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Dear HRM Asia readers,

EDITOR Sham Majid




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


hope you’ve all had well-rested and fruitful holidays over the Christmas and New Year break, and are determined to kickstart the year with renewed vigour and purpose. 2017 is set to be another challenging year for businesses and employees alike in Singapore and in Asia-Pacific, especially with the global economy fraught in uncertainty. The year will also be especially testing for the HR profession. On top of HR practitioners’ core responsibilities, the profession is seeking to elevate its standing and credibility, as it strives towards being a key strategic partner to the business. With that in mind, this issue’s cover story maps out a comprehensive analysis of the state of the HR profession in AsiaPacific. The product of more than three months’ research and interviews, this exclusive feature charts the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the HR profession for the year ahead. Identifying opportunities and dealing with threats is also a key tenet of tech giants Samsung, which is featured in this month’s HR Insider feature. Grace Wong, Regional HR Vice President, shares how employees are offered multiple platforms to engage in innovation, and come up with breakthrough ideas that could be eventually be translated onto Samsung’s product line. Wong also speaks candidly about the Galaxy Note7 saga that has engulfed the organisation and addresses concerns that the episode has impacted retention and recruitment efforts. HRM Asia also speaks with renowned author and professional speaker Brian Tracy. In this exclusive preview of his keynote presentation to HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017’s, Tracy shares the three key qualities that make a good leader and explains how these traits can cascade down onto an organisational level and spur a culture of high performance within employees.

Best Regards,

Sham Majid Editor, HRM Asia CONTACT US:

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

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Let’s get to work

With the calendar now ticked over into a new year, HRM Asia takes a comprehensive look at the state of the HR profession in Singapore today. While last year was a rough one for local business, this exclusive report shows how a far more professional and organised HR community is helping to weather the economic slowdown.



12 Skin in the game

Sabrina Tan, CEO of Singaporean beauty technology company Skin Inc, says the traditionally male-dominated technology industry and female-skewed skin care sector have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

24 Samsung’s innovation platform

While many are familiar with Samsung products, the organisation’s continuous push for innovation and creativity is less widely publicised. Grace Wong, Regional HR Vice President, Samsung Electronics, shares how her department is helping to lay that vital foundation.


Casting a wider net

In the face of an ongoing talent crunch, companies are compelled to adopt multiple recruitment platforms to bring in talent. HRM Asia considers the traction that online recruitment specifically is having in 2017.






38 32

Leading by example

With a career spanning five decades, Brian Tracy, one of HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017’s keynote presenters, speaks from a deep wealth of experience when he says only “enlightened” leadership can unlock an organisation’s potential.


How can leaders foster a developmental culture?

In today’s rapidly changing and networked world, a strong culture helps to further develop an organisation’s workforce. This does require a shift in mindset though, as guest contributors Wendy Murphy and Kathy Kram advise.


A whole new world

With the high incompletion rates of massive online open courses and other online training solutions, organisations are feeling hard-pressed to explore more interactive and engaging programmes. Experts say one new opportunity is in virtual reality training.



Tinkering for success

Software development house Tinkerbox Studios is working to cultivate a robust talent pipeline, not just for itself but also the wider software sector.

REGULARS 4 News 10 Leaders on Leadership 46 An HRD Speaks 47 Up Close and Personal 48 HRM Asia Congress Insights 51 Upcoming Events 52 Reader Advice







CYBER-SECURITY CONCERNS Corporate employers across India say their staff are leaving them exposed to malicious hacking and other cyber-security threats. In a survey of business leaders by consulting firm EY, 75% said their current cyber-security strategies did not meet their organisation’s needs. Most importantly, 58% felt that the next attack on their systems would be due to the carelessness of employees. Nitin Bhatt, EY India’s Risk Advisory Leader, said the report detailed a worrying increase in the gap between attackers’ abilities and the defensive capabilities of organisations.




Mature workers will have the right to continue in The peak industry association for Malaysia’s their jobs until they turn 67, construction industry has spoken out against under changes to Singapore’s the levies recently imposed on all employers re-employment laws that will take of foreign workers. The Master Builders effect from July 1. The laws allow employees to Association says the policy will significantly effectively choose their own retirement date, without impact on business cash flow and make any pressure from their organisations. construction more expensive for developers and The original rules were put in place in 2012, and meant investors. employers had to offer staff reemployment from the ages of It says the construction industry, which 62 until 65. The new contract did not have to be in the same employs 900,000 foreign workers across position or salary, but this provision has now been revised. Malaysia, will have to pay about 2 billion ringgit (S$636 Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say says 98% of those who million) in levies per year. accepted re-employment in the same job did not experience The Master Builders Association is urging the Malaysian any drop in basic wages, but the change is due because most government to rescind the new ruling, also known as the employers have now moved away from seniority-based pay Employer Mandatory Commitment, which came into effect systems. on January 1. Employers will be able to offer re-employment in alternative entities if a position in the original business cannot be found.


JUNIOR FOOTBALLERS MISSING OUT The Central Provident Fund board is investigating two professional football clubs over missed payments to the compulsory retirement fund. The claims relate to junior players in the Prime League – under 21 yearolds who have a reserve side for each of the S-League teams. One club has admitted it had been




“unaware” that the payments were required for the junior players. These do not draw a regular salary but receive up to $300 per month in training allowances to cover meals and transport costs. The club says it has since made up the shortfall to each of the relevant players’ accounts.




TALENT WAR HEATS UP Demand for high-level leadership talent has increased significantly in China, pushing up salaries and expectations throughout recruitment markets. Multinational employers in particular are finding it difficult to secure talent at the moment. According to a Bain & Company research paper, this is because many executive-level employees are willing to forego the safe, but predictable career path that multinationals offer, in favour of steeper learning curves and trajectories. Multinationals are being advised to rethink their structures, roles, and value propositions in order to reverse the flow.




FEARS OF SKILLS EROSION Australian job seekers are concerned that their skills are losing relevance in today’s volatile business environment. Online jobs portal Indeed has released a survey that shows this concern outweighs more widely expressed worries about immigration impacting local job prospects. Younger Australians (16-24 year olds) were most concerned (39%) about employer demand for their specific skillsets. While the smaller proportion of older jobseekers (aged 45-54) were most concerned about immigration. Chris McDonald, Indeed’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said the survey also confirmed that job location, commuting times, and flexible work were more important than pay for Australian job seekers.

Only one percent of Hong Kong companies will routinely provide a pay rise to a promoted employee, according to a recent survey by Robert Half. Six in ten of the finance leaders surveyed said this was because organisations wanted to assess the employee’s performance in the new role, before committing to increased salaries. Just under one third of the respondents said a lack of financial resources meant increasing salaries with promotions was rarely possible. Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong, said offering promotions without appropriate pay rises could affect retention efforts over the long term.







NEW OPTIMISM FOR JOBS election than other issues facing the nation. The issue influenced decisions at the polls for about half of voters. Donald Trump voters were more likely than Hillary Clinton voters to think that More than half of US adults the election results would (53%) said that the Presidential have a positive effect on job Election results will have a creation (89% compared with positive effect on job creation, 24%). according to a new American Trump voters also had Staffing Association Workforce a greater tendency to say Monitor survey. job creation had a major or A majority of Americans moderate influence on their also said job creation was choices (64% compared with more important in this 44%).


10,000 REDUNDANT AT MACY’S Iconic US retailer Macy’s has announced it will be cutting more than 10,000 jobs from its workforce in 2017. This will include nearly 4,000 store associate positions who will be pushed out as the department store chain



Workers across France have won the right to disconnect from their work after office hours. A new national law, which took effect on January 1, requires companies with closes 68 stores across the US. more than 50 employees Soft sales over the traditional peak retail period between the to negotiate a system in Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays – sales were down 2.1% which work email does not compared to the same window in 2015 – confirmed the need infringe on workers’ days off, for a restructure that had already been on the cards. Macy’s evenings, or weekends. expects annual expense savings of US$550 million once the Myriam El Khomri, France’s changes have been instigated. Minister of Labour, says the law is necessary because “the boundary between LONDON, UK professional and personal life has become tenuous”. Consultants are advising most organisations to comply Popular British retailer John Lewis has announced it will cancel by declaring times when email or significantly reduce the annual bonuses of each of its 90,000 replies would no longer be staff. Though the Christmas holiday season was successful for the expected, ideally a 12-hour UK retail sector, the company says uncertainty over the coming window between 7.00pm and year means it will need to cut costs at every possible point. 7.00am on working days. Rising inflation, and an increase in competition from online retail sources, is placing pressure on expected earnings this year.








UBER DRIVERS DECLARED EMPLOYEES Insurance agency Suva has declared Uber drivers to be “employees” of the company, forcing the ride-sharing platform to pay social security contributions and provide other protections. The agency reached a “clear conclusion” that Uber drivers were not freelance contractors, as Uber claims in many jurisdictions, because they were unable to set prices and operate only under Uber’s strict business model. As a public sector insurer, Suva is required to determine if workers are freelance or not in order to provide compulsory on-the-job accident insurance. Uber is expected to appeal the decision.





Technology company Apple has been ordered to pay US$2 Around 1,700 workers have staged a million to a class action of sit-in strike at the Harmony Gold 21,000 current and former Mining company’s Kusasalethu employees. The lawsuit, first mine. The miners downed tools, but filed in 2011 on behalf of staff stayed in the mine, some 2.4km below in Apple’s California stores, the surface, halting all further production claimed Apple had not allowed over a 48 hour period on January 11 and 12. staff statutory meal and rest breaks. The miners had demanded a special bonus in the wake of The San Diego jury found in favour of the employees, but the announcements the mine would be shut down in five years’ relatively small award represents only US$95 on average for time, rather than the 24-year life that had been planned for each worker involved. until last year. They also wanted the mine’s general manager to be removed from office. The company says the strike was illegal, but has not outlined any disciplinary action.


LENOVO WINDS DOWN 84% OF STAFF A change in local strategy will see the vast majority of staff in Chinese computing company Lenovo’s Brazilian operations made redundant. The company had initially been planning a 52,00 square-foot manufacturing facility for a suburb in Sao

Paulo, but will now make do with a plant of half the size. Some 4,200 staff, or 84%, are likely to be made redundant. Lenovo says the change is due to the sharpening need to control costs at every point of the production cycle.





Stepping up on the recruitment front

A brand new year heralds fresh impetus for organisations in the hiring scene and offers promise to jobseekers and employers alike. HRM Asia shares some insights from the Michael Page 2017 Asia Salary & Employment Outlook survey.

1 in 3 employers in Singapore expect to increase headcount in 2017 Of the companies planning to increase headcount, 6 in 10 are looking to hire at middle-management level Digital, technology and healthcare industries will continue to be seen as key drivers of recuitment activity in Singapore


Top 3 factors cited by Singapore companies in attracting and retaining talent: Salary increase


(Asia-Pacific 65%)

of companies in Singapore practise employer branding

Learning and Development


((Asia-Pacific 44%)


Workplace flexibilty


of companies plan to offer salary increase of 1 to 5% in the next 12 months

(Asia-Pacific 37%)

Nearly 450 employers in Singapore across various industries took part in the survey

Source: Michael Page 2017 Asia Salary & Employment Outlook survey 8



Digital, Technology and Healthcare are likely to be Singapore’s fastest-growing industries, due to the government’s pledged efforts to boost investment

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How do you handle the times when you need to make what will be an unpopular decision for your wider workforce? T

he hardest part of a CEO’s job is to break negative news to staff, be it retrenchments, or a budget cut. The way you communicate tough decisions, and how you manage employees’ emotions can have a lasting impact on staff morale, corporate reputation and, ultimately, the bottom line. In my opinion, the key is to be transparent in your communication, and show that you are working hard to achieve a win-win solution for everyone in the organisation. Empathy is equally important, as a well-respected leader always expresses interest in how employees feel, and offers assistance. Finally, be responsible for the decisions taken because when a leader takes full ownership and responsibility for a situation, it instils confidence and camaraderie among employees.

Personally, when I have to make those decisions, they do keep me awake at night. I have learned that the best way for me to come to clear decisions is to put on my running shoes, and get out and run a long distance. This helps me to better handle unpopular decisions and balance the needs of the company and employees. While it is never pleasant, there are still avenues to deliver bad news in a good way – with integrity and honesty. The online grocery delivery industry in Southeast Asia is rapidly evolving, marked by technological advancements and changing consumer demands. At HappyFresh, we acknowledge these challenges and will continue to build on our brand, camaraderie, and the trust of our employees to propel the business forward.


