HRM AWARDS 2018: WINNERS AND HIGHLIGHTS
THE MAN BEHIND NESTLÉ’S ANALYTICS SET-UP
The Goods Price inc. GST $9.95
Ninja Van CEO on the logistics company’s quick rise to the top
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Dear HRM Magazine Asia readers,
n estimated 100 million businesses are launched every year. Of those, expect 90% to fail, with only a handful going the distance. These numbers put the rapid rise of startups like Ninja Van, this month’s cover story, into sharp perspective. It’s not easy to survive the first-year mark, much more make it big, but the e-commerce delivery service has accomplished all that in just four years. At the start of 2018, Ninja Van concluded what was reportedly one of the largest amounts ever raised in any investment fundraising rounds in Southeast Asia. But founder and CEO Lai Chang Wen is quick to downplay these achievements. During our exclusive Leaders Talk HR interview, he says things are far from being a “done deal”. “We still have a lot more to do in Southeast Asia. It has shown early signs of becoming a success, but it’s definitely not a success yet,” Lai points out. If Lai is unwilling, or even unable, to predict his company’s success based on early indication, someone else by the name of Jordan Pettman probably can. Pettman, the Global Head of People Data, Analytics and Planning at Nestlé, and one of today’s leading workforce analytics experts, shares on page 18, how he has helped the Swiss food giant to formalise and standardise the analytics function on a global scale.
This is easier said than done for an organisation as huge and complex as Nestlé, which employs over 300,000 workers spread across some 2,000 product lines in 191 countries. But for Pettman, the real challenge lies in the effective utilisation of predictive analytics, a practice that he says has become more refined with time. Today, Nestlé operates an elaborate analytics system that produces useful predictive metrics, which HR has been able to leverage. This issue’s HR Insider, Teledirect Telecommerce’s Group Director of HR and Talent Development Gaurav Hirey, is also outspoken about the growing importance of predictive analytics. “That’s where analytics is right now, it’s all about predicting. What’s the point of collecting data if we don’t get there?,” Hirey says – don’t miss that story on page 42. We’re only a month away from the HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018. You can catch Pettman, Hirey, and many more HR change-makers right here in Singapore. We look forward to seeing all of you then! Warmly,
KELVIN ONG Senior Journalist, HRM Asia
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ON THE COVER
DELIVERING THE GOODS
Ninja Van has become the go-to delivery service for e-commerce outlets across Southeast Asia. CEO Lai Chang Wen shares his “take-no-prisoners” approach to life and business in the start-up
“It’s about keeping our heads down, focusing on the work at hand, building a sustainable business, being proud of what we do, and working alongside equally competent colleagues”
F E AT U R E S
Jordan Pettman is Nestle’s secret weapon when it comes to workforce analytics at a massive, multiple market level. He speaks to HRM Magazine Asia about implementing a global data collection and analysis system
HRM 25 AWARDS COMMEMORATIVE GUIDE
All the winners, photos, and highlights from the Singapore professional HR community’s night of nights
RIGHT 42THE FREQUENCY
Business process outsourcing hub Teledirect Telecommerce is much more than a call centre operator. Group Director of HR Gaurav Hirey shares more about the company’s culture and workforce strategies
WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here
STAYS IN THE HEART 49SERVICED OF ASIAN BUSINESS
Serviced apartments are an important enabling tool for the increased talent mobility and international assignments now taking place in Asia-Pacific
REGULARS 04 BEST OF HRMASIA.COM 06 NEWS 09 HRM FIVE 54 UPCOMING EVENTS 64 TWO CENTS MY HR CAREER
56THE HR CHAMELEON
Guest contributor Laurence Smith interviews Ommar Butt, of NXP Semiconductors, about his unique multi-country and multifaceted HR career to date
60 61 62
LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL READER ADVICE APRIL 2018
BEST OF HRMASIA.COM
.com Watch - Building organisational capability
HR transformation expert Rita Trehan believes the role of HR today is less about people, and more about building organisational capacity.
What role can – and should – men in powerful positions play in the continuing push for gender equality within the workplace? HRM Magazine Asia’s Kelvin Ong explores the UN-initiated HeForShe campaign, and hears from a selection of men advocating greater action
Last month, we asked: Which highlight from the Singapore budget 2018 announcement will impact you and your HR purview the most? This was your response.
Continuing financial assistance for companies and workers Worker upskilling initiatives 04
11 18 25 46 % % % %
Digital transformation grants
Share - From the HRM Asia Forums
“New technologies are both contributing to, and assisting to resolve hiring challenges. The key is how we maintain the human element in the experiences for everyone involved in the hiring process” Aaron Hardy, Product Manager, PageUp, shares the top ten hiring trends to look out for over the year ahead
Last month, we asked: What was the highlight of HRM Awards 2018? This was your response.
The “Great Gatsby” theme The entertainment acts
Wining and dining, of course!
The Hays Award for Employer of Choice
Host Nikki Muller
hatiftheattritionwasnotdue tothepoorleadershipand management?Inanarticle bythepeopleteamfrom Facebook,acasestudyoftheirattrition ratespointedtohygienefactorsinstead” Raymond Soh, People Strategist and volunteer HR mentor, explains why high turnover rates are due to a large combination of factors
“IT DEPARTMENTS TYPICALLY FOCUS THEIR SPENDING ON PREVENTING EXTERNAL ATTACKS, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT MOST DATA BREACHES START INTERNALLY – EITHER BY SHARING DOCUMENTS THROUGH UNSECURED CONSUMER APPLICATIONS OR CLICKING ON INCREASINGLY SOPHISTICATED PHISHING ATTACKS” Alex Manea, Chief Security Officer, Blackberry, on why information security is also HR’s responsibility
Don’t wait for the printed magazine each month – the best of HRM Asia’s news, features, and analysis are available both online and through the daily e-newsletters. Even this magazine issue can be read cover-to-cover in an electronic version from Wednesday, April 4. With fully-dynamic links to even more content, including video and archived materials, the HRM e-magazine is everything you know from the printed product, plus much, much more. Sign up at www.hrmasia.com/content/subscribe for daily email updates, and the first look at every story, opinion, guest post, and HRM TV episode. Remember to also stay updated throughout the working week by checking into www.hrmasia.com on mobile, tablet, or computer. And connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make your mark in the HR community in Asia-Pacific All combined, HRM Asia’s multiple platforms and huge variety of content give HR professionals and business leaders the world’s best view of the fastevolving HR universe, here in Asia. APRIL 2018
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
NEW “GOOD CONDUCT CERTIFICATE” FOR FOREIGN LABOUR WORKERS SEEKING employment in the United Arab Emirates will now have to meet a new legal requirement before they can get a visa. The country’s Ministry of HR has ruled that all foreign workers will first have to obtain the “Good Conduct Certificate” in their country of residence or origin. This
will then have to be signed off by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Only incoming workers will have to apply for the certificate, and not their dependents. Tourists and students do not need to obtain the certificate, nor do existing foreign workers looking to switch jobs the country.
JAPAN LOOKING TO GROW WORKER POOL FACING A SEVERE labour shortage crisis due to its ageing population, the Japanese government has announced several points of action to increase the local pool of talent. It is also reviewing visa regulations for both high and low-skilled labour so as to expand the nation’s pool of foreign workers. The public pension age may also be raised to 71. Currently, people in Japan can choose to collect their pensions anytime between the ages of 60 and 70. Japan has also taken an initial step towards increasing the mandatory retirement age for civil servants, from 60 to 65.
SINGAPORE EMPLOYMENT ACT TO BE AMENDED ABOUT 430,000 more professionals, managers and executives will be protected by Singapore’s Employment Act, with plans to remove its existing salary cap. Currently, only workers earning less than $4,500 per month are guaranteed access to key employment terms, including paid sick leave and compensation for wrongful dismissal. “Our workforce is changing fast, we now have more PMETs (professionals,
managers, executives and technicians), and fewer rank-and-file [staff],” said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say. “With PMETs making up 56% of the local workforce now, going up to 65% by around 2030, it is timely to make a more fundamental change to the coverage of [the Employment Act].” The changes will be implemented by April 2019, and follow a monthlong public consultation conducted earlier in the year.
TOYS ‘R’ US PLANNING TO CLOSE MORE STORES AMID STIFF competition from online retailers and bigger toy stores like Hamleys, US
toy retail chain Toys ‘R’ Us is set to scale back on its global operations. The company, which operates over 500 stores in Asia alone, is reportedly planning to close down dozens of stores, though locations have not been specified. This follows an announcement earlier this year that the company would shut down 182 stores by April, potentially affecting some 4,500 workers. The toy giant – once said to be the world’s “largest standalone toy store chain” – filed for bankruptcy last year, after struggling with a US$5 billion (S$6.6 billion) debt. As of September 2017, the company employs 64,000 workers globally.
UNITED AIRLINES HOLDS OFF ON LOTTERY BONUS
GERMAN UNION SECURES 28-HOUR WORK WEEK GERMANY’S LARGEST
labour union IG Metall has struck a landmark deal with employers for higher wages and shorter working hours. As part of the deal, union workers will receive a 4.3% salary increment over the next 27 months, and will be required to serve a minimum of 28 working hours each week for up to two years – down from 35 hours previously. This means workers will have to return to the 35hour work week after two years. Employers are not allowed to block workers
from availing of the shorter working hours under any circumstances. However, in exchange for agreeing to shorter work weeks, employers received the right to have more workers take up 40-hour contracts, which some analysts say is counterproductive for the progress the union has made. The agreement will initially cover 900,000 metals and electrical workers in the state of Baden-Württemberg, which is home to major industrial companies like Bosch and Daimler.
US CARRIER United Airlines has suspended plans to implement a lottery bonus system. Company president Scott Kirby had reportedly sent out a company memo announcing that the company would be dropping its quarterly performance bonuses in favour of a lottery bonus system. Under the proposed system, employees would stand a chance to win prizes such as luxury cars and vacation packages. However, only up to 1,361 employees would receive such prizes, leaving the rest of the 88,000-strong workforce emptyhanded. Employees were quick to voice their disquiet on the company’s internal communication system and private Facebook page. “It is beyond interesting to see you try to spin a fraction of a chance at winning anything as better than an actual quarterly bonus for our performance as a company,” said one employee. Following the backlash, United Airlines has decided to shelve the new system – for now. Instead, the airline will be reaching out to employee work groups to make changes that “better reflect [employee] feedback”.
26-27 June Singapore
Navigating the Future of HR Transformation, Strategy, Workforce Analytics and Organisational Development HRM Asia brings you the HRXLR8
Summit 2018 to explore challenges and opportunities in HR Strategy, HR Transformation,
Workforce and HR Analytics and Organisational Development. We have extensively researched the most pressing challenges around HR today, to equip you with the right tools and strategies to drive business results and become a strategic business partner.
Ross Sparkman Head of Strategic Workforce Planning Facebook (USA)
KEY HIGHLIGHTS Breakout Sessions 4 Streams on: HR Strategy/HR Transformation/ Workforce and HR Analytics/Organisational Development and Design Unrivalled Content and Networking Opportunity 9 panel discussions, 28 presentations, and a number of networking breaks to help you get the best out of your experience Case Study and Group Discussion Engage in panel discussions that will equip you with tangible strategies on how to be a successful HR leader Great Line Up of Speakers Hear from the most influential HR leaders how you can future proof your organisation
KEY THEMES TO BE EXPLORED Tackling HR transformation with the right technology, skills, capabilities, culture, and gaining organisational buy-in Understanding and using data to drive business decisions and plan for current and future trends Addressing the skills and capabilities an HR leader needs to have to become a strategic business partner Executing an HR strategy and driving the organisation towards the future Developing organisational capabilities to grow leaders and inspire organisational growth Changing mind-sets and empowering a culture of change and innovation Aligning strategy, people and processes
REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.hrxlr8summit.com
DEALING WITH UNSUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES
BY YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY
Every hiring manager has received a few résumés where the person’s experience and qualifications were so irrelevant that one has to wonder if they accidentally applied to the wrong job. But more than likely, multiple excellent candidates will apply, and many will have to be turned away. Time is a finite thing, and HR managers need to carefully triage how they spend it as much as the next person. It might not seem like there's enough time to let unsuccessful candidates know their status, much less consider what to say to them. But it might be worth a few extra minutes to let those applicants down – not so much gently, perhaps, but professionally, and respectfully. If nothing else, hiring managers need to be mindful of the Glassdoor effect: turn a candidate off completely, and they might just write a scathing anonymous review about the terrible experience they had with your company’s recruitment team. Here are HRM Magazine Asia’s tips on how a rejection can be transformed into a positive experience.
