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FEBRUARY 2019

HEALTH AND BENEFITS FOR EVERY EMPLOYEE DEFINING “HIGH POTENTIALS”

Empowerment for the win Price inc. GST $9.95

Achal Agarwal says Kimberly-Clark is embracing and empowering the millennial workforce

Special Report: WORKPLACE TECHNOLOGY


EDITOR’S NOTE

Dear HRM Magazine Asia Readers,

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Paul Howell JOURNALIST

Yamini Chinnuswamy MEDIA & DATABASE EXECUTIVE

Ismail Abdul Rahman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Chan K cofferconsulting.com SALES DIRECTOR

Luke Kasprzak ACCOUNT MANAGER

Edwin Lim SENIOR 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

W

elcome to the New Year. It’s going to be an exciting one for business in Asia, and for HR professionals in this region particularly. That’s because the inaugural HR Festival Asia is now just a few months away. Held over two days at Suntec Singapore in early May, this is set to be the biggest and most comprehensive professional conference covering HR and technology in Asia next year. With the combined experience of HRM Asia (HR Summit Asia) and LRP Publications (host of the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, US), this is set to be a key meeting place for the region’s HR and workplace technology decision-makers from throughout the Asia-Pacific region. With that in mind, HRM Magazine Asia’s Special Report into Workplace Technology at the centre of this month’s edition offers a thorough guide to the advances happening across enterprise software solutions and HR tech. From artificial intelligence to natural language processing, and then on to augmented and virtual reality training, there’s a lot for HR leaders to learn about in the first part of 2019. This month’s issue also looks into the leadership of Achal Agarwal, President of Kimberley Clark in Asia-Pacific. He has overseen the consumer product giant’s transition into the new world of work, and is helping to integrate Millennial recruits

into its multigenerational workforce - with inspiring results. The company has made substantial and deliberate investments in talent across the board, he says, and his job is to empower them to do great things for the organisation. Also in this edition, we take a look at the new year from an employee’s perspective. The most ambitious and creative talents know their worth and are looking for some specific things from their workplaces in 2019. These include a fresh look at technology applications in the office, and enhanced support for upskilling and reskilling initiatives. And Yamini Chinnuswamy’s #No Filter column has an interesting take on the identification of “high potentials”. Is there too much emphasis placed on these young gogetters, ahead of the quiet achievers, she asks. Great things are in store for HR throughout the region this year. We here at HRM Magazine Asia look forward to reporting on them with you.

Best wishes,

PAUL HOWELL Editorial Director, 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) 044/07/2018 ISSN 0219-6883

Editorial Director paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg

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

FEBRUARY 2019

MELIA WIDJAJA

Journalist melia@hrmasia.com.sg

HRM ASIA.COM

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CONTENTS

FEBRUARY 2019

ON THE COVER

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WINNING WITH EMPOWERMENT

Achal Agarwal, President of KimberlyClark in Asia-Pacific, explains how empowering his employees is helping the consumer products giant stay ahead of the e-commerce revolution.

“The millennials are a misunderstood generation. I see them searching for much different things, compared to what people from my generation looked for.” – ACHAL AGARWAL,

PRESIDENT OF KIMBERLY-CLARK ASIA-PACIFIC

F E AT U R E S

10

A CALL FOR CONNECTION

HRM Magazine Asia offers a graphical analysis of O.C Tanner’s recently released Global Culture Report for 2018

36

36

WHAT EMPLOYEES WANT IN 2019

HRM Magazine Asia talks through the biggest concerns that are impacting professional staff - and therefore their employers also - in the new year

42

THE HIGH-TECH FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE HRM Magazine Asia explores how technology is transforming the way employers and their HR teams approach corporate healthcare

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FEBRUARY 2019


WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here

instagram.com/hrmasia/

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THE YEAR IN PICTURES

Take a look back at some of the big events and stories presented through HRM Magazine Asia over 2018

31

linkedin.com/company/hrmasia

facebook.com/HRMAsiaMag

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SPECIAL REPORT Workplace Technology

20

ON YOUR RADAR

Advancements in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and outbound hiring are set to shape HR in 2019, and into the future

24

HOW TECH IS IMPACTING WORKSPACES

CBRE’s Peter Andrew says new technology shares seven ways artificial intelligence and augmented reality are impacting physical workplaces in Asia

31

INFUSING ANALYTICS INTO HR

Deepak Bansal, Vice President of Analytics at OCBC Bank, shares why HR and employees data in particular is a new frontier for the bank’s statisticians

REGULARS 04 06 48

BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS #NOFILTER FEBRUARY 2019

HRM ASIA.COM

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BEST OF HRMASIA.COM

What’s on

.com Read - Top three news

(from December 1 to January 15)

1

Thousands of Hungarians protest ‘slave law’ on overtime

The law allows employers to compel up to 400 hours per year of overtime from employees; effectively an extra day a week.

2

Japan’s Nomura to make more European job cuts

3

Hong Kong’s minimum wage sees highest increase ever

Japan’s biggest investment bank, Nomura Holdings is looking to recoup losses on global financial markets.

Plan

HRM Asia’s handy 2019 desk calendar is available online now. With key public holidays and HR community dates highlighted, this is the perfect eye-level reference for every HR desk and office. Join more than 2,000 readers who have downloaded it so far via the link

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FEBRUARY 2019

Hong Kong’s minimum wage will increase to HK$37.50 (US$4.78) per hour, from the current HK$37.50 - the highest since it was introduced.


Read - Top three features (from December 1 to January15)

1 work

What makes Mastercard a great place to

Mastercard’s head of HR for Asia-Pacific says the company wants to help employees to be at their best both on and off the job.

2

How social media can help HR professionals Some of the region’s top HR influencers explain how online professional networks have helped them in their careers.

3

C

Share - From the HRM Asia Forums

ompanies withsenior leadership teamsthat insiston evidence-basedbusiness

cases willfallbehindinthe digitallearningrace-and thiswillflowthroughtotheir financialresults George Aveling, “Chief ReImagineer” of Elementrix offers some key advice about the new world of digital learning

Some HR trends to watch out for in 2019

In the rapid evolving world we live in, 2019 will, inevitably, be another year of business transformation.

“Ifleaderscannotgetthebuyin oftheiremployeesandsustain theirmotivation,theyrisk stallingtheirdigitalinitiatives.” Tan Yen Yen, President, Vodafone Global Entreprise Asia Pacific, says technology requires an“all-in” commitment from throughout the organisation

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 Thursday, February 7. 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/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.

“WHISTLEBLOWERS AREMORE LIKELY TO BESHOWING THEIR LOYALTY THAN DISLOYALTY. THEYRISKSPEAKINGUP EVENTHOUGHTHEYHAVE NOTHINGTOGAIN” Elizabeth Richards, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, says HR leaders need to ensure employees have safe platforms to point out internal issues FEBRUARY 2019

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NEWS

ASIA

JAPAN

SHARP LAYS OFF OVER 3,000 FOREIGN WORKERS MORE THAN 3,000, foreign temporary workers in Japan have been laid off by electronics manufacturer Sharp, as the company shifts its production of Apple’s iPhone sensors to a Chinese plant owned by Taiwan’s Foxconn. The Nikkei Asian Review has reported that the reduction comes despite the Japanese government’s revisions to immigration laws, designed to encourage more foreign bluecollar workers to Japan.

The Osaka-based company had ramped up the hiring of foreign workers at its Kameyama plant in western Japan last year. This came after it won a contract to assemble sensor components for facial recognition features on the iPhone X, which went on sale in November, 2017. But as a result of the cuts, the number of temporary foreign workers on its payroll at the Kameyama plant has now fallen to between 500 and 600, from its peak of 4,000 in 2017.

SINGAPORE

BANGLADESH

ALMOST FIVE MILLION JOBS UNDER THREAT BY 2041, some 5.38 million jobs will be at risk from automation in the industries and services sector in Bangladesh. According to a joint study by the government’s “a2i” project and the International Labour Organisation, Bangladesh’s five key employment sectors (garments, furniture, agro-processing, tourism, and leather goods) are all at risk. The study revealed the garment sector could be the most affected by advancements in artificial intelligence and robotic process automation. The garment sector employs 4.4 million workers, and could stand to lose 60% of its workforce. Automation also severely threatens the furniture production industry with 55% of workers potentially at risk. Around 600,000 workers in agro-processing, another 600,000 in tourism, and about 100,000 in the leather industry are also threatened.

Policy adviser of the a2i project Anir Chowdhury said the figures were relatively conservative, with higher job losses a distinct possibility.

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TRUCK DRIVERS CHARGED OVER $1 BRIBES TWO FORKLIFT TRUCK DRIVERS, have been charged in Singapore with soliciting bribes from lorry drivers. While working at the Cogent Container Depot, they allegedly took several $1 bribes in order to avoid the delay of loading and unloading of vehicles. Both employees face up to five years of imprisonment, as well as a $100,000 fine. Singapore famously adopts a zero tolerance approach towards corruption, and ranked sixth on the most recent Transparency International Corruption Perception Index – behind only New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Switzerland. A statement by Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said that employees were expected to work “fairly”, and not take bribes to exchange favours. “Even if the bribe amount is as low as $1, they can be taken to task,” the agency said. “Bribes of any amount or any kind will not be tolerated.”


MALAYSIA

MAYBANK STAFF IN LINE FOR 10 PERCENT PAY RISE MAYBANK EMPLOYEES in Malaysia will get a salary increase this year, after the bank signed onto a Collective Agreement with the bank’s in-house unions – the Maybank Class One officers (AMCO) group and the Associations of Maybank Executives (AME).

SOUTH KOREA

FATHERS TO GET HIGHER PATERNITY PAY IN A BID TO to improve South Korea’s chronically low birthrate, the country’s government has increased the monthly benefits for paid parental leave, with effect from January 1. From the previous monthly maximum of KRW2 million (US$1,780), paid over a three month period, the new maximum monthly payment will be increased to KRW2.5 million. A recent report from Statistics Korea suggests that the total fertility rate could fall below 1% this year. In contrast, the so-called replacement level that will keep the country’s 51 million population stable is 2.1%. The fertility rate dropped to 1.05% in 2017, from 1.19% 10 years earlier. It is hoped that the increase in paternity pay will spur more Koreans to have children, and thus help reverse this downward trend.

