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FEBRUARY 2018

UNPACKING IKEA’S UNIQUE CULTURE INDIA’S FADING TECH STAR

Price inc. GST $9.95

The HR trends impacting business this year Special Report: TALENT RECRUITMENT AND MANAGEMENT


EDITOR’S NOTE

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Paul Howell SENIOR JOURNALIST

Kelvin Ong JOURNALIST

Yamini Chinnuswamy PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATOR

Ezzaty Nazurah Zainal SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Muhamad Azlin Ismail GRAPHIC DESIGNER

John Paul Lozano ACCOUNT MANAGER

Edwin Lim SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER

Amarjit S Randhawa MARKETING MANAGER

Jenilyn Rabino EXECUTIVE GENERAL MANAGER

Joanna Bush PHOTOGRAPHER

Ted Chen

tedchenphoto.com CARTOONIST

Gene Whitlock

up2speed.biz PRINTED BY

Times Printers Pte Ltd PUBLISHED BY

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

Dear HRM Magazine readers,

I

t’s always hard to hit the ground running at the start of the year, especially if like me, you’ve just come back from a long break. But it’s also when new goals and plans are made, in preparation for a challenging year ahead. It was with this in mind that we dived into this month’s cover story, in which HRM Magazine makes its predictions of 2018’s top HR trends to look out for. This was based on our own research that probed readers on their organisation’s human capital priorities for these coming twelve months. Perhaps unsurprisingly, employee experience – one of last year’s focal points – is set to again receive the most attention from HR in this region this year, with further work on workplace digitisation and organisational culture close runner-ups. This month’s HR Insiders, two human capital leaders from Ikea Southeast Asia, surely know a thing or two about the employee experience and a positive workplace culture. The world’s largest furniture retailer is not just a revolutionary when it comes to ready-to-assemble

home products, but is also a pioneer of progressive HR practices. In September last year, the company started offering a full month of paternity leave to all male employees across the region. This was a first for retailers in the region, and a huge leap for the pro-family cause. Meanwhile, online marketplace Shopee also understands the power of impartiality, as its Chief Commercial Officer Junjie Zhou shares. He says the company keeps its environment open and its structure fair, an approach which has proven to be effective for a largely millennial workforce. This month, the Year of the Dog (Happy Chinese New Year to all our Chinese friends) is also upon us. Here’s wishing everyone an auspicious and fruitful business year ahead. Warmly,

KELVIN ONG Senior Journalist, HRM Asia

CONTACT US: Read something you like? Or something you don’t? Perhaps there’s some insight we haven’t considered? Have your say on HRM Asia’s news, features, and contributions by emailing: info@hrmasia.com.sg

MEET THE TEAM

©HRM Asia Pte Ltd, 2018. All rights reserved. Republication permitted only with the approval of the Editorial Director.

PAUL HOWELL

MCI(P) 028/07/2017 ISSN 0219-6883

Editorial Director paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg

KELVIN ONG

Senior Journalist kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

FEBRUARY 2018

YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY Journalist yamini.chinnuswamy @hrmasia.com.sg

HRM ASIA.COM

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E E

CONTENTS

FEBRUARY 2018

ON THE COVER

20

FORECASTING 2018

With transformation still a key theme this year, HRM Magazine takes a look at the three most towering issues that could well reinvent HR practice in 2018: new technology; the employee experience; and the accelerating drive toward workplace equality

“When change is the only constant, it is imperative for an organisation’s workforce to be continually levelling up”

F E AT U R E S

10

THE RIGHT CALL

Junjie Zhou, Chief Commercial Officer of Shopee, shares how making the jump from an established corporation to a fledging start-up has paid off handsomely

OF WORKPLACE 15 SECRETS RESILIENCE Leadership resilience expert Graeme Cowan’s own battle with depression has led him to a successful career sharing tips on managing emotions at work

VERY SWEDISH 40ACULTURE

The world’s largest furniture retailer ensures that accessibility is a quality afforded to both its customers, and all employees as well

STATE OF 46 THE TRANSITION

The Indian economy is experiencing major changes at present, thanks to two national financial reforms and the effects of digital disruption

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40 34 46

SPECIAL REPORT Talent and Recruitment Management

28AGILE WORKFORCE, FUTURE WORKFORCE

As agility becomes more than a buzz word and contract staffing increasingly the norm, HR is now hard-pressed to incorporate new people management models to keep up with the change

34

EMPOWERING EMPLOYEES TO INNOVATE

A workplace culture that encourages innovation among employees is today’s key business competitive advantage, Nick Reynolds, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo Asia-Pacific, argues

BUSINESS STRATEGY INTO 36TRANSLATING TALENT STRATEGY Binayak Bagchi, Director of HR within Medtronic’s Restorative Therapies Group, says change agility and workforce diversity should be key components of any organisation’s talent blueprint

REGULARS 04 06 08 60

BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP TWO CENTS

MY HR CAREER

52HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HR DRAGON

Likening HR professionals to dragon slayers, T-Systems’ Vice President of HR Brandon Lew explains why HR should seek to nurture their skills, rather than deny them

54 55 56 58

HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS FEBRUARY 2018

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BEST OF HRMASIA.COM

What’s on

.com Watch - The importance of job branding

Although Tata Consultancy Services is a well-known global organisation, reputation alone will not attract the best minds in business. Its Asia-Pacific HR Director Sudeep Kunnumal explains that a strong employer brand now boils down to effective job branding.

Debate

Asia is expected to experience the highest real wage growth this year, according to new salary predictions from various management consultancies. HRM Magazine’s Kelvin Ong breaks down the findings and what they mean for employers and HR.

Your Say

Last month, we asked: Which HR stories caught your attention most in 2017? This was your response.

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%

21

United Airlines’ forcible removal of a passenger

25

Sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein

33

Operational lapses at SMRT

17

Uber’s culture wars

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%

%

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Japan’s ongoing workrelated suicide problem

FEBRUARY 2018


Share - From the HRM Asia Forums

“The workplace of the future will have a diversity of people, a diversity of opinions, and a diversity of places to work”

Watch - OCBC’s employee mobile app

Jason Ho, Head of Group HR at OCBC, and Praveen Raina, Senior Vice President, Group Operations and Technology, speak in-depth about the bank’s mobile app for staff, the design process, and why it was HR’s brainchild.

CBRE Workplace Strategies’ Peter Andrews Andrews on how the best workspaces morph and adapt over time

P

sychometric toolsare designedto predict job performance,while supervisors are trying topredict whether candidateswillbecome goodworkmates”

Stephane Michaud PhD, Senior Director – Consulting, Human Link Asia, says flawed criteria can blunt the efficacy of predictive performance assessment tools

“GRIT IS ONE OF THE MORE IMPORTANT PARAMETERS SIGNIFYING OVERALL SUCCESS IN LIFE, PROFESSIONAL OR OTHERWISE, EVEN AHEAD OF TALENT AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE” Mausami Arora says resilience is the quality that separates the strong from the weak in this era of disruptions

Connect

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 Monday, February 5. 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. FEBRUARY 2018

HRM ASIA.COM

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NEWS

JAPAN

WAGES NOW AVAILABLE IN BITCOIN A JAPANESE INTERNET company will start paying portions of employee salaries in the form of bitcoin, for staff who opt in to the scheme. The Tokyo-based GMO Internet Group plans to initiate the scheme within its GMO Internet Co. subsidiary, before expanding to the entire group’s 4,000 employees. Employees will be able to choose if they want to be paid in bitcoin, with the amount ranging from 10,000 yen (S$120) to 100,000 yen (S$1,200) per month. “The GMO Internet Group will contribute to the development of virtual currencies in the world by promoting efforts related to virtual currency throughout the group,” the company said This initiative comes on the heel of an October announcement about an initial coin offering by the company. It also opened a cryptocurrency exchange in May this year. Bitcoin recently debuted on the world’s largest futures exchange, CME.

SINGAPORE

EQUAL PARENTAL LEAVE AT INSURANCE TITAN AVIVA HAS ANNOUNCED a new parental leave policy for new parents – regardless of gender. Under the new policy, all new dads and mums employed by Aviva are entitled to 16 weeks of parental leave, at full pay, within the first year of the child’s arrival. The policy has been rolled out in Aviva’s offices in Singapore, UK, Ireland, France, and Canada as well as other markets. In Singapore, it applies to all locally-based and permanent employees who have served at the company for at least three months continuously. The entitlements are available across all levels of the company, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or nationality. The policy covers adoption as well as birth, and there is no limit on the number of children for which it can be applied to. If both parents are employed by Aviva, they will each receive their own entitlement to leave and pay – which can be taken at the same time.

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIAN UNIONS FIGHT WORKFORCE CASUALISATION THE AUSTRALIAN Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) says fighting the rising trend of casualisation will be a key priority in 2018. “There’s been more jobs, but they’ve been casual jobs. And growth? Well, we’ve seen profits grow but we haven’t seen wages grow. Wages are at a record low,” Sally McManus, ACTU Secretary, told reporters over the Christmas holiday break. The ACTU has called for Australia’s Fair Work Act legislation to specify a definition of casual work. It has also

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called for employees who have put in six months of regular work with any one company to be given the option of converting to a full-time, permanent position. Australia’s Fair Work Commission rejected similar proposals in July last year, although it did grant casual workers in certain industries (such as retail and hospitality) the right to request part-time or full-time permanent employment if they worked regular hours for 12 months. Employers can still refuse to enact the conversion on certain grounds.


EUROPE AND US

GENERAL ELECTRIC TO SLASH 12,000 JOBS INDUSTRIAL GIANT General Electric is set to shed more than 12,000 jobs in its division – nearly a fifth of the entire unit and almost 4% of its global workforce. Half of the cuts are expected to be in Britain, Switzerland, Germany, and other facilities outside the US. The move is part of a US$1 billion cost cutting plan within the power unit – as well as a company-wide US$3.5 billion (S$4.7 billion) plan to slash “structural costs”, as laid out by new GE CEO John Flannery. “This decision was painful but necessary for GE Power to respond to the disruption in the power market, which is driving significantly lower volumes in products and services,” said GE Power CEO Russell Stokes. GE shares fell by almost half over 2017, while the power industry overall has struggled in the face of renewables.

US

HOLLYWOOD WOMEN LAUNCH EQUALITY CAMPAIGN

US

DISNEY-FOX MERGER MAY COST 10,000 JOBS THE PLANNED mega-merger between

media titans The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox will lead to the loss of between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs, business analysts have warned. The deal sees Disney paying more than US$52 billion (S$70 billion) for Fox, including its subsidiary brands FX, National Geographic, and Hulu. “Disney expects over US$2 billion in synergies from the Fox acquisition, with

the overwhelming majority of that from cost-savings, meaning job cuts,” said analyst Rich Greenfield. “In order to reduce costs by upwards of $2 billion, we believe Disney will need to cut well-over 5,000 jobs, and the number could easily swell toward 10,000 given the high degree of overlap between the two companies around the world,” he added.

WOMEN LEADERS in the entertainment industry have launched a new workplace equality campaign, called “Time’s Up”. A key aspect of the campaign is a legal defence fund, which is intended to help individuals who experience sexual misconduct to find legal representation. The fund will enable individuals to come forward without fear of legal, career or financial retaliation, and will be a key part of the campaign’s work toward an industy culture free from sexual harassment. Time’s Up has already raised more than US$13 million (S$17 million) from over 200 donors. Founding donors include Hollywood A-listers such as Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, and Shonda Rhimes. “Every person should get to work in an environment free from abuse, assault and discrimination. It’s well past time to change the culture of the environment where most of us spend the majority of our day -- the work place,” said Rhimes, who is the celebrated producer behind television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

FEBRUARY 2018

HRM ASIA.COM

07


LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP

WHAT ARE YOUR ORGANISATION’S WORKFORCE PLANS AND GOALS FOR 2018?

PAUL HARRIS

Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited

IN 2017, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars faced a volatile business landscape. As a business, we confronted uncertain market demand conditions, faced complex regulatory challenges, and operated in an environment of ambiguity. Indeed, this is the new volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) business norm, but amidst this also lies opportunity. Wealth inflows to Asia-Pacific present high potential for growth, and our team must be able to adapt to this new reality while consolidating our position at the pinnacle of luxury. Today, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars thrives by employing some of the world’s most talented craftspeople, engineers, and professionals. But to continue

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this momentum moving forward, our lean team of employees and managers will need to multi-task more than ever. As a leader, my goal is to find highly talented individuals to join our cause – and grow them to become the best versions of themselves. This nurturing of talent must be a combination of continuous challenge, discovery, and inspiration. The result is an intrinsic purpose for achieving excellence that extends beyond work and throughout their personal lives. Our team must also be adaptive, which means allowing for multi-level feedback, open communication channels, and quick identification of disruptions to the business. We encourage freedom to experiment, crossdiscipline work projects, and inter-department cooperation. Unique problem-solving skills in these uncertain times are also a must. The new “VUCA” business norm means our actions will most certainly produce unpredictable results; the only thing we can be sure of is the unknown.

FEBRUARY 2018

JULIAN HOSP

Co-founder and President, TenX

AT TENX we attempt things that no other company has done before us. Whether it is making cryptocurrencies spendable anytime, anywhere, or allowing people to get those cryptocurrencies with a click of a button on our app. Whenever I get asked what is the largest hurdle to overcome to make all these things a reality, only one answer comes to my mind: Finding the right people. This automatically leads to the following conclusion: We can achieve anything we want, as long as we have the right people on our team. And therefore, we have to set our lofty goals while having realistic recruiting in mind. Instead of just asking “Is it realistic to have one million

cards live by the end of 2018?”, we learned to ask “Who do we need to have one million cards live by the end of 2018, and is it realistic that we can find the A-players needed?”. This change of focus from merely asking “What do we want to achieve” to “Who do we need to achieve that”, was the biggest lesson I learned in 2017. As we enter 2018, our team now consists of close to 50 people. One third of them are developers, another third are graphic, design, and product people, and the last third is split between finance, compliance, legal, customer support, recruiting, and marketing and communications. So far, we have done pretty much no active marketing at all – it was all organic. In order to achieve our three main goals in 2018 of having: one million cards live; allowing users to get cryptocurrencies with the click of a button; and integrating the backend system COMIT, we will need to have around 200 people by the end of this year. Knowing how to get to our goals as an organisation is very important and for us at TenX, having great hires has been shown to be the key for that.