Even if they aren’t suited to this particular role, there’s no reason to assume that another, better opportunity will pop up in the future that they would be perfect for. Informing them of the outcome is a great way to demonstrate consideration and respect – and engender goodwill toward the employer brand – even if there is no good news to deliver.
1 2 3 4 5
Thank them for their time
If the candidate has had at least an interview with your organisation, it means they’ve taken the time and made the effort, on their own dime, to make an application and follow through. It also means that you thought they were worth your time. Everyone appreciates polite courtesy.
Add a personal touch
Computer-generated form rejection letters are better than nothing, but just the simple act of getting someone’s salutation correct, or adding their name will show that your organisation truly values people as human beings. A quick phone call to a candidate who was particularly impressive is even better.
A rejection really isn’t a rejection – it’s usually a mismatch of skillset to the position, or just the fact that there were applicants with more experience and relevant knowledge. Of course, there is no obligation to be kind, but candidates should walk away having had a good experience with the organisation, even if the journey together ends then and there.
Consider providing feedback
This can be tricky because you don’t want to open yourself up to legal ramifications. If you do decide to do this, be factual, honest, and stick to the job description – for example, “to support ongoing initiatives, we are looking to bring specific expertise in Malaysian immigration law” is better than “you weren’t a good fit for the job.” APRIL 2018
F E AT U R E
L E A D E R S TA L K H R
THE GOODS Before Ninja Van’s arrival on the logistics scene, next-day deliveries were literally unheard of in this region. Today, the company has become the go-to delivery service for e-commerce outlets across Southeast Asia, thanks to CEO LAI CHANG WEN’S bold, “takeno-prisoners”approach to life and business B Y K E LV I N O N G
hatty” is not exactly the first word that comes to mind when one first meets Lai Chang Wen, the 30-year-old founder and CEO of “digital logistics” company Ninja Van. If anything, the entrepreneur – one of Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 for the manufacturing and energy sector in 2016 – might appear cautious or shy at first. But don’t judge him on that alone. Throughout our meeting, he conducts himself respectfully and professionally, often conscious of what is expected of him. Standing under the scorching sun fully decked out in a blazer and jeans for a 30-minute photoshoot, he readily takes his position for every shot, never once showing any signs of discomfort. Lai is the first to admit that he’s not the world’s most talkative person. “My employees would tell you that I answer their questions in under five seconds,” he shares. But that’s testament to the kind of person he is – an unpretentious straight shooter. He is honest throughout this interview, even telling me he thinks the gig economy is a “nonsensical story” that is being repeated to jobseekers everywhere. “Do you really care if you are a part-time or full-time worker? At the end of the day it’s about how much money is in your bank account right?” “We don’t like to beat around the bush and talk nonsense. We could very easily position ourselves and our drivers as part of the sharing economy, but it’s not the story we want to tell.” Rather, Lai says the company is up front with new joiners and candidates about what they can expect from a job there. “We never tell them that this is an easy job, or a job where they get paid a lot of money. What we tell them is that we will grow them, give them autonomy and impactful work, and that they will leave the company better people,” he says. His candour is, in many ways, refreshing for someone with his background– he attended top schools in Singapore like Raffles Institution, Raffles Junior College and then the Singapore Management University, and was a derivatives trader for a short time at the prestigious Barclays Investment Bank.
F E AT U R E
L E A D E R S TA L K H R
Asia today. In 2014, the same year the company was established, Lai and his team of co-founders channelled their passion into the business by reinventing the traditional parcel-sorting process through the utilisation of mobile scanning technology. This tool, alongside technology to calculate advantageous delivery routes, helped to speed up the entire delivery process. This allowed Ninja Van to become one of the first logistics companies in Singapore to offer a next-day delivery option. Surprisingly, Lai does not view his pursuits as precarious. In fact, he refers to his current career path as “generally very safe”. Risky or not, Lai’s decision to become
But the corporate life was not for Lai. What he craves is a sense of purpose, and a chance to make a real impact on the world. He did not want to live with regrets, and instead, wanted to “risk it all” while he still could – a trait that had rubbed off on him from his father, who had worked in a multinational for many years. “Frankly, I would be making more money as a banker. “Don’t get me wrong, I would be lying if I said wealth is not important, but fulfilment is more important to me,” says Lai. This desire and drive for entrepreneurship and problem-solving has seen Ninja Van become one of the most widely-used delivery services in Southeast
one I LOVE:
THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE:
ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME:
I can be quite an introvert!
MY INSPIRATION IS:
Elon Musk. He dares to risk it all IN FIVE YEARS, I’D LIKE TO BE:
Connecting every consumer in Southeast Asia ADVICE FOR MY YOUNGER SELF:
Money is not everything!
Ninja Van is not your first venture. When did your entrepreneurial ambitions first take form?
Golf, although I’m not a good golfer
an entrepreneur, seems to have paid off handsomely. In January 2018, Ninja Van concluded what it called a “successful” Series C funding round. It was reported that the maturing company raised some US$87 million in this third stage. If this is true, this would make it the second largest amount ever raised in one round in Southeast Asia. True to form, Lai is not letting the achievement get to his head. “At Ninja, we try not to be starry-eyed. It’s about keeping our heads down, focusing on the work at hand, building a sustainable business, being proud of what we do, and working alongside equally competent colleagues – those things are a lot more important,” he says.
Kentucky Fried Chicken RECIPE FOR SUCCESS:
Work hard, don’t be scared to fail, and be self-aware
They started when I was in secondary school. I was really into HardwareZone.com, where you buy and sell things and make a small profit, and that becomes your pocket money for the week. But I guess it really started in college when I built Marcella, a custom menswear line, and it was during this time that I got more involved in supply chain. After I graduated, I became a trader at a bank, but only for about a year.
Why did you leave such a lucrative job?
It was a good life, and I was paid a tonne of money, but I wanted to make an impact. I wanted to do something that was more direct. At the end of the day, a lot of decisions are not reversible. But if you lose the chance to risk it all, you can never get that chance back again. Doing it at this stage when you are not married and have no kids; you could still go back to your job in one or two years if it doesn’t work out.
Ninja Van emerged in 2014 at the height of the e-commerce boom. What was one of your main challenges then?
One of the early challenges was we didn’t know anything about the industry. We had to learn from scratch, be very humble, speak to drivers from other companies and learn how everything works. There was also a tendency to overthink things, and think that
we can overoptimise and always be smarter than the rest. So humility is very important. Sometimes, the age-old tradition could be the right tradition, so don’t try to overdo anything.
Just two years later, you were turning in a profit. Was it talent, hard work, or luck that led you there?
Luck is probably what got us onto this path. Maximising every opportunity, learning as quickly as you can, and adapting as quickly as you can is the other part. Of course, having the right group of people who are equally motivated, and also contributing their own parts – I think those are just as important as luck, hard work, and talent.
You were one of the first to automate supply chain management here in Southeast Asia. Would you say that was a contributing factor to your rapid growth?
“It’s about keeping our heads down, focusing on the work at hand, building a sustainable business, being proud of what we do, and working alongside equally competent colleagues”
Well, I wouldn’t say it’s “automation”. I would say it’s digitalisation. Automation is automating an action, but digitalisation is really about making sure that information is readily available. So I think that was the crux of it all, because you can be very efficient and cheap and good, but if you cannot provide visibility to e-commerce clients, then you lose the point. We came in at the right time when e-commerce was growing rapidly, and you can say that for this market, what is really important is to have visibility not just when consumers discover a product or when you shop online, but also when the actual product is being shipped to them. So there was a very big, black hole initially, and that was the problem we tried to solve. Since then, many others have caught up, but that was what gave us a head start.
you have thousands of Q Today employees across Southeast Asia. When did you start to implement an HR strategy? To be honest, I don’t think there was ever a point when we said let’s professionalise it or structure it. It was very gradual. We’ve always had an inkling of where we should go next. I think the best way to do it is to know the black and the white, to know the extreme ends of every management style, and of every kind of culture you want in the company. That opens up your eyes to how
things can be done, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be done that way. You also realise that the organisation cannot just sit back and pray that managers do the right things. The organisation should be bigger than the individuals. That’s why one of our key pillars for this year is people sustainability. We don’t want to say let’s just hire and fire, and that we can hire a thousand people. But what are we going to do after that? How are we going to grow and groom them? Let’s hire the right people at the right speed, but let’s deliver 0n our promise to them the same way we deliver
our promise to customers. So one of the things we’re working on right now is growth – how do we engage workers and provide them with the right learning and growth opportunities – that’s easy to say, but hard to do.
Earlier this year, you reportedly secured one of the largest fundraising amounts ever in Southeast Asia. What does this mean to you?
Well, I don’t think it’s a done deal yet. We still have a lot more to do in Southeast Asia. It has shown early signs of becoming APRIL 2018
F E AT U R E
L E A D E R S TA L K H R
At this stage of your development, how does Ninja Van appeal to jobseekers?
We promise fair pay but harder work, which I know doesn’t sound like a very fair deal. But what we do in return is we say we will grow you, we will give you autonomy, and make sure that your work is impactful. I think we deliver on a lot of these promises. During recruitment or when people have joined, we never tell them that this is an easy job, or a job where they will get paid a lot of money to do very little work. But we hope that when they walk away one day after a couple of years or however long their tenure was, that they actually became a better person, and they learned more during their time here.
Drivers form a significant part of your workforce. What is your talent management approach for this group of workers?
a success, but it’s definitely not a success yet. With the Series C funding, we have seen that the larger you get, and the more stakeholders you have, it becomes less about just working hard and trying to build the business. It becomes more about how do you manage your stakeholders and ensure that this remains a sustainable organisation. At last count, excluding drivers, we have about 1,800 employees. So we’re starting to realise that the direction you set, the workplace culture you have, the sustainability of the company, isn’t just about pride or money or success. It’s actually the daily bread of a lot of people, so you must carry a certain sense of responsibility such that you grow the company in a way that people’s jobs and livelihoods are preserved as well.
What is your management philosophy?
For those who are not inherently motivated, it’s very difficult to help them find their own motivation. After that it’s very important to be self-aware. I learned this from my bosses during my time as a trader. I saw how inherently motivated they were. They liked what they did, they were challenged by their job, they came to work every day and wanted to do better. Those were the things that really left an impact on me. Looking at the way a big boss could be so powerful, so rich and already so successful – yet he still cares about what he does, can work longer hours than his employees – that really showed me that that is the kind of manager I would rather be: someone who leads by example.
Blue-collared jobs can sometimes come across as somewhat boring or monotonous. What we try to do is give them more purpose and a sense of identity in what they are doing. That’s why the brand makes a difference – we want them to be proud that they are a “Ninja”. When we gather and we see 50 vans in the carpark, we get a sense of pride. It is this sense of pride that makes people a lot more loyal. At the end of the day, the salary also has to be fair. These are the general tenets we promise to new hires, or at least try to.
As a disruptor yourself, how do you plan to stay disruptionproof?
I don’t think I can ever give you a complete answer there. But in terms of people, we don’t just hire from within the logistics industry, we hire from all fields. We believe that a lot of fundamental thinking is transferable across industries, and that actually the wider you see, the more cross-functional you are. In terms of mindset, don’t put the blinders on and don’t think you’re always right. Be open and have a very objective mindset about whether something is really for the better or for the worst. email@example.com
9 – 10 May 2018 | Suntec Singapore
How prepared is your organisation for the work and workers of tomorrow? Understand the current workplace mega-shifts that will drastically change the way we work over the next decade, and how you can instil a growth and ‘attacker’ mindset in your organisation to proactively shape your business in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Join the event’s vast array of Business and Management Leaders to find out how you and your business can thrive in a ‘reworked’ world. Exclusive access to: • 8 Conferences (C-Suite Symposium, Transform & Redesign, Experience & Engage, Develop & Perform, Grow & Thrive Day, SME Day, Start-up Day, HR Millennials Day) • 2 Hands-on Master Series Workshops with Global Management Thought Leaders
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C-Suite and Exclusive Management Presentations C-Suite VIP Luncheons & Breaks VIP Business Lounge Access Exclusive C-Suite Event Materials
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Building a Disruptive Innovation Culture Challenge The Status Quo Azran Osman-Rani Former CEO of AirAsia X and iflix Malaysia
Shift – The Future of Work Dr. Lynda Gratton Thinkers50, Organisational Management ThoughtLeader & Professor of Management Practice London Business School
The High-Speed Company – Making Your Organisation Faster, More Nimble, Agile and Open to Change Jason Jennings Leadership, Growth, Culture and Innovation Expert & Author
The Tech Storm Interactive Workshop Nicklas Bergman Serial Entrepreneur, Tech Investor and Futurist
Strategic Organisation Design for the Digital Future of Work Jon Ingham HR Influencer, Blogger & Author
Arvinder Gujral Managing Director, Southeast Asia & Senior Director, Business Development, Asia Pacific Twitter Inc.