The two unions represent executives of senior and junior officer level. The new agreement, which covers the period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020, gives union members an immediate 10 % salary increase

It also specifies an increase of up to 30% in personal accident insurance, and 25% more term life insurance coverage. This is the first time that AMCO and AME have had a joint signing together. “This collective agreement [is] a reflection of Maybank’s commitment to remain true to our founding principles which is to uphold the welfare of the employees who have contributed immensely to the growth of the organisation,” said Nora Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer of Maybank.

HONG KONG

DISNEYLAND OFFERS SENIORS OPEN-ENDED CONTRACTS HONG KONG DISNEYLAND’S older employees will no longer be subject to annual contract renewals. The theme park is offering all full-time staff over 60 the opportunity for open-ended contracts, with no termination date. Previously those over 60 needed to have their contracts updated each year. The development came as a result of a change in retirement policy at the company, which took effect on New Year’s Day. Only full-time workers will benefit from the change. There are currently about 430 full-time employees between the ages of 55 and 60, and the policy change will support some 130 staff who will be turning 60 (or above) this year. In total, the theme park has about 7,000 employees: 5,000 full-time and 2,000 part-time.

FEBRUARY 2019

HRM ASIA.COM

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NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

SAUDI ARABIA

SAUDI ARABIA’S ENERGY PARK FORECAST TO CREATE 100,000 JOBS A NEW “ENERGY CITY” Saudi Arabia’s energy park forecast to create 100,000 jobs

A new “Energy City” megaproject in Saudi Arabia is expected to create 100,000 direct and indirect new jobs. The King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) is part of the Kingdom’s “Vision 2030” goals, which sees Saudi Arabia diversify

its economy and create new highskilled jobs. The park is forecast to contribute US$6 billion to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product annually. The first phase of the development, which will cost US$1.6 billion, is set to be completed by 2021.

HUNGARY UNITED KINGDOM

TED BAKER EMPLOYEES PETITION AGAINST CULTURE OF ‘FORCED HUGGING’ CURRENT AND FORMER employees at fashion retailer Ted Baker launched a petition against CEO Ray Kelvin at the end of 2018. The petition, signed by more than 2,000 people on employee campaigning platform Organise, called for Ted Baker’s board of directors to “put an end to ‘forced hugging’ by the CEO,” which is “part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged”. “Please set up a way of reporting harassment to an independent, external body – HR has done nothing with the reports of harassment to date,” it added. The company responded to say that, “Ray greets many people he meets with a hug – be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague. Hugs have become part of Ted Baker’s culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon.” However, it added that it would conduct a “thorough, independent investigation” into the petition’s specific allegations of harassment, saying that these were “at odds with the values of our business and those of our CEO”.

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FEBRUARY 2019

THOUSANDS PROTEST “SLAVE LAW” MORE THAN 10,000 Hungarians took to the streets to protest new overtime legislation in the country. The law allows employers to compel overtime from employees – up to 400 hours per year; effectively an extra day a week. It also makes provisions for compensation to be delayed by up to three years. Previously, employers were able to request only up to 250 hours of overtime from employees in a year. When passing the law in December last year, Hungarian president Janos Ader noted that employees had the right to refuse – and any consent provided must be given in writing. Nonetheless, opposition parties, trade unions, and civic groups have termed the new policy to be a ‘slave law’. At least 10,000 people participated in the protest march in Budapest on January 5.


DENMARK

WORLD’S BIGGEST CLEANING FIRM ISS SHEDDING 100,000 JOBS ISS, the world’s biggest cleaning firm based in Denmark, has announced plans to cut about 100,000 jobs, departing 13 countries which have been its least profitable. If the plan pushes through, ISS will exit Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania.

UNITED STATES

One of the world’s biggest employers, Copenhagen-based ISS said the cut will shrink its total workforce to about 390,000 people, from 490,000. The company will focus more on key accounts, including global banks. Founded in 1901, the company offers cleaning, support, property, catering, security, and facility management services.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

VERIZON OFFERS VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE PACKAGES

TALENT WAR DRIVING UP SALARIES FOR UAE FIRMS

US-BASED telecommunications company Verizon confirmed that 10,400 management employees, or around 7% of its workforce, have accepted voluntary buyout deals, out of 44,000 eligible employees. Nearly half of the 10,400 signups left Verizon by the end of 2018, with the rest departing by June this year. Verizon said it spent “in the range of US$1.8 billion to US$2.1 billion” on severances in the last

EMPLOYERS in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have expressed growing concern over the difficulty in recruiting qualified professionals with the shift to digitalisation, according to recruitment firm Robert Half’s salary guide for 2019. The ongoing war for talent is preventing firms finding and hiring qualified and skilled talent, according to almost half (49%) of organisations in the UAE polled. Competition for talent is also driving up salaries: almost a fifth (19%) of organisations said they increased base salaries for most (80%) new hires. Meanwhile, Mercer’s annual Total Remuneration Survey adds that the average salary in the UAE climbed by 4.5% in 2018 . The biggest increase was in the life sciences sector, where average salary rose by 5%. The salary outlooks remains positive for the UAE in 2019, as Mercer’s guide forecasts an increase next year of 4.8%.

quarter of 2018, mostly due to the voluntary buyouts. In a separate headcount change, Verizon will transfer over 2,500 IT staff to Indiaheadquartered Infosys, in a US$700 million outsourcing deal. The moves are part of cost cutting measures, as the company aims to better leverage growth opportunities related to 5G wireless services, and to “better serve customers with more agility, speed and flexibility”.

FEBRUARY 2019

HRM ASIA.COM

09


DATA AND INSIGHTS

GLOBAL CULTURE

POWERED BY

A call for connection

Organisational cultures around the world are facing significant pressures from changing workforce demographics and social factors, new global research has revealed

T

he 2018 Global Culture Report, from employee recognition and workplace culture consultancy O.C. Tanner, was developed from research surveys and focus group interviews with more than 14,000 employees and business leaders from 12 different markets around the world. Across more than 150 pages, the comprehensive research reveals a varied approach to organisational culture, with the country itself (and not industry or organisational size) one of the most important variables. Organisations in China and India, for example, are seemingly well on top of the need to give employees an inspiring and engaging work environment. But other Asia-Pacific markets, including Singapore, Australia, and Japan rank below the global average in each of O.C. Tanner’s six key “talent magnets” it has identified: purpose, opportunity, success, appreciation, wellbeing, and leadership. Japanese organisations rank bottom of the Asia-Pacific pile in each of these assessed areas. “We were inspired to undertake this research project because we saw a shift in workplace culture needs, and we wanted to put a spotlight on what HR leaders and companies need to do,” Vice President of the O.C. Tanner Institute Gary Beckstrand said. “The 2018 Global Culture Report suggests that companies that have moved from company-centric solutions to integrated strategies informed by the employee experience are ahead of the curve.” The research also found that there is no one perfect matrix for best-practice organisational cultures. Rather, the requirements of an engaging culture are evolving all the time, in line with

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SPECIAL REPORT

demographic, societal, and technological changes. The 2018 Global Culture Report identified three “disruptors” that will continue to influence cultures into 2019.

3 THE

DISRUPTORS TO WORKPLACE CULTURE Increased diversity

Increased use of technology

Reduced “connections” at work

1

Increased diversity of the workforce is the first of these. Many workforces now have five generations of talent within them. While inter-generational conflict is a common challenge, organisations that can master this and build successful multigenerational teams will find themselves ahead of the majority of the competition.

These teams make better decisions together and are twice as likely to exceed expectations compared to singlegeneration teams, the report found. Increased use of technology and artificial intelligence is also impacting workplace cultures, as might be expected given the rate of technological change taking place at the moment. This is a particularly important disruptor for HR leaders to consider – they must do much more than simply use available technology. They need to advocate and champion for a comprehensive transition to the new, digital world of work. Perhaps related, the final disruptor impacting workplace cultures is the falling number and quality of relationships and “connections” that employees experience in their working lives. Some 46% of working adults feel lonely at work, which can lead to poor emotional wellbeing and have consequences for both the individual and their organisation. “The lack of genuine connection prevents the collaboration, innovation, and shared purpose that drives business success,” the report notes. “It also increases turnover rates.” A great workplace culture can be the antidote to this emotional isolation, and O.C. Tanner argues such a carefullycultivated working environment is more important now than ever before. “Employees thrive when they feel part of something bigger than themselves; when they rise victorious over challenges and opportunities; and when they create meaningful relationships with coworkers.”

The O.C. Tanner 2018 Global Culture Report can be downloaded at bit.ly/gcr18 FEBRUARY 2019


SIX TALENT MAGNETS Employers in India and China rank above the global average in five of six indexes

90

80 77 70

77 70 66

60

74 68

64

61 58

Australia, Singapore, and Japan are almost always below the global average

68 67

67 60

59 55 56

50

57

57 56 52

54 55 54

50

55 51

53 54

70 66

57 50 50

54 53 48

40

INDIA CHINA GLOBAL AVERAGE AUSTRALIA SINGAPORE JAPAN

INDIA CHINA GLOBAL AVERAGE AUSTRALIA SINGAPORE JAPAN

INDIA CHINA GLOBAL AVERAGE AUSTRALIA SINGAPORE JAPAN

PURPOSE

INDIA CHINA GLOBAL AVERAGE AUSTRALIA SINGAPORE JAPAN

10

INDIA CHINA GLOBAL AVERAGE AUSTRALIA SINGAPORE JAPAN

20

INDIA CHINA GLOBAL AVERAGE AUSTRALIA SINGAPORE JAPAN

30

OPPORTUNITY

SUCCESS

APPRECIATION

WELLBEING

LEADERSHIP

Hiding behind technology report feeling lonely at work

46%

Younger generations find their purpose O.C. Tanner’s research data shows Generation Z and Millennials have a higher sense of purpose at work than the older generations

60% 59%

47% do not have meaningful, in-person social interactions on a daily basis

43% say their relationships are not “meaningful”

