Page 1

www.hrmasia.com

JULYAUGUST 2019

SERVICED APARTMENTS FOR MILLENNIALS WHAT WE LEARNED AT HR FESTIVAL ASIA 2019

AGENT OF CHANGE Price inc. GST $9.95

DBS’s Paul Cobban on the bank’s digital transformation journey

Special Report: THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA


EDITOR’S NOTE

Dear HRM Magazine Asia readers, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Paul Howell JOURNALIST

Yamini Chinnuswamy Media & Database Executive

Ismail Abdul Rahman graphic designer

Adrian Taylor adrian.taylor@mac.com Rusdi Saleh rusdi.s@gmail.com ACCOUNT MANAGER

Edwin Lim Marketing Manager

Patrick Wong Executive General Manager

Joanna Bush Photographer

Armond Yeo realmsar@gmail.com Printed By

Times Printers Pte Ltd

published By

HRM Asia Pte Ltd 109 North Bridge Road, #05-21 Singapore, 179097 Tel: +65 6423 4631 Fax: +65 6423 4632 Email: info@hrmasia.com.sg ©HRM Asia Pte Ltd, 2019. All rights reserved. Republication permitted only with the approval of the Editorial Director.

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

T

Singapore-based DBS Bank has had similar goals for its innovation team over the past decade or so, and Paul Cobban, its Chief Data and Transformation Officer, is our exclusive cover story interview subject this issue. Adding to his presentation at HR Festival Asia in May, he dives deep into the HR facets of the company’s extraordinary development that led it to be hailed as the World’s Best Bank by Euromoney magazine in July this year.

hey say that “change is the only constant” in today’s disruptive business environment – that’s something that we at HRM Asia have experienced – and fully embraced – over the last few months. On July 1, our 20-strong team in Singapore began operating from the new environs of the WeWork shared office facility in the newlyredeveloped Funan lifestyle mall. It’s very early days, but we’ve already learned a lot. About ourselves, and our individual working styles – and about each other and how to operate effectively in a new environment. Did I really need to hold on to all of that paper and story notes from years gone past? Probably not, and it’s with a sense of gratitude that I have effectively downsized my work life to a single desk and drawer!

Also in these pages, you’ll find a full-wrap of HR Festival Asia, our Special Report into the Role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia, and our annual look at the serviced apartment market in this part of the world.

Much more importantly, the HRM Asia team has begun to see a new world of opportunities that arise from being in and around similarly-sized businesses, as well as a number of startups on the rise. There is an infectious enthusiasm and high-energy drive that resonates from throughout the common areas and it is already translating into greater focus, creativity, and camaraderie across the HRM Asia organisation.

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

Best wishes,

Paul Howell Editorial Director, HRM Asia

meet the t e a m

PAUL HOWELL

Editorial Director paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

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

HRM ASIA.COM

01


CONTENTS

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

ON THE COVER

10

AGENTS OF CHANGE

DBS Bank received yet another acknowledgement as the World’s Best Bank in July, 2019, this time from Euromoney magazine. Just days before, HRM Magazine Asia spoke with Paul Cobban, the bank’s Chief Data and Transformation Officer about its decade-long journey from the bottom to the top.

“Clearly, transformation is about the people. And it surprises me how often people don't get that” – PAUL COBBAN,

CHIEF DATA AND TRANSFORMATION OFFICER, DBS BANK

F E AT U R E S

16

TRANSFORMATION 14HR IN THE SPOTLIGHT Leadership development specialist DDI shares some key data points behind its Global Leadership Forecast, which has showcased the need for HR leaders and teams to upskill and collaborate.

BIGGEST SHOW 16THE IN TOWN

The inaugural HR Festival Asia brought the best of the region’s HR practice, thought leadership, and networking to Singapore over May 8 and 9 this year.

02

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here

instagram.com/hrmasia/

linkedin.com/company/hrmasia

facebook.com/HRMAsiaMag

44

26

CHALLENGES; GREAT 44 NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Serviced apartment operators have never seen so many different market forces weighing down on their traditional business model. But that just means new opportunities for some of the region’s best-known brands.

30

55 HR’S GREAT DEMOCRACY RETURNS

HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards are back again in 2019, with 23 categories to highlight the best HR service providers across the full industry in Singapore and beyond.

55

SPECIAL REPORT The Role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia

36

26CHIEF HR OFFICERS AT THE HELM

HRM Magazine Asia examines the key talent trends that are shaping the scope of the Chief HR Officer role in this era of Industry 4.0.

30GETTING TRULY AGILE IN HR

The “Agile” design framework and set of methodologies invented for software developers has now landed in the HR space. Guest contributor Josh Bersin says it’s transforming the HR function.

A PEOPLE-FIRST TALENT 36LEADING AGENDA

Sreeram Iyer, Chief Operating Officer for ANZ’s Corporate and Institutional Banking business, talks to HRM Magazine Asia about the growing HR component of his role. J U LY _ A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

03


HRM FIVE

Essential traits of a Chief HR Officer Any organisation worth its salt understands that its greatest asset is its people. It follows, then, that the Chief HR Officer – sometimes also referred to as the Chief People Officer, or Chief Talent Officer – is one of the most important seats at the C-suite table. In this modern era of disruption, here are five essential characteristics that a successful Chief HR Officer will need to offer their organisations.

An in-depth knowledge of the business A successful Chief HR Officer must understand the value of each part of the business, and how the individual parts come together to form the whole. By making the effort to understand the business – that is, developing close ties and constant communication with those on the ground –a Chief HR Officer will also have the trust and respect of the different stakeholders; making it easier to work with them and implement strategies.

A track record for leading change Personal adaptability is one thing – but shepherding a whole organisation through change requires not just foresight, but a strong understanding of people, and an appreciation for how to plan and execute large-scale strategies.

A diverse portfolio of experience Technology has accelerated the unstoppable force of globalisation. In this context, international experience has become more imperative than ever, with many organisations unwilling to appoint regional leaders who do not come with multi-national experience. A Chief HR Officer who adds cross-functional stints to the international aspect will also be better positioned to serve the business.

A proven ability to adapt A nuanced understanding of numbers In this brave new world, where technology has made analytics a lot more accessible, “gut feeling” holds less weight. These days, any strong HR leader must be prepared to make their case with the help of real-world data and trends..

04

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

As the world continues to change, a person can either allow themselves to be left behind, or to make a conscious effort to keep up or even try to get ahead of the change – for instance, by investing in continuous learning and upskilling to ensure one’s skillset remains relevant. In a Chief HR Officer, such a quality is reassuring, because it shows that disruption won’t get the better of them.


What drives people and business forward? To achieve what they are working for. To grow. As individuals, as teams. Across borders and across cultures. When you operate in more than one country it’s hard to see through the complexity. That’s why ADP brings together global scale with local insight, to transform Pay and HR into an engine for growth. Because how you pay your people really matters. And seeing through the complexity, opens a world of possibilities. Discover how growth starts with pay at adp.sg

Copyright © 2019 ADP, LLC. All rights reserved. WF399882 | OMG33013 | 06/2019

ADP, the ADP logo, and Always Designing for People are trademarks of ADP, LLC. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

Growth starts here…


NEWS ASIA

JAPAN

LAW CHANGE CREATES NEW RECRUITMENT GROUND A REVISED IMMIGRATION LAW has given rise to a surge of Japanese companies seeking new employees from across Southeast Asia. Restaurants and hospitality organisations in particular are setting up recruitment operations in Singapore, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Local private operators are also getting in on the act. A boarding school in Phnom Penh now offers students free tuition in Japanese – with language skills still an important criterion for employment visa applications. Japanese

employers are paying the school retainers and have first access to the recruits who are eager to find work in the high-wage country. Albert Okamura, CEO of One Visa which has opened the school, says the demand from both sides of the equation has been encouraging. “As competition for foreign recruits is intensifying in Japan, we will promptly establish an overseas source of workers who can be sent to Japanese companies,” he said.

JAPAN

FIGHT OVER HIGH HEELS HAS JAPAN DIVIDED

INDIA

3.3 MILLION NOW IN INDIA’S FLEXI-WORKFORCE INDIA HAS EMERGED as the fifth largest market for flexi-staffing in the world. According to a report by the India Staffing Association (ISA), there are now 3.3 million people employed as contract staff across the country. These staff are employed formally, with the same statutory health and provident fund benefits as those in the formal sector. But their employers, typically staffing agencies, do have much greater flexibility – the staff are able to work across several different roles or locations at once, for example. The ISA report predicted the growth in the sector would continue rapidly over the coming years, with a flexi-workforce of 6.1 million expected by 2021.

06

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

SHOULD WOMEN be forced to wear high heels in the office? That is the question dividing Japan this month, after a strident campaign spearheaded by well-known model and actress Yumi Ishikawa. She has presented a petition to the Japanese parliament and continues to build support around the locally-trending hashtag #kutoo (incorporating the Japanese words for both ‘shoe’ and ‘pain’). Campaigners say wearing high heels is considered to be near-obligatory when working across many Japanese office-based roles, or when job-hunting for the same. Hospitality and other customer-facing roles also demand heels for their female staff. The petition calls for “the introduction of laws banning employers from forcing women to wear heels as sexual discrimination or harassment,” Ishikawa has told media. Japan’s health and labour minister has defended the prevailing culture. “It is socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate,” Takumi Nemoto told a legislative committee after the petition was received.


