growing company. Four years later, the MyHR organisation continues to evolve, thrive and grow at eBay. MyHR provides direct contact to answer both routine and complex HR questions and inquiries for all eBay employees. Klaus Duetoft, Senior Director of MyHR in Asia-Pacific says the platform is a brand in itself, with a clear mandate for empowering eBay staff, helping managers to keep their staff on track, and delivering real business results. “MyHR focuses on the entire employee lifecycle, from hiring, enabling, performing, developing, and retaining,” he says. Among its wide-ranging services are: • Employee onboarding

• Employee relations and investigations

• Employment documentation

• Performance management

• Queries on policies and procedures

• Performance coaching

• Information on all types of leave

• Workforce analytics

• Employee data management

• People management coaching and counselling

Duetoft says MyHR is also focused on building advanced self-service through the MyHR Online portal. “This serves as the primary self-service access point for HR-related information and personal career management,” he adds. strategies and programmes in the context of what’s being driven externally and the competitive landscape.”

Relationship-driven culture eBay also leverages on its own unique business model and culture to stay ahead of the pack. “Some aspects that stand out for me about eBay is that it’s a resultsoriented business, and a highly relationship and network-driven organisation,” Duetoft shares. “It’s also inclusive, and we really believe in an egalitarian approach. All our staff have a view and we believe in them sharing that view. “We operate in a very flat, nonhierarchical and non-political environment.” Duetoft says the staff culture is evident right from the moment a candidate begins the battery of interviews required to secure a job there. “It can typically take anywhere from eight to nine interviews for most people to get into the company,” he says. “What that does is create a process

26 ISSUE 16.8


whereby an individual meets the people who are interviewing them and gets calibrated into the eBay environment where they can succeed and flourish.” Duetoft says this structure serves in part as a self-selection process. “Typically, the people that make it through that process are highlyengaged, exceptionally passionate about the brand, and really feel they can make a difference,” he explains. Prospective employees can also assess if their own values are aligned with the organisation, and how they can add value to the firm. “It allows the organisation to review that as well.” Duetoft says this, along with eBay’s inclusive culture, means that when new employees join the ranks, they do not have to spend the early stages of their careers proving themselves to their colleagues. “In a lot of organisations, employees have to build that credibility before people bring them into the fold,” he says. “You must be talented if you’ve made it through the interview process at eBay. It’s a lovely situation because it means that people really trust you immediately,

Recruitment obstacles Being a global internet player does not mean that eBay is spared from the recruitment roadblocks facing other companies and industries, and Duetoft identifies three key challenges. One, he says, is being able to source and maintain the standard of talent being brought into the organisation. “In a lot of our markets, the e-commerce sector is really a fledgling environment; there’s more growth to come. So, getting the depth of talent that we really need is often a challenge because a lot of the roles that we hire for don’t necessarily exist in the markets where we need them,” he explains. This is particularly true for skills in search engine optimisation, internet marketing, and product management roles in Asia. “When they do exist, there’s often a lot of competition for them,” Duetoft shares. On top of requiring candidates to be proficient in their job functions, eBay also makes it a point to hire those who can seamlessly blend in with its culture. “What we look for is not only the technical capability but also a cultural fit and that ability to thrive,” says Duetoft. “Hiring people who bring both functional capabilities and the valuebased style component of the brand is incredibly difficult.” Just as how the internet industry is continuously evolving, “eBayers” must also be able to adapt to that everchanging landscape. “Hence, the third recruitment challenge is being able to hire people who can flex, mould and adjust to a constantly changing environment,” Duetoft elaborates. “It really means that people must have a strong level of resilience and a strong level of conceptual flexibility.” With eBay now having engaged in deeper partnerships with retailers, Duetoft says the organisation is casting a much broader hiring net.

HR INSIDER “Today, we get people from commerce and consumer companies, and retailers. We also get them from consulting, internet and technological companies,” he reveals. This broader talent search has also extended to the graduate front, something Duetoft acknowledges was not traditionally on eBay’s radar. “The concept of talent pipelining is an essential practice for us now,” he says. “We’re now much more focused on bringing graduates into the organisation as interns, and we’re much more focused on really getting a breadth of experience-based talent.”

Breadth, not depth The disruptive nature of the internet world is also reflected in the career development pathways of employees at technology firms. Duetoft says most traditional organisations have clearly defined progression paths, but firms emanating from the internet sector, including eBay, do not necessarily provide the same depth of hierarchical employee growth. “What we do provide is an incredible breadth of experience growth,” he explains. The organisation’s performance management process has also undergone a major revamp to help plot the career pathways of staff at every level. Duetoft says the company has done away with its annual ratings-driven process, and has now shifted to a framework that does not incorporate any quantitative ratings. “We’ve done that to really emphasise on contribution, readiness, potential and the conversations a manager would have with individuals around how they want to develop,” he elaborates. Duetoft says eBay does not specifically articulate a career trajectory for employees early in their careers. “The people that we hire are typically highly motivated, highly engaged and selfdirected individuals. That really enables them to pursue their own careers,” he says.

Building intensity

of that talent across the organisation.”

With eBay placing a huge focus on the functional capability of employees, skills training is an inevitable focus of the organisation’s learning and development blueprint. “Especially in skills like paid search, internet marketing and search engine optimisation, there is a heavy focus on developing them internally.” eBay also aims to develop what Duetoft terms “sustainability of intensity” within its workforce. “It’s about knowing how to develop skills in your staff for them to be intense when they need to be intense, and rejuvenating them when they need to be rejuvenated,” he explains. “For instance, we’ve focused on concepts such as mindfulness training and work-life balance.” eBay also recognises that developing future leaders is an important strategy and the company has developed a blended, four-pronged approach towards leadership development. “Firstly, we have to ensure our employees have meaningful and challenging roles and secondly, we have to give those individuals timely and constructive feedback,” he explains. “The third aspect is access to rotational and development opportunities, whether they’re leading projects or being put on challenging assignments; and fourthly, it’s really about ensuring the visibility

Keeping track Having carefully cultivated its own unique culture, eBay is also a firm believer in employee engagement; Duetoft says the organisation conducts quarterly engagement surveys. He cites that eBay has an “outstanding response rate”. “90% of our employees provide feedback in those surveys. Based on those quarterly surveys, I think we have a very deep and intrinsic understanding of our organisation, culture and people,” Duetoft explains. eBay also rigorously ensures that its compensation and benefits programmes are competitive, robust and holistic. “We regularly benchmark our base salaries and packages to make sure they are competitive and appropriate,” he says. Every staff member, regardless of rank, can also participate in an annual bonus scheme. One non-monetary way of recognising employees is an electronic card scheme, based on eBay’s values. “When a ‘You’ve Made My Day’ card gets issued to a staff member, not only does their manager get notified, but their manager’s manager also gets notified,” Duetoft shares. “We did that very consciously because part of recognition is being able to share the contribution.”


KLAUS DUETOFT Senior Director, MyHR, eBay Asia-Pacific


Manager, MyHR Singapore Centre


MyHR Senior Advisor


MyHR Senior Advisor

ISSUE 16.8


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When it comes to romance in the workplace, Singapore companies are moving away from blanket bans and embracing more flexible approaches Fiona Lam


f you fly with a certain commercial airline headquartered in East Asia, you will be hard-pressed to spot a male flight attendant. Hiring managers at the international airline have been deliberately recruiting only female cabin crew, possibly since as far back as 2004, HRM Asia understands. Coupled with the industry’s high turnover rates among airline crew, it means male stewards are practically unheard of at the privately owned carrier. The airline’s (overwhelmingly male) pilots and female stewards are also put up in separate hotels during layovers.

One employee, who spoke to HRM Asia on the condition of anonymity, says the measures are designed specifically to prevent sex scandals from brewing between male and female staff. “It’s a very sensitive problem so the manager never mentions this explicitly in our group meetings. But I have never seen any men working as flight crew on our planes,” the employee says. A spokesman for the airline declined to comment when contacted.

Leeway to love Workplace romances do not appear to

worry Singapore employers as much, however. Of the companies that HRM Asia spoke to, the majority did not have formal policies or measures to regulate or restrict relationships between staff, although supervisor-subordinate romances are still heavily frowned upon. Michelle Goh, founder of CompleteMe, says there is no need for a policy because the dating agency deliberately hires already-married staff. “We only employ married people who have ‘completed themselves’, so that it is in line with our values ISSUE 16.8



of helping others to complete themselves,” Goh says. Lunch Actually, a matchmaking business, allows colleagues to date, although dating clients is out of bounds for its consultants. Violet Lim, CEO of the Lunch Actually Group, says singles will often fall in love with a colleague, given they spend many hours together at work. But a transparent culture helps to ensure there are no business ramifications. “Everyone in our firm is selfmotivated and an ‘A’-player,” Lim says. “We believe they would not let romances affect their work.” Sharing that sentiment is Carol Ho, HR manager at fast food giant KFC in Singapore. “The office remains one of the best places where people can find a potential mate who shares similar life goals and attitudes,” Ho says. She notes further that working with a romantic partner can have perks for both employers and the staff involved. It is possible that it makes employees happier with their jobs, more motivated, and hence better performing, Ho says. KFC, which employs 4,200 staff in Singapore, has no policy addressing workplace relationships. “We don’t monitor it closely, as we don’t take a heavy-handed approach on this issue,” Ho says.