Growth and Agility @ Henkel Thomas Holenia President Henkel Singapore
Inside Amazon’s Culture for Success Nick Walton Managing Director, ASEAN Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Leadership 4.0 – Finding Your VOICE in the Age of Disruption Paul N Larsen Leadership Expert, Speaker & Author
and many more...
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F E AT U R E
STATISTICAL SUPERMAN Say hello to JORDAN PETTMAN: Nestlé’s Global Head of People Data, Analytics, and Planning; and master of workforce metric jargons as complex as the organisational set-up of the world’s largest food conglomerate E SE
B Y K E LV I N O N G
N JORDAA N PETTM at it m S R H um ia A & Expo s
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hese days, in the world of workforce and business management, it’s all about predictive analytics. The road to achieving a seamless measurement system, however, is certainly not an easy one. Not even if you have one of the leading people analytics practitioners guiding you along every step of the way. Just ask Nestlé, the world’s largest health, wellness and nutrition company, where the implementation of a global people analytics framework has been over two years in the making, largely aided by the arrival of analytics leader Jordan Pettman. In 2016, the Australian-born Pettman was brought on as the Swiss conglomerate’s Global Head of People Data, Analytics, and Planning. The organisation had long managed reporting teams with some analytics success on a local level, particularly in the US and the UK and Ireland, but decided to standardise the operations as its own global entity at the start of that year. “We had started working on strategic workforce planning globally at the end of 2015, but we hadn’t really done much in the analytics space. So I was brought on to start this global practice within Nestlé,” Pettman shares. Pettman is one of the most sought-after talent analytics experts today, speaking regularly at forums and conferences all over the world. A specialist in workforce analytics and strategic workforce planning, he got his start in the industry when he joined the well-known Australian analytics consultancy firm Infohrm in Australia in 2008, before two more lengthy stints leading the people analytics and planning practices at SuccessFactors and IBM Global Business Services – the consulting arm of IBM.
Implementing an analytics framework In this current role, Pettman is responsible for the governance of master data standards across all of Nestlé’s business units globally. This means Pettman and his team have to ensure that certain data elements, or specific people data attributes, are kept consistent for every employee no matter which geography or part of the business they are located within. “So any time one of our regions or businesses decides that they want to manage structural change, at the data level, my team needs to be able to govern the process of adding and changing any of the structural elements of data,” he explains. “We have to make sure that if only one part of the world is making changes to their data set, that they would still all match together, that we all understand each
individual element, and that everyone is able to align.” For an organisation as large and complex as Nestlé, with over 2,000 products across more than 150 countries, this is easier said than done, particularly as business challenges vary from market to market. This is why Pettman has approached his role from the perspective of an internal consultant. Consultants typically provide advice and share their expertise in a repeatable way. As an internal consultant, Pettman does this, as well as deliver products, or models, that can be replicated in other parts of the business. “Any of the dashboards or predictive analysis projects, whether it’s linking engagement data to termination data or business performance data: those become official products that we can apply elsewhere,” says Pettman. As complicated as the set-up is, what
has been really noteworthy, says Pettman, is how the workforce analytics team has been able to help the various business units understand and use people data effectively, as well as make relevant decisions for their individual objectives. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all measurement. There are certainly standard measures that people look at, but some of our businesses are really production-focused and some are sales-focussed,” says Pettman. “So for us, it’s really about identifying the right data elements to measure; in order to to be an enabler for all the rest of what we do, to support the business as they make future-focused people decisions.” This type of agility is still rare in analytics, but has been made possible by a well-laid out foundation. The foundation, in this case, is Nestlé’s global internal workforce dashboard that is seen as the baseline for all of the HR community to use and understand the information it holds about the people that execute its business goals. It contains standard HR reporting categories like headcounts, turnover and recruitment, all defined by a standard set of values. This base allows the global analytics team to focus on the real value-creating practices, like predictive and prescriptive analytics projects with business leaders.
Forecasting trends As a next step, Pettman’s team is now ramping up efforts on organisation-wide predictive analyses. While the team continues to oversee baseline evaluations, ultimately, they understand that the
JOIN JORDAN PETTMAN AT HR SUMMIT AND EXPO ASIA 2018 JORDAN PETTMAN joined Nestlé in June 2016 as its Global Head of People Data, Analytics and Planning. In this role, Pettman’s objectives have been to launch a global reporting platform through standardising core HR measures, building a self-service reporting culture within the HR population of the world’s largest food and
beverage company, as well as introducing several analytical tools. Join Pettman at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018 to understand how to
democratise access, and gain the capability to understand and use people analytics in order to support decisionmaking across a global organisation.
F E AT U R E
SE CLwO ith...
JORDAN PETTMAN Global Head of People Data, Analytics and Planning, Nestlé
Based in: Geneva, Switzerland Academic background: Undergraduate Psychology and then a Business Masters in Strategic HR Management Professional mantra: Try everything twice – you might have got it wrong the first time. What does that mean? Life is full of opportunities to try new things, learn new things, develop new ideas, experience more every day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get it right the first time I try most things. It would be a shame to miss a fantastic opportunity because you gave up after a first attempt. What would you be doing if you were not in HR and people analytics? Probably something in Organisational Psychology. Or mixing cocktails – cocktails are fun. What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t give your energy to things that you can’t influence and that won’t matter five years from now. Social media of choice? Instagram. As with all social media, Instagram has a ugly side – but it’s relatively easy to follow others that are inspiring, that share beautiful viewpoints of their worlds, and that aren’t loaded with negativity and drama. What are your passions in life? Good coffee. Good champagne. Time with my partner and our friends. Travel. TV and pizza on the couch on Sundays. Supporting my team in their pursuit of meaningful careers and lives. One person you’ve always admired, and why? My Mum. She is smart, hardworking and resilient and her approach to life is infectiously and consistently optimistic. I’ve never heard my Mum say that something can’t be achieved, only what could be achieved and how to achieve it. What’s your favourite quote? “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Your presentation is complete. You’re fully rested – and you’ve got 24 hours left in Singapore. What’s on the agenda? Singapore Slings at the Raffles Hotel Long Bar.
harvesting of data and use of analytics have to lead to a return-on-investment – the statistic that matters most to business leaders. “We’re trying to ensure that our projects lead to findings that could be useful in any of our markets. If you are a leadership team in any of our businesses, large or small, then you can still engage in the same methodologies and frameworks and drive the same sort of value across your business,” says Pettman. Increasingly, leadership teams are placing more value on analytics tied directly to business outcomes – such as anticipating which organisations could have the highest turnover rates, as well as where the highest recruitment costs are expected to be located, among other figures. Consequently, in the last year, the team has started to explore a methodology called Flight Risk Modelling. This predictive analysis is able to calculate how likely it is that an employee will leave or stay with the company at a particular point in time. Pettman says his team has done this by
“HR HAS FINALLY CAUGHT UP AND REALISED THAT DATA IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO MAKING BETTER DECISIONS” incorporating a practice used traditionally in the medical science industry. Survival Analysis is a branch of statistics that deduces the expected duration of time until one or more events happen, such as death in biological organisms or failure in
mechanical systems. The technique attempts to answer questions such as: What is the proportion of a targeted population which will survive past a set time? Of those that survive, at what rate will they then leave the organisation? Can and should multiple causes termination or failure be taken into account? Similarly, in human capital research, survival analysis allows the company and line managers to understand all of the events that happen in a person’s life, and how they impact their likelihood to stay with their employer. “With survival analysis, you take in more than what is traditional HR data where you are predicting attrition,” says Pettman. “And we end up with two sets of data. One of them looks at the pools of population that are more at risk, and another of individuals who are identified as being at risk. The important thing that happens next is how the Management team uses this information, to affect strategy, or to understand more about what is causing people in their businesses to
be at risk of departure, and what steps they can take to ensure that people join and stay with Nestlé pursuing positive outcomes for themselves and the business.”
Getting HR on board Pettman acknowledges the usefulness of statistical models varies from one business unit to another. He recalls how the first survival analysis that was ever conducted within Nestlé “had no actionable output of statistical significance at all”. Since those early trial days, however, the analytics department has been able to produce useful sets of predictive analyses and HR has been able to take strategic actions based on those outcomes. Pettman shares another tip for companies looking to leverage predictive analytics: Go big or go home. He advises against really small businesses going down that path because “it’s too much effort for too little pay off” – where headcount size is small, the ability to generate statistically
significant results is severly impaired. “It is a bit of a pain, working without a critical mass, because you risk inferring an accuracy that may not be present due to a small sample size. It’s important to make sure the model you choose suits the business that you’re working with and you tailor your project accordingly,” says Pettman, adding that in Nestlé, unit headcounts range widely, from as few as 600 people to as many as 45,000 workers. “When you’re talking about small businesses and applying statistical methods to research it, you’re unlikely to get anything statistically significant that you are able to take action from.” Although people analytics continues to be touted as something new or emerging – a recent PwC report found that only 46% of organisations have a dedicated workforce analytics function – Pettman believes this is misleading, pointing to Infohrm, where he started his career in people analystics, having been established some 30 years ago
to work in this area. “What I do think is that HR is certainly the last of the corporate functions to utilise analytics. HR has finally caught up and realised that data is critically important to making better decisions,” he says. Getting all of Nestlé HR on board the analytics train is another one of Pettman’s top priorities at present. He says a big part of his role lies in enabling the company’s global HR population to use analytics more systemically, and bring more data into their decision-making practices. Whether it’s the HR function or marketing function, the focus today is no longer on the “why”, but the “how” behind using metrics. “Progress is going to come down to individual businesses seeking to understand answers to questions – how that value is realised, and how those services are distributed,” says Pettman. firstname.lastname@example.org APRIL 2018
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Kim Wylie Head of Customer Change and Culture Google Establishing Your Culture as a Start-Up
Lim Teck Yong Head, Regional Ops and People Team Shopee
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People Over Process @ Netflix
Tadhg Bourke Director, Global Employee Services Netflix
Ken Hoskin HRBP, Emerging Markets Facebook Global People Analytics @ Nestlé
Redefining the Employee Experience in the Digital Age - High Touch, High Tech
Jordan Pettman Global Head People Data, Analytics and Planning Nestle (Switzerland)
Varun Bhatia Chief People & Culture Officer AirAsia Group
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The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore | 2 March
HRM Awards 2018: A night to remember HRM Magazine Asia recaps Asia’s showpiece HR awards event, which lit up the Ritz-Carlton’s grand ballroom on March 2
n March 2, Singapore’s HR community gathered at the RitzCarlton Millenia Singapore to wine, dine, and schmooze during the HRM Awards 2018 gala dinner – the 15th iteration of the event. This year, more than 600 guests gathered to pay tribute to the best and brightest HR people and practices in Singapore. The event – dubbed by some quarters as “the Oscars of the local HR industry – certainly brought the glamour. Party-goers were decked out in their evening wear best, with many going all in on the 1920s inspired The Great Gatsby theme, sporting headbands, sequins, fringes, and even feather boas.
Host Nikki Muller kicked off proceedings by staying firmly on theme, performing a rousing rendition of A Little Party Never Killed Nobody from the soundtrack to the 2013 film The Great Gatsby. The event’s guest-of-honour, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress Patrick Tay, commended the efforts of Asia’s HR fraternity. “Each and every one of you helps your organisations and businesses grow day by day,” he said. “I want to congratulate everyone here for your hard work, excellent performance and individual contributions in making a successful strike in improving human
capital management this year,” he added. Over the course of the evening, 20 different awards were given out, with Singtel emerging as the night’s biggest winners. The telco won in three different categories, including: The SIM Award for Best Talent Management Practices (more than 500 employees), Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategies, and Best Leadership Development. Aileen Tan, Group Chief HR Officer, Singtel also won the award for Outstanding Contribution to HR, which is given to individuals who have made significant impacts both within their organisation and to the profession as a whole. Changi Airport also did well, snagging the award for Best Workplace Culture and Engagement (more than 500 employees) Award, as well as gaining recognition for the efforts of CEO, Lee Seow Hiang, who won in the Best C-Suite Leader category. Tan Tock Seng Hospital went home with the most coveted award of all, the Hays Award for Employer of Choice. Other highlights of the night include a fantastic set by standup comedian Sharul Channa and a fun jazz dance performance by the Great Gatsby dancers.