PHILIPPINES

BURNOUT FOCUS FOR PHILIPPINES UNIONS

VIETNAM

VIETNAM URGED TO INCREASE MINIMUM WAGES EMPLOYER AND LABOUR

groups in Vietnam are on a collision course, with each calling for different-sized increases to the national set of minimum wages. The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour has proposed an 8.18% increase, bringing minimum earnings into the range of VND 180,000 to 380,000 (US$7.70 to US$16.30) per month. But the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has proposed a more modest 2.0% increase in its submission to the government. It noted that as many as 72% of businesses were already paying their staff at least six percent above the declared minimum wage, which differs according to cities and regional centres. Both sides are expected to make final submissions to the government in July.

country by passing the security of tenure law.” Vice President of the Federation of Free Workers Julius Cainglet said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently formally classified “burnout” as a medical condition. “This is a big challenge since a lot of employers find it difficult to comply with existing basic standards,” he said, adding that occupational health and safety norms needed to be upgraded throughout the country. WHO has defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

UNIONS AND OTHER labour organisations in the Philippines are calling for new strategies to address employee burnout in professional workplaces. Josua Mata, General Secretary of the national organisation SENTRO says this health issue has been under the radar and has not previously received the attention it deserves among employers. “Chronic workplace stress is a killer, literally and figuratively, and should be stumped out as soon as possible,” he said, linking the issue to current debate around hiring agencies and short-term contracts in the Philippines. “One of the best ways to do so is to eradicate contractual labour in the

MALAYSIA

EMPLOYERS BALK AT FUNDING PATERNITY LEAVE THE MALAYSIAN EMPLOYERS’ Federation (MEF) says a proposal for businesses to pay for a new national paternity leave scheme will cost them up to MYR 52.4 million (US$12.6 million) per day. It is urging the HR Ministry to instead fund the initiative through existing social insurance programmes. MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the leave could be enabled through the Social Security Organisation or the Employment Insurance Scheme, both of which employees make compulsory contributions to. The proposal offers new fathers paid paternity leave of up to three days, with employers welcome to offer increased terms beyond this statutory minimum – civil servants already have access to seven days’ paternity leave. The proposal is currently being considered by the national cabinet.

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

07


N E W S I N T E R N AT I O N A L

UK

GUARANTEED HOURS ON THE AGENDA

WORKERS SHOULD be guaranteed at least 16 hours’ work every week to

end “widespread insecurity” in the UK, a local campaign group is arguing. The Living Wage Foundation says workers should also be given at least four weeks’ notice before changes in their shift patterns. It says around one in six workers in the UK is in low-paid and insecure employment, working on unpredictable hours and pay or short-term contracts. The organisation is urging employers to sign on to its Living Hours pledge, with minimum hours guaranteed across their headcount. Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, called the measures “ambitious but achievable”.

US

TECH EMPLOYMENT HITS ALL TIME LOW UNEMPLOYMENT ACROSS the US’ already significant technology industry has dropped to a 20-year low, indicating soaring demand for tech talent there. According to technology industry association CompTIA, unemployment for technology occupations in the US fell to just 1.3% during May this year. Only January, 2000 has had similar unemployment statistics, which coincidentally is also when the earliest available occupation-level data has been recorded. A previous low of 1.4% tech unemployment occurred in both March, 2018 and April, 2007. “The data confirms what employers have been saying for months and even years – the demand for tech talent has reached historic levels,” Tim Herbert, Executive Vice President for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, said.

08

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

US

UNLIMITED VACATION TIME IS BECOMING A TREND UNLIMITED VACATION is becoming a more common perk in the modern workplace. With technology enabling more jobs to be “on” 24 hours a day, and employees placing greater value on work-life balance, the standard two to four weeks of vacation across western markets is becoming outdated. A new report from jobs site Indeed highlights that the share of job postings advertising unlimited vacation is rising fast. US job postings with open or unlimited vacation rose from about 450 postings in every 1 million in May, 2015 to nearly 1,300 postings per million in May 2019. That 178% increase has been borne largely by the technology sector in the US, where jobs for software engineers and data scientists are in high demand. These titles are up to eight times more likely to offer unlimited vacation than other job advertisements. But non-tech employers are also now getting in on the act. Four years ago, the non-tech share of these postings was 61%. But by May this year, the proportion had risen to 65%, the report found.


FRANCE

CORPORATE TAX TO FUND PERSONAL TAX CUTS IN FRANCE A PLAN TO increase corporate tax bills to reduce the personal income tax liability of low-paid workers has been labelled “totally unacceptable” by the French employers’ federation Medef. President Emmanuel Macron has promised EUR 5 billion (US$5.6 billion) worth of personal income tax reductions, which are expected to apply to 15 million taxpayers. He says this will be partly financed by closing several “tax loopholes” currently enjoyed by French employers. While it was not specified in the launch, employers assume he is planning to reduce tax offsets for certain expenses. “The financing of this decrease [of personal tax] by abolishing the tax credits (tax loopholes) of companies will have the effect of increasing taxes when French companies already have the highest rate of obligatory charges to pay among the countries of the OECD,” Medef said in April. The basic corporate tax rate has been reduced since Macron was elected in 2017, and is set to fall further to 25% in 2022.

SWITZERLAND

SWISS WOMEN STRIKE FOR EQUALITY WOMEN ACROSS Switzerland walked out of their jobs, burned bras and blocked traffic in June, for a day of demonstrations to demand fairer pay, more equality, and an end to sexual harassment and violence. It was the first such protest in Switzerland in 28 years. Female politicians were among the hundreds of thousands that officially stopped work, with a wide range of industries and businesses affected. Among their demands were for the government to fund higher pay specifically for domestic workers, teachers, and caregivers – where women make up a significant majority of the workforce. The Swiss Federal Statistics office says women earn an average 12% less than men for similar work.

KENYA

KENYAN EMPLOYEES SAY HEALTHCARE IS THE BEST PERK NAIROBI-BASED employees value employer-funded medical cover schemes more than any other perks, a survey by global consulting firm Mercer has found. The Mercer study found that 89% of highly-skilled workers in Nairobi ranked employer-subsidised health and wellness programmes as their best motivation to live and work in Kenya’s capital. Subsidised insurance benefits were rated above even security, safety, and lack of violence, which were cited by about 67% of workers who participated in the survey as top reasons to stay in or leave their city. “Employers believe workers prioritise money and other work-related factors when deciding whether to switch cities. But this isn’t the case,” the report titled People First: Driving Growth in Emerging Megacities, states. “Most important to workers are the human and social factors essential to the quality of life. These include overall life satisfaction, security and safety, and proximity to family and friends.”

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

09


F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

AGENTSOF CHANGE B Y PAU L H OW E L L

PAUL COBBAN Chief Data and Transformation Officer

10

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

ALICE LIM

Assistant Vice President, Technology and Operations


Over the last decade, DBS has gone from a bottom-of-thepile bank to being crowned the world’s best in both 2018 and 2019. Chief Data and Transformation Officer Paul Cobban and his team spoke with HRM Magazine Asia about the challenges and learnings of that journey, and what’s next in store.

GORDON GOH

Assistant Vice President, Technology and Operations

LINDA LEE

Head of PeopleTech and Future of Work

JACK HENG

Assistant Vice President, Technology and Operations

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

11


F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

W

hen Paul Cobban joined DBS Bank in 2009, both his ambitions and the bank’s were relatively modest. The IT engineer had worked with two other banks previously, in similar project-based roles, and had been convinced to join DBS as a transformation leader. “It was a little bit counterintuitive because at the time DBS had this perception of being highly bureaucratic – which would make transformation very difficult,” he tells HRM Magazine Asia today. But he greatly respected the leader who brought him over, and who remains his immediate boss today. “David Gledhill (current Chief Information Officer) said that I would be encouraged to apply all the things I’d learned up until then in a greenfield environment,” he says. “So I joined – and he was right.”

DBS Bank did not stay the slow and difficult to deal with organisation for long after that. Indeed, its customer service and impact metrics improved so much that it began to win some serious recognition from the industry around it. It was named World’s Best Bank by Global Finance magazine last year, having previously taken out the Best Digital Bank accolade from the same gala ceremony. It has been a fascinating, ambitious, and far-reaching journey, and Cobban has been helping to lead that transformation every step of the way.

Scaling up the prototype Did Cobban and his team foresee such a wide-ranging and successful transformation for DBS Bank back in 2009? Not exactly, he says. At that stage, the goals were much humbler, and were aimed simply at “getting the bank off the bottom” of customer service rankings in its key markets.

“The number one problem we had when I first started was operational excellence, or a lot of waste in operation processes,” he recalls. “We put in place a series of workshops called Process Improvement Events (PIEs) aimed at taking processing waste out of the system.” The first of these looked at the time taken to open a standard banking account with DBS, which was then done by mail and took around three weeks. “We set ourselves a target: wouldn’t it be great if we could do it in five working days,” Cobban says. “We put in place a team with some very bright people and we quickly got an outcome.” It was during Cobban’s third PIE in 2010 that the newly appointed CEO of DBS Bank Piyush Gupta first encountered his work. Having been brought into the business with his own ambitious transformation agenda, he immediately bought into the PIE strategy, and backed a rapid acceleration. “In that first year, and this was 2009, we

THE AWARDS EIGHT YEARS IN THE MAKING IN JULY THIS year, DBS Bank was named “World’s Best Bank”, by Euromoney magazine, the first time an Asian-based bank had received the respected publication’s top award. That follows on from a similar accolade by Global Finance magazine at its World’s Best Global Banks Awards in 2018. And those best-of-the-

12

HRM ASIA.COM

best prizes in turn followed on from DBS being named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney in both 2016 and 2018. Paul Cobban, Chief Data and Transformation Officer, says the prizes had been in the company’s sights as a goal since 2010. “Back then, we wrote a mock-up of a major business newspaper, with J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

the headline ‘DBS named As Asian Bank of Choice’, and then we spelled out each of our strategic areas in a separate article, which provided a checklist of what we needed to do to achieve our goal.” “By 2013, and 2014, we had ticked off each point,” and we then did the same again for the Best Bank in the World prizes.”

were going to do five (PIEs),” Cobban says. “Gupta asked me to then do 50 in 2010!” The success in those early years was measured in terms of “customer hours” – the amount of waiting or other time customers saved because of the process improvements. “We initially set ourselves a target of taking 10 million customer hours out of the system on an annual basis,” Cobban said. “But we ended up taking 250 million out.” That initial success unlocked significant energy throughout the team and the organisation. It gave people a self-belief, and empowered them,” Cobban says. “They could see that if you put the effort in, you could get results.”