Separating sweethearts That being said, KFC does discourage dating between supervisors and their subordinates. “If such a relationship occurs, we will stipulate the subordinate be reassigned to another supervisor or department,” Ho says. Transferring one party appears to be a favoured approach at many organisations, particularly for professional working environments. Law firm Rajah & Tann, for example, does not have a written policy on relationships within its workforce but aims to keep any relationships above board. Many of the 600 staff and lawyers at the firm’s Singapore office, especially 30 ISSUE 16.8


the younger lawyers, could be dating or married to colleagues, but still remain professional at work, says Koay Saw Lean, Director of HR at Rajah & Tann Singapore. “We don’t stop anyone from having a romance. After all, the government is also encouraging people to get married and start a family,” Koay says. However, a supervisor-subordinate romance will see one of the staff moved to another department. “We won’t discourage the relationship, but they definitely cannot work together because it’s not fair when it comes to assessing performance,” Koay says. Ornamental fish service provider Qian Hu goes one step further. It will transfer one party to a different department, even

Building a relationships policy? Employment law specialist Jenny Tsin from law firm WongPartnership advises HR that a formal policy on workplace relationships should: • Stipulate what is permitted, and what is prohibited between employees • State the consequences of the romance. For example, one party may have to transfer departments • Require disclosure so that employers can monitor and manage relationships, including managing the sentiments of other employees • Set out guidelines on expected behaviour. For example, staff may be requested to refrain from touching, kissing, or other public displays of affection. If such a policy is implemented, employers should ensure consistency in its application and that it is not overly-intrusive, Tsin says.

if they are peers working in the same area. Nonetheless, CEO Kenny Yap says workplace relationships have not been much of a challenge for the listed company. In the past 16 years, he says Qian Hu has known of only four cases of relationships within its headcount. It currently employs around 130 workers in Singapore. “People are free to fall in love,” Yap says. Public sector employees in Singapore do not face any restrictions on dating their colleagues per se. But Ng Li Sa, Director of the Public Service Commission Secretariat says both parties are required to formally declare the relationship. The relevant superior will then assess if there is any potential conflict of interest. “If necessary, arrangements can be made for one of them to be deployed to another department or agency,” Ng says.

Flirting with trouble While most employers acknowledge they cannot control exactly how and where Cupid’s arrow strikes, there are some genuine issues that can involve the business itself. “Some relationships can spell disaster for a workplace,” says Ho from KFC Singapore. These include extramarital affairs, as well as relationships between a boss and an underling. Ho says these types of often-hushed-up romances can disrupt an office, harm teamwork, and lower morale. Extra-marital affairs, for example, can go against the ethical values of some colleagues. Some may also be uncomfortable observing public displays of affection. Complaints of favouritism can also result if a supervisor is in a relationship with a direct subordinate, she points out. Workplace relationships can also haunt an employer long after they have ended. If bitterness results from a nasty breakup, the couple may feud and force coworkers to take sides.


At Rajah & Tann, employees have the option of confiding in the law firm’s ombudsman, including for personal issues. “They can voice their concerns either to HR or to our ombudsman, who’s a senior partner and a very good coach, and it will all be confidential,” Koay says. In the same vein, Lunch Actually encourages its associates to be open and speak to their managers about breakups and other personal challenges. Some employees have even asked for – and received – time off after a breakup. “We believe our associates need to be emotionally well to be able to perform at their work,” Lim says.

Dangerous liaisons Workplace relationships also come with a minefield of potential legal risks. One person’s romantic gestures can be interpreted as inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment. If former flames clash, the breakup could lead to allegations of harassment, discrimination and unfair practices, especially if a supervisor and a subordinate are involved. “Even if the relationship was consensual, you always run the risk of the subordinate claiming they felt pressured to continue the relationship out of fear of losing their job,” Ho cautions. There can also be appearances of favouritism when it comes to work assignments, performance appraisals, and promotion opportunities, says Jenny Tsin, Partner and Joint Head of the Employment Practice at law firm WongPartnership. Harassment allegations can have legal consequences for both the employee and the employer. Employees can be exposed to the Penal Code and the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. Also applicable may be the Protection from Harassment Act, which says even nonphysical actions such as stalking can be considered harassment.

“Some relationships can spell disaster for a workplace” Carol Ho, HR manager, KFC Singapore

Employers who turn a blind eye could find themselves liable for the actions of their staff, Tsin says. They could also be found in breach of their implied duty of trust and confidence, or even the Workplace Health and Safety Act. Companies that lack a formal policy on workplace relationships usually rely on their rules on harassment. One example is KFC, which has policies on anti-harassment and discrimination, as well as grievance policy and procedures. It is stated clearly that if a KFC employee is found guilty of sexual harassment, they will be dismissed. The fast food chain takes strong action to prevent office relationships from engendering favouritism or any kind of hostile work environment, Ho says. “If these problems arise, we’ll intervene to halt the suspected violation immediately. We will investigate the circumstances thoroughly and in an unbiased manner, and then penalise guilty perpetrators according to the pre-established guidelines,” she adds. Qian Hu has a whistleblowing system in place for harassment. “One of our independent directors oversees that system, so if there’s any (suspected) sexual harassment, employees can inform that director,” Yap says. Tsin says there are several strategies that can reduce the risk for employers and their HR teams. These include developing a harassment prevention policy which provides clear avenues for recourse and assistance, and conducting educational talks and training seminars for staff.

“In particular, steps should be taken to ensure that the HR managers, line managers and supervisors are adequately trained to conduct the grievance handling process and conflict management,” Tsin says. A clear harassment reporting line, which ensures whistleblowers are not penalised, and clear response procedures are also important. “It’s crucial that the management makes a clear position statement on zero tolerance for harassment,” Tsin says.

Expert recommendations Lim from Lunch Actually believes workplace romances can work out well when there are proper policies to manage them, and encourages companies to take a more open approach. “With people getting married later in life and their social circles shrinking, I believe more people are becoming open to workplace relationships if they meet the right person,” she says. In turn, employees should also be open and honest with HR or a manager so that they can “work together to arrive at a conclusion that is fair for all parties”, she advises. WongPartnership’s Tsin recommends all companies to have a formal policy on internal relationships to reduce the associated legal risk. However, she appreciates that some employers may not want to be seen as too draconian or invasive when it comes to employees’ personal lives. “Given that such policies are not common in Singapore, an employer who adopts them may fear that its employer brand is affected.” ISSUE 16.8


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Mobility on the road

Santa Fe’s recent roundtable series highlighted the broadening function of mobility across the Asia-Pacific region


elocation was once only a matter of helping international assignees arrive and settle into their new homes. HR professionals involved in the discipline were typically used on an assignment-by-assignment basis, and even then only within the host country. But the relocation function has since expanded to become the wider-recognised discipline of mobility. Specialists work to enhance the experience of the growing army of global employees at every touchpoint in their careers. They work across borders and up and down the organisational structure to ensure a pro-active and longterm vision of staff retention. This was a key conclusion of Santa Fe Relocation Services’ recent roadshow tour of roundtable conferences in Asia. A selection of the global company’s key staff and clients led the Embedding Global Mobility at the Heart of Business Strategy events in each of Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. They presented new research findings and facilitated highlevel conversations on best

practices in the region. “The roadshow is an opportunity to connect our expertise with the challenges happening now in the evolving mobility landscape in Asia,” Santa Fe’s Managing Director South Asia, Bill Cain said.

New policy areas Fred Schlomann, Asia-Pacific Vice President for mobility policy specialist AIRINC, says mobility is a natural extension of recruitment and retention efforts. “Talent is the only longterm competitive advantage that organisations can have, and talent is naturally global,” he says. “If you are not able to offer those opportunities, you’re missing out.” He says there is a range of different policy areas that organisations need to consider for international staff. While compensation and benefits policies, take up a significant amount of discussions, HR also needs to consider things like longerterm career planning for expatriate employees. “Companies need to think about how to best utilise these

staff when they return to their home markets,” he says.

Survey results John Rason, Global Head of Consulting for Santa Fe, says global mobility has become a high priority on the business agenda of most multinationals. He presented findings from the recently-published Santa Fe Global Mobility Survey Report for 2016, highlighting a clear increase in the number of business leaders making the connection between international opportunities and long-term organisational success. “The leaders’ survey clearly shows that business leaders value their global mobility teams, with 83% reporting that they are effective in their current work,” Rason says. “However, 60% of the business leaders also expressed the view that the function needs to become more strategically aligned with commercial objectives.” Santa Fe’s Global Mobility Survey involved 58 high-level leaders from a broad spectrum of global businesses.

Future impacts Sean Collins, Managing Director of boutique consultancy Talent Mobility Asia, was a fresh addition to the Singapore roadshow event. He made the point that mobility’s evolution from a transactional task to a comprehensive function remains a continuing one. “The evolution has been driven by the business, which is now demanding more accountability from talent specialists,” he says. “Mobility is now being driven to align itself more to the business.” In this way, mobility policies will over even more aspects of international HR in the future. Collins says issues such as high potential development, employeedriven moves, and crossborder projects will all require specialists to guide them. There is also potential for internal business models to change. While some participants in the Singapore Roadshow event were already price mobility services internally, Collins says this trend is likely to increase further. ISSUE 16.8



BAD APPLES It only takes one poor attitude or dysfunctional employee to poison the entire fruit bowl of an office. HR practitioners explain why it is vital to contain the “virus” of toxic employees

Kelvin Ong

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he gossipmonger. The perpetually moody cubicle neighbour. The buzzkill. The negative Nancy. The unmotivated team member. The twofaced “friend”. The manipulative bully. These are all familiar forms of a type of employee that organisations are desperate to avoid adding to their workforces. It’s not just the lower productivity and greater risks that these staff have in their own work; it’s the fact that their poor attitudes and performances can spread quickly throughout their teams and organisations, reducing engagement and overall morale. It can take just one so-called “toxic” employee to spread their negative “virus” throughout their workplace and beyond. While every staff member has their

eccentricities, the toxic employee can lead to significant losses if left unmanaged.