AND THE WINNERS ARE... AWARD
SME Employer of the Year
Gardens by the Bay
Best Change Management Strategies
HR Rising Star of the Year
Cerlyn Neo, Regional HR Specialist, Michelman Asia Pacific
Kaplan Professional Award for Best Training, Learning & Development HRM Magazine Award for HR Team of the Year
Best Diversity & Inclusion Strategies
Best Work-Life Balance
Best C-Suite Leader
Building and Construction Authority Lee Seow Hiang, CEO, Changi Airport Group
Best Leadership Development
Best Health & Wellbeing
Best Work-Life Balance (Under500 employees) SIM Award for Best Talent Management Practices (Above 500 Employees) SIM Award for Best Talent Management Practices (Under 500 Employees) Best Workplace Culture & Engagement (Above 500 Employees) Best Workplace Culture & Engagement (Under 500 Employees)
Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park
Changi Airport Group
Outstanding Contribution to HR
Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore At Zhongshan Park Nikhil Dhawan, Senior Regional HR Manager, Dell Shaun Ee, Head, Group HR, Commonwealth Capital Aileen Tan, Group Chief HR Officer, Singtel
Best Next-Gen Opportunities & Development
Hays Award for Employer of Choice
Tan Tock Seng Hospital
HR Manager of the Year Human Resource Executive Magazine HR Technology Award for Best HR Leader
SPECIAL RECOGNITION WINNERS AWARD
Best Diversity & Inclusion Strategies
Best Health & Wellbeing
Kaplan Professional Award for Best Training, Learning & Development
Best Leadership Development
Best Change Management Strategies
Best Next-Gen Opportunities & Development
Tan Tock Seng Hospital
NE S R
SME EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR
GARDENS BY THE BAY
SME Employer of the Year Gardens by the Bay is not just a tourist hotspot, but also a world-class organisation in its own right. “Fifteen years ago, one man had a vision to build a national icon for Singapore. But who can imagine that in 15 years, one can see tulips and even cherry blossoms,” said CEO Felix Loh. “Thank you to our founding CEO, our fabulous HR team here for everything they’ve done, and our 300 staff who make everything happen. We manage our people the same way we treat our plants: with tender, loving care.”
BEST CHANGE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
HR RISING STAR OF THE YEAR
Sanofi was crowned the winner of the Best Change Management Strategies award. This category recognises organisations that have improved business performance by implementing effective change strategies while balancing daily operations – with the HR team at the frontlines all the way.
“Thank you for sharing the joy that we have for watching the evolution and change that’s taken place in how we manage and enable talent strategies in Sanofi,” said Lynette Ng, Head of Talent Management, Asia-Pacific, at Sanofi.
Regional HR Specialist, Michelman Asia-Pacific
Cerlyn Neo, Regional HR Specialist with Michelman Asia-Pacific, said she was “extremely honoured” to win the HR Rising Star of the Year award, given to young guns who have greatly contributed towards organisational goals. “Thank you esteemed judges for selecting me. I’m extremely thankful to my HR director Philip Chun, my fellow colleagues for their support, and for giving me lots of opportunities to grow myself professionally and personally,” she said. “This gives me a lot of motivation to push HR to the next level,” she added with a big smile.
KAPLAN PROFESSIONAL AWARD FOR BEST TRAINING, LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT The Kaplan Professional Award for Best Training, Learning and Development went to OCBC Bank. Yap Aye Wee, Senior Vice President of Learning and Development said she was “really, really proud” to have accepted the award on behalf of the bank and his colleagues. “I think that the win probably came from the passion from the team,” he suggested. “We truly care about what we do. We come every day with a huge purpose and I think that drives us, and I hope that that is what swayed the judges.” Yap also noted that learning and development team is consistently hands-on across the portfolio of the bank’s learning products. “We believe that the learning and development space is in the state of transformation so we need all the fresh ideas and perspective that we can get.” Wayne Marriott, Executive Director of Kaplan Professional Singapore, said OCBC was a worthy winner of the standout prize for corporate training – particularly given the current business environment.
“Right across the globe, and certainly here in Singapore, there are a lot of disruptive innovations and technologies impacting, and Kaplan is helping organisations navigate this particular time,” he said.
HRM MAGAZINE ASIA AWARD FOR BEST HR TEAM This is one of the biggest crowd-pleasing prizes of the HRM Awards gala presentation – not just because it recognises the teamwork and cooperation required for every HR best practice, as well as productivity and morale, but also because it celebrates all the members of the winning team. There’s nothing like seeing the whole team on stage in triumph as they bear witness to the culmination of the past year’s efforts. After an entertaining skit by the presenters of this year’s award – HRM Magazine Asia’s very own journalists, Kelvin Ong and Yamini Chinnuswamy – this year’s winners were announced to be Vodafone in Singapore. And the HR collective behind the win certainly raised the night’s celebration levels, with all nine team members on-stage for a series of high-fives and hugs, each very smartly decked out in glamorous outfits that were very much Gatsby-esque and “on theme”.
“This is a really precious award for Vodafone here in Singapore,” said JPS Choudhary, Regional Head of HR for AsiaPacific, Middle East, and Africa. “On behalf of all my colleagues on stage here, what a fantastic achievement this is for all of us. Thank you again to the judges, and have a great rest-of the year!”
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NE S R
BEST DIVERSITY & INCLUSION STRATEGIES
BEST WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Singtel kicked off what would be a triumphant run at the HRM Awards 2018 by snagging the first award of the night, for Best Diversity & Inclusion Strategies. “In Singtel, diversity and inclusion is something we practice every day. Because of this practice, each and every one of us can impact the business,” said Aileen Tan, Group Chief HR Officer at Singtel.
Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority emerged tops in a shortlist of seven, having demonstrated an edge in their commitment to holistic development, and a true understanding of the need to help employees develop both work and personal pursuits.
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY
“This award recognises our belief that employees are really the heart of the organisation,” said Jeanna Das, Group Director of Corporate Development at the Building and Construction Authority.
BEST C-SUITE LEADER Lee Seow Hiang, the CEO of Changi Airport Group, was recognised this year for his efforts in embracing and championing HR across his organisation and industry. For this award, judges assessed finalists for their commitment to driving HR strategies from the top, and ability to create and sustain an environment of collaboration and innovation. “Changi Airport is an amazing place to be in. But it takes a special community to keep the place going – more than 200 organisations comprising government agencies, large companies, and many SMEs,” he told guests at the HRM Awards 2018 presentation. “So, on behalf of the great One Changi community and my wonderful colleagues. I’d like to give my thanks to HRM Asia and the judges for this unique honour.”
LEE SEOW HIANG
CEO, Changi Airport Group
“It will spur us and encourage us to make Changi Airport an even more special place the next time you fly with us,” he added, to cheers.
BEST LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Singtel once again took the stage to accept the award for Best Leadership Development, which recognises the achievements of organisations and HR teams that build effective internal pipelines of leadership talent. “Thank you so much. We are very happy to among such company in this category,” said Aileen Tan, Group Chief HR Officer at Singtel. “At Singtel, we fully believe in leadership development and we are so grateful to have been recognised here.” For each of the twelve finalists, judges considered the effectiveness of succession planning initiatives, as well as how future needs are incorporated into performance management, mentoring, and career planning.
BEST HEALTH & WELLBEING
Nominees were also assessed for their implementation of leadership development programmes including coaching, training, and executive development
BEST WORK-LIFE BALANCE (UNDER 500 EMPLOYEES)
It was a reorganised and reenergised Blackberry Singapore that came out tops in the Best Health and Wellbeing category. The company beat out 11 other finalists in one of the most hotlycontested fields of the HRM Awards in 2018.
“This is a very meaningful award to the new Blackberry, since we’re now a cybersecurity software company.,” said Valerie Ng, Director, Regional HR – Asia-Pacific, at Blackberry Singapore.
Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park was named the best of eight smaller employers nominated for the Best Work-Life Balance Award. It was recognised for helping employees pursue both career and personal commitments concurrently as an HR priority.
RAMADA AND DAYS HOTEL SINGAPORE AT ZHONGSHAN PARK
“Congratulations to all the finalists and thank you HRM Asia. Thank you to my entire team – I really appreciate all your amazing contributions. What is work without life? ” said Josephine Chua, Director of HR and Quality.
SIM AWARD FOR BEST TALENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (ABOVE 500 EMPLOYEES)
There was a strong field of nominees in the SIM Award for Best Talent Management Practices for larger employers, but it was SingTel that picked up the key award on the night. The company’s Group HR director Aileen Tan was elated at what was the third prize of a busy night – she would go on to also win the Outstanding Contribution to HR Award for a fourth SingTel accolade. “I’m feeling really amazing and awesome,” she said off-stage. “This wouldn’t have been possible without my amazing team,” she said. We all share the same philosophy in terms of talent management. You can see each day when people get to work, especially my HR team, it’s all about the heartbeat – and talent, talent, talent!” “We make sure that each talent within the organisation stays very connected with us and their colleagues, and that they have every opportunity to develop and truly unleash their potential.” The Award Sponsor Singapore Institute of Management said the prize was well-deserved. “The recognition of SingTel in this particular category is for its very purpose-driven talent strategies and that’s very much aligned to what the SIM vision is all about,” Lim Mei Mei, Marketing Director of SIM Global Education explained. “It’s about continuation in education and training and developing of people and HR capacity – and that’s so important to us too as well. “And of course, moving beyond this award, we look forward to working with SingTel, to see how else we can further build talents into the economy.”
SIM AWARD FOR BEST TALENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (UNDER 500 EMPLOYEES)
Kemin Industries Asia may not be the biggest company, but it was the big winner in a strong field of nominees for the SIM Award for Best Talent Management Practices for small and medium organisations. In deciding this category, judges review the finalists for effective on-boarding processes, strong employee engagement, and development programs that align both the organisation’s needs as well as the employee’s personal hopes and dreams. CEO Davis Foong was happy to share he was “elated” at taking home one of the biggest prizes for smaller employers. “It was something that I worked very hard at – to present the best of Kemin for this award nomination,” he said, adding that he believes business growth is dependent on the company’s ability to attract and retain talent. “The company is very clear and very cognisant that talent management is linked to the growth of the company, and the company has been growing aggressively for the past five to 10 years.” Davis noted that the entire team – from board level down – is aware of the talent management strategy and the role they play in it. “My team – what they need to have – is the ability to execute the strategy of talent management.” Lim Mei Mei, Marketing Director of SIM Global Education, says she was very pleased to have presented the SIM Award for Best Talent Management Practices for smaller employers in particular. “In the past 54 years of its existence, SIM been supporting the economy as strategic partners in promoting HR optimisation and effectiveness,” she said. “SMEs form 99% of businesses in Singapore and contribute more than half of its GDP – and we think that working with SMEs is critical. It’s a collaborative effort between institution and industry to shape up talents for the economy. “
BEST WORKPLACE CULTURE & ENGAGEMENT(ABOVE 500 EMPLOYEES)
CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP
BEST WORKPLACE CULTURE & ENGAGEMENT(UNDER 500 EMPLOYEES)
Last year’s Employer of Choice Changi Airport Group was all smiles again this year, as it was awarded the Best Workplace Culture and Engagement (>500 Employees) title.
Receiving the award on behalf of Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park was its Director of HR and Quality, Josephine Chua.
“I guess many of you will agree that the right workplace culture is instrumental for engaging our employees and getting the best out of our people. Yet building culture is not an easy concept; it’s a long and hard journey,” said Justina Tan, Managing Director of People with the company.
“This is really recognition of our fantastic culture, which is to ‘count on me’,” she said. “We’re in the hospitality industry and we spend our days taking care of guests, but more importantly, we also have to take care of our employees.
“We’ll be celebrating this milestone together and hope this can be a motivating force for our employees.”
RAMADA AND DAYS HOTEL SINGAPORE AT ZHONGSHAN PARK
“Thank you to my HR team for all their contributions and support,” Chua added.
HR MANAGER OF THE YEAR The HR Manager of the Year Award is dedicated to the up and coming generation of HR leaders across both public and private organisations. This year’s winner, Nikhil Dhawan, Senior Regional HR Manager with Dell, credits his team for the award. “I especially have to thank Dell management, and my boss Andy sitting there,” he said. “He has been very supportive of everything I have done. “This is also an award for my team, as any award win is meaningless without the team. So thank you to them,” he added.
Senior Regional HR Manager, Dell
That gratitude prompted a special question from Awards show host Nikki Muller. “Nikhil can probably now look forward to some time off, right Andy?”
