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Dear HRM Asia readers,


ou’ve probably read the name umpteen times and likewise, heard it many more times on radio and television as well. It is fair to surmise that SkillsFuture has been the talk of Singapore’s education and business sectors for the best part of two years, with this chatter showing no signs of abating. And rightly so. With workforce development and training firmly on the Singapore Government’s radar, SkillsFuture is poised to be a key part of the equation. As such, HRM Asia has undertaken a rigorous effort to map out the SkillsFuture phenomenon two years on since its official inception in 2014. In this wide-ranging report, we chart the progress of SkillsFuture and its various initiatives. We also suss out the true sentiments of the local HR community on this national scheme. This month’s edition also afforded us with the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with Victor Cui, CEO of mixed martial arts events promoter ONE Championship. In this exclusive no-holds barred interview, Cui sheds light on his reputation as being a tough and demanding leader, and fascinatingly explains how HR comes into play when recruiting martial arts fighters for short-term four-fight deals. HRM Asia’s events team has also been busy: last month saw the successful inauguration of our Smart Workforce Summit 2016, which took place between October 18 and 21. Finally, you’ll notice a few changes to our magazine this month. As part of our commitment to the HR community, we have developed a new section dedicated to professional and career development for HR professionals themselves. Head to My HR Career for stories and information on training and job opportunities, as well as the only vocational advice column dedicated to the ever-changing HR career path in Asia.

Best Regards,

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:




All the right tools

When it comes to education and training, no title has been more articulated over the past two years in Singapore than “SkillsFuture”. While the basic premise of SkillsFuture is about building skills, the technicalities behind it can appear more elusive. In this special report, HRM Asia charts the progress of SkillsFuture and its relevance for HR.



12 Punching above his weight

He sets “unreasonable” goals, and handpicks talents as one of his hobbies. CEO of mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship Victor Cui is never short of chutzpah as he leads the organisation to unprecedented heights in the fight industry.


Inducing a sense of purpose


The softer side of MBAs

Medical technology provider Medtronic aims to be connected to the wants and needs of its customers. Lorraine ParkerClegg, the organisation’s Vice President of HR in Asia-Pacific says that demands a higher level of accountability across all of its staff and functions.

The traditional Masters of Business Administration is still the benchmark academic programme that employers of leadership talent expect. But business schools and universities are now tweaking their curricula to include more emphasis on communication and resilience training.


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Friendly fire


One step ahead


Zooming in on budding talents

In today’s rapidly evolving cyber-security landscape, organisations can’t afford to limit their defence to only external attacks. Internal threats stemming from employee actions also need to be dealt with, through coordinated efforts between HR and the IT department.

While employees are counting down the niggling hours left at work, staff at Ministry of Design saunter from their office at 3:30pm every Friday to kickstart their weekends early. However, as HRM Asia finds out, the work ethic at the architectural firm is anything but relaxed.

Media investment and management firm Aurora Media Holdings deviates from the script with its deep commitment to grooming the industry’s next generation.


The future calling

Raghu Ram, Asia Talent Lead for Shell, shares his thoughts on the future of learning and development strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.


HRM Asia Think Tank

Close to 100 HR professionals joined together for a free networking and professional development seminar in Singapore recently. The first-ever HRM Asia Think Tank event took place in the studio kitchens of culinary team building programme CulinaryOn.


HR Young Gun

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

48 REGULARS 4 News 10 Leaders on Leadership 35 HR Clinic 50 HRM Asia Congress 51 Upcoming Events 54 An HRD Speaks 54 Twenty-four Seven 55 Resources 55 In Person 56 Talent Ladder 58 Reader Advice ISSUE 16.11









Saudi government employees will be compensated according to the Gregorian calendar, under a new ruling that was confirmed in late September. The switch away from the Islamic Hijri calendar will make the working month slightly longer. The change brings civil service wages in line with the government’s January-December fiscal year, according to the Arab News and Saudi Gazette. It is also seen as a cost-saving measure for the government, with an extra few working days every year.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is slashing government spending and reconfiguring its economy following the collapse of global oil prices over the past two years. The Saudi cabinet has also recently reduced the salaries of ministers by 20%, and has frozen the pay of lower-ranked civil servants. Close to twice as many Saudis work in its ballooning public sector – where working hours are shorter and leave is typically longer, as compared to private companies. In April, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, unveiled the comprehensive Vision 2030 plan to diversify the Saudi economy. Among its targets, Vision 2030 is looking to enhance private sector employment, slashing the government payroll to 40% of the national budget, from the current 45%, by 2020.

Organisational diversity remains a major stumbling block for companies in India. A new TimesJobs Study on gender diversity in India – State of Diversity in India Inc – has revealed that about 40% of firms expect more female workers, while only a meagre five percent anticipate an increase in women leaders in C-level roles. Close to 35% of the 860 firms polled were concentrating their efforts on enhancing representation of women at senior levels, but because of impending obstacles, only five percent actually believed they would attain any sort of gains. An additional 30% of firms aimed to boost women’s representation at the middle level, and were much more confident of making a positive impact. “Many organisations still suffer from diversity issues. Massive HR potential is lost due to stringent work timings causing a lack of female talent, primarily at senior levels,” said Nilanjan Roy, Times Business Solutions’ Head of Strategy. The report also revealed that 65% of employers felt gender diversity was “moderately” represented in the workforce, while 25% said it was “significantly” represented. On the compensation front, 55% of firms confessed a compensation gap still existed between women and men. As part of future gender diversity and inclusion programmes, close to 40% of firms have also set gender targets for recruitment and promotions.


HSBC ADOPTS HOT-DESKING STRATEGY Banking giant HSBC has relocated its digital and transformation teams, renting out over 300 “hot desks” in a single building in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. The South China Morning Post has revealed that HSBC registered for membership at WeWork’s Tower 535, a dedicated co-working space. According to WeWork’s membership plan, the starting offer for a hot desk at Tower 535 is HK$6,200 (S$1098) per month. Members can utilise the venue for seminars, workshops or events. Henek Lo, general manager for WeWork in Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney, said HSBC was the company’s biggest member firm in Asia-Pacific. Andrew Connell, HSBC’s regional head of digital, retail banking and wealth management, was adamant the move was not about reducing costs. “As HSBC accelerates the build-up of our digital capabilities, our space in WeWork will allow our employees to collaborate in an open plan and agile working environment,” he said. “Creating the right environment for our staff, working in the same location as other like-minded teams, including Hong Kong’s financial


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technology firms and other start-ups, is important to us as we continue to attract, develop and invest in the talent we need to meet our digital ambitions.”


EMPLOYER BRANDING MATTERS MOST Start-up organisations in India are now turning to employer branding in order to gain an edge in the fierce war for talent on the sub-continent. Some 91% of line managers polled in a new survey shared that employer branding was crucial to enticing the best talents within their ranks. Candidate experience was cited as a crucial component of employer branding. The Recruitment Trends Among Startups in India survey, by executive recruitment firm Antal International, saw 85.5% of startups concurring that enticing the best young talents was a key obstacle in light of the increasing competition of the candidatedriven labour market. As many as 83% of them revealed they were prepared to fork out higher fees to specialist

recruiters to allow them to source for excellent candidates. The survey also highlighted the stark consequences of a wrong hire; over 60% of respondents confessed to enduring revenue losses as a result of poor recruitment decisions over the past two years. “This underscores the criticality of hiring the best,” said Joseph Devasia, managing director, Antal International.



The legendary Japanese work ethic could now be the very cause of an employee’s death. A new government survey into Japan’s strenuous working climate has found that a fifth of the country’s workforce is at risk of “karoshi”, or death from overwork. The research is the first of its kind into karoshi, and was sanctioned by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet in early October.

The paper revealed that 22.7% of organisations polled said some of their workers clocked in more than 80 hours of overtime each month. This is the threshold at which the chance of death due to excessive work becomes acute. Some 21.3% of Japanese employees clocked in 49 or more hours each week, significantly steeper than the 16.4% of workers reporting the same in the US, and the 12.5% and 10.4% of British and French workers respectively.




Overwhelming workloads, exhaustion, and a decline in job satisfaction levels are just some of the factors painting an unfavourable picture of the nursing profession in Australia. According to a study titled What Nurses & Midwives Want: Findings from the National Survey on Workplace Climate and Wellbeing by Monash Business School, 32% of the health professionals polled signalled they had considered quitting the nursing or midwifery profession. A further 25% said they were either “likely” or “very likely” to depart from the profession. “These findings are disquieting as they signify intentions to leave the nursing profession rather than merely just the respondents’ current employing organisation,” the report said. The study also showed that respondents were feeling burdened by steep workloads. “The key determinants of the reported high workload included inadequate staff levels, excessive amounts of administrative tasks, and inappropriate skill mixes,” the report highlighted. More alarmingly, there was “a strong feeling” among respondents that workload pressures also placed patient care and safety at risk. On a positive note, the majority of respondents said they felt engaged at their work, with 58% saying they were proud of their achievements. “However, qualitative data from respondents signposted that chronic exposure to elevated workload and exhaustion, along with poor appreciation for their dedication to the job, may be hampering levels of engagement,” the report noted. The nationwide survey on nurses and midwives was conducted over a six-week period in April and May 2016.

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STRIKES CAUSE FLIGHT DELAYS Kenya Airways was forced to cancel or delay about half a dozen of flights last month after outsourced cabin crew failed to show up to work. These cabin crew members were embroiled in a dispute with their direct employer, a company called Career Directions Limited. Some 700 outsourced workers employed by Career Directions complained that they had spent six years being retained on revolving single-year contracts. They also demanded their wages be aligned with those of Kenya Airways’ full-time staff. “Some of our outsourced staff, including cabin crew, have stayed away from work,” the airline said. “We are working with their employer to resolve any issues they may have. “As per the safety regulations that the airline abides to, minimum number of cabin staff per aircraft type are required and on some of our flights we were unable reach these levels,” the statement, released on social media, added.


CONCERNS OVER ITALIAN WORKERS The Swiss canton of Ticino has voted in favour of an “Ours First” policy that will prioritise local job candidates over those living outside its borders, including those in neighbouring Italy. The decision has threatened to place a stain on Swiss-Italian relations, given a large number of workers commute across the border from Italy’s Lombardo region. Around 32% of the workforce of Ticino canton actually resides in Italy. Roberto Maroni, regional president of Lombardy, says he accepts the outcome of the popular vote, but plans to begin looking at new “counter-measures” for the affected workers and candidates. The “Ours First” policy calls on officials in Ticino to change the local constitution to stipulate that where candidates have the same professional qualifications, employers should prioritise locals ahead of cross-border workers. That subjectivity, combined with the Swiss national government’s reluctance to ratify local laws that may further dampen relations between Switzerland and the European Union, mean there will be little obvious change in the near term. But Italy remains concerned. “Without freedom of movement of people, Swiss-EU relations will be at risk,” Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said.


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DREAMWORKS ANIMATION SETTLES EMPLOYEE LAWSUIT DreamWorks Animation has reached a settlement with employees in a class action lawsuit alleging that the company, along with other studios Walt Disney, Lucasfilm, Pixar and ImageMovers, violated antitrust laws. The lawsuit claimed that the companies conspired together to suppress the wages of animation workers by entering illegal nonpoaching agreements. DreamWorks has settled after two years of negotiations. Other companies named have also settled previously, although Disney continues to hold out against the class action. According to documents filed in the US District Court in San Jose, California, the DreamWorks settlement will see the company provide a cash payment of US$50 million to a fund coordinated by the named plaintiffs: Robert Nitsch; David Wentworth; and Georgia Cano. The class action also includes other animation and visual effects workers who worked at DreamWorks, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures Animation, and Sony Pictures Imageworks between 2004 and 2010. Court papers noted that the colluding agreement that sparked the suit involved some of the “most recognisable names in American entertainment”, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Pixar President Ed Catmull, and Lucasfilm founder George Lucas.







CEOs might not be making as much as is commonly believed. A new Mercer CEO Pay Ratio survey of 117 organisations across 12 industries in the US found that 60% of companies estimated the CEO-to median–employee pay ratio was under 200:1, as compared to the frequently publicised 300:1 ratio. “While the ratio may still seem significant to some, it is not as high as many might think,” said Gregg Passin, Senior Partner and North America Leader of Mercer’s Executive Rewards business. “More importantly, it confirms what we expected — ratios differ by industry, with the highest ratios in the retail, wholesale and consumer goods sectors.’’

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), a cloud server and storage company that split from Hewlett Packard in late-2015, laid off an undisclosed number of employees last month. Company spokesperson Meghan Fintland said in an email that “previously announced restructuring changes took place today,” including “workforce changes that are part of a company-wide strategy to give HPE the needed workforce to be a more nimble customer and partner-centric company”. According to GeekWire, among the employees let go were those on the team producing Stackato, a service for developers that is in the process of being sold to SUSE, a German Linux-distribution provider. A source close to the situation said at least 65 of the 130 people at Stackato lost their jobs. Several HPE employees took to Twitter to discuss the layoffs. One of them, Vicky Brasseur, a senior engineering manager at HPE based out of Portland, wrote: “Today I laid off my entire team. I’m completely gutted. They’re the best with whom I’ve ever worked. They humble me daily. Hire them, please.”

Surprisingly, banking and financial institutions, often criticised for excessive senior-level pay, have lower ratios than most other industries. The survey found that industries with more professional staff have lower ratios than industries with more part-time, temporary, and less-skilled employees in their lower ranks. Mercer said it conducted the survey to gauge companies’ level of readiness for the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s CEO pay ratio disclosure rule, which comes into effect in 2018.


AGENCY BLASTED FOR DEMEANING JOB ADS A London modelling agency has come under fire after releasing a job advertisement that specified the specific bra size it was looking for in a personal assistant. The company, Matching Models, advertised for a personal assistant with a “classic look, brown long hair with B to C cup”. The Equality and Human Rights Commission denounced the posting, calling it “appalling, unlawful, and demeaning to women”. Matching Models describes itself as “an international temp agency for beautiful and talented people”, and was quick to defend its advertisement, potentially digging itself into a deeper hole. “The client is an older gentleman – he has a specific outfit he designed with Christian Dior,” the agency’s founder Natalie Jansen told the BBC. “He wants a ‘Jackie O’ look, and he wants a lady with a smaller cup

size to fit into the outfit.” This is not the agency’s only questionable job posting, with another on its website asking for a “sexy female driver” to drive a Porsche Cayenne two days a week for a London-based businessman. Equality advocates said the advertisements were “straight out of the 1970s”. “It is extraordinary that they are taking this approach and almost certainly falls foul of equality legislation,” said Sam Smethers, CEO of the Fawcett Society. “If we ever wonder why the battle for gender equality hasn’t been won, this is a timely reminder.”


JOB MARKET UP BY 1.5 MILLION The number of South Africans employed grew from 14.2 million to 15.7 million between 2009 and 2015, according to the latest research statistics. Released last month, the Labour Market Dynamics Report for 2009 to 2015 found that the rise was due to economic growth in eight of the ten monitored industries. The biggest growth was in the community and social services sector (which saw an increase of 737,000 jobs over the six years), financial services (336,000), and construction (216,000). Between 2009 and 2015, employment in the formal sector increased by nearly one million jobs to 10.9 million, while the informal sector increased from 2.2 million jobs in 2009 to 2.6 million in 2015. Although employment levels are up, the labour market has still not recovered to pre-recession levels.

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How do personalities differ at work? Culture and environment can have a significant impact on employees’ behaviour at work as compared to at home. HRM Asia presents the highlights from PeopleKeys’ latest DISC International and Cultural Study.