Detrimental disease Claire Smart, HR Business Partner at Randstad Singapore, says toxic employees who create negative work environments can cause other, often more valued employees to quit. It is up to HR to step in swiftly and stop the bleeding. “If company management or HR is not seen as taking action against these toxic employees, it may find staff leaving or losing faith in the company’s values system,” says Smart. “If these staff are not addressed transparently by the business, it will often create a snowball effect which

PROBLEM STAFF affects everyone else around them. “It would also be fair to say that toxic employees in critical roles can often hold up key projects or be a roadblock for change or key initiatives – all of which can cost the business time and money.” A recent Harvard Business School working paper, which surveyed 11 global companies and over 58,000 hourly workers, found that toxic employees were indeed extremely costly for their organisations. The study estimated that avoiding hiring someone who will become a toxic influence could save a company some US$12,500 a year in turnover costs. Douglas Tan, Group HR Director of building product manufacturer Vicplas International, says toxic employees can be found at all levels of an organisation. He stresses there are many senior managers who possess toxic traits, and these can be far more detrimental to an organisation. He describes a toxic senior manager as someone who abuses their seniority, belittles subordinates, practices favouritism, and promotes employees based on personal preferences, among other faults. “The average ‘toxic’ employee is at most a nuisance, but imagine a CEO who appoints business leaders based on relationships rather than merit, and they then stay on the job as long the CEO is around,” Tan questions. “By not choosing the best person for the role, the business eventually loses its competitiveness. The negative effect of having a competent leader further cascades to the CEO’s subordinates,” he adds. Tan posits that favouritism from the top of an organisation can frustrate good employees and push them to resign. In the process, the toxic CEO also ends up cultivating a group of followers with the same traits as him. “A toxic employee who is in a senior role with significant influence is not only costly as he reduces efficiency and impedes positive development, but might eventually cause the ultimate demise of the organisation,” says Tan. That is not to say a prickly employee at the lower end of the organisational chart

should be given a free pass. Tan says toxic rank and file executives will commonly use office politics, rumours and gossip to leverage themselves ahead of their peers. He says some might even subtly take advantage of their own bosses.

Dragged down To Smart, a toxic staff member is someone who “erodes an organisation’s culture and values”, tarnishing the work environment with their pessimistic views and abrasive personalities. “They can be overly negative and resistant to change,” she says. “Sometimes they can even be openly rude or overly aggressive with their behaviour.” “They often lack emotional intelligence – which is an essential skill in today’s work environment.” Furthermore, Smart says toxic staff have a tendency to be inward looking and egotistical. They are often “unable to see the bigger picture, and put their self-interests above the company’s or team’s objectives”. Such problematic individuals prevent other teammates and colleagues from excelling. “They can make it very challenging for other people to achieve their results and goals, by deliberately sabotaging and undermining their efforts,” Smart says. “They can also make it a very unpleasant working environment in terms of the way they communicate and behave with colleagues.” Even worse is the damage toxic employees can do to a company’s reputation among external stakeholders, Smart adds. Tan says it is the organisation that loses when politicking and forming allies become the order of the day because a disproportionate amount of effort is devoted to engaging in ore just surviving the office politics.

Hard to spot Still, toxic employees can be extremely difficult to identify from outside their own specific teams. Often, their toxic nature can be disguised by their

otherwise strong performance, delivering business outcomes and results. Even when identified, these highperforming abilities make it difficult for organisations to justify disciplinary actions against them. “It can be hard for businesses to draw the line with these individuals even when their behaviours and attitudes are not in line with the company’s values or vision,” says Smart. Tan believes organisations typically come at this problem from the wrong side. He says toxic employees, even when they are high-performing, are far more damaging for an organisation than a well-behaved poor performer. “The poor performer is easy to identify and rectify,” he says. “From the perspective of the business, a toxic employee is far more insidious and should be weeded out.”

Regular reviews HR can help the organisation through both careful selection of incoming employees, and enabling clear and consistent communication across the business. In particular, it is crucial to have a communication channel for employees to give feedback about colleagues who have been bothering them. “Regular one-on-one link-ups between managers and staff should provide opportunities for employees to give feedback on any concerns they may have,” says Smart. “This is not just about other employees who may be displaying the characteristics of a toxic employee, but also any other issues they may have for the business.” Smart adds that basing performance reviews around explicitly-stated behavioural expectations will also help managers to identify staff who are acting out of line. “These frameworks will help managers and HR to address behaviours in a formal structure, either through a development plan to try and improve their behaviour, or through a more formal discipline process if the employee has not shown the ability or willingness to change,” she notes. For online clothing retailer Zalora, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes ISSUE 16.8


PROBLEM STAFF to dealing with toxic employees, whom Group HR Director Foo Chek Wee defines as employees who are “not collaborative”. This is because the organisation has a performance review programme that rates employees against two separate indicators. The first is how well they are achieving business goals and targets; the other is how much they fit in with the company’s values. Among the company’s six values the company holds dearly are: working and having fun as a team; maintaining integrity; being innovative; and striving for excellence. “It’s not that we specifically try to weed out toxic or non-toxic employees,” Foo says. “What we do try to find out is whether employees are meeting the company’s values, which are entrenched throughout the organisation.”

Foo says Zalora has not gathered any statistical evidence to show the correlation between employee who don’t fall in line with those values and the financial bottom line, but acknowledges the risks they pose. “As HR practitioners, we should try not to rely on intuition too much, but it is very clear that toxic employees should not be within companies as much as possible,” he notes.

Screening for cultural fit Of course, wouldn’t it be better for a company to screen for such personalities during the recruitment stage and avoid hiring toxic employees in the first place? While Zalora does not specifically seek to identify potentially problematic individuals, it does expect candidates to match its values during the selection process. “We do not only look at people

Four types of toxic employees The Gossipmonger

Everybody’s best friend. They are charismatic, entertaining and always pleasant. While they are not actually “toxic”, they can take fun too far. When most of the work day is taken up by pantry conversations, overall company productivity suffers.

The Two-faced Friend

Similar to the gossipmonger, except worse. They always seem to have their colleague’s back. Except when they are actually stabbing them. This is the person less savvy staff tell their deepest and darkest office thoughts to, only to see it used against them.

The Negative Nancy

This individual suffers from an incurable condition of “sulk-face”, always appearing overworked and stressed. They also complain. A lot. Misery loves company and their relentless negativity could soon influence other colleagues to see only the glass half-empty.

The Manipulative Bully

Probably the worst of the bunch. They actively sow discord and destroy any semblance of team spirit and morale. They are who most people think about when talking about “toxic” employees as they taint the work environment by bullying and manipulating others into doing their bidding.

36 ISSUE 16.8


with relevant skills and experience. Depending on the seniority of the incumbent, we will ask very specific behavioural-based questions based on the six values we have,” explains Foo. “From this, you can tell more than what a person has achieved, but also how good they are as a team player and as a team leader.” Smart agrees that a thorough behaviouralbased interview process will expose a future employee’s range of behavioural traits – both the good and the bad. “You should always be asking for examples of both successes and challenges in a person’s work history,” she says. “You can ask questions specifically focusing on characteristics such as handling pressure, going through change, resilience and working with other employees – all these should help you to understand how they would behave in any given work environment.” Employers should also do their due diligence when it comes to performing reference checks, which Smart highlights as a great way for confirming how suitable a candidate is for an organisation’s culture. Tan, however, does not think there is any one set of policies that can eliminate undesirable workers. He believes that ultimately the responsibility falls on leaders and senior managers themselves to set professionalism standards for everyone else. “It is hard to find proof against toxic workers, unlike misconduct which is clearly spelled out in policies. ‘Politicking’ can be presented as if it is for the good of the company. Favouritism can also be easily justified by leaders setting targets,” he explains. “HR does not decide who to hire or fire unless it becomes a clear case of misconduct against company policies.” Smart echoes the sentiment that it is up to business leaders to make the difficult call eventually. “The company needs to be brave enough to address these employees even when they may be achieving business results, and ultimately decide if the toxic behaviours are serious enough for the employee to be disciplined or even exited from the business,” she says.



E Bo ARL On s ok b Y BI ly ave y 15 RD S $1 up Au PE ,3 to $ gu CIA 95 40 st L 0 &

Succession Planning & Management Business Continuity & Congress & Workshop Ensuring Building Talent From Within 20 – 21 September 2016 | Singapore

Statistics have shown that both the public and private sectors see the importance of implementing comprehensive succession plans. In fact, according to PwC’s Annual Corporate Directors Survey from 2012, 68 percent of respondents mentioned they would like their board to devote more time to succession planning in the following years. Yet, despite such statistics, it is surprising to find that still today there is little if not any focus on succession planning across many organisations. If this includes you - we encourage you to ask yourself why? Succession planning plays an important role in any organisation whereby it ensures the right talent is identified and developed into future leaders; and to therefore take the lead in achieving ongoing organisational objectives. Furthermore, preparing HiPos (High Potential) for future roles is a strategic way to keep employee morale high – not to mention it is also a great way to ensure low attrition rates. Do you want to learn more about: • What the symbiotic relationship is between succession planning and organisational planning? • How and when you should forecast the need for successors? • How to ensure successors are being prepared to take on their future roles? • What are the measurable indicators that should be monitored to ensure a succession planning framework is meeting the organisations needs and goals?

Featured speakers:

Sunil Kumar Senior Director Talent Management Asia Pacific AIG

Aparna Kumar Regional HR Lead Monsanto

Cindy Dermawan Head – Talent and Learning Management, Diversity and Inclusion Citi Singapore

Gary Lee Chief HR Specialist-Group Development Grundfos

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

Anish Lalchandani Global Talent Management Director Standard Chartered


C I G E T A R ST S R E T F I H S E P A SH Across Asia-Pacific, many HR departments are expanding their scope beyond administrative tasks. HRM Asia examines how and why the talent management function is experiencing a metamorphosis Kelvin Ong


R practitioners and educators alike agree on one thing – the people operations unit of the past has evolved to become more than just a cost centre, saddled in routine administrative matters such as claims processing, payroll management, or scheduling interviews. Present-day HR holds its own, directly affecting organisational bottom lines by adding value through the use of big data analytics to drive the design of meaningful company-wide recruitment, engagement and retention initiatives. In short, the function has evolved to become far more business-minded.