Book now for S$1995 only!

27-28 February 2018 Singapore

Strategic HR Business Partner Congress 2018 Strengthening HRBP’s Strategic Impacts to Achieve Greater Business Results Taking place 27-28 February 2018, HRM Asia will host the Strategic HR Business Partner Congress, which is set to explore the theme of “Strengthening HRBP’s Strategic Impact to Achieve Greater Business Results.” This 2-day conference is tailored to provide the HR community with insights on how to make HRBP’s more effective in order to bridge the disconnect and counsel the business on talent issues, and HR on management issues.

Practical case studies will be delivered by the following speakers:

Amitabh Nigam Lead International HRBP AT&T

Aditi Mahadevan APAC HR Head- Markets and Securities Service Citibank

Rahul Kalia Regional Human Resources Business Partner (Head of HR) Asia Pacific Bayer Crop Science

Kenny Jin Head of Talent Acquisition & HR Business Partner Reapra

NC Prakash Regional Director, Human Resources (Asia Pacific) Rohde & Schwarz

The conference will explore the following: • • • • •

Rewriting the role of strategic HR partner for maximizing business impact Localizing global HR strategies – tailoring head office’s guidelines in local context Developing business acumen and understanding in HR business partners Developing a strong stakeholder engagement plan to gain buy-ins and align strategies Articulating business strategies into people agenda

• • •

From “strategy drives talent” to “talent drives strategy” Driving constant organisational impacts through coaching, consulting and influencing skills Exploring how HRBP’s can leverage digital strategies and technology to create business impact

REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: info@hrmasia.com.sg | www.hrmcongress.com


F E AT U R E

L E A D E R S TA L K H R

THE

RIGHT CALL JUNJIE ZHOU, Chief Commercial Officer of Shopee, says leadership of the fastmoving, millennial heavy startup is a dream come true. He’s shares a few of the tradecraft tricks he’s learned in his two years at the helm

T

here’s a single question and answer from the following interview with Junjie Zhou that immediately stands out as definitive of our subject. When asked what was the best decision of his 14-year career so far, the Chief Commercial Officer of Shopee has no hesitation whatsoever. He says making the move from the corporate world to a fledgling startup was not just his boldest move, but also his most successful. That’s because it wasn’t just any startup that Zhou made the jump to, but the Sea Group in particular. Zhou met with the founders of what was then the predominantly online gaming business Garena in 2010, and says he was inspired and captivated by their vision and strategy. He switched over from a promising career with local stevedore PSA Corporation to work in any way the young company required. It was – he admits today – a huge leap of faith, with plenty of risk and uncertainty attached. But sitting in the brand new, modern office space of Shopee in Singapore, the otherwise mild-mannered executive cannot help but smile proudly at the success he has attained since then. The new journey naturally started with Garena’s

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gaming products. Zhou had responsibility for Garena’s channel sales in Singapore, before relocating to head up the company’s Indonesia operations. It was during that two-year stint that a relatively new business began to gather speed within the Garena portfolio. Shopee is a mobile-focused trading platform, or “social marketplace” that connects buyers and sellers with each other as well as secure payment and logistical support. Founded in Singapore, it offers a truly local Southeast Asian mobile shopping experience, and both users and investors have flocked to it over the last few years. Zhou too has made the switch, and has led the commercial operations of Shopee Singapore since October, 2015.

Q

Can you share a little about your career journey so far?

I first started my work in 2004 – wow – that’s like 13 years ago! I started in PSA Corporation as a returning scholar, so I was offered a scholarship to study in the US. After I joined PSA on my return, I did a few things. First, I worked on terminal expansion projects, and after there


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F E AT U R E

L E A D E R S TA L K H R

I was an engineering manager, managing a newly-setup key site crane section as I am an engineer by training. I think the work in PSA gave me exposure to big project management, and I also had the opportunity to work with different levels of people as an engineering manager. I worked there for six years. In 2010, I came across the founding members of Garena, which has since been renamed to Sea Group. I was thinking about what my career journey should be like,

and what else I should do, and where else my aspirations lay? And after talking to the founding members, I felt what they were doing was really exciting. So I made the decision to make a rather big career switch.

Q

It sounds like a leap of faith?

To move from a very established company to a startup company, yes, I think it was. So after I joined Sea Group, I did a few things as well. First I worked on cyber

one ON

I LOVE:

Eating really good food!

1

I DISLIKE:

People who make empty promises MY INSPIRATION IS:

Joining this company and having so many great minds working together BEST CAREER DECISION?

Joining Sea Group was a very big switch but I had been urging myself to do something different and try to be part of the team; to create something different

TOP TIP FOR OTHER LEADERS?

I think you should always lead by example. And of course be very sharp and clear on your instructions, so that the team always has a clear sense of direction BIGGEST REGRET?

I spent two years managing our Indonesia office but I didn’t really force myself to learn and pick up Bahasa Indonesia IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME, I’D LIKE TO BE:

Leading Shopee to even greater heights

café and payment distribution channels. After that, I worked as a leader for our Indonesia office which I had to set up over a couple of years.

So when did you assume the role as a country head of Singapore for Shopee?

Q

It was in 2015, while I was still in Indonesia. Back then I was still primarily working in the Garena side, which is more of the game business and I came back to manage our Singapore and Malaysia game business. Shopee quickly grew to be one of the key focus areas of our group, so I decided it was a good opportunity and the company also needed me to contribute to this part of the business. I made a switch to come to Shopee.

Shopee has grown from a team of 10 in Singapore to more than 200 employees in under two years. Could you talk us through the scalingup process? What were some of the key challenges?

Q

For our business alone, and for the group itself, we always experienced very rapid growth. So the challenge was how do we keep it up? How do we continue to support the growth? We always say people are the most important assets and so on, and we have really placed a lot of emphasis on getting the right people. For Shopee itself we first tried to find a few senior level members by going to the industry and seeking out like-minded people with proven experiences and a track record. They could have been from a Tokyo consulting background as well as people who had worked in the eCommerce industry for a while. Being part of the Sea Group, we’re definitely also able to tap onto some of the existing resources we have. So from there we formed a core group but at the same time we needed a lot of aspiring young talent, so we have been very aggressively in hiring fresh graduates or people who have worked for just one to two years.

That has led to around 90% of Shopee’s employees being millennials. How do you lead such a young workforce?

Q

First, we need to understand what the millennials want. If I’m talking to them, I

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think they care about a few things, such as whether they are joining a company which will give them enough opportunities to learn. They want to feel growth in a company. Second, they want to feel that they’re doing something meaningful and they’re making an impact. So I think we really take care of some of these aspects. For example, we make our structure very fair, and we make the environment very open, so as to always encourage collaborations. The young people all have their chance to voice out their opinions, and even the senior members will have direct interactions with all of the lower level recruits. The third thing is we place a lot of emphasis on growth and learning and development. We have the Shopee Academy. We design a very structural programme for various levels of employees.

Q

Is the Shopee Academy open to any employee?

Yes. It is part of the full employee journey. When they first come in, we have a very structural onboarding programme. They are introduced to Shopee itself and they get to know about the various functions and some of the key people there. So they have a very good understanding first. Then, we have various training sessions. They could be either internal or external courses, of which we also have different levels. We actually pay external trainers to bring people the knowledge they need, and even fly them from outside of Singapore. The trainer usually delivers the programme in Singapore but the people could be from different parts of Shopee around the region.

Q

“I will listen to what people have to offer, including their opinions and ideas. I will give clear instructions and guidance, but I’ll still leave enough room for people to execute strategies themselves”

How would you describe your leadership style?

I think most people would find me approachable. Even though sometimes I’m sitting in my room, I always welcome everybody. Staff know if they have any concerns about anything they can always come to me and not worry about disturbing me. I will also listen to what people have to offer, including their opinions and ideas. I will give clear instructions and guidance, but I’ll still leave enough room for people to execute strategies themselves.

Shopee’s new office in Singapore was named one of Asia’s most effective workspaces last year. Can you speak about the design planning that went into it?

Q

We looked at three things: connectivity, collaboration, and community. Connectivity is about, as you can see, our office being open and interconnected. For Shopee, we are connecting sellers and buyers as a single platform. That’s the idea behind the office as well. For collaboration, we make the office the same, very open. There are collaboration areas. There are discussion areas. People can just talk to each other. We want to foster this kind of open communication. We want ideas to flow around. The last thing is community. If you go to our pantry you can see we have some

activity areas where people can actually rest or recharge themselves, and it’s also an area for them to talk to each other and build that community spirit.

We hear the word ‘disruption’ so much. How would you define disruption from Shopee’s perspective?

Q

Disruption is something that’s different; something that changes people’s lives and habits. So if you’re talking about e-commerce, it’s about how people shop. From going to a brick and mortar shop, to now going online to buy. It’s not something that you can avoid. It happens because people feel there is a value to changing the way that they do certain things. At Shopee, we need to make sure that we ride on the trend. And we need to definitely embrace the disruption. FEBRUARY 2018

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9 – 10 May 2018 | Suntec Singapore Exclusively curated for CxOs and CHROs, this conference brings together the most senior gathering of business and management professionals at the event, shining the spotlight on the collaboration between business strategy and human capital management. As a decision maker, how are you adapting to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and managing business risks whilst encouraging innovation, transformation and collaboration throughout the organisation? The shifting expectations of the current and future workforce are quickly reshaping how organisations operate. How is your organisation preparing for what might be? In a technology-enabled economy, the challenge is to build and grow companies that are as inspiring, inventive and social as the individuals who populate them. As a C-Suite attendee, benefit from your ‘all access’ pass by dipping in and out of 7 other conference sessions throughout the two days of the event.

Why Attend?

Exclusive access to

• • • •

Exclusive Workshops with Global Management ThoughtLeaders C-Suite and Management Thinker Presentations Hear best practices from the industry’s most progressive organisations Network with over 4,000 industry peers Dipping in and out of 7 other conference sessions throughout the two days of the event

Exclusive Master Series

• • • • •

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 C-suite and Executive Management Presentations C-suite VIP Luncheons & Breaks VIP Business Lounge Access Exclusive C-suite Event Materials

Speakers

Shift – The Future of Work Dr. Lynda Gratton Thinkers50, Organisational Management Thought-Leader & Professor of Management Practice London Business School How prepared is your organisation for the work and workers of tomorrow? We are now facing a revolution in the way we work. In two decades our professional lives will have been so ‘reworked’ that they are likely to be unrecognisable. In this exclusive Master Series Workshop, Dr. Lynda Gratton, will explore the 4 key drivers underpinning the current workplace mega-shifts that will drastically change the way we work over the next decade, and how we can best leverage on these for success.

Inside Amazon’s Culture for Success Nick Walton Head, ASEAN Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Rafiza Ghazali Former Senior Vice President, Group Innovation and Business Performance Management Group Strategy and Innovation Sime Darby Berhad

Siemens HR Transformation: An Agile Operating Model to Match the Evolving Business Landscape Mike Bokina Vice President & Global Head, HR Organisational Effectiveness Siemens

Joydeep Bose President & Global Head of HR Olam International

Asia

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Aileen Tan Group Chief Human Resources Officer Singtel

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2018

9th & 10th May SUNTEC SINGAPORE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE

H R 4 . 0 – R e t h i n k T h e W a y Yo u W o r k

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THOUGHT LEADERS

F E AT U R E

SECRETS OF

WORKPLACE RESILIENCE GRAEME COWAN has always battled his own negative feelings, but after years of extensive research, the HR author has also discovered how companies can help their workforces stay hardy in the face of stress, anxiety, and depression

TCH CA

ME GRAEA COWt N

a mit S R H um A o Exp sia 9t & 0 h

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B Y K E LV I N O N G

& 1 0th May 2

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I

F E AT U R E

THOUGHT LEADERS

n 2000, business management consultant Graeme Cowan was at the peak of his career. He was the joint managing director of a successful executive internet search firm based in Sydney. That was until the dot-com crash later that year, which saw the complete collapse of his business over a very short period of time. He would struggle for another three years trying to right the ship, before finally leaving the company. By the end of 2003, Cowan found himself at the lowest point of his life. His marriage had also broken down, and he had to move back in with his parents. The unravelling of his professional and personal life gradually drove him into the depths of depression.

“It was like a pot of boiling water, where it builds and builds, and suddenly you realise you are quite hopeless,” he tells HRM Magazine. “There was consistent stress and I was just not taking enough time for my own wellbeing.” The depression – which lasted for close to five years – was described by one psychiatrist as the worst he had ever encountered. In 2004, Cowan even attempted suicide. “One of the biggest things was that I wasn’t sleeping well for a long period of time. I was really tired, but I couldn’t sleep. There was a lot of anxiety,” he says today. “I was really unwell for a long time.”

Commitment to recovery Besides good medical care, what led him on the path to recover, was actually something much simpler. “My commitment to start walking everyday was really what helped to turn things around,” he says. Daily walks soon led to him reaching out to friends and family, going back to meditation and other forms of physical activities, and eventually writing his first book about the experience: Back from the Brink.

Cowan found the research process of the book to be one of the most helpful parts of his recovery. He interviewed around 20 individuals who had also battled depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. “I learned a lot from speaking with so many different people. I was suddenly doing something bigger than just me,” he says. “I often tell people that if they’re away from work on stress leave and not ready for full-time work, they can consider just doing voluntary work because it gets them outside the house and it also helps others.” Thankfully, there is a lot more help for individuals – and employees – today. Cowan says this is a stark contrast from the early 2000s, when employee mental health was rarely talked about. Even as recently as five years ago, companies would not openly acknowledge the matter. But that has changed a lot in the last three years. “One reason is that people have started to work out how costly these problems are for businesses,” Cowan notes. Furthermore, studies have shown that workplace-related depression and anxiety is now at an all-time high, making it

THE “MOODOMETER” GRAEME COWAN HAS always had a pre-disposition to depression, which worsened to a chronic state between 2000 and 2005. With his psychiatrist, he started learning how to master his moods, as a means of improving his symptoms. The result was the

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“moodometer,” which Cowan says is “a simple sliding scale that compels users to think about their mood and act where appropriate”. Cowan talks about the moodometer – and its three traffic light coloured zones – a lot in relation to leadership resilience, which he says is the

FEBRUARY 2018

“number one key” to positive mental health at the workplace. “I often say to leaders that the first priority is to keep yourself in the green zone,” he shares. “The second priority is keeping their teams in the green zone and the third one is to help those in the red zone move out of it.”

increasingly tough for companies to ignore the issue.