What are the main personality styles? Dominance

Are you expected to show a different personality at work than at home?


Driven Direct


Conscientious Creative




Inducing Impulsive




Secure Sincere

This suggests only 1 out of 4 workers feel properly placed in their roles

Most common personality styles for different job types DOMINANCE C-suite



Executive coaches





Professional trainers

Professional sales







How common are dominant personalities among Asia’s C-suite leaders? Source: DISC International and Cultural Study 2016 by PeopleKeys 8

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of Asian workers have the Dominance personality at home


Highly skilled doctors & engineers




say motivation strategies need to differ with personalities


of workers globally exhibit the Steady personality style at home






Delegates said that they would recommend the Summit to a friend / colleague

HR Summit Asia 2017 is returning with a fresh new look and bigger and richer content in celebration of our 15th anniversary. Look forward to more networking opportunities and learn the latest best practices from top local and international speakers!

Benefits of Attending • Best ROI of any HR event you will attend in 2017 • Stay up-to-date & connected • Learn new skills & upgrade your current ones • Get engaged & inspired

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What advice would you give to new managers in their first leadership role?

unior leaders will be the ones leading our respective industries to the next level when we are no longer around. To achieve any growth, our future leaders must be better than us, and so my advice to new junior leaders is to find a mentor for their long-term development. A good mentor can help you unlock your best self, and the same can be applied to leadership skills and knowledge. Without a mentor, young leaders will not have a professional whom they can bounce their ideas off, or someone who can identify their strengths and weaknesses in leadership from an objective perspective. Young leaders will still have to make and be accountable for the final decisions, but it certainly helps to have a mentor guide and develop their thought processes. Look for a successful figure in your industry who can explore with you to help you gain a broader outlook on your career. Mentors are like the side

and rear-view mirrors of the car that transports us along our professional journey, enabling us to check for blind spots at various junctions of our careers. With a mentor’s guidance and advice, you will get further ahead in your career, as compared to someone without the privilege of mentorship. At KidZania, I provide mentoring to junior leaders across all job functions, focusing on the importance of crosslearning and development. As opposed to the traditional approach in which a mentee shadows a mentor and learns by observation, KidZania’s young leaders take the lead, and are given key roles in special projects and initiatives. A leader is often expected to make changes to improve business performance, to revitalise old models, or to optimise the use of resources when an unexpected change arises. Deciding on and committing to changes is never easy, which is why mentorship is so important.


PARVINDER WALIA Director of Sales and Marketing ESET Asia-Pacific

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tarting in a new leadership role can be a daunting task. There is a sudden pressure to prove yourself not just to upper management but also to your peers in the workplace and across the industry. As this happens, many professionals tend to try to narrow down their scope of focus and concentrate on a few nearterm achievements and milestones that can be used to evaluate their success as a business leader. While identifying both short-term and long-term goals to focus on is certainly a good strategy, it is equally important that leaders of all levels remain open to new possibilities and opportunities. Today’s business environment demands that professionals be adaptable and proactive in order to succeed. As such, it is imperative for leaders

LEONG YUE WENG General Manager KidZania Singapore

in any organisation to understand that each step out of their comfort zone is a valuable opportunity for them to learn – something that all of us must continue to do throughout our careers. Let me illustrate this by drawing on my personal experience. Formerly an engineer by training, I found channel sales and marketing a foreign area until I joined CA Technologies eight years ago. However, my decision to pursue a Masters of Business Administration and take a huge step into the unknown has since resulted in a rewarding and fulfilling career journey for me, leading right up to my current role here at ESET. It is definitely easy for us to get comfortable with routine and familiarity. However, a never-saynever attitude is the most important weapon in any business leader’s arsenal.




He sets “unreasonable” goals, and handpicks many of the talents joining his team. CEO of mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship Victor Cui is never short of chutzpah, as he leads the organisation to unprecedented heights Fiona Lam


As the leader of a mixed martial arts organisation, what elements of fight sports carry over into your management style?

The values of martial arts – integrity, trust, humility, hard work, respect, and dedication – are reflected in my management style, and are a big part of our organisation. People would probably say I’m a very hard boss. My favourite word is “unreasonable”, used in a positive way. If you set reasonable goals, you can expect an average outcome at best. You need to set unreasonable goals to get outcomes that are different from everyone else’s, to change the world, and challenge yourself to improve. You have to continually do things that may be considered unreasonable by most standards. I look to challenge myself, my team, my athletes, and my organisation to unreasonable goals that other people might not understand. I think my staff would also describe me as “unreasonable”. I’m always pushing them to improve. I will ask them, “Who does this the best in the world, and how can we do it better?” It can be anything from a publication, to a souvenir programme, to the way we host an event. ONE Championship is five years old now. Back then starting a mixed martial arts organisation and making it the largest in Asia was an unreasonable goal. People told us it was crazy. But here we are today, with 90% market share in the region, broadcasting to a billion viewers, showcasing some of the

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BIO BRIEF With his promotion company commanding some 90% market share in Asia, CEO of Singapore-based ONE Championship Victor Cui has been dubbed the most powerful man in Asian mixed martial arts by industry players and the press. Cui has led ONE Championship since its days as a fledgling organisation in 2011 to its present status as the largest sports media property in Asian history, on track to achieve a US$1-billion valuation and an initial public offering within the next few years. ONE Championship’s fights are broadcast to 118 countries, and it currently has 350 fighters on its roster, as well as 110 employees. Prior to launching ONE Championship, Cui spent six years with the Event Management Group for sports broadcaster ESPN Star Sports. He headed event business development across Asia and project-led some of the biggest sporting event brands and television partnerships in the region. Born in Canada to a Chinese father and Filipino mother, Cui was raised in Africa and has lived and worked all around the world. He describes himself as a global citizen who is drawn to diversity and new environments.

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LEADERS TALK HR best fighters in the world, and holding events in major cities. We also have blue-chip partners such as Disney, LG, Casio, L’Oréal, and Facebook working with us. For the first time, these big companies are a part of mixed martial arts. One thing about martial arts that fascinates me is that it has never been backed by the multibillion-dollar advertising campaigns that other major sports have typically had over the last 20 or 30 years, such as Formula One, the National Basketball Association, and the English Premier League. Yet it continues to grow in Asia; every day new martial arts gyms are opening, people are participating in martial arts, and parents are enrolling their children in classes. Why? Because there is something intuitive about the sport of martial arts that Asians

just get; it’s in our DNA. I think that’s a big part of why the sport of mixed martial arts is growing so quickly across Asia.


Professional fighters typically sign four-fight contracts. From an HR perspective, how do you view these people?

I see our athletes as the centre of our organisation. We are in the business of storytelling. Whether it’s Ann Osman from Malaysia, Angela Lee from Singapore, or Bashir Ahmad from Pakistan, our athletes have amazing stories to tell of their lives, and it’s our job to showcase them. For example, one of our middleweight fighters Aung La N Sang, native to Myanmar’s mountainous Kachin State, used to be a refugee. As a child, he fled to the US, and this year he has returned to his homeland for the first time to compete in a ONE Championship bout. So that’s a big story for him, his family, and his country. I look at them as the stars of our organisation. ONE Championship is here to facilitate them in their martial arts journey, which they have dedicated the last 15 or 20 years of their lives to. After the many years of training, they finally get the chance to compete on a global scale, to showcase everything they have spent their lives on. Our approach is therefore to make sure we are showcasing our athletes at the

ME MYSELF I I love: Learning and growing. The opportunity to challenge myself and people around me to new heights gives me great satisfaction. I dislike: When people say, “You can’t do that.” To me, that is a reflection of their limits, not mine. My inspiration is: To be the best husband and father that I possibly can. Everything I do in my life is for my family. Making sure that I’m the right example for my children and wife is critical to me. My biggest weakness is: Sweets. I have an extreme sweet tooth. I love desserts, and I’m completely irrational when it comes to eating them. My stomach can be completely full but I’ve always got room for dessert! In five years’ time, I’d like to; See ONE Championship as the largest sporting organisation in the world, with everybody watching our events every week. Favourite quote: “Even best friends were strangers at one point.” That’s what my grandfather used to say to me. I’m a big believer that everything starts with a strong relationship.

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LEADERS TALK HR highest, world-class standards across all our platforms and in every aspect of the organisation, be it in television production, marketing, or operations.


What HR challenges have you faced in building such a major sports brand in Asia?

One of the greatest challenges here continues to be finding world-class talent to join ONE Championship. We are hiring and expanding aggressively. For example, we just opened new offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Finding people who are not only world-class talents but also want to work in the world of sports can be difficult. Building a career in sports is still very new in Asia. Ten years ago, if a young adult told their parents they wanted a career in sports, the parents would ask, “What is that? You want to be a footballer or a tennis player?” They didn’t understand that there is a whole range of other opportunities, from operations and finance to marketing and sponsorship, just like in any other industry.So the first challenge for us has been to find people who want to be in sports, followed by finding people who want to be involved in the world of mixed martial arts specifically. We are not necessarily searching for people who are athletes – we have enough athletes as it is – but we want employees who share a common vision in what we do. I believe we can bring about plenty of positive change through martial arts, so we want to work with people who also believe we are making a difference and that martial arts has the power to change the world. In Asia, a lot of people from other industries are transitioning to sports or mixed martial arts. But it is still relatively new. In general, if someone in Asia is thinking of entering the world of sports, their parents would likely say, “Wait a second. You should go be a lawyer or a dentist!”


How do you scout for the best talent, in terms of fighters as well as corporate staff?

For fighters, the opposite is actually happening right now – fighters all around the world are coming to us. So it is more a matter of sorting through the thousands of fighters, coaches and gyms who are sending us what are essentially their résumés. It is quite difficult, because from emails, Facebook and Twitter, our team easily gets 1,000 applications per week. That is where the expertise of our specialised competition team comes in, to screen and select the athletes. The team is led by Matt Hume, Vice President of Operations and Competition, whose main responsibilities include talent recruitment and match-making. I leave the selection to Hume’s competition team, but there is a range of criteria. We may look for athletes from a particular country or region, or athletes who are talented, have a great track record, have charisma and a great story to tell, and so on. There are many factors that come together before

we sign on a fighter. As for our other employees, I must say it can be quite hard to get a job at our organisation. On average, we go through some 200 résumés before we hire one person. We have a very stringent hiring process, and that is a big part of why our company has grown so quickly. My first criterion is that you should be the best in your industry, in the top one percent. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re the best at marketing, storytelling, sponsorship, writing, or sales, we want to look at you. At the same time, I’m also looking for people with high integrity, which is one of the core values in martial arts. We want people who understand and share those values. There are plenty of people who are talented but lack integrity, and those are the kind of people we don’t want to be around. Those who work with ONE Championship are the crème de la crème, from the top to the bottom of the organisation, and that’s how we get the best brands in the world working with us and why we have Temasek, one of Asia’s largest investment companies, as a shareholder.


How do you engage and retain your employees?

There will always be the possibility of somebody leaving for another organisation – that’s just how it is. So your responsibility is to make sure you are giving them the greatest value proposition, and the way to do that is to give them the best opportunities to do the best work of their lives. That’s a promise we give to everybody on our team. ONE Championship and the mixed martial arts industry are exploding, so this is a fantastic opportunity for our people to do their best. If you give me your best, I will give you my best, and the company will give you its best so that you can do amazing things you’ve never done before. We are still a very young company, so people who join us have the chance to really make a very big impact, as opposed to those who join a large corporation with tens of thousands of staff and simply become a cog in the wheel. To me, employee engagement is also an ongoing, everyday effort. I don’t put a lot of emphasis on holding one big party a year, or a major celebration every four months. I think formal initiatives like that can be just token gestures. If people don’t live the brand every day, believe in what they’re doing every day, or understand why they’re doing their job and what they’re a part of, then they are not motivated. Everyone in ONE Championship understands that they are part of something that gets to change the world through the power of martial arts. We are making an impact on the sporting industry and fans’ lives, and creating a whole new set of opportunities and value propositions for businesses. We also travel a lot, and when we are overseas, we do fun activities. With our busy event calendar, we are always on the road at some point; I myself travel four days a week. When we were in Dubai, we went on a desert exploration trip, had a big

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H f o b

LEADERS TALK HR meal together and partied in the middle of the desert. In other countries we have also gone bungee-jumping and particpated in activities that are not necessarily related to martial arts. But sports remain a big theme throughout the organisation; we do a lot of competitive, crazy things like bowling and nerf gun competitions. We are a very flat organisation. I’m very accessible, and we have an open-office concept so everybody can see me and I’m not behind a closed door . The speed of our business also moves very, very fast, so I continually need direct access to people and vice versa, in order for us to make quick decisions.


How closely do you work with your HR team?

Very, very closely. I am directly involved in the HR aspects of ONE Championship. I still interview every single person in the company that we hire, often for the final interview round. Sometimes I even handpick new hires myself. I am continually looking for good people, and I’d say it is kind of my hobby. I like looking around at other people, I like going on LinkedIn, and I like meeting people when I’m at conferences and learning about what they do. I’m always curious to find out what drives them, and whether there is an opportunity for us to work together.


How do you encourage a healthy competitive spirit among your fighters?

That one we don’t have to encourage. It’s naturally there. What you have to remember is, these are athletes who have spent 15 or 20 years of their lives for this moment. Their goal is to challenge themselves to reach the highest level of competition. They want to meet somebody who can challenge them, and they want to fight against the best. That

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is everything they have been building up to in their lives. I love mixed martial arts because it is the only sport in the world where two people can battle each other for 15 minutes and put their heart and soul into it, and then after that, they hug each other. They congratulate each other, thank the opponent for giving them the opportunity to compete, and go to the opponent’s corner and bow to the coach and teammates. After a tough bout, Singapore’s Angela Lee and Japan’s Mei Yamaguchi even posed together for a selfie. That, to me, is what is beautiful about the values of martial arts. We see athletes being humble and respectful. In other sports, particularly in the West, they encourage rule breaking and disrespect: things which are the complete opposite of what the sport of martial arts is about.


What was the most difficult decision you had to make as a leader at ONE Championship?

As a leader in a startup, we are making difficult decisions every day because the company is changing and growing so fast. One of the very first and most difficult decisions in the company was actually just coming up with the name of the organisation. This wasn’t the first choice, and we recognised that we were a new sport and a new organisation, and we were doing something that was going to go across Asia and around the entire world. It had to be a name and brand that people could understand even if English was not their first language. It had to be something that transcended the language and cultural barriers from country to country. So we took a long time to decide, and we finally ended up with the name “ONE”. If you don’t speak English, you usually still understand what the word means.