Business partner The transformation of HR from a primarily data-extracting to a dataanalysing unit stems from the inherent need for companies to have a leg up on competition through innovation. That innovation naturally takes place around an organisation’s most important assets, its human capital. “Organisations are constantly looking for an edge against their competition, and it distils down to what one does better or differently,” says Dylan Choong, Chief Talent Officer of Singapore concept hospitality chain The Lo and Behold Group. And what separates an organisation from its competitors lies in how it

integrates its people strategies. That’s where HR comes in, Choong says. “The call out is really for HR to be seen as a partner and enabler to the business in harnessing an organisation’s human capital assets,” he stresses. To truly leverage its workforce, HR has had to take on a more strategic role than previously. “HR needs to review its focus from ‘the organisation of the business’ to ‘the business of the organisation’,” states Choong. “So if HR wants to be seen as a relevant partner at the strategic table, this function has to meet the demands of the business and move further up the ISSUE 16.8



continuum of adding competitive value.” Sales and marketing software company Hubspot’s Global Recruitment Director, Declan Fitzgerald, believes the transformation boils down to changing workforce demographics and lifestyles. “These days, employees no longer look at just the material benefits a company can provide, but also evaluate how meaningful the job is to them,” he explains. Fitzgerald adds that technology has also enabled remote working, and more employees expect to be able to work “wherever and whenever”. “Too many companies operate as if they are frozen in time. There is a need for HR to become more people-friendly and transform the way their employees work,” he says.

group offers”. Staff retention has always been a significant problem for the food and beverage industry, and Choong says turnover has fallen by 7.5% since the change. This has led to reduced on-boarding and retraining costs for new employees. According to Choong, employee engagement and high-performance culture have also increased significantly. He adds that the transition was made smoother because the company’s owners view HR as a strategic business component instead of, merely, an executive function.

Data edge

Like The Lo and Behold Group, Hubspot has based its policies on Expanding work scope employee information, creating what Steven John Armstrong, visiting the technology firm describes as the professor of organisational behaviour “Hubspot Culture Code” – a 128-page at PSB Academy, explains that intense internal document outlining the people, market competition and the economic culture and values of the organisation. recession have also made it critical for Described as “part-manifesto organisations to lower operational costs and part-employee handbook”, the and increase productivity. document is updated with “Full spectrum HR can feedback from employees complement the overall periodically to reflect A strong organisation strategy the true consensus of its by moving beyond the population. helps attract talent and also administration of ‘personnel’ Fitzgerald says the amplifies skills to help them functions, into proactively ability to make suitable do their best work developing strategies to recommendations based on motivate and nurture the data analytics gives the HR organisation’s ‘people team a newfound edge. talent’, and creating a conducive work “By mapping trends and patterns of environment for ‘extra mile’ service and employee movement, HR professionals value innovation,” he says. can forecast headcount needs and The Lo and Behold Group, which manage talent,” he explains. “This will owns Singapore-based restaurants have valuable impact on recruitment and and lifestyle clubs including The Black help companies retain employees with Swan and OverEasy, underwent an HR the necessary skills and competencies to transformation in 2014. As part of this, take businesses to the next level.” it began using psychometric profiling The code is also a major advantage for for talent attraction and recruitment. Hubspot employees because it allows This platform has allowed the talent them to shape their own workplace division to screen and assess job culture. “That culture is important for candidates more accurately, which has HR,” says Fitzgerald, noting that few resulted in what Choong calls “the best organisations really make use of the hires for the type of hospitality that our cultures their staff develop.


40 ISSUE 16.8


“Culture does not just help attract amazing people, it amplifies their ability and helps them do their best work,” he says. “HR can take ownership of company culture and implement activities or changes to employees’ work life that will not only increase their productivity but also elevate them and their skill-sets.” Choong also underscores the importance for HR to be well-versed in human capital analytics so as to optimise the workforce. Referencing authors Thomas Davenport, Jeanne Harris and Jeremy Shapiro, he says analytic tools and software programmes allow HR to: track an employee’s performance by studying data points; gain insights into specific groups of employees; prioritise actions that have the greatest impact on business; and identify retention levers of key talent. “Imagine being able to receive the right intended HR intervention programme through segmenting HR data,” adds Choong. “These are huge, positive impact areas, particularly for us in the food and beverage industry.” According to Choong, the proliferation of data analytics throughout the HR sphere has been made more possible by the falling cost of data collection and storage, the increasing speed of data creation and transfer, as well as the emergence of alternative data sources, including social media.

Communication facilitators Beyond analytics, HR departments can also add value through careful and strategic communication within the organisation, says PSB Academy’s Armstrong. This can prove particularly valuable when it comes to easing the company population into any new or unfamiliar organisational structures. While there is a growing trend of technology firms and start-ups employing flatter organisational styles to encourage greater communication


between co-workers, Armstrong believes this structure can be more difficult to implement in Asian companies because of cultural norms around hierarchy. Even then, HR can facilitate the transition by bridging the gap between managers and staff. Fitzgerald reiterates this need for HR to assist all employees in adapting to a newly-developed culture; and communication is the most important tool available. “It helps if HR managers can explain the new culture in a personal context and let employees know how the change can help them as individuals,” says Fitzgerald. “Above all, ensure transparency in the change process. Employees should have a clear idea of why the new culture is being implemented, and what the final goals are.” He emphasises that for employees who are resistant to change, it is especially important to include them in the planning and feedback stages. “This gives them a reason to care about the new culture,” he states. Fitzgerald says HR can also introduce an incentive programme to reward early adoption of new organisational culture and styles. This will help to limit initial resistance and reinforce the opportunities presented by the change. Armstrong notes that line managers have been increasingly tasked with traditional HR responsibilities, such as recruitment and dismissals. In these situations, HR should provide training support. “HR has to take on a more strategic role in equipping line managers with the knowledge and soft skills to make better managerial decisions, and to focus on strategies that align HR management with an organisation’s goals,” he explains. It is also important for HR practitioners to understand the ins and outs of the business, says Choong. That typically means spending quality “face time” with the various departments to understand their specific needs and concerns.

“I will prioritise the time spent with operations, finance, and sales and marketing,” he says. “Engaging stakeholders in these functions is often where I would start, and I will listen intently about their pain points and limitations.” Choong believes HR can add further value through this type of department outreach, by “listening to what is done and how things are done, and then making suggestions to where HR can support or mediate”. Based on the information collected, HR can then review internal processes and policies that are cumbersome or no longer effective. “It is about having a vested interest in making the HR function easy to partner with, as opposed to the department being the policy police,” says Choong.

Happy workforce The impact of strategic talent management on internal stakeholders has undoubtedly been significant. Most HR departments who have moved in this direction report improvements to both productivity and overall staff happiness. “We see employees re-energised and engaged with their work,” says Armstrong. “That’s important because

companies are increasingly recognising that they need to take a step back to see beyond their customers.” Fitzgerald says Hubspot employees are also happier, partly because they now have a hand in the organisation’s plans. “We value transparency and openness. This fosters a culture where employees feel free to voice their opinion and give feedback on company policies,” he explains. “They are also more productive and have a stronger sense of loyalty to the company, not just because of the benefits, but because they feel that the company cares for their personal development.” Citing a recent White Paper by the International Data Corporation, Armstrong believes there are still vast opportunities for Singaporean companies to unleash the national workforce’s potential. The Asia-Pacific study found that Singaporeans workers were the least satisfied and engaged in the region, although they were also among the least likely to change jobs. “If companies can rethink and accommodate the needs of their employees better, this would trigger a virtuous cycle where employees are better motivated, more productive and contribute positively,” he notes.


Do you know a HR team or leader that has undertaken a successful culture or organisational transformation? 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 Change Management Strategies Award and the Best HR Leader Award.

For more details, see: ISSUE 16.8






FORCES As organisations strive to find solutions for complex issues, engaging in collaboration with traditional competitors is emerging as key to championing for the advancement and growth of their respective sectors as well as for tackling urgent global challenges, as HRM Asia finds out Sham Majid


ust last month, BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye; three leading players from the automotive, technology and machine learning sectors, announced they would be working together to help self and fully-automated driving technology become a reality by 2021. “Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require

Safeguarding trade secrets One of the biggest risks of cross-organisation collaborations is the increased chances for confidential information to end up in the wrong hands. HR departments may consider these suggestions when it comes to the protection of intellectual property and internal intelligence during a temporary partnership: • Restricting the number of people who have access to confidential data; • Having signed non-disclosure agreements with all relevant staff; • Ensuring any consultants or vendors involved in the partnership also sign nondisclosure agreements; • Maintaining an evident record of all business deals that may feature confidential information Source: Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “This partnership will help us to quickly deliver on our vision to reinvent the driving experience.” Such partnerships are becoming more and more common in the business world, as businesses look both within their own industry and across sectors to leverage on each other’s unique capabilities. Invariably, those capabilities tie to the workforce skills and knowledge in each prospective partner, giving HR departments great responsibility in the success or failure of each collaboration. Closer to home, Stephane Michaud, Senior Director of Human Link Asia, tells HRM Asia that its parent company Mitsubishi Corporation has made it a practice to collaborate at times, but to also compete on other occasions with its sibling entities. That, he says, is the

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nature of a general trading company. “A simple example is in sharing HR policy data between general trading houses in Singapore,” says Michaud.

Collaborating in hospitality Likewise, Lim Rui Shan, Executive Director of the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS), says the association has witnessed a recent increase in collaborations among like-minded food and beverage (F&B) players. “Their purpose is to tap onto each other’s strengths for a greater advantage in the market,” she explains. In particular, working together enables each partner to do more with fewer resources, including staff. One instance of collaboration involves well-known seafood establishments Tung Lok Seafood, Palm Beach, The Seafood International, and Jumbo Seafood in Singapore. They have teamed up together to create a joint brand, Singapore Seafood Republic, located in both Singapore and Tokyo. The quartet wanted to bring Singapore-style seafood cuisine to a larger, international audience. Another high-profile collaboration between F&B players in Singapore occurred last year, when 22 local Indian restaurants linked up together to form two consortia. They aimed to enhance productivity levels and to also

“It’s about assessing the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation and their relationships, and making optimal use of them at any given point in time” Stephane Michaud, Senior Director, Human Link Asia

craft skills development programmes for their staff (see: boxout). Indian Restaurants Association Singapore adviser G Shanmugam says getting so many competitors to collaborate was difficult, despite most acknowledging that it would reap benefits for them over the long term. “The biggest challenge was getting all the restaurants together - because we are competitors - and executing the job together,” he said. “Rather than dying, this is the best idea to keep us alive.” RAS’ Lim says these tie-ups in the F&B industry have led to an increase

Indian eateries team up In light of the tight labour market in Singapore, 22 Indian restaurants joined forces last year to create two shared preparation facilities. The mass tie-up will reduce the amount of manpower required, and also stabilise the industry workforce, leaving each partner less vulnerable to absences and turnover. The two “central processing units” will handle the preparation of raw ingredients using “cookchill” and “cook-freeze” methods, before delivering to participant restaurants for the final stages of meal preparation and serving. By also incorporating new technologies and the food processing techniques, the Kitchen Solutions (for non-vegetarian restaurants) and Veg Kitchen consortia expect to save 40% and 20% in their members’ manpower costs respectively. The participating restaurants are all members of the Indian Restaurants Association Singapore.