SHENAZ BILKIS Managing Director, Asia, Business Games



ost of the time, being a leader means we have to make difficult decisions. When an issue is escalated to us as leaders, the likelihood that it is a complex issue is very high. The consequences are too risky, and the outcome is unpopular. That’s why it comes to us in the first place. And those are the exact decisions we need to make based on facts, a tad bit of guts, and a few deep breaths! Think of the following examples, in both our professional and personal lives, where the obvious (and often the right) decision is invariably the unpopular one. –– Your department budget just got cut in half. You cannot afford to keep all your staff – at least not at their current pay levels. –– Your young teenage son wants to take your car out with his friends. He “knows” how to drive but hasn’t got his driving license yet.


–– You have a rock-star performer, bringing in deals every day and smashing all records. But he has no respect for others in your team and doesn’t hesitate to show it. In the business world, how you come to the decision is as important – if not more - than the decision itself. So at times when you do need to make unpopular decisions, consult your team, respect diverse viewpoints, consider your alternatives, lay out the facts, think about the consequences, communicate clearly and honestly about the pros and cons of the decision, how it adheres to the company’s core values, and why it is the right thing to do. Then, with a tad bit of guts and a few deep breadths, make that call. If it’s a disaster, own up, learn, and move on. If it turns out great, be humble, give credit where it’s due, and also move on.


Unsure of the Road Ahead? Challenged by a slowing domestic economy? High costs? Limited manpower? Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) today face a host of challenges particularly in manpower costs and talent retention. Recently, there has been calls for internationalisation and market diversification as part of the solution. The SME Summit will address these amongst other challenging issues local companies are facing. Join SME business owners, HR professionals and leaders at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017 to learn where the new opportunities are, how to take advantage of upcoming trends and threats, sharpen your competitive edge and equip yourself and your team for the challenges ahead. The SME Summit, taking place on 3 & 4 May 2017, will gather like-minded professionals who are facing the same challenges and looking to maximise their business strengths in these key areas: • Globalisation for SMEs • Accelerating Finance for SMEs • Strategic Workforce Management for SMEs Don’t miss the opportunity to network, spark a discussion and learn success case studies from these industry stalwarts:

Building a People-Oriented SME - Why HR Matters & How to Do it Right Sam Chee Wah General Manager Feinmetall Singapore

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Skin in the game




Sabrina Tan, CEO of Singaporean beauty technology company Skin Inc, says the traditionally maledominated technology industry and female-skewed skin care sector have a lot more in common than meets the eye Kelvin Ong


You’ve probably been asked this a million times, but how did the idea of Skin Inc come about?

I was in the corporate world, working in IT for 11 years. My first job was with IBM, and I was most recently with Dell EMC and Oracle. Throughout that time, I was working on the business customer side of those companies in Asia, looking at all forms of what makes a business work, from enterprise to software, as well as hardware and security.



LEADERS TALK HR This was a time when I was travelling extensively, and also had two children – they were three years and one-and-a-half years old then. I started to realise that you can have money and energy, but you might not have the time to take care of your looks. Modern girls need to outsmart their skincare and beauty routine by cutting time. So I began to research Japanese skincare specialists, chemists, and dermatologists, and also experimented with different products.


And you did this by integrating your IT background into skincare product development?

Yes, because I thought if our skin changes all the time, then why can’t we recalibrate it – just like cloud computing, or the sharing economy – where we could create our own products. So with the skin diagnostic tool Skin Inc has created, you can perform skin testing online without physically having to come down to our stores. It’s just like how Nike has changed the way people buy sneakers. Customers can customise their sneakers online, where they can choose the laces and soles they like just by clicking, and dragging and dropping. The skin diagnostics tool is both emotive and functional. Firstly, your skin changes all the time. So we need to be able to combine beauty with technology and software to determine what is happening to our skin. At the same time, the tool addresses the emotional needs of customers through providing a great customer experience when they’re online. Through the skin check online, they can then customise and concoct a serum suited specifically for

ME MYSELF I I love: My family! Although I have a hectic schedule, I do not compromise when it comes to special time spent with my children. Family always comes first. I dislike: Wasting time. My inspiration is: Anything digital and travel-related My biggest weakness is: I don’t like people to know my weakness! In five years’ time, I’d like to be; The Apple of the skincare industry. Favourite quote: “Always be the best version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else” – Judy Garland



LEADERS TALK HR their skin needs. These custom serums are what Skin Inc is now famous for.


Did you transition into the role of a leader easily?

No. In fact, I didn’t view myself as a leader when I was first starting out. I’m an achiever, so I like to do things the fastest way. It become very hard to delegate, because I needed to have control. But as I grew into the role, I realised I have a deep desire to bring the potential out of each employee, and to surprise the person I am grooming about their own potential that even they themselves don’t see.


So your leadership style has evolved quite a bit?

For sure. I would say my leadership style today is “ambidextrous” and varies according to different employees. On a broad stroke, I see myself as someone who is very open-minded, and I feel there is no right or wrong at any time. I’m also highly energetic with my team, who will say I have an endless amount of enthusiasm to conquer challenges, solve problems, and multi-task as required.


Can you describe the evolution of Skin Inc? How did you achieve such a global footprint so rapidly?

It has been very fast for us to scale to this level of presence in just eight years. That’s because we constantly ask ourselves “why not”? There are a lot of protocols in business, but to me, it’s important not to set limits. My Business Development Manager, for example, was actually a customer in Spain. Her willingness to ask “why not” made her a great fit. In terms of good use of resources, we are also very agile. One thing people will say about Skin Inc is our “speed-to-market”. It used to take companies three years to develop a strategy, but in today’s digital world you don’t have that luxury of time. So we are a close observer of what is going on in the market, and then we align our strategy according to it. More importantly, we have no qualms about aborting a plan or strategy that we have decided on. If a strategy or product is no longer relevant to the market, then we have no reservations about canning it


As a female entrepreneur, how do you feel about the fact that there are fewer women than men at the helm of business today?

Well, I agree with those findings. It is something we have to address together as a community. There needs to be a conscientious effort put into educating everyone that women are not lesser beings. Whether you are a mother or an office manager, or both, we just have to be more creative in how we go about our roles. What I feel is very critical is in the change of mindset – the ability to dream and come forward to say,

“yes, I will take up the challenge”. That’s why I started the GalBoss symposium. In July last year, I brought together 28 female leaders, spanning from DBS’ Group Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management Tan Su Shan, to global influencer Aimee Song. I put together an event with these powerful, successful women from very diverse backgrounds to share with over 300 attendees about the importance of female leadership and empowerment.


Speaking of being creative in managing roles, how can female employees balance the needs of family and work?

As a mother and wife, you need a more customised way of managing the same role that a man might hold. Sometimes you need to be bold enough to tell your manager that its 7.00pm, you have to go home and be with your family. And I do that myself. I go home, I help my children with their homework, and once they are in bed, I switch back on my work mode. There is nothing wrong with wanting to cater to your family. Even men face this situation more and more today.


As a beauty company, do looks matter when you hire?

Yes, but that’s true across all industries in today’s highly visual world, where Instagram and Facebook exist. Let’s not talk just about the beauty industry – any corporate executive putting a profile picture on their LinkedIn page or anywhere will want to ensure they look good and present their “best face” forward. Having said that, I don’t just hire from within the beauty industry. I hire from technology, and fashion, and a range of sectors. We are willing to train anyone who is hungry enough and with the right attitude and aptitude. We don’t see ourselves as a beauty business, but as a beauty technology and lifestyle business. Rather than “looks”, I think it’s more important how you bring out the best version of yourself overall. You don’t have to be the most beautiful person, but if you know how to enhance your assets or attributes using limited resources – then that says a lot about you as a person, and that’s the type of talent I look to recruit.


So it’s all about creative presentation then?

Definitely. But even more important than that, I look out for three characteristics during the hiring process. Firstly, the potential hire needs to be very agile. In today’s constantly changing world, there is no fixed way to do the same task. Industries are being disrupted and you need to have a game changing mindset – not just to deliver something that is “good enough”, but something that revolutionises existing solutions. Being bold is the second trait I look for: bold in terms of not being afraid to try out new methods, or to suggest, and then implement and test new solutions. It’s fine to make mistakes,




but you have to learn from them and be able to derive the value out of that lesson by ultimately creating a better solution down the road. Finally, tenacity is important because, again, it’s a very fastmoving world. So it’s important to be tenacious and think on your feet because you never know who you will encounter in the social space. You just have to be very, very persistent, and always very quick.


Skin Inc has a broad range of products and services. How do you ensure both frontline and backend staff are able to consistently represent the brand accurately?

We have an onboarding plan that is pretty 360 degree. Each new employee receives a thorough introduction and training from their line manager so that they look beyond their own job scopes, and understand how the various functions in the Skin Inc ecosystem work together and the various pain points. I ensure that each line manager does not just sugarcoat things but really tells each employee what will not fly here. So it’s a very dynamic culture and you either fit in or you’re out. We make decisions really fast and within three months we will know if you will make the cut or not. And there is nothing right or wrong with that because the different parts of the engine have to work hand-in-hand, and we cannot afford to have someone that is unable to adapt. For frontline staff, we do a lot of mystery shopping. We send



anonymous shoppers into the stores and conduct frequent assessments about whether the associates check off all the things that they have been trained to do; whether they say and do the right things. Every month, our trainers also give staff a review about the areas they can improve on – be it their attire, attitude, energy levels, makeup, or customer service. It’s important that the customer walks out feeling great about themselves. To measure customer satisfaction, we also do monthly surveys through emails and customer care calls.


What challenges does the difficult economic outlook for 2017 present?

I have never chosen to stay “in” business because I’m always ahead of the business. We, in fact, saw double-digit revenue growth last year despite the very challenging times for many businesses. We grew double-digits on both our retail distribution and online fronts. How we stay ahead is by simply being relevant. It’s very important that your customers know that you care for them, that you engage them, and that Skin Inc is an exciting brand they should look out for whenever there is a big sale event like Black Friday, for example. It’s an aspirational brand at the end of the day, just like your favourite person. Even when you are busy you still find the time for them, right? So our whole strategy is based on wanting to become that “lovemark” for consumers.

The Ritz- Carlton, Millenia Singapore | 24 Februar y

Last Call to Book Your Seats at the HR Night of the Year! HRM Awards celebrates 14 years of recognising HR’s best and brightest people and HR practices in 2017 with a glitzy Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony. Join in on the celebrations to network, boost team morale and share winning HR programmes and tips, amidst fine wine, gourmet dinner and world-class entertainment. See you there! r ikki Mulle Emcee - N nment Artiste ai rt te En Y FL y Photo by Jo

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With the calendar now ticked over into a new year, HRM Asia provides this comprehensive snapshot of the HR profession in Singapore. It shows that while last year was a rough one for business in the region, the uncertainty is set to continue in 2017, adding to the challenges for HR across the economy. Countering that however is a far more professional and organised HR community, and a national government that is playing an active role in HR skills development


cross the world on December 31, the New Year was celebrated with just a little bit more enthusiasm this time around. Almost universally, 2016 was panned as a year to forget, with far more than the reasonable allotment of celebrity deaths, uncertain politics, and even war and terror featured. Businesses and other employing organisations too – both in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world – will have been happy to see the back of 2016. The year was marked by economic uncertainty that only became cloudier with each status-quo shaking international event, from the Middle East refugee and immigration crisis, to the Brexit vote in June, through to the election of



COVER STORY international trade sceptic Donald Trump as President of the US. Given all of this, it’s timely to now take a closer look at the state of HR in Singapore and across Asia. As this exclusive HRM Asia State of the Profession report shows, the economic outlook for the year ahead is just as uncertain as that of 2016, if not more so. But now more than ever, businesses are looking to their HR teams to light their way through the darkness. That extra investment and encouragement has seen the HR community growing in terms of both total number and the overall level of

professionalism and integrity. We now have more HR professionals doing the kind of long-game strategic work that adds real value to businesses and their workforces. We are also seeing HR take on more regional and international roles, as organisations look to cover more ground with similar resources. And a broad community of HR professionals has also begun to take shape in Singapore, thanks to a new focus on networking and sharing of best-practice case studies. 2017 has plenty of challenges in store for HR, as this report will show. But it is a stronger, more connected profession

than ever before that will be facing those obstacles, which should give organisations across this region some added confidence as those storm clouds grow.

A growing fraternity In Singapore, the number of HR professionals is on the rise. The national government is certainly keen to formalise the profession, and carefully document its profile. It estimates there are 40,000 HR professionals – people who have “HR” in their job titles or are otherwise involved with people management and strategy – in the country, covering both


Eric Wong

Josephine Chua



Head of Talent Acquisition, Asia-Pacific

Data analysis remains an interesting challenge for HR, specifically the way we apply analysis and interpretation. Collecting and analysing data is an integral part of organisations today. We’ve gotten very good at capturing and measuring data, but we still have a long way to go in making that data work for us. For example, in talent acquisition we measure time-to-fill. However, a faster time to fill does not mean you’ve got a better hire nor does it mean you’ve got a better process. It simply means that you can fill a position fast. So, why measure it? We still want to measure it so that we can better manage recruitment operations. A correlation between the recruitment load, time to fill and cost per hire can help us understand how much hiring we can take, how fast we can turn the position around, and with what cost. It is important to keep in mind the end goal, because without it, you will end up embarking on interventions that do not help the business.