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All the right When it comes to education and training, no title has been more articulated over the past two years in Singapore than “SkillsFuture�. While the basic premise of SkillsFuture is about building skills, the technicalities behind it can appear more elusive. In this special report, HRM Asia charts the progress of SkillsFuture and its relevance for HR

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TOOLS Sham Majid


ver since it made its “debut” in Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2014 National Day Rally Speech, the “SkillsFuture” programme has been ever-present, its title appearing in subsequent rallies, budget statements, and ministerial dialogues. The name has been plastered online, in newspapers and on television screens, made airwaves on radio, and has even appeared on bus-stop advertisements. But despite being the talk of the town, and having been a part of the Singaporean fabric for two years already, SkillsFuture remains an enigma to many business leaders and HR professionals. With thousands of courses, programmes and initiatives involved, it has proven difficult to grasp what options are both relevant and available to each individual organisation. So what exactly is SkillsFuture? Even Singapore Government ministers acknowledge that the platform is so broad, different people will have different interpretations of it. Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung says many people associate SkillsFuture with the SkillsFuture Credit scheme, the $500 offered to every Singaporean aged over 25 years, for them to enrol in training and development courses of their liking, either learning new skills or upgrading their current skillsets. “But the Credit (scheme) is only a small, though important, part of

Training providers reap rewards

With training providers also forming a key part of the overall SkillsFuture movement, training firms specialising in HR courses are witnessing a surge in business. David Ang, Director of Human Capital Singapore, says the Continuing Education and Training provider has around 45 modules offered in the SkillsFuture Credit directory. He estimates there has been a 10-15% increase in business revenue since the platform was launched. Lithan, a digital skills training provider, says it has witnessed a 35% increase in its student enrolments over the same period. “Twenty-two percent of the increase can be directly attributed to students who have used their SkillsFuture Credit to help pay for their course fees,” says Leslie Loh, CEO and Founder of Lithan. “The increase in student enrolments has resulted in increased revenue.”

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COVER STORY SkillsFuture,” he wrote in a Straits Times commentary piece in April. “What is SkillsFuture? Not a funding scheme, a training programme, or an organisation,” he wrote. “Mastery, meritocracy, and ‘you’ – that is what SkillsFuture is about.”

What is SkillsFuture? HRM Asia has had its own attempt to make sense of the complex, but ultimately comprehensive web of SkillsFuture. We see it as a never-ending cycle. It is a national platform that will enable all Singaporeans – at whatever their starting point, be it age or career phase – to plot their own pathway to a brighter future, by developing themselves to their fullest potential. It is a platform that will pave the way for Singaporeans to continue retooling themselves through skills development: there is no end destination to this journey. Assisting this re-tooling of skillsets is a diverse ecosystem of education and training, employer recognition, and an attempt to build a nationwide culture of lifelong learning.

A well-planned history Initially tasked with leading the SkillsFuture “movement” was the SkillsFuture Council, with Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam as its Chairman. The SkillsFuture Council got the ball rolling by holding its first-ever meeting on November 5, 2014. On May 20 this year, the SkillsFuture Council and the National Productivity Council were officially replaced by the Council for Skills, Innovation, and Productivity (CSIP). DPM Tharman again chairs this council, which comprises of 26 members from the Government, industry, unions, and educational and training institutions. In addition, a new statutory baord under the Ministry of Education was recently officially launched. SkillsFuture

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What about foreign employees? The key objective of SkillsFuture is to upgrade the skillsets of the Singaporean workforce specifically. But while SkillsFuture is for Singaporeans, organisations comprise of both local and foreign staff. That means HR departments will have to balance this national programme against the need to offer training and career development opportunities to all employees regardless of nationality. Rachel Foo, Chief HR Officer for Nielsen in Southeast Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific, says HR Professionals will have their work cut out in ensuring opportunities are also available to foreign employees in Singapore. She says one key challenge for the HR community is to carefully manage the diverse workforce in Singapore, with its healthy mixture of both locals and foreign staff.

Singapore is tasked with driving and coordinating the implementation of Skills Future.

SkillsFuture nuts and bolts Two core components epitomise SkillsFuture: skills mastery and lifelong learning. Skills mastery refers to attaining deep skillsets in whichever craft one chooses. This notion goes way beyond simply excelling at one’s job and having paper qualifications. “Skills mastery is more than being good at what you do currently; it is a mindset of continually striving towards greater excellence through knowledge, application and experience,” the SkillsFuture website states. Lifelong learning, meanwhile, refers to an endless quest for knowledge and the inculcation of skills. Underpinning SkillsFuture are various programmes and initiatives including SkillsFuture Credit. This aims to encourage individuals to take ownership of their skills advancement at all stages of their careers and lives. In January this year, all Singaporeans aged 25 and over received an opening credit of S$500, which will not expire. The credit can be utilised in addition to


Employees MID CAREER

Disclaimer: Infographic is provided as a guide only.

Employers iN.LEARN 2020


Training Providers


iN.LEARN 2020




Not all SkillsFuture programmes and initiatives are included.
















For Singaporean Citizens

Aged 25 years and above

Get an initial credit of $500

Programmes and Initiative

The SKILLSFUTURE Tree current course subsidies to pay for a wide array of approved skills-related courses. The Singapore Government will also provide periodic top-ups to ensure individuals can accumulate their credit over time. The other part of SkillsFuture entails programmes and initiatives for individuals. These are further grouped into six recipient categories: students,

Did you know? As of October 17 this year, there were a total of 1,535 search results for HR courses being offered under the SkillsFuture Credit programme. Programmes range from part-time diplomas and professional certificates, to Masters and doctorate-level courses.

employees (early career), employees (mid-career onwards), employers, training providers, and the Learning Throughout Life platform, that will target all learners.

Specific programmes SkillsFuture is all about skills, training, and lifelong learning, so you can’t run away from the fact that HR departments will be naturally involved across the board. Having said that, there are some

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COVER STORY programmes within the SkillsFuture platform that have more direct and immediate connections to those charged with developing skills on an organisational level. One of these highly-relevant programmes is P-Max, which is especially useful for SMEs looking to hire talented professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs) who can bring a whole new range of skillsets and expertise. This is a place-and-train programme that seeks to assist SMEs in screening and matching appropriate job-searching PMEs for specific vacancies. Participating SMEs will be afforded training in areas such as progressive HR practices, effective communication, and how to collaborate with newlyrecruited PMEs. In addition, SMEs that succesfully complete a six-month post training follow-up and retain their newly hired PMEs will be eligible for a one-off “Assistance Grant” of S$5,000. SMEs can also tap onto the SkillsFuture Mentors programme to assist in their development efforts. This seeks to improve SMEs’ competencies in learning and development, and to beef up their value propositions as employers of choice, furnishing positive career advancement and growth prospects for candidates. The mentors will help participating SMEs improve their frameworks and processes in learning and development, and will also coach managers and supervisors in enhanced training delivery methods. Shortlisted professionals undergo a panel interview before being chosen as mentors. Those who are selected will undertake an orientation course before they are matched with SMEs. Another initiative especially pertinent to HR is the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme. This entails a place-and-train scheme for fresh polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates. It aims to provide these young talents with prospects to continue their learning via both structured on-the-job training and

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Baking classes, anyone? The assertion by Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), that SkillsFuture Credit goes beyond picking up employer-supported skills captures the beauty behind SkillsFuture. SkillsFuture is not just solely about upgrading the skills which are relevant to one’s career; it can also be about picking up new ones. For example, people can use their credit to sign up for baking courses, pottery classes, coffee barista skills lessons and even sewing classes.

institution-based training. Fresh graduates will undergo a 12- to 18-month structured training programme, depending on the sector and job requirements. To be on this programme, applicants need to be shortlisted and interviewed by participating employers. Successful candidates will be offered a job with competitive industry starting wages and relevant staff benefits. The starting salary is dependent on the job role as well as the employer. Those who finish this programme will obtain industry-recognised qualifications, and a S$5,000 signon incentive for joining their host companies. Amid the fierce talent warfare, this programme allows businesses to differentiate themselves by leveraging on young talents who have a burning desire to prove that age and inexperience are not insurmountable obstacles. Two programmes place a particularly strong emphasis on skills mastery, enabling HR to groom talents specifically in niche areas.

The SkillsFuture Fellowships, which took effect this year, acknowledge and develop Singaporeans with deep skills. These skills will have been acquired through significant work experience in the same industry or occupation, and recipients will also have a track record of contribution to the skills development of others, such as being a coach or mentor. The fellowship provides a cash award of $10,000 to 100 individuals annually for them to tackle a mix of education and training options in their chosen fields. The SkillsFuture Study Awards, meanwhile, are for individuals in their early and mid-level careers. They provide S$5,000 to the individual recipients to further develop their skills in future growth clusters. The $5,000 can be utilised to defray out-of-pocket expenses associated with the courses taken. Growth and priority sectors identified by the Government include advanced manufacturing, smart urban solutions, hospitality, social services, and early childhood education. Another initiative under SkillsFuture, the Industry Manpower Plans (IMP), aims to plot a detailed roadmap for different economic sectors, including HR itself. Each IMP will aim to identify the future skills required, and formulate a blueprint for advancing those skillsets in the local workforce. The IMP will also map out skillsbased career progression pathways and suggest ways to improve HR practices and working conditions in each sector. The IMP is managed by a Sectoral Tripartite Committee, made up of representatives of relevant employers, unions, and the Government. So far, IMPs have been unveiled for the Hotel, Retail, Built Environment, Public Bus, and Food Services sectors. In September last year, the HR Sectoral Tripartite Committee was formed with the brief of developing the HR Sectoral Manpower Plan, a key initiative of which is the National HR Professional Certification Framework which is due to be launched in the middle of next year.

COVER STORY Views from the HR community

What does it all mean for HR? According to Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary General of the National Trades Union Congress, there are two key aspects of SkillsFuture for HR to watch out for. “There are SkillsFuture programmes such as Earn and Learn as well as others that employers can utilise to strengthen the Singaporean core and local manpower in this tight labour market,” he says. Tay notes that SkillsFuture Credit will also have flow-on effects for HR teams focused on skills development. “This will encourage individuallyinitiated training to ensure workers stay ready, relevant and resilient,” he says. “It goes beyond picking up employersupported skills, and the credits will help workers stay productive, engaged and employable.” On that front, it is worth noting that the SkillsFuture Credit is only for individual-initiated training. HR departments are not allowed to meddle with an individual’s credit. Employers are not allowed to direct staff to use their credit on any particular course or training. “It (SkillsFuture Credit) is not intended to pay for training provided by employers, which should continue to be borne by employers,” the SkillsFuture website says.

ST Engineering signs up Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the then Singapore Workforce Development Agency last year, signalling its support for the SkillsFuture platform. The organisation will sponsor at least 100 technical employees in the Skills Future Earn and Learn programme over the next three years. The selected staff will undertake training in Aerospace Engineering, Marine Engineering, Precision Engineering, Logistics Management and InfoComm Technology. They will receive both classroom and structured on-the-job training, eventually earning industry-recognised qualifications. To further advance the careers of its staff, the firm will also nominate its experienced employees to garner deep-specialised skills through the SkillsFuture Study Awards and the SkillsFuture Fellowships.

While overwhelmingly positive, the HR community in Singapore is still unsure about how the SkillsFuture platform will work in practice. This was the key message espoused by several senior HR practitioners that HRM Asia reached out to for this report. Rachel Foo, Chief HR Officer for Nielsen in Southeast Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific, says more needs to be done to ensure that the larger HR community is aware of how the programmes are evolving, so HR professionals can integrate their companies’ internal development plans with the broader national agenda. “It is a matter of more active engagement of the employers and HR community, and to some extent, engaging the employees to gather more inputs,” says Foo. She explains her organisation is still trying to understand more on how it can leverage and support its associates’ development. James Foo, Head of Group HR at ABR Holdings, says both he and a majority of his HR counterparts are confused about the SkillsFuture Credit initiative in particular. “Although the HR community is aware of the basic information, there is confusion pertaining to the unknown ‘periodic top-ups’ in terms of the timing and credit amounts involved,” he says. “It would be helpful if the top-up credit and timeframes could be made transparent early, which would allow Singaporeans to better plan which course(s) they want to use the credits for.” Eddy Neo, HR Director, Ingersoll Rand, says SkillsFuture is not yet on his “professional radar screen”. “I see this more as a personal skillupgrading effort that is individuallydriven (by workers themselves),” he says. “They are free to pursue their own areas of upgrading, without having to ensure alignment to their job.”

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Medical technology provider Medtronic aims to be connected to the wants and needs of its customers. Lorraine Parker-Clegg, the organisation’s Vice President of HR in Asia-Pacific, says that demands a higher level of accountability across all of its staff and functions Sham Majid


edtronic makes it a point to regularly invite its consumers on to its premises. Lorraine Parker-Clegg, Vice President of HR for the medical device maker’s Asia-Pacific region, says there is a simple, yet powerful reason behind the policy. “We bring in patients to speak to us about how their lives have been impacted, by our therapies ” she says.

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Taking into account that Medtronic’s mission is to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life, this gesture is anything but a piece of tokenism. Rather, Parker-Clegg says it gives employees a strong, positive sense of purpose and a reason to come to work every day. Ultimately, Parker-Clegg stresses that these visits are a stark reminder that her organisation is serving a sizeable proportion of peoples’ lives. Referring to Medtronic’s underlying motto of “Let’s take healthcare further, together”, she says the organisation’s lifework is about furthering together with its patients, customers and employees.

Coping with change Although Medtronic is steeped in history, having been founded in 1949, January last year was a significant month for the organisation. That was when the conglomerate acquired Covidien, an Irish-based global

healthcare products company and manufacturer of medical devices and supplies. Parker-Clegg, who was part of the initial Covidien set-up, hails the transaction as a “rather momentous occasion”. “It was probably one of the largest medical device acquisitions that has taken place, and it has brought together a superpower organisation now,” she says. Medtronic now consists of four divisions: the Diabetes Group, the Cardiac and Vascular Group, the Restorative Therapies Group, and the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group. The acquisition came with a host of complex challenges, not least in terms of both organisations having distinct cultures. Parker-Clegg says fusing the two organisations into one entity was, in a word only, “challenging”. The merged company reframed its leadership expectations and crafted

AT A GLANCE Number of employees: - 300 in Mapletree Business City - 367 in Changi facility Size of the HR Team: - 16 HR employees in Singapore - 5 in Asia-Pacific roles - 7 in Southeast Asia roles - 4 in HR Manufacturing Key HR Focus Area: - Graduate development (“acquire early, develop faster, and keep longer”)

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HR INSIDER specific behaviours it expected its employees to operate within. These behaviours cascaded out of a very meaningful mission that’s been around since the inception of Medtronic. “Those four key leadership expectations are: to shape, engage, innovate and achieve,” says ParkerClegg. “That underpins what we ask of how people get their work done.”

Upskilling in a complex world Operating in such a niche field, the HR team at Medtronic focuses on very specific business priorities. Most importantly, it exists to serve the specific healthcare needs of each of the markets it operates within. These needs are segmented according to the demographics of each country’s population, with each country facing very different healthcare issues. For example, the healthcare needs of emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent stand in stark contrast to the mature markets that Medtronic handles: Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. “We’re living in volatile and uncertain times; it’s a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment,” says Parker-Clegg. The organisation therefore needs to work hard to furnish staff with different skill sets. A key element of this is Medtronic’s Organistion and Talent Planning, a

yearly people-planning process that commences around August. Parker-Clegg and her team translate the organisation’s strategic plan into a set of meaningful capability needs that aim to drive the business over the coming five years. Emerging from that will be a series of required activities, to be driven from the organisation level and requiring organisational development initiatives. “We then bring that right down to a individual-level, looking right through to items such as succession planning and personal development opportunities,” says Parker-Clegg. Each employee has a development plan and this is refreshed twice a year.

Acquire early With healthcare needs being high and diverse across countries, it is perhaps not surprising that Medtronic’s human capital requirements also vary between developed and emerging markets, something Parker-Clegg describes as “a tale of two cities”. For instance, retention levels in developed markets are generally far more stable than those in emerging markets. According to Parker-Clegg, Medtronic’s key recruitment challenge revolves around finding graduate-entry candidates with backgrounds in science. As an organisation dealing with medical devices, technology is obviously a vital component. Medtronic therefore has a clear focus on Research and

Cheem chats Health and wellness form an important part of medical technology provider Medtronic’s employee engagement policies. That even extends to Singapore’s favourite pastime, eating out. One of the organisation’s initiatives, known as “Cheem Chat”, takes place at lunchtime on a Friday, and usually entails a group of five self-selected employees who come together with one of the company’s business leaders. “The teams are encouraged to do something fun and the whole purpose is to meet the executive team from here in a different way,” Lorraine Parker-Clegg, Vice President of HR, Medtronic Asia-Pacific, says.