50% 51%

GENERATION Z MILLENNIALS

GENERATION X BABY BOOMERS

FEBRUARY 2019

SPECIAL REPORT

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F E AT U R E

LEADERS TALK HR

WINNING WITH

EMPOWER ACHAL AGARWAL, President of Kimberly-Clark in the Asia-Pacific, explains how empowering his employees, and pushing them to go “simpler, leaner, and faster” is helping the consumer products giant stay ahead of the massive disruptive force that is e-commerce B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

chal Agarwal, President of Kimberly-Clark’s Asia-Pacific division, is a veteran of the business world – he has served in his current role for the last decade, and for the 14 years before that, he led PepsiCo’s beverages arm in the greater China region as its Chief Operating Officer. But he has a very modern – some might say “millennial”, even – view on the way workplaces should function. “I look for absolute flexibility. When I walk out of the room I might loudly announce, ‘Guys I’m going to watch a cricket match,’ because there’s an exciting match happening. The reason I would announce it is to make it clear to people that I’m not sneaking off,” he says. This flexible approach is part of his own strategy of empowering and trust his staff to execute their work according to their own needs and preferences. “I sometimes ask the parents in the office, ‘Your kids come

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home from school now, don’t you want to receive them? Why are you sitting in the office? You can do email at home.’ Because when that kid comes home from school and sees their parent there, they feel happy, and the parent feels happy,” he says. Of course, the trade-off for this trust and empowerment is that the work must be done, and done well. “All I say is, ‘don’t tell me you couldn’t find the time to do something.’ The deal is, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. When you do it is up to you.” Agarwal’s open-mindedness to the realities of working life is no doubt a big part of how Kimberly-Clark has managed to keep up with the changing landscape here in Asia-Pacific. Despite the immensely disruptive force that e-commerce has proven to be, the company’s brand remains an iconic name in the realm of diapers, tissue paper, and feminine care products. Many of its big products have been developed right here in AsiaPacific, where the American consumer goods behemoth employs 8,500 people across 13 major markets.


ERMENT FEBRUARY 2019

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F E AT U R E

LEADERS TALK HR

“We have major research and development nodes in Korea, China, Vietnam, as well as India and Australia. We are doing the majority of innovation in these nodes, and indeed this innovation is being taken across the world,” says Agarwal. “The most premium diapers in the world are in China, for example. “Our Korean colleagues have also developed just recently a new product line of sanitary pads called La Nature, which uses materials which are natural, ecofriendly, and free of chemicals.” The La Nature product is already being sold in South Korea, and is another example of how Kimberly-Clark is seeking to meet the developing needs of consumers through an approach that is itself

dynamic. “It used to be that you’d do a strategy, and it would be set. Maybe every year you’d look at it and modify it here and there. But now it is a constantly evolving thing. It is not static anymore, because there is constant change taking place,” says Agarwal.

Q

“I look for leaders who are good human beings, and who are curious about the world. Their teams should look at them and say, Wow, I want people to respect me the way I respect this person.”

What are the key trends you are grappling with at a regional level?

The speed of change is incredible. New business models are appearing. Take South Korea, where 90% of the baby and childcare category – the diaper category, basically – is now online. In China, more than 50% of our sales are online. Compare that to a couple of years back, where there were no online sales.

one ON

I LIKE:

To read and watch movies

1

ONE HIGHLIGHT OF MY CAREER:

I AM INSPIRED BY:

Working with my team at PepsiCo to turn around the China business, and doing the same here in Kimberly-Clark after arriving in 2008

ADVICE TO MY YOUNGER SELF:

Authentic. (You get what you see – good and bad.)

Original thinking. I like to find new insights

To be a little aggressive about achieving aims, and to be more thoughtful about the impact you have on people

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN ONE WORD:

GUILTY PLEASURE:

Binge-watching televisions shows So e-commerce has been had a major impact, even for a product developer and manufacturer such as Kimberly-Clark?

Q

Yes, e-commerce has been completely disruptive; in terms of the structure of our customers, their needs, and how they in turn operate with the consumers. Just in our sales force, a person who used to call on Walmart or Carrefour now has to deal with Amazon or Alibaba or Lazada or one of these e-commerce companies. It’s a very different way of selling, both to them and then to the end-consumer. Because a consumer going into a store is very different from a consumer who is online – who has the ability to compare hundreds of brands when making their decisions. So there’s that impact on marketing, as well. In the old days, we would talk about how we needed to impact the consumer

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we view our talent: the kind of talent that we hire, and how we keep them around. Because we’re competing now with very exciting companies, so the way we’re going to retain this talent is by keeping them excited, and by making them win.

That seems to be in contrast with the business conversation that tends to be more exasperated with what millennial employees want, and how they operate.

Q

Then I speak for myself in that case. I think the millennials are a misunderstood generation. I see them as searching for different things, compared to what people from my generation looked for. While we looked for stability, and a specific kind of career trajectory within the one company, millennials have different priorities. They care about the environment, they are interested in enriching, enjoyable roles, they are seeking out flexibility. These are all great things.

How would you describe your general approach towards leadership and people management?

Q

in the store. But now it’s about the digital shelf in the digital world, and using digital marketing to impact the consumer.

How have you changed your management approach, at a strategic level?

Q

I’d say we were able to transform ourselves very quickly. As a leader I saw this happening – first in Korea. It was an education for me, and what became really clear to me was that I don’t have the solution sitting here. So I told our different markets that in each of them, we were going to need talent dedicated to the e-commerce and digital space. A number of country heads didn’t understand why I was talking about it, because e-commerce hadn’t hit their markets yet. I had to emphasise that this was an investment we were making ahead of the

curve, because we had to figure it out before we got left behind. I realised that to drive this change through, we needed the diligence of first setting out to put that resource in place, and also a leap of faith that this was the right thing to do. Instead of spending time strategising in the boardroom, we ventured out to see what was going on out there. Some of us we went to California a couple of times, to visit companies like Facebook and Google.

Q

How did that apply to your talent strategy?

We have made substantial investments in talent, particularly in the younger demographic which is very much in sync with these new trends, and has the ability to move fast. It has meant a complete change in how

Something which I have pushed very hard for is the empowerment model. The foundation is that you are working with people who are capable, and who you can trust, and therefore empower. That empowerment leads to consumercentricity because these are the employees who see the change at the consumer end, and they are empowered to address whatever the consumer needs. Our global CEO has also talked up the empowerment model, so that is the basic structure and framework under which we operate. The other thing which I propagate is a philosophy of always being “simpler; leaner; faster”. It all leads up to this. It means not having too many meetings or too much bureaucracy, and being able to move fast to deal with the need of the hour. Our corporate slogan is now actually: “Smarter, leaner, faster”.

When someone walks in the door for a job interview with Kimberly-Clark, how do you assess them?

Q

I rely on my intuition a great deal. I guess after years of experience, and seeing certain

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F E AT U R E

LEADERS TALK HR have a good boss. Frankly, I have sometimes learned more from a bad boss than I have from a good boss, because you look at that situation, see the impact it’s having on the team, and you can say, “I’m never going to do that.” Lastly, because of my own personal experiences: read. Read widely. Read history, read about cultures, travel, and broaden your mind. That is one of the pities for me in today’s world. People aren’t reading enough.

Q

So, they should look to develop interests in life, outside of work?

Yes, because when you lead people, they want to be able to trust you – and trust that you can guide them through. I look for leaders who are, as I said, good human beings, and who are curious about the world. Their teams should therefore look at them and say, “Wow. I want people to respect me the way I respect this person “ This is the retention strategy, too. You’ve got to make sure the compensation and all the basics are okay, of course, but it’s also about having leaders that people can look up to, who make them confident that they will win. Winning not in the sense of hitting targets, but in terms of getting where you need to or aspire to go.

That makes sense, because research does show that strong leadership retains talent, while poor leadership tends to result in frequent turnover. Is that true for you?

Q

behaviours, you can start to assess certain things. Particularly important for me is: does the person have clarity of thinking? I frequently say, “If you’re boring me you’ll never get hired by me,” because if you’re boring me, it’s because you’re rambling. Normally, when you have clarity of thinking, you don’t ramble – because you know what you want to say, and you say it.

I’m nervous. I’ll have to Q Now make sure I don’t ramble! Is there anything else that you look for? In addition to clarity of thinking, I would add that the person should be a good human being. This is very important to me. The person must believe in a sustainable world. We have got to leave the world in a better place. I have two daughters and I feel deeply obliged to leave a world which is good. Of course it is not simply a matter

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environmental sustainability – the person should care; they should be passionate. They should also have a bias for action. I don’t want a person to be sitting there and pointing theories and not doing anything.

What advice would you have for business and HR professionals in Asia who are aspiring towards leadership positions?

Q

I would first of all say that: don’t sell yourself short in your own mind. Have a basic belief in yourself. I also still believe in the work ethic – and by that, I don’t mean working from six in the morning to 12 at night. Rather, don’t look down on any job. Make the most out of any opportunity you have, and learn from it. Because that is going to help you in the future. Also, you can learn from good bosses and bad bosses. You’re not always going to

It is absolutely true in my mind that if you have a good leader you will see less turnover under that leader. You will still see some natural attrition, but that person will be a magnet for the company. This is where our empowerment model here comes together. These people need to have clarity of thinking, they need to have a bias for action, they need to be good humans – and when these guys are empowered, their teams see them as fantastic leaders. I don’t have to do much more.

So the end goal is to continue to empower people to reach their potential?

Q

Empowerment is the key word. You put ‘simpler, leaner, faster’ along with ‘empowerment’, and you have a winning model. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg


Special Report FEBRUARY 2019

WORKPLACE TECHNOLOGY


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Special Report

WORKPLACE TECHNOLOGY

or a long time, the HR community has been talking about the “workplace of future”, and all of the exciting possibilities for improving productivity, ` communication, the employee experience, and a whole host of other HR metrics. The development of new technology has been so rapid, that many organisations have found themselves flat-footed. Years are passing, and those that haven’t yet adopted some of these platforms and concepts are falling further and further behind. The good news is that, as experts in HRM Asia’s Special Report into Workplace Technology advise, it is never too late to get started. And once that snowball is rolling, technology catch-up is both possible and viable. This special report begins with a look at some of the most exciting trends emerging in workplace technology in 2019 (see: pages 20-23). Europe-based journalist Sumathi V Selvaretnam looks specifically at the advances expected in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, as well as the ways the outbound recruitment industry is utilising these and other technology in its client work today. Guest contributor Peter Andrew is the Senior Director of Workplace Strategies with corporate realtor CBRE in AsiaPacific. He is genuinely excited to share his view of the seven key ways technology is changing workplaces for the better (see: pages 24-27). One of the areas he considers is virtual and augmented reality, which was the topic of an exclusive training session with members of HRM Asia’s advisory committee last month. The two-page report (see: pages 28-29) highlights some of the key learnings and takeaways. And finally, the Special Report delves into the vital area of data and analytics for HR. Deepak Bansal, Vice President of Analytics for OCBC Bank, explains his unique role and its cooperation with the bank’s HR and IT teams (see: pages 3133).