Director of HR and Quality

Good talent is hard to find; and very hard to keep – particularly in the hospitality industry. With strict quotas restricting the number of foreign staff we can employ, Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore At Zhongshan Park has had to work creatively to reduce turnover at every level of the organisation. We have a continous focus on career development by utilising a combination of ongoing training, succession planning, and talent management programmes to achieve better than benchmark rates. For example, eligible staff can join the Master of Experience traineeship programme, which provides full training and a career development plan, covering a range of different hospitality functions. 70% of the associates on the programme have made progression in their careers, most moving from the traineeship into full-time executive roles. A few graduates have gone on to reach Duty Manager roles within the group.

COVER STORY full and part-time workers, as well as freelance advisors and consultants. This growth is, in part, a response to the various talent-related challenges that businesses across Asia-Pacific, but particularly in Singapore, are facing. The general shortage of developed talent, and the changing aspirations of those workers, is making HR a focal point for many organisations. In Singapore, for example, The LinkedIn Talent Trends report for 2016 has shown that almost every professional worker is open to new opportunities. That includes an above average percentage (39%, compared to the global average of 36%) of “active” job seekers

and also a significant share of passive job candidates. More people on the move, or thinking about switching jobs, has meant more thought, planning, and – inevitably – headcount has had to be invested in HR strategy in recent years, and the trend is unlikely to slow down over the coming decade.

Strategic focus A rise in the need for and application of strategic HR has certainly helped fuel a boom in the job description. Indeed, most observers say the profession has now all but fully evolved from its earlier identity of the administrative-only personnel

Sharyn Porter

HR Executive – Southeast Asia Banking and Finance Industry

In banking and finance, and the fintech sector, the talent crunch is hitting hard. Our companies were once the destination of choice for top talent but we are now competing with the technology giants that have grown so dramatically. For Bank of America Merrill Lynch, two key focus areas are centred on women and junior talent. We have undertaken a significant culture change since the Global Financial Crisis and have developed a far more diverse workforce in Asia-Pacific. Maintaining gender diversity in particular is a vital part of our recruitment goals and we need to be continually breaking down the stereotype that finance and fintech can only be maledominated domains. At the same time, we need to understand Generation Y and how to be attractive as employers to them. This new generation has the passion and technology skills that banks need to take the industry forward. We need to offer great jobs and a flexible, encouraging culture.

department. Does HR have the celebrated “seat at the table” yet? In a growing number of organisations it does, with Chief HR Officers reporting directly to their CEOs and boards on long-term workforce strategy. Their work is having a direct impact on overall organisational strategy. Peter Giulioni, Assistant Dean of Career Development Office at Nanyang Business School and an Associate Professor with NBS’s Division of Strategy, Management, and Organisation says workforce management is now a vital component of investment and planning for organisations. “Organisations now understand that

Adele Png

Head of Talent Acquisition, ASEAN and Pacific region

PHILIPS There is a critical talent shortage for local leaders in emerging economies. This rapidly changing environment has led to organisations focusing on shorter time frames, and reacting to immediate talent needs. There hasn’t been a compelling drive for organisations to invest into building local leadership. This takes more time to develop, and many have chosen to instead import foreign talent into emerging markets. Our mandate at Philips is to develop local talent so that they are ready to take on those positions. In areas where we see gaps in talent, we make conscious decisions to place expatriates in that market, but usually with a view for that expatriate to develop local succession planning as a priority. Overall, while I think some organisations have gotten it right, I think corporates need to be more focused and invest not only in “buying” talent but also developing talent, so that it is more balanced.



COVER STORY State of HR: Snapshot

The HR profession has grown significantly in recent years. Singapore government estimates suggest there are 40,000 people working in some sort of HR capacity in 2017. This report highlights that the profession in AsiaPacific is also: • Rising through the ranks to become a more strategic, relied - upon function • Increasingly sought after as a career, with high-level HR now being taught in universities and colleges • Building professionalism across all levels • More internationally-focused • Developing as a community, with more networking and learning opportunities being attended by more practitioners

it is the fourth leg of the table,” he says. “There are: (business) strategy, technology, operations, and now HR.” Of those four aspects of organisations, HR, and workforces in general, are also best suited to deliver cost savings and productivity improvements. “All of the efficiencies that can be rung out of the other operating systems have in many cases already been squeezed out,” Giulioni says. “The big savings have gone. Now it’s all about hiring the right people at the right time, reducing turnover among key employees, and aggressively developing the company’s talent pool.” Importantly, HR skills and knowledge are increasingly required throughout the organisation, with managers and team leaders are now being measured on their ability to get people working cooperatively and positively together. “A larger proportion of managers’ KPIs are about teamwork and retention,” Giulioni says. “That is happening now and I see it continuing to evolve.”

Rising professionalism With HR skills increasingly in demand, and HR careers increasingly strategic and responsible, there has been a corresponding rise in interest from prospective recruits. From school-leavers to university graduates, and even to mid-career professionals looking for a change, HR is itself becoming an career



opportunity of choice across Asia-Pacific. This can be seen clearly in the number of HR-related programmes universities and colleges are now offering their students, and the growing enrolment rates for each course. Giulioni – who teaches a course in change management and organizational effectiveness specifically – says there is a broad range of both theoretical and handson practical teaching available, and universities are upgrading their faculty to include those with direct experience in workforce strategy. “There is steadily growing staff of professors with backgrounds in HR management specifically,” he says. Singapore’s government is also working to build professionalism and integrity across the island state’s HR community. The profession is currently

the subject of a HR Sectoral Manpower Plan being developed by a tripartite committee representing government, employers and labour unions. That will formulate manpower development plans that will identify the future skills required of HR and set out a system for upgrading the workforce as required. While the full roadmap is yet to be finalised, the committee has outlined a new framework for formally recognising HR skills and experience. The National HR Professional Certification Framework (NHRPCF) is set to roll out during the first half of this year, and will evaluate HR professionals in functional capabilities, foundational knowledge, and mindsets and behaviours. It offers three levels of certification: Certified HR Professional for early-career HR practitioners; Certified Senior HR Professional for more advanced players, and Certified Master HR Professional for Chief HR Officer-level and large organisation HR directors. A pilot programme, in which a handful of HR professionals completed the planned certification requirements in October last year, offered some insight into the government’s plans for the NHRPCF. One mid-career professional who participated noted that there was a strong focus on Singapore employment legislation in the assessment. HR professionals across the board can expect to have their knowledge of foreign employment rules and statutory wage and redundancy requirements thoroughly

“More people on the move, or thinking about switching jobs, has meant more thought, planning, and headcount is being invested in HR strategy”

tested over the coming years. But HR strategy and skills are also becoming increasingly international in focus. As multinational businesses continue to centralise their Asian operations in cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, and – increasingly – Kuala Lumpur, HR professionals in those regional centres are being tasked with higherlevel and more diverse strategic tasks. Multiple jurisdictions are now a common part of thousands of HR job titles, and the profession is quickly building the cultural, legal, and economic awareness required to influence workforce policy across borders.

Community in Singapore, and beyond The HR profession is not just growing in number; it is also increasing its clout as a single, networked community. In Singapore, and increasingly in other centres such as Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Bangkok, an increasing number of events, congresses, and learning opportunities are adding to an already extensive HR calendar. The inaugural HRM Asia Think Tank, held in Singapore on September 16 last year, was the latest innovation aimed at bringing HR together. The brainstorming breakfast event posed questions such as what traditional HR practices are still relevant, and what areas were in need of new thinking or disruption. The vendor-free and free-toparticipate event will be rolled out as a continuing series during 2017. Regardless of the event or host, the opportunity to share best practices, case studies, and even some out-of-the-box ideas has never been greater. While HR is aware that there are no one-size fits all solutions in this profession, the growing number of people participating in these events have been able to try out new ideas and adapt them to their organisations as required. That is adding clear and often immediate value to their workforces, and increasing the overall value of HR to the business, and the wider economy.



Regional HR Business Partner

Formal job descriptions (JDs) are fast-becoming a relic of the past, and it might be time that we – as a profession – let them take the last steps toward extinction or at least reduce the number of JDs we should have! The JDs certainly served a purpose previously. Having a detailed set of objectives for every role, and a clear set of selection criteria for recruiting candidates helped to create organisational continuity through inevitable staff changes. The problem is they have become too prescriptive. Hiring managers spend time to write JDs, we then send them to the rewards team to confirm the grading and fine-tune. The pace of organisational transformation is so fast that the written JD could be outdated just six months later. My former organisation Temasek Holdings, had moved a long way toward reducing the number of JDs, particularly for junior to mid-management positions. Recruitment teams know what a strong associate looks and are empowered to leverage data and to have broad conversations with candidates.

Tarun Gulrajani Head of HR

REHAU ASIA-PACIFIC Employees today are suffering from an information tsumami! The millennial generation in particular wants information when and where they want to consume it. In such an environment, does anyone really have time to attend a two-day skills development course? And do businesses really want to be spending so much on traditional learning and development? Micro-learning is an increasingly viable alternative, and one that could save HR money while delivering stronger participation and knowledge retention rates. This is not e-learning, where training is still a matter of hours. Rather, micro-learning is about training by the minute, with small, bite-sized modules that can be accessed to while on a cab ride, during the daily commute, or wherever the user has spare time. It is not appropriate for every type of training – no one would want their heart surgeon to have been trained via a mobile phone app – but there are many aspects of a company’s training that could be moved to the micro-learning model.



Whil push Regi depa





amsung today is known for rolling out its signature smartphones, tablets and other technology, but the South Korean-headquartered conglomerate started off in far more humble circumstances. Nearly 80 years ago, in March 1938, founding chairman Byung-Chull Lee began a trade export business in Daegu, selling just dried fish, vegetables, and fruit to markets in Northeastern China, including Beijing. Fast toward to today, and Samsung has grown to have a firm footprint in a whole host of sectors. It is a market leader in everything from electronic gadgets to home appliances, and even boasts its own facility dedicated to fostering innovative projects and business ideas. This ability to constantly reinvent itself is an example of Samsung’s internal culture, says Grace Wong, Regional HR Vice President, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Samsung Electronics. She says the HR team is the key torchbearer when it comes to cultivating an evolution of change and metamorphosis within the organisation. “Even more than 20 years ago when our chairman Lee Kun Hee formed a new management team, he was already emphasising on the importance of HR,” she says.

AT A GLANCE Number of employees (Singapore): 300 Number of employees (Southeast Asia and Oceania): around 100,000 Size of the HR Team: 4 in Singapore, 6 in the regional office (also in Singapore)

While many are familiar with Samsung products, the organisation’s continuous push for innovation and creativity is less publicised. Grace Wong, Regional HR Vice President, Samsung Electronics, shares how her department is laying that vital foundation Sham Majid

Key HR Focus Area: - HR Transformation - Talent Development - Employee Engagement



HR INSIDER Streamlined onboarding Despite its status as one of the globe’s most recognisable companies, Samsung is not fully insulated from the pervasive talent issues currently affecting almost every organisation in the region. Irene Lim, Samsung Electronics’ Senior Manager of HR, says the challenge of retention is most pertinent with millennial employees and the company must acknowledge the different behaviours that younger workers employ. But, true to its transformational approach, Wong believes Samsung has now found a solution. The organisation has tweaked and streamlined its onboarding process to ensure new employees hit the ground running much faster than previously. Whereas in the past this process would have taken three months, it has since been cut to three weeks. A new professional-level employee from a subsidiary in Vietnam will do their onboarding for five days within the country, before also undertaking a regional round of onboarding in Singapore. That individual would then proceed to the South Korea global headquarters for another round of onboarding before finally commencing their job at home in Vietnam. “It’s about emphasising different values and perspectives,” says Wong. The significantly-reduced timeframe, coupled with the combination of local and regional perspectives, enables employees to channel their energies on performing to the best of their abilities.

A breeding ground for talent One area where Samsung has indeed thrived is in recruitment and attracting talent. As Wong reaffirms, the organisation’s brand possesses huge pulling power. “We have been pretty fortunate because the brand attracts people,” she says.



A Singapore creation One Samsung product that is now in the market was originally conceived in Singapore. The innovation team based in Samsung’s Singapore office was the brains behind Samsung Electronics’ AddWash, a washing machine that makes it easy to add a piece of forgotten laundry to the wash mid-cycle. While washing machines traditionally only have a front-load washer, the innovation team at Samsung created an extra door that makes it feasible to add any missed pieces of clothing.