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in solidarity. She says there is now a “greater sense of unity” among restaurants.

Positives and negatives What are the right conditions that encourage firms to collaborate with their competitors? Michaud says it can make sense to enter into partnership when organisations have non-overlapping resources that could be best used in combination to compete. “For a time and within a defined scope, it can help bridge gaps in resources or capacity to face the market more efficiently,” he elaborates. For example, he says Mitsubishi Corporation often bids in major infrastructure projects using coalition partners, some of which may compete with his company on other projects. “It’s about assessing the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation and their relationships, and making optimal use of them at any given point in time,” he shares. Typically, this will mean creating merged teams across the partners, often with their own spaces to collaborate and work. Lim says F&B businesses can learn


from each other and be exposed to new opportunities that wouldn’t be available if not for the collaboration. “RAS organises many activities and regular networking sessions which allow the key staff of industry players to know more people and explore collaboration opportunities,” she states. As with all potential company collaborations, there is a huge sticking point in the form of trade secrets; something Michaud certainly takes care around. “Of course, there is the risk of sharing trade secrets that could reduce our competitive advantages,” he says. “Also, it could reduce competition in the market and therefore, do a disservice to business and progress.” Another possible disadvantage of collaboration is that relying on competitors for solutions may stifle

the spirit of continuous improvement and innovation that is required for sustainable businesses, he adds. Michaud stresses that Asia Link and Mitsubishi each has policies to protect their interests. “Although we frown upon the sharing of trade secrets, we do not prevent employees from collaborating with traditional competitors, provided that proper channels of authorisation have been cleared, that it serves the interests of the company, and that it complies to applicable laws,” he explains.

Staying within the boundaries While collaborations do reap rewards for organisations and whole industries alike, what, if any, limits are there? Michaud says joining partners need

to clearly define boundaries in terms of the scope, purpose, and length of the collaboration. Clear roles and responsibilities for each partner and their staff should also be outlined. “These elements are not unique to partnerships between competitors but they become all the more vital to mutual success,” he explains. “A company needs to evaluate the mid-to-long-term risks of the partnerships before signing on the dotted line.” Lim meanwhile, says given care in the choice of partnership, the possibilities are endless. “As long as the organisations are like-minded, and have conducted sufficient due diligence to ensure a fruitful collaboration, there are no limits as to how far they can bring their partnerships forward,” she says.


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IN PERSON YVONNE TENG HR Business Partner, Ericsson Southeast Asia and Oceania

How many years of HR experience?

I have been an HR practitioner for 19 years and have worked extensively in areas such as Workforce Planning, Talent Management, Compensation and Benefits, and Talent Acquisition. I have also had the opportunity to work in various industries including construction, IT, and telecommunications. During my years in HR, I have been an HR generalist, a recruitment and compensation and benefits specialist for an SME, and an HR business partner.

Why HR?

HR was not my first love. I started out my career as a branch supervisor in a bank that, sadly, had a poor focus on people. This prompted me to make the switch to HR as I believed HR could do more than just payroll. I was also pursuing a marketing diploma at that time and HR was one of the subjects.

Why Ericsson?

I have worked for a few multinationals – mostly in the information and communications technology industry – and I must say that Ericsson is one of the few companies that has people development at the top of its HR agenda. Also, Ericsson provides endless opportunities to employees who have the desire and the ability to grow in the organisation.

What are your biggest achievements?

When it comes to my career, being recognised by the business units as their true business partner is one of my biggest achievements.

After hours?

As a working mother, I strive to maintain work-life balance. The second half of my day usually includes picking up my kids from daycare, preparing dinner, and spending quality time with the kids before their bedtime. Last, but not least, I try to sneak in a little “me time” before the day ends.


I am married to the man that I adore, and we have two lovely daughters. Our kids are crazy about handicrafts. As parents, we have learned to love their passion – and now this is becoming our hobby as a family.


Time to disrupt P

laying it safe is actually no longer safe, not amid the uncertainties of today’s fast-paced business climate. Often, what we already know can also get in the way of what we do not yet know. Those are the simple yet powerful key messages from Whitney Johnson in her new book about the pursuit of innovation Disrupt Yourself. Johnson, a Wall Street equity analyst turned entrepreneur, shows how and why any individual can avoid complacency and stand out from the competition in a time of accelerating disruption. The book also contains lessons from real-life company case studies, scientific research, and personal anecdotes. Johnson urges readers to dare to do something “astonishing”, if they wish to be “successful in unexpected ways”. She also teaches readers exactly how to apply the frameworks of disruptive innovation. Akin to a how-to guide on innovation, Disrupt Yourself highlights how innovation can contribute not just to career progress and business success, but also to personal growth. By pursuing roles suited to their strengths and staying true to their individual distinctive ways of thinking and doing, readers can dramatically increase their creativity, productivity, and happiness, Johnson argues. The book is an easy and inspiring read, containing advice that is clear, research-based, compelling, and actionable. It will be an enlightening resource for a wide audience, whether it is managers looking to instill innovative thinking in their teams, leaders facing industry changes and a future fraught with uncertainties, individuals charting their own career paths, or self-starters eager to make a disruptive change in their organisations.

Title: Disrupt Yourself Author: Whitney Johnson Publisher: Bibliomotion, Inc Price: S$41.38

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Co-working for

HR SUCCESS Co-working spaces are cropping up all over Singapore and the region, offering the chance for small businesses and sole operators to work together and project a more established image. For one health technology startup, there are also clear advantages for workforce attraction, retention, and development Sham Majid

Co-working space at Collision 8 experiences BioFourmis had with more mature companies while at NUS Enterprise. As well as the chance to brainstorm business development strategies with fellow business leaders, meet investors and connect with the corporates in its target market, he says there are some very real advantages for the company’s workforce attraction and retention. “Being part of a professional community will allow us to attract talent that has more experience, and those who are looking for a serious company to grow with their expertise,” he says.

Cultivating HR

Co-working space at Collision 8


or Kuldeep Singh Rajput, founder and CEO of medical technology startup BioFourmis, industry collaboration is one of the most vital aspects of the company’s strategy, but also one of the hardest to engineer. His solution has been to sign the company up to a unique co-working space now available in Singapore. Singh says BioFourmis was originally borne out of the NUS Enterprise business incubator at the National University of Singapore; so, taking the next steps via a commercial coworking facility has been a natural step. “Working with 25 companies in the same space was inspiring, exciting, and helped the business grow faster with access 48 ISSUE 16.8


to investors, talent, and fellow business founders to brainstorm with,” he recalls. “NUS Enterprise gave the team visibility when interested technologists came to visit their friends working there. They would remember the name BioFourmis and check out what the company was about.” BioFourmis is now one of several founding members of the Collision 8 co-working space in Singapore’s High Street Centre. An initiative of property developer Who Hup, it describes the full-floor venue as a collaborative innovation workspace where people and ideas intersect to create opportunities. It opened for business on August 1. Singh hopes Collision 8 will mirror the

Singh says one of the key aspects of BioFourmis’ Collision 8 membership will be the chance to relocate employees to the space for strategy sessions, getting them out of their regular environment and hopefully inspiring their entrepreneurial sides. “Not all employees are naturally entrepreneurial. Especially in the health technology field, many are not used to networking,” he reveals. As a small organisation with potential to grow, he notes that BioFourmis’ staff have to be proactive about staying up to date with industry news and coming up with new ideas. “Since we are not a large multinational and also not an early-stage company that can rely on our network for growth, this is what Collision 8 will help us do,” he says. “It will get us out of our regular zone to become better at what we do.”

Binding the community Singh says he plans for BioFourmis to co-organise health technology events at Collision 8. These will see his organisation bring its network of clinicians to the community to that other health technology companies can benefit from their expertise, and the clinicians on its board can have the opportunity to mentor the next generation.

ANHRD SPEAKS Building organisational resilience I

n today’s “VUCA” world, characterised by its volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity , resilience, which can be simply defined as “the ability to keep going when the going gets tough”, has become a paramount trait. While building resilience is primarily an individual endeavour, building resilience within the context of an organisation or workforce can also reap much benefit, considering that many Asian nations, including Singapore, have a reputation for long working hours. Organisations can build resilience in their workforces through timely interventions and management practices. At the National Environment Agency


(NEA), building organisational resilience involves two key strategies. Resilience-focused development support and interventions are pitched at individual and managerial levels. At the individual level, interventions include a 36-month on-boarding programme and comprehensive work-life integration activities. At the managerial level, NEA conducts emotional intelligence training courses for leaders and deploys self-discovery tools for them to enhance their leadership style. Management practices that build resilience focus on four areas. Firstly, to imbibe and sustain a strong sense of purpose, many employee outreach activities



I usually skip breakfast in favour of an early lunch, so the first thing I do is feed and medicate my dog, Maggie – she’s blind. Time to say goodbye and grab an Uber.

I’m regularly travelling between our eight Asia-Pacific offices, so lunch largely depends on where I am. When at home In Kuala Lumpur, I bring in a salad to skip the crowds. In our other seven markets it’s really important for me to spend lunch breaks with my team.


Jo Fisher Vice President of HR, Adknowledge Asia

centre on the environment. Secondly, NEA adopts a structured approach to change management, through building capability at the management level and speaking a common “change” language. Thirdly, NEA promotes positive work relationships via a myriad of employee engagement initiatives. Finally, to remain nimble, we constantly review work processes to ensure they are sustainable. While quantitative data, such as employee engagement survey scores and retention rates, tell us how well staff are coping with change, qualitative data from exit interviews and focus group discussions is also helpful in enabling us to fine-tune our programmes.