INSIDE

19 OVERVIEW

Across four unique pieces HRM Magazine Asia’s report paints a comprehensive picture of the fast-changing world of workplace technology in Asia

20 ANALYSIS

Take a look at how advancements in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and outbound hiring are set to shape workplace and the HR function of the future

24 GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Peter Andrew, from CBRE, shares seven key ways technology will impace future work, workplaces, and organisations

28 IN PRACTICE

HRM Asia’s advisory committee got an exciting taste of the possiblities available with Virtual and Augmented reality concepts through a special session with The Virtual Room in Singapore

31 FIELD NOTES

Deepak Bansal, Vice President of Analytics with OCBC Bank, says infusing data with HR can lead to some powerful insights and market-leading opportunities

FOR MORE 8-9 May, 2019 - HR Festival Asia

HR leaders and Workplace Technology specialists will experience an altogether new and exciting conference experience this coming May, when HR Festival Asia takes place in Singapore. With more than 100 speaker and presentation sessions across six different stages, as well as the separate HR Fest Awards, PitchFest, Startup Zone, and interactive exhibition, don’t miss this chance to explore in depth the new worlds of work, HR, and technology.

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ON YOUR RADAR: HR TECH TRENDS FOR 2019 Adapting the right technological innovations can help HR improve engagement and the overall work experience of their employees. Here’s a look at how advancements in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and outbound hiring are set to shape the HR of the future BY S U M AT H I V S E LVA R E T N A M

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ANALYSIS

R technology has gone beyond basic process automation and is now facing a torrent of innovations that aim to vastly improve the employee experience. Overburdened employees want easy-to-use HR tools that can be integrated into their daily lives through their mobile apps, emails, and text messages. As companies adopt these new workforce tools, HR systems must merge with them to create a seamless user experience for employees, says HR industry analyst Josh Bersin. This is when HR will be able to achieve a “true system of productivity”, he says. For this to happen, Bersin recommends that HR works with the IT department to analyse the existing workforce technology infrastructure, and jointly create a roadmap for the future. Three of the biggest innovations that should be on HR’s radar in the new year, are: rapidly-developing Artificial Intelligence-based Systems, Natural Language Processing and using outbound hiring techniques or contract work instead of permanent, fulltime positions. Artificial intelligence HR technology embedded with artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to greatly enhance the employee experience in 2019. “We will start to see organisations making more concerted efforts to engage with their employees and empowering them with technology so that they can excel at their job function,” shares Neville Burdan, Director, Workplace Productivity, Dimension Data . “AI and Machine Learning will play a significant role as organisations tap on behavioural analytics to understand employee performance, and deliver everything they need for optimal job performance and learning,” According to Burdan, AI will change “everything” in terms of how employees interact and collaborate across their organisations on corporate platforms and even how they service customers now that learning pathways and services are personalised to the individual. How can HR prepare itself to reap the maximum benefit from this AI-driven technology? Firstly, HR practitioners need to ensure that talent technology keeps people at the centre of the workplace, says Shakun Khanna, Senior Director of HCM Applications with Oracle in Asia-Pacific. Even as AI-led HR tools kick in, the role of the individual remains paramount because they are the ones who determine the

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productivity and ultimate value of these deployments. HR needs to keep this at the top of its priorities, by utilising technology to creatively deliver the employee experience, employee learning, and other interventions,” Khanna says. Secondly, organisations need to leverage smart analytics, driven by AI, to make better insight-driven decisions. “One of the biggest challenges organisations face today is the constantly changing expectations of employees and candidates, resulting in higher recruitment costs and employee turnover,” Khanna says.

Natural language processing An offshoot of artificial intelligence, natural language processing allows commonly used speech and text to be understood by software. As the technology matures, its prevalence is expected to become more widespread in different areas of HR. For example, in recruitment, chatbots are now being used to recognise and answer frequently asked questions from candidates, and also gather feedback about the application process. Consumer goods giant Unilever has revealed that it is using chatbot technology in both HR and its rewards and benefits function. Called “Una”, the chatbot serves as a “digital colleague” that employees can

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“We will start to see organisations making more concerted efforts to engage with their employees and empowering them with technology so that they can excel at their job function.” – NEVILLE BURDAN , DIRECTOR, WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY DIMENSION DATA

address their HR queries to without going through a separate system. When fully ready, Una will reach out to Unilever employees in 106 countries and be able to converse in 32 languages, the UK’s Employee Benefits website has revealed.

Outbound hiring: the future of recruitment? The millennial workforce today has a wide range of employment options open to each individual. As such, it is no longer sufficient for companies to wait for the right candidate to walk through the doors. Even proactive companies that have begun reach out to passive talent pools are barely scratching the surface in the war for talent. “Data says that humans spend 60% of their waking lives working. And for any two people to come together and collaborate on a project, work on a hobby, build a company or even a movement, they need to align beyond just tech skills. Their ideas, ethos, culture


and vision should align,” shares Adil Bandukwala, Head of PR at predictive outbound hiring solutions provider, Belong.co. Newer technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the application of big data can help companies recruit not just top performers but people who are the right fit in an organisation, says Bandukwala. Today, the best candidates don’t apply. They discover new opportunities through personal and social networks, respond to companies that value them for more than their skills, and expect personalised experiences, not transactional engagement,” explains Bandukwala. “This warrants the need for recruiters to move from the traditional inbound method of hiring to the future of recruiting - outbound hiring,” he says. According to Bandukwala, outbound hiring fundamentally flips the inbound recruiting funnel. Instead of waiting for the best talent to wander in, outbound recruiters proactively engage the right people at the very start by using social talent data and predictive analytics. By taking such a proactive approach, business can save recruiting hours typically wasted on marketing, filtering, and screening unqualified candidates. Outbound hiring is also more personalised, leading to higher engagement and join rates from candidates.

Technology priorities for the C-suite in 2019 Chief HR Officer • Making sense of predictive analytics • Increasing diversity and inclusion within the talent acquisition process • Ensuring transparency within career mapping • Taking calculated risks on talent: ensuring recruits who are learning-agile and bring different perspectives Chief Financial Officer • Using artificial intelligence (AI) within planning and forecasting • Leveraging digital capability for better financial insights. Chief Learning Officer • Finding solutions to develop remotely-based employees • Developing powerful people leaders • Enhancing post-learning sustainability

Source: HR Tech Global Report 2019 by The HR Exchange Network

is thus of paramount importance that HR projects the best image of their organisation online. “The next-generation worker wants to know what is going on within the business and to feel the connection with the organisation and the people they will work with. Social media is a great tool to facilitate this, sharing moments as they unfold and providing exclusive access through intimate online forums for a select group of employees or potential recruits,” says Khanna. “For social recruitment and engagement programmes to be truly effective in the long run, HR needs to have well-estabilished channels, both online and offline, to continue conversations and ensure that they bring new recruits into the fold,” he adds.

Smart spaces Social recruiting Social media platforms are often the first stop for job seekers trying to form an impression of their future workplace. It

Gartner has identified “smart spaces” as another top technology trend for 2019. It defines these as physical or digital environments in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in

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increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems. “Organisations are realising that top talent also require an environment that facilitates collaboration, innovation and productivity,” says Burdan. He observes that digital workplaces are becoming physical, moving away from simple collaboration technologies integrated within business processes to the actual creation of smart spaces that integrate environments, people and processes. These help to eliminate silos and drive inclusion within the organisation. “A key tenet of the creation of smart spaces is that it is ever-evolving, constantly moving toward optimisation by understanding where employees are and how they are working together. Through workplace analytics, spaces can be optimised. For example, by creating physical pods for collaboration as an alternative to underutilised amenities, an organisation may see improved collaboration and engagement,” Burdan concludes.

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Seven ways AI and AR will impact the workplace

PETER ANDREW, Senior Director, Workplace Strategies, Asia-Pacific CBRE makes a compelling case on the impact of AI and AR in Future Workplaces

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o the pessimist, artificial intelligence (AI) is associated with terrifying and dystopian scenarios, where machines replace (and eventually overtake) humans. To the optimist, AI is an amazing tool that, when used appropriately, can drastically improve the way that humans work and live.

to get the technology right. Compliance will also be critical as this next wave of technology will bring a horde of personal data privacy issues. The challenge will be to create a system that dramatically improves user experience and reduces worker stress, while ensuring that personal data is protected.