“I dare say we do not have a lot of understanding of the company. challenges in attracting talent.” After two years working at GSG, it is With Samsung operating in wide and anticipated that each of these recruits diverse fields, recruitment very much will transition to a Samsung team as depends on the different job functions a line manager or strategic specialist involved, and the organisation actively to continue advancing professionally. recruits from a wide range of sectors. They will then, eventually, assume a These include not just the technology leadership post, whether overseas or in space, but also the fast-moving Samsung’s South Korea headquarters. consumer goods industry, research, and To date, over 70 GSG alumni have engineering. been successfully employed at various Of course, technology backgrounds Samsung offices worldwide. are still vital – and there are numerous Complementing the GSG is the Field examples of staff who have switched Expert programme. from rival companies. This is primarily focused on “You name it; they are all already inculcating specialists, who are again here, from Microsoft to IBM,” Wong deployed worldwide to immerse says, referring to former employees who themselves into the Samsung culture. have now joined the ranks at Samsung. “They then bring back what they have A couple of key programmes underpin learned,” says Wong. Samsung’s recruitment efforts. The organisation is also a staunch One is the Global Strategy Group (GSG), which hires experienced recruits from all parts of the world. The GSG serves as a breeding ground for future high-calibre, globallyminded general managers across the Samsung Group. The strategists offer different perspectives and innovative ideas to Samsung’s GRACE WONG IRENE LIM WONG MOOK top executives globally, while Regional HR Vice Head of HR, LAN advancing their skillsets and President Singapore Regional Director, Operations HR Information cultivating a deep and broad


HR INSIDER supporter of grade talent development, having crafted its own Samsung Asia Elite (SAE) programme. The two-year placement puts successful university graduates on a fast-track career pathway within Samsung, offering on-the-job training via business rotations, local, regional and global training prospects, mentoring, and a platform for interaction with senior heads. There is a clear career pathway for candidates in the SAE programme, and milestones have to be reached in order to progress to different levels. For the first six months, successful applicants are rotated to three different businesses (sales, marketing, and management support) before deciding which business they want to be in permanently. Wong says Samsung pays special attention to educational institutions around the region, with professors frequently introducing viable candidates to the organisation. “But, we go through a very stringent selection process,” she adds.

A plethora of opportunities Wong says arguments that career progression is difficult in larger organisations – because of the endless

“I can share candidly that we have not experienced any change to our hiring or attrition trends (in the wake of the Note7 recall).” Grace Wong, Regional HR Vice President, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Samsung Electronics hierarchies – have no relevance to Samsung. Rather, she stresses that across the company’s larger workforce, “there are countless opportunities”. “With a smaller group, there’s only so much you can do,” says Wong. One way Samsung champions career advancement is by promoting global mobility and ensuring employees can work in different parts of the world. Wong can personally attest to this mobility, having worked in the US for six months earlier in her career. Meanwhile, training in Samsung entails a three-pronged approach.

The first of these is the “Core” programme, which ensures employees are instilled with Samsung’s values and culture. Secondly, the organisation conducts a wide range of leadership programmes to ensure employees are well-heeled in each of their individual professional skillsets. Under the leadership framework, the Group and Team Leader initiative involves employees being rotated at any of Samsung’s subsidiaries in the region. This has paid off for the Samsung HR team in particular, with many of the participants having gone on to assume



Assistant Manager, L&D, Singapore Operations


Regional Manager, Planning and Operations


Regional Senior Manager, Compensations and Benefits


Regional Learning and Development Manager


Compensation & Benefits Assistant Manager, Singapore Operations


HR Management & Planning Assistant Manager, Singapore Operations



HR Administrator, Singapore Operations


HR INSIDER top executive posts. “Eleven percent of our country heads come from HR,” says Wong. The third initiative is the “Expertise Programme” and comprises of subject matter training that ensures employees are equipped with the necessary skills to perform their actual job duties. A plethora of training initiatives would fall under this arm. One is the Sales and Marketing Academy, where sales employees hone their techniques and skills on topics such as retail, marketing, consumer marketing intelligence, account management, negotiation and jointbusiness planning.

Creative juices With Samsung’s wide array of product launches, underpinned by its deeprooted commitment to innovation and research and development, it is apt that the organisation chooses to engage the creative minds of its employees through its internal Creative Lab (C-Lab) programme. Established at the end of 2012, C-Lab is one of the company’s chief innovation programmes that enables staff to foster creative business ideas, and to promote creative thinking within the organisation. The C-Lab is housed in a complex at the Samsung Digital City in Suwon, South Korea, and is furnished with power and precision tools, 3D printers, and a laser cutter, among other devices, to craft blueprints and prototypes. “There’s no hierarchy; there’s only the leader and the project teams,” says Wong. Another global online community platform, Mosiac, also allows staff to share product ideas. Out of the approximately 20 ideas that are selected, around eight of them are then shared with the business and roughly four become commercialised. “Any employee can contribute ideas anytime they want on a daily basis and from there, the best ideas get fulfilled,”



Wong explains. For example, what began as a voluntary project led by a group of five engineers from the C-Lab in 2011 led to the creation of “EYECAN”, an eyeoperated computer mouse that allows people who are immobilised to use their eyes for its tracking. They can also use it to communicate with people. Another Samsung innovation can even claim Singapore’s as its foundation (see: page 44). Wong says there is an obvious talent attraction value in all this innovation, with talents wanting to work for an organisation that produces cool gadgets and engages in cutting-edge technology. “When we surveyed our employees, more than 70% of them said they joined us because of our creativity and innovation. We are able to provide that platform,” she adds.

Still room for play It’s not all about work at Samsung though.

Located on the company’s premises at its Mapletree Business City office in Singapore is a fully-operational Starbucks outlet. Already in its third year, Samsung employees enjoy a 50% subsidy on all beverages and food items in this store. Half-yearly, the organisation conducts a town-hall meeting where business results and strategies are shared with all employees. On a monthly basis, Samsung also undertakes workplace activities to refresh and rejuvenate its staff. Bringing traditional Korean festivals to life in other countries is a frequent practice. For example, the Samsung office in Singapore celebrates a mid-autumn festive celebration known as Chuseok, which is revered in Korea. Samsung also conducts weekly “specials”, where groups of employees are whisked out of the office to participate in outdoor activities such as lasertag.

Staying focused during difficult times Recent incidents involving Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 devices have caused a global furore, placing the organisation under heavy public scrutiny. Following multiple instances of the smartphones “exploding” and catching fire, Samsung announced a global voluntary recall in October last year, before permanently shutting down production production of that particular device. While the saga is something Samsung would have very much preferred to have avoided, Grace Wong, Head of HR, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Samsung Electronics, tells HRM Asia that the organisation was heartened by the collaboration and strong support received from staff, candidates, partners, and customers. “I can share candidly that we have not experienced any change to our hiring or attrition trends,” she says, dampening fears that the ongoing saga had curtailed recruitment and retention in the region. Regardless of the current business situation at Samsung, Wong reaffirms the organisation is highly committed to its employment agenda and policy, and continues to seek the best and brightest additions to its expanding business. “We have always pursued excellence through our employment practices and we will continue to improve and provide a conducive working environment for our employees to thrive, grow and excel in their respective career paths,” she adds.


Casting a

wider net In the face of an ongoing talent crunch, companies are compelled to adopt multiple recruitment platforms to bring in talent. HRM Asia considers the traction that online recruitment specifically is having in 2017 Sham Majid





stark finding in late 2016 cast a somewhat negative spotlight on the online recruitment scene in Singapore. The Monster Employment Index, a monthly review of millions of employer job opportunities, revealed that online recruitment came to a halt in Singapore in September last year. This was the second month in a row that no year-on-year growth in online hiring occurred. With a plethora of online portals showcasing job vacancies, including Singapore’s own National Jobs Bank, the Monster findings appear to be at odds with more common HR thinking. That would suggest online recruitment remains a key hiring tool in Singapore and across Asia-Pacific, helping HR departments source for promising talent.

One of many platforms HR leaders and recruitment experts HRM Asia spoke to were adamant that online recruitment was a crucial hiring resource for their respective organisations. However, it was just one of a range of platforms being utilised. Eric Wong, Head of Talent Acquisition, Asia-Pacific, for wearable technology producer Fitbit, says his company hires candidates that have first connected with it through its own job website, external job boards and social media platforms. “As we have a large population of candidates, we want to reach out to them through a strong online presence,” says Wong. The ability to reach out virtually allows Fitbit to connect with a larger talent pool than might be available through more traditional recruitment channels. Apart from online platforms, referrals, recruitment agencies, and universities form a key part of Fitbit’s overall hiring blueprint. While acknowledging that no one recruitment channel is superior, Wong says that Fitbit ultimately aims to find the best possible candidate for each job. “Thus, we look at the different channels as different means to reach out to a wider selection of candidates, therefore allowing us to have a slate of diverse and strong candidates for each role,” he says. Likewise, Tarun Gulrajani, Head of HR – Asia-Pacific, for polymer processing company Rehau, is adamant that today’s complex business environment means organisations cannot rely on a single recruitment medium. “If you really want to reach out to good and experienced talent, you have to spread the net wider,” he says, adding that organisations not tapping onto online hiring channels were “really missing out”. He likens the practice to being in sales, where reaching out to as many potential customers as possible maximises the chance of closing a deal. “It also helps to suss out the competition and the types of roles that exist in the market, as well as to understand your own bench strength,” says Gulrajani. 30 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017


Having been in the furniture industry previously, Gulrajani notes that hiring for niche and not necessarily popular industries could be a huge challenge. “It was not as easy as just talking to a headhunting company,” he says. Gulrajani instead turned to an online recruitment site to publish a posting for a Sales Director role, and was subsequently able to hire a new leader for the Latin American market. “It was quite a seamless experience and we were able to get good quality candidates,” he shares. With the plastics sector also not among the most glamorous of industries, recruiting candidates for roles at Rehau can also be arduous. Hence, the company undertakes a slew of recruitment efforts, from working exclusively with headhunting companies, to partnerships with universities and polytechnics, and attending and hosting job fairs. Gulrajani says the company also relies upon employee referrals, and is constantly connecting with people on a variety of online platforms. 

Tracking functions Recruitment consultants also appreciate the value of online hiring channels, particularly for their ability to tap onto passive talents who are not actively pursuing new job opportunities. Finian Toh, Associate Director – HR Practice, Kerry Consulting, says online recruitment is an important channel for filling HR positions in particular. “Online job boards send alerts to candidates and reach out to not only active job seekers, but passive candidates too,” he says. These platforms can also serve as branding tools, helping to promote a company as an employer of choice. “Additionally,

Online job websites a big hit A 2016 survey by recruitment firm Hays revealed the effectiveness of online job websites. Fifty four percent of Singaporeans deemed online job websites to be the most successful way of garnering a new position. This was followed by personal networking, including referrals and word of mouth, at 33%. Meanwhile, social media sites, including LinkedIn, were considered the most effective job-seeking method by 13% of respondents.

RECRUITMENT they can easily target candidates from different geographical regions,” says Toh. Bruno Marchand, Senior Manager – HR and Business Support divisions, Robert Walters, says online platforms have additional benefits for candidates. “For job seekers, it is convenient for them to browse or apply for job postings with the click of a mouse or by tapping on a mobile application,” he says, adding that the evolution of recruitment has meant that companies can no longer hire candidates through newspapers or direct applications only. “As we live in the digital age, using online hiring platforms will help us to reach out to a wider pool of potential candidates and clients,” he says. “At the same time, we recognise that most companies now focus on building their employer branding by creating a strong online presence.” Job seekers are far more discerning today, and will routinely research a potential employer before making an application, so broader branding online is particularly vital for overall recruitment success. Marchand says the value of referrals cannot be underestimated. “While online hiring is a convenient and a common form of recruitment for HR departments, they still do rely on word-ofmouth recommendations from trusted industry sources,” he says. “This applies especially to cases when they are headhunting for management positions and would like to gain a better understanding of the candidate’s personality or proven work track record.”

Don’t forget the human touch While online and digital channels are currently dominating recruitment practices, Sanjay Modi – Managing Director, AsiaPacific and Middle East at, says recruiters still have a very traditional role that requires a lot of face-to-face and networking. “The human element doesn’t disappear completely,” he says. “But still, many are also turning to innovative hiring solutions to tap the best candidates.” “While the paper resume still exists, technology is changing the way we search for and apply for jobs.” Apart from campus drives and traditional advertisements, Modi says the most commonly used offline hiring platforms are internal job boards and employee referrals. Toh says print advertising also continues to be an important recruitment channel. “Print advertising is seen as genuine because few companies would go to the expense of putting an ad in print for a job that didn’t exist,” he says.