HUMAN RESOURCE EXECUTIVE MAGAZINE HR TECHNOLOGY AWARD FOR BEST HR LEADER
Head of Group HR, Commonwealth Capital
The Human Resource Executive Magazine HR Technology Award for Best HR Leader celebrates the profession’s most strategic and senior levels. This year’s winner, Shaun Ee – the Head of Group HR at Commonwealth Capital – was recognised for creating a working environment that champions change and innovation, and focuses all employees on the organisation’s priorities “I just have to say I’m very fortunate to have been able to stand on the shoulders of giants throughout my career, and it’s really because of them that I’m able to be where I am today,” he said.
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HR For the HRM Awards 2018, Aileen Tan, Group Chief HR Officer, SingTel, was recognised as having helped to develop, grow, and champion the HR profession, along with possessing exemplary knowledge and experience in practicing HR. “I stepped into this profession 30 years ago, and I chose to be in HR specifically,” she said. “I felt that through HR I could make a huge impact to the business. With my fellow HR community here, I feel we can make that impact.”
Group Chief HR Officer, SingTel
BEST NEXT-GEN OPPORTUNITIES & DEVELOPMENT
DBS BANK DBS Bank emerged from a category of 10 finalists as an employer that crafts career and experience opportunities specifically for young people and graduates. “This award is a nice feather on our cap because it’s been a five-year journey since we started,” said Debbie Chan, Senior Vice President at DBS Bank.
HAYS AWARD FOR EMPLOYER OF CHOICE
TAN TOCK SENG HOSPITAL
If the HRM Awards are indeed the Oscars for the local HR industry, the Hays Award for Employer of Choice is the coveted Best Film statue. While the Best Director and Best Actor prizes certainly generate some big interest, it is only the Best Film award that takes a holistic view and looks at the full impact of what is produced on screen. Likewise, the Hays Award for Employer of Choice represents the full picture of HR best practices and their impacts on the organisation and workforce. This year’s winner – Tan Tock Seng Hospital – was evaluated across a broad set of criteria, and came up trumps ahead of considerable competition. “We’re feeling wonderful and very honoured,” CEO Eugene Fidelis Soh and Chief HR Officer Serene Tan said after accepting the biggest prize of the night. “It was a lovely surprise, and one we will thoroughly enjoy because of the work we do.” Eugene says the hospital – which employs more than 8,000 people across a range of healthcare professions – has developed a “Kampong Spirit” culture that is essential to its teamwork and success. “It feels like family,” he said. Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays Singapore, says she was delighted to have been able to present the award for the eighth year running. “The employer of choice award is so important to organisations,” she said. “Being an all-rounded employer couldn’t be more important in this business environment. People are really looking for who they want to work for –and they will look at every angle. “So an award like this really demonstrates that they are completely all-rounders in what they do and that will win them so many future employees plus help them retain what they have.”
OUR CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL FINALISTS Our congratulations go to all the finalists and winners of the â€œHays Award for Employer of Choiceâ€?. We are proud to be the title sponsor for the 2018 HRM Awards for the eighth year in a row. Being experts in human resources recruiting, we understand how critical HR professionals are to the success of any organisation in being recognised as an employer of choice. Partner with Hays and together we can continue to power the world of work. For the latest insights and industry trends, follow Hays on LinkedIn - The #1 Recruiter on LinkedIn globally. Contact us at email@example.com or call +65 6223 4535 Follow Hays on LinkedIn @HaysSEAsia
F E AT U R E
Assistant Manager, Compensation and Benefits
Group Director HR and Talent Development
THE RIGHT FREQUENCY
Business process outsourcing hub Teledirect Telecommerce is operating on a higher wavelength when it comes to the digitisation of HR and employee services B Y K E LV I N O N G
Assistant Manager, Talent Acquisition
MELVIN CHEW Senior Regional HR Expert
PAULINE CHNG HR Manager
t’s late Tuesday afternoon, and the mood at business process outsourcing centre Teledirect Telecommerce resembles that of Sunday brunch. There’s a group huddled together in the middle enjoying a tea-time snack, a few casually-dressed individuals slouched back on giant bean bags, and another team engrossed with their laptops in a corner booth. This is what the inside of one of the region’s top outsourced contact centres looks like. The Singaporean company has received over 150 industry accolades since it was established in 1995. The relaxed atmosphere underscores a misconception about call centre operations, which Gaurav Hirey, Group Director of HR and Talent Development, is eager to debunk. “Past these walls, it is a call centre. But when they step out here, it is a state-of-the-art office with lots of great features, and a cool employee experience,” says Hirey. The casual exterior also belies some major business transformations that have taken place across the organisation since the start of 2016. Such is the yin-yang nature of Teledirect Telecommerce’s organisational culture: a uniquely blended identity that has been carefully cultivated through an intricate amalgamation of elaborate engagement activities, meaningful learning interventions, and serious technological adoptions.
F E AT U R E
Flashy transformation As Hirey shares with HRM Magazine Asia, HR was right there at every stage of the company’s technological and cultural metamorphosis, which really started to gain momentum in 2014. The HR team’s greatest and most impactful contribution has undoubtedly been the employee digital platform, that is simply named Flash. Here’s one thing you need to know about Flash: Every little activity – whether it’s recruitment, customer relationship management, training and development, performance management, or even sales tracking – is conducted and managed out of this integrative system. Hirey says having a completely digital internal system has been a crucial component in the company’s ongoing development and transformation journey. “Today, we have 4,000 people. By 2021, we intend to be over 12,000 employees: that’s the plan. So we have to prepare for that,” says Hirey, adding that the company experienced a 20% growth in headcount in 2017 alone. With an already-large workforce hailing from over 20 countries, Hirey says the automation of processes is also somewhat self-serving: it helps to ease the pressure on HR. But for the new innovations to be truly effective, HR has also been forced to improve its own digital literacy. At the start of this year, the company created the role of an HR
AT A GLANCE Number Of Employees (Asia-Pacific)
4,000 Key HR Focus Areas
Digital transformation Artificial intelligence Employee experience Career development Experiential learning
Size of HR Team
48 APRIL 2018
AI-POWERED EMPLOYEE ENCYCLOPEDIA WITH INTERNET CHATS increasingly the preferred customer-service option over voice calls, it is not surprising that a large part of Teledirect Telecommerce’s operations are now chatbot-powered. Group HR and Talent Development Director Gaurav Hirey says he has been spearheading the business transition into artificial intelligence since he joined the company back in January 2017, but is now planning on
taking things one step further. Leveraging the chatbot technology, he plans on extending the chat service to employees as well via a tool called HR Wiki. HR Wiki, when fully functional, will become an HR bible for employees. “It will contain anything that you want to know about HR. So whenever employees have a question, they can just go ahead and ask HR Wiki,” says Hirey.
transformation manager. One of their main responsibilities is specifically to help build digital capability within the HR department. Every week, the manager spends two days on training for HR, and the remaining time for all other departments. Hirey says this is only the beginning, as the regional talent management crew is in the midst of preparing an elaborate training calendar within Flash, where “people can just log on and attend sessions”.
Change preparation Increasing the hours of learning for employees is certainly at the top of the fast-evolving company’s agenda today. In 2016, the company launched its very own online learning platform (called Teledirect University) as a way of preparing employees for the impending digitalisation. “No transformation can happen if team members are not able to manage the change of work,” Hirey says. “This allows us to power our people’s growth by allowing them to communicate, collaborate, and learn.” Today, the telecommerce company employs a blended learning approach, in which it combines e-learning, self-learning, and experiential training. Surprisingly, this capability-building and change management process has mostly been a smooth one, in large part because of the great support that has been shown by the company’s CEO Laurent Junique and Singapore Country Director Angie Tay. “This is the first organisation where I have experienced complete support for change. Our leaders were, in fact, the ones
Hirey says this is different from a traditional frequently asked questions page, which is static and limited. The HR Wiki will be programmed to offer at least three different scenarios and multiple solutions for common problems. “They can simply type in their questions. This beats having to go to their team members or managers for answers, which might not be accurate,” he says.
who initiated this digital transformation two years ago,” says Hirey. However, with great success comes greater expectations, which Hirey says has been one of the few challenges during this journey. He reveals that there tends to be an overwhelming perception that the pace of change should pick up even further, especially since his team now has some experience under its belt, and the necessary tools and systems are also in place. However, Hirey is quick to say that this is unrealistic. Every initiative and project is different, he notes, adding that managing expectations becomes key at this stage of development. “There will be disagreements and there will be challenges, but if we are very open and communicate as much as we can, then we will be able to show results,” he says.
A new way of hiring With the introduction of Flash, one major activity that the company has been able to effectively digitise recruitment. This is a big deal, considering that the company is on track to grow its headcount by another 1,000 employees across the region in 2018 alone. Today, the entire recruitment process – from sourcing, screening, and profiling, all the way to assessment and selection – is hosted and carried out on Flash. Most significantly, interviews – the most laborious part of the hiring process – can now be done at any time and from anywhere. Paperwork and other manual tasks are now a thing of the past.
Because of the nature of the job and the large number of non-English speaking countries that the company operates in, HR has also started to utilise video interviews, as a widget within Flash itself. This new feature, which is already in use in Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and the Philippines, allows interviewers to gauge the speech abilities of candidates without having to meet them in person. It also allows more than one recruiter to rate a candidate, which minimises individual biases and inaccuracies. Each recruiter simply has to review the video, give their ratings, and an average score will be tabulated. This will let hiring managers see how suitable an individual is for a particular role. Hirey perks up further as he breaks down the entire process. He explains that job applicants are first sent a link, after which they log onto the conference portal, film their responses to a set of five pre-determined questions without going over the given time limit, and then click to submit. Once the video responses have been sent out, hirers are able to view on the system, in real-time, the number of questions that have been answered by the interviewees. “A green sign means a question has been answered, and blank means the candidate has not responded. A red mark is given when candidates are seeking a re-test, or when the recruiters want a do-over,” he explains. This functionality, Hirey notes, increases the speed of hiring, and also improves the quality of hire. More importantly, it creates sets of useful data that he hopes will lead to the eventuation and proliferation of predictive analytics across the organisation. “That’s where analytics is right now, it’s all about predicting. What’s the point of collecting data if we don’t get there?”
Re-evaluating employee evaluations Performance reviews, another major HR purview, have also been updated. Last year, the company completed all employee evaluations online for the first time. Instead of having to rely on HR and refer to multiple documents concerning a subordinate’s job scope and key performance indicators, team managers now have easy access to all the necessary files and information they need on a single platform. To ensure transparency, every staff member’s performance and targets are also recorded on a monthly basis.
“We believe that coaching is more important than performance because our people are facing different and diverse situations every day”
– GAURAV HIREY,
GROUP DIRECTOR OF HR AND TALENT DEVELOPMENT, TELEDIRECT
Hirey believes this approach is beneficial for all parties involved. For team leaders whose goals are based on the entire team’s performance, this allows them to be in control of things during down times. “In this way, everyone knows how they are performing, and there are zero surprises. The monthly targets and achievements are all recorded, so individuals know which areas to work on,” says Hirey. Closely linked to performance reviews is the concept of coaching, which Hirey says is a “way of life” across Teledirect Telecommerce’s offices. Coaching has become a mandatory weekly activity. This keeps things personal between managers and their team members, going beyond just targets and outcomes. “We believe that coaching is more important than performance because our people are facing different and diverse situations every day. “We are able to see whether a person is stagnant, growing, or becoming worse,” says Hirey, who shares that he actually has a coaching conversation with his staff every morning. This emphasis on coaching, coupled with the ample staff development opportunities, has helped individuals like Melvin Chew rise through company ranks rapidly. Chew joined Teledirect Telecommerce Malaysia as an intern in 2015. Six months later, he was hired full-time as a junior recruiter. By the end of that year, he was promoted to the role of senior recruitment
specialist, before being given the opportunity to move to Singapore and take on his current position as senior regional HR expert.
Moving beyond building capabilities Stories like Chew’s are common at the company, but with so much automation happening, the popular “doomsday” rhetoric – that artificial intelligence will replace jobs – naturally comes to mind. But Hirey is not worried, either for himself, or for his staff. “Automation will eliminate the task, but it will not eliminate the job role. Tasks like picking up the phone, calling job candidates – those will probably get eliminated,” he explains. “But evaluating the interviewee, that will not. A human will always have to grade that candidate.” Fortunately, Hirey and his team seem to have all that covered, with more reorganisation to come. “At the end of 2018, our whole plan will become very different. It will be all about improving and taking things to the next level, rather than about building capabilities,” says Hirey. firstname.lastname@example.org APRIL 2018
12th Annual Asia Employment Law Congress Driving Competitive Advantage by Ensuring Employment Law Compliance 19-20 June 2018 | Singapore
Asia Employment Law Congress 2018 will discuss the latest employment law updates and key changes for companies across Asia.