Getting organisation-wide buy-in One of the keys to a transformation of any scale is to ensure there is buy-in across the board. All staff – even those only peripherally associated with the process being redesigned – need to feel a part of the project and should have regular communication with the implementation team. Cobban says there are always naysayers; and people who will steadfastly hold on to old ways of doing things. His strategy of passing ownership on to the end users early has helped to mitigate these issues for DBS over the last 10 years. “The first thing to note is that my team doesn’t do any of the ‘doing’,” he says. “They do the coaching, education, and the training – the things that make it as easy as possible to make change happen. “All the work is done by the teams themselves.” Helping each of these teams is what Cobban calls the “T-Shaped transformation” methodology. “We create a mechanism where as many people as possible can participate; we make the barriers for entry low so they clear the training quickly and get going to make their improvements; we reward participation and enthusiasm, regardless of the results.” That full population involvement is represented by the horizontal bar in a capital ‘T’. The vertical bar, meanwhile, represents where the teams involved go much deeper in a few focus areas where the results do have an important impact. “We apply management oversight, funding resources, and more, to make sure that we do get those outcomes,” Cobban says.


SEVEN SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE BANKER

to use it to improve their own, individual results and performance. “If you think, for example, about the amount of learning that it takes to take a company from being very analogue – as we were – to taking much greater advantage of the digital world, you’ll see what a gigantic cultural change has been involved,” Cobban says. “If you take a traditional training approach, you’ll never get there.” “Instead, we’ve worked with our HR counterparts on creating a whole series – literally hundreds – of different experiments aimed at trying to find out how people like to learn and what’s most effective. It has been a similarly successful partnership when it comes to recruitment for the bank. “When I joined, we were 85% outsourced in our technology. We’re now 85% insourced,” Cobban says, noting that this has given the bank much greater ownership over its technology journey. “If you want to be a digital company, you’ve got to take control of your intellectual property; you need to hire the very best engineers, and if you take the traditional approaches, it’s slow and ineffective.”

THE WORLD OF banking and finance is undergoing significant change at the moment, as technology and innovation collide with a business model that has operated successfully for many years. The Data and Transformation team at DBS Bank has highlighted seven skills and attributes that future banking professionals will need to hone in order to succeed. They are: Agility Being data-driven Understanding digital business models Delivering effective digital communication Being conversant with digital technologies Having a “journey-thinking” mindset Appreciating the importance of risk and controls

The awards eight years in the making

HR’s role in transformation Throughout the last 10 years, Cobban’s transformation team has worked in parallel with DBS’ traditional HR function. With its responsibility for building and maintaining an agile, ready-to-learn, and open-tonew-ideas culture across the workforce, Cobban says it has been a vital ally in the transformations that have taken place. “We’ve been very lucky that we’ve had such a great relationship with our HR team on a number of counts,” he said. “Clearly, transformation is about the people – and it surprises me how often people don’t get that. So the HR team has been very progressive in their thinking, and in reinforcing that culture of change throughout bank.” A key tenet of this has been encouraging the workforce to embrace technology and

“When I joined (in 2009), we were 85% outsourced in our technology. We’re now 85% insourced”

– PAUL COBBAN,

CHIEF DATA AND TRANSFORMATION OFFICER, DBS BANK

In July this year, DBS Bank was named “World’s Best Bank”, by Euromoney magazine, the first time an Asianbased bank had received the respected publication’s top award. That follows on from a similar accolade by Global Finance magazine at its World’s Best Global Banks Awards in 2018. And those best-of-the-best prizes in turn followed on from DBS being named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney in both 2016 and 2018. Paul Cobban, Chief Data and Transformation Officer, says the prizes had been in the company’s sights as a goal since 2010. “Back then, we wrote a mockup of a major business newspaper, with the headline ‘DBS named As Asian Bank of Choice’, and then we spelled out each of our strategic areas in a separate article, which provided a checklist of what we needed to do to achieve our goal.” “By 2013, and 2014, we had ticked off each point,” and we then did the same again for the Best Bank in the World prizes.”

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

13


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

D D I - A s ia / P a c i f i c I n t e r n a t i o n a l L t d

POWERED BY

HR transformation in the spotlight

There’s a big focus on business transformation at the moment, but the department best placed to deal with that change is desperately in need of change itself – as revealed in the Global Leadership Forecast by DDI and its partners

T

he role of the Chief HR Officer continues to evolve, but not every organisation or HR team in Asia-Pacific is keeping up with the change required. That’s’ just one of the many key insights garnered from the Global Leadership Forecast 2018 study, by DDI in collaboration with The Conference Board and EY. In all, the research provides 25 data-driven insights for business people and organisational managers across functions and markets in what is effectively a new world order for international business. But it is the insights into HR leadership that are having particular resonance in this part of the world. The Southeast Asia section of the study interviewed 534 local HR professionals as part of a function-specific survey. One of its key focuses was how HR leaders were dealing with the disruptive and technology-driven business environment of 2018 and 2019. New career paths, evolving organisational structures and business models, and digital disruption are all impacting the way HR leaders are working with their organisations. And it is up to those Chief HR Officers to ensure their voice is heard and they are able to – in turn – impact their organisations and leadership.

A new role for HR This equates to a new category of skills and tasks for many HR leaders in Southeast Asia, something the researchers have named the “anticipator” tasks. Where once the HR function was a purely “reactor” role, and later it became a much vaunted “partner” to the business, today there is a need for

14

HRM ASIA.COM

HR leaders to be proactive anticipators of workforce challenges and opportunities. This could be about linking talent planning to strategic planning, boosting predictive analytics efforts, or investing more time and resources into wider reaching global mobility programmes, for example. HR leaders will typically need to perform tasks associated with each of the “anticipator”, “partner”, and “reactor” categories, but there is a pressing need to focus on these new pro-active tasks that will help to build organisational resilience in the disruptive business environment. Fewer than one in five Southeast Asia professionals already consider themselves “anticipators”. But the statistics are worse when it comes to how non-HR business leaders see their own HR leaders. They are 2.1 times more likely to consider their HR counterparts as less-advanced or influential “reactors”, rather than “anticipators”. The issue is also apparent in global terms. All of the business leaders involved in the survey were asked about a number of generic business challenges, such as navigating through complexity, or acting decisively without clear direction, and how confident they felt in tackling them. In every case, HR leaders felt less prepared than their peers in other leadership roles. The study authors highlighted this as particularly concerning. “The work world is experiencing considerable upheaval, yet only one in five HR leaders, on average, felt very prepared to handle the challenges.” To drive change, HR leaders must find the space to develop their understanding and use of people analytics specifically.

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

The data-driven evolution for HR So what do HR leaders need to do to make progress? The Global Leadership Forecast reveals the key practices that define the difference between HR “partners” and “anticipators”. These include the need to make stronger links between HR planning and overall strategy across the business, and the need for effective data analytics to build cases. ”Throughout Global Leadership Forecast 2018, we’ve highlighted the importance of predictive analytics, which are the Anticipator’s lifeblood,” the authors noted. “Analytics are essential to maximising your investments toward improving leadership quality and supply.” The result of such efforts will propel HR leaders into a new era of importance and strategic effectiveness. With highlyapplicable knowledge on how to harness employee data for business advancement, they will find themselves in a strategic position to start looking at leadership capabilities and the most impactful drivers for success.

The full, 62-page Global Leadership Forecast 2018 report, with 25 insights across all facets of global business today, is available for HRM Magazine Asia readers to download. Head to www.ddiworld. com/global-offices/asia-pacific/ glf2018 for your free copy.


HR Leaders Versus Other Leaders on Key Challenges % Difference HR Leaders vs All Others 12

Business Challenges Navigating through chaos/complexity

19

WHERE TO START

Understanding/Acting on customer needs

22

Acting decisively without clear direction

31

Maintaining effectiveness despite lack of predictabilty

36

Anticipating/Reacting to high-speed change

40

Using data to guide business decisions

57

Operating in highly digital environment

Eight Practices that Anticipators Do More Effectively Than Partners Practices

Number of Times More Effective Link talent planning to strategic planning Invest more development dollar per leader Use an array of data and predictive analytics Take a multi-level pipeline approach High-potential programs Use robust assessment data to make hiring/promotion decisions Global mobility External mentorship

2.0x 1.5x 1.7x 1.4x 1.5x 1.5x 2.0x 1.8x

Shifting Perceptions of HR’s Role over the Past Three Years in ASEAN

60%

2014

Action plan for HR transformation

23% REACTOR

17% PARTNER

63%

ANTICIPATOR

49%

38%

2017

HR Perceptions

19% REACTOR

Since 2014, HR professionals believe they have progressed slowly toward “partner” and “anticipator” roles. But business leaders still see almost 4 in 10 HR professionals stuck in the “reactor” mode.