AI organising daily life

The most obvious and immediate transformation of Augmented reality (AR) meanwhile, commonly refers our work lives through AI will likely be the personal organiser. We joke today about the clumsiness and to technology that overlays and merges analogue and inadequacy of our personal digital assistants and their digital light signals; in three dimensions; in real time. voice recognition. That will change rapidly as the next Powered by the next new wave of spatial computing generation of consumer “organiser” products enter – this is set to revolutionise the way we interact with the market. For instance, Alibaba’s natural language technology and the physical environment. processing technology exceeded human comprehension in tests just last March. We were all amazed in 2018 Combined together these technologies will make today’s ”smart” phones look primitive in the near future. when Google Duplex was able to book a hairdresser and reserve a table at a restaurant. That technology will likely Understanding the hybrid virtual physical workplace be available to the Smart phone platform in the next 18 will be critical to get the best out of talent and helping months. them make educated choices about both the physical and Expect few complaints when AI personal assistants virtual ways of working. can reliably organise your diary, book meetings, submit expense claims, or even suggest sensible courses of More than ever before, it’s critical that the HR action for common issues. This technology will start with profession engages with their IT and real estate colleagues. Aligning change in physical workplaces with basic tasks, but over time we will become increasingly reliant on AI assistants to make our work lives simpler. cultural and work process change is a powerful catalyst Corporate real estate will play a critical role, since for organisational transformation. AI personal assistants will need to connect into smart As AI and AR start to become more integrated into our building technology and services. More than ever, that work environments, it’s worth exploring seven different function needs to work with IT to get the technology ways in which they will the transform the workplace as right. Compliance will also be critical as this next wave of technology will bring a horde of personal data privacy we know it. issues. The challenge will be to create a system that dramatically improves user experience and reduces AI organising daily life worker stress, while ensuring that personal data is The most obvious and immediate transformation of protected. our work lives through AI will likely be the personal AI organising people organiser. We joke today about the clumsiness and In today’s workplace, we are moving from the traditional inadequacy of our personal digital assistants and their model of desk allocation to employee self-organisation. voice recognition. That will change rapidly as the next We now live in a world where many of us work within generation of consumer “organiser” products enter fluid structures, interacting with colleagues across the market. For instance, Alibaba’s natural language geographies as often as those in the same office. processing technology exceeded human comprehension Unassigned desk environments are gaining in popularity in tests just last March. We were all amazed in 2018 because they enable self-organisation – allowing people when Google Duplex was able to book a hairdresser and to choose how, where, and with whom they want to reserve a table at a restaurant. That technology will likely work. Self-organisation removes barriers to collaboration be available to the smart phone platform in the next 18 and innovation whilst creating opportunities to hide and months. focus. It has also created new problems. For instance, Expect few complaints when AI personal assistants hot desking can be very effective for those who work can reliably organise your diary, book meetings, submit independently of others, while being detrimental to expense claims, or even suggest sensible courses of employees working in inter-dependent physical teams. Real-time occupancy management is the key to solving action for common issues. This technology will start with this challenge. The AI concierge of the future will align basic tasks, but over time we will become increasingly workplace resources with the real-time demands of reliant on AI assistants to make our work lives simpler. individuals and teams needing to work together, helping Corporate real estate (CRE) will play a critical role, determine the optimum use of physical space. This since AI personal assistants will need to connect into platform will map out work preferences and help groups smart building technology and services. of people come together, creating a seamless experience for all employees. More than ever, that function needs to work with IT

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AI managing headcount volatility

AI is both a cause of the problem of headcount volatility, and a potential part of the solution. As a cause, AI is resetting how we think about human labour. At this point in time, very few people really know how AI will impact organisations, or how quickly AI will replace, modify or destroy jobs. Business leaders are confronted with the challenge of unpredictable future headcounts and traditional rules of thumb for forecasting labour needs are no longer valid. As AI platforms become more sophisticated, they will eventually start managing workflows and job creation in organisations. Ultimately, these platforms will be better equipped than humans to understand headcount volatility and predict long-term trends, allowing for smarter real estate strategies. AI will not stop unpredictability – just help us understand and manage it better.

AI as the workplace concierge

The challenge every business faces today is how to attract and retain talent. In this highly competitive landscape, workplace experience is fast becoming a key differentiator. So how will AI help enhance the employee experience? Firstly, AI-predicted maintenance and

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automated repairs will ensure a more productive and healthy workplace, with machines and equipment breaking down less frequently. Apps with AI and machine learning have come to market in the past 12 months. They help employees find people and places to work; give feedback about the office climate; and provide concierge services – from ordering lunch to running errands. As they learn more about us, these platforms will begin to anticipate our needs before we are even aware of them ourselves. More importantly, AI will become integral to our wellbeing. Our personal health devices will connect to our AI assistants, who can then assess when we are tired, stressed, or just needing a break. Based on this information, they can automatically schedule breaks, keep an eye on our snacking, and find opportunities for us to be active.

Who is watching you?

Future workplaces are likely to be filled with sensors giving real time feedback about what is happening in the physical workplace. Already there are sensors that detect who is in the office, which seats are being used, and which are not. Contrary to rumours in the media, these devices are not tracking our work as individuals. Rather, they are helping to optimise the use of space

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and understand how people use the physical environment to work – that’s valuable data that CRE teams can use to create better workplaces. But how will we feel in the future when emotional sensors are placed in the work environment? Surely HR and the CEO would love to know how happy the workforce is; day by day, hour by hour? Make a change (physically or organisationally) and see who is happy. Does that person who just walked into reception feel happy, sad or anxious? Are they angry? Does the corporation have the right to know? Will we feel the same about identity sensors? Sensors can now allow easier movement of people by easily identifying intruders without the need for physical security devices. Allowing the building to know who we are opens up a whole breadth of opportunities to enhance the experience of the user. Or not – what could possibly go wrong?

Will we work in “cockpits”?

As AI becomes more sophisticated, it holds the potential to completely transform workplace design. What will these offices of the future look like? Will we end up working in virtual environments, sitting in “cockpits” with headsets and goggles? Since humans like to connect with real,


tangible environments, the widespread adoption of virtual reality seems implausible. However, AR, which enhances physical experiences instead of replacing them, is likely to emerge as a workplace trend. Imagine a world where we are constantly talking to our AI assistants and computers. This might make our work environment unbearably noisy. CBRE workplace research indicates the amount of talking in a future office might be three times what it is today as a consequence of this technology. Perhaps we need augmented audio reality headphones. With AI-enabled headphones, we might individually turn up or down the volume of the people working around us; quietening the noisy guy at the desk next door, making it easier to hear other colleagues. Or we could simply descend into pure silence. What a heavenly thought; the quiet open plan office! Microsoft has recently brought to market technology that automatically identifies separate voices and transcribes meetings. Start-up Nura has created noise-cancelling headphones where users can specifically turn the ability to hear the voice spectrum on or off, whilst masking other noise. Combine the two technologies and AIenabled Audio AR headphones could be on the market sooner than you think. For those using visual AR headsets, visual privacy in open-plan spaces will become a breeze. Our virtual computer monitors will only be visible if we choose to share them with colleagues (also wearing headsets) and AR will enable us to build virtual partitions all around us when we need to block out distractions. This technology already exists. It will indeed become possible to retreat into a private capsule or cockpit at work and send your avatar to your meetings!

Welcome to Your “Workplace Skin”

Humans are naturally territorial and like to personalise the places that they live and work with familiar objects and pictures. If AR (combined with AI) becomes prevalent, the virtual personalisation of workplaces could become a reality. AI technology will be able to map a person’s physical surroundings and overlay decorative colour schemes and familiar virtual objects in real time — in the same way gamers buy “skins” for their characters. Our AI assistants might even predict our moods, understand the type of work we are doing, and adjust our personalised environments to suit. Augmented reality is still a novelty for us,

Key questions for HR professionals? 1. 2. 3. 4.

How can we use real estate data to enhance the employee experience, team and individual productivity? How do we prevent its misuse? How could we use a workplace concierge app to reward and support our talent, and deliver targeted 1:1 communications that hit the target? What risks will these new technologies bring? What new issues will this bring to HR? How can our HR team work more closely with IT and corporate real estate teams to create a more compelling value proposition for our employees, accelerate transformations and build a culture of change readiness?

and it might be hard to imagine ourselves walking around wearing clunky headsets; but with the fields of AR, spatial computing, and the emerging 3D worldwide web exploding right now, the clunky headsets are starting to look like Ray-bans!

About the Author

Being more human

As AI weaves itself into the fabric of our everyday lives, it will have a profound impact on our workplace — from the way we manage our daily wellbeing to how we interact with our colleagues. While AI will arguably make technology less obtrusive, it will nonetheless be omnipresent in our lives. In an AI-driven world, managing information and avoiding stimulation overload will become critical for our sanity, health, and happiness. AI will certainly make our home and work life much easier; but for all its benefits, it cannot replace human connection. Learning how to regularly “unplug” from technology (especially augmented reality environments) will be key to our overall wellbeing. While technology will obviously be central to our future experience at work, non-digital spaces for creating communities, connecting with nature, taking time to think and relax will be even more essential.

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PETER ANDREW is the Senior Director for Workplace Strategies Asia Pacific with CBRE This article is a condensed version of Nine Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing How and Where We Work, which was originally published in Corporate Real Estate Journal in September 2018.

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Virtual reality making its mark

RM Magazine Asia’s Most Effective Workplaces List – to be unveiled at the end of this year – may have an interesting new contender in US-based real estate company ExP Reality. This US$610 million organisation has over 13,000 agents and staff across North America, and a unique arrangement for its own real estate. While its head office is a small, physical building in Washington state – owned and operated for legal reasons only – most of the staff interact with the company via a virtual reality campus with 8,000 unique visitors on any given month. Each staff member and visitor is able to custom-build their own avatar, and visit a wide range of different areas and spaces, alongside each of their colleagues. These include the HR department, an auditorium for townhall-style meetings, training rooms, and networking areas. They can even take a boat out for a scenic trip around the island – all from the comfort of their own home, which could be anywhere in the world.

Islands in the digital realm

It’s been more than 50 years in development, but Virtual Reality technology is now at a commercially viable stage, and has the potential to revolutionise many organisations and their workforces. HRM Asia’s advisory committee learned more in January 28

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Virtual reality technology has been around for a long time. This reporter remembers trying it out at a mall display around nearly 30 years ago! It was certainly an engaging experience even then, but like any technology, it takes a long time to perfect and gain commercial viability. ExP’s island – for example – took several years to develop and is continually being upgraded with new spaces and interactive options so that users can see and do more. High-speed internet connections mean more and more avatars can explore the world, and interact with each other, at the same time. And that has meant the technology is now being considered for significant business functions on a wide, multi-market scale. ExP is a rare pioneer. It uses its virtual reality platform for everything from internal communication to onboarding and from formal senior management meetings to rewards and incentives – the company even hosts holiday celebrations on its virtual island. But it is in the training space that virtual


reality, as well as augmented reality (where virtual elements are overlayed against the real world), have opened up the biggest world of possibilities. The technology and developer talents are now so good that they can safely replicate the hands-on training needed for many high-risk jobs, including operations of heavy machinery, and precision tasks in manufacturing. Having employees train on virtual cranes, for example, is not only safer but also more productive. It means not having to take an actual crane, or any expensive piece of capital equipment, away from its key productive task.