Event Key Themes: Understand the new features of evolving employment laws across Asia with the expert guidance from qualified lawyers to keep up to date, fight risk , stay compliant, and seize local workforce advantages for different regional offices Understand and address key issues relating to a global workforce and employees under term contracts and independent contractors Increase awareness of and develop strategies to mitigate risks created by workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination Understand and address issues relating to health and safety and issues arising out of employee termination, relocation and reassignment
SAVE THE DATE! 19 - 20 JUNE 2018
To register or to find out more
+65 6423 4631 |
email@example.com | www.asiaemploymentlaw.com
PA R T N E R CO N T E N T
Big dreams start here
magine a place where all of your childhood dreams could be relived; where all those professions you once aspired to be were available for you to take charge in. That’s the scene that greets both adult and child visitors to KidZania Singapore, the kid-sized indoor theme park on sunny Sentosa Island. And while the 81,000-square-foot park, complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles, and more than 60 role-play activities, is definitely built with younger visitors in mind, there is plenty of enriching opportunities for adults and corporate teams alike.
Mixing business with leisure When the sun goes down, the park lights up into a new phase of its day. This is when the busy miniature city becomes a sophisticated venue, ready to host dinners, corporate parties, product launches, networking sessions, and more. Whether it’s for 800 people or an intimate group, KidZania Singapore offers a range of unique
thematic venues, customised event spaces and a dedicated team of event professionals to help you create a memorable experience. Delicious food and drinks, attentive service, and one of the most unique backdrops in Singapore all make for a night out to remember.
Roleplaying as a team The award-winning roleplaying aspects of KidZania Singapore are well known. They also make for some fantastic opportunities for adults to learn more about themselves and their coworkers. That’s why corporate teambuilding options at KidZania Singapore have been such an exciting part of its offering since opening in 2016. Participants are asked to take on a new occupation for the day, something different from their regular role. It could be the job as a passenger jet pilot, or it could be a radio disc jockey who needs to come up with an engaging programme for the city-wide audience. Whatever the job, the participants will need to work
with others across the citywide ecosystem to achieve their goals, and will gain a new appreciation for the challenges and pressures involved with every job. There are different teambuilding concepts to choose from, all in the comfort of an indoor air-conditioned city. They include, Roleplay Challenge: This combines both roleplay and boardgame elements.
Beat The Clock Challenge: Participants must work together to find and analyse clues to escape from the city. Laser Action: Participants can test out their marksmanship in this high-octane challenge. Whatever the theme, KidZania Singapore’s unique offerings are sure to wow your participants and leave a lasting impression, while meeting your important team bonding objectives.
Great value rewards Organisations can also leverage on KidZania Singapore as part of their staff benefits programmes. The newly launched Corporate Annual Pass allows staff and their family to visit KidZania Singapore all year round! The Corporate Annual Pass – available in both single and dual card packages – provides unlimited access to KidZania Singapore for the entire family, as well as a wide range of discounts and ancillary benefits. For more information on the Corporate Annual Pass, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KidZania Singapore 31 Beach View #01-01/02 Sentosa Palawan Beach. www.kidzania.com.sg Contact our Sales team at: email@example.com
S E R V I C E D A PA R T M E N T S
SERVICED STAYS IN THE HEART OF ASIAN BUSINESS Business in the Asia-Pacific region has become a regional exercise, with plenty of mobility for key staff between each market. Serviced apartments are an important enabling tool for all of that travel, particularly in the key hubs of Southeast Asia
verywhere you look today, it seems as though talent is on the move. Whether it is young, single professionals taking on short-term assignments and building an international element to their resumé, or more established leaders in their fields helping build organisations and industries in new countries, the working world has never been more encouraging of talent mobility. According to Crown World Mobility’s recent Global Mobility Trends report, it is the millennial generation, now with a few years of working experience behind them, leading the charge. “Talent has arguably never been more globally mobile than it is today, and millennials are hungry for international experiences” Lisa Johnson, Crown’s Global Practice Leader for Consulting Services, said. “Low-cost adventure moves are becoming more popular. Indeed, more than half of companies now have employee-initiated move policies.” The trend is particularly prevalent in Asia-Pacific, where intra-regional business travel has surged in the last few years. Malaysia-based bank Maybank, for example, has sent over 360 staffers on international assignments since a new mobility policy was introduced in 2009. The home market of Malaysia has been the most common destination, followed by the Southeast Asian regional centres of Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. China is a growing destination, and also source country for expatriates heading to other destinations across Asia-Pacific and beyond.
Ecosystem of help All of that talent mobility is not only the result of company decisions, or individuals putting up their hand for international assignments. It is also a product of the complex network of service providers who enable that travel to be consistently smooth and hassle-free. Accommodation services, serviced apartments in particular, are vital to any international assignment in the Asia-Pacific region. Fortunately, these have been growing with the rise in mobility, and there are now a wide range of options across the major business centres in Asia. “We see tremendous opportunities for serviced residences in Asia-Pacific,” says Kevin Goh, CEO of The Ascott. “More than 80% of our serviced residence units are in Asia-Pacific and China is our biggest market. China’s growing
middle-class with rising affluence is driving domestic travel and is the world’s largest outbound travel market. “Several Southeast Asian markets present strong growth potential for serviced residences, given the region’s young population, rising middle-income group, and policies in place to attract foreign capital.” He acknowledges that that growing market also has a lot of choice when it comes to accommodation for assignees, but says serviced apartments still offer the best value balance between comfort, pampering, familiarity, and security. “In the hospitality business, it is the people who make the difference,” he says. “Ascott staff work hard to ensure the wellbeing of our guests as we create memorable home-away-from-home experiences.” That dedication to service is common across the serviced apartment industry and across the region. Whether the property is in Singapore, China, Malaysia, or anywhere else, expatriates can expect a common, high standard and an important attention to detail.
Service in Singapore The number of serviced apartments in Singapore has exploded skywards in recent years, as the city-state cements its position as a hub for regional business covering both Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific. The surge has come across both the number of properties and the total number of individual serviced apartments available.
S E R V I C E D A PA R T M E N T S
These offerings now expand beyond the city centre, to also link expatriates with the growing business and research hubs in other parts of the country. Far East Hospitality, for example, offers serviced residences in all of the familiar, traditional locations in Singapore. Its Orchard Scotts Residences is at the heart of the famous dining, shopping, and entertainment district, while Village Residence Robertson Quay and Village Residence Clark Quay are right on the city’s edge with close access to the key finance district at Marina Bay. More recently, the company has opened its Oasia Residence on the West Coast, designed for expatriates working in the growing universities sector, as well as the one-north and Science Park business centres. The Ascott is also well placed to cover every need of business travellers in Singapore, with a wide array of properties and a focus on seamless connectivity – both physically and in the online world. Goh says the company understands the need for business travellers to be able to be online as easily as they would at home, but it is also aware of the difficulties that short-
DEDICATION TO SERVICE IS COMMON ACROSS THE SERVICED APARTMENT INDUSTRY AND ACROSS THE REGION. WHETHER THE PROPERTY IS IN SINGAPORE, CHINA, MALAYSIA, OR ANYWHERE ELSE APRIL 2018
S E R V I C E D A PA R T M E N T S
most famous cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, but also the already huge but still growing centres such as Chengdu, Kunming, Chongqing, and Xiamen. For Ascott, these fast-growing markets have given the opportunity to experiment with new technology, artificial intelligence, and even machine learning. “Service butler robots in Ascott Raffles City Beijing and Ascott IFC Guangzhou can perform a suite of tasks such as leading guests to their rooms or facilities in the properties, providing concierge services, refilling room supplies, and delivering packages,” he tells HRM Magazine Asia.” “We are testing the use of artificial intelligence and smart devices to learn guests’ preferences and automatically adjust the air conditioning to enhance their comfort.”
A region of possibilities
term travellers can have organising a data plan soon after arriving. “In Singapore, we provide guests with a pocket Wi-Fi device to enjoy wireless connectivity anytime, anywhere,” he says. “In Hong Kong, guests can enjoy smartphones equipped with unlimited
mobile data, and free local and international direct dialling calls.”
Tech in China The serviced residence industry is also burgeoning in the key Tier 1 markets of Mainland China. Goh says this includes the
These are just two examples of markets where serviced apartments are both growing and innovating – but they are far from alone. Whether it is in the centre of Jakarta, or the growing business hub of Petaling Jaya outside of Kuala Lumpur; whether it is in downtown Manila or in the heart of Bangkok, mobile talent is busy working. And wherever that talent is working, serviced apartment providers have been working hard to keep up with their exact preferences and requirements to make them feel at home when they finish their day.
MARKETPLACE - SERVICED APARTMENTS The Ascott Limited
The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It is one of the leading international serviced residence owneroperators with more than 500 properties in over 130 cities spanning more than 30 countries across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Its portfolio of brands includes Ascott, Citadines, Somerset, Quest, The Crest Collection and lyf. In Singapore, Ascott currently operates six serviced residences including Ascott Orchard, Ascott Raffles Place, Citadines Fusionopolis, Citadines Mount Sophia, Somerset Bencoolen, and Somerset Liang Court.
Fraser Suites River Valley
Far East Hospitality
Nestled in the exclusive River Valley precinct that adjoins the Singapore River, Fraser Suites Singapore sits elegantly in an upmarket residential district with easy access to the city’s dynamic central business district and the world-renowned shopping belt, Orchard Road. Comprising 255 serviced apartments, the Fraser Suites are ideal for both business and leisure travellers. Guests will appreciate the award-winning Gold Standard Fraser Suites Singapore is one Singapore serviced apartment that defines sophisticated city living with relentless pursuit of excellence in hospitality.
Far East Hospitality Holdings is a premier hospitality assets owner and operator. It now has a combined portfolio of close to 14,000 rooms under management across 90 hotels and serviced residences in seven countries: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Far East Hospitality’s stable of 10 unique and complementary brands: Oasia, Quincy, Rendezvous, Village, Far East Collection, Adina Apartment Hotels, Medina Serviced Apartments, Travelodge Hotels, Vibe Hotels, and TFE Hotels Collection, present excellent opportunities for business travellers of every type.
CALENDAR Second quarter of 2018
9 -10 MAY
This new, monthly, invitation-only networking event is exclusive for the HR community in Asia. It is a deliberately social environment, where HR professionals can meet, exchange ideas and share advice, or even just a few stories. Other dates in Q2 are: May 9 (Singapore) and June 13 (Singapore). Register your interest at www.hrdrinks.com.
Asiaâ€™s biggest workforce management show is back with a stellar line up of thought leaders, business heads, and senior HR practitioners. With eight conference streams and a huge HR-focused expo, this is a not-to-be missed event for anyone looking to get the most out of their workforce in this disruptive economy.
HR DRINKS, SINGAPORE
HR SUMMIT & EXPO ASIA 2018
ASIA EMPLOYMENT LAW CONGRESS
In these turbulent and disruptive times, employing organisations need to be fully aware and up to date with their rights and responsibilities toward their staff. The Asia Employment Law Congress 2018 will provide a comprehensive overview of the evolving employment law landscape in key Asian markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan.
HR XLR8 SUMMIT
Strategy, Analytics, Transformation, and Design: the new world of HR demands a new, holistic approach to workforce management utilising all four of these concepts. For the first time in Asia-Pacific, this multi-stream conference will provide a new perspective on the traditional HR function and inspire delegates to seize the many opportunities for innovation that abound.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE 2018
The 2018 Learning and Development Conference will explore the latest learning trends for modern workplaces across four core areas: science and research, design and development, management and implementation, and tools and technologies. Delegates will gain critical insights from companies and thought leaders who are re-skilling and up-skilling their talent in this disruptive business environment.
Do you have an upcoming event to share with the HR community in Singapore? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
LESSONS LEARNED 60 UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL 61 READER ADVICE 62
MY HR CAREER “When you work with others from different backgrounds, you are able to tap their different perspectives and collectively choose the best path”
OMMAR BUTT ,
Director of HR, Mergers and Acquisitions, NXP Semiconductors
LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
MY HR CAREER
THE HR CHAMELEON In this My HR Career exclusive, guest contributor LAURENCE SMITH interviews a former colleague renowned for adapting his HR career to the fast-changing business environment. OMMAR BUTT has recently relocated to Singapore with NXP Semiconductors
first met Ommar Butt when he was European Head of Compensation and Benefits for LG Electronics and based in the UK. He is now Director of HR – Mergers and Acquisitions for NXP Semiconductors. He has held roles in Talent Acquisition, as an HR generalist, and has worked on wide-ranging HR topics including culture, performance management, and employee value propositions. I jokingly call him the “HR Chameleon” because of his wide breadth of roles and responsibilities, all in an upwardly progressing career. He recently relocated from Holland to Singapore with NXP, and it was a great opportunity to interview him and find out some of the thinking behind his very adaptive career.