Careers online Recruitment efforts, be they online or offline, will not be fruitful if the employer has not first cultivated a strong company brand, Toh says. He stresses that company websites, serve as a “one-stop shop” for researching job-seekers. “It’s very important to have a user-friendly and informative career site to deliver a cohesive brand image that reflects the company’s vision and values,” he says. Gulrajani believes most HR departments would also incorporate these pages on to their organisation’s broader website. “If a company has built a strong brand image, some talents may want to connect and reach out directly,” he adds.

Differentiating between online and e-recruitment Sanjay Modi – Managing Director, Asia-Pacific and Middle East at, says there is a common gap when it comes to understanding the differences between mere online hiring and “e-recruitment”. “E-recruitment is a serious business,” he says. It involves a process: constant tracking, screening and selecting a candidate to make a suitable hire. There are various tools to address each of these functions,”.






Leading by




With a career spanning five decades, Brian Tracy, one of HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017’s keynote presenters, speaks from a deep wealth of experience when he says only “enlightened” leadership can unlock an organisation’s potential Kelvin Ong


n 35 years of motivational speaking and working with more than 1,000 companies globally in the areas of personal and professional development, Brian Tracy has seen the good, the bad and all of the ugly in business. He has witnessed the evolution of management models and theories, the rapid rise and fall of technology companies in the early 2000s, and now the booming app economy. While some may know Tracy for his YouTube videos on personal improvement, which have collectively been viewed over ten millions times, it is his expertise in business transformation and organisational psychology that continues to make him a sought-after name in the world of business speaking and consultancy. And over the years, Tracy has found that the best leaders, from Warren Buffett to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, built their empires on a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck, and the simple desire to never stop learning. These leaders are also always striving to get better, and relentlessly pursuing new knowledge and skills, he says. Quoting renowned management consultant Peter Drucker, Tracy believes that reading forms the foundation of learning. “All good leaders are readers,” he says. “Reading is essential for everyone to learn how to become a better manager.” Indeed, Tracy’s office in Southern California is filled with over 6,000 books on management, leadership and personal success. As the author of over 70 books on personal and professional development himself, Tracy says his own thirst for knowledge throughout his life has been the key to his longevity. Tracy started a successful sales career fifty years ago, travelling all over the world to market US bonds and real estate to affluent investors. Eventually, he became the Chief Operating Officer of a US$265 million development company. His passion for helping other companies to achieve their sales objectives ultimately led him to his present career as a training and development consultant.

Up close with: Brian Tracy

Based in: Solana Beach, US What keeps you going? As long as you do something that you enjoy and do well, it will always make you happy and give you more energy. And you would not want to stop. I know so many wealthy and successful people, they never plan to retire. They will do different things, or they may take some time off. But they will never stop working. These people are working until the day they die because they love their work. Is this your first trip to Singapore? Well I used to live in Singapore in the 1960s. Then I was there again in the 1970s, 1990s and the first part of this century. I was there in 2015 as well. So I can get around Singapore without a map! I believe Singapore is the greatest city-state in the world.



FEATURE Three essential qualities Besides a hunger for improvement, Tracy says there are three other key qualities that make a good leader. First, leaders need to be visionaries. Good leaders have a clear and exciting vision of the company’s future, and this positive outlook will naturally cascade downwards to the rest of the organisation. Tracy says this vision also separates “leaders” from “managers”. Furthermore, this forward-looking quality has become more pivotal than ever, especially with millennials forming the majority of the present workforce. That’s because studies have shown millennials are most motivated by the feeling of forward progress and movement. Great leaders also accept responsibility for all successes and failures, never ever putting the blame on anyone else. This sets an example for all team leaders and line managers throughout the organisation, creating a high-trust culture in the process. The third quality is a leader’s full commitment to excellence in all areas of the business. “There is nothing more motivating for employees than knowing they work for a company aiming to be the best,” says Tracy. One organisation that Tracy says possesses this quality is Amazon. Tracy says whether it is a sales or operations meeting, there will always be an empty chair in each meeting, representing the customer. The idea behind this practice is that all departments across the company should only have one goal – to always strive to be the best product in the eyes of the end-user. It was certainly no coincidence that Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, CEO, and the driver behind its continued success, was named the world’s greatest business leader by Fortune magazine in 2015.

The “golden triangle” of business What further separates a good leader



from a great leader is their ability to consistently drive peak performance at the workplace, and to meet and even surpass business objectives. But in order to achieve that, Tracy says leaders have to implement what he calls the “golden triangle” model. The golden triangle consists of three components: setting clear goals and objectives; measuring those goals; and creating strict schedules and deadlines. The first thing all leaders should do it to set clear goals and objectives for each department and employee. When individuals understand what their goals are, they know what actions they have to take to achieve their targets.

more than any other number.” “I train thousands of business owners each year and I ask them this one question: ‘What is the one number you wake up thinking about, think about all day long and go to sleep thinking about?’” When everyone in the organisation starts focusing on and working towards this particular number, overall company performance improves, he adds. But even further down at the individual level, employees should ask themselves: “What is the result most expected of me?” Most employees actually have no idea what that is, but Tracy says that is where

The surprising problem, Tracy says, is that many organisations actually fail to articulate this across to employees. Next comes the measurement of goals. “The most successful leaders and companies are those who measure everything, and then continually try to improve on the most important numbers,” says Tracy, adding that every business activity will be measurable in some way. Recent research has shown that there are as many as 35 to 40 different sets of data recorded in most companies for the purpose of measuring success, from profit and sales figures to growth and gross margin numbers. But such large amounts of data can be confusing even for the most skilled of analysts. “But there’s always that one big number,” Tracy affirms. “And that is the number that predicts business success

the secret to becoming a high performer truly lies: “Work on what your boss thinks is most important”. “The more you work on low value tasks, the faster you will get fired and be replaced by someone else,” he warns. The third point in the triangle is the strict adherence to schedules and deadlines, which Tracy says is the job of leaders to ensure. Without deadlines, all other efforts are counterproductive and it will be difficult to meet any set goals. Tracy says these three factors affect the performance of an organisation more than anything else, adding that when everyone follows these factors, company performance can double or triple. “20% of companies earn 80% of the profits simply because they implemented the golden triangle,” he says. “Poor performance is usually because people are not sure what to do, how to

“The most successful leaders and companies are those who measure every business activity, and then continually try to improve on the most important numbers” Brian Tracy

d re


FEATURE But Tracy cautions that HR practitioners might not be aware of their own influence. He says many HR professionals complain that they are not appreciated enough. They also see themselves as distant from the results of a company, which are based around sales and profitability. “Many HR people often say that it’s not their job. So they pull themselves back and they don’t see that everyone is going to have an effect on the bottom-line,” he says. But to be appreciated by the top leaders, HR has to help the company achieve its business targets by contributing to areas that directly affect productivity and sales figures. “So HR, if they are really smart, can ensure that the right people receive the right training,” says Tracy.

Catch Brian Tracy Live at the HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017 measure it, or when it should be done.” Underperforming organisations can turn their fortunes around by learning from the history of Japan, who Tracy says relied on these three factors of clear goals, measures and strict deadlines, to become one of the world’s top economies less than twenty years after being all but destroyed by the Second World War.

HR’s place in the equation But none of these ideas will work if HR is not supporting the entire process by bridging gaps. Where HR needs to step in is in identifying the areas that employees are weak in, as well as what additional training they have to undergo in order to gain the skills and knowledge needed for them to reach their goals, Tracy says.

Delegation, for example, is one of the most important skills in management. Effective delegation helps managers to achieve better results in less time. Yet Tracy says of all the companies he has worked with, only the largest ones provided training in delegation to their managers. Many companies think delegating is “automatic”, he says, before affirming that it is not. “What I’ve found is managers who know how to delegate can really increase productivity, performance and profits by ten times. One skill alone like delegation can transform a manager’s career,” Tracy shares. HR thus plays an important part in the whole equation of the business’ success. It can facilitate the provision of regular training in delegation and supervision.

Brian Tracy will be speaking at two sessions at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017. On the Plenary stage, Tracy will explore the psychology of motivation, as well as practical strategies and ideas on building a high performance workplace. He will outline engaging questions, exercises, tips and best practices on: • Unlocking the potential of each employee • Building and reinforcing a positive self-concept to motivate and inspire your workforce • Creating a high-performance work environment • Recognising and rewarding in a way that energises your team Over at the C-Suite Symposium, Tracy will discuss the 12 disciplines of leadership excellence, based on his book of the same title. These outline what is truly required for leaders and managers to master the fundamentals of great leadership and transform their organisations.



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BUILDING ON EVOLVING HR SKILLS HR is becoming an increasingly vital function across businesses and organisations, and business education is now focusing on further developing those key people management skills. SIM Global Education’s unique Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management offers an intensive 12-month programme to turn experienced HR practitioners into the business leaders of the future


he HR profession has changed a lot over the past few years, having already evolved significantly over the previous decade. The role of HR has emerged to become a true strategic partner to employing businesses and organisations as the vast majority of businesses recognise the value that skilled HR teams can bring to their operations. Education and training services for HR have also evolved alongside the changes to the profession. Where once, school leavers were trained on key administrative tasks and other largely transactional activities, today the profession is demanding universitylevel graduates with wide-ranging skills, including the ability to apply people management theory to real-world business challenges. SIM Global Education’s (SIM GE’s) Graduate Diploma in Human Resource (HR) Management represents a continuation of this trend. Awarded since September, 2013, the course was developed in response to the need for forward-looking executives and managers to upgrade themselves and participate in HR activities. Dr Christopher Lim, Head of Course Development, Academic Division, SIM Global Education, says the programme is a “post-experience, application-based course”, meant for working adults. “In this programme, there can be a crossfertilisation, reflection and exchange of views in and outside class,” he says. “Participants in a number of occasions may internalise new strategies and case studies from their embryonic deliberations in class.”

Holistic HR education

Knowledge and practical skills

Not everyone who enrolls in the Graduate Diploma in HR Management has a direct background in HR. “Participants are executives and managers who enrol after an average period of six years and four months in the workforce,” Dr Lim says. “Around half of the participants have working responsibilities in HR. Another 30% come from administrative areas of work, and the remaining 20% work in other fields, including engineering, IT and business analytics.” Students are exposed to a wide range of subject areas, including strategic HR management, staffing and employee development, employment relations and legal frameworks, organisational change and development, and the international aspects of HR. Dr Lim says the course materials are particularly relevant for the “Brave New World” of complex and rapidly changing business environments. “In order to expand on a learning environment that enhances current and future ready student capability, a process-based pedagogy based on complexity theory is encouraged. “Such pedagogy would give the Graduate Diploma in HR Management students meaningful insights into dynamic HR practices and issues such as diversity, HR balanced scorecards, and organisational transformation. “This style of learning, it is hoped, bodes well in helping HR professionals to adapt to the vagaries of this contemporary ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world of ours.”

The end results for graduates of the Graduate Diploma in HR Management are twofold. Of course, there is the development of cognitive skills and knowledge of best practice HR. “HR professionals in this context can expect to have a better understanding of the theories and practice of HR from a ‘helicopter’ point of view,” Dr Lim says. However, the course also provides for the development of practical and transferable skills that will suit business professionals and leaders of all disciplines. “The outcome is to understand the ramifications of issues that surround the effectiveness of HR management practices,” Dr Lim says. “In fact, the processes of HR management are taught against a background of real scenarios, so that participants will, through self-reflective learning, hone their skills of resourcefulness, resilience, cross-cultural intelligence, and social responsibility.”

Course details Course: Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management Institution: SIM Global Education Programme length: 12 months part-time Intakes per year: 3 (January, May, and September) SkillsFuture Credit offset? Yes, for Singaporeans aged 25 and over Please visit the SIM GE website for entry requirements.





In today’s rapidly changing and networked world, a strong culture helps to further develop an organisation’s workforce. This does require a shift in mindset though, as guest contributors Wendy Murphy and Kathy Kram advise. They say mentoring needs to become a part of everyday interactions 38 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017



“Employees with multiple mentoring relationships are promoted more quickly, are more satisfied with their work lives, and are more committed to their organisations”


evelopmental (or mentoring) relationships are those where the primary purpose is learning. A developmental culture combines challenging, meaningful work with support and caring for employees. In our book, Strategic Relationships at Work, we provide a framework for thinking about and cultivating developmental relationships in the 21st century. Not only do employees need skills - training on how to build relationships, but organisations also need to maintain practices that foster a relational culture. Why is a developmental culture, one in which employees have multiple developmental relationships, so important? We live in a fast-paced world that constantly requires new skills , and the ability to learn from new people and experiences. Relentlessly advancing technology keeps us connected at all hours and reduces the barriers between work and home. All of us need evolving strategies for how to engage in our work and personal lives. In addition, employees are more mobile than ever, and globalisation means that different advisors will be needed in different contexts. Thus, a robust developmental network comprised of sets of relationships both inside and outside the workplace is critical for navigating today’s careers. Our research has shown that individuals

with multiple mentoring relationships are promoted more quickly; are more satisfied with both their work and nonwork lives; and are more committed to their organisations. For leaders and HR professionals, supporting a developmental culture is one way to create opportunities for employees to learn and grow through their relationships. A developmental culture encourages learning on-the-job. Employees solidify and enhance their skills through stretch assignments and collaborations. Challenging assignments, such as transitions to unfamiliar responsibilities, tasks that drive change, or highresponsibility projects with decisionmaking power, all become less inherently risky in a developmental culture. That is because developmental relationships provide critical information, support, and feedback for learning. It is also important that when activelydeveloping employees becomes a valued part of an organisation’s culture, the reward system must acknowledge, recognise, and reward individuals who take the time to actively mentor, coach, and sponsor others.