Active responses Just having conversations about mental health, however, is hardly a sustainable solution. Cowan explains that there are three different approaches to tackling mental health at the workplace. The tertiary approach is when companies intervene only as and when problems arise. This is a passive method that is costly for the business and unsustainable over the long run. The secondary approach sees companies providing resilience classes, as well as


work-life balance and employee wellbeing programmes. Cowan says this is a good method, but not as comprehensive as the primary approach. This requires organisations to be highly pro-active when it comes to dealing with employee wellbeing on every level. They continually think about how they can change processes and systems, and ensure the triggers of depressions are prevented from occurring. Cowan says most organisations are now starting to move towards the secondary stage, where they understand the importance of special training and wellness programmes. But what he really hopes to see in the near future is more companies going even further, and taking on the primary, preventive approach.

Starts at the top Central to the preventive approach is the idea of mood management, which Cowan writes about extensively in his new career as a speaker and author on workplace resilience. “I work a lot with leaders and I think it’s important because they set the mood and the environment in a company,” says Cowan, adding that research has shown 70% of staff engagement is due to what a manager or leader does within their team. The first priority of managers should be to keep themselves well. “If managers are in a good mood, that flows on to their teams,” Cowan says. “If they are in a bad mood or stressed, that also flows down to their teams.” One of the things individuals can do is to be aware of their own intentional actions – things that they choose to do and have control over. Cowan says intentional actions, which can be positive and negative, greatly affect the moods of the wider team or community. Examples of positive intentional actions include meditation, regular exercise, spending quality time with family and friends, or even something as simple as walking: all natural remedies that Cowan now swears by. “You need to find that one thing that is really good for you,” he shares. “For me, that was meditation. I get real peace from it.” For the average professional, employing a strength-based mindset is another

UP

GRAEME COWAN Leadership resilience speaker and author, and Managing Director of Thrive Central

SE CLwO ith...

Based in: Sydney, Australia Academic background: Bachelor of Commerce Mantra: “Go to the Green Zone” What does that mean? It means doing the right things that will help to lift your mood on a regular basis. Have I done enough? Have I meditated enough? Am I exercising regularly? Am I using my strengths? Have I seen my “great zone tribe” recently? What advice would you give to your younger self? I think it would be to be much more selfcompassionate. When I was really struggling, I was also beating myself up more than anyone. So be kind to yourself; be kind to others. Social media of choice: I am very active on LinkedIn. What are your other passions in life? I like to go bush walking and trekking on trails all over the world, like the Himalayas, the Andes, and many places in Australia and New Zealand. That’s a big passion. I also really like wine and music. You’re presentation is complete. You’re fully rested – and you’ve got 24 hours left in Singapore – what’s on the agenda? I plan to check out some of the beautiful, fresh food, and also go to the Botanical Gardens – I’ve heard great things about it. Those are probably two of my priorities.

important element of mood and stress management. Studies have shown that if people identify what their top five strengths and skills are, and utilise those every day, then they will be up to six times more engaged with their work. Once individuals have mastered how to keep their moods in check, they will find themselves more capable of handling workplace stress healthily and effectively.

HR SUMMIT & EXPO ASIA celebrates its 16th anniversary in 2018, with a jam-packed programme of ground-breaking HR thinking and best practice case studies. With multiple conference streamsand a free expo filled with the latest HR solutions and innovations, the two-day event is a must for anyone in business and workforce management in this part of the world. The conference takes place on May 9 and 10 this year, at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. For more information, and early bird registration deals, visit: www.hrsummit.com.sg/

How HR can help Resilience, a theme Cowan speaks about at business conferences all over the world, does not come naturally or easily to at least 20% of individuals. And this is where HR – as the function tasked with responsibility for employee health and wellness – has to step in. Cowan says HR can further add value by approaching wellness strategically. “HR can influence the executive team to get on board with a mental wellness programme and to take it seriously themselves,” he suggests. “The biggest influence of organisational culture is in what the leadership team does each and every day.” He says the talent management function can study the needs of their people, then implement relevant programmes that are in line with the company’s vision. Measuring employee wellbeing is another area that more HR teams are now focusing their efforts on. Some companies are collecting real-time feedback from employees via apps and surveys. “These are the ways that we can tap on to see one of the key employee performance indicators,” says Cowan. “It’s ironic because employees are the most expensive part of a company’s expenses but there are very few real-time matrixes available.” kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg FEBRUARY 2018

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Future-Proof your Talent Chee Nian Tze Group Human Resource Director Al-Futtaim Retail Asia (Former Robinsons)

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Joelle Kong HR Director Merlin Entertainments Midway Asia

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Monir Azzouzi Head of Employee Experience Maxis Berhad

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Merle Chen Chief Talent Officer The Lo & Behold Group

D N Prasad Director and Head of Google People Services, APAC Google

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F E AT U R E

IN DEPTH

In 2018, the work environment will continue to be transformed. HRM Magazine takes a look at the three towering issues that could well reinvent HR practice this year: new technology; the employee experience, and the accelerating drive toward workplace equality B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

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I

n looking at the new year ahead, it only makes sense to also look back at the topics and issues that dominated HR conversations last year. In HRM Magazine’s 2017 retrospective series alone, a couple of commonly recurring themes emerged. First among these was employee experience and engagement: one of the most clicked-on news stories of the year centred on a report that claimed Singaporean professionals were the least productive in the world. One also cannot reflect on 2017 without bringing up workplace culture. Uber’s seemingly neverending woes put office culture in the spotlight, while the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal exploded into a global phenomenon centred on the #MeToo hashtag. Another buzzword that came up time and again was “change”. Change is a basic fact of life, but technological advancements have completely transformed the way organisations do business at exponential, unpredictable rates. Some of HRM Magazine’s most popular articles from last year were about understanding and navigating the ever-shifting business landscape from an HR perspective.

These trends from last year look set to shape the HR agenda again in 2018 - as this forecast for HR practitioners in Asia and around the world reveals.

Technology over the long haul With the Singaporean government’s continuing drive to strengthen technology infrastructure and build a “Smart Nation”, digital transformation is likely to remain a key priority for many in the coming year. Recruitment firm Robert Walters notes that e-commerce, insurance and logistics will be some of the key sectors driving this continuing digital transformation. Additionally, as millennials become the most dominant segment of the workforce, it has become increasingly vital for organisations to address the workplace expectations of these “digital natives”. On a day-to-day basis, this could mean any number of things. Employment agency Randstad says that in 2018, “more organisations will place data at the forefront of strategic workforce planning.” This will include the development of metrics that help HR leaders understand “how to build better teams, make more processes agile or lean, analyse the utilisation of resources across the company, and truly understand the output of cross-functional teams.” Karen Cariss, CEO of PageUp, a cloudbased talent management technology provider, agrees. “HR analytics will expose gaps in employee productivity, highlight

ways to improve engagement, uncover what motivates employees, and map the overall employment experience,” she says. “Machine learning algorithms will (also) apply text and pattern recognition analytics to enrich the insights delivered via employee surveys,” she adds. This will help to give HR professionals an even more accurate reflection of employee sentiment, engagement and productivity in real time. “HR professionals will have the tools to be able to better make data-driven workforce decisions,” Cariss predicts. Improved data insights will also help organisations move away from a one-size-fitsall approach to talent management; instead enabling them to take on a customised, targeted perspective. But the potential of technology in talent management isn’t just in data. Andrew Chamberlain, the chief economist of employment website Glassdoor, envisions new uses for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology in enhancing the employee experience. “[This could be by] providing simulations of tasks and work challenges, better preparing workers for real-world situations before they have to face them,” he suggests. Chamberlain expects such technology to also revolutionise recruitment. He says candidates can soon expect interactive job advertisements that allow them to take a VR tour of their future Australian workplace while sitting in Singapore, and they will

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IN DEPTH

also be able to complete virtual assessments during their recruitment process. However, HR must be mindful of balancing the human touch with these technical advancements. “As companies pace themselves in the bid to digitise, so too will the HR function in identifying the specific technologies that can be automated to increase our efficiency. For instance, we need to be mindful of how we can retain aspects that relate to human interactions,” notes Ian Jongho Im, Head of Talent at MoneySmart.

survey found that 41% of respondents had already adopted AI technologies in their workplace, or were in the midst of doing so. “Revolutionary new AI tools are complementing people’s skills in HR, upending many established and easy-toautomate roles,” notes Chamberlain. But even as AI increasingly automates various tasks – especially the tedious administrative ones – HR need not worry about being left behind. For instance, if AI-enabled chatbots increasingly overtake candidate-to-job matching, recruiters will then have more time to actually talk to candidates and run negotiations – making for a more positive talent acquisition experience for everyone.

Robot revolution Technology that can think for itself was once only fantasised about in movies like Blade Runner, but with the rise of bots and automation, artificial intelligence (AI) is very much a key facet of 2018’s digital transformation promise. The 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends

Employee experience Last year, talent outsourcing firm KellyOCG found that a new talent shortage was looming in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific –

and that 75% of C-suite leaders in Singapore, and 61% in the Asia-Pacific, expected this lack of talent to disrupt their business prospects over the coming three years. In such a talent drought, companies must consider if their compensation packages still reflect market realities. “Wage growth, while still rather anaemic, will gain momentum in 2018 due to the intense hunt for talent,” says Jim Link, Randstad’s chief HR officer. “Those wishing to hire will need to offer strong pay packages to attract the best talent.” It is also perhaps an opportunity to stand out by offering less traditional perks, such as wellness benefits, and competitive parental leave opportunities. HR leaders will also be looking to further develop the talent that already exists within their organisations. When change is the only constant, it is imperative for an organisation’s workforce to be continually levelling up.

FORECAST 2018 – READERS’ SURVEY TOWARDS THE END of last year, HRM Magazine asked its readers about their priorities for the new year ahead. Of the five priorities considered, further developing the employee journey was narrowly the most important across the population of respondents. But it is clear is that there are some common challenges among HR leaders in Asia-Pacific this year.

“RETENTION HAS BEEN CHALLENGING. OUR EXIT INTERVIEWS HAVE REVEALED THAT EMPLOYEES DID NOT FEEL WELCOME, AND THEREFORE CHOSE TO LEAVE”

HOW IMPORTANT ARE THE FOLLOWING HR GOALS FOR YOU IN 2018?

– DEBORAH NG,

PRINCIPAL EXECUTIVE, HR ADMIN, CHYE THIAM MAINTENANCE PTE LTD (Highest priority: Employee Journey)

4.3

Employee Journey

4.2

Organisational Culture Workplace Digitisation Upskilling and Retraining

4.1 4

3.2 “CREATING A CULTURE WHERE EMPLOYEES FEEL ENGAGED, 1 2 3 4 5 COMMITTED AND CLOSE TO Average score out of 5 THE HEART CAN HELP RETAIN THEM. IN MOST CASES, IT’S NOT SKILLS THAT WE ARE LOOKING “[ANOTHER TREND I EXPECT TO BE OCCUPIED WITH IN 2018 IS] THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE AGEING FOR IN A NEW RECRUIT, BUT WORKFORCE IN THE FACE OF TRADITIONAL JOBS CULTURAL FIT” ‘DISAPPEARING’ ” – CATHERINE CHEN, Restructuring

HR MANAGER, CORDLIFE GROUP LIMITED (Highest priority: Organisational Culture)

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– CHOW YONG,

SENIOR MANAGER, SPECIAL PROJECTS OFFICE OF PRESIDENT, SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

“TRANSFORMATION AND DIGITALISATION ARE HAPPENING MORE OFTEN NOWADAYS. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE TRENDS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS AND HOW WE AS HR PROFESSIONALS CAN EMBRACE THESE TRENDS AND CHANGES” – POH LI FEN,

ASSISTANT MANAGER, HR, DFS VENTURES SINGAPORE (Highest priority: Workplace Digitisation)

“MY HR TEAM MUST BE UPSKILLED AND RETRAINED IN ORDER TO ASSUME A MORE STRATEGIC HR ROLES, NOT JUST TRANSACTIONAL ROLES” – JESSICA SOH,

SENIOR MANAGER HR, PANDAN HOLDINGS (Highest priority: Upskilling and Retraining)


AS COMPANIES PACE THEMSELVES IN THE BID TO DIGITISE, SO TOO WILL THE HR FUNCTION IN IDENTIFYING THE SPECIFIC TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN BE AUTOMATED TO INCREASE OUR EFFICIENCY”

– IAN JONGHO IM, HEAD OF TALENT, MONEYSMART

“Employers will need to become more focused on training their existing or future hires. The talent that exists doesn’t have the depth of skills needed in many cases,” says Jodi Chavez, president of Randstad Professionals and Life Sciences. But Cariss says this shouldn’t mean organisations rely on traditional learning models alone – many of these have already hit their use-by dates. Self-directed microlearning is the way of the future, she says. “Expect to see more businesses move away from traditional, structured programmes, toward self-directed, social, informal learning platforms,” she says. “HR and businesses will play a crucial role in delivering learning that is continuous, consumable, relevant, and available ondemand.”

Workplace equality and diversity It would be remiss to talk about the workplace in 2018 without acknowledging equality and diversity, especially given how the #MeToo phenomenon dominated headlines at the end of 2017. Even since then, December and January have been packed with developments and announcements that speak for themselves in setting a clear workplace equality agenda for 2018. Iceland, for instance, kicked off the year by legislating for equal pay – the first country in the world to make it illegal for men to be paid more than women for the same work. Meanwhile, Facebook published its sexual harassment policy with every intention of beginning what might be a difficult dialogue

for its own organisation and community. “There’s no question that it is complicated and challenging to get this right,” admitted Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer and Lori Goler, Vice-President of People, in a joint statement. “What we can do is be as transparent as possible, share best practices, and learn from one another — recognising that policies will evolve as we gain experience.” As 2017 closed, Microsoft became one of the first major companies to get rid of ‘forced arbitration clauses’ that require employees to settle workplace disputes through a private process. This is cheaper and faster than having claims dealt with through a court, but also opaque. Victims of workplace harassment have complained that these processes have allowed poor behaviour to continue unchecked. In the entertainment industry – where the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal originated – women leaders also launched a new workplace equality campaign called “Time’s Up”, whose first initiative was the formation of a Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. The Commission intends to push for safer, fairer, and more accountable workplaces. As noted by Kathleen Kennedy, the President of Lucasfilm who helped to form the Commission, “[safe and] inclusive work environments result in stronger and more successful businesses.” 2017 made the business case for positive workplace environments, and 2018 looks to be the year when employers walk the talk, or face the long-term consequences to their employer brands.