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Development staff, as well as roles in its specialised sales areas. Another of Medtronic’s key HR goals is to get a better grasp on the graduate talent market. This fundamental HR strategy is divided into three pillars: acquire early, develop faster, and keep longer. “The ‘acquire early’ is our major opportunity of how we gear ourselves up to do a better job of graduate-entry hiring,” says Parker-Clegg. “Our analysis has proven that we do a lot of hiring of those who have two to three years’ experience, and that we haven’t had the opportunity to hire at the graduate-entry level,” says ParkerClegg. Hence, she and her team are actively focusing on ways to better liaise with universities across Asia over the next 18 months. They hope to better facilitate rapid and fluid career movements of millennial employees both into and around the organisation.

Scaling mountains Parker-Clegg says career “ladders” were part and parcel of the advancement process during the early stages of her working life. However, she says today’s working world requires a more creative approach. Instead of a single direction ladder, she likens career journeys, and acquiring all the skills that will help along the way, to climbing a mountain. “Sometimes you have to go sideways to be able to go up,” she says firmly. “Occasionally, you also have to go down to be able to go up.” This was the rationale behind Medtronic’s decision to launch its Career Development Framework. This zooms in on the “what” and employees’ performance, and “how” its alignment with the organisation’s leadership expectations. Parker-Clegg and her team analyse the gaps on employees’ career journeys and help plot out the requirements for staff to develop the necessary skills and



LORRAINE PARKER-CLEGG Vice President, HR, Asia-Pacific

LOKE YIN LENG Senior HR Director, Total Rewards

Senior Compensation Analyst

experiences to excel further in those journeys.

Signature Series With Medtronic having undergone a significant transition over the last 18 months, training and development efforts are also undergoing restructuring. One key training programme that was piloted last month targeted highestpotential managers. This programme was developed as part of Medtronic’s Signature Series umbrella programme of talent development initiatives. Nominations for this and other Signature Series programmes emanate from the Organisation and Talent Planning programme. In addition, Medtronic offers training programmes for all employees under the even wider umbrella of career development.

A pulse approach Fresh thinking has also been adopted within the employee engagement space at Medtronic. The organisation has embarked on what’s been dubbed as a “pulse approach” to keeping staff connected with their work and enthusiastic about the organisation’s journey. This entails sampling a segment of the organisation on every “pulse”, and producing a quarterly update.



HR Shared Services


HR Senior Specialist, Learning & Development

“This enables us to keep in touch,” says Parker-Clegg. Leaders are expected to draw insights and subsequently produce 30, 60 and 90-day action plans of how they are going to address the issues raised by staff.

Intrinsic and extrinsic factors Given the integration of Covidien into Medtronic, there were some contrasts in compensation and benefits practice. Historically, Medtronic had marketbased pay increases in contrast to Covidien which had merit-based pay systems. Hence, Medtronic is now in the process of training its managers to undertake new tasks with each of their employees. “One is to determine ‘what’ and ‘how’ goals for all staff. Performance against these will drive the merit increases someone gets,” Parker-Clegg says. This is a new process, which is set to be enacted with the first appraisals in July next year. In order to tackle retention, Medtronic takes a two-pronged approach of ensuring that salaries are at a competitive level, while also making sure employees have access to a manager and are able to regularly discuss their career. Parker-Clegg says employees

NICHOLAS ONG Principal, Talent Management & Development


Senior HR Director

should be firmly aware that Medtronic represents an abundance of professional opportunities for them. “We’re really trying to train and educate our managers to be able to get these ideas across,” she says.

Moving out and about For an organisation that prides itself on health, it is fitting that wellness provides the cornerstone of its internal activities. For example, employees enjoy a game of floorball on certain nights, with Parker-Clegg, a former field hockey player, especially enjoying the battles on court. Medtronic recently moved to a new office in Pasir Panjang, outside the central business district of Singapore. Parker-Clegg says that has meant the company is able to plan more of these recreation activities, given the abundance of facilities now available locally. In fact, the company has already formed a social and wellness committee to explore possible activities for staff to participate in. One such regular event was the first “wellness walks” which were inaugurated recently. These see staff pop on their training shoes and head for a late afternoon walk around the nearby Labrador Park.

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The softer side of MBAs

The traditional Masters of Business Administration is still the benchmark academic programme that employers of leadership talent expect. But along with the real world project management experience, communication skills are fast becoming required learning. HRM Asia looks at how programmes are tweaking their content towards the softer skills in business


hen it comes to leadership, there remains a single, universally-recognised qualification that almost all businesses and organisations demand of their highest office bearers. The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is considered the benchmark of leadership development, and the flagship training product of business schools the world over, whether it is in the US, Europe, or Asia-Pacific. But that doesn’t mean MBAs cannot or do not change. On the contrary, one of their most favoured attributes is the fact that courses will often change according to the prevailing business environment. As we move into a period of near-constant uncertainty, the standard MBA programme is again updating itself, to take account of the so-called “VUCA” environment – one of high volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. MBAs are still a vital part of a leader’s continuing development, but most programmes are now updating their curricula to include more soft skills training in particular.

Communication – both listening and being heard - flexibility, resilience, and the ability to deal with people are now just as important, if not more so, than the “hard” skills of financial accounting and business law. Jacky Bailey, an Australia-based leadership development consultant, says it is now recognised that the ability to deal with people and changing business conditions is key to taking organisations to their full potential and beyond. “Soft skills like empathy, resilience, communication, and self-awareness are increasingly vital for leaders and their organisations,” she says. She uses the example of a heart surgeon to help explain the difference between hard and soft skills, and the growing importance of the latter for businesses today. While there is no doubt a heart surgeon has critical skills and experience, and faces a high pressure environment on a daily basis, Bailey says their work is a “known” quantity. ISSUE 16.10


EXECUTIVE EDUCATION “Heart surgeons have all the facts and knowledge they need ahead of every operation,” she says. “Leaders today are operating in a constantly changing environment. They need to make decisions based on incomplete information and a host of ‘unknown’ factors.” It is the softer skills that help leaders to drive those decisions in the now-ever-present VUCA environment.

Soft skills training today Bailey says soft skills have been part of the world’s leading MBAs for a long time, but other providers are now beginning to catch up. Still, she says there are two very different approaches to offering this training. Most preferred are the courses that offer some form of experiential learning, she says. This could involve simulations, case studies, or projects: anything that takes students out of the classroom and into the real world environment where business decisions are actually made. While the theory behind soft skills, and their place in organisations today can also be taught in a traditional, academic setting, Bailey says the value of that knowledge lies in its practical application Soft skills do not come naturally for many leaders. So having the chance to practice them in a controlled setting is vital. “Having only theory can sometimes actually get in the way of the practice,” Bailey warns.

MBAs in Asia Practical training in soft skills has become a key component of MBA programmes locally in Singapore and around the AsiaPacific region. SIM University, for example, offers a range of specialisation programmes within its MBAs, including two important specialisation options. The Experiential Project and Management Communication courses are designed to provide that important dimension of business practicality to students’ MBA studies, along with

effective communications and ethical reinforcement. SIM University says the courses span the full duration of the MBA programme and includes social outreach initiatives, an integrative report on business ethics, a business simulation exercise, and a series of management communication workshops. MBA students at SIM University can also undertake its Data Analytics for Decision Making course, which aims to give them a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the process of business analytics. Through this course,participants gain key skills in turning big data into actionable insights that can be used to improve organisation performance. The Singapore Institute of Management Global Education offers an MBA programme in conjunction with the University of Birmingham. This programme focuses on the globalised world of business today, and ensures students have an international perspective to their learning. Also in Singapore, the Nanyang MBA, by Nanyang Business School, offers a globally-accredited one-year programme with a schedule designed to fit around those working full-time. It has a dedicated focus on business in the Asian region, and requires participants to also undergo the comprehensive Leading People Globally leadership course. Students also have option to undertake a Business Study Mission, either locally or in another country. The National University of Singapore’s MBA features a critical Management Communication module, which is a customdesigned experiential learning initiative. Based in a corporate retreat setting, the module is an intense, but rewarding experience that pushes students to grapple with situations far outside their comfort zones. Further afield, the University of Hong Kong highlights the growing importance of China to the world economy. Students of its MBA programme complete at least one month of the course in Beijing, as well as nine months in Hong Kong. The last four months of the 14-month programme can be spent studying in Shanghai, New York, London, or Hong Kong.

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Asia’s best MBAs

Business news weekly The Economist recently published its annual rankings of Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes from around the world. Based on thousands of in-person interviews with MBA graduates, students, prospective enrolments, and the business schools themselves, the report highlighted the growing diversity of programmes around the world. Soft skills are increasingly in demand, and more business schools and universities are also offering a wider variety of MBA specialisations, in areas such as change management and Big Data. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business was again named

the world’s best-ranked MBA is the latest research, ahead of Northwestern University’ Kellogg School of Management (second in 2016) and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (third in 2016) which swapped places this year. In fact, the US education system was home to the first seven-ranked MBA providers. The Asia-Pacific region did get a mention in the Top 10, with the University of Queensland Business School ranked 10th in the world. INSEAD, which has a key campus in Singapore, was ranked 13th in 2016, while Nanyang Business School was the highest-ranked purely Singapore-based school.

Source: The Economist WhichMBA

Global ranking

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10 The University of Queensland Business School



France and Singapore

31 University of Hong Kong – Faculty of Business and Economics

Hong Kong

34 University of Melbourne – Melbourne Business School


46 Macquarie Graduate School of Management


69 Nanyang Technological University – Nanyang Business School


70 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – HKUST Business School

Hong Kong

92 Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad


98 Sun Yat-sen University – Sun Yat-sen Business School


99 National University of Singapore – The NUS Business School



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The global MBA in Singapore

Prospective Master of Business Administration (MBA) students have a lot of options in Singapore. The University of Birmingham’s MBA, delivered through SIM GE, provides vital international perspective on modern business practices


im Chiap Howe is an area marketing manager for marine services provider MacGregor in Singapore. His role with the multinational sees him working with a wide range of stakeholders from all over the world and the career ladder ahead of him will naturally involve a highly international outlook on the business. He is not alone. As the world becomes more interconnected, and businesses and markets are frequently called on to cross borders, even SMEs are taking on a global perspective. It’s a phenomenon that Lim recognised early, so when it came to undertaking a Master of Business Administration (MBA) course last year, he looked specifically for a school and course that could offer a global outlook. The University of Birmingham’s programme (the Birmingham MBA), offered through Singapore Institute of Management Global Education (SIM GE) provided that “Global Edge” that he and hundreds of Asia-Pacific based business

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leaders have been seeking out in particular. “It’s about having a global perspective, and understanding that whilst the world is borderless, it presents diversity in perspectives,” Lim says.

Getting ahead in a global economy

The Birmingham MBA is designed for working professionals who wish to develop good business acumen, and are also looking to gain more exposure in managing the different fundamental aspects of business in the context of a global environment. Professor Derek Condon, Director of Internationalisation and MBA Programmes with the Birmingham Business School, says the Birmingham MBA is based on a two-year, flexible part-time format. Students in Singapore complete 12 taught modules, up to six per academic year, as well as a formal dissertation. “Each module is taught over a week and comprises lectures, case study analysis, and group activities,” Professor Condon says. “Modules are taught in the weekday evenings and on weekends for three and eight hours respectively.”

Global programme, local delivery

The Birmingham MBA has been offered in Singapore for over 20 years and is one of the 30 largest MBA programmes available locally. It is ranked in the Top 100 of the Financial Times Global MBA rankings in 2016, and the university is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of UK universities, in which cutting-edge research is consistently fed into the teaching offered. The course also has an excellent track record, with over 85% of graduates in Singapore earning a merit or distinction grade in 2015. The Birmingham MBA in Singapore combines the university’s respected brand and teaching quality with SIM GE’s technologically-advanced infrastructure, support services, and knowledge of local and regional markets. “Modules are fully-taught and supported by the Birmingham academic team, who are highly respected academics, teachers, and seasoned practitioners in their fields of expertise,” Professor Condon says. The local programme also offers a valued emphasis on professional networking.

Professor Condon says students leverage off each other’s experience to deepen their understanding of modern business practices across a wide range of industries. Graduates are also part of the Birmingham Business School alumni community, with exclusive access to an extensive collection of e-resources including journals, trade publications, and industry reports. For Lim Chiap Howe, these networking opportunities were a vital part of the MBA experience. “SIM GE is about the diversity of people we interact with. There is a lot of sharing and input from everybody so you will gain insights into differing perspectives and learn,” he says. Lim adds that the curriculum was steeped in real-world business issues, something he was able to apply immediately in his work at MacGregor. “The education at SIM GE is very broad; the lecturers use case studies to illustrate how business principles and theories are applied in the workplace,” he says. “There are also many cross-cultural experiences to be gained through peer learning.”


Should HR inform employees if they are monitoring their social media accounts?


sing social media for business communication, other than social engagements, is now the norm. When employees use their personal social media accounts to communicate their perspectives, lifestyle choices, personal stances on politics, company issues, and so on, it can potentially have an impact on the company’s branding and credibility in the industry. If an employee’s negatively expressed opinions are further propagated through the general public, it can have a deep and long-lasting impact on the company’s reputation. All employees are ambassadors of the organisation they work for, whether during or outside of work. Any organisation must keep their employees informed of the reasons and policies for the need to monitor their social media accounts, including how this is implemented. It is therefore best to keep these policies open and transparent in a continuous

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effort to maintain the trust between the company and staff. Adopting and communicating a Code of Business Conduct can help provide a guide about acceptable behaviours. It is important to establish the boundaries upfront so that employees can understand the reasons behind the monitoring of their internet usage. Alternatively, some companies may prefer to communicate the same through their employee handbook, specific rules of engagement for social media. Not complying with the established policies may result in disciplinary actions.

Carol Quek

Head of HR Business Partners, Group HR,CrimsonLogic

Ask our HR experts. Email your questions to




receptionist at a large, international charity received an email from a supplier who seemed familiar to her. Attached was a legitimate-looking invoice, which she opened without suspicion. Unbeknownst to her, the PDF file went on to infect the network with “ransomware”, a programme that blocks all access to the system until a sum of money is paid. The April incident threatened the entire non-profit organisation’s functionality, as the ransomware was also designed to read and encrypt internal files. Forged emails like these are one type of sophisticated phishing attack by

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In today’s rapidly evolving cyber-security landscape, organisations can’t afford to limit their defence to only external attacks. Internal threats stemming from employee actions also need to be dealt with, through coordinated efforts between HR and the IT department Fiona Lam

cyber-criminals who are able to mimic the writing styles of people an employee knows, thus encouraging them to open attachments or click on malicious links. “Even the best-trained employees are vulnerable to these forms of socially engineered attacks,” reads a report by online security firm Darktrace, which helped the charity in the aftermath of

the attack. Darktrace was able to flag the receptionist’s computer for anomalous behaviour when it contacted a Ukrainian server to download the strange file, and the company quickly contacted the charity to take the infected computer offline. Such cases of insider threats –


“People are not just a company’s greatest asset but also their biggest vulnerability” Eric Mayer, CEO, Apvera greatest asset but also their biggest vulnerability,” he says.