What can leaders do to support a developmental culture? Senior management and HR professionals need to create a supportive culture in which individuals are

encouraged to seek and offer help to their colleagues of all levels. However, all leaders are in a position to enact change, at least within their own areas of practice. So, if you find yourself thinking, “I wish we did a better job of mentoring employees in this organisation”, then consider these three strategies that you can begin right away: 1. Serve as a role model You can serve as a role model by actively mentoring those with less experience who could benefit from your guidance. Being approachable, asking good questions, and demonstrating genuine interest in junior colleagues goes a long way toward building connections as well as a reputation of being someone who develops others. 2. Support your direct reports If you are managing and supervising others, you can make yourself available to support each individual’s aspirations through listening, creating opportunities for skill development, and offering coaching and feedback. If you do this for your subordinates, they will learn to do the same with theirs. 3. Sponsor new initiatives and formal programmes Finally, you can sponsor new initiatives, including education and training on emotional competence and formal mentoring programmes. You should also modify the reward system to JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017


GUEST CONTRIBUTOR About the Authors Kathy E. Kram is the Richard C.Shipley Professor in Management at Boston University. Her primary interests are in the areas of adult development, relational learning, mentoring and developmental networks, leadership development, and change processes in organisations.

Wendy Marcinkus Murphy is Associate Professor of Management at Babson College. Her research covers careers, particularly developmental networks, learning, and work-life balance.

Kathy Kram

demonstrate that participating in these development programmes and actively developing others are valuable and valued.

How can organisations help? Organisations can help employees form more developmental relationships informally through their cultures, and also formally through their training and programmes. Training initiatives that raise individual’s self-awareness through personality or behavioural assessments, 360-degree reviews, or interpersonal skills workshops provide opportunities for learning through feedback, reflection, and practice. Many companies offer traditional mentoring programmes, which pair more experienced senior managers in the role of mentor with less experienced junior employees in the role of protégés. Most recently, sponsorship programmes have emerged which focus on a specific type of career support – advocating for the protégé in order to increase their visibility in the organisation and get 40 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017


Wendy Murphy

them promoted. However, these programmes sometimes signal to employees that mentoring is provided and that only one relationship is necessary. In order to signal that multiple developmental relationships are critical for career growth, companies need to offer programmes beyond traditional mentoring. We showcase several examples in Strategic Relationships at Work. Some involve establishing another formal one-on-one matching programmes with mentors outside the company. Others illustrate how peer coaching and mentoring circles can foster developmental relationships among peers who share common challenges. Peer mentoring or coaching relationships are relationships between equals in terms of age or status in the organisation. Peers are more available and accessible than senior executives and still present rich learning opportunities. Offering both traditional and peer mentoring simultaneously has been

shown to increase new employees’ onboarding processes and improve retention over the first five years. Mentoring circles are a creative way to integrate senior executives and peers. In this format, one to three mentors are brought together with four to eight protégés for the purposes of accelerating their development. People are more willing to take a collaborative approach to learning and work if the company recognises and rewards developing others. Integrating this ideal into the formal reward systems and making it a criterion for promotion are the two fastest ways to introduce metrics that reinforce a developmental culture.

Conclusion Fostering developmental relationships and supporting a developmental culture are critical and cost-effective approaches to employee growth and retention. Mentoring should be viewed as a holistic practice and embraced by leaders at every level.


A WHOLE NEW WORLD With the high incompletion rates of massive online open courses and other online training solutions, organisations are feeling hard-pressed to explore more interactive and engaging programmes. Experts say one new opportunity is in virtual reality training, as HRM Asia studies the Kelvin Ong pros and cons of this approach


ot so long ago, massive online open courses, or MOOCs, were hailed as the next big thing in learning and development. In 2008, one of the world’s earliest MOOC programmes was introduced by the University of Manitoba in Canada. Aptly titled Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, the course was attended by 25 full-time students of the university,

and another 2,200 pairs of curious eyes from around the world, who were able to access the content for free. Four years later, The New York Times predicted 2012 would be “the year of the MOOC”. Popular online learning platforms like Coursera, Udacity and Khan Academy, emerged alongside the proliferation of single MOOCs around the world.

By 2014 however, the learning tool’s popularity began to wane. Several tertiary institutes and learners alike turned their backs on the medium, as they started looking for the next best thing in online learning.

All MOOC-ed out? So why did the once-golden child of learning and development lose its clout JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017


LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT as fast as it had arrived on the scene? MOOCs gained prominence because they were flexible and convenient for training providers. In a large organisation, the open nature of MOOCs meant only one set of course content needed to be developed for an entire division. Consequently, it was easy for HR to coordinate training and accommodate various needs: employees located all over the world could log onto the platform at any time they liked, choose a programme, then begin learning. These factors made MOOCs a lot cheaper to run than traditional face-toface classes. But as one 2013 study found, one massive letdown of MOOCs was their very low completion rates. That study found that only 5% of students undergoing Coursera online open courses offered through the University of Pennsylvania finished the classes they started. One key reason for this was that the courses did not take into consideration the changing habits and behavioural patterns of learners, caused largely by technological advancements. It is not just millennials who are always on the move, have shorter attention spans, and as a result, less patience for irrelevant information. Studies show that even the older generations are experiencing technology-induced cognitive dissonance. A recent Axonify survey further found that 90% of online learners feel it is important that training is easy to complete and understand, with 85% saying it was “very important” that training was engaging, fun, personalised and relevant to them. Nearly 90% also maintained that training information had to be available anytime and anywhere. While MOOCs did cater to some of these peripheral needs, they were poor in capturing the attention of their users, and in achieving the most important goal of educating. Still, it’s not that MOOCs have 42 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017


“Scenario training is used by multiple industries to provide familiarity with processes to aid efficiency, productivity, service or safety.” Dan Riley, managing director, Spearhead Interactive

completely disappeared from the radar overnight and have become irrelevant. The courses remain a useful tool in many industries, such as banking and finance, where self-paced learning is ideal. So the challenge for online open courses, moving forward, will be to incorporate an element of enjoyment to increase engagement levels.

Recreating reality The ideal learning solution is still one that is able to balance all the demands of users: to be easily comprehensible, engaging, fun, personalised, and accessible. It is perhaps unsurprising then that in the last two years, new solutions are coming to the forefront of learning and development around the world. One solution in particular, has a variety of names – scenario training, simulated learning and virtual reality, to name three. But the basic idea is the same: To help employees learn by “doing” through technology-enabled immersion exercises. This form of training uses haptic (incorporating the sense of touch) computer technology to create a simulated environment of what

employees will face in real life. These virtual recreations not only provide a hands-on experience for students, but also a visual context for the information that is being disseminated. Unlike the preceding two-dimensional simulators, which were unable to capture the true atmosphere and depth of places and situations, the latest virtual realities are 360-degree and three dimensional in scope. The most important feature of these virtual realities is that employees are immersed right in the middle of a possible future work task that can only be recreated by computer. By being thrust into scenarios, trainees are able to practice what they have been taught. Training is also more engaging, which further aids the learning process. Research conducted into scenario training has indeed shown increases in knowledge retention up to 70% higher than traditional programmes, said Dan Riley, managing director at UK-based 3D training software developer Spearhead Interactive. “Scenario training is a proven and useful way to enable staff to hone their skills. It’s a resource that is used by multiple industries to provide familiarity

LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT with processes to aid efficiency, productivity, service or safety,” said Riley. But the biggest advantage of simulated training lies in the possibilities it has created for dangerous and hazardous industries like healthcare and oil and gas, where hands-on training are impossible due to the risks involved. In 2014, the oil sector was the first industry to use this method on a wide scale. Oil companies created three dimensional re-imaginations of the oil extraction process to train rig workers. Prior to this however, they had to rely on PowerPoint presentations to educate workers about safety guidelines, which was severely inadequate. Around the same time, hospitals also began to simulate highly dangerous medical procedures like surgery, and even more minor ones like cardiopulmonary resuscitation and Foley catheter insertion. With three-dimensional simulation, organisations are able to train new employees in crucial job functions without endangering any lives.

Virtues of interactivity Adding gamification features to this, virtual reality has taken user interactivity to a whole other level for other industries. That’s because features like points, rewards and leaderboards, build a new element of motivation into scenarios, Laurence Yap, Head of HR at Dexon Electrical Engineering in Malaysia, says. He believes it was the lack of “true interactivity” in some MOOCs that brought user engagement levels and subsequently completion rates down. Simulated training, on the other hand, requires participants to put on specialised hardware and accessories built with haptic technology, allowing them to control their virtual world by using motion and touch, just as in real life. Users are also able to receive feedback in the form of vibration from accessories like data gloves and vests. This added

layer of kinaesthetic communication thus gives employees an all-around experience, beyond an otherwise visualonly medium. Yap says these programmes are also able to “ensure that all employees fulfil their training requirements through automated refreshers and restarts” should they fail in the middle of a mission.

Blind spots But is virtual reality another case of looking through rose-tinted glasses? Some have suggested that MOOC developers were so excited by the technological aspects of the platform that they ignored the human factor so important for engagement. The same blind spot could potentially happen with virtual reality training. Such programmes supposedly remove the need for trainers, since they should be operated by the user themselves, thereby lowering costs. But how true is this? Evidently, virtual reality creations are limited by the fact that they only work with highly specialised hardware that come with haptic technology. So operating these technical devices

might prove to be challenging if a trainer is not around. These devices can also be physically cumbersome – from headsets that look like oversized space goggles, to bulky transducer-equipped vests, making them a lot less mobile than the creators probably envisioned. Overwhelming equipment and set-up costs is another deterrence, says Yap. With only a few offerings available today, virtual reality devices currently cost upwards of US$4,200 per unit, although Yap says this should drop in the coming years as more providers enter the market. Furthermore, while there is some data out there suggesting the retention rates of these programmes, Hewlett Packard Singapore’s Training and Employee Engagement Lead Derrick Lim warns that more research still has to be done in other areas. “In terms of getting people effectively engaged and the outcome of the training, that remains to be seen,” says Lim. “Right now, there are not enough indicators to really determine if such virtual training programmes are truly effective.”





Software development house Tinkerbox Studios is not afraid to get its hands dirty to cultivate a robust talent pipeline for not just itself but also, the wider software sector. The company is also building a strong learning culture within its ranks, as HRM Asia finds out Sham Majid


ate Lim was a flight stewardess for several years, before she also spent a year in a pharmaceutical sales role. However, she had always maintained a long-term interest in technology, and software coding in particular. In February last year, she became part of the first cohort of “TechLadies”, a ten-week coding bootcamp for women. There she met Jaryl Sim, Chief Technology Officer of Tinkerbox Studios, a software development firm, who was serving as a coach. Following the conclusion of TechLadies, Lim was accepted into an internship programme with TinkerBox. 44 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017


And after completing that intensive five-month training, she was offered an ongoing role with the firm, and is now a full-time product manager.

Encouraging software careers While TechLadies is not the brainchild of Tinkerbox, the firm does actively participate in a wide range of career development initiatives for the software industry. As well as its mentorship efforts, its industry engagement includes sponsorship and participation in various technology conferences. This is part of a strategy to engage with the software development community

in Singapore, and to convince budding developers that local firms are serious about cultivating technology talent, says Kelvin Tham, Chief Operating Officer. He says Singaporean graduates of engineering and computer software courses have typically not favoured careers as software developers. “For example, they prefer to work in banks and be analysts, while the talented developers also prefer to work in Silicon Valley,” he says. “They don’t view Singapore as a place to practice their craft,” he says. “This is something we want to improve,” he says.