18% 13% PARTNER

ANTICIPATOR

Business Leaders’ Perceptions

Take a step back and gauge. Which of the three roles best reflects HR in your organisation? Don’t forget to seek input from line managers. Move toward the Anticipator role by improving HR capability in the eight evidence-based practices described in the figure. Ensure that HR is well represented in your company’s strategic planning process.  Step up to greater accountability by providing business leaders with the support and tools they need to bolster engagement, employees’ sense of purpose, and growth.  Focus on building capability in business acumen, advanced analytics, and new HR technologies. Elsewhere in this report, you’ll see that the areas where HR leaders are feeling pressured correspond to areas where their performance is perceived to be lacking.  We suspect that HR leaders may be underinvesting in their own learning as they strive to meet the growing learning needs of leaders in other functions. In reality, HR should be first in line for increased resources and in a continual learning mode.

HOW TO EXCEL + DIFFERENTIATE

E nsure that you’re building stronger predictive analytic team capability. Consider more rotation of respected line leaders within and out of the HR function. Step up to greater accountability. HR’s role is to create business value through talent. They own this imperative.  Deploy smart HR technologies to enable leadership effectiveness while freeing up HR professionals’ time to concentrate on the more value-added tasks their businesses require.  As “owners” of leadership development, one of HR’s chief roles is to prepare leaders for digital transformation. Yet, HR leaders are less prepared than leaders in other functions. Building HR’s digital leadership skills is essential not only to develop others, but also to manage impending radical changes in HR technologies. HR professionals often label themselves as the enablers of talent development, while line managers are the real owners. HR leaders need to take primary ownership for ensuring that their organisations have the talent in place to meet current and future business challenges. J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

15


E V E N T R E P O R T H R F E S T I VA L A S I A

THE BIGGEST SHOW IN TOWN HR Festival Asia brought the region’s best HR learning, case studies, and networking all under one roof, over May 8 and 9 this year.

16

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


O

ver 4,000 HR professionals, business leaders, and workforce technologists from across the Asia-Pacific region have given an overwhelming endorsement of the inaugural HR Festival Asia. Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre over May 8 and 9, the conference featured a strong emphasis on technology and its impacts on people management across all types of organisations. With more than 100 speaker presentations, panel discussions, and exclusive case studies across six different streams of the conference agenda, delegates were able to tailor their learning journey to a wide range of themes and topics. Certainly, HR technology was the cornerstone content pillar. Keynote speaker Josh Bersin shared highlights from his latest research into the burgeoning HR technology market across the globe, while Frank Aernout, CEO of Nalantis, used his HR Tech stage presentation to call for a total rethink on HR communications processes. “I’m very surprised that recruitment companies haven’t really picked up on how people communicate these days,” he said. “There is no job website that I’ve seen where you can apply simply by texting - even though everyone in the world is texting all day, every day.” But it was not just about the technology itself. Finding effective, people-centric ways to implement new systems and transform whole teams, businesses, and organisations was also high on the agenda throughout HR Festival Asia. HR futurist Jason Averbook, for example, used his plenary presentation to encourage delegates to think about how they can take much greater advantage of the technology that their employees are using every day in their personal lives. “Put the processes in the hands of the workforce,” he said. “That’s what is going to get you better data, and that’s what’s going to help these new-age applications be successful in the enterprise.” R

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

17


E V E N T R E P O R T H R F E S T I VA L A S I A The exclusive CxO Symposium saw a sell-out audience take a deep-dive into the leadership and strategic elements of each of these common themes. Hosted by Transformational Leadership expert Dr Tanvi Gautum, this stage featured some of the most prominent HR and technology luminaries from across the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. The Recruit and Engage stream, powered by Indeed, focused on the very practical need to find and hold onto talent in the tough labour markets across Asia-Pacific. Among the focused functional leaders sharing their insights and case studies on this stage were, John Hall, head of Talent Acquisition for Grab, John Kivel, Head of Recruitment for GSK in Asia-Pacific, and Sandra Teh, Head of Employer Brand for Amazon Web Services in Asia-Pacific. R

HR FESTIVAL ASIA BY THE NUMBERS • May 8 and 9, 2019

• Venue: Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre • Floor space (conference):

2,500 square metres

• Floor space (exhibition):

1,500 square metres • Exhibitors: 106

• Speaker presentations: 126 • Attendees: 4,396

18

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED AT HR FESTIVAL ASIA 2019

1

2 3 4 5

Women are adding a vital dimension to the HR Tech industry in Asia The acclaimed Women in HR Technology made its Asia-Pacific debut at HR Festival Asia; filling up the HR Tech stage’s agenda for the entire morning of Day One. Top female leaders from top HR tech organisations in the region and globally shared their experiences, and encouraged their peers – regardless of age, gender, or background – to strive towards meaningful connections, be openminded enough to challenge norms, and always

be ready to ask, “how can I help?”. Panellist Anthea Collier, Managing Director of Randstad Sourceright in Asia-Pacific, shared an example of a recently promoted female colleague who struggled to be heard over a more verbose male colleague. Colllier worked with the global team to investigate solutions. “We realised [the male colleague] wasn’t going to change. So we changed the reporting lines. And [the female colleague] has flourished.”

Digital transformation offers the biggest returns for HR investment “Digital transformation has nothing to with ‘digital’. It has everything to do with people,” said Melanie Sharpe Nseir, HR Leader at Microsoft Services Asia, during a session at the CxO Symposium about how cultural transformation leads to digital transformation. Organisations must look to actively change behaviours, in order to ensure successful adoption of HR investments into technology. These include the behaviours of leadership –

the principles that guide them, and how they demonstrate those principles to their teams. Indeed, at Microsoft itself, the ascension of Satya Nadella to the post of CEO was a catalyst for the rest of the organisation to get on board. “He brought a sense of humility, authenticity, and empathy that we had not experienced before. Him coming on the stage reset everything and demonstrated to the employee population that change was in the air,” noted Nseir.

AI is the next big space to be conquered by HR Closing out Day One of HR Festival Asia, USbased technology commentator John Sumser painted a bright picture of the future for the HR profession, with artificial intelligence (AI) set to help advance its leaders around the world. “AI gives HR superpowers,” he declared at the outset of his plenary presentation. This is because the data that HR has available

gives its leaders full visibility of everything within the organisation. “You know who’s doing what, where, and when,” he said. “And when that is combined with external data, you get some really powerful observations and insights.” Using AI to gather, interpret, and analyse data “turns HR into a laboratory,” Sumser added. “And this is where being curious pays big dividends.”

The Southeast Asia HR community is in good hands The ASEAN Human Development Organisation (AHDO) was founded in 2018 to promote human development in the workplace across the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). AHDO connects ASEAN’s national HR Associations in the region into a professional community and

works with ASEAN institutions on policy and initiatives concerning human development at work. The founders took to the Talent Management & Development stage at HR Festival Asia to participate in a panel discussion about the talent challenges and outlook in the region.

The disruption in HR technology is only just beginning Across three sessions over the two days, industry analyst Josh Bersin offered a recurring theme for each different festival stream and audience. HR technology is disrupting the HR profession – of that there is no doubt. But there is far more change yet to come, as different providers tackle different HR challenges. These encompass the full employee lifecycle, but even here the disruption is affecting professional thinking. Bersin told the plenary audience this is much more complicated than many HR leaders have previously thought.

Much more than recruitment and onboarding, the employee lifecycle should now include phases such as goal setting, professional development, and promotion(s). It should also incorporate life stages, such as parental leave. And at the end of the lifecycle, there are further phases to consider: offboarding, and then inclusion in the organisation’s alumni for example. Expect more and more technology solutions covering each of these different phases, Bersin advised.

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

19


E V E N T R E P O R T H R F E S T I VA L A S I A Much more than a conference

HR Tech Festival coming soon

Alongside the more than 125 speaker presentations across the six stages of HR Festival Asia, delegates were also able to witness several special events tied to the region’s biggest gathering of HR professionals. These included the inaugural HR Fest Awards, with five trophies being presented on the HR Tech Stage towards the end of Day One. DBS Bank won the coveted RChilli Award for Best Use of HR Technology (see: picture below), while the Singapore International Foundation took home the SAP Award for Best Innovation in HR. The ADP Award for Best HR Transformation went to the National Environment Agency of Singapore. A total of 18 startup companies competed in the inaugural HR Festival PitchFest, presenting their innovative HR solutions for a panel of expert judges on the Power Talks stage on Day One. Three companies were brought back for a final round pitch on the HR Tech Stage on Day Two, with Gpayroll beating out Mathilda and Ceipal to take out the final honours and more than $50,000 worth of prizes. HR Festival Asia also helped to inspire a new collaboration between HR and their counterparts in the information technology space. A series of invitation-only workshops between HR leaders and Chief Information Officers across the two days highlighted how that partnership is becoming so vital for organisations in the disruptive business environment.

“HR Festival Asia 2019 was a launch event incorporating the best elements of HR Summit and Expo Asia (produced by HRM Asia from 2002 to 2017), and the annual HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, US (produced by LRP Publications),” Joanna Bush, executive general manager of HRM Asia, said. “It showcased some of the world’s most prominent speakers and HR thought leaders, as well as leading service providers across the HR and organisational technology industries.” The same is set to be true for next year’s HR Tech Festival – in Singapore on May 12 and 13, 2020. While planning is still in the early stages, the event aims to build further on the HR Festival launch from 2019, and greatly enhance the technology aspects of the programme, exhibition, and awards. Registration of interest is now available for both prospective delegates, and sponsoring organisations. Visit www.hrfestivalasia.com. sg to stay up to date.