Within the firewall

where an employee’s action exposes the company to cyber-attacks – have unfortunately become the rule in organisations today, rather than the exception. Given the increasingly complex security landscape and growing sophistication of cyber-criminals, traditional perimeter defences are no longer enough to protect a network. Companies now need to look inward as well, and strengthen their defences against insider threats. Eric Mayer, CEO of Apvera, which offers a cyber threat intelligence platform, says more and more cybersecurity breaches these days have been proven to be employee-related. “People are not just a company’s

Last year, large global companies including JP Morgan Chase, T-Mobile and Sony were hit by massive data breaches originating from within the organisations themselves. Most security tools today focus on identifying malware-initiated attacks, but insider breaches are committed by employees with valid data access privileges. “Insiders already have access to your network, understand security protocols, and have permissions to access sensitive data,” says Meyer. Tiffany See, Vice President of HR, Commercial Sales, for Asia-Pacific at data storage provider Dell EMC, says even when companies have the latest security controls and software, there are still risks. “All it takes it just one click from an uninformed employee to give access to threat actors and circumvent the technologies,” she says. Vital to addressing such risks is to proactively monitor user activity and flag alerts for unusual behaviour. One major insider threat comes from the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that many organisations have in place, allowing staff to use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops at work. This combines dangerously with a laissez-faire attitude that many staff have toward cyber-security in their personal lives. In a Singapore poll, digital security company Gemalto found that employees across the country look for the quickest

and easiest way to do things online – even if it puts systems at risk. “Out of 76% (of 500 respondents) who use personal devices to access work emails, only half were required by their company to implement security measures such as regularly changing passwords,” says Yeo Eng Sheng, Gemalto’s HR Director for Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Japan. More than 45% of respondents had also downloaded an unverified app onto a work device, with one-third doing so without the knowledge of their IT department. In addition, almost half of Singapore workers had not gone through any security training in the workplace. New types of attacks are also catching staff, and their employers, unawares. Due to the growing Internet of Things movement, non-traditional technologies – anything from connected coffee machines and printers, to airconditioning and biometric sensors – are now also being exploited by cybercriminals. They are able to jump into corporate networks unobserved via these otherwise typical devices. “Most organisations do not recognise the true breadth of their digital businesses,” Sanjay Aurora, Managing Director for Asia-Pacific at Darktrace says. “The number of connected devices on their networks is often grossly underestimated.”

HR and IT: A dynamic duo While insider threats cannot be completely removed, effective employee management can curtail much of the risk. HR hence needs to partner with ISSUE 16.11


CYBER-SECURITY both senior management and the IT department to prevent human vulnerabilities from being exploited. “Nobody can constantly watch what employees are doing – unless you use a technology to help you detect, analyse, and engage possible threats,” says Meyer. For India-headquartered telecommunications solutions provider Tata Communications, HR practitioners play a role in building a sustainable security culture.

This starts right from the recruitment process. “A thorough background check helps eliminate prospective threats right at the start,” says Aadesh Goyal, Global Head of HR. The learning and training team also puts all employees through mandatory online and on-ground training programmes in information security, Goyal says. HR’s role at the company also extends to investigating potential internal threats and reporting to the IT

What are insider threats? Employee-related cyber-security vulnerabilities can come in two forms. The first is when disaffected staff members deliberately try to sabotage the organisation. Seeing as HR is responsible for understanding employee behaviour, it is typically best placed to spot the early warning signs of disloyalty. Insider threat also occurs when well-intentioned employees make an honest mistake, such as accidentally sharing classified information on social media. In these cases, HR can make sure employees are regularly educated. James Carder, Chief Information Security Officer at LogRhythm, says the biggest challenge usually lies in identifying insider threat. “Hackers don’t just sit in front of a computer to break into your system; they try to blend into your environment and pose as a regular employee,” he says. “If you don’t understand the behaviours of your business and your employees, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to detect an insider threat.”

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and legal departments. Dutch firm Gemalto, which employs 1,400 people in Singapore, is also concerned about internal threats. Its online security team joins forces with HR to ensure employees are aware of the threats and take preventive steps to minimise the company’s exposure to them. “Our HR is also part of the investigation team for suspected or actual breaches, and metes out disciplinary actions,” says Yeo. Gemalto staff wear badges engraved with a set of eight cyber-security tips, for them to refer to when unsure about best practices. All employees are also required to attend annual updated security briefings and take online quizzes. Comprehensive security briefings are conducted for new Gemalto hires during their orientation. “Here, HR plays the important role of an educator and enforcer, by dispensing security guidelines, teaching secure practices to employees, identifying security gaps, and monitoring suspicious behaviours,” Yeo says. Similarly, at Dell EMC, the HR team works with the cyber-security team to educate and train all employees. This includes compulsory training sessions to build awareness, and formal procedures for reporting suspicious activity. These measures complement the security systems that help prevent third-party intrusions and inadvertent unauthorised access to sensitive information. “We collaborate to transform our people from security liabilities, into security assets,” says See. Specifically, team members must complete an online training module about privacy and data protection awareness every year “Training users and raising awareness of risks is the low-hanging fruit in shoring up an organisation’s security posture,” See says. See’s HR team also works with the IT department to make sure both sides

CYBER-SECURITY stay up to date on the latest scams and vulnerabilities. When IT detects unusual employee behaviour, it can work with HR to understand the issue, update training, and look for tools that can help mitigate any risks. “Collaboration is essential. Approaching security in silos will mean vital information is not shared, making the organisation vulnerable,” See says. Dell’s HR also uses innovative learning approaches, such as gamification. See says this improves information retention and keeps employees interested in the training. Likewise, security intelligence and analytics firm LogRhythm also offers a fresh, “fun” take on its security awareness programmes, according to its Chief Information Security Officer James Carder. The company uses a combination of humorous training videos, quizzes, and real-world exercises for its employees. “We drop USB drives containing malicious code all over campus (the company’s office complex), and the code lets us know if you plug it in and if you click on any of the malicious code we installed,” says Carder. LogRhythm has also faked a wireless access point with the same name as a local hotel chain, to see if employees would connect to it and submit their

username and password as credentials. “Our elaborate exercises are starting to get famous,” Carder says. “No one at LogRhythm will plug in a USB drive they don’t recognise, they’ll triple check and often won’t connect to guest wireless networks, and they definitely won’t be fooled by fake phishing emails.”

Getting it wrong However, despite the prevalence of highprofile breaches in recent years, some organisations still believe they will never be hacked. “Any company is fair game,” says See from Dell EMC. Other mistakes in managing cybersecurity include: allowing employees to share passwords, thinking IT professionals are necessarily also cybersecurity professionals, and not testing employee behaviour. At times, companies also ignore “shadow IT”, or devices and software that the IT department does not manage because they are brought in by staff under BYOD policies or to help them with their work, See says. Many employers do not understand what goes into effective cyber-security programmes, the experts HRM Asia spoke with confirmed. Most enterprises spend a majority of their security budget on prevention

“Our elaborate exercises are starting to get famous. No one at LogRhythm will plug in a USB drive they don’t recognise and they definitely won’t be fooled by fake phishing emails ”

measures – such as firewalls, strong user authentication, intrusion prevention, and antivirus systems, says Meyer from Apvera. But successful hackers have long-since figured out how to beat these systems. Compounding the challenge is the possibility of “artificial intelligence attacks” in the future, cautions Darktrace’s Aurora. These imitate network users and blend easily into the “noise” of a busy network. “To combat new threats, organisations need a new security model, one that can anticipate and respond immediately to any type of threat,” Meyer says.

All-round strategy The surge in insider threats and escalating costs of breaches have forced C-suite leaders and HR to recognise cyber-security as part of an organisation’s broader risk management framework. Buy-in from senior management is vital. Security best practices are more likely to be implemented and consistently followed in a company with a high level of board engagement on the issue. “Our leadership considers cybersecurity as a business priority, instead of limiting it to the IT department,” says Goyal. LogRhythm’s Carder points out that in cyber-security, HR and IT are not the only ones who need to work together. “Every department needs to move in the same direction and be diligent in ensuring they minimise exposure to security risks and threats,” he says. A comprehensive cyber-security strategy should include threat detection and response; governance risk and compliance; identity and access management; fraud prevention; and education and training, says See from Dell EMC. “It’s important to give employees the access they need to do their job without putting the organisation through more risk,” she adds.

James Carder, Chief Information Security Officer, LogRhythm ISSUE 16.11





While employees are counting down the niggling hours left at work, staff at Ministry of Design saunter from their office at 3:30pm every Friday to kickstart their weekends early. However, as HRM Asia finds out, the work ethic at the architectural firm is anything but relaxed Sham Majid

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arah Conceicao spends her Fridays after work running personal errands or hitting the gym. Sometimes, she ventures outdoors, going for a stroll down the Central Business District area and out onto Singapore’s marina entertainment district before the city workers spill out to celebrate the end of another work week. These post-work activities are enabled by a unique HR policy with the designer’s employer Ministry of Design. The architectural firm deliberately ends the Friday work day at 3.30pm, giving all staff an early start to the weekend. “Getting to do these things earlier also means less of a crowd and gives you the liberty to indulge in a little bit more,” Conceicao says. Indulging in that little bit more time for personal interests is also appreciated by Joyce Low, Senior Designer with Ministry of Design. She says the early knock-off time allows her to catch an early flight for a quick weekend sojourn. When she isn’t rushing off to the airport, Low says she can beat the queue to run bank errands, or tackle those “unavoidable” trips to some of Singapore’s retail centres. Low also uses the time to catch up on her yoga classes.

An intense culture Joy Seah, HR Director for Ministry for Design, says the early-release policy was not a result of recent calls for enhanced workplace flexibility. Rather, the policy has been in place since the company was founded. “It was designed in part so that employees would be able to run errands on a weekday and beat the crowds, and partly because it meant a more concentrated period of focused energies together as a team from Monday to Thursday.” Seah says this makes for an intensive environment during the other 38 hours of the working week. The organisation is not laid back at all. “Some firms have a culture where they are happy to stay late and work together, and so they take longer lunches, and have a more reasonable pace,” Seah says. “We work intensely in the day, our

lunches are short and sharp, and we want to get as much good work done as possible before we go.” In fact, Ministry of Design makes it a point to tell all its recruits to leave work on time so they can experience “more of life” on the weekend, by having drinks, meals, and vacations, and going shopping. This ensures staff can draw on these life experiences for inspiration in their design work.

Having a choice The early Friday-release has also caught the attention of job candidates, with Seah saying it has become a frequent talkingpoint during interviews. “It’s such a popular policy; no one needs persuading to be a part of this,” she says. “Staff love that we all get to enjoy a longer weekend,” she says. “Many book themselves 4.00 or 5.00 pm flights to head out of the country for a weekend vacation, or get their hair and nails done without the weekend crowd,” she says. Seah acknowledges that on certain occasions, often when there is a tight or significant design deadline, some employees may stay on a little longer. “But, the main thing is choice – we all have the choice to have that work-life balance, and at the same time, we are all professionals who have a strong work ethic to do our jobs well,” she says.

retention. For Ministry of Design, the Friday policy serves as a powerful weapon in this ongoing war for talent. “It’s a great retention tool as our designers feel there is sufficient time and space to breathe outside of work, so that they get enough rest and inspiration to be really good at their jobs,” says Seah. This, she says, means Ministry of Design employees are less overwhelmed than their counterparts in other design firms may feel. Besides being a magnet for retention, Seah says the policy also serves as a talent attraction tool. It leverages on the significant interests that high calibre talents have in flexible work options. Seah says the fate of the policy is set in stone. “It’s been in place since 2007 and we have no plans to remove it,” she says. “Once you get used to leaving at, 3:30pm on Fridays, it’s hard to revert to regular work hours.”

A retention weapon It is no secret that flexible work options are a key tool in the battle for employee

Intangible advantages Joyce Low, a senior designer at architectural firm Ministry of Design, says her employer’s policy of reduced hours on Fridays is an attractive prospect for future-hires. “It can be that extra edge to hiring muchdesired talent,” she says. In addition, Low says this policy is a great motivator and frames an employee to work more efficiently during the week. “It’s a great feeling to be able to leave

work while the sun is still shining,” she says. “This benefits employees with young children in particular, as it means they can spend more time during the day with them.” Sarah Conceicao, a designer at Ministry of Design, says that aside from assisting with worklife balance, the policy tends to develop a mindset within employees, helping them to complete their day’s work a little faster during the week.

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Media investment and management firm Aurora Media Holdings deviates from the traditional script with its deep commitment to grooming the industry’s next generation Fiona Lam


efore signing a project contract with Aurora Media Holdings, a film director was informed he would be working with not just industry veterans, but also newbies. Young producers would be shadowing and learning from him, the company’s management team said. In response, the director said proudly, “It’s not my job to teach people”. Aurora’s response was just as quick – the director was promptly booted from the project. Justin Deimen, Managing Partner and Head of Investments at Aurora Media, whose recent projects include the 2016 faith-themed film 100 Yards, says the decision stemmed from the firm’s strong philosophy of grooming the industry’s next generation. “The director’s reply showed that he wasn’t going to be collaborative and generous, and wouldn’t be interested in anyone but himself,” Deimen says. The Singapore-based media investment and management company – 42 ISSUE 16.11


which handles the production, financing, and distribution of creative projects such as films and animated series – looks for creative collaborators who will work with and respect their less experienced colleagues. “Talent is one thing, but if your attitude stinks and you think you know better than others all the time, then it’s almost impossible for you to work within a system or hierarchy,” Deimen says. Without fail, young novices will participate in every media project Aurora manages. “Youths are not just eager but also bring new energy and help refocus those who are experienced,” Deimen says. “Experienced people tend to be set in their ways, but when they have to explain something to a less knowledgeable person and say it out loud, they start rethinking their approaches.”

Grooming young talents The media industry has traditionally hired young talent only for mundane

tasks, such as coffee runs. Contrary to this, Aurora deliberately places its early career recruits in important roles, despite their lack of real-world experience. They are also not called “interns”. Deimen dislikes the term because he says it carries negative connotations in the creative industry where interns are often unpaid and overworked. Instead, short-term hires are given the designation of “Associate Producer”, and paid a salary commensurate to the role. “As associate producers, they’re exposed to everyone and every part of the production, so they don’t feel shuffled to one side and only used when they’re needed,” he says. “We give them responsibilities we would give to someone with 10 years’ experience.” A case in point is media communications undergraduate Tiffany Lim, who worked with the company for 12 months as an associate producer for an animated telemovie. Despite having very little production

SME SPOTLIGHT experience, the 21-year-old wrote the script for the telemovie, sourced for voice talent, helped liaise with the animation studio, and offered her opinion on the story’s creative aspects. “Although many production companies employ interns, few provide them with development opportunities,” Lim says. Aurora’s “nurturing” environment allowed her to learn more than most young talents would in the industry, she adds. Pushing someone to take on more roles matures them quickly and fosters a sense of belonging to the team, Deimen says. That, in turn, motivates the budding talents to give more to the project. “I tell them, ‘If you don’t show up tomorrow, the director can stay home because the production won’t happen.’ That shows them they are valued and important,” he says. “If you handle young people with kid gloves and only assign tasks you think they won’t mess up, you’re reinforcing the idea that they are only good for unimportant roles.” In the same vein, mentorship is a key element of Aurora’s talent management strategies. Young staffers are urged to approach senior management for help or guidance in any area. They are also mentored by the lead producers, and are involved “fundamentally” in the core business – learning about film production and financing, as well as networking with industry leaders and government representatives. This mentorship does not end even after they finish their stint with the company. Aurora’s alumni continue to receive guidance from the management team on setting up their own companies and starting independent projects. Lim, for instance, has remained in contact with Deimen since finishing up her project in August this year. He offers her advice on how to promote her creative works.