I always start the day with a walk around the office to catch up with everyone and see if there are any issues to discuss. Since we are aggressively hiring across the region – there are plenty of updates for me.

10:30AM Before using Slack, I received 200 emails a day, but now I get half the amount. Around this time, I get an update from our CEO, Matt Sutton. We discuss objectives for the quarter and how we are progressing.


Gloria Chin HR Director, National Environment Agency

decide headcount for each office. This allows me to build our priority hiring list.

5:00PM I have a brainstorm with my team to define our culture and values, a key initiative for this quarter. Building this is a crucial part of what makes up Adknowledge Asia, especially as we grow.

I will usually be doing a final interview with a candidate about now, to measure cultural fit. These are seldom done in the office. Instead, I take candidates to a restaurant for a more casual chat.



I’ll catch up on work to stay ahead. Dinner might be an omelette – I have a current fascination with eggs – before winding down by watching Animal Kingdom with Maggie.

I’m mapping out our hiring strategy for the next two quarters, so Matt and I sit down to look at our growth targets and net revenue, to

I try to leave the office before 6pm because traffic in Malaysia is a nightmare. Otherwise, when visiting other offices I’ll go for team drinks.


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HR FROM THE CLASSROOM Every month, HRM Asia 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? To be honest, HR was not my first choice as I was heading towards pursuing psychology as a career, but being in SMU has changed my perspective. I was given the chance to explore my options and HR just seemed “right” for me. I also like the idea that HR is becoming more of a strategic player, playing a vital role to the business. An HR practitioner with psychology skills will be able to look at things from various perspectives and through people’s behaviours, and be able to make a good judgement of people and issues. This becomes a win-win situation for me as I will be able to keep my passion for psychology and transfer these skills to an HR profession.

What aspect of HR do you hope to specialise in upon graduation? As I’m still learning and in the midst of exploring various HR functions, I can’t say for sure which aspect of HR I would like to specialise in. However, I recently had my first internship experience as an external recruiter and feel that recruitment is an area I will definitely explore. I found recruitment to be very exciting as I was able to meet different people from all walks of life and it is very satisfying when you are able to find the right fit for both the candidate and the organisation.

The top three things you want from your HR career? Firstly, the most important achievement will be to make a positive impact on the people in the

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organisation in some way. Secondly, I want to be able to find meaning in my work, challenge myself, and to eventually become a strategic HR professional. Lastly, I want to have the opportunity and autonomy to grow and develop my skills and expertise in the area I choose.

What challenges do you anticipate? I would think that one of the main challenges companies will face now and in the future is attracting and retaining talent. With the baby-boom generation leaving and millennials occupying a larger portion of the workforce, the dynamics are changing. HR needs to learn to tweak its retention strategies and fully understand the needs and wants of these employees in order to gain their commitment to the organisation. Another challenge will be the effective implementation of HR analytics. Many have been talking about HR analytics for a while now, but a recent UK survey found that it may take some time before it can be successfully implemented. One of the biggest obstacles is to convince the business to jump onto this bandwagon. More companies should give HR a chance to take on a strategic position in order to reap the benefits in the long term.

Your HR career five years from now? I hope to be a strategic HR business partner five years from now, managing my own team and working closely with a business unit while providing my own expertise and skills to improve its processes. If given the opportunity, I would like to explore and pick up skills in various HR

Jessalyn Soo Major in Psychology, Second major in Organisational Behaviour and HR, Singapore Management University

functions in order to eventually find the best fit for myself.

What hobbies do you have? Having a curious disposition, I am always on the lookout for new things to do and new places to explore. I especially enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends; just being around the people I love makes me happy. Music is my safe haven. In my free time, I enjoy playing my guitar and strumming a few tunes to sing to. It helps me unwind and gets me through my day.

Bringing psychology to the workplace By Jessalyn Soo


ith the evolution of HR moving towards a more strategic position in businesses, there is an increased importance to focus on human capital management: the perception of people as assets to the organisation. However, before we can even begin to evaluate the value an employee brings, we need to grasp the complexity of managing this asset. What better way to understand this human asset than the study of psychology? The American Psychological Association defines psychology as the study of the human mind and behaviour. Not only does it expose an individual student to a vast knowledge of riveting theories and concepts, it also leads to the development of a unique set of skills that gives that individual a competitive edge. These skills and knowledge, albeit being attributed to an individual, can prove to be a substantial boon to an organisation when utilised properly.

Positivity for productivity Have you ever had one of those days where you seem to have left your drive and positivity at home? Compare that to the day when you had to take part in a wellness programme where every employee got together to exercise before starting work. Do you remember how much better you felt and how much better you performed? In fact, most of the research on

such programmes have found that employees who have participated regularly benefited the most, reporting increased mindfulness and fewer sick days. This is the heart of positive psychology. According to Shawn Achor, an expert on positive psychology, a positive person is 31% more productive and three times more creative than a person with a negative outlook. Imagine the impact on the overall productivity if an organisation is filled with employees that are satisfied and well. HR should therefore be open to research and insights from various fields of psychology and utilise them effectively to implement strategies or programmes targeted at increasing employee satisfaction and psychological wellness. This will result in the best outcomes for the organisation.

Understanding staff As we progress in our HR careers, some common questions may start to surface: “Why is an employee leaving despite the offer of such an attractive salary package?” or “Why is this employee always on medical leave?” By looking towards the psychology of motivation, we can gain some insight into the answers to these questions. Motivation is the “why” behind actions: why do we get out of bed to go to work, or why do we choose one thing over another. It involves a combination of biological, emotional, social and cognitive components. For

example, the employee that wants to leave despite the good salary package might not be driven by monetary benefits, but prefers autonomy in their work. In the second scenario, the reason could be psychological – feeling unappreciated – or it could be an avoidant behavior, avoiding a negative stimulus at work. An HR professional with a deeper understanding of human psychology will be able to see things from various perspectives. This will allow the deciphering of the underlying rationale behind an employee’s behaviour and will allow greater efficiency in solving such issues.

Utilising knowledge In conclusion, businesses and organisations should not be stuck with the mindset that running a business is limited to the know-how and experience of top management. With the rise in research focused on studying the psychology of an individual and their effect on the organisation, it will be beneficial for companies to take advantage of this particular skillset. Companies should perhaps consider adopting a scientific approach, such as Evidence-Based Management. If companies are willing to invest and leverage on this huge body of knowledge, along with HR efforts to take evidence into account while crafting policies and programmes, this will definitely result in longterm benefits for both the employees and the organisation.

ISSUE 16.8



SPEARHEADING INDUSTRY CHANGE With its suite of innovations, Concorde Security is transforming security jobs, re-inventing itself, and shaking up an entire industry

Concorde is combining technology and a more educated workforce to secure more sites in Singapore


n 10 years, security guards as we know them today may be obsolete. That is what Chow Siew Chong, Vice President of security technology firm Concorde Security, reckons will happen as the traditional role of security officers gets gradually phased out by more sophisticated technology-focused roles. “After all, it’s such a mundane job and it’s not very humane to let a person sit and guard a place for 12 hours, while doing nothing else,” Chow says. 52 ISSUE 16.8


Spearheading this overhaul of security jobs is Concorde itself, an 18-year-old firm whose main business used to be in supplying security guards to watch over building premises. In the past two years, however, the award-winning firm has been deploying unmanned security systems that are shaking up the sector. These inventions also improve working conditions and work-life balance for security officers, while

Fiona Lam

offering a clever solution to the growing manpower shortage in security services. First among Concorde’s suite of innovations to be rolled out was the “I-Man Facility Sprinter (IFS)”. This is a vehicle fitted with advanced wireless security systems that are linked to a cluster of 10 to 20 buildings. A team of three officers, dubbed “I-Men”, are stationed in the vehicle monitoring the building cluster. They replace the earlier regime of having individual guards manning each block. “So if the IFS is looking after a cluster of 10 buildings, you reduce the headcount needed by seven,” Chow says. Concorde expects to deploy about 10 IFS vehicles in Singapore by the end of this year. The IFS solution is in stark contrast to the industry’s current piecemeal approach. While security agencies are boosting security levels by using more cuttingedge technologies like advanced closedcircuit television systems and Segway scooters, the actual working conditions of security guards have seen little real improvement. Executive Director of Concorde Security Alan Chua asks, “So what if you can make our guards move faster, see clearer, record better?”

SME SPOTLIGHT “The time saved cannot be eaten or kept in the drawer to be used later. The guards still work 12-hour shifts.” “Do the technologies make it more attractive for our children to become security guards?”

Creating a new profession Thanks to the IFS and Concorde’s other inventions, however, the company is producing a whole new breed of professionals to run and monitor the new technologies. In the process, Concorde is radically transforming the industry. Chow says its new-generation security officers are more educated, more highly-skilled, more productive, and better paid than the traditional security guard today. They have to be at least graduates from the Institute of Technical Education. “They need a good technical background because they’re dealing with routers, switches and cameras. Some of them also need to pilot a drone or set up a robot to patrol building premises,” he says. Aside from security functions, the role also entails building maintenance, which means every officer doubles as a trained technician. The new-generation officers take home between S$2,000 and S$3,000 per month, a marked improvement from the $1,100 recommended by the Progressive Wage Model for traditional guards. At the same time, Concorde guards enjoy five-day work weeks, instead of pulling 12-hour shifts for six or seven days a week.

Drawing from a new talent pool By redefining what it means to be a security officer, Concorde hopes to entice more young local talent to join the industry. At present, security jobs have the reputation of being low-paying, low-skilled and male-dominated. “We’re attracting new entrants who are more educated and more techsavvy, and they can be women or men,” Chow says. During this transition period, headcount has been deliberately reduced among Concorde’s traditional security guards, from 300 in 2013 to

Concorde holds its first product launch at the Safety & Security Asia exhibition fewer than 50 today. Concorde intends to hire close to 200 new “I-Men” by 2018, in order to meet its target of deploying 50 IFS vehicles islandwide in the same year. They will provide security to a total of 1,000 sites. The goal is to transform its business model to become less labour-intensive and reinvent itself as a technology solutions provider. The firm is also looking for more engineers to join its newly formed technology team.