SME SPOTLIGHT Multiple hiring touchpoints Besides conferences, Tinkerbox actively engages with universities, particularly the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore Management University (SMU), the alma mater of Tham and Sim. For example, Tinkerbox took in several interns from SUTD’s maiden intake of software engineering students. “It was well-received and we now have a mini cult-following among SUTD students,” says Tham. While Tinkerbox participates in recruitment fairs with universities, most of its hiring centres on those who have completed its internship scheme, as well as through employee referrals and the firm’s outreach programmes. Tham says Lim is a prime example of how participating in coding bootcamps can lead to the recruitment of promising coding talent. Overall, Tinkerbox’s recruitment strategy encompasses various strategies,” he says. “We have multiple touchpoints with people through conferences, universities and clients.”

project. Tinkerbox’s inquisitive learning culture has also led to it building its own internal software tools, including a proprietary web-based project management application that helps manage projects, clients, and manpower resources. “We used Google Sheets, but that is not translatable to clients and developers. Since we’re software writers, we decided to do something for ourselves,” says Tham. The “Tinkerdex” platform has also become a tool for employees and management to manage basic HR matters, such as leave applications. Tham firmly believes these learning and development initiatives are assisting employee retention efforts. “Our belief is that if we give opportunities and continue to grow people in the company, they won’t then find a reason to leave, unless there are external reasons that we can’t control,” he says.

Fika sessions It’s not all work and no play for Tinkerbox employees. The company encourages employees to let their hair down and step out of their work zones on a daily basis, by partaking in its regular “Fika” sessions. Fika is a Swedish term meaning “coffee break”. These sessions were championed by Ted Johansson, Tinkerbox’s Swedishborn Technical Lead. “Ted encouraged everyone to stop staring at their computer screens and to use these Fika sessions to talk to each other in a casual setting,” says Tham. The daily 15-to-30 minute break sessions take place in the midafternoon, and employees can engage in conversations, grab snacks, or play board and table games. “It has evolved to become one or two games of the card game Uno or foosball,” adds Tham.

Thirst for knowledge Tinkerbox has also implemented a strong learning culture across its 22-strong workforce. “We believe that learning and growing as a developer doesn’t come from lecturers, reading, or online courses,” Tham says. “You learn when you have a mentor and when you work on a project together.” Hence, the organisation tries to inculcate this form of co-learning on all of its projects, with junior employees being afforded opportunities to work on client projects under the guidance of their assigned mentors. At a basic level, every code written by an employee is reviewed by their peer before it is approved and integrated into the application. Learning and development is also undertaken at every opportunity, even after the conclusion of a client project. Aptly termed “Post-mortem”, this entails a reflection session held within teams to sum up what was done well, what were the mistakes made, and what could have been done better during each

TinkerThursdays Tinkerbox’s Studios’ desire to continuously broaden its horizons in the software development space has led to the creation of “Tinker Thursdays” within the company. According to Kelvin Tham, Chief Operating Officer, TinkerThursdays is a fortnightly event where employees stay back after work to share knowledge and update each other on the latest developments in the software development sphere. To add a fun element into it, employees participate in coding, design and website challenges, with dinner ordered into the office. “We work on different client projects, and

teams are often fragmented. Hence, we wanted to have an activity that brought everyone together,” says Tham. “It’s about understanding what new technologies are out there, what some people may have tried, and to help those who aren’t aware of new developments.” Kate Lim, a product manager with Tinkerbox Studios, says TinkerThursdays has been a huge hit with employees. “Even though it’s held every fortnight, we feel sometimes that we have to wait too long for the next session,” she says.




Taking a Gemba Walk


“Gemba Walk” is a term used to describe personal observation of work. The original Japanese term comes from gembutsu, which means “real thing.” It also sometimes refers to the “real place.” This concept focuses on: • In-person observation; • Observing where work is being done; and • Interacting with people and the process in the spirit of kaizen (change for the better) You may ask, what has a Gemba Walk got to do with employee engagement? Many different factors affect and drive employee engagement.

However, at Ingersoll Rand we believe in getting leadership to the place where work is done, management seeing with their own eyes the problems that occur. Listening to staff, and asking questions and actively engaging with the workforce is critical in increasing overall engagement. It stems from our belief that the real action taking place in a company is not in the General Manager’s office or in the conference room. Every Tuesday morning, a group of cross-functional leaders, including the General Manager, will meet to conduct our weekly Gemba Walk. During the walk, we observe the surroundings, paying

attention to safety in particular. We also talk to employees to understand what is happening on the ground, and coach the team for problem solving. This gives leaders the opportunity to understand the day-to-day issues that employees are facing. It allows them to see why things happen as they do, and discuss how they might be improved. We believe that the Gemba Walk is a powerful tool that fosters continuous improvement and as a result, creates a more engaged workforce. It is not used for solving problems. It is a system of observation, input and reflection.

Eddy Neo HR Director, Ingersoll Rand

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MARK FLETCHER Director of HR, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

Who is Mark Fletcher and what defines him?  He is someone who is driven personally to be the best in everything he does. I am a perfectionist and strive to be the best in all that I do. What would you be doing if you were not in HR?  I interviewed to be an airline cabin crew member several times, but I guess I was not what they were looking for! What are the best and worst parts of your job?  Well, there’s lots of interaction with the Ladies and Gentlemen. We have an open door policy and my door is always open to anyone who wants to speak to me. Describe a day in the office.  

Well, there’s lots of interaction with the Ladies and Gentlemen. We have an open door policy and my door is always open to anyone who wants to speak to me.

Complete this sentence. HR is... 

a team that works in partnership with the leadership team to drive the culture of an organisation.

What makes a good leader?  Someone who walks the talk, is a good listener, and is also open to feedback. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?  I received this from one of my leaders: “If you want to be different and stand out, you need to be brave and take risks”. I am glad I took this advice. If you could pick the brain of someone living or dead, who would it be?  I truly admire the outgoing US President Barack Obama. He is a great orator and I would love to get an insight on how he prepares to deliver his speeches.

What is your favourite quote?  “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost Finally, Facebook or LinkedIn?  

“I am a perfectionist and strive to be the best in all that I do”

I use both. Facebook mainly to keep in touch with friends, while I use LinkedIn for work purposes.







It is no longer sufficient for HR Business Partners to simply be attuned to their organisation’s business framework. Marcus Budimulia, HR Director, Global Operations of life sciences technologist SCIEX says the role now requires a deep knowledge of different HR functions, including the job scope of HR generalist. He speaks to HRM Asia ahead of the HR Business Partner Congress 2017

Marcus Budimulia

HR Director, Global Operations, SCIEX Marcus Budimulia has held a number of senior HR leadership roles for more than 20 years in areas such as Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Organisation Design and Performance, and Succession Planning. He has led a multitude of HR operations in various Multinationals and government organisations. Many of Budimulia’s initiatives have been implemented as regional and global projects, and have received internal and external recognition including a Singapore government award. Budimulia obtained a Bachelor and then a Masters of Business Administration in International Business from Charles Sturt University.






Please describe your role in SCIEX.

I am leading the HR team for both the Global Operations and Asia Commercial functions.


Marcus Budimulia, HR Director of Global Operations for SCIEX will be just one among a plethora of respected speakers and HR thought leaders sharing their insights at HRM Asia’s HR Business Partner Congress 2017. Featuring high-level case studies presentations, interactive dialogues, lively debates, and engaging panel discussions, the HR Business Partner Congress will be held on 15 - 16 March in Singapore. It will serve as a valued peer-to-peer platform for HR professionals to learn from cutting-edge case studies and emerging best practices. Attendees will be able to explore different HR Business Partner models to find one that fits and adds real value to their organisation.

How does business partnering factor into your job duties?

HR business partnering has to be part of the DNA whenever we support our internal stakeholders. This is crucial to enable us to understand their business and the organisational plan, to give advice relating to internal and external situations, and to gain the trust to be the first focal point for any people-related matters.


What are some key differences between an HR generalist and an HR Business Partner?

An HR generalist needs to know the overall HR processes, procedures and guidelines that are applicable to maintain where we are, within the boundaries of internal and external aspects. An HR Business Partner needs to understand the roles of the HR generalist, and others including HR Centres of Expertise. They must also understand the business and look at what it needs instead of forcing their HR beliefs onto it. At the same time, an HR Business Partner is the bridge between general HR colleagues, making HR relevant to the needs of the business and its functions.


As well as strong commercial and business acumen, what else do HR Business Partners require to succeed?

It is important for HR Business Partners to be able to link the dots and understand the external market relevancy against their company and products. To be able to do so, it is necessary for each partner to have good listening skills, be updated on all relevant news, stay close with the

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business and various functional leaders to have more insights, and follow the updates of their company.


In your opinion, are HR Business Partners currently performing up to expectations?

The term HR Business Partner has been used quite loosely and widely, based on some of the job advertisements I have seen. It is important to be fair to the incumbent and to state if the role is an HR Business Partner or an HR generalist position, and to not use the title only to make it more attractive to potential recruits. I have seen professional HR Business Partners during HR networking sessions. We always need to make ourselves relevant and not be complacent. This is in addition to upgrading our HR knowledge and skills to be able to provide fact-based and valued advice.


With HR expected to be more strategically-inclined, can we expect a decline of the HR Business Partner role?

Becoming a more sophisticated HR advisor to the business has become

more important, and management now expects HR to bring more strategic thinking to the table. For those who are building HR skills, we need to remember that to earn their trust, not only do we need to be able to think on par with them, we also need to know what is needed on the ground to ensure the plan will work. Thus, in order to be a strategic HR advisor, we need to be holistic HR individuals who know the actual administration processes and issues, and can then tally them with the business plan.


What will you be focusing on in your presentation to the HR Business Partner Congress 2017? I will be speaking on the criteria required to be a valuable HR Business Partner. I am excited to be able to share best practices, and I also look forward to learning from the experiences of the other speakers. This congress session goes beyond the normal theoretical content found in text books and will enable me to gain more insights and priceless lessons.






lear measurements of returnon-investment (ROI) for demonstrating the effectiveness of learning and development initiatives remain a pain point for many talent development professionals. As such, getting buy-in from business leaders for new learning initiatives is also proving to be an ongoing challenge. But as several speakers noted at HRM Asia’s Learning and Development Congress, held on January 17 and 18, showing a high ROI is no longer of top importance, or even necessary at all in some cases. Rather, a better indicator of programme effectiveness is business performance – “understanding that

the areas you wanted to improve, have actually improved,” Raman Sidhu, Shell Eastern Petroleum’s Global Learning Manager, advised the room of over 100 professionals. These “areas” could refer to specific targets, such as gunning for bigger market share, increasing employee engagement levels, or developing higher customer satisfaction rates. Sidhu added that Learning and Development’s value as a function in the eyes of business leaders also increases when practitioners take off their “HR hats” and act more like “performance consultants” to the business. But the primary objective, according to Dr Sandra Pereira from KPISoft, is not


about numbers. “It’s ensuring employees leave having learned something that they can apply back at work.” Tomorrow’s employees are also increasingly expected to be “as flexible and adaptive as chameleons”, said Pereira. So it is one of the function’s main objectives to help them gain the skills needed to become multi-faceted. “Our role as people leaders ultimately is to help every young person identify what their power is,” said Saurav Atri, Director of Talent Sourcing at Gallup. Atri said learning and development leaders should identify employees troughs and focus on filling these gaps with more relevant training.

Could you elaborate about your company’s learning and development needs? One of the often-neglected parts of the overall learning and development landscape is how we actually build the capabilities of line managers to become more effective. Most employees actually don’t leave their companies, but they leave their bosses. Sometimes managers who are actually moving up from being an individual contributor without the necessary, formal training on how to lead a team, could actually affect the business in more ways than what people are aware of. An ill-equipped manager can contribute to morale issues or a lack of clear direction for the company.

Edwin Ong

Regional Learning and Development Manager, Asia-Pacific (Europe-based multinational)

Describe your current role, and what brought you to the Learning and Development Congress? I actually oversee the regional learning and development needs for Asia-Pacific in my company. My colleague is one of the key speakers at this year’s event, so I’m here to support him. I’m also here to find out more about other companies’ learning and development initiatives, as well as best practices.



What was the biggest takeaway for you? The session that really stood out was the panel discussion on getting buy-in from leadership for new learning initiatives. A lot of times of course, the learning and development department as a whole is relegated to a cost centre. We end up saying “this is not within the budget, so we can’t do it”. I think really the key point is how can learning and development be truly relevant to the business, as one of the speakers had mentioned. How can we actually address the company’s pain points which the C-suite is facing? If you are able to do that effectively, you can then prove where the value will be.