Decentralised, revolving workforce Another characteristic that sets Aurora apart from the rest of the industry is its heavy use of contingent workers, who are

spread across Southeast Asia. Unlike typical production companies, which employ a large team of permanent staff housed in roomy offices, Aurora works primarily with freelancers on an ad-hoc basis, hired from not just Singapore but also the rest of the region. For instance, Aurora has a 12-strong animation team in Malaysia it engages whenever a suitable project comes up. At present, Deimen is himself managing 60 employees based in different countries across several projects. “There are many freelancers in Southeast Asia who need jobs and are very good at what they do,” he says. Perhaps the only constant in Aurora’s revolving workforce is a Singapore-based core team of five people, three of whom are the co-founders including Deimen. In managing the remote workforce from Singapore, Aurora’s senior managers have had to deal with issues such as poor time management. Today, they hold frequent skype calls with their remote workers, who also send daily reports. For certain productions which are facing an approaching deadline, the company has also used cameras to check in to the workplace and ensure the overseas staff can contact them for urgent matters via video calls. “We don’t micro-manage people in other countries. We use a lot of project management tools, and are always exploring new ways of remotely working with people,” Deimen says.

ABOVE: Aurora staff gather at the Converge media event in Kuala Lumpur LEFT: Aurora’s partners scoping out film locations in Kazakhstan

Pecking order In any given year, Aurora manages around 10 media productions. Each project brings in a fresh batch of hires, and at least 50 to 100 people can be engaged in the making of a single film. A clear and enforced hierarchy therefore comes in handy. Especially in Asian cultures, Deimen says. In larger film sets, the corporate producer – usually Aurora’s role – stays away from the day-to-day operations so as to not step on the toes of the director, who manages the camera and sound departments and their crews. “Even if we are taking the creative lead, the set is still the director’s kingdom,” Deimen explains.

Putting ideas on paper To ensure the right people are attached to the right projects, Aurora Media Holdings gets directors and writers to submit a “letter of intent” for each project. The prospective team member breaks down the project from their point of view, describing where they think it is heading, what they hope it will achieve, and what they believe it needs. This simple but effective practice helps align everyone with the project’s vision and direction, says Justin Deimen, Group Managing Partner and Head of Investments at the company. Besides helping Aurora identify suitable talents, the letter also gives new joiners the chance to reflect upon their expectations and motivations. “When speaking, people can tell you whatever you want to hear, but writing it down gets them to think about what they actually want out of this project,” Deimen says. “The letter is submitted at the stage where we feel good about our chemistry and their idea of the project, before the director or writer signs.”

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4:48 pm



As more people stay longer in the workforce, the characteristics of effective learning and development interventions are changing. HRM Asia speaks with Raghu Ram, Asia Talent Lead for Shell Oil Company, ahead of his presentation to the 4th annual Learning and Development Congress in January

Raghu Ram

Global Head of HR, Shell Specialities, and Asian Talent Lead, Shell Oil Company Raghu Ram is a veteran HR leader in Asia-Pacific, with more than 20 years of strategic workforce and organisation building experience already behind him. He has spent the last 12 years with energy multinational Shell, originally as Head of Recruitment in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, and later as a global HR Business Partner. His current role combines the oversight of all HR functions for Shell’s global bitumen and sulphur solutions business with a specialist “Talent Lead” responsibility for management of senior Asian talent across the entire Shell. Prior to Shell, Ram spent 12 years with Motorola, covering a wide range of HR practices for the technology firm, including strategy, country, business, and specialist function roles.

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Please describe your dual roles in Shell? How do you divide your time between them?

Like any bigger company, there are a lot of different businesses that make up the whole. I am head of HR for the Global Specialities unit, which controls the endto-end supply chain of Shell’s bitumen and sulphur products, among others. The Global CEO sits with me, as Head of HR, here in Singapore. As Asia Talent Lead, I am responsible for building up and retaining seniorlevel talent across all aspects of the Shell organisation. It’s about building the whole talent agenda and ensuring diversity across the business in this region. I tend to spend about 60% of my time on the Talent Lead role, and 40% on Global Specialties.

LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT IN FOCUS Raghu Ram, Asian Talent Lead for Shell, will be part of an impressive lineup of speakers and thought leaders at HRM Asia’s fourth annual Learning and Development Congress early next year. The January 17-18 event will consider the ways globalisation and disruptive technologies are changing the world of work, faster than ever before. These factors are also drastically changing the

demographics of workforces around Asia-Pacific, and the ways learning and development are delivered. Delegates will learn from leading practitioners and opinion-makers in the Learning and Development space about how they structured their training methodologies to allow for the drastically-changing business environment.

For more information, visit:


While not a learning and development specialist, is there a lot of crossover between that function and your current job(s)? There is. Training and staff development are an integral part of all of Shell’s businesses, so it comes up regularly across both my roles.


What will you be focusing on in your presentation to the HRM Asia Learning & Development Congress? I want to talk about the future of learning and development, and how it will have to respond to the fast-changing business environment and workforce demographics. With older workers pushing back their retirement dates, and also younger generations moving through the ranks faster, traditional training offers may no longer hit the mark. Every generation will have something to create, and will demand the opportunity to make it happen. We used to talk about the 70-2010 model, but not far from now, workers of all generations will be demanding all three types of training in high volumes. The needs of

employees, the design and execution of training interventions will all change drastically, as staff look to customise training wherever possible – something I call the “Uberisation” of needs.


Do you expect learning and development outcomes will still be measured in terms of visible returns on investment?

No. Rather, I think returns on investment will become second nature across the function and throughout the business ecosystem. Like technology, it will simply become part of our lives and of the fabric of our workplaces.


How do you think these changes might impact training in Singapore, or the wider Asia region?

I foresee more integration between education providers and corporates. Not just universities and graduate schools – what is missing at the moment is at the school level, particularly in Singapore.


How do you envisage that cooperation?

It’s not about brainwashing – let’s be clear. It will be about all types of corporates: classic corporates; community and government organisations and also social entrepreneurs all linking up together and then building connections with schools. They will be able to provide the development and learning solutions to give school-age students a clear view of their options and then get them into the pipeline of career skills much earlier than is happening at the moment. There is also a growing trend of partnering with universities and graduate schools to develop industryspecific curriculum to prepare the next generation of employees. In Shell, we do that in our lubricants business, partnering with institutions like Tsinghua and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in our marine business, with key maritime institutes in India and the Philippines. ISSUE 16.11





Close to 100 HR professionals joined together for a free networking and professional development seminar in Singapore recently. The first-ever HRM Asia Think Tank event took place in the studio kitchens of culinary team building programme CulinaryOn


RM Asia’s inaugural HR Think Tank event brought close to 100 local HR professionals into the Singapore central business district for a unique morning of brainstorming, collaboration, and HR-focused inspiration. Held in the open-plan kitchen and bar studios of teambuilding provider CulinaryOn (see: box on right), the interactive event sought to clearly define some of the challenges facing HR in Singapore and the wider Asia-Pacific region, as well as suggest some solutions and alternative strategies. HR professionals of all ranks and designations – with a total of 819 years of HR experience shared across the delegation – took part in the roundtable discussions on September 16, punctuated by a cooked breakfast and some valued networking. 48 ISSUE 16.11


Discussion, debate, and deliberation This first-of-its-kind event in the Singapore HR community was held in collaboration with the Thrive in Asia website, and led by four of its local contributors: Foo Chek Wee, Jayesh Menon, Adele Png, and Soon EngSing. With participants spread across the unique space, they each led a brainstorming process based around set HR themes. Across the morning, the delegation first considered traditional HR practices: what was working, and what was not. The second session looked at the factors impacting those practices in the current digital age and globalised economy. The HR Think Tank then delved into the gaps and challenges facing HR professionals in this constantly-changing environment, before the final session looked into the

EVENT REPORT Cooking up a team

implications and changing outcomes expected as a result. Participants came up with insights and challenges in small groups, before sharing those thoughts with the wider community of HR colleagues present. The group was able to deeply explore some specific issues common to a number of delegates’ organisations, while also keeping a close eye on the future of the profession in Asia-Pacific.

Challenges and advice Among the challenges listed and discussed were the following salient issues, which should be familiar to all HR professionals in the region: • Legislative issues, particularly when dealing with international talent and globalised workforces • Continual reorganisation and change management requirements • The need to better support mobile workers and their families • The need to better manage multigenerational workforces Participants said there was a wide range of positive takeaways from the event, as well as some inspiring words to help them continue their journey toward a more strategic profession. Among the welcome pieces of advice for HR professionals of all ranks and designations, the following solutions stood out. HR professionals should: • Try to get out of their comfort zones

as much as they can, particularly with regard to technology. They should be experimenting with and experiencing different software, apps, and platforms Change their view and advocate for a different way of looking at attrition, as this is not always the negative metric that many outside the profession assume Actively work to connect students and younger employees with mature staff for them to mentor and network with each other Have more conversations with and across their organisations, leveraging on their wisdom and experience to bring a people-focus to business decisions Dream a little and have a long-term vision for the future. “Follow your convictions and make a difference,” one participant challenged their colleagues.

Back again in 2017 HR Think Tank 2016 was a free peerto-peer professional development programme developed specifically for HR professionals working in Singapore and around the Asia-Pacific region. With this successful pilot edition now concluded, HRM Asia’s events team is working on an expanded programme for next year. The HR Think Tank Series will feature quarterly events throughout 2017, with the first scheduled for February. Each one

When it comes to inspiring camaraderie in the workplace, there’s nothing quite like the challenges on offer at CulinaryOn in Singapore. This unique 7,000 square-foot venue in the heart of Singapore has hosted more than 1,000 events in its first year, bringing people together across the kitchen bench in the first instance, and then the dining table. General manager Liubov Vdovina says working together to create a meal that is then shared socially among the team makes for some powerful connections. “Our guests quickly learn that everyone has different skills in the kitchen,” he says. “Some are good at organising; others have the patience to cook something to a just-right point. “Every group will learn something new about their colleagues.” Teambuilding events at CulinaryOn are fully customisable. The venue provides the ingredients, equipment, and aprons, and an experienced team to guide the process – the rest is up to the participants themselves. A comprehensive “menu” of dishes, featuring more than 12 cuisines, is available. Italian is the flagship cuisine, in line with Bramd Chef Giuseppe D’Angelo’s heritage – participants even make their own pasta – but groups can also create the most famed dishes of Singapore, Thailand, and France, among others. CulinaryOn boasts four individual kitchen studios, complete with plenty of bench-space and commercial-grade ovens and stovetops. The studios can also be combined for larger events, such as the HR Think Tank. There is also a conference room available for the occasional non-food related seminar, and a wine room featuring choices from around the world. will be free to join, and free of sponsored content. Participants will be able to network freely amongst their colleagues and counterparts, and work together to further HR’s evolution to a strategic partner of business. They’ll also brainstorm new solutions to both the old and new challenges facing HR professionals today. ISSUE 16.11


n his




RM Asia’s Congress Series last month focused on the value and the need for HR leadership in the AsiaPacific region. With emerging markets here so important for any firm with international growth plans, local leadership skills play a critical role in the success or failure of any expansion project. Unfortunately, qualified and skilled leaders have been in short supply in these markets, and even more broadly across the region. The problems becomes even more acute when considering the diverse nature of Asia-Pacific markets – one leader will rarely fit all markets the way they might in Europe or North America. The HR Leadership in Asia Congress,

held on October 4 and 5, brought together HR leaders from across the regional economy to share their leadership experiences and strategies. Among them was Priya Shahane, Chief HR Officer of AXA Singapore. She reminded us that emotional intelligence was a valuable trait in leadership, particularly if it means leaders are able to adapt their management style to different situations. “Leaders who switch among leadership styles quickly are able to produce powerful results. All leadership styles should be used interchangeably depending on the situation and person you are dealing with,” she said. HRM Asia also hosted the Performance


Management and Rewards Congress on October 11 and 12, highlighting the continuing evolution of performance and compensation and benefits methodologies in a less certain business environment. Add to that the world of shorter tenures and retention challenges that employers naturally face and it is easy to see the importance of this issue for HR today. Jaclyn Lee, Senior HR Director of the Singapore University of Technology and Design, highlighted the role that rewards play in HR analytics and vice versa. “Rewards influence who we recruit (and) how they behave, and thus impact on the talent strategy, which in turn impacts business results.”

Describe your HR Assistant Manager role at Samsung Asia? My three major roles cover learning and development, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility.

What brought you to the HR Leadership in Asia Congress today? I chose to attend not just to show support to Bobby Chiew, my HR Director at our previous place of employment, but also to learn about a range of interesting topics from the other speakers. I am glad I did!

How did the content relate to your work? Learning about some of the best practices that other organisations have successfully implemented motivated me to think of other examples we can emulate. Sometimes or most of the time, we may not able to apply lessons learnt directly to our organisation. However, being able to understand the challenges that other HR teams face and how they overcome them is a great learning point for every HR professional.

What was the biggest takeaway for you?

Vanessa Ng

HR Assistant Manager, Learning and Development, Samsung Asia Delegate to the HR Leadership in Asia Congress, October 2016 50 ISSUE 16.11


My biggest takeaway was from Shubha Narayanan’s presentation on “HR Strategy and Effectiveness”, where she detailed what CEOs want from HR. The five key competencies that a HR leader should have are: predicting outcomes, diagnosing problems, managing change, building talent pipelines, and changing cultures.


HRM Asia EVENTS CALENDAR As we count down to the rest of the year and look forward to 2017, HRM Asia will continue to engage and inspire the HR community with a slew of high-quality events. We look forward to seeing you on any of these up-coming dates.

2016 10-11 Nov

14-15 Nov







Performance Management Masterclass Strategic Crisis Management and Communications for HR Masterclass China Employment Law Congress Employee Engagement and Experience Congress Innovation Through Design Thinking in HR Masterclass

2017 18-19 Jan





15-16 Mar

4-5 Apr



16-17 May

13-14 Jun

Learning and Development Congress HRM Awards Gala Presentation Talent and Recruitment Congress HR Business Partner Congress Organisational Development Congress HR Summit – 15th Anniversary Health and Wellbeing Congress Employment Law Congress

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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?

The top three things you want from your HR career?

After I was exposed to different career possibilities in business school, I realised that a career in HR attracted me. Given that many of us spend around two-thirds of our lives working in organisations, being in HR will allow me to be at the forefront of solving real people issues; serving the needs and improving the lives of other employees. As human capital is the backbone of all organisations, this in turn helps to increase productivity and create a highimpact workforce. Therefore, in my second year of studies, I decided to pursue Management and Human Capital as my major. Since then, I have never looked back, and I am looking forward to a career in this field after graduating.

Firstly, I value learning opportunities, and I hope to work in a nurturing environment and engage in stretch assignments to develop myself both personally and professionally. Also, I seek to add value to the organisation and create a positive impact on other individuals. This can be achieved through my role in HR, both as a change agent and as a bridge between the employees and the firm. Lastly, I hope to be able to share my personal experiences through a mentoring capacity, providing advice and guidance to others interested in embarking on a HR career.