20

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


SAVE THE DATE 12 - 13 May 2020 th

Apply to

Speak

th

Apply to

Apply to

Sponsor/Exhibit

Attend

Register you interest

(65) 64234631

info@hrmasia.com.sg

www.hrfestivalasia.com


HRM_Ad_Final.pdf

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

1

6/26/19

6:50 PM


Special Report JULY-AUGUST 2019

The Role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia


HR & Payroll services delivered to you locally in Singapore TMF Group is a leading provider of payroll services in over 80 jurisdictions, partnering with clients and HR teams to manage their growing workforce. Our 7,800 in-house experts give you the consistent and reliable service that you need, making sure that your payroll is compliant with local regulations. ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified for data security and information management

Payroll

Leave

ISAE 3402 for HR & Payroll services

Our services

Claims

Time & attendance Timesheet

Outsourced Service Provider Audit Report (OSPAR) attestation for payroll services in Singapore Named a ‘Leader’ and ‘Star Performer’ for Multi-Country Payroll Outsourcing by Everest Group Best HR Outsourcing Service Provider 2018 in Singapore by Human Resources

Contact us today to experience the TMF Group difference. T: +65 6808 1600 E: sgenquiry@tmf-group.com

tmf-group.com/enquiry


F

JULY-AUGUST

2019

Special Report

The Role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia

or many years, HR professionals and workforce managers dreamed of the proverbial “seat at the table”. It represented the chance to influence strategy and direct the organisation on workforce matters from a position of authority and respect, equal if not greater influence to the C-Suite leaders of other, more established business functions. That dream is now a reality for many HR leaders at the top of their game in Asia-Pacific, and the timing could not be more exciting. Now, more than ever before, the Chief HR Officer role has some significant weight to it. With technology disrupting industries, and the rising scarcity of professional talent, decisions made at this level can be the difference between success and failure in the race for innovation. HRM Magazine Asia’s Special Report into the Role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia explores this complex new world for Senior HR leaders. It looks at the region-specific challenges they face here in Asia-Pacific, while also taking on a global economic context. The opening analysis piece by Yamini Chinnuswamy delves into two separate pieces of research into HR leadership capabilities in this region. In a world where change is the only constant, being able to navigate successfully through these changes is vital for any leader, but has particular resonance for those leading the HR function today (see: page 26 to 29). Global HR industry analyst Josh Bersin has some new advice for Chief HR Officers – it’s time to embrace the “Agile” design framework. Originally built for software developers, this framework is now being used to great effect in the HR space, he says (see: page 30 to 32). Professor Richard R. Smith, from Singapore Management University, has also been researching the rapid evolution of HR leadership in this part of the world. His exclusive opinion piece argues Chief HR Officers still have more work to do (see: page 34 to 35). And finally, Sreeram Iyer, from ANZ Bank, is interviewed ahead of his keynote presentation to the Singapore leg of the CHRO Series in 2019. He shares openly on how his Chief Operating Officer role has taken on a significant workforce management focus in recent years, and the ways he works together with a dedicated HR business partner for maximum impact. The report is a timely leadup to the CHRO Series of one-day conferences, coming up in the fourth quarter in each of Jakarta, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.

INSIDE

25 OVERVIEW

Across four unique pieces HRM Magazine Asia’s comprehensive report paints a picture of the fastchanging role and demands facing HR leaders in Asia-Pacific.

26 ANALYSIS

 Utilising the latest research from Asia-Pacific, HRM Magazine Asia delves into some of the key challenges facing those at the top of the region’s HR food chain.

30 GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

 Josh Bersin explains how a design framework originally established for software developers has found its way into the world of HR leadership and strategic workforce planning.

34 VIEWPOINT

 Professor Richard R. Smith, from Singapore Management University, looks at his institution’s recent research on the role of the Chief HR Officer, and asks where next for HR leaders.

33 FIELD NOTES

 Chief Operating Officer for ANZ’s Corporate and Institutional Banking business Sreeram Iyer says effective and authentic communication is one of the key tenets of his people management style.

CHRO Series 2019 October 25: Jakarta | November 13: Singapore | December 3: Kuala Lumpur The role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia continues to evolve, even as this Special Report goes to press. That’s why HRM Asia is again hosting the exciting CHRO Series of conferences in 2019. For the first time across three markets in Southeast Asia, these single-day events are each jam-packed with case studies, peer-to-peer advice from senior HR leaders, and first-class networking opportunities. For more information, visit www.chroseries.com. J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

SPECIAL REPORT

HRM ASIA.COM

25


THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA

A N A LY S I S

CHIEF HR OFFICERS AT THE HELM HRM Magazine Asia examines the key talent trends that are shaping the scope of the Chief HR Officer role in Industry 4.0. B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

26

HRM ASIA.COM

SPECIAL REPORT

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

SPECIAL REPORT

HRM ASIA.COM

27


THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA

A N A LY S I S

igital disruption has changed lives throughout the world and the global economy. And it’s changing the way professionals work, whether they are ready for it or not. While the rest of the business pushes forward in each of their roles and functions, it falls to HR – and the Chief HR Officer specifically – to spur the conversation about how talent can best survive – and thrive – in the changing conditions. It’s no easy task. As HR expert John Sumser notes, “Today’s Chief HR Officer is faced with a crushing set of opportunities to screw up. The path is narrow and mistakeladen.” But there are a few general approaches that look set to be sure bets over the coming years. Below, HRM Magazine Asia explores three strategies that the forward-looking Chief HR Officer will need to embrace in order to thrive in the new world order.

Embrace the total talent model Over the last decade, technology has spurred working professionals to challenge what were formerly the accepted norms of work. Working from home and telecommuting are now available to any worker who doesn’t staff the front lines of the business, and even some who do. Meanwhile, the likes of Uber, UpWork, and Etsy have spurred the growth of the gig economy, encouraging workers to either take on side hustles, or switch over completely. The permanent, full-time employee who sits in an on-site cubicle from 9:00 to 6:00 is an increasingly rare species. According to a survey by recruiting firm Randstad, more than 60% of the workforce will have chosen “agile” careers, deliberately taking on freelance or contract work instead of permanent, full-time positions, by the end of this year. In tandem, businesses are increasingly phasing out a portion of their permanent workforce in favour of these independent contractors. This is partly due to an existing and expected skills gap. Even as technology has eliminated some roles, it has also given rise to new competency gaps that need to be filled. Indeed, Randstad’s research shows that almost seven out of 10 employers believe that

28

HRM ASIA.COM

SPECIAL REPORT

the skills gap is widening. The move to this sort of talent model becomes part of a shift in thinking where organisations begin hiring for the work, rather than hiring for specific roles. The Randstad 2019 Talent Trends study found that most business and HR leaders are either investing, or have already invested in, the Total Talent Acquisition model. Of the latter group, 98% are either extremely or very satisfied. “The barriers between types of talent – and between procurement and HR – are artificial. It’s time to take the lead in breaking them down. Although a total talent model can be challenging to implement, the rewards far outweigh the effort,” says Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Sourceright. The point of the talent model is that it makes the organisation more agile - quicker to respond to change in the landscape. But it does make for a more complex eco-system for HR to manage. In order to keep up, Chief HR Officers need to equip their HR teams with the technology and skills to manage the moving parts - and be ready to encourage the rest of the organisation to make the necessary mindset-shift. As Yap Aye Wee, OCBC Bank’s Head of Learning & Development, OCBC Campus, recently told HRM Magazine Asia, “Incorporating a gig mindset can begin with HR setting policy, process, and systems... but its success ultimately depends on having managers and employees who value and embrace this concept.”

Prepare for the new skills of tomorrow Organisations no longer want telemarketers or switchboard operators, or even office mangers. Instead, they want digital markers, coders, and people who are ready and prepared to keep up with new and emerging

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. Even a software developer who isn’t actively upskilling is beginning to be redundant. A report commissioned by HSBC, Human Advantage: The Power of People, predicted a few of the banking roles of the future. They included: mixed reality experience designer, algorithm mechanic, and conversational interface designer. None of these specific roles exist today, but none are particularly surprising – they reflect the increasing interest in User Experience, User Interfaces, data science, and coding. Global research and advisory firm Gartner Inc says that about 80% of employees around the world do not have the skills needed for these and other current and future roles. Further to this, more than two-thirds of business leaders also believe that if their companies do not become significantly digitalised by 2020, they will no longer be competitive – that’s in less than six months now! The majority of HR leaders also see a significant skills gap, with 64% of HR managers polled believing that their firm’s employees are not keeping pace with future skill needs. “If your organisation is not able to attract, develop, and retain new skills, your business will almost certainly be disrupted,” warns Michael Smith, Managing Director of Randstad Sourceright in Europe, Middle East, and Asia. He advises Chief HR Officers and other business and HR leaders to take a strong role in addressing the issue. “Whether through data insights, research, or customer engagement, human capital leaders are in the driver’s seat to deliver these skills and accelerate growth and market share,” he adds.