A rare taste

HRM Asia’s advisory committee – made up of senior HR professionals, academics, and advisors from throughout the region – dedicated its most recent quarterly meeting to the topic of virtual and augmented reality. With an exclusive session at Virtual Room Singapore, it was able to experience firsthand the value that these technologies can bring to business in Asia-Pacific. Across multiple sessions and break-outs, it looked at examples of virtual reality as used in team building, training, and sales and marketing activities. 12 members of the committee, along with HRM Asia staff, began the morning event with an immersive teambuilding activity. Unlike many virtual reality gaming applications, Virtual Room offers an experience based around Escape-Roomstyle challenges. The game required teams of three or four to work together to reveal and then solve a series of different problems in different historical eras. Whether it was throwing objects to each other, or even starting a virtual fire from virtual rocks and kindling, the challenge brought out the best communication and cooperation skills in the high-level HR leaders involved. It also gave them a taste of how the technology could be applied in their own organisations and workforces.

High set-up costs, but big returns

The committee was also able to connect with some key corporate-level providers in this fast-growing space. Through concurrent sessions with leaders of Virtual Room (which provides hardware, technology, and space for corporate virtual reality projects) and the Manzalab Group, (which offers the software design and development) participants were able to clarify the key steps, risks, and opportunities on offer. Cost is certainly a significant factor. Virtual Room Asia-Pacific director Rebecca Assice says the technology is still in an early adoption phase of its commercial life –

Members of HRM Asia’s advisory committee got a taste of virtual reality at their latest quarterly meeting

Virtual Room Singapore offers one of the world’s only collaborative or team-based virtual reality experiences and was the first of its kind in Singapore (and Asia) when it opened in 2017. For up to 45 minutes, each of two different adventures can be played by between two and four players, making it ideal for fun with friends and family, as well as corporate and teambuilding events. Each player has their own dedicated room, equipped with the latest virtual reality gear for a seamless experience. They each have the ability to search for items, manipulate objects, and collaborate with their fellow team members. Location: Basement 3, Lucky Chinatown, 211 New Bridge Road Singapore 059432 Contact No.: +65 6966 8060

which makes the hardware and set-up of any virtual reality project an expensive exercise. This may fall over the coming years as more and more businesses adapt the technology to different parts of their activities. But the cost of content, including animation and programming a vast array of different outcomes for every different user movement or action, is likely to stay high. Likewise, development times can be measured in months, if not years, for the more complex worlds to be created. ExP’s island is continually being developed, but took several years from project initiation

FEBRUARY 2019

to the first useable version was available. But the potential returns of successful projects can more than justify these significant costs. For example, Manzlab Group Asia-Pacific CEO Gildas Coldeboeuf says the company works with a number of large, international organisations – including oil and gas companies – to provide virtual reality training for high-risk and hazardous work environments. The savings from travel, instruction, and risk insurance, as well as the substitution costs of equipment, multiply with every year of operation.

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FIELD NOTES

Infusing Analytics into HR

DEEPAK BANSAL, Vice President for Analytics at OCBC Bank, talks to HRM Magazine Asia about how companies can use data to optimise their people management capabilities FEBRUARY 2019

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WORKPLACE

TECHNOLOGY

FIELD NOTES

DEEPAK BANSAL, Vice President for Analytics at OCBC Bank, will be one of more than 100 speakers at HR Festival Asia, brought to you by the dual auspices of HR Technology Conference & Exposition (US) and HR Summit (Asia).

hat do you do at OCBC?

I look after HR analytics, which involves the deployment of data-based insights and recommendations for HR and the business. We try to help HR back up their decisions with data, and thus add more value to the conversations that HR has with the business. Our work spans across various HR functions such as compensation and benefits, recruitment, and talent management, to name a few. At OCBC, HR Analytics is a Centre of Excellence, So we work in parallel with HR – we aren’t disjointed from it. Effectively, we function as internal consultants, with the objective of helping HR to understand and obtain more insights from data. We also work on strategic integration; using analytics to see how we can better generate insights using data from the various HR functions; combining them and thereby having a 360-degree view of an employee. Because we cut across all parts of HR, we almost become a central ground

that sees what is happening, and how it can all be better linked up.

Is data collection a major challenge?

“We need to be futuristic when talking about data collection. We need to set up processes today for data collection so that we able to use the data in the future.”

The challenges that we face in terms of the data collection for various analytical purposes are changing as we move towards the future and as businesses are changing how they operate. The marketing and product development sides of a business in any industry – from telecoms, to retail, to finance – are already heavily reliant on data for their day to day business operations. They have arrived at this stage by going through a journey.

– DEEPAK BANSAL , VICE PRESIDENT FOR ANALYTICS OCBC BANK OPERATIONS

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Taking place in Singapore on May 8 and 9, the event will feature six dedicated streams, including Talent Management and Development, HR Tech, and Recruit and Engage. For more information, visit www.hrfestivalasia.com.

FEBRUARY 2019

It’s not very different for HR and we are moving forward in the right direction. We need to be futuristic when talking about data collection. We need to set up processes today for data collection so that we are able to use the data in the future. What are we trying to achieve now, and what might we want to measure in the future? We’re having those conversations internally. There’s never a sense that we will wait for all the data to come in before working on a specific issue. There has to be a long-term vision, or you will end up with nothing useful


even after a few years. Analytics doesn’t mean we can do something today and that’s it. My own vision is to infuse analytics into the way we do HR; the way HR works on a daily basis. Then we will be more on par with the other analytics arms of the business, which generally run based on numbers.

How did you get into HR Analytics? I’ve worked in analytics across different industries and domains – telecom, insurance, and retail. Even when I started at OCBC, it was in group customer analytics for the credit card business. At that point, I was asked if I wanted to help HR build this function. It was an opportunity to build something from scratch. It was also about showing that data is not restricted to the customerfacing business. Data is being generated in all parts of the business, and it can be used for the benefit of the organisation.

What can companies do with people analytics? What kind of questions can they answer? I look at the deployment of analytics in HR from two perspectives. One is problem-driven: identifying the problem areas the organisation is facing and reacting to solve them. So these could be questions like: how do you discern a potential employee’s fit for the organisation when hiring? How do you identify high performers? Can we predict attrition? How do we link training to the right people? How do we develop the optimum career path for each individual, while ensuring high performance? Are people happy or are they burning out? Is our organisational structure right, are we working at optimal levels? The other approach is infusing analytics into the way HR operates; transforming HR into a function that’s not project-based or problem-based. When we develop policies at HR, can we use data to help us? Can we use data to change policies? Compensation and benefits policy is a good example..

How can we re-work that using data, while retaining the underlying organisational philosophy towards it? Can I use analytics to change the way we hire altogether? Can I use analytics to run my talent management programs? Can I use analytics to deliver training plans?

What will be the key themes and focus areas for your presentation at HR Festival Asia in May? Organisations thrive on the existence of a competitive workforce driving innovation

FEBRUARY 2019

and product development. With recent technological advancement in the way organisations operate, the war for attracting, retaining and developing the next generation of human capital will only become more dynamic and challenging. Using technology as an enabler for the deployment of various business processes is a key. It’s an exciting time to be in the field of HR and helping organisations succeed using people as their competitive advantage.

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F E AT U R E

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

What want

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employees in 2019 HRM Magazine Asia talks through the biggest concerns that will impact employees – and thus, their employers – in 2019 B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

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here is no doubt that life, as we know it, is transforming faster than it ever has in human history. But even though no one quite “expected” disruptors like the iPhone, Facebook, or Uber, they weren’t exactly overnight sensations that came out of nowhere. Indeed, much of the path ahead of us is clear, because the buzzwords of technology and transformation aren’t going anywhere. And they won’t just continue to impact how a business operates and interacts with its customers; they will also shape the expectations of the people at the heart of the organisation: the employees. Consumer-style experiences at work Towards the end of last year, we noticed a recurring joke at HR and business events: the fact that everything in life had become so high-tech – except for the way we work. “In most companies, the technology experience at work is two orders of magnitude worse than the one at home,” says renowned industry expert, Josh Bersin. As HR futurist Jason Averbook says, there is a 20-year gap between companies and their employees when it comes to workplace technology: the always-mobile, alwaysconnected lifestyle that most staff have outside of work becomes “printing emails” and “filling forms in triplicate” as soon as they walk into the office. “Companies need to start respecting 2018. Instead, companies are treating their

workforces like it is 1998,” he said. As our consumer lives become increasingly digital, the disconnect with work is only beginning to grow. The newest entrants to the workforce, who barely remember a time before smartphones and Wi-Fi, are more likely to decide to start their own disruptive businesses, rather than join companies stuck in the ancient past. How then, to keep them interested and engaged? Pallavi Srivastava, Asia-Pacific and Greater China Talent Leader at IBM said that it’s about bringing disruption right into HR. “Employees are expecting to experience innovative, creative change anytime, anywhere,” she said. “They want to be able to to go on a bus and claim their Grab receipt at the same time. Is that possible? Of course!

“THERE IS A 20YEAR GAP BETWEEN COMPANIES AND THEIR EMPLOYEES WHEN IT COMES TO WORKPLACE TECHNOLOGY”

– JASON AVERBOOK

HR FUTURIST

“If you were to leverage blockchain, and link Grab as one of the vendors, and then have a manager of the approval chain, through a cell phone , yes it’s very much possible”, she said. “It’s really about design thinking, and looking at what is possible. Pretty much everything employees are asking for is possible because we’re so connected today,” she added. Harlina Sodhi agrees that it’s not just about putting everything onto a mobileready app – but about considering how technology can spur an evolution in the way we think about, and go about, work. During her stint as Senior Executive VicePresident of HR at IDFC Bank in India, her team didn’t stop at producing an app loaded with learning content. They also announced

Fong Tuan Chen, Head, HR and General Affairs , Samsung Malaysia Electronics What are your HR hopes for the new year? 2019 will be a year of new possibilities for Samsung, accelerating new technologies and exploring new opportunities. HR will be the cog, ensuring our people are equipped and ready to take on the challenge. Our three main focus areas will be: talent attraction – continually strengthening Samsung’s employer brand to be top of mind in our target segment; analytics – leveraging Samsung’s data richness and enabling technology to gain valuable people insights, talent development, providing our talent pool with integrated learning opportunities aimed at future capabilities.

Dianne Goette, Regional for Talent Acquisition Director, Ogilvy Southeast Asia What should employers expect from employees in 2019? This year, employers will need to create more flexibility in work approaches to allow the modern worker to forge their own career path. The more driven ones will want to create time to pursue personal interests for their own development and satisfaction, and employers must ensure that their business processes and people policies can accommodate this to retain the best talent.