What does it mean for 2018? Undoubtedly, 2018 will see the launch of more campaigns, policies, and initiatives aimed at making the workplace a fairer and more inclusive environment. Meanwhile, the continued rise of technology – and all the disruptions that brings – will necessitate the development of a change-agile leadership and workforce. Unsurprisingly, then, “there will still be a high demand for HR experts who are business-savvy and have change management experience,” as per a recent report by Robert Walters. Learning and development, particularly leadership development and organisational design, are

likely to come into focus in this tech-driven, constantly changing landscape. HR leaders must step up and leverage their seat at the table in preparing the workplace and workforce for the sea of change ahead. They need to ride the wave – or risk drowning instead. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg FEBRUARY 2018

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Special Report FEBRUARY 2018

TALENT RECRUITMENT AND MANAGEMENT


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FEBRUARY 2018

Special Report

TALENT RECRUITMENT AND MANAGEMENT

he demand for talent is at an all-time high, and strong evidence points to the existence of skills gaps in a wide range of industry sectors. For HR professionals, those gaps are becoming harder and harder to manage – with technology evolving faster than education and training providers can typically produce job-ready graduates. This Special Report into Talent Recruitment and Management delves deep into some of the many issues that are feeding into this continuing HR conundrum. But it is not all bad news – the flipside to every challenge is an opportunity, and the unique business environment in Asia-Pacific has a myriad of both. Whether it is the growing number of workers happy to work on a part-time or contingent basis (see: page 28 to 31), the wide variety of policy challenges facing HR in Asia this year (see: page 32 to 33), the need for organisations to encourage risk-taking and innovation (see: page 34 to 35), or the impacts of the volatile and disruptive business environment (see: page 36 to 37), this exclusive, 15-page compilation will shed new light on the fast-changing situation for talent managers in Asia-Pacific. It coincides with HRM Asia’s upcoming Singapore Talent and Recruitment Show, taking place on 20 and 21 March. With more than 30 speakers sharing their insights on innovation and best practices for talent management and recruitment, this two-day event is jam-packed with content, centred on the theme: Recruiting and Building a Relevant, Future-Ready Workforce to Drive Business Transformation. Don’t miss out on this vital source of networking and intelligence for HR in this field.

INSIDE

27 OVERVIEW 28 ANALYSIS 32 DATA AND INSIGHTS

HRM Asia’s comprehensive report into the Asia-Pacific regional talent management space in 2018

What does the growing contingent workforce mean for HR and business in 2018 and beyond?

The RGF Market Outlook Survey highlights the wide variety of challenges facing HR across different markets in 2018

34 GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Lenovo’s Nick Reynolds says cultures that encourage greater innovation among staff are becoming a key competitive advantage for their organisations

36 FIELD NOTES 38 MARKETPLACE

Medtronic’s Binayak Bagchi on the new benchmarks required for managing talent in a disruptive economy

For the best talent recruitment and management advice, services, and solutions in Singapore and Asia-Pacific

FOR MORE 20-21 March - Singapore Talent & Recruitment Show

Join more than 30 expert speakers for the region’s biggest conference on talent management ideas and innovation. With exclusive case studies and the latest Asia-focused thought leadership, delegates will take away a fresh perspective on the complex issues around building a future-ready workforce For more information, visit www.congress.hrmasia.com

FEBRUARY 2018

SPECIAL REPORT

HRM ASIA.COM

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R E C R U I T M E N T A N D TA L E N T M A N A G E M E N T

A N A LY S I S

AGILE WORKFORCE, FUTURE WORKFORCE

Contingent employment is on the up and up. To remain competitive, talent management professionals need to enable business transformations that can keep up with this new and nimble people management model B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

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R E C R U I T M E N T A N D TA L E N T M A N A G E M E N T

A N A LY S I S

ver the last decade, HR’s most basic understanding of work has been challenged and revolutionised. In particular, there has been much ado about flexible work arrangements, especially with millennials becoming the largest segment of the workforce. But the flexible workforce isn’t just about employees working from home or remotely: according to a survey by recruiting firm Randstad, more than 60% of the workforce will have chosen “agile” careers by the end of next year – deliberately taking on freelance or contract work instead of permanent, full-time positions. Likewise, businesses are increasingly phasing out a portion of their permanent workforce in favour of these independent contractors. In a survey of more than 200 C-suite leaders across Asia-Pacific, KellyOCG’s Workforce Barometer Report from last year found that almost nine out of 10 (88%) are expected to maintain or increase their percentage of contingent workers in 2018. Towards agility The shift towards gig and contract workers isn’t just bolstered by an increasing openmindedness to the nature of that kind of work. For one thing, technology has allowed for the automation of certain tasks and roles. If you’re a glass-half empty sort of person, that has made human workers redundant for many of these traditional tasks, but if you’re less of a cynic then it’s all part of transforming the scope of what organisations require from their people. There’s also the expected talent and skills shortage looming on the horizon. Randstad’s research shows that almost seven out of 10 employers believe that the skills gap is widening, while KellyOCG’s survey found 61% of Asia-Pacific C-suite leaders predict that talent shortages will disrupt their businesses in the next three years. The forecasted skills shortages are at least in part fuelled by the fact that change is now occurring faster than people can keep up with. In a climate where disruption is the norm, competitive organisations must have agility writ in their bones – and the ‘bones’ of any good business are its talent. “By implementing an integrated talent approach – where permanent, contingent, independent, and machine labour are engaged strategically – companies can improve their workforce agility by having access to the right talent at the right time,” says James Stovall, Senior Vice President of Solution Design at Randstad Sourceright. “An organisation’s maximum business potential is unlocked when it has an optimal

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mix of both the contingent and permanent workforce,” agrees Peter Hamilton, AsiaPacific Regional Director at KellyOCG. “That optimal mix ensures that the permanent workforce runs the core operations alongside the contingent workforce, forming a complementary ecosystem of talent.” Hamilton says the key reasons to maintain a contingent workforce are to access specialist skills and expertise that aren’t already within the organisation, and to enable a scaling up of the workforce according to business cycles. “Organisations stand to benefit from a highly-skilled and experienced contingent workforce that sees a particularly strong representation among Baby Boomers and those with higher degree qualifications, as well as professional and technical skillsets,” he says, adding that the contingent workforce is fairly multi-generational – 39% Baby Boomers, 34% Millennials, and 30% Generation X, according to KellyOCG’s Free Agent Survey in 2015.

In order to maintain an agile workforce, HR teams need to equip themselves with the technology and skills – including knowledge of performance and people analytics – that will help them hire the right talent at the right time. “HR professionals must have constant reviews of the organisation’s HR policies and procedures to ensure that their contingent talent is well-oriented and integrated with the core workforce,” says Hamilton.

Casual backlash The rise of E-commerce and the Uber model have helped to make “gig working” de rigueur. Apps such as Mywork Global – a Singapore-developed platform that helps businesses hire local gig workers for ad-hoc tasks – are creating a new norm for staffing experts. But it’s also something of a chicken-andegg situation. The 2017 Graduate Employment Survey by Singapore’s Ministry of Education, for instance, suggests that more graduates are taking on gig or temporary work – but it is unclear if this is a conscious choice on their part, or simply because they aren’t able to land full-time, permanent positions in a time of economic uncertainty (a Maybank Kim Eng report last year observed that the gig economy had likely cushioned the woes of a weak job market). There has already been backlash to what some call the “casualisation” of the workforce, and concerns that it could lead to worker exploitation. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) declared that fighting the rising trend of “casual employment” would be a key priority for the organisation in 2018. Among its agenda

IN A CLIMATE WHERE DISRUPTION IS THE NORM, COMPETITIVE ORGANISATIONS MUST HAVE AGILITY WRIT IN THEIR BONES – AND THE ‘BONES’ OF ANY GOOD BUSINESS ARE ITS TALENT FEBRUARY 2018


items: calling for employees who have put in six months of regular work to be given the option of converting to a full-time, permanent position. However, Australia’s Fair Work Commission already rejected similar proposals last year – though it did grant casual workers in certain industries (including retail and hospitality) the right to request permanent employment if they work regular hours for 12 months. Employers are allowed refuse to enact the conversion if they have one of a wide range of “reasonable” grounds. ACTU secretary Sally McManus says “every single worker” involved in the “so-called gig economy” has reason to worry. “There have been too many loopholes; too many ways for employers to get around ensuring people have rights and security at work,” she says. Organisations do not pour the same level of investment into project or contract employees as they do for their permanent, fulltime staff. That’s part of the point of contingent workers, in fact – they are agile assets, easy to mobilise, and also easy to retire as necessary. The flipside is that such employees are unlikely to be invested or interested in the company’s success, beyond the scope of their own work. But Hamilton says that does not have to be the case. “Building a strong and honest relationship with contingent workers as you would with your permanent workforce will enable a more trusting and collaborative work environment,” he says. “This can be achieved by providing similar benefits and training, for example, or by simply including them in regular meetings and updates, just like you would if they were part of your fulltime workforce,” says Hamilton. “This way, the contingent worker is also assured that they feel equally valued as their permanent counterpart and is more likely to feel invested in the organisation’s success.” After all, a company is only as strong as its people - whether those people are contingent workers or full-time employees. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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D ATA A N D I N S I G H T S

POWERED BY

Still much to do

The RGF Market Outlook study, released on January 31, shows every market in AsiaPacific will be facing its own talent management challenges heading into 2018. But HR professionals across the region also have some things in common

A

cross the region, the outlook and challenges for businesses this year are set to be many and varied. According to the RGF International Recruitment Market Outlook study, which sought the detailed opinions of more than 1,200 senior HR and business leaders in 10 of Asia’s biggest markets, businesses still have some work to do to get their HR policies to bestpractice level. Many of the difficulties that participants noted related to training and performance management. Across Asia, 30% of all respondents flagged the reinforcement of leadership skills for midlevel managers as an issue for their current organisation. This was slightly higher in Thailand (33%), and slightly lower in Hong Kong (26%). Across industries, the issue was most prevalent in the Electronics Manufacturing sector (37%). Performance management was another oft-cited concern across the region. In total, 28% of the survey respondents indicated a need for improvements to their employee review strategies. This was particularly an issue within the Information Technology and Telecommunications sector.

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Communication issues are also proving a challenge for many HR teams, particularly when it comes to articulating a positive value proposition for staff. In Vietnam, for example, 68% of survey respondents felt that misleading job descriptions led to high-value employees resigning in 2017. A majority of Taiwanese respondents (68%) also blamed negative working relationships for a loss of key staff. Communication between organisations and their regional and global headquarters also raised concerns, particularly in the finance industry across Asia. 29% of respondents from the banking sector said they were currently having problems communicating with their headquarters, and 23% expected that issue to continue over the coming three years. This was a bigger issue in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, with 24% of the Philippines-based respondents and 22% of those in Vietnam experiencing communication issues with their parent organisations. John Tucker, Regional Head for Southeast Asia and Japan, noted that there was still a strong positive outlook for business growth across all markets. Over

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91% of respondents in India, for example, were expecting the market to grow in 2018. “While we are pleased to discover that many employees have a positive outlook regarding business growth over the next year, the results of this survey demonstrate that there are still areas for improvement in HR procedures across Asia,” he said. “RGF across the region under the brand names of RGF Executive Search, RGF Professional Recruitment and RGF HR Agent is a keen advocate for HR best practices and we hope that these results can help companies to refine and review their practices, and support employees across every aspect of their work life.”

The RGF Market Outlook Survey was completed in the second half of 2017. It featured responses from over 1,200 business and HR leaders in: Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. For more information, visit www.rgf-hr.com.sg


RGF MARKET OUTLOOK SURVEY

32% 28%

Organisations are being asked to transfer budgets and people to local subsidiaries Employers expect to increase headcounts by between 5 and 10% this year

CHINA

31% Poorly conducted salary reviews are causing a problem

THAILAND

Issues with maternity leave and childcare led to resignations and terminations in 2017

24%

Trying to save costs on people is causing bigger problems in the workplace

INDONESIA

PHILIPPINES

Communication with business headquarters has been difficult

MALAYSIA

24%

Employee motivation will be a HR issue over the next three years

55%

33% 25%

24%

29%

Poor working conditions led to resignations last year

Middle managers are not being taught leadership skills effectively

26%

Middle managers are not being taught leadership skills effectively

Retaining outstanding employees will continue to be an issue SOURCE: RGF INTERNATIONAL RECRUITMENT, RGF HR AGENT SINGAPORE PTE LTD | EA LICENCE NO. 10C2978

SINGAPORE

VIETNAM

27% 68% Poorly conducted salary reviews are causing a problem

Misleading job descriptions led to employee resignations last year Communication with business headquarters has been difficult

HONG KONG

22% FEBRUARY 2018

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Empowering employees to innovate NICK REYNOLDS, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo Asia-Pacific, shares the importance of creating an employee experience that is centred on building an innovation culture

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W

hether it is data visualisation tools to improve analytics or an efficient expense management system to automate claims, new technologies are fast-disrupting the way we conduct business. Today, organisations across the world are starting to embark on digital transformation as they seek to digitise their business and reap the gains that technology can offer. This is especially prevalent in Asia-Pacific, where more than half of large organisations in the region already have a formal strategy set in place – ahead of both Europe and North America. While we celebrate the region’s proactive approach to new technologies, it is only half the battle won when it comes to remaining competitive in today’s Digital Age. Gone are the days where an awardwinning solution will guarantee a pole position in the industry. The creativity and innovation that come from an organisation’s most valuable asset—its people—needs to be maximised for it to develop solutions that deeply resonate with the customers’ needs and deliver the high level of service they are increasingly demanding. This, I feel, gives companies the competitive edge to stand out in today’s crowded market space. So what does it take to unlock your employees’ full potential? It’s simple. Create an employee experience—not just engagement— that is centred on a culture of innovation, one that fosters deeper collaboration, ramps up efficiency, and builds employee loyalty. However, as the old adage goes, everything is easier said than done. Personally, I keep the three following considerations in mind to ensure Lenovo’s employees are set for success:

Change starts from the top According to a recent study by Microsoft, less than half of Asian employees feel empowered by their organisations to embrace the demands of the digital workplace. While adopting new technologies is a great first step towards digitisation, the power of influence plays an equally crucial role in creating the right environment for innovation to thrive in; this can be achieved if business leaders embody an entrepreneurial mindset that sets the tone for employees to follow suit. This means moving away from the traditional top-down management model and towards a two-way communication process instead. Recognise that your employees are your first line of advocates and invest more time in getting to know them. You can start by first defining strategic, organisation-wide policies to encourage candid discussions beyond the old suggestion box. Organising healthy inter-departmental competitions centred on innovation is also a great way to spark excitement and ideas that go a long way in driving culture change. What is important to keep in mind is that change always begins with action. While driving conversation may be a good start, management teams need to set an example by taking the first step before others follow suit.