Use analytics to elevate your strategy There is no room for gut feel in the age of disruption. If Chief HR Officers aren’t already pushing a strategy of data-driven HR, they need to start, and soon. In fact, Randstad’s 2019 Talent Trends research notes that people analytics is easily the most popular tool among C-suite and human capital leaders for enhancing


talent attraction and engagement, at 72%, compared to 63% for investing in training and development platforms, and 62% for workforce management tools. “We try to help HR back up their decisions with data, and thus add more value to the conversations that HR has with the business,” says Deepak Bansal, Yap’s colleague from OCBC Bank, who heads up its people analytics arm. He highlights how analytics can help Chief HR Officers and their teams identify problem areas and resolve them accordingly “These could be questions like – how do we link training to the right people? How do we develop the optimum career path for each individual, while ensuring high performance? Are people happy or are they burning out? Is our organisational structure right, are we working at optimal levels?” says Bansal. But the next step beyond that would be elevating HR into a function that is infused with analytic at its very core. “When we develop policies at HR, can we use data to help us? Can we use

bas

FIVE WAYS TO ACQUIRE TOMORROW’S NICHE SKILLS TODAY 1 CONSULT BUSINESS LEADERS FOR THEIR VISION 2 A SK INTERNAL SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS FOR THEIR OUTLOOK 3 E NSURE YOUR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY ADDRESSES FUTURE SKILLS 4 E NHANCE YOUR GRADUATE RECRUITMENT TO FIND SPECIALISTS 5 COLLABORATE WITH UNIVERSITIES TO DEVELOP NICHE PROGRAMMES Source: Randstad Sourceright Talent Trends Report 2019

data to change policies? For example, the compensation and benefits policy. How can we re-work that using data, while retaining the underlying organisational philosophy towards it?” asks Bansal. “Can I use analytics to change the way we hire altogether? Can I use analytics to run

ACCESS PRODUCTIVITY ATTENDANCE PAYROLL SELF-SERVICE

my talent management programs? Can I use analytics to deliver training plans?” These are just some of the questions that analytics can help answer - and thereby help HR leaders empower their C-suite peers with robust insights when crafting business strategy.

Singapore’s Leading Workplace & Workforce Cloud Solution

Used by more than 150,000 daily users in Singapore, countless government agencies, MNCs and SMEs use Intercorp BAS cloud A.I. systems and cutting-edge biometric technologies to help manage workplace security, access control, safety, with workforce productivity, movement tracking, time attendance and even payroll. Contact Us at 6844 1488 or enquiries@intercorpsolutions.com promotions! for our exclusive HRM Magazine p

www.intercorpsolutions.com

INTERCORP


THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA

Getting truly agile in HR

“Agile”, a design framework and set of methodologies invented for software developers, has now landed in HR. And it’s transforming the HR function, our roles and our impact, as Josh Bersin reveals in this exclusive essay.

I

the 1980s and ’90s, software development was done in huge teams, often over years.

The fascinating book The Mythical Man-Month, written in 1975 by Fred Brooks, a computer architect and software engineer at IBM, describes how development projects at IBM got slower and slower as more people were added. After studying the problem, Brooks came to realise that small, multi-functional teams, given very limited and clear goals, could outperform large project teams. His principles focused on three fundamentals: first, the software teams had to be small, so they could communicate faster. Second, they had to include multiple functions in one team, so the team could operate independently. Finally, they needed fast communication with customers and other teams, so they would not get out of sync with requirements and could iterate quickly. Brooks’ observations formed the basis of The Agile Manifesto, written in 2001 by a group of Portland software engineers. This documented design principles to not only expedite software development but also improve quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements. The approach, which called for iterative development, ongoing customer collaboration and frequent releases, fundamentally changed the way software was developed and delivered.

30

HRM ASIA.COM

SPECIAL REPORT

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR


POWERED BY Brought to you by This exclusive guest contribution is brought to you by SIM Professional Development (SIM PD). SIM PD’s comprehensive range of executive programmes provide wide learning pathways and career development courses for PMEs (Professionals, Managers, and Executives) to sharpen their business and management skills. SIM PD also offers customised programmes for unique corporate needs. With a wealth of experience in the industry, it is able to tailor training programmes that will fulfil your business needs and training return-on-investment.

”HR professionals need to move faster, be more proactive, and upskill themselves in order to take advantage of modern tools and technologies”

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

SPECIAL REPORT

HRM ASIA.COM

31


THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Agile and HR: Adapting to the “digital temp” of business Agile’s design principles are now being used in other business areas to tackle large, complex projects. Stand-up meetings, OKRs (objectives and key results), MVPs (minimally viable products), and QBRs (quarterly business reviews) all are offshoots of agile design. But agile is more than tools and design principles. Maarten Van Beek, HR director of ING Netherlands, emphasises that agile is really a philosophy that promotes decision-making at the level of expertise, empowering people to learn and experimenting with solutions that are co-developed with customers. As part of ING’s digital transformation, its HR organisation had to transform itself and used agile to redesign its processes and systems and reinvent its services to accelerate the company’s new ways of working. To keep up with the business, ING’s HR professionals had to move faster, be more proactive, and upskill themselves to take advantage of modern tools and technologies. At ING, HR professionals work in small, multi-functional HR teams on various projects. People iterate regularly at a pace that matches the “digital tempo” of the bank itself. Learning and collaboration are rewarded and encouraged, and people move from project to project throughout their HR careers.

Agile service delivery Just as agile has transformed software development, so too will it transform HR. Certainly, we need to design enterprise-wide processes, but they’re no good if they aren’t localised and relevant to people’s daily work lives. So, rather than design solutions in

32

HRM ASIA.COM

a conference room, we need to design them with customers, experiment enthusiastically and improve them on a continual basis. But there’s more. In HR, like software, there are two parts to solving problems. The first is designing a solution, and the second is supporting it in the market. For HR, this means creating cross-functional service roles, instrumenting and monitoring our employee solutions, and getting lots and lots of feedback so we can tweak, improve and iterate the programmes we build. I recently met an HR leader whose organisation was using agile to design its performance management process. Not only are programme designers using OKRs and other agile tools, but they also have created three versions of the process to test on different employee groups. Each pilot was using different approaches to

SPECIAL REPORT

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

evaluation and goal setting. Essentially, the company was doing A-B testing to determine which process would work best.

Where to get started Think about your employeeexperience projects. Employee onboarding design is an excellent place to put agile into practice. Onboarding and job-transition programmes are essential employee experiences that cross functional boundaries, and we need to design them iteratively in partnership with the business. Think about all the learning, performance, career and reward programmes you’re building. While development focus is typically scale, it is often better to develop them for speed. With agile, you can get a solution into the market, test it and improve it at light speed. This is where HR is going, and it will transform your team, your role, and your whole HR function.

About the Author JOSH BERSIN is a global HR industry analyst, and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, leading provider of research-based membership programmes in HR, talent and learning.


life


THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA

VIEWPOINT

Taking stock of the CHRO role Professor Richard R. Smith, of Singapore Management University, reveals some key insights from a recent research project into the burgeoning Chief HR Officer role, and asks “where next“ for these leaders of human capital management

I

f you have been around the HR profession for a while, perhaps you have noticed that we are seeing a lot more people with the title of Chief HR Officer (CHRO) than ever before. I was curious to better understand what was driving this and launched a research project to examine this phenomenon. Could it be that HR finally has a seat at the strategic decision-making table in the organisation – or is this just a cool title? Do CEOs now finally recognise the value of HR Management? Are these CHROs making an impact? And what does all this mean for future CHROs? If we look at the history of the HR function, the driver of work came from regulation, compliance, labor union management, and the required record keeping administration associated with employment in each country. As a result, the role of the leader of the HR function was burdened with administration. In the 1990s when more companies began to see the value of people in the organisation through participative management practices and innovation, we witnessed a shift of the “Personnel Department” to that of the “HR Function.” Of course, this was not a sudden change and the administration did not disappear, but it did signal

34

HRM ASIA.COM

progress. This shift paved the way for new approaches in HR Management, the rise of shared services, and more attempts at taking a strategic view (albeit as a cost centre with limited budget). However, in most cases the head of the HR function was typically reporting to an operational leader or Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

A seat at the table At this point in the evolution, many top HR leaders were striving to have a seat at the strategic table with the CEO. What began to happen around 2000 is quite interesting. Our research at SMU shows a clear shift in the reporting relationship and increase in level of the HR leader starting in the

SPECIAL REPORT

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

early 2000s. At that time, about 20% of larger companies had the HR leader reporting to the CEO (sample of 500 firms from the S&P 500 index). If we look at this same sample of companies today, more than 90% have a CHRO reporting directly to the CEO. In fact, all around the world and across Asia, we have seen the progressive increase in HR leaders who report directly to the CEO – and the rapid rise in the use of the CHRO title. This reflects a change in the orientation of the HR function as well as a change in the role of the top HR leader. What is driving this shift? To understand this better, we examined the top management issues and agenda items facing company leadership teams.

As companies became more global, took on more technology in operations, and grew their employee bases, HR became more critical to business results. In fact, over the last several years, CEOs have reported to The Conference Board that the number one challenge in their business is human capital. What is more striking is the follow-up question to CEOs: “Are you prepared to address this human capital challenge.” Only 27% of CEOs say ‘yes’. The issues associated with managing people and the potential value of strategic human capital is driving the need for a senior officer to act as the steward of this resource within the firm – hence the rise of the CHRO.