Ommar, you seem to be the ultimate HR Chameleon, reinventing yourself as the firm or market changes. To what do you ascribe your talent for constant reinvention? I’m not sure this is a talent as such. I can honestly say it just happened this way. There is a set of guiding principles, however, that I rely on whenever facing career-related decisions. All from different friends; these principles continue to resonate with me to this day: Never be afraid to take risks – especially if you suspect you may regret not taking them. (From an American Senior Vice President of HR) Forget about planning for the future, focus on having fun now. (From a Dutch HR Director) A career is give and take. Always be ready to give. (From an Indian Vice President of Finance) Focus on maximising your options, or at least keeping as many open for as long as possible. (From a Dutch HR Business Partner)
What would your advice be to people considering a career in HR, or still at an early stage: specialise, generalise, or be a “chameleon”? Never listen to anybody that has a directive answer ready for you. Guiding principles and reasoning are fine but there is no correct path other than the one you think, and feel is right for you. Listen carefully to what others care to share, but always follow your heart. When starting out, I’d stress that having a great manager is more important than picking your first role in HR. So: Try to unearth examples of your future manager being a great manager by asking team members during interviews. Ask your future manager about the careers of their past reports. Did they help facilitate anything? Do they light up with pride whilst sharing their stories? Basically, try to find out whether someone will be facilitative to your growth or not.
What role have you found the most rewarding, and what made it so? Designing and managing the workforce reduction process during a recent merger integration. Seldom do you have an HR role with such a defined and direct operational expenditure and earnings impact. More interestingly, we also had to get creative with HR technology and co-create a solution that worked for many stakeholders. As two large entities merge it’s often impractical to move to a single HR system on Day One. So, for an interim period, the new combined company ran two HR systems. We needed to ensure that company-wide forecasting and reporting was possible at a granular level. With the help of two Java programmers, we co-created a forecasting and reporting bridge between Workday
and SAP. We coded modules that enabled headcount forecasting and reporting, provided deltas between forecast and actuals, and also between actuals and target. In addition, we built a severance tracker that tracked planned and actual leave dates, as well as cost and timing impacts, and linked those back to the forecasting and reporting. So, two things made this interesting: the clear line of sight to financial impact, and the ability to co-create digital HR solutions with other functions.
That sounds a bit “high-tech”. Do you consider yourself a digital native, and do you think it’s important for HR practitioners to be digitally-savvy? I’m not sure I know what a digital native is exactly - as the generational lines in the workforce blur and technologies change so fast. I was programming in BASIC in 1990 as a hobby. And before becoming lazy, I was always
running one or another Linux distribution, but mostly SuSe as at the time in Germany ADSL connectivity was supported well by SuSe. Coincidentally the logo for SuSe Linux is a chameleon – no joke! I don’t think HR practitioners need to be hardcore geeks; but I do think there is a lot of value in programmatic thinking as it guides process design and thinking.
What characteristics do you think make you adaptable and effective across so many different environments? I’m going to chalk it down to circumstance. My mother is Maltese; my father Pakistani. I was born and grew up in London, and later Amsterdam. I lived and worked in Germany, Holland, and the UK and am now in Singapore.
NETWORKING FOR HR
Laurence Smith and Ommar Butt are the organising team behind the new HR Drinks monthly networking event. Held in Singapore monthly, and launching in other Asian cities soon, the invitation-only networking sessions aim to bring the professional HR community together to share best practice advice, case studies, or just a story or two. For more information, or to register your interest, visit www.hrdrinks.com. APRIL 2018
LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
MY HR CAREER We have constantly found ourselves relocating, adapting, making mistakes, and learning new cultures and languages. Knowing that there are different ways to get things done in different places means you learn to appreciate the value of flexing. Later, you learn that flexing – deliberately learning new ways of doing this – is fun and you actively seek out new opportunities. When you work with others from different backgrounds, you are able to tap their different perspectives, experiences and creativity and can collectively choose the best path forward. And that makes the solutions you co-create so much more robust and valuable.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for the HR function moving forward?
Finding HR leaders that are equipped for and comprehend the next wave of digital HR transformation. Previous HR transformations focused on minimising costs and delivering services more efficiently, through functional and process redesign. By contrast, the next wave of HR transformations will be driven by: HR Analytics: the abundance and availability of data and our ability to meaningfully predict outcomes based on data. Customer-centricity: HR will act more and more like marketing, segmenting end users and focusing on experiences. Understanding the interaction between the two, where customer-centricity and ‘“applification” of HR service delivery leads to more measurement points, and where HR analytics provides tools to analyse and interpret the data, is paramount. Recording as many data points as possible now, even if they aren’t being used today, means you can make connections and solve questions in the future. Companies that still don’t even have a basic HR data lake really need to get started now or be a laggard going forward.
What competencies, skills, behaviors and tools, will help propel HR forward? HR needs leaders that understand this pending change and how exactly they can enable it. They must be able to articulate the business case to invest today without immediate returns.
“GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND REASONING ARE FINE BUT THERE IS NO CORRECT PATH OTHER THAN THE ONE YOU THINK, AND FEEL IS RIGHT FOR YOU” Are the digital HR challenges the same in Asia? Or do you see unique challenges and opportunities? I think the level of digital readiness in Asia differs tremendously by country, thus the challenges for each country will also differ at different stages of digitalisation. I recently came across a data set provided by an Economist Intelligence Unit report called Connecting Capabilities which confirmed two distinct groups: the leaders in digital readiness in this region are Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Those catching up are: Malaysia, China, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Indonesia. A similar grouping can be observed in the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index: Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are in the lead – Malaysia and China are playing catch-up. The digital infrastructure investments made today by governments will either propel a country’s digitalisation efforts or make clear the lack of prior investment. Similarly, where HR leaders can clearly articulate the case for a foundational digital HR architecture, a focus on the customer experience of HR service delivery as well as a continuous HR innovation culture today; these will be the HR organisations that flourish in the future.
Finally, what are you most excited about in the future of HR? Clearly, the tremendous opportunity for innovation in HR.
I’m not sure I understand; don’t we always have that? Yes, we do, but so far, I’ve been disappointed with the lack of innovation in HR. I’m still
hearing the same “what and how” models being pushed over and again. These models seem to imply that HR’s “why” is universal in all companies, industries and at all stages of their life-cycles. Finance is guided by the International Financial Reporting Standards and/or locally accepted accounting principles and fiscal reporting calendars. Their ‘why’ is universal so it makes sense to huddle behind the most effective “what and how” models and solutions. Marketing is generally more innovative as they work backward from their customer segments, markets, channels and geographies. They have to balance push and pull strategies, working with the product they are given. For some inexplicable reason, HR has rallied behind a wave of standardised HR transformations. It begs the question, whether the company-specific “why” to transform had been uncovered before moving on to the “what” and “how” solutions. Perhaps the “why” was just cost – in which case HR rightfully continues to be seen as ‘just another cost center’. Given the digitalisation of business models and functions, HR now more than ever, is at a cross roads. One road provides an exciting, customer-focused HR innovation and continuous re-invention journey. The other leads to mundane transaction and processoriented HR functions, which will be the end of HR as a business function. Only time will tell, I for one believe HR as a function is on the verge of a truly exciting and meaningful wave of change.
About the authors Laurence Smith Is a boardlevel advisor to SmartUp. io. With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including as Managing Director of Learning and Development for DBS Bank. Ommar Butt is Director of HR for Mergers and Acquisitions at NXP Semiconductors. where he has worked on several large transactions, both in an Integration Management Office capacity as well as in the lead role for HR.
C E N T E R F O R C R E AT I V E L E A D E R S H I P
Futurereadinessexplained The Center for Creative Leadership has completed a series of research on Future Readiness. Managing Director for Asia-Pacific DR THOMAS GOH reveals some of the key insights
r Goh, what really is future readiness all about?
Future readiness is about getting ahead of the curve. Instead of just playing catch-up, forward looking leaders focus on staying ahead in key aspects of business such as strategy, organisation design, business processes and policies, and talent development. Future readiness brings together the right mindset and skillset to constantly get ahead, supported by having context relevant operating models which are reviewed constantly.
What has CCL found on this issue? At the corporate level, future readiness is a competitive advantage that keeps companies constantly innovating. For the individual, it is a life skill that leaders need to build as part of their portfolio of skills. Future readiness can be learnt and anyone can learn it. In particular, ambitious new managers who aspire to be C-suite leaders can start early by preparing for leadership roles that dealing with uncertain, ambiguous and highly-disruptive situations .
What do future leaders do differently? Organisations of the future may look very different than most organisations do today. They will need to see disruption as opportunities across many different dimensions. Instead of following a clear and defined path, leaders who
navigate well in uncertain and disruptive environments have well-defined aspirations and a set of plans which they adjust along the way. Ultimately, it could mean a shift in strategic focus, a shift in how we work, and how we derive meaning in our work. It changes business and organisation models. It changes our culture.
What should Asian companies be doing differently? Asia is rising in economic importance. Because of its large population, it could be the biggest exporter of workforce and talent to the entire world in a decade from now. For sustained success in the region, global organisations will need to build more Asian leaders to help craft their Asia strategies,
and also execute. Asian companies face a mix of future-readiness challenges. On one hand, they have to contend with the disruptive forces prevalent throughout. On the other hand, there is not enough pipeline of leaders ready to lead on either the regional or global scenes.
How can Asian companies build future ready leaders? Aside from macroeconomic factors, Asian leaders must first gain confidence in their ability to lead. Our research shows
that individual capability and aspiration issues may also inhibit growth of local talent. Asian leaders may find it hard to work outside of their home culture due to language and cross-cultural awareness. Lack of mobility opportunities at early stages of their career may further constrain Asian leadersâ€™ ability to take on global roles. Asian companies could start by building the following traits into their leadership pipelines: courage, trust, strategic thinking, influence, and curiosity.
This is an edited extract of a longer interview between HRM Magazine Asia and Dr Thomas Goh, Managing Director for Asia-Pacific of the Center for Creative Leadership. The full interview can be found online from Wednesday, April 4. APRIL 2018
MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
Understanding the heartbeat of the business HR BUSINESS PARTNERS, as the name implies, have the vitally important function of working closely with business leaders to manage the human capital aspect of executing business strategy. But this cannot be accomplished without an understanding of the business from a first-hand perspective. Thus went a commonly recurring theme during HRM Asia’s Strategic HR Business Partner Congress 2018, which took place at Novotel Clark Quay in Singapore from February 27 to 28. Amitabh Nigam, Lead International HR Business Partner at AT&T, said that it was imperative for business partners to get to the
frontlines and experience the pain points and concerns facing employees every day for themselves. “Spend time with people in the assembly line. Shadow people at all levels – understand how a typical day goes for them,” he advised. “Are there issues with the organisation structure causing them stress and pressure?” Eric Yim, Global Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Shell, expounded on Nigam’s point, adding, “People on the ground really appreciate it, and will tell you things they won’t tell you in the boardroom.
Five things we learned at the... STRATEGIC HR BUSINESS PARTNER CONGRESS
Gain the trust and credibility of the business
By removing obstacles to help the business functions through different situations, and going the extra mile when needed, HR business partners can establish themselves as go-to strategic advisors, said Amitabh Nigam, Lead International HRBP at AT&T.
Don’t pass the buck; take charge
Gaurav Sharma, HR Director for CocaCola Singapore and Malaysia shared that his organisation had established taskforces to look into various problems, with HR taking charge by following up with the business and constantly communicating and consolidating. As a result, the business functions slowly began to see HR as a true partner.
Be able to see the business objectively
“Take action when required,” said Kike Ajeigbe, Global HR Business Partner with Standard Chartered Bank. While it’s important to understand business leaders and support them in delivering the strategic agenda, being too fused with the business will blur the lines
“BUSINESS LEADERS APPRECIATE WHEN HR BUSINESS PARTNERS CAN TALK THROUGH ISSUES IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE.” – ERIC YIM,
GLOBAL HEAD OF LEARNING AND ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, SHELL
“It’s how you can understand the heartbeat of the business. Business leaders appreciate when HR business partners can talk through issues in their own language,” he said.
What is the biggest challenge facing HR Business Partners today?
and make it tougher to objectively handle difficult situations.