What aspect of HR do you hope to specialise in upon graduation? I am passionate to embark on a career in Compensation and Benefits, or more broadly, Total Rewards. From my internships, I have built a clearer understanding of how an attractive rewards offering can play a pivotal role in attracting, retaining and engaging talent. However, the challenge lies in the costs associated, as Compensation and Benefits typically constitutes a significant percentage of an organisations’s overall payroll. I enjoy this strategic aspect of helping organisations reach an optimal balance between talent objectives and cost management. On a personal level, I also find it meaningful as I get to ensure that other individuals are duly recognised, appreciated, and rewarded for the work they do.

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What challenges do you anticipate? A key challenge I anticipate in HR is the ability for organisations to harness the value of their diverse workforces. As a multi-racial, cosmopolitan business hub, workplace diversity and inclusion has become a focus for organisations in Singapore. However, some are implementing diversity practices just as a ‘box-ticking’ exercise to remain accountable to their stakeholders. It is important for organisations to fully understand the business need for diversity – how it can reinforce a firm’s reputation as an employer of choice, lead to better decision-making with more diverse backgrounds and perspectives included, and allow a firm to better respond to the needs of its clients.

Your HR career five years from now? I aspire to be a thought-leader in the rewards field, sharing insights and best practices with other HR practitioners on how they can harness their

Ng Kim Yong Final-year Business Student Major in Management and Human Capital, NUS Business School National University of Singapore

Compensation and Benefits policies to better engage their talent. To prepare for that, I hope to pick up the necessary competencies and gain exposure of both the corporate and consulting perspectives.

Hobbies or inspiration? I like hiking and getting in touch with nature, where I get to sweat it out and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Other activities I enjoy include reading about consumer psychology, exploring quaint neighborhoods in Singapore, and spending quality time and exchanging ideas with the people around me.

The business case for flexible benefits Ng Kim Yong


n integral part of the employee value proposition, an innovative benefits offering can enable an organisation to differentiate from its competitors and to better attract, retain, and engage its talent. As employers are looking to maximise employee value perception of the benefits they offer, many are moving from a traditional benefits offering, providing a wide range of benefits coverage to a large group of employees, to a flexible benefits programme. According to a 2014 study conducted by Thomsons Online Benefits, 58% of the multinational companies surveyed globally had already implemented flexible benefits schemes. This provides employees with flexibility to choose the types and levels of benefits they have access to, allowing them to select a package that best suits their lifestyle and personal circumstances.

Responding to changing needs of employees A flexible benefits programme allows organisations to cater more effectively to different demographics and changing mindsets. Previously, many employees were primarily concerned about avoiding illnesses and thus, valued offerings such as medical impatient and outpatient benefits. Today, the concept of health and wellness has expanded to prevention, leading to increased interest in lifestyle benefits such as gym allowances and resilience

management classes. A flexible benefits programme aimed at benefits that employees truly value will allow organisations to enhancetheir images in recognising the diversity of their multigenerational workforces.

Improving the value perception of benefits According to a study conducted by Towers Watson in 2014, most companies today determine which benefits to provide by using a market benchmarking strategy, directly matching the benefits offered by other firms in the industry. Although it is a best practice for many, companies should also consider the views of their employees to ensure that benefits spending is more targeted to employee needs. A flexible benefits programme, in this case, can help to facilitate choice and control of employees and increase their perceived value of benefits. Compared to a traditional benefits programme, employees are more likely to value the benefits they have selected themselves. This has a positive impact on employee engagement, as they feel more accountable as stakeholders for their own benefits plans.

Potential roadblocks in implementation To fully reap the rewards of a flexible benefits programme, organisations have to ensure that it is delivered effectively. Technology can be leveraged to reduce the number of

platforms and paperwork involved for both HR and employees. Alternatively, the administration can be outsourced to external vendors to allow organisations to retain focus on more strategic issues. Companies however, have to balance these costs carefully against business needs, and obtain management buy-in for these changes. Another potential challenge may come from the lack of understanding of the programme by the employees, which may hinder their value perception of the benefits offered. Targeted communication sessions should thus educate employees and stakeholders, clearly explaining the benefits available to them. At the same time, organisations should reiterate how the programme aligns with its broader talent strategies and objectives.

Conclusion Flexible benefits programmes are still not widely implemented in Asia. This presents an opportunity for organisations to differentiate themselves through innovative offerings. However, delivery and communication are key to its successful implementation, and companies should leverage on the use of technology and educate their employees and stakeholders in the process. With successful implementation, employers will be able to harness the value of their flexible benefits programme to better attract, retain and engage their talent.

ISSUE 16.11



Why HR should invest in itself


ule number five in The Leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By is: Invest in yourself. It is often just an overlooked footnote in a leader’s list of to-dos. Leaders need to be many things: strategists, talent managers, human capital developers, and executors. However, for organisational sustainability and a purpose of legacy, an intentional targeted development of people is needed. Chief among that is developing oneself, which in author Stephen Covey’s lingo, is to “Sharpen the Saw”. There is always a wealth of things to learn. A good book is often worth re-reading and reprocessing through the mind until it becomes a practice.


I’m fascinated that often the best ideas are also exceedingly simple; so simple sometimes that we often overlook their power and doubt their effectiveness. I learn most often through books because it gives me time to pace and reflect on the ideas and thoughts presented. But, some learning happens more effectively in a group. I recently went for a two-day class and chanced upon a group of coaches who were all enthused about Solution Focused Coaching. Being with a group of excited practitioners got me fascinated and invigorated. I found myself exhilarated into understanding the philosophy behind this approach to coaching which

8.30 AM I start off my mornings by looking at my calendar to make sure my priorities will be accomplished for the day. I also take time to read company news and industry updates. If there are any calls with the global team, they usually take place between 8.00 and 9.00 AM.

10.00 AM

Angela Rui HR Business Partner, Lucasfilm Animation Company, Singapore

After taking care of the most urgent matters, I organise meetings with our HR Support or Centre of Excellence teams to understand what challenges they are facing. We brainstorm new ideas and form the best solutions together.

12.00 PM I like to use lunch time for quick discussions with studio and project leaders, since 54 ISSUE 16.11


is not widely purported, but when examined, makes good sense. It is also known as “Brief Coaching” because it brings positive results in a much shorter time. It breaks the conventional wisdom that digging deep into understanding a problem is needed in order to resolve it. The “coachee” is guided to focus on solutions through precursors of successes they have already experienced; anchoring them on taking small actions towards improving the situation and visualising beginning signs of improvement. It was a powerful learning experience for me – only because I took, the step to invest in myself.

it’s one of the easier times to catch them. Sometimes I also leverage this time to catch up with my mentor or other co-workers.

2.00 PM Usually the busiest time of the day, since a lot of the meetings with key stakeholders happen. My stakeholders vary from the support management team and project leadership to studio leadership. The topics cover different people initiatives, including performance management, talent management, process engineering, and learning and development. I take every chance to learn and embrace the ‘Lucasfilm’ spirit, and I work with the team to strive for the best working experience for employees!

Tay Cheng Hoo HR Director, Rohde & Schwarz Asia

4.00 PM I prefer to use this time to have one-on-one conversations with the team for personal or professional updates. This is usually done in a casual and informal way to ensure the team is comfortable. These chats are extremely critical and helpful for me to understand the context and the talents themselves.

6.00 PM I catch up on my emails or respond to some of the discussions that developed over the afternoon. Before calling it a day, I will do some follow-ups and make sure that I didn’t miss out any important matters during the day. I’ll usually then head back home at 7.00 to enjoy the rest of the day with my family.

IN PERSON NATALIE VINE Peopleworks Leader Southeast Asia, Flight Centre Travel Group

How many years of HR experience?

I started out my HR journey in learning and development three years ago, and since then my role has given me opportunities to work in recruitment, training, and in general HR.

Why HR?

It’s a very rewarding role as you get to play a part in someone’s personal and professional development. You get fantastic insights into the business and make recommendations that not only improve the organisation as a whole, but also the individual employees you work alongside.

Why FCM Travel?

I have grown with the Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG). I started out like many others as a travel consultant that took me across Australia, the UK and Singapore. After working in the different regions, I thought I was in the best place to inspire the next generation to have the career that I have had.

Biggest achievements?

On a professional level, it has been immensely rewarding to be part of the growth of our Southeast Asian business. It is also very exciting to see how individuals grow with the organisation and are able to move into other roles.

After hours?

I love gardening and wine, and I very much like drinking wine in my garden! However I do tend to kill a lot of plants with too much kindness!


My family is all over the world – some in the UK and Spain, others in Australia and New Zealand. But it also means wherever I travel, I almost certainly have a bed!


The Silo Effect T

he tendency to create functional, disparate groups – “silos” – has been impeding employees’ thought processes and performances, says US Managing Editor at the Financial Times Gillian Tett. In her book The Silo Effect: Why putting everything in its place isn’t such a bright idea, Tett sets out to answer two questions: Why do silos arise? And is there anything we can do to master our silos, before they master us? Modern institutions are surprisingly fragmented, she says, with people often trapped inside their specialist departments, teams, or social groups. The book begins with the 2008 financial crisis, which Tett posits was partly caused by “tunnel vision and tribalism”. Different teams of financial traders did not know what each other was doing, even inside the same bank, she says. This has not just been a problem in the financial world. It also plagues large companies, government agencies, and universities alike, the author points out. Tett relies heavily on stories of both failure and success, diving into case studies of disorganisation and reorganisation at the Bank of England, Facebook, Sony, the Chicago police, and more. The Silo Effect also looks through the lens of anthropology – a field in which Tett herself was trained – to make sense of the cultural aspects of silos. Tett mentions in passing that silos can be beneficial in some circumstances. However, she does not dwell for long on the merits – and perhaps even the necessity – of having silos in today’s world, choosing instead to focus on advocating for the breaking down of barriers and bureaucracy. For business leaders, managers, and especially those in charge of organisational change, The Silo Effect is an enlightening read which sheds light on how to tear down silos and how the phenomenon can make or break organisations.

Title: The Silo Effect Author: Gillian Tett Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group Price: S$23.32

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Tham Chien Ping

Head of Talent, Southeast Asia & South Korea, Boehringer Ingelheim Boehringer Ingelheim has strengthened its HR team by appointing Tham Chieng Ping (CP) as the Head of Talent and Performance Management, Learning and Organisation Development for the Southeast Asia and South Korea region. In his new role, Tham will be leading people and organisation development across the regions. This includes driving business-focused learning programmes that will bring about performance excellence and building the company’s talent pipeline. He will also explore how to best change management initiatives that will support the company’s growth. Tham brings with him a broad spectrum of experiences in leading people and organisation development across many different industries including banking, insurance, and IT. As an ex-educator, Tham firmly believes in the immense potential of the next generation and how this can be recognised through structured initiatives. His unique background in engineering, education and psychology has shaped his working philosophy and kept him agile. David Serés, HR Director for South East Asia and South Korea, said: “We are very pleased to have CP join Boehringer Ingelheim at such a relevant time. We are confident he will equip us to drive new opportunities, overcome any future challenges, and lead the success.”

56 ISSUE 16.11


Ng Ying Yuan

Executive Director of HR and Organisation Development Singapore Economic Development Board Ng Ying Yuan has been appointed Executive Director of HR and Organisation Development at the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). In this new role, she will oversee EDB’s leadership and organisation development, talent management, staff planning, compensation and benefits, employer branding, and recruitment. Ng has experience in designing EDB’s leadership competency framework, developing and executing EDB’s employer brand, designing and managing EDB’s new mission and vision process, conceptualising and managing EDB’s organisation transformation journey, leading efforts in organisational restructuring and new job design, and also on succession. She was appointed by Spring Singapore as one of Singapore’s first ten HR advisors to help build Human Capital capabilities in SMEs through provision of bespoke HR consultancy services. Prior to her responsibilities in HR, Ng spent eight years with EDB’s Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Group that was responsible for developing Singapore’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in Singapore at that time. Ng graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Masters in Chemical Engineering. She has two sons and enjoys reading, running and design.

Leon Chua

Manager, Talent Acquisition Zebra Technologies Zebra Technologies has appointed Leon Chua as Manager of Talent Acquisition in Asia-Pacific. In this new role, Chua will be responsible for driving the strategy and execution of talent acquisition across the Asia-Pacific region. He will focus on collaborating closely with business leaders and HR Business Partners to create hiring strategies that support early career, experienced, and executive hiring needs. In addition, the role will see him ensuring talent acquisition processes and systems support the full scope of the hiring lifecycle, while also undertaking requisition management for Zebra’s global service delivery model. Lastly, he will also develop assessment and interviewing methodologies to attract and align external talent with Zebra’s culture and values. Prior to joining Zebra, Chua was also involved in recruitment in the dynamic internet and e-commerce sector, as the Regional Talent Acquisition Manager at Groupon in Asia-Pacific. There, he led a team of talent acquisition experts, charged with building up the team across the Sales, Marketing, Business Intelligence, and Finance functions. Chua comes to Zebra with more than eight years in the talent acquisition field. Among his specialist skills are specialised recruitment strategy design, technology deployment and optimisation, recruitment workflow, performance measurement application, and team management.

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

Design Thinking Talent Innovation Workshop

Building Design Thinking Capabilities in Human Resources


December 2016 Singapore

Design that proThinking is the person vides a mea ONLY innova are empal experience nas to focus ontion methodolo g loyee ce n ntric. d to create ptrhe employee’sy ocesses that


The result of Design Thinking in HR Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco - is new solutions and tools that directly labore contribute to laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Traditional HR systems are typically programs or processes designed to train people, assess performance and ensure compliance at work. They were built around process steps, formal education, or training room events, and not with the experience the employee would have in mind. While these traditional systems work to a degree, they add additional layers of complexity to an employee’s day to day duties, which includes floods of emails, meetings, and other workplace complexities. Complexity is an obstacle to business success and a barrier to growth in business productivity. This is one reason why 79 percent of executives in this year’s Global Human Capital Trends survey rated design thinking an important issue. HR departments should consider incorporating key design thinking concepts such as: • Job Experience Journey; • Multi-Disciplinary Co-Creation; • Stakeholder Gridding; • Persona Based Selection

Book your seat before 18th November 2016 and enjoy S$650 early bird savings. Places at this course are strictly limited. For more details about the course, visit or call on +65 6423 4631.

Learning Objectives This workshop will share with you through a blend of interactive multi-lectures, group work, individual practice and out of classroom activities that will enable you to: •

Harness the power of three essential traits of an innovative leading, which includes: Inspiring, involving and instilling mind-set change to transform mediocracy to extraordinary. Empathise, connect and unify internal customers (employees) to build an innovative customer centric mind-set; lighting up new paths so that everyone in your organisation may follow. Co-create using ideation techniques that will give you the audacity to think differently and bring about game-changing transformations filled with possibilities everywhere in your organisation.

REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: |

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

Dear Laurence, At my last performance review my boss said I “always seem to leave work on time” and that he expected senior HR staff to “work additional hours” as an example to others across the organisation. I do work later when the circumstances require it but I have never wanted to stay back just for the sake of it. Are my values reasonable? Is it possible to inspire a cultural change from just one person? And what other ways can I show that I am committed to my work? Work-life Balancer, Singapore This is a really tough one, especially where you have task-focused HR leaders with a need to control. Late sitting is considered a virtue, and if you are an exception to this culture, you run the risk of not being promoted. You can set an example for your own team, but it’s important to accept you can’t be a culture change ambassador on your own. Plan A should be to sit down with your boss and explain how you would prefer to work, and that sticking to set hours doesn’t have to mean less work gets done. If that doesn’t work, try to take on an extra project, turning the negative of longer hours into a positive of faster career growth and broader experience. That’s Plan B. Plan C – if there seems to be no other choice – is to game the system. Yes, you may need to stick around after hours on some days, but you can often take extended you-time when

the powers that be aren’t watching as closely. Take an hour or two to head to the gym or run errands, or even network over an extended lunch.