Unclear impact So now HR has a seat at the strategic top management team table – this is great, but is it working? Unfortunately, this is less clear. Research from Gartner shows that while there is belief that the CHRO should be a key player, 64% of senior leaders in the organisation do not understand the role of the CHRO. In addition, less than half of senior leaders in Fortune 500 firms believed that the CHRO had strategic business skills. This is a bit scary! So, what is this top HR role all about? There we find a bit of a disconnect. Most CHROs define their top priority and spend their time on leading the HR function and addressing talent issues. However, a survey of CEOs shows that the expectation is that the CHRO should address strategic human capital. Here we refer to the company’s human capital as a system of organisation culture, strategic leadership, organisation structure, and talent management. Based on the feedback from CEOs, it seems clear that the CHRO role should be much more about strategic human capital than HR management. Perhaps some level of alignment is needed. When asked about how senior HR leaders are addressing strategic human capital, most leaders don’t give the HR function high marks. In fact, this is reflected in the recruiting of the CHRO. Our research shows that more than 60% of CHROs are hired from external sources! This is a sad commentary on the talent management efforts within HR! Perhaps HR leaders are too busy taking care of the rest of the organisation to do proper succession and leadership development within their own

“Specific areas that the future CHRO must be comfortable with include analytics, digital business, and information technology” department? Compared to the hiring of the CEO (25% sourced externally) and CFO (35% sourced externally), we notice that many firms are looking externally for talent when it comes to CHROs. When asked why CHROs are more than twice as likely to be external hires than the CFO, we find that insufficient succession management, lack of strategic human capital orientation or limited business knowledge are noted. It seems clear that the rise of the CHRO has signaled a change in the strategic nature of the role. However, we seem to have a challenge when it comes to meeting the expectations. Is there a risk that the role of the CHRO at the top of the organisation will not continue? After all, business conditions and preferences do shift over time. Some firms have adopted a senior leadership officer to address human capital issues that is separate from the leader of the HR function. If we look at other functional leaders, we saw the decline of many Chief Marketing Officers in the 1990s as the function became more integrated with line business capabilities. While marketing is still critical, having a chief officer for the capability seems not so important as this role shows up in less than 40% of organisations today. Will we see CHROs in the decades ahead? If the CHRO is to remain as a key

leader in the organisation, there needs to be a demonstrated bottom line impact. Our recent research at SMU evaluated the impact of this role using the “Great Place to Work” rankings. We found a clear linkage between the power of the CHRO, the rankings as a great place to work, and firm performance. In other words, the role of the CHRO has a positive impact on ranking as a great place to work. The Great Place to Work rankings are highly correlated with sustained financial performance over time (measured by return on assets). So, to answer the question – Yes, the CHRO at the top of the organisation can make an impact!

in the function, specific areas that the future CHRO must be comfortable with include analytics, digital business, and information technology. As business becomes more globally connected, many organisations expect their top leaders to have international experience. The bottom line is that diligently performing HR roles in the HR function is not sufficient preparation for the leadership role of the CHRO – just as being a good accountant does not make a CFO. Of course, more work must be done to help us uncover the role and impact of the CHRO and we will be continuing our research at SMU. The good news is that HR leadership has changed to be more strategic and there is evidence of the impact of this role. As the CHRO becomes more commonplace, it seems that more work could be done to help groom future CHROs and develop the talent needed for future HR leaders. The profession has come a long way and CEOs are looking for help with human capital now more than ever – it is a good time to be in HR!

The evolving CHRO role So, what advice do we have for people aspiring to be a CHRO in the future? First, it seems even more critical to have solid business knowledge and to be able to speak the language of business. More than 80% of all CHROs have a master’s degree and this seems to be increasing as future leaders expand their on-the-job knowledge base. In addition, the orientation towards strategic human capital will be increasing as CEOs expect CHROs to address organisation culture, strategic leadership, organisation structure and other areas in addition to talent management. Based on trends

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

About the Author Richard R. Smith is a professor of Strategic Management (Practice) in the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University

SPECIAL REPORT

HRM ASIA.COM

35


THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA

FIELD NOTES

Leading a people-first talent agenda 36

HRM ASIA.COM

SPECIAL REPORT

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


As the Chief Operating Officer for ANZ’s Corporate and Institutional Banking business, SREERAM IYER often has multiple hats to wear. But it is his people leadership responsibilities that are fast becoming the drivers for success in the digital age. He explains more to HRM Magazine Asia.

C

an you describe your role with ANZ?

As the Chief Operating Officer for ANZ’s Corporate and Institutional Banking business, and as a member of the top leadership Team, I am accountable for running the operations, managing the property portfolio, and driving a significant People Agenda targeted at a very talented and engaged workforce of about 2000 staff in over 20 countries.

How big a part does that people agenda play in your overall day-to-day working life? My team is diverse, and significant from a customer point of view. So, I spend about 70% of my time on people management and strategy, which includes setting the culture and tone, reminding staff about our purpose and living our values, communicating effectively, and trying to lead by example. Part of our talent strategy is to adopt new ways of leading, by growing our people selflessly and trying to motivate staff to be curious and always learning.

What are some of the key peoplerelated challenges that you face in your day-to-day work? The macro environment for the finance industry is challenging – with declining margins, more regulatory pressures, and ever-rising customer expectations. On the other hand, the positive opportunity is

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

SPECIAL REPORT

HRM ASIA.COM

37


THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA

the role that new technologies can play to improve business returns. This raises the key challenge of how to prioritise precious investments of capital to make the best for our staff and our customers. I spend a fair bit of my time on the division’s allocation of investment choices, execution of large technology projects, and strategies for driving automation. This must aim to lift both customer experience and the employee experience. Another challenge I face is about effective communication. We do use many new channels, social media, chat capabilities, and videos, etc, but I am as yet unsure which medium is best suited for our staff globally. I often think about how best to deliver key strategic messages with authenticity, so that my team can resonate with the story. I really do believe that strategy and culture come well before technology.

What strategies have you used to solve or cope with these challenges? At ANZ, our purpose is to shape a world where people and communities thrive. Why? Because the society in which we do business does matter. We’re focused on building relationships and this is based on trust – and trust underpins banking. Communication is about connecting people to our purpose. As a People Leader, I therefore try my best to communicate with authenticity and constancy – avoiding simple things like jargon and focusing on getting the job done with “minimum viable bureaucracy”. Being open about possible reductions in the number of roles in the future has also been a deliberate effort in our communications. In terms of dealing with the macro environment, I find it useful to bring in the advice of all of the people around me, even relatively junior staff. I learnt from MIT (Iyer completed a course on FinTech there in 2016) that “leadership is too important to be left to the bosses”. It is always useful to be reminded of this and to invite the newer, younger, more talented workforce to lead the way. In fact, when we started to adopt new technologies such as robotics, machine learning, and digitisation in my function two years ago,

38

HRM ASIA.COM

SPECIAL REPORT

FIELD NOTES

CHRO Series across three cities SREERAM IYER, Chief Operating Officer for ANZ Bank across 20 countries, will be one of more than 30 presenters across the three legs of CHRO Series in 2019. These single-day, invitation only conferences will give senior HR leaders

the exclusive opportunity to come together, learn, develop, and discuss strategies for creating an engaged workforce for business success in an increasingly digital world. Register your interest for each

of the Jakarta (October 8), Singapore (November 13), and Kuala Lumpur (December 3) events at www.chroseries. com. designed for HR leaders to come together to learn, develop and discuss how to successfully create an engaged workforce for business success in a digital world.

the ideation and efforts of our Innovation Lab came from such impressive colleagues. Finally, learning, and building capabilities are powerful incentives for people. To progress, we need to ensure that we are constantly thinking, learning and growing. It’s our brain that is our ‘legacy’ system, not technology.

raising funds and helping in the physical construction of the schools. It did wonders to our staff engagement globally and attracted several awards that we are immensely proud of.

“Leadership is too important to be left to the bosses” – SREERAM IYER

Very closely. My HR Business Partner – Talent and Culture as we call it - is a key part of my leadership team. She is included in all the business decisions we make, and in our strategic workforce planning for the function that I manage.

What other factors help you to build a powerful employee experience, and therefore retention of talent?

You will be one of the key speakers in the Singapore leg of the CHRO Series for 2019. What can delegates expect to learn from your session?

In this age of instant gratification, personal choices and individual aspirations, I feel that the benefits from a proper, deep employee involvement in community projects for broader social good is underestimated. My team is passionate about the need of education for the underprivileged in the communities that we operate. So, about five years ago, in Vietnam, we established a long-running education project, called Project 3E (Educate, Enrich, Employ), in partnership the Saigon Children’s Charity and the Provincial Government. The goal was to build ten brick and mortar schools to provide access to quality education to 4,000 kids in four years. This was admirably achieved in 2018. Part of this story was the efforts of our staff, from New York to New Zealand, in

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

How closely do you work with the traditional HR team at ANZ?

I will be sharing a little bit about our story in driving improvements to employee experience, carefully balancing this with the future of work and yet, also improving staff engagement. This may appear counterintuitive, but our experience has been quite positive so far! To build our team’s capability, we have recently started a new multi-year Digital Literacy Programme designed to create awareness, interest and eventual adoption of digital technologies in everything we do. The second part of the vision is to train enough staff volunteers who are willing to onward impart this learning to willing staff of our corporate clients, in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, and Data Analytics.


r be le m lab nu ai d av ite ts m a Li se of

SERIES 2019 Creating an Engaged Workforce for Business Success in a Digital World

Brought to you by

CHRO SERIES 2019 In a world where change is the only constant, being able to navigate successfully through these changes is vital for any leader who wants to be at the forefront or cutting edge of their business. The CHRO Series is held in Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This exclusive invite-only event is designed for HR leaders to come together to learn, develop and discuss how to successfully create an engaged workforce for business success in a digital world.

KEY THEMES

BUSINESS FORECASTING

WORKFORCE TRANSFORMATION

EMPLOYEE & TALENT ENGAGEMENT

HR BUSINESS PARTNERING

LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

LEADERSHIP TRANSFORMATION

CONTACT US TO REQUEST FOR YOUR INVITATION NOW! (65) 64234631

info@hrmasia.com.sg

www.chroseries.com


PA R T N E R CO N T E N T

G PA Y R O L L

Redefining payroll in Asia-Pacific

HR technology isn’t just for the big organisations and multinationals. HRM Magazine Asia speaks to RenQun Huang of Gpayroll, who highlights how smaller companies can still gain the benefits of sleek and easy-to-use HR platforms. What is Gpayroll’s mission in the area of HR? We’re on a long-term mission to redefine and revolutionise the payroll industry by changing what ought to be a manual and complex task in a meaningful way. Payroll is complex, tedious, time-consuming, and doesn’t add value to growing your business – but it is essential. This is the problem that we want to solve, especially so for SMEs, who may not be able to afford enterprise software for their payroll needs. Business owners need to watch out for payroll errors and declaring taxable income incorrectly, as this can result in hefty penalty fees. Payroll software can minimise errors and streamlines the payroll processes.