Consider an appreciative model when implementing change
“Organisations are frequently problemfocused,” noted NC Praskah, Regional Director for HR Asia-Pacific at Rohde & Schwarz. But a more positive way of approaching change within the organisation would be to find out, and then reinforce, what people appreciate and view as strengths. This is also more likely to bring people together towards a shared vision.
Treat change management as complexity management
What’s important when managing change is keeping people pointed towards the figurative “north star”, said Eric Yim, Global Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Shell. Explain to people what the impending changes are, and don’t discount the use of small wins – video clips, competitions with small prizes – to get people on side, he advised.
Outdated back-end processess
Improving employee productivity and skills
Management buy-in to align people and business strategies
30% 13% 7% 50%
*As voted by delegates to the Strategic HR Business Partner Congress
MY HR CAREER FEATURE HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL LESSONS LEARNED READER ADVICE
Jonathan Wong Manager, Talent Management B H S Kinetic
ho is Jonathan Wong –how would you describe him?
He is your “ah pek” (uncle) who enjoys everything and anything local, and at times, hard to be taken seriously! Easy to get along with; operationally and processdriven; keeps it real.
As the Manager of Talent Management, what do you do on a day-to-day basis? Aside from the general responsibilities of recruitment, kopi-sessions with errant employees, and attending to HR operational matters, I try to spend equal, if not more time value-adding to department leaders and senior management. All in all, I’m on a mission to transform and position HR as a strategic partner.
Complete this sentence. HR is… Everyone’s best friend. Really! We are there to motivate, provide advice, discipline, anticipate challenges, and much more.
What’s the best part of your job? The feel good factor of being valued by my peers and leaders; satisfaction from harvesting the fruits of my solutions; and most importantly – making an impact and being the difference in people’s lives.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
DIGITAL IMAGING BY MUHAMAD AZLIN
“What’s plan B?” It was from a client during my recruitment days. The team executed the first half really well but did not have a plan B when things went south. It was a painful and costly lesson, but a valuable one as well. What’s the worst part?
What would you be doing if you were not on your current career path? I guess I would still be in my previous career as a sound engineer, mixing live shows during the night, and studio recording during the day.
Being in an SME, the team is lean and thus there is a need to double or triple up to get things done. This is not entirely a bad thing, there are positives to it, but quality of work tends to be compromised due to the mad rush to complete the to-do list.
How do you unwind after work?
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
One person you would most like to trade places with for a day?
Ha ha – the opportunity to be interviewed here? Throughout my career, I’ve always valued the people I’ve met along the way. Colleagues, candidates, bosses, they’ve all shaped my career and who I am today.
A good day-dreaming session. Thinking of what could have been and what may have happened. And a meal or drink with good company: priceless.
Former Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona during his prime? I would like to see how it feels like to be The King! APRIL 2018
MY HR CAREER LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE
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: email@example.com to anonymously connect with HRM Asia’s team of career advisors.
I HAVE BEEN with my first HR role as a generalist for just over six months, but am already keen to take on a new challenge. In particular, I think I am most interested in specialising in employee development. How early or late should you choose the HR path that would carry forward for the majority of your career? In search of a speciality, Singapore
It’s always best to start thinking about your next, next role in HR early. As an HR generalist, you can branch out into any area. For example, if you’re interested in employee development, start practicing this skill in your current role, as many great training programmes have come from HR generalists who saw a need and designed a solution. Perhaps you can redesign or launch an onboarding process which helps new and tenured employees transition into new roles. There are many facets of employee development, from skill building, management and leadership development to navigating careers. Take a step back and evaluate what truly interests you within this broad sphere. Reflect on whom you want to impact: individuals, teams, or the organisation? Consider how you can best support this group: coaching, facilitation, or consulting? By addressing these questions you’ll be able to refine your scope and direction. You should also think about where you’d like to be in the next few years. What skills and experiences will you likely need to be successful in employee development? What can you do now in your current role to definitively enhance your skills and broaden your experience. There’s no time like the present to be thinking about your next, next role. Without such forward thinking you stagnate, or remain on the treadmill of similar jobs elsewhere.
I HAVE BEEN in HR since graduating eight years ago, and recently had a “lightbulb” moment. If I’m going to go any further in this field – possibly at a different, more modern organisation, I am going to have to learn a lot more about technology. Given that I’d be starting from scratch, can you suggest some first steps to being a more tech-savvy HR professional Digital non-native, Philippines
Perfect timing for your lightbulb moment! Tech will continue to significantly change the face of HR, so I’d highly recommend becoming a more tech-savvy HR professional. Most organisations now actively look for and develop HR data analytics capabilities. Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report found “while 71% of companies see people analytics as a high priority in their organisations (31% rate it very important), progress has been slow”. Data and analytics are the top two areas for HR technology investments today. You already know that data is more and more critical in forecasting talent, improving people decisions, and assessing what motivates employees. Think about the mountain of information from annual employee surveys. Mining such data allows organisations to move beyond engagement, to employee fulfillment and better performance. HR and business leaders are increasingly making people decisions based on data analysis rather than personal relationships or gut feeling. Given the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics, HR professionals must now be equipped with an understanding of analytics to target interventions which benefit the organisation. You can study on your own through online courses focusing on HR Analytics for Business Decisions. Any number of online providers are available: Coursera; Udemy; Edx; or Lynda.com, all offer courses in HR analytics. Start with the basics. Learn the framework of evidence-
based management, then move into deeper analysis techniques from either more courses or studying with experts in the field to understand data interpretation. With such knowledge,engage your technology teams to see if there’s a way to collaborate on a joint project for HR. Also, join a professional HR group that emphasises data science, digitalisation of HR, workforce analytics, and predictive analysis. This will build your strategic thinking in people analytics and put you in the forefront with your business partners, functional leaders and senior management.
Jane is an author, speaker, and consultant focused on helping organisations build inclusive work environments and meaningful careers for their people. She has held senior AsiaPacific management positions at The Walt Disney Company, CNBC, and Kraft Foods.
Meet our Singapore & South East Asia team
HR Roles in Singapore Chief HR Oﬃcer
Consultant in-charge: Sean Tong
We are delighted to be retained by an established Industrial Manufacturing MNC with signiﬁcant global market share and presence in Asia. Reporting to the CEO and Chairman, you will be working with the management team, driving and spearheading HR initiatives in the group. We are looking for a proven leader with executive presence and astute commercial mind and the ability to eﬀectively partner with C-Suite Leaders. APAC experience and Mandarin language is compulsory due to China market.
Regional HR Business Partner Sean Tong Head of Asia firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Hardiman Associate Director email@example.com
Consultant in-charge: Brian Hardiman
This is a newly created HR Business Partner role with a global IT/Tech business to report directly into the Regional CEO and drive the people agenda in the region. Working closely with the UK based VPHR on global HR projects this is both a strategic and tactical HRBP role where you will take the lead of the HR strategy in the region and sit as part of the senior leadership team. This role represents a great opportunity for an experienced and ambitious HRBP to step into a role of real responsibility with clear career development in the future.
Regional Head of HR
Consultant in-charge: Eugene Wong
Our client is a prestigious and renowned Management Consultancy and a leader in the sector that they operate in. As part of its ongoing commitment to expand the business in Asia, they are now looking to recruit a high-calibre, experienced HR Leader for Asia. The successful candidate can look forward to a rewarding career with an organisation that prides itself on its strong work culture and open communication across all employees.
Eugene Wong Associate Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Fay Phillips-Jones Head of Professional & Financial Services email@example.com
Senior Talent Manager (VP)
Consultant in-charge: Fay Phillips-Jones
We are working with a premium global Financial Services ﬁrm with a base in Singapore. We have met with the client and have been impressed by the quality of both the environment and company culture. They are a premium ﬁrm that uses the latest technology and are growing their busy HR team. This person will be responsible for driving a highly talented workforce, succession planning, talent benching, diversity, pipelining and creating a long-termism culture, answering strategic questions and providing strategic insight in this space.
Talent Management Director
Sheldon Toh Associate Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Siying Wang Senior Researcher email@example.com
Consultant in-charge: Sheldon Toh
Our client is a US conglomerate in the high technology manufacturing industry. They are current market leaders in what they do and have further established new business lines through success in their R&D over the past several years and are currently reaping the fruits of their labour. They have set up new manufacturing plants in Asia consistently over the last 10 years and are currently looking for a Talent Management Director to build vitality and longevity in the business.
Senior Manager, Employer Branding & Marketing
Consultant in-charge: Siying Wang
Our client is a global premium Financial Services ﬁrm with a base in Singapore. We have met with the client and have been impressed by the quality of both the environment and company culture. They are a premium ﬁrm that uses the latest technology and are growing their busy HR team. This person will be responsible for driving a high performance and long-term culture.
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Did gossip kill the monger? “LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS”, the popular saying goes. Nowhere do these words hold more water than at the workplace, where politicking can be commonplace, and in some cases, completely unavoidable. As long as there is more than one person in a team, there will be different agendas, even if the intention is less about competing and undermining others, and more about accomplishing objectives for the greater good of the company. Still, one has to wonder: Whatever happened to good, old fashioned hard work? But whether you view this tug-of-war as a form of proselytism, indoctrination, or just simply gossip, the truth is, canvassing has existed since the dawn of the workplace. Things, however, move into a muddy zone when manipulation and deceit are used, and emotional injury is inflicted on others. This might not be a popular opinion, but this is where I feel managers and HR can act as “referees”. On the football field, when players get into a scuffle and some start to get rough, the job of the referee is to send the aggressors off the field, whether for a stipulated time frame, or for the rest of the match. Similarly, managers should monitor the behaviour of their staff, and discipline those who have been proven to have “fought dirty” or been otherwise out of line in their approach. This will not only eliminate the source of contention, it will also send a warning to everyone else exhibiting similar tendencies. Think about it: if companies are already spending so much time monitoring every small move of their employees,
why not formally regulate damaging behaviours that actually impact others negatively? If we’re going to dedicate resources to dealing with harassment issues, then why aren’t we dealing with individuals who are running their mouths and running amok? Isn’t speaking ill of someone a form of harassment too? I’m not even remotely saying that I’m a saint. I might have engaged in one instance of slagging behind another person’s back, but I knew immediately I had crossed a line. To be honest, I know many among us are uncomfortable with confrontation, perhaps even allergic to it (Hello, fellow Librans!). Sometimes, however, getting our feelings out in the open right there and then might actually help to prevent negative emotions from brewing, and hopefully the need to speak ill about those who have hurt us. Having respect for others and their viewpoints, whether you think you are more capable, experienced, or intelligent than them, will also keep the whole team in a self-regulating state of mind. Without sounding like an unqualified psychologist, gossiping only highlights one’s own deepseated issues and their inability to let
BY KELVIN ONG
their work do the talking. On a business level, ignoring mindless gossip at work can have a direct negative impact on the bottomline. Multiple studies have shown that the phenomenon can lower employee productivity over time. Often, it also signals deeper problems with employee engagement. Perhaps, the solution to minimising gossip lies in a complete culture reset. Getting to the root cause of the problem is key. The authors of a 2014 HR academic journal found that tongue-wagging in the office could be linked to widespread employee cynicism and mistrust of the organisation and its leaders. Building a high-trust culture, then, seems to be a good starting point. As Evelyn Kwek wrote on HRM Asia.com earlier this year, “Without trust (and a leader’s trustworthiness), employee engagement, at its best, is superficial and temporal; at its worst, leads to feelings of hypocrisy and disappointment.” And if all this doesn’t deter you from taking part in the occasional chatter, just know that the world of office politics is a dangerous game that all players involved should tread with caution. firstname.lastname@example.org
ASIAâ€™S TALENT MARKET: NAVIGATING THE TRENDS SHAPING 2018 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide As global and regional economic conditions continue to reshape Asia, our Guide provides valuable information to help both employers and candidates plan for the year ahead. In the eleventh edition of our annual Guide, we share the views of 3,000 employers employers representing 6 million employees across Asia to reveal representing six million employees acrossthe Asia latest salary, HR related trends. to reveal the recruitment latest salary,and recruitment and HR related trends. If you are seeking valuable insights to navigate the challenging times ahead, download a copy If you are seeking valuable insights to navigate on your local Hays website: changing conditions in 2018, download a copy of the Salary Guide on your local Hays website: hays.cn/en/salary-guide hays.com.hk/salary-guide hays.co.jp/en/salary-guide hays.cn/en/salary-guide hays.com.my/salary-guide hays.com.hk/salary-guide hays.com.sg/salary-guide hays.co.jp/en/salary-guide hays.com.my/salary-guide hays.com.sg/salary-guide
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