Dear Laurence, I have been an HR generalist with an SME for three years since graduation, and would like to now try a specialisation. I particularly would like to work in recruitment. However, my company really only hires four or five people per year. I like the work, my colleagues, and almost everything else about this job, but is it still time to move on? Stuck in Limbo, Malaysia This really depends on your personal level of ambition. On one hand, having a job you enjoy and colleagues that you get along with is important for your wellbeing. Don’t throw that away just for the sake of “trying out” a specialisation. But if you are convinced that this is the way forward for your career, the truth is that building a specialisation in recruitment can only happen in another organisation – and it may indeed be time to move to a bigger pond. If your ambitions lie somewhere in the middle, it is time to start researching some best practice methods that you can implement with the small number of hires your organisation does make in a year.

Dear Laurence, I recently took on what looked like a great role in the learning and development function of an international bank. The organisation is good, and I enjoy the work I do. The problem is that I often don’t have of it to do, and feel myself stretching out small tasks to fill in the hours of the day. How can I take more on without treading on any of my colleagues’ toes? Time to kill, Singapore Come work for me! Failing that, it will be up to you to find a project to get stuck into; something that adds value that is not currently being done. This doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may at first sound. What’s the coolest, new innovative stuff being developed in the learning and development space? How can you engineer things so that you and your team are doing more valueadded work and less administration? Or you could be part of HR’s outreach to the wider organisation. Many HR leaders don’t like to spend money on back office training. That could leave you in a position to put together a series of learning and development modules for HR specifically. Of course, while you will be the driver, for any of these projects, you will need to have confidence in the character of the HR leader you are reporting to. There is a chance they will take it negatively, in which case my advice would be to seriously consider a move elsewhere.

Laurence Smith has recently joined Digital Billions as its Chief Talent and Learning Officer. With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including stints and projects with LG Electronics, GE Capital, McKinsey, the World Bank, and as Managing Director of HR for DBS Bank.

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

Learning and Development Congress 2017 Enhancing Learning and Development to Drive The Workforce of the Future

17-18 January 2017 Singapore

Learning and Development Congress 2017, with the theme ‘Enhancing Learning and Development to Drive the New Workforce’ brings together well sought out speakers who will share their expertise on: • • • •

Learning and development initiatives and technologies that drive performance Creating a culture of learning and development within your organisation Establishing effective ROI measurement in learning and development initiatives Getting buy-ins from stakeholders for your new learning and development initiatives

Learning and Development Congress, offers you the opportunity to hear more about incorporating Micro Learning in order to be at the forefront in providing a comprehensive learning experience within your organisation.

Featured Speakers:

Sharyn Porter Senior Vice President HR Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Sylvia Koh Chief People Officer Crimson Logic

Jennifer Rogers Learning and Development Growth Leader, ASEAN + Japan Korea DuPont

Karina Cuello Director Learning and Development Asia Pacific Jones Lang LaSalle

Angie Ng Chief Human Resource Officer Manulife Singapore

Toyohiro Matsuda Global Training & Recruitment Officer, GHRD Department Mitsubishi

Raman Sidhu Global Head of Learning – Global Commercial Shell Eastern Petroleum

Loes Schrijvers Group Learning Manager – Leadership Management Unilever

For sponsorship opportunities please contact: Kristine Chan Sales Director +65 6423 4631 For more details about the congress, visit http://www.

REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: | ISSUE 16.11 HRMASIA.COM


Opportunities for Life

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

General Manager, Strategic HR

Head of Learning & Development

• Highly challenging and compelling role • Significant regional exposure

• Exciting and impactful industry • Strategic and hands-on role

Our client a family-owned business, is an established leader in its market and trusted name in the industry. They have an excellent business model with a well respected leadership team.

A respectable establishment, our client has an immediate need for an accomplished and dynamic L&D expert to lead the function to the next level.

They are looking to recruit a General Manager, Strategic HR who will be a key player in helping the organization create a high performance workforce and develop HR programs that propel organizational effectiveness. You will lead overall talent strategies such as talent management review and programs, executive learning, succession management and assessment, recruitment/ staffing strategy for key talent across Asia. In this exciting and challenging role, you will partner Group and Country HR Heads and Business Heads across Asia Pacific. You will be a senior and experienced HR Business Partner, ideally with 15+ years of experience with excellent regional exposure with a strong background in talent development and management. You are a transformational manager who has strong communications skills with proven track record in people and change strategies. To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at or Audrey Chong at audrey@ EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

You will drive the development of strategies and initiatives to elevate L&D as key business partner within the organisation. You will oversee the overall planning and designing of training programmes, identify and strengthen core staff competencies, develop and propel various initiatives to drive thought leadership. You will develop strategic relationships with world class training institutions and stakeholders, professional groups and accrediting bodies. Degree qualified with professional training certifications, you have minimum 12 years relevant experience in leading Singapore corporations and MNCs. You are a forward-thinking leader who works effectively to build strong alliances with local and international stakeholders, develop others and operate in a collaborative style. Advantageous for those who have spearheaded an establishment of learning academy in a leadership capacity and drive development of creative programmes to drive continuous growth. To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at or Audrey Chong at EA Personnel Registration No. R1105976 & R1105147

RGF is the global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest HR and recruitment services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$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

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

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

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HR Business Partner

• Global MNC in the medical devices industry • Implementation of processes and systems for recruitment function

• Well-established MNC in the Manufacturing Industry • Strategic & Operational HR function

Due to plant expansion, the Talent Acquisition Manager is primarily accountable for managing recruitment processes across blue and white collar functions

Our client is a well-established leading player in the industrial sector, and has built a strong presence as it continues to expand itself in the APAC region. They are currently seeking a seasoned HR professional to partner the business in achieving its objectives and fuel long-term growth.

The successful candidate will serve as a strategic and tactical business partner to all business units in Singapore. You will also work closely with the HR head to work on improving or reengineering existing recruitment procedures. Degree qualified with a minimum of 10 years relevant experience ideally in MNCs and in the manufacturing industry. Ideally, you will have proven success in process engineering and execution globally. You are hands on, self motivated and flexible operating in a fast paced environment, and possess strong communication as well as influencing skills.

Reference number: JO/448851 Contact person: Jennifer ONG (Registration Number R1324297)

In this role, you will report to the Country HR Director, while partnering closely with senior business leaders and HR CoEs to deliver best HR practices. You will take a strategic and yet hands-on approach, with the mandate to provide counsel as well as drive and implement changes around people strategies. The successful candidate comes at least 8 years of experience and is an impact-driven HR professional of high strategic calibre and strong operational exposure. You will have demonstrated excellent stakeholder management skills, takes a proactive and analytical approach around resolving issues and have proven success around implementing and executing initiatives. Reference number: CC/JD438444 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)

HR Business Partner • Well-established MNC in the media and digital industry • Regional role in a dynamic and fast paced environment Our client is a well-established leading player in the media sector, who has built a strong presence across the globe and continues to expand in the APAC region. They are currently seeking a seasoned HR professional to partner the business in achieving its objectives and fuel long-term growth. In this role, you will report to the Country HR Director, while partnering closely with senior business leaders and HR CoEs to deliver best HR practices. You will ideally be hands-on and able to act as an advisor to provide counsel as well as drive and implement changes around people strategies. The successful candidate is an impact-driven HR professional of high calibre and strong operational exposure. You will have demonstrated excellent stakeholder management skills, able to take a proactive and analytical approach around resolving issues and enjoy the challenge of building processes from scratch. Reference number: NC/JD452014 Contact person: Niharika Chaturvedi (Registration Number R1104291)


Talent Acquisition Manager

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

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




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Headquartered in Singapore since 2003, Kerry Consulting is Singapore’s leading Search & Selection firm. Our consulting team is the most experienced, and amongst the largest, in the ASEAN region. We offer positions in the following sectors: Banking & Financial Services Commerce Finance Energy & Commodities Engineering & Supply Chain Healthcare & Life Sciences Human Resources Legal Sales & Marketing Technology

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HRMASIA.COM | Returning the Human to Resourcing

APAC L&D Specialist

HR Regional Manager, APAC

Senior HR Manager

Newly Created Position APAC Portfolio 50% Travel Required

Health & Life Science Industry APAC Portfolio Strong Hands-on Generalist Experience

Strong HR Operations Stakeholder Management Dynamic Environment

This leading global organisation is seeking a L&D Specialist to support the APAC region. In this newly created position, you will play a key role in supporting and developing training programmes for the client and its partners. Due to the focus in the development of talent and the development function in APAC, there is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic individual to join the Talent L&D team.

This leading MNC within the healthcare industry is looking to expand its presence in APAC. It is now seeking an APAC Regional HR Manager.

This global leader in its industry is seeking a Senior HR Manager with strong HR operations background and business partnering skills set.

Reporting directly to the Global HR Lead, you will be responsible for building the HR structure and supporting the regional business.

Reporting directly to the Talent Director, you will assist in the implementation of the learning needs analysis exercise to identify the total learning needs for the countries. This includes working closely with the business, HR, and regional partners to support the optimal sourcing and implementation of HR and L&D strategies and programmes for all functions within the organisation in accordance with the learning plan.

You will have the ability to balance the need for strategic HR leadership with the need for hands-on generalist support in functions such as talent management, C&B, employee relations, and training. Your role will require you to travel within the region 30% of the time.

Reporting directly to the APAC HR Director, you will be responsible for end-to-end HR spectrum, including talent acquisition, business partnering, C&B, HR operations, and payroll.

Ideally, you will have 6 to 8 years of experience in Training or related curriculum, along with proven experience in designing multiple training events in a corporate setting. You will also possess knowledge of learning management software and training design—work experience in a manufacturing environment with regional experience will be an advantage. In addition, you will be a self-starter with strong communication, influencing, and presentation skills. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS11002. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Licence No: R1107886

You will be degree qualified in Human Resource or a relevant discipline with at least 10 years of HR generalist, HRBP or operations background. Work experience in a MNC organisation within the FMCG or pharmaceutical industry will be an advantage. You will also possess strong interpersonal skills for building rapport across all levels, as well as leadership abilities and a partnering mentality. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS10326. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Licence No: R1107886

You will have solid HR operations experience and a very hands-on approach. You will also possess strong interpersonal skills for building rapport across all levels, as well as leadership abilities and a partnering mentality. You will be degree qualified in Human Resource or a relevant discipline with at least 12 years of hands-on HR operations—work experience in a MNC organisation will be an advantage. As the HR Director is not based in Singapore, you will need to be someone who is independent, detail-oriented, and who has the ability to manage changes. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS11034. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Licence No: R1107886

Regional C&B Lead (VP Level), Banking Industry

Plant HRM – Global Manufacturing Organisation

Vice President, HR (Group Benefits) – Banking Industry

Prominent Asian Banking Institution Newly Created Role Dynamic Work Environment

Global Organisation Country HR Leadership Role Team Lead Role

Major Banking Institution Regional Scope Conducive Work Environment

This is a reputable bank with footprint across the Asia Pacific region and a strong track record of solid growth and profits. Building on its sound foundations, the bank has embarked on an exciting journey to prepare for its next stage of growth.

This prominent organisation has recorded strong business growth in the region.

This major banking institution is recruiting a dynamic and high calibre Vice President to head the Group Benefits team.

You will report to and work closely with the Group Head of C&B to lead, design, develop, and implement the rewards and performance management strategy across the bank, as well as develop and implement the C&B strategy, philosophy, policies, and programmes across the group. As this is a newly created role, there will be significant opportunities to help shape the C&B function across the region while you work in close partnership with the in-country HR leads. You will also be responsible for all C&B and performance management matters across the Asia Pacific region. You will have a strong foundation of C&B in the Asia Pacific region. You will also be an experienced and driven individual with strong stakeholder management skills. You should have worked in fast-paced environments and are prepared to ‘roll up your sleeves’ while being able to advise on strategies to drive business growth. In addition, you will need to have the gravitas to influence the business in a commercial sense. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT110911. We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Licence No: 16S8060

Reporting directly to the Global HR VP based in Singapore, you will manage a small team and be responsible for all aspects of human resources business partnering for a high-performance commercial organisation with complex operations and some markets that are undergoing double-digit growth rates. Focusing on areas such as Learning & Development, talent roadmapping, performance evaluation best practices, and HR strategies, you will gain wide exposure throughout the HQ and access a clear path to advance into a global role. You will be degree qualified with at least 10 years of relevant experience in blue-chip MNCs (including at least 5 years of experience in a managerial position). You must be able to build rapport across all levels and markets, demonstrate strong leadership abilities, and display a partnering mentality. You will also be strategic in mindset and tactical in delivery. At the same time, you will possess strong interpersonal and communication skills, as well as a team mindset. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT10414. Due to high volume of responses, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Licence No: 16S8060

This leadership role will be instrumental in managing the Group Benefits programme, including programmes such as Employee Share Purchase Plan and Staff Loans, as well as play a lead role in managing the global mobility programme. You will also be the key decision-maker for human capital, drive people agenda, and contribute to the alignment of business and employee objectives through utilising appropriate HR interventions and change management tools. As a specialist, this role encompasses design, development, and implementation of benefits schemes and new initiatives at the Group Level. 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, leadership, and management roles. You will also be someone who is highly credible and tenacious, as well as a self-starter and a lateral thinker who is measured in your approach. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT11029. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Licence No: 16S8060

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Regional HRIS Manager, Aerospace

A newly created opportunity has arisen in a US technology company for an enthusiastic, career-hungry HR Business Partner. You will join the rapidly growing team in Singapore and be working across a specific geographical area within APAC leveraging off the centre of excellence. You will be working closely with stakeholders, supporting and advising on all HR related matters, in line with the strategic direction of the business. This is a true HR business partner role working within a matrix environment where you will be the interface between the business and HR.

An international aerospace organisation is seeking a Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) Lead to support the implementation of new HR systems. Reporting to the Global Head, you will need to ensure the successful roll out of new HRIS, reconfiguration and fine-tuning of systems, data management and transfer, user support and training for the various HRIS systems at a regional level. You will have at least 8 years of relevant experience in HRIS including project management.

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

Learning & Development Specialist On the back of promising growth, an established leader in the IT sector is seeking to hire a Learning & Development Specialist. This global company specialises in consulting and business solutions delivery. As the Learning & Development Lead, an individual contributor role, your primary responsibilities will be supporting the implementation of talent development strategies and initiatives. You will also be engaging, supporting and advising the business in identifying learning needs and skills gap analysis. You will be dealing extensively with your overseas counterparts to execute learning requirements across the region. Contact Sophie Baker (Reg ID. R1658732) at or call +65 6303 0721.

EA License Number: 07C3924

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

HR Business Partner Seize the opportunity to join a well renowned and established FMCG firm as an HR Business Partner. You’ll be based in their corporate head office covering South East Asia. Reporting to the HR Lead, you will be looking after the full spectrum of HR including talent acquisition and internships, employee engagement, advising stakeholders on policies and procedures and preparing documents for board meetings. Key to the success of this role will be your ability to function well in a fast-paced environment. Contact Sophie Baker (Reg ID. R1658732) at or call +65 6303 0721.

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HRM 16.11 All the right tools  

All the right tools - Singapore's SkillsFuture in focus