Empowered employees will empower businesses McKinsey recently revealed that while more than 80% of executives acknowledge the crucial role innovation plays in an organisation’s growth strategy, only six percent are satisfied with the outcome of their business transformation. Why the disparity? In the race towards

modernising their business, many tend to forget that meaningful innovation is built upon addressing business needs and end-user feedback. In other words, innovation that does not simplify and enable the work of employees will not deliver the business benefits leaders crave for. Gaining insights into your employees’ pain points on all levels, be it their grumblings of tedious administrative tasks or more strategic conundrums, is critical to identifying the areas where innovation can make the most positive impact. Lenovo, for instance, recently developed a suite of internal sales tools to address the pressing administrative challenges of its sales employees. What previously took 45 minutes now takes only five, enabling them to dedicate the time saved from administrative work into building relationships with customers and prospects.

A celebration of failure Many inventors quote failure as their recipe for success. As such, business leaders need to be bold and acknowledge that failure is part and parcel of every success story. Only by failing will companies be presented with the opportunity to measure the gap between action and results, make better-informed decisions and ultimately, create a culture of innovation that drives great results. Take Alphabet’s X, an American research-anddevelopment facility built upon a foundation of failures. Its director Astro Teller says the organisation believes in rewarding employees for failing, in order to encourage them to take risks and make breakthroughs. The result?

FEBRUARY 2018

Creative innovations that are solving the world’s problems, such as Project Loon – a network of balloons travelling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas to the world wide web and help bring people back online after natural disasters. Though failure is not synonymous with progress, it does indicate that experimentation and innovation are occurring. Weeding out the fear of being right or wrong removes the ceiling on the success that can be attained by employees. Ultimately, every great organisation is supported by a workforce that has the right tools, platform, and culture to drive innovation. Staying relevant in today’s highlycompetitive environment requires a transformation blueprint that puts the employees at the heart of the business. After all, motivated and innovative employees generally equate to better offerings and happy customers. And tell me, which business leaders do not want happy customers?

About the Author As the Chief Marketing Officer, NICK REYNOLDS oversees branding, demandgeneration, digital marketing, public relations, events, and social media for Lenovo across Asia-Pacific

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FIELD NOTES

Translating business strategy into talent strategy The new year could mean a new talent recruitment and management approach for many organisations. BINAYAK BAGCHI, Director – HR within Medtronic’s Restorative Therapies Group in Asia-Pacific explains how change agility, workforce diversity, and more will need to be incorporated into the 2018 talent blueprint 36

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P

lease tell us more about what you do at Medtronic.

I head HR in Asia-Pacific for one of Medtronic’s four global business groups, specifically, the Restorative Therapies group, which runs therapies from neuro surgery to oncology. We have a footprint in 22 different countries across five subregions, including Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India, and South Korea.

Attracting and developing talent in the new economy BINAYAK BAGCHI, Director of HR with Medtronic in Asia-

Pacific will be speaking at the Singapore Talent & Recruitment

What are some of the talent recruitment and management goals and challenges you anticipate for this new year? Firstly, HR at Medtronic will be looking to continue to build cultural diversity, as well as diversity of thought. We have a very targeted approach to gender diversity in particular, where we want to have a 40% diverse workforce by 2021. Secondly, we need to ensure that our talent is “change-agile”. In the fast-evolving and constantly-changing healthcare and therapy market that we are in, it is extremely important we have a workforce that can embrace the complexities of the market, and change quickly, to meet its demands.

How are you changing your approach to these from last year? In terms of building on diversity, we want to bring it down to more action on the ground. We want at least 40% of our leadership – talent manager level and above – to be gender diverse. We can keep talking about it and measuring it, but what we really need is tangible action towards it. So for example, when we’re hiring for a key role, we want the talent slate to have at least two female candidates. That’s the level of granularity that we’re trying to see.

“It is extremely important we have a change-agile workforce that can embrace the complexities of the market, and change to meet and respond to them accordingly.” – BINAYAK BAGCHI ,

DIRECTOR - HR, MEDTRONIC

We’re also ensuring that we have a work environment where leaders and managers understand what it means to have a diverse workforce. We will be building more awareness about what a gender-diverse workforce is, and the kind of openness we need to have in such environments.

How do you approach your talent management, when the so-called “disrupted landscape” is changing so fast that we can’t predict what will happen next year, much less in the next four years? That’s a very important conversation we’re having within our organisation, and there are two key ways that we approach it. One is that every year, we are reviewing our business strategy along with our talent capability and requirements, with a fiveyear forward looking approach. This plan used to involve business strategy, product strategy, finance strategy and profit and loss. But we’ve now introduced a talent strategy segment, which aligns with the fact that you can’t achieve your business strategy unless you have the right talent capabilities to drive that. To back that up, we also have an “organisation and talent planning” review in the middle of the year, every year, as part of our people management processes. This means every business group, at each of various levels, is taking a hard look at the organisation’s current capabilities – and then talking about how our existing talent fits into it or doesn’t fit into it. An important part of that conversation is succession on all critical roles, with incumbents being marked as ‘ready now’ or in a few years, with individual development actions to ensure.

FEBRUARY 2018

Show, taking place in Singapore on March 20 and 21. Speakers and delegates will dive deep into the challenges, insights and strategies around attracting and nurturing talent for 2018 and beyond. For more information, visit congress. hrmasia.com

The quality of these conversations is evolving.

What are your own talent and recruitment resolutions for the new year? It’s a long wish list! We sometimes create barriers and develop tunnel vision. So one of my hopes for 2018 is to break our tunnel vision and have a more broad-based approach to many of the things we’re trying to address. This goes back to what I said about being change agile – sometimes this means not having that tunnel vision, but instead having the ability to understand and appreciate the complexities of any given situation. I also hope to look at improving the speed of change. Sometimes we get too bogged down in lots of things and just don’t take the small steps that will have greater effect. It’s just a hope that we can move faster, especially when everything else is changing so rapidly.

What will you be presenting on at the Singapore Talent & Recruitment Show 2018? I’ll be going through the many different ways we talk about business strategy, and explaining a step-by-step approach to converting that into talent strategy. It’s not a very intuitive process, and needs a strong seat at the table from the HR business partner. Otherwise, when it comes to managing talent, HR can end up becoming the recruitment agent only. Recruitment is very important but is only one of the many aspects of managing talent for the future.

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Recruitment, plus much, much more

RGF IS THE global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest recruiting and information services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$16 billion in net annual sales. For more than 58 years, RGF has provided comprehensive HR solution and talent acquisition services, including retained and contingency executive recruitment and market mapping, senior to staff level specialist and contract recruitment, as well as payroll services. RGF operates in more than 46 offices across 26 cities in 11 countries and markets in Asia with in-country specialist consultants. The values of RGF remain the foundation of the way it works today. We operate in a volatile, complex, and ambiguous world, with technology disrupting business models and intense global competition. Organisations, and everyone in fact, risk becoming marginalised and perhaps irrelevant, unless we evolve. In this environment, the HR function plays a challenging and pivotal role: to lead change, and manage human dynamics while supporting leaders to work towards business objectives. Results from our Regional Market Outlook Survey (see: page 32-33) found that whilst organisations in Asia have a positive outlook regarding business growth, there are areas for improvement in HR procedures. Common challenges faced by HR professionals revolve around recruitment, learning and development, engagement, and performance management and reviews. To serve our networks better and help them achieve their business objectives, RGF continuously seeks to improve and provide value-add. We consistently upgrade our systems to enhance talent search; improve business processes; provide complimentary results from our market studies, and organise our own events (such as industry roundtables and conferences) to provide opportunities to gain knowledge, meet thought leaders, share best practices, and network.

RGF International Recruitment +65 6439 1469 www.rgf-hr.com www.rgf-executive.com RGF HR Agent Singapore Pte Ltd | EA Licence No. 10C2978

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MARKETPLACE

Your partner for fair and progressive hiring WHEN IT COMES to hiring the best possible talent, adopting fair, merit-based, and inclusive hiring practices is not only the right thing to do – it’s also the best and most effective strategy for employers. Having a wider pool of candidates naturally increases their chances of finding the best person for the job, and having a diverse and inclusive workforce further strengthens the organisation. The Tripartite Standard on Recruitment Practices provides a vital benchmark to help you put progressive hiring practices in place. Administered by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), the Standard covers job advertisements, application forms, and interviews, and calls on employers to eliminate biased language and requests for unnecessary information. Hirers should also have a consistent set of relevant and objective selection criteria, and maintain effective records of interviews and job offers. TAFEP also promotes other Tripartite Standards, on flexible work arrangements, grievance handling, procurement of services

from media freelancers, and employment of term contract employees. Together, these standards form a clear blueprint for bestpractice workforce development in Singapore today. Employers that adopt the Tripartite Standards will be publicly recognised and have access to resources, advice, and exclusive learning opportunities throughout the year. But the greatest prize is having a strong and progressive hiring framework, one that ensures the best possible person for the job, and in turn, the best possible workforce for the organisation. Sign up now at https://www.tafep.sg/ tripartite-standards.

Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) www.tafep.sg

Bespoke recruitment with a global reach RECRUITMENT IS A people-focused business, which is why Charterhouse Partnership offers a best-in-class, boutique service to its clients in both Singapore and around the region. Charterhouse Partnership’s success and growth are reliant upon our team of consultants, who are hand-picked for their international recruitment experience and industry knowledge. That expertise is coupled with a clear understanding of local markets to ensure our clients are able to hire successfully and at the best value for money. The development and success of our team requires continued focus and access to the best available data. We ensure all of that business intelligence is always at their fingertips. Performance and industry training are also regularly provided, and naturally the rigorous development of strong networks is vital to help us deliver the highest level of service for our clients. Our approach to every assignment is bespoke. Since every industry, client, and role is different, we go to great effort to truly

FEBRUARY 2018

understand what is required before we set out. At Charterhouse, we believe in the development of true partnerships, based around relationships built on trust with both candidates and clients. We also offer vital international reach and global coverage, which is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the regional recruitment market in Asia-Pacific. With collaborative offices across Asia, the Middle East, and Australia and New Zealand, Charterhouse Partnership has both the knowledge and the relationships to find the talent you are looking for. Get in touch with our Managing Director Gary Lai at : GaryL@charterhouse.com.sg.

Charterhouse Partnership +65 6435 5600 www.charterhouse.com.sg


SHOW

Recruiting and Building a Relevant, Future-Ready Workforce to Drive Business Transformation 20 - 21 March 2018 | SINGAPORE Join us at the Singapore Talent and Recruitment Show 2018, taking place 20-21 March in Singapore to host the very best line-up of speakers - each addressing today’s two major HR and business challenges - recruitment and talent management and to share their invaluable insights on how your organisation can further improve its talent and HR practices.

Some of the Confirmed Speakers Include:

Julia Koh Deputy Director, Head of Talent Acquisition Asia Globalfoundries Singapore

Ang Gey Wee Head of HR (Global Shoe Production & Sourcing) Ecco

Natalie Tait Senior Vice President Merrill Lynch Global Services

The conference will explore the following: Bridging the gap of talent supply and demand – Niche recruiting Upgrade recruiter skillset. Utilising technologies to enhance efficiency Designing a holistic candidate experience to build actively engaged talent pool Diversity and Inclusion in practice Revamping learning & development practices to grow futureproof, digital-savvy workforce Designing compelling employee experience to retain talents and achieve desired business outcome Strengthening leadership development to groom and retain critical talents

Hunter Morgan Ph. D Lead Bridge Builder with People Analytics Grab

Adele Png Head of Talent Acquisition Takeda

Who Should Attend:

Binayak Bagchi Director HR – Asia Pacific | Restorative Therapies Group Medtronic

Launch Rate Promotion Extended!!!

Register and Save up to S$600 off standard rate by 15th Feb 2018.

If you’re a CHRO, Chief People Officer, HR Directors Chief Alternatively bring a group of 3 or more and get HR Decision Makers/ VPs/ additional Directors/Heads/Managers 10% discount. of Talent Recruitment/ Talent Acquisition, Workforce Planning & Capabilities, Learning and Organization Development, Compensation & Benefits, Talent Sustainability Director / Workforce Planning & Capabilities, Global Mobility/ Regional Global Mobility / International Mobility, Talent Management, Talent & Leadership Development, Global Learning Director, Leadership, Performance Management / Learning and Development - this event is simply you cannot afford to miss!

REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: info@hrmasia.com.sg | www.hrmcongress.com


F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

ALVIN YAP

HR Manager, Service Office Support Functions

GLORIA NGOOI Head of Rewards

ALDYS KONG

Benefits and Employment Manager

UNPACKING A VERY SWEDISH CULTURE 40

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MAUD MANZEN HR Manager, IKEA Retail

LIN MINYU

HR Manager, IKEA Tampines

LYDIA SONG HR Director

With an egalitarian vision to “create a better everyday life for the many people”, it is not unexpected that this experience also extends to employees of the world’s biggest furniture retailer. Two of Ikea Southeast Asia’s HR leads share how this Swedish influence informs its talent strategies B Y K E LV I N O N G FEBRUARY 2018

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itting down at Ikea Singapore’s welcome lobby (which looks into the rest of the office) with Lydia Song, HR Director; and Gloria Ngooi, Head of Rewards, Ikea Southeast Asia, the Swedish home product retailer’s relaxed and inviting office vibe is clear from the start. As it should be. After all, the world’s largest furniture line is known as a “brand for everyone”, because of its affordable and accessible, ready-to-assemble home living products. This “casual and open” workplace culture, as Song puts it, has always been there, but was accentuated further in 2016. That’s when the company “refreshed, rephrased and modernised” its corporate values. Today, any scheme or initiative that the company introduces – those for internal stakeholders included – is based on those values, which are to: Develop the business and deliver results; Lead and develop people; Inspire and clarify; Relate togetherness; Find better ways; and Enable change. This sort of candid culture, alongside the updated values, has led to some key actions being undertaken by the HR team over the last two years. These have come in the areas of compensation and benefits, career development, performance management, and training.

Building a leadership pipeline

Dual performance management One good example, says Song, is the newly-implemented monthly one-on-one conversations between line managers and team members. In these discussions, the team leads cover their direct report’s contribution to the business in the past year, what has been achieved, upcoming career steps, and how they see their own development. “So it’s not only business-related, but also about personal development,” says Song. The most important thing, she adds, is that staff can talk freely about their job aspirations and plans. These monthly talks then culminate in an end-of-year performance evaluation and development discussion, during which clear goals and action plans for the coming year are discussed. Head of Rewards Ngooi says what is unique about Ikea’s performance management and review approach is that it focuses heavily on each person’s unique growth and development. “For many organisations out there,

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at the end of the year when they have a performance evaluation, they’re talking about only performance, which is a very tense process,” she explains. “But for us, we split it into two parts. The evaluation portion has to happen, but the other focus is on our people’s development. “We believe that each individual should take ownership of their own development as well, and this is something we tell our co-workers a lot.” This dual format is critical because it gives staff the space – and ample opportunity – to have frank discussions about their job aspirations and plans with managers. “They can talk to their managers about whether they want to move laterally, move overseas, or take on a role in the store or service (corporate) office next,” says Ngooi.

AT A GLANCE Number Of Employees (Southeast Asia)

2,600 Key HR Focus Areas Learning and development Recruitment Talent management Compensation and benefits

Size of the HR Team

64

Closely related to the performance evaluation and development process is Ikea’s unique approach to leadership development, which is in line with a global HR philosophy that demands Ikea “give down-to-earth, straightforward people the possibility to grow”. Through its management competence review, the Southeast Asia HR team will map out succession plans for key positions across all departments and business units. During this process, HR will consult the respective team managers on their succession outlook. Managers will determine how many successors they will require to be ready in the coming years, and what kind of training and development is needed for those identified. Although this top-down, bottom-up approach has been in place for at least six years, Song says a lot of improvements have been made since 2016 in particular. These last two years have seen the level of commitment of managers to the overall planning process grow significantly. As a result, in 2016, there were over 100 promotions across the region, with some 59% of key positions also identified


for successorship within the next one to three years. The organisation has also introduced a mentorship initiative in recent years. Every senior team member or identified key successor will be assigned a mentor from the senior management team. In 2017, 35 mentors were paired with 75 mentees. “The idea is that senior management is also connected to the frontline of the business and can develop potentials there,” says Song, who herself has three mentees. Benjawon Omark, the store manager of Ikea Bang Na in Thailand, and Edward Ong, the head of land acquisition and market analysis for Southeast Asia, have both benefitted from this keen focus on leadership development. Omark first joined Ikea as a Thai translator less than seven years ago, and today, she oversees the operations of the Bang Na outlet. Ong initially took on the role of a management trainee within Ikea’s Singapore operations. He then moved to the internal communications department, before finally joining the market analysis and land acquisition team, which he now leads. This is a very senior role, which sees him talking to joint venture partners, and choosing sites for new Ikea operations.

Fair and family-friendly As an employer with roots in such a progressive society as Sweden, Ikea prides itself on treating each and every staff member equally. This mindset is particularly evident in its work-life policies. In September last year, the company rolled out a new paid paternity leave scheme, in which all male employees across Southeast Asia have access to one month of leave. This is up from the previous offering of one week paid paternity leave and is now uniform across the region, even in countries where there is no government mandate for paternity leave. Some 27 employees availed of the new entitlement in the same week it was introduced. “It’s a small step that makes a big difference to the dads in our business, and

“We believe that each individual should take ownership of their own development as well, and this is something we tell our co-workers a lot”

“The Voice survey is a way for us to listen to the real employee voices. Otherwise, people will not feel like we are sincere about getting their feedback” – LYDIA SONG,

– GLORIA NGOOI,

HR DIRECTOR, IKEA SOUTHEAST ASIA

HEAD OF REWARDS, IKEA SOUTHEAST ASIA

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HR INSIDER

their partners,” says Song. But the company has always been a trailblazer when it comes to fair and profamily compensation and benefits. For instance, in 2013, standard working hours were reduced from 44 hours per week to 42.5 hours across the board, for both office and store workers – a move still largely unheard of in the retail sector. To help store workers further balance the competing demands of the business and their families, the company also enables flexible scheduling. Because the roster is given four weeks ahead of time, it is particularly convenient for students and parents to plan their days in advance effectively. “Most of our colleagues are on the frontlines and retail-based. Unfortunately, their physical presence is required, so we are still limited by that,” says Ngooi. “But I believe we have very fair policies and terms. Whatever scheme we introduce is the same for all service office and store workers.”

Finger on the pulse All these changes have proven to be extremely beneficial for the employee experience, as evidenced by the results of Ikea’s annual employee surveys. An engagement survey called the Voice Index, which both Song and Ngooi refer to several times throughout the interview, has revealed that the company is striking a sweeter chord than ever with staff. The Voice Index measures employees’ views on everything about the organisation – including how happy they are working there and how empowered they are in their day-to-day jobs. The index also has a leadership component, which poses questions based on the company’s six values. Staff are asked about how effective their managers are at exemplifying those ideals. Song says the purpose of the survey is not to penalise leaders, but rather to find out the potential of people and the organisation as a whole. “This is a way for us to listen to the real employee voices. Otherwise, people will not feel like we are sincere about getting their feedback.”

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SWEDISH-FIRST MINDSET TWO YEARS AGO, Ikea updated its corporate values as part of its promise to create a great place to work for its 194,000 people globally. Core to the company’s identity is its Swedish heritage, or “Swedishness”, which Lydia Song, Ikea Southeast Asia’s HR Director, says informed much of the new values which emphasise on diversity and inclusion, teamwork, uniqueness, and a culture of openness. Asked whether there is too much fixation on the Nordic ideals, Song says:

“We’re all about the Ikea culture first, then Singapore or Malaysia or Thailand second.” So pivotal are those goals that Ikea also strengthened its recruitment process in 2016 to ensure it hired only people who shared those new values. “We’re looking for people who want to be part of the Ikea family, want to fix problems, and not seek permission to do that,” says Song. As part of a growing effort to educating employees about the renewed values and culture, the company

The Southeast Asia offices started measuring employee engagement in 2010, recording a score of 509 points. This grew to 692 in 2014, before reaching a high count of 758. This puts the region in the “excellent” category, and one of the top divisions for engagement among Ikea regions globally. Song says this all means a majority

launched the Value Ambassador Programme in 2017. The programme sees co-workers vote for the individuals who they feel embody company values the most. Last year, 18 staff from Southeast Asia, alongside others from various parts of the world, were sent to Småland in Sweden. There, they had the chance to learn more and experience firsthand the Swedish culture, and even visit the factories where Ikea products and the iconic catalogs are made.

of employees are feeling positive towards the organisation, adding that higher Voice scores have also been shown to lead to greater bottom lines. “Our store managers take great pride when we have high scores. It keeps each business unit on their toes and on track to ensuring that they are following up on their business plans,” she says.


The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore | 2 March

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Emcee Nikki Muller

Comedian Sharul Channa

Title Sponsor

Premium Partner

Supporting Organisation

Photo Booth Partner

Organiser

Reserve your table today at www.hrmawards.com Reach out to Cheryl Lau at 6423 4631 or cheryl@hrmasia.com.sg for further enquiries.


HR COUNTRY REPORT

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INDIA

FEBRUARY 2018


THE STATE OF TRANSITION The Indian job market is stuck in a rut, with total employment hitting a three-year low in 2017. But experts tell HRM Magazine the tough times will pass as soon as the skills development efforts of both the government and private sectors start to bear fruit

A

t a general election

rally in the Uttar Pradesh city of Agra in November 2013, then-Indian Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi told a packed crowd that his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would create 10 million new jobs during its first term in office. In 2015, a year after he was elected, Modi launched the Skill India Mission with the goal of providing skills training to some 400 million Indians over the following seven years. He hoped to bring in more high-level jobs through this approach that would also make India “the world’s human resource capital”. At that time, only 2% of India’s total workforce was made up of skilled workers, which is far lower than most other developing nations.

Twin blows Today, Modi’s ambition of a steady job market remains more of a pipe dream than reality. A government survey last year showed that things were nowhere near what he had hoped for back in 2015. Instead, India continues to be stricken by a severe skills shortage, caused by a multitude of both structural and cultural factors. The Labour Ministry also admits that employment growth has been “sluggish”. This was its response to data from the official

B Y K E LV I N O N G

economic survey in 2016-17, which showed India’s unemployment rate had actually risen since 2014. Total employment – the number of available jobs – in fact, fell across all sectors, according to an independent study by economist Vinoj Abraham. Abraham noted that the falling employment levels were linked to a slowdown in overall economic growth, with growth in India’s Gross Domestic Product declining for six consecutive quarters between January 2016 and June 2017. The growth rate hit a three-year low of 5.7% in the second quarter of last year. With an estimated 12 million Indians entering the workforce ever year until 2030, the country is simply not creating enough jobs for those newest entrants. Experts attribute much of the market stagnation to two recent financial reforms: the demonetisation of all INR 500 (US$7.80) and INR 1,000 (US$15.60) banknotes at the end of 2016, and a new nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) that launched in July last year. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh believes this “twin blow” has been “a complete disaster” for the national economy. “It has broken the back of our small businesses,” he said before the first anniversary of the sudden demonetisation policy in October last year. FEBRUARY 2018

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HR COUNTRY REPORT

INDIA

520.2 Labour force:

million

Breakdown of people employed by sector:

44% Agriculture

25%

Manufacturing and Industry

31% Trade and Services

Unemployment Rate

3.6% Gross National Income per capita

6,500 USD

Ease of doing business ranking

103

(out of 190 countries, 2018)

SOURCE: WORLD BANK, ALL DATA FROM 2016, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED

That’s because demonetisation, in particular, has left millions of Indians exposed to increased uncertainty in employment, says Pawan Kumar, an Assistant Professor at Ramjas College at the University of Delhi. He explains that this is because a majority of India’s workforce are employed in the informal sector, where most wage

payments are made in cash form. Given the high proportion of those bank notes in circulation, demonetisation has affected informal workers the most. According to The Financial Express, an estimated 482 million workers who earn cash incomes were expected to be affected in some shape or form.

Disruptive times Local newspaper Economic Times’ online survey of 10,000 readers revealed that 45% believed demonetisation had reduced the number of jobs available in the short-term. Meanwhile, 23% believed the policy would have a negative, long-term impact on employment. The situation is particularly dire for those in India’s IT industry – well-known as the country’s top-performing sector for much of the last few decades. “The IT services industry is for sure weathering a storm, as the skill sets needed have changed along with the changes in the geopolitical situation,” Subhankar Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director, HR, Lenovo Asia-Pacific, tells HRM Magazine. “This has had an impact on labour mobility.” In the IT sector, digital disruption has meant analytics, machine learning, and other software skills related to artificial intelligence are now in high demand, making the hiring of people with these competencies a top priority.

Those skill sets, however, are still lacking across the country, despite its previous record in IT. A 2016 Aspiring Minds survey of over 50,000 IT engineers in India found that 30% of respondents had difficulty answering even the most basic theoretical computer programming questions. Some 80% also failed to apply programming concepts to real-world situations. Even more alarming was that fact that fewer than 5% of engineers were able to write compiler-friendly codes, or high-level programming languages that could be translated into simpler, non-abstract codes. This emphasis on new skills has resulted in a significant number of layoffs, as was seen in last summer’s slash and burn exercises across major IT firms like IBM, Wipro, and Cognizant. Companies are now focused on removing redundancies, and replacing “passé” roles with new and more relevant job descriptions.

Stuck in low-tech work Given the poor performance, many are now asking whose job it should have been to initiate the transformation? Is it the government, the industry as a whole, business leaders, or individuals themselves who should have stepped up? The responsibility is not quite so clear cut. Experts note that a majority of Indians themselves – once at the top of the global IT tree – missed the opportunity to upskill

THREE INDUSTRIES ON THE EDGE With automation and artificial intelligence now at the forefront of global commerce, Indian industry will need to respond quickly and decisively. The following three sectors are already feeling the heat, and need to be executing their response strategies now. IT SERVICES With low-level IT work like system maintenance and application development on the way out, Indian IT companies will need to begin offering more innovative solutions including cloud services – which currently makes up only 5% of the sector’s overall revenue.

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BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING India’s call centre expertise is well-known, welloiled, and well-utilised. But that industry is not the vital, global service that it once was. Today, chatbots answer questions and even track the behaviours and lifecycles of customers. There is now a need for more India-based software and data architects who are able to build selflearning and intelligent machines to provide superior customer experiences.

RETAIL E-commerce is killing brick and mortar retailers globally, including in India. Local e-commerce players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Myntra have changed the shopping experience through functions that can make highly accurate recommendations to customers based on their previous interactions. This, in turn, helps companies to plan their inventories, manage supply chains, and even plan their store strategies.


HR CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE

technologies, multicultural experience, and adaptability to change will continue to thrive and succeed,” says Shahane.