14-15 Feb Measuring ROI on Training and Development Masterclass

24 Feb HRM Awards Gala Presentation

EVENTS CALENDAR first and second quarters, 2017 1-2 Mar

Singapore Talent and Recruitment Show

15-16 Mar HR Business Partner Congress

3 Mar

30-31 Mar

Social Media for HR Professionals Masterclass

Strategic HR Business Partnering Masterclass

3-4 May HR Summit Asia

24-25 May 13-14 Jun Employee Health & Wellness Congress

Employment Law Congress



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

Dear Laurence, I admit it. I am what HR loves to hate. I am a serial job hopper. I have had three different jobs with three different companies over the past two years, and I have just seen what could be the big next role advertised. There have been good reasons behind each job change – and this new role would be a big increase in responsibility in an industry that I have always been quite passionate about – but I do worry that my long resume of short-term jobs is becoming hard to explain to employers. Should I stick to my perfectly reasonable job for another six months, or try to keep climbing the ladder? Job hopper, Singapore Three jobs in two years, and potentially a fourth – is pretty fast for anybody! So the real question is: what’s your vision? Where are you trying to get to? There are two schools of thought on this. The obvious one is to show real experience and depth in a respected company, grow through a couple of different jobs with that company – that’s a traditional perspective. But it is being increasingly recognised these days that moving between roles, functions, companies, and even between industries also has value to it. In the US, already one third of the workforce is in the “gig economy”, participating in some form of part time, temporary, or consulting work. Different organisations have their own perspectives and preferences. Do you want to end up in a stable job in a

big company? Or are you looking to be more entrepreneurial, work in the startup world, or perhaps start your own business? If stability is key, then you need to establish a more solid track record for yourself. If you do have room to be entrepreneurial, then by all means throw your hat into the ring for this new job. But understand that you will be taking responsibility for your own career development henceforth. Either way, you need to be clear on your objectives, and understand what the people that are important to that journey will think about your career and experiences to date. It’s a customer-centric approach. Given what you are trying to achieve, what are the customers –your future employers – looking for? Answer that, and what you will need to do next will become obvious.

Dear Laurence, I work in a senior role for a large HR team, covering compensation strategies across multiple Asia-Pacific markets. My next career goal is to move outside the region – I’d love to work in the US for a few years. However, my current company has no operations (or ambitions) outside of Asia. Is a two year stint with a new company an impossible dream. If not, what can I do now to help me find an opportunity that fits with this goal? California dreaming, Singapore

The reality is you have two choices. One: apply to companies in the US, from a distance and at random, with virtually zero chance of success, unless for some reason they’re specifically looking to develop Asian talent to come back to this region later. Realistically, I suggest having a twoyear plan that says: find an American multinational that is looking for someone like you here in Singapore. Join them, blow their minds with how wonderful you are; get into their talent mobility programme, and then get sent over to head office to be groomed as a future global talent in that company. Because most American multinationals that are growing in Asia are looking for Asian talent, and generally they are prepared to invest in developing Asian talent by taking them to the US, putting them in Head Office for a couple of years, and then bringing them back to Asia with that global experience. But you do need to establish yourself in that company first. No business is going to invest the time, resources, and money required to build leadership talent in someone based solely on their résumé When I was at GE, I saw them explicitly take this approach with some of my colleagues: top talent sent to the US to get head office experience and build those key relationships which is important to understand the bigger picture. They all came back to much bigger jobs in Asia. But you do need to establish yourself in that organisation first.

Laurence Smith is a board-level advisor to With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including stints and projects with LG Electronics, GE Capital, McKinsey, the World Bank, and as Managing Director of Learning and Development for DBS Bank.



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As Singapore continues to shift to the new economy, challenges continue to arise in the areas of human capital development, which is taking stock of Singapore’s current human capital resources and its ability to drive future economic growth. HRM Asia reached out to HR professionals to understand how this shift is affecting their ability to manage and recruit skilled talent who can meet the demands of the new economy. We found that many HR professionals face the same challenges, including: • Skills shortages • Restrictions from foreign worker laws • A lack of know-how for exploring new-talent sources • Technological disruption from tools such as social media; and • A general lack of understanding of how the new economy will implicate the HR profession Undoubtedly we identified a common theme; being the acknowledgement that as a result of this rapid shift - HR professionals are not equipped with the skills to effectively attract, recruit and develop the workforce for the New Economy.

This brings us to the Singapore Talent and Recruitment Show! EVENT HIGHLIGHTS: The ONLY and first ever two-in-1 congress in APAC, combining two HR’s biggest concerns – Talent Management & Recruitment

30+ extensive and intensive sessions covering every aspect of Talent Management & Recruitment

CHRO panel – Hear from Business Leaders on their top concerns and priorities for Talent in 2017/2018

35+ speakers from over 10 industries

Start-up panel – Hear from successful Singapore Start-ups on how they attract and retain talent

2 expert-led roundtable discussions for In-Depth Discussions on Hard-to-Hire roles and Leadership Development

Case Study from UTAC, Intel, Experian, Kantar Health

HRM Asia’s Social Media for HR Professionals Masterclass 2017 will equip you with in- depth practical know-how of implementing a social media program in all aspects of HR. Social Media tools help HR professionals in realising a more efficient recruitment process, to make your brand stronger, to engage and to communicate with the talent market.

Two Social Media Expert Trainers in one exciting Masterclass!

Emile Mac Gillavry CCO Maximum

Erika Tang Account Director Maximum

This workshop is designed to ensure that you optimally use multiple social media platforms with real time case studies and online tools to better measure ROI in terms of sales conversions and target the traffic that will empower your HRM strategies.

REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: | 2017 HRMASIA.COM








HR Operations Executive (6 months contract)

Regional HR Manager

• Exciting opportunity with a global market leader • Lead in human capital data analytics • Excellent career development opportunities across the group

• US MNC • Lean HR Structure • Centrally Located

• US MNC • Newly created role • Manufacturing presence in Asia

Our client is a US Industrial Manufacturing MNC that has established worldwide presence and prides itself as a global market leader. They are currently seeking an experienced HR Business Partner with strong focus in Operations & Analytics.

Our client, a reputable US MNC and a global market leader in its field, is urgently looking to hire a highly hands-on HR Operations Executive to be part of their team.

Our client is a US based medical devices organisation with a long standing presence in the region.

In the role, you will oversee all HR operations, partner closely with the wider HR team, as well as business leaders in running and analyzing human capital data and statistics. You will be the main driver in gathering and tracking data such as headcount movements, hiring and recruitment trackers, engagement survey results, HR costs and savings that will lead to key business decisions.

Reporting to the HR Director, you will perform the full suite of HR activities together with the HR team, ensuring smooth delivery of service to the business. You will be involved in managing the full life cycle of employees and their records on the Workday system, coordinate training and development activities, administer work pass applications, renewals and cancellations, manage medical records, and facilitate workplace health and safety courses according to requirements.

The successful candidate has a proven strong career track record in MNCs, hands-on experience in a fast and ever changing environment, is highly analytical and detail-oriented with strong inclination towards numbers and data. As a business partner in the HR team, you will also come with excellent stakeholder management and communication skills.

The successful candidate comes with strong communications and interpersonal skills, with experience in hands-on HR operations activities in an fast-paced and highly challenging environment. Candidates with knowledge in Workday and ability to commence work immediately would be highly preferred.

Reference number: CC/JD485185 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)

Reference number: CC/JD485254 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)

They are seeking an upcoming HR Manager to act as a business partner to the commercial organisation and be the point of contact for global leadership for APAC. Reporting to the VP of HR in US, this role will play a key role in rolling out global initiatives in the region, partnering with the commercial business and working on HR agendas of succession planning, talent management and engagement. The successful candidate would come from a manufacturing background with atleast five to eight years of HR generalist and partnering experience. Excellent communication skills and business acumen are important to be successful in this role.

Reference number: NC/JD485284 Contact person: Niharika Chaturvedi (Registration Number R1104291)


HR Business Partner (Operations & C&B)

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

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







Opportunities for Life

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

HR Business Partner (Plant)

HR Business Partner (based in Shanghai, China)

• US MNC, matrix environment • Exciting and challenging role

• Leading Consumer MNC • Hands-on, strategic and challenging role

Our client, a US MNC is looking for a senior candidate to join the HR team who will contribute to their business through the provision of HR business partnering to a division.

A renowned consumer brand, our client has an established international presence. It seeks a dynamic and consummate HR Business Partner to play an integral part in their growing business in China where it has a wide presence.

Reporting to the HRBP Manager and partnering business heads, you will provide HR advisory and functional services across full spectrum HR, whilst work independently in a highly matrix environment, look into improvement and propose solutions. You will communicate, cooperate and collaborate with Country HR, functional managers and staff to enhance effectiveness, as well as assist Asia HR team in ongoing development and implementation of HR strategies. Key focus include talent acquisition, C&B, engagement, talent and change management.

Reporting to Head of Business HR, you will partner closely with divisional heads as an Advisor to ensure HR goals are aligned with the organizational plan for the assigned China regions. You are part of the China HR team responsible for the development and application of HR policies and programs in full spectrum HR including talent acquisition, development and management, compensation & benefits, performance management, employee relations, and HR operations.

You must possess a tertiary qualification in HR or relevant and has undertaken a similar role. You should have at least 6+ years of HR generalist experience, with 3 years in business partner function. You are positive, adaptable and demonstrated ability to develop, manage relationships and consult at senior business level. You must work with a diverse group of stakeholders, across functions and have experience in matrix and large manufacturing plant environment.

The successful candidate is degree qualified with minimum 10 years’ experience as a HR generalist including minimum 6 years in HR business partnering. Preference will be given to those with working experience in MNCs with diverse culture environment and partnering with commercial team and retail. You are highly hands-on, possess excellent interpersonal, communication, influencing and leadership skills to operate in a highly matrix and fast-paced environment.

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

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at or Audrey Chong at

EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

EA Personnel Registration No. R1105976 & R1105147

RGF is the global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest HR and recruitment services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$14 million annual net sales in annual revenue. For more than 50 years, RGB provides comprehensive HR and talent acquisition services which include retained and contingency executive recruitment and market mapping, senior to staff level specialist and contract recruitment as well as payroll services. RGF operates in more than 45 locations across 26 cities in 11 countries and markets in Asia with in-country specialist consultants. Best Recruitment Firm in Accounting, Banking, Finance; The Executive Search Company of the Year; The HR Recruitment Company of the Year; Best Recruitment Firm, Non-Management Roles and Best Recruitment Firm, RPO. HRM ASIA, RI ASIA, Human Resources magazine


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

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HRM ASIA’S QUIET, LOYAL ACHIEVER Amos Lee, HRM Asia’s Senior Graphic Designer and longest serving team member, passed away after a short, private battle with cancer on December 31, 2016. He was 51.


reative work in the advertising industry is famously produced in twoperson teams: a copywriter handles the tag lines, descriptions, and written messaging, while an art director is responsible for the images and design. Pictures and words: both equal parts of a creative endeavour. It’s the same situation in magazine production, although the teams are often larger. Still, in the case of HRM Asia, the graphic design department has been a team of just one or two throughout its 15-year history. Amos Lee led that team for almost all of the 175 issues produced. Lee joined HRM Magazine in May, 2002 just a few months after it had launched. He served with loyalty, grace, and diligence from that day until the end of last year, the brand’s longest serving ambassador by almost a decade. That stint was all the more remarkable considering the magazine was traded between three different owning companies over that time. Lee showed unflinching loyalty to the magazine, the brand, and each company throughout, as well as the utmost dedication to his work. He developed the ability to beautifully combine journalist content with creative storytelling and deft lay outs. Lee was also patient with rookie journalists who often struggled to explain the artistic nuances behind their stories. They were never cast aside as novices. Lee was also well-liked by everyone



Lee’s love for technology remains the stuff of legend. He was renowned for taking a few days off his annual leave each year to attend the IT Fair and stock up on his collection of the gadgets. Lee’s other love was his family, speaking about his wife and two sons often with humble admiration, a twinkle of pride in his eye on each occasion.

A refreshing throwback

within the wider HRM Asia office, known for his chirpy morning greetings whenever colleagues stepped into the pantry to start the day with a cup of coffee. Without fail, Lee would be making his own “secret blend” herbal tea daily, preparing himself for what would always be a busy day ahead. He put the team and colleagues ahead of himself. When a print deadline coincided with the last day of departing editorial director Sumathi Selvaretnam, he took time out to design a special HRM Asia cover as a farewell gift, despite the setback and delay it would require on what is always the busiest day of the monthly print cycle.

In an era characterised by jobhopping and restless employees looking to broaden their horizons every few years, Lee’s loyalty is a refreshing throwback to an earlier age. That he did so, and was still able to grow, with a fast-changing small business is all the more remarkable. Lee did not chase accolades or praise. Instead, he simply plugged away at his work without fuss, investing overtime when it was needed and never allowing the frustrations of constant edits and revisions to impact him or his work. With companies today often feeling forced to mollycoddle staff, this no-frills demeanour and quiet achievement is something all organisations should look out for, pay attention to, and cherish. Some fast-moving high performers will come and go, and the organisation will tend to be happy for as much effort as they can get out of them, but loyal and steady employees like Amos Lee will stay, no matter how rosy or dire circumstances become. Only once they depart will an organisation truly realise the scale of the loss.


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Hrm Jan-Feb 2017 The State of the HR Profession in 2017  

The State of the HR Profession in 2017

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