Creating new HR structures Chow says the company is developing a specific career path for its new class of security personnel. “We’re creating a career progression structure for them, which may comprise a supervisory role and a higher, commander role,” Chow says. Under the Progressive Wage Model’s recommendations, a typical security

Inventing for security Besides the patented “I-Man Facility Sprinter”, Concorde has also developed other, patentpending security technologies. One of them is a kiosk that automatically dispenses security passes to pre-registered visitors. For maritime security and surveillance, there is also the “I-Cruiser” boat and the unmanned aerial vehicle (a specialised drone).

guard will take at least seven years to rise from junior officer to chief security officer. But Chow believes that is too slow. Once crystallised, the new “i-Man” career route will allow staff to climb the career ladder far more quickly. Training and development opportunities also need to be formalised. Concorde is working with the Security Industry Institute to design a new course specifically on its latest security technologies for the IFS officers. “We need to train them fast, which means we need a two-day structured, standardised course, on top of ad-hoc training which can take about a month,” Chow says.

Painting a full impression To create a culture where all the staff share the passion to realise the same aims, Chow gives monthly talks to update them on the latest developments and remind them of the company targets, so that everyone understands the complete picture. “As the Vice President, I know what the whole elephant looks like, but some staff may only know the trunk while others only see the tail. So the talks get everyone on the same page,” Chow says. “You must know where you want to go, then ask if your people would like to join this journey with you,” he says. “If we’re on the same ship together, the different teams will work closely together and resolve problems as a unit. When they face challenges they’ll know to get back on track towards the goal.” ISSUE 16.8




Sherlina Chew

Vir Amar Dasmahpara

Sherine Chua

GoSwiff International has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Sherlina Chew as its Global Head of HR. In her new role, Chew will champion the development of the overall HR function and lead the entire spectrum of HR services across its diverse markets. She will also drive strategic HR business plans and talent management, and align human capital priorities that drive organisational change to optimise leadership capabilities and organisational effectiveness. Chew comes with a wealth of HR experience, having worked for several leading regional and international banks. In her most recent role, she was the Head of HR at First Gulf Bank (FGB) Asia-Pacific, where she established the HR function and focused on the delivery of human capital strategy, operational support, engagement, and transformation initiatives across all HR disciplines. Prior to FGB, Chew was Vice President and HR Business Partner for Société Générale Corporate and Investment Bank. “GoSwiff is in a very exciting phase of its growth and the company not only has big plans but also commitment around talent,” said Chew. “I am looking forward to being an integrated partner in the company’s growth, and working in partnership with the leadership team to take the company to the next level by attracting and developing future professionals in the mobile payments industry.”

Schneider Electric has appointed Vir Amar Dasmahpara as the General Manager of Talent Management and Organisation Development for its Greater India region. In this new role, he will be collaborating with several senior business and HR leaders to drive strategic initiatives across the full spectrum of talent management and organisational development. This will include one of his self-declared favourite initiatives – a high-performance culture transformation, which has recently been launched globally across Schneider. Dasmahpara was previously Associate General Manager of Talent Management and Organisational Development for the business. He joined Schneider Electric in its Talent Management Centre of Excellence in India in 2013. Over the last three years, he has contributed significantly to the development of this sub-function of HR on projects involving high potential identification, leadership development, succession planning, leadership coaching, and culture change. Dasmahpara considers himself “an explorer of human potential”. His passion for this developed from his study of psychology, including through a Masters in Applied Psychology from the University of Mumbai. Beyond work, Dasmahpara is a student and performer of classical Indian music, a traveller, yoga practitioner, and occasional writer.

Wyndham Hotel Group Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim has announced the appointment of Sherine Chua as Director of HR for Southeast Asia. She reports to Senior Vice President of HR Bruce Harkness, who is based in Wyndham’s corporate centre on the Gold Coast in Australia. Chua will oversee the full spectrum of HR for the business, including talent acquisition, employee engagement, and learning and development for the group’s corporate office and vacation ownership sites. Chua brings with her more than 20 years of experience and practice in HR and hotel management in Southeast Asia. She joins the group from her last appointment as Cluster Director of HR for two Hotel Jen properties in Singapore. During this time, she was instrumental in the local launch of the brand. Prior to this appointment, Chua also held leadership roles at Valiram Group Singapore, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Raffles International Hotels and Resorts. Speaking on Chua’s appointment, Harkness said, “Sherine is a seasoned professional in HR and we are thrilled to have her on board. She will be playing a significant role in driving our group’s expansion and laying the groundwork for our success in the region.” “This is an exciting period for Wyndham and I am stoked to be driving the people agenda as part of the group’s strategic expansion plans,” said Chua.

Global Head of HR, GoSwiff International

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General Manager - Talent Management and Organisation Development, Greater India, Schneider Electric

Director of HR, Southeast Asia, Wyndham Hotel Group


How can HR motivate and retain employees during an organisational change?


rganisational change can produce ambiguity. In order to minimise this, leaders must be able to listen to employees’ concerns. HR should conduct frequent communication and discussions that provide a humane touch and focus on addressing the issues of employees. Recent studies have showed that communication has a positive correlation with many organisational outputs, including organisational commitment, performance, and job satisfaction. Meaningful communication requires a degree of “cognitive organisational reorientation”, including comprehension and appreciation of the proposed change. Employees who feel more invested in the process of company change show higher levels of motivation and internalise new methods of operation more quickly. This allows for a smoother transition and helps the company increase overall productivity. Aligning the business goals of the company with

the personal goals of employees can help HR to increase motivation through an organisational change. Transparency goes a long way towards assuaging employee doubts about a change, and allows workers to feel more involved with the company’s new initiatives. Employees are the key sources to bring about change in any organisation. To encourage them, the business must address any apprehensions and issues related to the change. Job insecurity should be decreased and a sense of community should be created so that employees may feel their responsibilities. The need for change and the advantages will motivate the staff to participate in the plan and help execute it.

Jyanthi Elanggo

Senior HR Manager, CÉ LA VI Singapore

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Country HR Manager, Singapore

HR Business Partner

› Team-lead role › Listed MNC

› Matrix organisation › Visibility to senior management

› Global role › Visibility to top management

Our client is a US-listed multinational with a strong footprint in the pharmaceutical industry across Asia Pacific. Reporting to the general manager and global head of HR, you will be supporting the manufacturing operations in Singapore. You will lead a team of four HR professionals and manage the manufacturing plant which has a headcount of approximately 300 people. The position requires you to be strategic in your approach towards the plant and its stakeholders in terms of driving HR policies, employee engagement activities and change management. You should possess a deep understanding of the operations and work closely with the unions to ensure compliance.

Our client is a reputable market leader in the certification and testing industry. They have continuously achieved strong business performance in line with their growing global presence. Reporting to the country managing director and regional HR manager, you will be leading a team of eight HR practitioners to address the full spectrum of regional HR needs. You will be a key member of the senior management team and play an advisory role on all human capital matters. You will design long-term HR strategies and provide practical mid-term solutions to meet business goals. The key to your success will be your ability to engage senior leaders on a strategic level while retaining a strong hands-on approach to HR operational matters.

Our client is a well-known brand in the luxury space and is vertically integrated from origination to product distribution. They are expanding rapidly in Asia and hence require a highcalibre HR business partner to drive their growth. Reporting to the head of HR based in London, you will oversee their key markets in China, India, Belgium, the US and the UK. Working closely with the country managers, you should be able to cascade global HR strategies and lead their talent management programme. You must possess a strong track record in partnering business leaders across Asia and have excellent influencing skills. This is a key role to drive HR and it calls for strong skills in talent management, organisation development and leadership planning.

Please contact David Blasco (Reg. no: 1110029) quoting ref: H3516520 or visit our website.

Please contact Dan Pang (Reg. no: 1545469) quoting ref: H3519490 or visit our website.

Please contact Jeffrey Ng (Reg. no: 1108199) quoting ref: H3501100 or visit our website.

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

Get Connected. Stay Ahead.

Human Resources

ISSUE 16.8

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



Senior Researcher – Banking

HR Analyst

Talent Acquisition

› 6 month contract › Part of a large Talent Acquisition Team with a MNC Bank › Unique opportunity to move internal

› 3 month contract › Leading global MNC with regional exposure › Newly created position

› 1 year contract › Well known MNC in the Medical Device Industry › Dynamic and exciting environment

Reporting to TA Head, you would be responsible for mapping and researching for top talent in the country. This person covers executive to Mid level management. You come with excellent communication and stakeholder management skills. You have an energetic and enthusiastic personality to learn with a 5 to 8 years of researching experience.

Reference number: SA/451058 Contact person: Suhaida Aziz (Registration Number R1435355)

This leading global MNC is looking for a HR Analyst to provide human resource support to the business as well as broaden HR team. This is an excellent opportunity for HR professional to gain regional exposure as this role allows you to liaise with various stakeholders within the region. Reporting to the HR lead, you will provide operational support such as managing and requesting HR transactions that support employee life cycle which includes new hire, promotion, internal transfer as well as payroll matters. You will be tasked to administer employee benefits as well as applying and renewing employees’ passes.

A Leading MNC with strong presence in the medical device industry, our client has an urgent need for a talent acquisition professional with experience in hiring high volume. The successful candidate will support and be involved in the end to end recruitment, primarily focusing on blue collar hiring. You will need to partner with various stakeholders such as talent acquisition lead, hiring managers as well as department heads to understand their specific needs through a consultative approach and advising accordingly.

To be success for this role, ideally the potential incumbent will possess Diploma in HR, Business or related with proven track record in a HR generalist role. Good written and verbal communication skills are expected. Experience in SAP is preferred.

This candidate would ideally possess Degree in Human Resource and ideally with proven track record in talent acquisition/ recruitment focused on recruitment of all levels of employees from entry level to senior leadership positions. Ability to work under pressure in a fast-paced, time-sensitive environment with shifting priorities and multiple deadlines are expected.