HR in India is facing an unenviable task – with responsibility to not only facilitate skills training, but also handle redundancies and improve bottom lines when those skills mismatch. Still, there are some stories of particularly painful HR interactions now emerging from South Asia. One former Tech Mahindra IT employee says he was given two choices when the company sought to restructure: resign by 10am the following day and be paid his basic salary, or be sacked with no compensation at all. That employee recorded the exchange with HR, and later posted the audio online. “Cost optimisation is happening at the company and your name is part of that list,” he was told. “If you can put in papers we will be

But Jaidip Chatterjee, India Country Head of HR at one of the country’s leading financial players, argues the current economic malaise need only be temporary. “I strongly think it’s a phase which will subside and the labour market will be active (again) soon,” he tells HRM Magazine, citing a recent World Bank report that described India’s current decline as an “aberration”. He notes that the fall-back in economic growth has been largely due to interim policy disruptions in preparation for the new GST. Chatterjee even disputes the sentiment that there is a lack of jobs, particularly outside the IT sector. “When we look around at the hiring in the financial services industry or fastmoving consumer goods space, it is not as scary as it sounds,” he says. He is “immensely hopeful” about India’s future, and that the economy will grow faster in 2018. “It’s a matter of time before the recovery starts. I am hopeful that the new package of measures that the government intends to unveil will lead to generation of employment both in the private and public sectors,” he says. Still, Chatterjee cautions that people will only succeed in the new world if they constantly upgrade and upskill themselves to add value to their enterprises. Lenovo’s Chowdhury says there are still some ways to go before a complete transformation takes place. “It’s not easy for an economy to transition to build skills overnight, but the government, academic institutions, and corporate entities have been making efforts,” he says. For now, the reality remains at least for the moment, that no one can “rule out the possibility of organisations shedding skills not in demand,” Shahane says. “But at the same time, companies will be looking to hire niche talent that would provide them an edge over their competition. “It is a tough situation to be in, but one that you cannot avoid.”

treating it as a normal exit. If not, we will be sending you a termination letter.” The HR manager added that there was “no flexibility” in the decision. Shortly after the audio went viral, Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani issued an apology via Twitter: “I deeply regret the way the employee discussion was done. We have taken the right steps to ensure it doesn’t repeat in the future.” GRACE UNDER PRESSURE But should HR be excused for simply doing its job, and doing it the only way it knew? Not at all, according to Kishore Shivdasani, the former CEO of Air India. “Whilst one appreciates the fact that the HR executive was doing her job, it is obvious that she hadn’t been trained on how to

in the face of emerging technologies and increasing digitalisation – particularly in the earlier part of this decade. Companies were also slow to transform. While India was once the technology hub of Asia, largely because of cost and scale factors, failure to adapt to digitalisation has meant it has become stuck in low-value technology work – such as system maintenance. The result has been that companies have been unable to produce the results today’s clients demand, gradually leading to a loss of business. “Productising services and delivering higher quality is key,” Priya ChettyRajagopal, Executive Director, RGF Executive Search, told The Khaleej Times. “The big players, who are well aware of market dynamics, will now pay closer attention to clients’ needs, and move from

terminate the services of an employee,” he wrote in an online response to the recording. “(There is a) total lack of grace, diplomacy, and understanding of the company’s reputation.” Whether HR had to fire one or 1,000 individuals that day was unimportant because “the capability of managing employer-employee relationships must form an integral part of the terms and conditions of an HR executive’s service contract,” Shivdasani added. Nihkil Shahane, HR Director at Technip India, is sympathetic to the cost objectives of businesses today, but agrees that tact and communication should never be overlooked. “HR professionals must show empathy and respect to employee needs and counsel them as required,” he says.

maintenance to products.” While the typical bread and butter projects will continue to exist, she says “companies have now realised a critical need for diversification”. The problem then is not just about creating more jobs and pushing more skills training in India, but transforming both the attitudes of individuals and companies. Both groups need to truly seek out the needs of a changing economy – much like the rest of the world. “The key to survival for companies and individuals is the same in this competitive market,” says Nihkil Shahane, HR Director at Technip India. Technical expertise will always be sought after, but individuals and entities must now demonstrate what differentiates them from the rest of the pack. “The people with international experience, knowledge of certain

“Not as scary as it sounds”

kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg FEBRUARY 2018

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UPCOMING EVENTS

CALENDAR First quarter of 2018

2 MAR

HRM AWARDS 2018

HRM Awards celebrates 15 years of recognising HR’s best and brightest people and practices. The Great Gatsby-themed gala ceremony is HR’s biggest night out of the year, and the 15th anniversary event promises to be the biggest and best yet

27-28FEB

STRATEGIC HR BUSINESS PARTNER CONGRESS 2018 Delegates to the Strategic HR Business Partner Congress 2018 will hear from a wide range of expert practitioners about the changing business partner role across Asia-Pacific. They’ll also gain a fresh understanding of how people strategies can be successfully integrated into the long-term business agenda

20-21MAR SINGAPORE TALENT AND RECRUITMENT SHOW

The Singapore Talent and Recruitment Show is focused on helping HR and talent management leaders to not only recruit but also build and maintain, a future-ready workforce. With this in place, organisations will be best-placed to drive business transformation over the long term.

9-10MAY

HR SUMMIT & EXPO ASIA 2018

Asia’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

Do you have an upcoming event to share with the HR community in Singapore? Email paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg with the details.

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HR CLINIC 54 UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL 55 CONGRESS WRAP 56

MY HR CAREER

“Nobody is more interested in your career advancement than yourself. And this is the time to allocate your own resources into programmes which will enhance your abilities”

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BRANDON LEW, Vice President, HR T-Systems

FEBRUARY 2018

HRM ASIA.COM

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MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HR DRAGON

Likening HR professionals to dragon slayers, T-Systems’ Vice President of HR BRANDON LEW explains why HR should seek to nurture and further develop their skills, rather than fight them

I

n the popular movie, How to Train Your Dragon, a young Viking teenager aspires to follow his tribe’s tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance of gaining the tribe’s acceptance at last, he finds that he no longer wants to kill the dragon. Instead, he befriends and trains it. The teenager was able to reconcile the dilemma and problems of his environment. The business world, with its hunger for profits and lean management, is eager to slay and reject development initiatives and headcount increases. Any mention of cost is akin to corporate villagers facing down a fire-breathing dragon. The intuitive corporate impulse is to slash and slay it. So if development initiatives are frowned upon, how do we as HR professionals train our own “dragons”? Dragons, in this case, is an analogy for our professional HR skills. Leadership, developing a positive culture, cost analysis of workforce, contracts negotiation, sourcing pedagogy, proficient utilisation of HR information systems: these are examples of our dragons. I’m going to share four tips which I believe may work for the HR Vikings among us.

Your development is your responsibility First, accept the fact that we’re alone and, surrounded by hostile and yet-to-be enlightened villagers whose chief concerns are saving resources and their profitable cash cows. Once we have accepted that fact, we will not be looking for company handouts. We will be forced to relook at our options and explore different avenues to develop and train ourselves and the HR team. Instead of hoping for companysponsored programmes, we should explore seeking free training from partners, exchanges from clients, and in-house peer

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learning opportunities. You will be surprised what the mind can conjure once liberated from a needy mentality. Any companysponsored training will be a bonus.

Invest in yourself Next, invest and experiment on your dragons. Once you have gone for a few quality training programmes, seminars, or conferences through cost-free initiatives, you will have an idea of where your HR interest is heading and what you should focus on more. Nobody is more interested in your career advancement than yourself. And this is the time to allocate your own resources and money into programmes which will enhance your abilities and employers’ interest in you. Every year, I will reserve a portion of my savings to invest in myself. Likewise, you must invest in yourself, for it may well be the most profitable investment you will ever make. Li Ka Shing (one of the richest tycoons in the world) advises young people to apportion their income into five parts. Two of these are: investing in your own learning; and treating smart friends and associates to a meal (networking). Li Ka Shing’s rationale is that when you increase your investment through learning, you strengthen your self-confidence. When you increase your investment in networking, you expand your network of contacts and your income will also grow proportionately.

Build your tribe In the movie, our protagonist eventually leads a group of self-trained dragons to successfully defeat the enemy and change the perception of the Viking villagers. Similarly, once you have groomed yourself independently of your organisation, help groom the rest of the HR team. You can only go as far as your own community. Coach others with your newly-developed skills. Make time and

commitment to do that. Set those learning sessions in your calendar. By doing so, not only will it help you internalise these competencies, it will also increase your emotional credit with the team. It’s a win-win. You have to build and grow a strong tribe. The worst kind of HR leaders are those who are afraid to share. Bad HR leaders consolidate power through knowledge hogging, hire the less capable, and instil individualism within their teams. David Ogilvy


(founder of Ogilvy & Mather) famously shared that if each of us recruit people who are smaller than ourselves, we will become a company of dwarfs. However, if we hire people who are bigger than we are, the organisation will have a good chance of being a company of giants. We need to invest in others.

Radar and compass Ultimately, to be a stronger and better HR professional, one has to be mindful of two metaphorical tools: the radar and the compass. The radar shows us what is heading towards us. In our daily work, this means we need to be acutely aware of the HR technology which is trending, the global economic changes, the sunset HR

processes, and the intermediate business needs of our organisation. The compass shows us our “True North”, the purpose and ideals of why HR exists. We exist for the betterment of all employees and to ensure moral, fair and just treatment within the organisation. We are the human side of HR. There is a HR saying: “Culture trumps strategy. Relationship trumps culture.” Staying true to our values helps to govern behaviour, culture and relationships. Having the courage to stay committed to our values makes us stronger HR business partners and leaders. Other than “training our dragons”, we need to be exceptional at reading the radar and be courageous at following the compass. If we can do that, I am sure our career development will be exceed all our expectations.

About the author Brandon Lew is the Vice President of HR at T-Systems and oversees the overall HR business operations and development for the company’s Singapore operations. Lew’s key role in T-Systems focuses on strategic organisational development and critical HR initiatives. Prior to that, he led teams on developing and delivering HR and organisational development solutions. Apart from corporate programmes, he has also had the opportunity to conduct a train-thetrainers programme for the Singapore Gurkhas.

FEBRUARY 2018

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MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

The Future of HR: Collaboration with IT

There are important similarities between the HR and IT departments that when combined, can help mitigate the biggest human capital risks in today’s disruptive economy

ILJA RIJNEN HR Director, Emerging Asia, Beam Suntory

OVER THE PAST decade, we have seen a revolution in the HR and technology space. More than ever before, employees expect their organisations to deliver an employment experience that mirrors the best customer experiences. The line between consumer technology and employee technology is being blurred – big time. With the arrival of Big Data, and more HR processes moving to a system’s environment, we are now witnessing how predictive analysis impacts HR and talent management. Companies that are on the forefront of this revolution have been shown to outperform their peers by up to three times when it comes to bottom line performance and delivering talent and recruitment solutions. Most traditionally-run HR functions fail in successfully incorporating technology and analytics into their day-to-day business partnering. Should the HR and IT function in

the future therefore merge? Or should one be led by the other? Traditionally, both HR and IT have been both tasked to run support organisations within the corporate structure. Although the services they provide are essential to the performance of the whole organisation, employees that run them can sometimes be considered “second-class citizens” of the corporation. The people in each of these functions are very different. Most IT professionals are analytical engineers who will use a language that stands in stark contrast to that used by the rest of the corporation. IT also tends to be maledominated. HR teams, meanwhile, are typically made up of people with experience in organisation

effectiveness or human behaviour, with a relatively large portion of female leaders. Because of the differences in people and specialisation, it is highly unlikely that either function can successfully lead or incorporate the other. But discovering similarities between these departments, combined with the potential impact that each function has on the future performance of the organisation, demands a closer collaboration. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have an enormous impact on enterprise technology and the employees that interact with it every day. The combined powers of the Chief HR Officer (CHRO) and CIO can play a big role in diminishing one of today’s biggest risks of the company’s performance: employee disengagement. By having a close collaboration between HR and IT, the needs of the most important resource at any company, its people, can seamlessly translate into IT solutions where appropriate. In return, the analytical IT engineers get exposure to the approach of a leader who is focused on people first. Having the CHRO and CIO collaborate will raise the profile of each department to the point where these professionals can bring their full value to the company.

THE COMBINED POWERS OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER AND CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER CAN PLAY A BIG ROLE IN DIMINISHING ONE OF TODAY’S BIGGEST RISKS OF THE COMPANY’S PERFORMANCE: EMPLOYEE DISENGAGEMENT

ASK OUR HR EXPERTS Email your questions to kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

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MY HR CAREER FEATURE HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP READER ADVICE

Ji Yoon Chung

Head of HR, Operations, Asia-Pacific British American Tobacco

W

ho is Ji Yoon Chung, and how would you describe yourself?

I think I am a down-to-earth and fun-loving individual who at times also can be audacious! Also a trusted friend and partner to family and friends. In the workplace, I am effective, commercially savvy and, a ‘professional’ professional, who constantly seeks for learning and inspiration.

Complete this sentence. HR is… Where problems are solved and challenges of the people, are overcome by the people and for the people.

What’s the best part of your job? Seeing the team grow and develop.

What’s the worst part? None.

WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

The definition of “stupidity” - doing the same thing and expecting something different to happen. This advice allows me to step back and put things into perspective whenever needed! What has been the highlight of your career so far? There are so many highlights from all the jobs that I worked and yet the highlight that gives me the biggest joy is to see people that I recruited and developed growing, and that they are building their own legacy! Many of them are doing just great.

Was HR always on the cards for you? Or did you fall into it by accident? DIGITAL IMAGING BY MUHAMAD AZLIN

I fell into it by accident - it was serendipity and I loved it.

What would you be doing if you were not in HR? Teaching. I genuinely believe helping others learn is important and I happened to major in education in the university.

What are you most passionate about? ‘Learning’ as a topic that helps people build self confidence and navigate their lives better. This passion extends from the public education system for kids to adult learning.

How do you unwind after work? Having a conversation with my husband over a dinner and running, walking, or cross-training in the gym

If there’s one person you could trade places with for a day, who would it be? Elon Musk – I would like to understand how he juggles all that!

Guilty pleasures? Binge-watching the Korean entertainment show called Infinite Challenge.