Tony Tan, Group Chief HR Officer, Jewellery Luck Group of Companies How are regional trends impacting your HR approach for 2019? Myanmar has been going through some massive changes with the introduction of the gig economy, the increasing use of mobile technology, the fact that the young workforce here is not trained for the jobs that will exist in the future, and business leaders who are stuck in the past and not ready to acknowledge the increasing number of professional competitors. Our strategy is to enable staff and leaders to continuously develop and evolve themselves

Jaspreet Kakar, AXA Philippines What are your HR goals for 2019, in terms of how you’re looking to move your organisation and employees forward? At AXA Philippines HR, we will concentrate on building our capability on leading teams through constant change and the application of skills like automation, digitisation, AI, and design thinking, to solve business problems. We will also continue to fortify our culture of agility, simplicity, and empowerment to stay ahead of market conditions.

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that any employee who logged in en-route to work–during a long commute for instance – would be counted as having clocked in at the office. “Magic happened. People, on their personal time, started logging in at eight o’ clock and started looking at the content,” she said. But beyond that, technology also meant a paradigm shift towards what Sodhi terms as “consumerisation” and “personalisation”. Using the example of learning and development, this means empowering employees to decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn it, and how. Because today, the consumer is the king, and thanks to the much-replicated “Netflix model”, consumers are now able to determine how and when they consume almost everything in life. “When you finish a show, you are given suggestions of other shows that you might enjoy. There is no standard content, it’s all personalised to what you like, enjoy, and relate to,” Sodhi said. As technology becomes more powerful, employees will be looking to their working environments to provide that same

personalised experience they have as consumers. Support for upskilling and reskilling Learning and development is just one aspect of the employee experience, but it has a particularly central role in this age of disruption. The need for digital upskilling is nothing new, but towards the end of 2018, the predictions and forecasts turned increasingly nihilistic. For instance, a study conducted by Cisco and Oxford Economics showed that about 6.6 million jobs in Southeast Asia were likely to become redundant over the next 10 years, due to the rise of new, disruptive technologies. The hardest hit? Jobs with routine tasks – the things that are most easily automated – such as machine operators, cashiers, waiters, and drivers. Another joint report between the China Development Research Foundation and Sequoia China has found that artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to replace about 70% of occupations in China in the future. Almost all workers in agriculture, fisheries and forestry (99%), construction (98%),

(94%), will be replaced by AI in 20 years. There is a silver lining – these statistics don’t account for the new jobs and industries that will arise in Industry 4.0 and beyond. In Southeast Asia alone, for instance, the Internet economy is projected to create 1.7 million full-time jobs by 2025, according to a report from Google and Temasek. Much of these are expected to be in e-commerce logistics, ride-hailing, and food delivery services. But companies can’t afford to assume that they can leave the digital upskilling efforts to governments and individuals. Employees, certainly, will be looking to their employers to empower them with the resources to ensure they have the competencies and knowledge to keep up with the new world of work. Indeed, the biggest technology firms in the region and the world are actively focusing on digitalisation from a talent management standpoint. As part of the World Economic Forum’s “ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020” initiative, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Grab, and Lazada, have vowed to develop and improve the digital skills of the workforce in Southeast Asia. FEBRUARY 2019

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F E AT U R E

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

The initiative aims to improve the technological capacity of 20 million workers in Southeast Asia and equip them with digital skills and opportunities over the next two years – helping to ensure that neither these workers, nor the organisations themselves, will be left behind by the future. Doing good for the world Technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence are already enabling new, digital jobs that are less focused on routine and lower-level tasks, and more emphatic on “the human touch”. But even as employees – especially those from the millennial and later generations – are freed from such mundanities, they are increasingly expecting more from their employers. For example, a vast majority of millennials – as surveyed by Deloitte for a 2017 study –

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believe that “profit is not the only measure for business success”. These expectations are already beginning to manifest in the increasingly-observed phenomenon of employee activism. At Microsoft last year, workers implored their employer to reconsider a multi-billion dollar defence contract – all due to ethical concerns. “When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of ‘empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,’ not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality,” wrote a group of anonymous employees to online sharing platform Medium. Meanwhile, some 1,400 Google employees signed a letter protesting the company’s top-secret censorship project with China. The project, dubbed Dragonfly, involves the company building a special version of

Google that blocks certain websites tor keywords related to topics such as democracy and religion. Only a few months later, more than 1,000 Google employees walked out in protest of the company’s seeming “workplace bro” culture – organised in response to a New York Times story claiming that the company protected high-level employees who faced allegations of misconduct, and spurred by the accumulating momentum of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements. That momentum is only going to continue grow, with employees seeking greater accountability and responsibility from their workplaces, even as technology transforms theirs roles to become increasingly strategic and productive. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg


HRM

FIVE

TAPPING ON EMPLOYEE ALUMNI BY YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY

You’re probably a member of your university or high school alumni. But would you also consider joining the alumni network of a former employer? Online social networks such as LinkedIn have made it easier than ever for companies to create and maintain these alumni clubs. Even LinkedIn itself has its own official alumni network on the platform – where members are eligible for direct benefits such as premium subscriptions. Microsoft, Citi, and Deloitte are just a few of the other companies who have formal alumni programmes. Their former staff are able to network together, maintain relationships, and stay connected to their former employer. If your or your HR team are thinking of having your organisation join that growing club, here are a few key pointers to be aware of.

It makes you look good Picture this: You’re a jobseeker looking up a prospective employer, and you see that they have an active alumni network who they host for drinks every few months. Your immediate reaction is most likely going to be positive. After all, if a company is still interested in employees even after they leave, that means they are probably even more invested in employees who are actively working for them.

They are a potential resource Your former employee might end up going to a competitor, partner, or even a customer. While you don’t want to be getting into corporate espionage, such employees can be useful contacts. Some companies even hire former staff as consultants, or as leaders on special projects. Making sure your organisation remains on their radar and in the good books is probably worth the extra effort.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive Fancy alumni cocktail parties and product discounts are great, but not every organisation has the resources for this. Instead, a simple social media group on LinkedIn or Facebook, or even just a semi-regular newsletter, at least gives you a touch point to these alumni – and none of these things will hurt the employer branding budget too much.

Ex-employees can make job referrals... Wherever they end up moving on to, your former staff might very well have co-workers, friends, or acquaintances who would make a great addition to their previous organisation. After all, these ambassadors staff already know your culture. If you have a referral initiative for existing employees, it doesn’t have to be too hard to tweak policies and processes to bring alumni into the process as well.

... Or even decide to come back, themselves Many of your employees who leave will likely go to competitors, partners, or at the very least, remain in the same functional area. Even if none of this ends up being the case, they might still be strong contenders for re-hiring in the future. Of course, rehiring employees has its own sets of pros and cons, but being open to a return does give the organisation added talent possibilities for its pipeline. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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F E AT U R E

HEALTH AND BENEFITS

THE HIGH-TECH FUTURE OF EMPLOYEE HEALTHCARE HRM Magazine Asia explores how technology is transforming the way employers and their HR teams approach employee healthcare

BY YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

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HEALTH AND BENEFITS

he term ‘employee health’ is somewhat passé. Nowadays, it’s all about “wellness” and “wellbeing” – taking care of the total self, not just physical health. This means giving employees the options to curate their own benefits experience according to their individual needs - whether that is gym memberships, cognitive behavioural theraphy, or access to a mobile health tracker.

Thanks to technology advancements, such customisation and personalisation of health benefits spending is not just a pipe dream any more. In the first half of last year alone, more than $3 billion was invested into Asia’s healthcare sector; a figure that’s only set to grow in 2019. In offering a “one-size-fits-one” approach to employee healthcare and benefits, health tech players themselves are taking on a wide range of different tactics. The Singapore-based startup Smartfuture, for example, is betting on a self-service type of model. Just last year, it installed 26 self-monitoring health check-up kiosks in offices across Singapore. Employees in these specially-selected partners of Smartfuture use the kiosks to check key health metrics such as blood pressure, blood glucose, body-mass index, and electrocardiogram data. They receive personalised diet and fitness recommendations via the kiosk, or through the associated mobile app. They can consult directly with a fitness trainer or nutritionist through the system, or call a wellness provider to their office or home for a one-toone session. Employers meanwhile receive a secured dashboard to view summarised (and anonymous) health metrics for

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their workforce, so they are better able to target health interventions across key demographics or the entire population as required. “Through regular checks of vitals, teleconsultation with wellness providers, and increased awareness and motivation, employees will build long-term and sustainable habits to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Sumit Khemani, CEO of Smartfuture. “And the effects of healthy, fitter and motivated employees will provide business benefits to the company as well.” Smartfuture plans to deploy another 5,000 kiosks across Singapore by the end of 2019.

Virtual wellness We’re used to doing almost everything virtually these days, with help from “friends” like Skype, Wikipedia, Amazon, and many other platforms. It is unsurprising, then, that employees are also itching to “visit” the doctor online. A 2014 study by the PwC Health Research Institute showed that even back then, 74% of consumers were open to a virtual doctor consultation – and that demand has only grown in the past five years. The difference today is that there are now multiple apps out there for them to do just that.

One of these is WhiteCoat, a digital healthcare provider offering on-demand telemedicine services via real-time video communication. “I always found it difficult to schedule a time to visit a clinic because of meetings and other priorities that needed to be handled at work,” explains Bryan Koh, founder and CEO of WhiteCoat, who was a corporate lawyer before founding the company. Telehealth services like WhiteCoat eliminate much of the hassle that employees associate with looking after their health. No more travelling to a clinic, or sitting around for hours in an infectious waiting room just to get a seemingly small issue checked out. “Telehealth provides an alternative site of care where staff can consult a doctor remotely (from home or office) via their mobile phones,” notes Madeleine Cheong, HR Manager at SingHaiyi Group. Her organisation made the WhiteCoat platform available to its employees at the end of last year. “As part of our overall healthcare strategy, we would like to offer a competitive and comprehensive wellness programme to attract and retain employees, optimise health and productivity, and promote a healthy and supportive work environment,” she says.


Cheong offers two mini case studies that indicate the impact of the service on her colleagues. In the first, an employee’s mother-in-law suffered from a chronic ailment, and was happy to use WhiteCoat’s app to obtain her regular medication to relieve her pain, fuss-free. In the second instance, a colleague needed some flu medication after returning from a vacation, but was unable to take time-off to see a doctor. Through the WhiteCoat app, staff can request for medication to be delivered to either home or office, up till 1:00am daily.