Reference number: SA/JD53090 Contact person: Suhaida Aziz (Registration Number R1435355)

Reference number: JO/450647 Contact person: Suhaida Aziz (Registration Number R1435355)

Your Human Resources recruitment specialists To apply, please go to and search for respective reference number. For a confidential discussion, you can contact Maureen Ho for the relevant position in our Singapore Office on +65 6511 8555 Talent2 Singapore Pte Ltd. Company Reg. No. 200909448N EA Licence No. 10C4544

Opportunities for Life

An Allegis Group Company

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

SEA HR Manager

Senior HR Specialist

• SEA coverage • Company expanding

• An MNC in the Healthcare Industry • Full scope of the Human Resources Function & HRBP

Our client, from a pharma related sector is looking for a dynamic HR Manager to oversee the SEA region.

Our client, an established MNC in the healthcare industry is seeking an experienced Senior HR Specialist.

In this exciting and challenging role, you will report to the Managing Director, Asia and HR Director (based in Japan) and partner divisional heads in providing full spectrum HR services covering SEA. You will be responsible for end-to-end HR duties for 40 employees. This includes talent acquisition, compensation & benefits, outsourced payroll, policies & procedures and personnel development. You will take a proactive approach to recommend relevant local HR best practices which fits long and short-term plans. You will also be responsible for HR related record keeping, compliance and administrative functions.

You will be responsible for a broad range of Human Resource programs/ activities for the Singapore and Regional Offices such as recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, organization structuring and talent development, employee relations, compliance, policy/ procedure development and implementation. You must stay on top of regional laws, regulations, plan design trends, ensure that company’s policies and programs in Singapore conforms to laws and are competitive. You will partner closely with the Singapore management on HR related matters.

You would have a relevant degree, possess 10+ years HR generalist experience in a corporate environment preferably within the healthcare/pharma/medical industry. You must be goal-oriented, have excellent communication skills and be familiar with local legislations and good HR practices. You must be willing to be hands-on as this is a single contributor role.

You should have a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant academic field with at least 5 years of experience with the ability to work both operationally in a hands on manner and be able to engage those at the ground level as well as senior stakeholders.

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

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Grace D’Castro at EA Personnel Registration No. R1108252

EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

RGF is the global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest HR and recruitment services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$13 billion in annual revenue. For more than 50 years, RGB provides comprehensive HR and talent acquisition services which include retained and contingency executive recruitment and market mapping, senior to staff level specialist and contract recruitment as well as payroll services. RGF operates in more than 45 locations across 26 cities in 11 countries and markets in Asia with in-country specialist consultants. Winner, The Executive Search Company of the Year 2015 and for the second year running, The HR Recruitment Company of the Year 2015. SINGAPORE VIETNAM INDIA INDONESIA MALAYSIA PHILIPPINES THAILAND CHINA HONG KONG TAIWAN JAPAN

56 ISSUE 16.8




This role supports a young team of Talent Acquisition specialists to build a deep network with Singapore Banking professionals.

ISSUE 16.8


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

We offer positions in the following sectors: Banking & Financial Services Commerce Finance Energy & Commodities Engineering & Supply Chain Healthcare & Life Sciences Human Resources Legal Sales & Marketing Technology

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HRMASIA.COM | Returning the Human to Resourcing

L&D Specialist

C&B Manager, Regional

HR Associate, Banking

Global Pharmaceutical Organisation Based in West of Singapore Dynamic Role

FMCG Industry Regional Role Fast-paced Environment

Stable, Growing Bank Solid Career Advancement Excellent Organisational Culture

This leading global pharmaceutical organisation is experiencing continued growth. It is now seeking a dynamic HR Specialist to perform a key function within the area of Learning & Development.

A global leader within the FMCG industry is seeking a C&B Manager to support the South Asian region —this position will be based in Singapore.

This European bank with an increasing presence in Singapore has a stable growth environment and exciting learning and advancement opportunities to offer. Its Head of HR is now seeking a HR Associate to support and develop the HR function.

As part of the L&D team, you will deploy HR and L&D strategies to all functions within the organisation and work with regional and local partners to implement learning programmes. Reporting directly to the L&D Manager, you will also assist in the implementation of an annual learning needs analysis exercise designed to identify the total learning needs for the site, which includes sourcing and implementing HR/L&D programmes in accordance with the learning plan. In addition, you will provide support in the areas of talent management and succession planning, as well as ensure the achievement of talent pipelines targets.

Reporting to the Regional Director, C&B, you will be responsible for working in close collaboration with the Global team to manage C&B initiatives and render business support within the South Asian region. In your role, you will design, develop, and implement compensation policies and benefits schemes. You will also perform job evaluations and salary benchmarking, create merit matrix designs, conduct benefits review and administration, and lead annual compensation reviews, as well as support HR integration projects. You will have one direct report in your team.

Ideally, you will have 4 to 6 years of HR and L&D experience and at least 2 years of work experience within a Manufacturing environment. Experience in supporting end-to-end training analysis and in using SAP systems will be an advantage.

Ideally, you will have at least 8 years of experience and a proven track record as a C&B specialist with regional exposure—experience as a HR generalist will be an advantage. You will also possess commercial acumen and the ability to be a business partner to various business stakeholders.

To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of 10580. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of 10687. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Reg No: R1107886

Reg No: R1107886

AVP, Learning Management Systems (LMS), Banking

Regional Talent Management Manager (Technology Industry)

Strong Regional Bank Solid Career Progression and Growth Dynamic and Challenging Role

Global Technology Organisation Regional Scope Exciting Growth Potential

This established regional bank with a steadily growing base of operations has big plans on the horizon and a mandate to transform learning and development. It is now seeking an AVP for Learning Management Systems (LMS).

This global organisation is a well-regarded MNC that is growing rapidly in the region. In order to support its ambitious growth plan, it is now seeking a top HR talent to be its Talent Management Manager in its regional office headquartered in Singapore.

Reporting to the VP, you will be instrumental in revamping and designing a robust, effective, comprehensive, and user-friendly digital learning platform for the bank. You will leverage your passion for e-learning and understanding of instructional design, curriculum design, and learning principles and work in close collaboration with learning teams to redefine learning and training delivery. You will have least 6 years of L&D experience and a strong background in LMS implementation and design—experience in progressive and advanced e-learning platforms is highly desired. You will also be a passionate and energetic individual with excellent stakeholder management and communication skills. Teamwork is critical to the success of this role. To apply, please submit your resume to Junchen at, quoting the job reference number of 10690. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No: R1328933

Reporting to the Global TM Head, you will plan and design learning agenda and structures based on business needs. You will also achieve your role’s key objective of enhancing the learning capability of the organisation, which will require you to act as a Business Partner from a strategic standpoint, as well as handle operational responsibilities. You will be an experienced HR professional with at least 5 years of experience in Learning & Development and/or Talent Management, along with strong end-to-end exposure. You should also be familiar with the fast pace of large multinational environments and possess a mindset for resolving problems in the face of ambiguity. In addition, you should have the gravitas to influence the business in a commercial sense and be willing to ‘roll up your sleeves’ when necessary. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Reg No: 16S8060

Reporting to the Head of HR, you will support the organisation in the full spectrum of HR operations. You will process the in-house payroll and be involved in the day-to-day HR advisory, across areas such as tax, immigration, employment regulations, and benefits. You will also play a critical role in HR transformation projects and initiatives. You will have at least 5 years of banking and financial services experience, ideally in a HR operational function—payroll experience will be an advantage. You will also be a mature and seasoned professional with an excellent work attitude, and the ability to be meticulous, reliable, and consistent in your work. 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

Director, Compensation & Benefits Major Financial Institution HR Leadership Role Large Team Management & Singapore Role This major financial body provides exclusive services within the financial services sector in Singapore. It is now seeking a dynamic and high calibre Head of Compensation & Benefits (Director Level). This leadership role will be instrumental in driving the strategic formulation and implementation of the reward and recognition framework. In this role, you will be the key decision-maker for human capital. You will drive the people agenda and contribute to the alignment of the business and employee objectives through utilising appropriate HR interventions and change management tools. As a specialist, this role encompasses the design, development, and implementation of compensation policies and benefits schemes. You will be degree-qualified and possess significant years of HR experience gained in a major MNC or financial institution, along with a proven track record in HR policy development as well as leadership and management roles. You will be a highly credible professional who is also a self-starter who’s excellent in lateral thinking and tenacious yet measured in your approach. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number of FT10647. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Reg No: 16S8060

ISSUE 16.8



HRBP, Regional

If you are seeking a dynamic strategic role in HR, this non-profit organisation may just be your next employer of choice. You’ll champion the HR function and provide leadership in developing and driving HR strategies to meet the organisation’s future plans. HR experience in a management position, a strong track record in establishing HR strategies in a large organisation whilst remaining hands-on will be key to your success.

Be a driving force within this global pharmaceutical organisation that is undergoing merger and integration. As an all-rounder HRBP, you will work closely with the business to drive the people agenda and develop a high performance culture. You will have relevant qualifications and at least 10 years of HR experience, preferably within the FMCG or consumer healthcare sectors. Your change management and OD experience will be key to the role.

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

HR Assistant Director Join a fast-paced commercial organisation that is looking to expand extensively in the region. As the HR Assistant Director, you will drive the HR agenda in partnership with the business through facilitation and deployment of HR programs and initiatives to achieve talent and organisational objectives. This includes performance management, learning needs and talent management. Successful candidates will possess a strong track record in business partnering as well as managerial responsibilities. Contact Kelly Shia (Reg ID. R1552203) at or call +65 6303 0721.

EA License Number: 07C3924

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

Regional Training Manager A newly created opportunity has arisen within a leading logistics player for a Regional Training Manager. This role encompasses the full spectrum of L&D, including training needs analysis for both technical and soft skills, development of learning frameworks, delivery, vendor management and evaluation. You will also support the roll out of training initiatives across the region. With minimum 6 years of relevant L&D experience you’ll ideally have a Bachelors’ degree and be comfortable with hands-on responsibilities. Contact Kelly Shia (Reg ID. R1552203) at or call +65 6303 0721.

ISSUE 16.8


HRM 16.8 Ushering in the smart era  

- Building Asia’s future workforce