If you were stranded on an island and could only keep three items, what would they be? Swimsuit, smartphone, and a bottle of very good red wine. FEBRUARY 2018

HRM ASIA.COM

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MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

Building leaders in complex times IN A TIME of rapid technological advancement where change is the only constant, it is imperative that future business leaders have a strong growth mindset. This was a key message imparted by HR thought leaders during the Leadership Development Congress 2017, which took place in Singapore on December 5 and 6 last year. The event saw HR professionals from across the region come together to discuss insights and experiences about strengthening leadership pipelines in the lean economy. Cynthia Lee Mai, Head of Talent and Learning at HP in Asia-Pacific, advised delegates that it was vital to prioritise learning agility and adaptability in the next generation of leaders. “If we can help [our future leaders] now to build their resilience, and improve their ability to handle stress and the fast pace of disruption, they’ll be equipped to take on whatever challenges are thrown at them in the future,” she said.

She added that nurturing an innovative mindset would be crucial for business survival in the age of disruption. “We want people to experiment, but if we penalise failures or only talk about success stories, we are not encouraging curiosity,” she said. “What we need to do is recognise and reward the right behaviours,” she added. Michael Vaz, Director of Learning and Development at Accor Hotels Asia-Pacific, agreed, sharing the example of placing beanbags – instead of chairs – on the floor during a learning and development session with leaders. While people were self-conscious

“IF WE CAN HELP [OUR FUTURE LEADERS] NOW TO BUILD THEIR RESILIENCE, AND IMPROVE THEIR ABILITY TO HANDLE THE FAST PACE OF DISRUPTION, THEY’LL BE EQUIPPED TO TAKE ON WHATEVER CHALLENGES ARE THROWN AT THEM.” – CYNTHIA LEE MAI,

HEAD OF TALENT AND LEARNING, ASIA-PACIFIC, HP

and wary at first, they slowly loosened up and tried them out. More casual furniture might seem like a trivial matter, but the attitude towards them is representative of a person’s approach to innovative ideas, he said.

Five things we learned at the... 1

Build towards long-term culture change

2

Take care of your middle management

“Culture change comes slowly, but small changes can help plant the seed of belief in the people you are grooming to be future leaders,” said Michael Vaz, Director of Learning and Development at Accor Hotels Asia-Pacific.

leaders. “If they understand what the company’s vision is, and what is expected of them, they feel empowered,” said Marie Petit, Chief HR Officer, Socomec Asia-Pacific. “They are then the biggest leverage to make your people grow.”

Make sure that leaders have the space to act as

3

Prioritise learning agility

“We can’t predict what’s going to happen in the next two years, much less four or five, so it is important for high-potential talent to be able to learn and adapt to changes,” said Cynthia Lee Mai, Head of Talent and Learning for HP in AsiaPacific.

Provide a supportive environment for experimentation

4

Don’t worry too much about success, because innovation and

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS 2017

failure go hand in hand. However, your potential leaders should feel empowered to try out new projects and approaches, rather than be fearful that they will be rebuked or penalised for failure.

5

Own your talent

High-potential talent cannot be left to grow by themselves. Nor can their development be left to just line managers. After all, if the person is a high-potential, they’ll probably outgrow that manager at some point. “Development of an organisation’s future leaders needs to involve senior management. The regional or global team need to own such talent; to watch their growth and understand where they are going,” said Arthur Lam, People and Organisation Lead, at Syngenta in Asia-Pacific.


MY HR CAREER

Q

I KEEP HEARING about the volatile business environment – but mostly as a reason for reduced budgets. In my organisation – a larger SME, it has meant a stripped back HR team that is no longer able to keep up with the employee demand for services. Have you ever felt that you did not have the support and leadership buy-in to fulfil the HR promise to staff, and how did you respond? Unsupported, Singapore

A

You’re facing your share of cuts, and will have to simply learn to do more with less. We’ve all been there. It’s hard to balance both employee promises and budget constraints. But (and this is vital), there is a silver lining. Constraints drive innovation. Take some quality time to reflect on your work environment and market conditions, as both are precursors to what needs changing. You must re-think what the business needs (not, what it wants) from an HR perspective. Re-shape the HR offering, and re-kindle your relationships, with a diverse community of experts internally. This last step provides support, a necessity when you don’t have enough of it from higher up. Create a network map of your organisation. Think broadly across functions and look for the interconnections. Make sure you have a diverse group, which includes the management team and employees. Consider bringing five or six members of this network together to define the employee experience – not through perks but by understanding how employees interact with the firm, internally and externally. Use structured problem-solving or a design thinking (a method used by designers to solve complex problems) approach to collectively solve this challenge. Use the collective wisdom of the group to keep certain things and toss out others. Review your revised HR plan and map it against the budget. Test the idea with a broadly before rolling it out, and then communicate it across the organisation. What you’ll get in return is an engaged work environment which will reinforce company values and commitment, and create dedicated employee champions along with an informal group of mentors for guidance.

FEATURE HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP READER ADVICE

Is your HR career progressing as you’d planned? Obstacles and barriers come in all shapes and sizes, but seasoned advice is never far away. Email: readeradvice@hrmasia.com.sg to anonymously connect with HRM Asia’s team of career advisors.

Q

I HAVE BEEN working with a large global media company as part of its leadership development team for the past four years. It has given me great experience and, most recently, a new ambition to take on a leadership role myself. I am still flying “under the radar” in this respect – how can I highlight my potential to the organisation’s leaders without openly grandstanding? Humble leader, Malaysia

A

One of the areas that many struggle to navigate is the fine balance between talking about yourself and bragging. There are certainly strategies to talk about what you do without thinking you’re grandstanding. You can start by sharing what you know, and how it impacts the organisation. A few ideas: Be the first (or last) person at a meeting to ask a question. Questions create clarity, help people think and incite learning. Before running your next leadership programme, facilitate a focus group to understand what’s needed in development. Listen, then synthesise everyone’s thoughts, which demonstrates your listening and facilitation skills. Give a presentation. Public speaking, whether it is internal or external, is a great way to share your knowledge and be recognised for your expertise. This also burnishes your expertise, experience and thinking style. Write a blog post for your company, giving departmental updates or insights, and highlight accomplishments from someone on your team. Talk about their strengths, which will show an inclusive team leadership approach. All of the above are ways to be seen and heard in order to move on to that ubiquitous “radar screen”. I have found HR professionals in particular have a tendency to downplay their contributions: ‘’I’m just doing my job’’, or ‘’My work speaks for itself”. But, work cannot

speak itself – we must give it a voice; an authentic voice. All this recent spate of selfindulgent story telling falls flat. So, if you want to really share your knowledge or talk about what you do well, think first about why you’re even telling the story. You must know and assess your audience. Be concise, and find that one point, the “bullseye” that will resonate. And at all-costs, please avoid that unctuous humble-brag!

JANE HORAN

She 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.

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www.kerryconsulting.com | Returning the Human to Resourcing

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

Regional HR Shared Services Manager, APAC

• Global Organisation with HQ in Singapore • APAC coverage • HR leadership position

• Health & Life Science Industry • Newly Created Position • APAC Portfolio

This is a leading global organisation with a strong growth track record. In order to prepare for their next lap of growth, it is recruiting a dynamic and high calibre HR Leader at the Group Level.

Our client is a leading US multi-national and is looking to appoint a new Regional HR Shared Services Manager, APAC to be based in Singapore. In this newly created position, you will report directly to the Head of Shared Services and manage a team in the region across the markets in APAC.

In this position, you will strategise with global leadership to direct regional talent priorities, manage succession plans, and generate ideas and actions to improve employee engagement in line with global strategies. You have to provide regional business relevant oversight to the execution of all HR activities including staffing, recruiting, performance management, promotions, employee relations, and compensation. Additionally, you need to coach global senior business leaders on regional HR matters, leadership style, and fostering a positive culture. Degree qualified, you will possess at least 10 – 15 years of HR experience from established organisations. A self-starter who works well independently, you are able to articulate to all business levels and build strong rapport with internal clients. You possess strong communication and interpersonal skills, drive for excellence and are flexible and driven in your approach. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at finian@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title and reference number FT13307. Due to the anticipated overwhelming responses, we regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

You are responsible for the delivery of HR support services in the region. You will oversee daily operations management of a team of local HR Operations. You will work closely with the HQ Shared Services Centre team to implement all new global HR Database, Employee portal, processes and new HR service delivery to the region. In addition, you will partner with the respective Centre of Excellent leaders and global operations program owners to ensure end-to-end processes are implemented in a consistent manner with the rest of the markets. Candidates who have prior experience implementing similar systems such as Workday on a regional/ global basis will be highly considered. Ability to influence the business leaders and process improvements are the key mandates for this opportunity. Ideally you will have the experience to set up a HR Shared Services Centre and have worked in a Shared Services environment for a minimum of 8 to 12 years. Ideally, you will have a good track record in guiding the business to implement HR process and policies across in markets such as Australia, China, India and Japan. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at joy@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS13242. We regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Talent Management • Renowned Global Financial Institution • Dynamic work environment • SEA Exposure With increasing market share, we are representing a Global Financial Institution in search for an experienced Talent Manager to join the firm on a permanent basis. Reporting directly to the Director of Talent Management, this role will be an individual contributor position responsible in covering the full spectrum of Talent Management which includes implementation of policies and frameworks, utilization of talent assessment tools, planning & execution of regional Talent programs and managing the graduate program within Singapore. You will also be responsible in working with Talent Business Partners across SEA in executing Talent Modules via SuccessFactors, lead the virtual e-learning for group level, ability to strategize and execute effective high potential roadmap programs while spearheading the change management which includes Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. To be considered for this position, you must have a minimum of 8 years of direct Talent Management experiences, preferably worked in a Financial Institution environment, ability to work independently, strong presentation & communication skills as this role will need to liaise with senior stakeholders across South East Asia and most importantly proactive, self-motivating & positive attitude. Experience with SuccessFactors will be needed for this role.

Reg No: 1107886

Country HR Manager • Consumer Industry • Dynamic and matrix environment • Country portfolio Our client, a renowned leader within the consumer industry is looking for a HR Manager to join their team. Reporting directly to the HR Director, you are responsible as a trusted HR adviser to support the Singapore business. You will work closely with the regional stakeholders and leadership team driving key HR initiatives. This will include all aspects of human resources operations and HRBP. You will provide quality HR service including recruitment, performance management, talent succession planning, employee relations, to develop and promote HR initiatives that are aligned with the goals of the business. Having a close business partnering relationship with business is pivotal in order to understand their strategies to identify the HR competencies to reshape the business and support the growth. You will be degree qualified in Human Resource or relevant discipline with a minimum of 8 years of strong HR generalist background. You will have strong interpersonal skills to build rapport across all levels, demonstrate leadership abilities, and display a partnering mentality. Experience working in a MNC organisation within the FMCG or Consumer-related industries will be an advantage.

To apply, please submit your resume to Justin at JH@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates are notified.

To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at joy@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title and reference number JS12701. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates are notified.

Reg No: R1764171

Reg No: 1107886

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Licence No: 03C4828

Reg No.: 16S8060


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TWO CENTS

Staying resolute about resolutions IF NEW YEAR’S resolutions are meant to be broken, as is often said, why then are they named as such? Why even bother making them? I don’t have a habit of crafting resolutions, but when I turned 30 a few months back – I can’t believe I’m sharing my age here – the idea of having some semblance of a life plan gave me a sense of peace and comfort. It’s almost like meditation, or so I’ve been told by one yogi. Having a structure does help to ease the panic that is setting in about all the experiences I’m yet to have. Some things I haven’t done: I’ve never been to the top of a mountain before. I’ve never flown in a helicopter. I don’t have a driving licence. I’ve never been to Japan. I’ve never gone on a cruise. It’s starting to look more like a bucket list, or a really boring game of “I have never”. The truth is, my worries are much more career-related. I find myself occasionally comparing my achievements with those of my peers. I know one former university mate who founded an online clothing store that was acquired by a major global fashion group in 2017. Even if everyone has their own unique paths, these stories do ignite feelings of envy and inadequacy. But they also light a fire under my butt, because I know there’s a lot more I can and have to do. And so for the first time this year, I’ve made a short list of goals, or “resolutions” if you like, that I believe will benefit me professionally in 2018. You might have some of these on your own list as well.

1. Take time to network, and actually enjoy it I’m not exactly an introvert, but networking is one of those things that can get awkward very quickly as soon as you run out of topics or interesting personal stories to tell. I’m not hopelessly bad at it, but I do find myself searching for talking points a lot and trying to fill in the slightest silence with cringe-worthy chatter. The trick is not to overthink it, but just be comfortable with whatever direction the interaction takes.

2. Read more, read well For someone who puts articles out for a living, I have to admit I don’t read as much as I should. On my reading list

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BY KELVIN ONG

the joke goes. As Brian Tracy said at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017, clear goals and clear schedules will help teams get a lot more work done. is Back from the Brink by Australian management consultant Graeme Cowan, who is profiled in this issue (see: page 15). In the book, Cowan, who is also one of this year’s HR Summit and Expo Asia headline speakers, discusses the secrets to resilience at the workplace – a skill that many of us could surely learn a thing or two about.

3. Get organised My co-workers would tell you my desk is far from the most well-kept place in the office. I have documents on top of documents piled up, threatening to fall over at any time. I must say though, that I’m getting better at keeping my area neat, but there’s always room for more… table room?

4. Make priorities, and follow through With so much to do and so little time, making a list of priorities will help me to stay on track. I know you’re probably thinking: “Your resolutions list contains another list?” This is otherwise known as “list-ception”, as

5. Prepare for uncertainty In these times of disruption and layoffs, the term VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) has never been more apt. Always be prepared for the worst, even if it just means being aware that bad times are always around the corner. As a form of preparation, just a little over six months ago, I finally purchased some medical coverage for myself, although I can’t say that wasn’t also because I didn’t want to pay higher premiums, which jump exponentially after the age of 29. As HR, did you have some of these resolutions written down too? What are some of your specific goals for the year? Now that we’ve ushered in the new year, it’s definitely a good time to set some realistic goals for yourself. If you’re not sure what to put down, check out this month’s in-depth feature on 2018 HR trends (see: page 20) for some inspiration. I wish everyone a great 2018! kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg


HRM February 2018 Forecasting 2018  

In this month’s cover story, we reveal our predictions of the top HR trends to look out for in 2018, based on our own in-depth research with...

HRM February 2018 Forecasting 2018  

In this month’s cover story, we reveal our predictions of the top HR trends to look out for in 2018, based on our own in-depth research with...