A holistic take Healthcare technology is one of the fastestgrowing sectors within the already fastgrowing tech sphere. Two immediate trends that we can anticipate for the future is a continuing incorporation of big data into employee healthcare in particular, aided by an increasing adoption of artificial

“Through regular checks of vitals, teleconsultation with wellness providers and increased awareness and motivation, employees will build long-term and sustainable habits to live a healthy lifestyle.” – SUMIT KHEMANI , intelligence (AI) and automation. At CXA, the focus isn’t on a single specific benefit or service, but on using data to provide employees with a marketplace of options – and then using automation to make that process as pain-free as possible for HR. The company’s AI engine provides recommendations based on the health and lifestyle data of individual users, connecting them with relevant wellness providers according to their needs. Employers have oversight over collective employee data, and real-time predictive modelling helps them better target their own corporate wellness initiatives.

Contact our Singapore & South East Asia team on +65 6420 0515

CEO SMARTFUTURE

“We have built an ecosystem just like the travel industry did when it connected all the players for a trip - the airlines, hotels, attractions, car rentals, and travel insurance providers all together,” says founder and CEO Rosaline Chow Koo. “CXA is becoming ‘the Netflix of employee benefits’ by connecting the insurers, the hospital and clinics, the health screening labs, the e-pharmacies, the fitness facilities, the smoking-cessation programmes, the nutritionists, and much more,” she adds.

HR Roles in Singapore HR Manager

Consultant in-charge: Kumud Nandwani

Our client is a well established and widely recognized brand within the FMCG industry. They are committed to building a better life and a better world through their product innovations. Due to continuing business needs within Asia, there is now an opportunity for a high calibre HR individual to join their dynamic team in Singapore as a HR Manager. Sean Tong Partner - Head of Asia seantong@frazerjones.com

Brian Hardiman Associate Director brianhardiman@frazerjones.com

Senior HR Business Partner, South-East Asia

Consultant in-charge: Fay Phillips-Jones

A new opportunity for a Senior HR Business Partner to manage a population across South East Asia, within a fastpaced global Consultancy. Accountable for the region covering three countries and managing a sizeable HR team. There is a centre of excellence to lean on, however, this person will need to well-rounded in core HR and roll the sleeves up to deliver any operational aspects when needed.

Regional HR Director, SEA

Fay Phillips-Jones Head of Professional & Financial Services fayphillipsjones@frazerjones.com

Sheldon Toh Associate Director sheldontoh@frazerjones.com

Consultant in-charge: Sheldon Toh

Our client is a renowned FMCG brand in the household consumer domain. They are current market leaders in what they do globally and with the increasing affluence of the South-East Asia market, they have seen tremendous growth in this region. Given the demographics of their workforce, they have decided to shift their Regional HR Director – South East Asia position over to Thailand.

Total Rewards Lead - Tech Start-Up

Consultant in-charge: Brian Hardiman

This is a newly created role with a Singapore start-up success story. Having exceeded expectations, the business growth is accelerating not just in Singapore but in 12 other countries in 2019 and as a result they need a talented, fast paced Total Rewards Lead to join the business and build a compensation framework from scratch. We’re keen to speak with Rewards professionals with Consulting and ESOP experience ideally but open to considering those from a corporate background as well.

Head of HR - ASEAN - MD Level Kumud Nandwani Senior Researcher kumudnandwani@frazerjones.com

Consultant in-charge: Sean Tong

A rare opportunity to join a global bank with an established successful track record worldwide. With an excellent team of senior management and a forward-thinking culture, they are investing heavily in the SEA region and are searching for their next Head of HR, SEA, to provide strategic HR leadership to the business to align the people strategy with the business strategy and drive the implementation of people processes to enable business performance in the region.

EA Licence No: 17S8475

frazerjones.com

@frazerjoneshr

FEBRUARY 2019

frazer-jones

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GALLERY

HRM Asia’s 2018 in Pictures As we kick off HRM Magazine Asia 2019 here, we take a quick look back at last year’s highlights.

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A BIG YEAR IN HR

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Throughout 2018, we had the chance to visit some of the region’s most successful organisations for an in-depth look at the “people behind the people”. Companies featured in our HR Insider spotlight for the year include Ikea, GSK, HP Inc, Bosch, and Teledirect Telecommerce (pictured).

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For the 16th year running, HR Summit & Expo Asia descended upon Singapore to bring together the best and brightest in workforce management, leadership, and HR practice. With more than 100 speaker presentations across eight difference conference streams, it proved to be an action-packed event.

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Taking place on June 26 and 27, the inaugural HRXLR8 Summit focused on current HR trends and the new ways of working that are transforming our daily professional environment and the expectations of our employees.

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Our flagship Leaders Talk HR feature had a banner year in 2018. We had wide-ranging conversations about leadership and HR with regional C-suite movers and shakers from across multiple industries – such as PSA’s CEO for Southeast Asia, the founder and CEO of “digital logistics” company Ninja Van, Cargill’s Asia-Pacific CEO, an many more.

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HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2018 saw 20 organisations sharing accolades across 30 diverse categories. Some 200 guests joined the HRM Asia team for a night at Capella Singapore to celebrate and network.

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The first big event of the year was the 15th edition of the much-anticipated HRM Magazine Asia Awards. More than 600 guests gathered to pay tribute to the best and brightest HR people and practices once more, and the night’s festivities certainty lived up to the event’s hype as “the Oscars of the local HR industry”.

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# N O F I LT E R

r e t l i #nof

WITH YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY

DEFINING“POTENTIAL”

AS SOMEONE WHO attended actual “Crazy Rich Asians” schools for 12 years, the recent release of the eponymous film got me and a few former schoolmates talking. Not so much about how wealthy certain peers were – that’s old news. Since we’re all hitting our 30s now, we were more interested in gossiping about where everyone ended up in the big game we call life. No small number have gone into their respective family businesses, or started their own (with parental seed money, of course). Others still are what we call the “high-flyers”. They have built lucrative careers in the public and private sectors; not just here in Singapore, but also in big cities like London and New York. These are doctors, lawyers, engineers, fund managers; all the who’s-who of the typical “highestpaid jobs” lists. In school, many of these people were the so-called “high potentials”; tapped for leadership positions and prestigious development programmes even as teenagers. They were prefects and team captains; they competed in international competitions; and they attended gifted classes. That they would go on to thrive professionally was entirely unsurprising to the rest of us “normals”. What was surprising, though, was the fact that just as many of the successful high-flyers had been straight-up ignored by the school system. Don’t get me wrong: these people were not targeted or discriminated against. They just hadn’t been singled out by teachers or principals to receive special attention. They were not part of the elite minority of “top students”. Their grades weren’t anything to shout about, and they didn’t have stand-out skills in sports, or music, or art. But they were self-starters, who had the determination and competency to carve out their own paths in life. Certainly, a few were late bloomers, who just needed time to figure out their place in life. Maybe for others, the very fact of not

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being considered “special” was exactly the motivation needed to work hard and triumph. Personally, I think it’s a flaw in how many educational institutions identify highpotentials. It’s a flaw shared by multiple organisations. For instance, at one place I worked – let’s call it “The Bureau”– government scholars and graduates of Ivy League universities would be placed on the fast track for rotations and promotions. Senior leadership took a personal interest in ensuring that these people had individual projects to execute and champion. I know of several Bureau employees who were not part of this fast track – but who resigned, and went on to do great things at other places. One even got accepted into Harvard Law School. To be fair, maybe he just wanted to be a lawyer, and never had an interest in a career at the Bureau, anyway. And I’m sure some of those other instances could not be helped, either – perhaps there were mismatches between employee and role. But those people still had promise of some kind. The Bureau was just unable or unwilling to see it. Who knows what could have been accomplished, if only The Bureau saw all employees as talent worth fighting for and developing. Rather than obsessing over brand names and grades, maybe we need to start thinking about how we can empower each individual to be their best selves, and help each employee bring out their full aptitude. In the bigger picture, such an approach is more likely to catch those people who don’t fit into prescribed boxes of what “high potential” often looks like. It’s also likely to help organisations make sure that each and every employee has the opportunity to unleash their potential, however high or low it is perceived to be. That isn’t just for the benefit of the employee, but for the business too. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg


We Are Hiring.    

This is a regional role with a strong established MNC that’s known for its excellent people, inclusive culture with progressive practices. On the back of solid business performance, this is a newly created role to elevate the capability of the Talent Acquisition team to focus on senior hires across APAC countries. This individual will have strong knowledge on talent acquisition landscape, particularly for technology and digital sector, acting as internal advisor to stakeholders in ensuring the organisation remains competitive in attracting world class talent. The role will have his/her pulse on the market through active networking and talent mapping on external competitors. In addition to recruitment, this individual will also be part of program management which is a combination of analytics as well as employer branding/EVP topics. With at least 7 years of talent acquisition experience, preferably within technology domain, this individual should thrive well in an international organisation, comes across as confident and able to interact with a multi-cultural environment in a global, matrix setup. For more information, please contact Audrey at AudreyN@charterhouse.com.sg or call +65 6950 0369.

    

My client is a tech start-up with the vision to cultivate a more environmentally friendly means of travel in Asian cities today. They are currently setting up offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia and have intention to expand aggressively to other APAC markets as well. As the Compensation & Benefits Senior Manager, you will be responsible for the design, development and execution of C&B initiatives that will form part of the larger Total Rewards framework. The role is critical to the ability for our client to attract and develop talent, build sustainable competitive advantage and create a strong employer value proposition. With between 4 – 7 years of experience in Human Resource, with proven experience in C&B design, performance management and business partnering, this role will suit individuals who are able to work in fast-paced and ambiguous start-up environments. Candidates should also enjoy being at the frontier of new industries and believe in the importance of changing how we move around cities. For more information, please contact Deborah at deborahp@charterhouse.com.sg or call +65 6950 0396.

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Profile for HRM Asia

HRM February 2019 - Empowerment for the win  

Behind the scenes at Kimberly-Clark; how are we identifying high-potentials; and a Special Report into Workplace Technology.

HRM February 2019 - Empowerment for the win  

Behind the scenes at Kimberly-Clark; how are we identifying high-potentials; and a Special Report into Workplace Technology.

Profile for hrmasia