Who would benefit most from your technology? SME business owners, HR professionals, and accountants benefit the most from our software. Every business needs payroll. There are also business outsourcing providers who

40

HRM ASIA.COM

provide payroll outsourcing services. Our software is affordable, easy-to-use, and scalable. This fits in to SMEs who are tight on budget. Payroll is already stressful enough for HR professionals and accountants and they just need the software to be user-friendly. Instead of them trying to get the software to work, it should be the other way round. Our software works its way out for them automatically, allowing them to enjoy a peace of mind.

How does it stand out from the crowd? Most payroll solutions in the market today solve only half the burden, by providing calculations only. This is where Gpayroll stands out. It covers not only payroll calculations but also automates provident funds, tax filings (unique feature known as AutoFiling) and salary disbursement (unique feature known as AutoWage). The time saving from payroll administration can be used to work on improving employee benefits and engagement. This

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

helps to maintain a very healthy relationship between the employee and the employer. For business outsourcing providers, our software ensures that their clients’ employees are paid on time. Payroll processes are automated by schedule, and regulatory updates are handled automatically in the background.

You recently emerged tops at the inaugural HR Festival Asia Pitch Fest. What was the event like? It was been a great experience. It is exciting to see the rise of HR Tech space with great ideas coming from the startups. It also gave us the opportunity to make new friends, as well as catching up with existing ones in the HR community. At the same time, we are proud to be the winner of the HR Festival Asia Pitch Fest. We have done several pitches at previous conferences, but not in the HR space. Our past experience enabled us to finetune and polish our skills, and HR Festival Pitch Fest was the perfect opportunity for us to

showcase our solution to the HR community.

What is the in the future for Gpayroll? We grow together with our clients and this means that as our clients grow, they will need a more comprehensive solution to cater to their payroll and HR needs. As such, we are introducing new online HR modules that are integrated with existing solutions. This provides a seamless payroll and HR experience in a single platform for its clients. Presently, most of our clients are SMEs. However, we are also looking to work with multinational corporations that need a regional platform to support their payroll and HR needs. Gpayroll is present in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Macau, and South Korea, and is looking at expanding to other countries such as Japan and Indonesia in the near future. RenQun Huang led Gpayroll to victory in the inaugural HR Festival Asia Pitchfest in May this year.


Provident


PA R T N E R CO N T E N T

F R A S E R S H O S P I TA L I T Y

Always in good hands

Frasers Hospitality ensures that relocating employees are always well-taken care of, from start to finish.

W

hen it comes to choosing the right corporate accommodation options for relocating employees and foreign employees on secondment in Asia, HR teams are spoiled for choice today, Often, the top priority for companies is to select a property that will help ensure that staff undergo a smooth transition into their new workplaces and roles. This is one of the main reasons why clients – Fortune 500 companies included – love working with Frasers Hospitality. They know that their people will left in good hands whenever they stay

42

HRM ASIA.COM

at any of the group’s serviced apartments in Singapore or across Asia-Pacific. A common request from relocating employees is close proximity to their office or workplace. With that in mind, one of the most attractive features of Frasers Hospitality’s properties is their prime locations. Take Fraser Residence Orchard, Singapore, for example. This sits right on the cusp of Orchard Road, one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned shopping and commercial districts. Residents are within walking distance of international malls such as ION Orchard and Paragon, as well as a wide range of business headquarters and the worldclass medical facilties of Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Paragon Medical Centre. Two other properties – Fraser Suites Singapore and Fraser Place Robertson Walk – are also located along the city fringe, and they provide guests

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

with easy access to the Central Business District, home to the local and regional hubs of many more global organisations. “The central location of our properties is a great advantage to business executives as it helps reduce unnecessary time spent commuting to work,” says Clara Beng, General Manager, Frasers Hospitality in Singapore. “The convenience of being located near the city’s shopping, dining and leisure amenities also enhances their whole experience of living overseas.” For employees with families, Frasers properties offer many child-friendly facilities and services, including playrooms, babysitting services and a full calendar of social activities that will help the entire family settle in.

A social atmosphere Adjusting to a new environment and country is always difficult,

but the accommodation provider makes that transition easier by organising especially curated events such as monthly residents’ night and outings. These provide guests with plenty of opportunities to befriend and interact with each other, while also expanding their social circle. After a long day at work, guests can also unwind at “The Retreat”, with body and feet massaging machines always available. Other lifestyle amenities include a 24-hour gymnasium, swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, outdoor recreational facilities, residents’ lounges, and restaurants with a choice of healthy menu options, all of which provide corporate travellers with a multitude of ways to recharge. The option of customisation is also an appealing factor for clients, and why Frasers has so many repeat customers, says Beng. For example, besides working out an accommodation package that met the needs of a recent group booking from one of its Fortune 500 clientele, she said her team was able to further customise the offer to cater for a bus transfer to shuttle employees from the serviced apartments to the office every day. “We try our best to come up with well-tailored solutions, so that we are able to meet all the needs and budget requirements of each and every client,” says Beng. “This is why Frasers Hospitality has been at the forefront of offering memorable experiences to guests through our Gold-Standard serviced, hotel residences and boutique lifestyle hotels across Asia for over 20 years.”

For more information on Frasers’ range of serviced apartments in Singapore and beyond, visit www.frasershospitality.com.


20 18


PA R T N E R CO N T E N T

A R I VA H O S P I TA L I T Y

Urban living in extreme comfort Whether it’s for a short or long-stay, Ariva Trillion Residences offers the perfect accommodation choice in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Serviced apartments bridge the gap between hotels, and private apartments; for either short-term or extended stays,” says Susie Chin, Residence Manager of Ariva Trillion Residences. Customers view luxury differently nowadays, and are seeing more value in selecting serviced residences with the luxury of living space and a full host of home comfort amenities from the living and bedrooms, to the kitchen – all at lower cost compared to hotels and yet not necessarily compromising in service standards. Unlike apartments where service arrangements can be cumbersome in some countries, Serviced Residences customers

also like the luxury convenience of fuss-free services instantly available when they check-in, ranging from WiFi and cable TV, to a hospitality-trained team taking care of cleaning, security, and maintenance. While these product and services may again seem as expected, the success of a service residence also boils down to a team of dedicated staff who are able to anticipate customers’ different requirements over their extended stays, and are willing to go the extra mile to manage. For instance, we have realised that it is not necessary to furnish every corner and room. At Ariva Trillion Residences, we have intentionally left a study room partially furnished as it gives

the customer the flexibility and choice to turn it into a study, playroom, exercise room, guest room or also more storage room. With business trends, greater competition, and market

conditions changing rapidly nowadays, we really need to listen to the customers’ needs and be nimble to make changes quickly to be abreast of the competition.

For more information, or to book your stay, visit Ariva Hospitality online SEPTEMBER -OCTOBER 2019

HRM ASIA.COM

43


SECTOR FOCUS

S E R V I C E D A PA R T M E N T S

New challenges; great opportunities

Serviced apartment operators have never seen so many different market forces weighing down on their traditional business model. But that just means new opportunity for some of the region’s best-known brands. BY Paul Howell

44

HRM ASIA.COM

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


O

nce upon a time, relocation leaders had a simple accommodation choice for their travelling staff: would they stay with a hotel, or with a serviced apartment. But these days, there are several other options that could provide a roof overhead. What’s more, both hotels and serviced apartments have broadened their reach and appeal to provide dozens more options for every organisation’s mobility arm.

Serviced apartment providers do acknowledge the landscape has become more competitive in recent years. Pauline Heng, Vice President of Sales and Operations of Ariva Hospitality says the Airbnb phenomenon has taken place just as residential real estate markets in Southeast Asia were coming down from their most recent peak. “Technology and oversupply of private apartments have made it so much easier for customers to go directly to private apartments for leases or even on extended stays and within a shorter

booking window,” she tells HRM Magazine Asia. Arthur Kiong, CEO of Far East Hospitality says the regional inventory of serviced apartments has also grown since 2015, by as much as 63% according to the latest industry report. Now, faced with flattening demand and other economic pressures, the pressure to innovate and try new things is soaring.

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

45


SECTOR FOCUS

S E R V I C E D A PA R T M E N T S

“Demand is unlikely to maintain its upward momentum in 2019, despite increasing awareness among corporate travel managers (on the benefits of serviced apartments),” he said, offering two reasons for the predicted stagnation. “The trade war between the US and China has resulted in a Singapore is ranked the top Asian city for expatriates, it is also regarded as expensive and companies hiring expatriates with families are on the decline.”

Niche targeting But within all of these challenges lie new opportunities for established serviced apartments and property groups. Many, for example, are segmenting their brands and properties to appeal to different demographics within the business traveling community. Kiong says that is a key strategy for Far East Hospitality currently. “For instance, our Village brand targets travelers with a

46

HRM ASIA.COM

Many serviced apartment groups are segmenting their brands to appeal to different demographics within the business traveling community keen interest in the local culture and open to being located in ethnic enclaves,” he said. Ariva’s Heng says his team relishes the challenges ahead. “With every issue, there are new opportunities, and Ariva is ahead in this aspect,” she said.

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


“We have already been offering our customers a hybrid style of highend accommodation with hospitality services,” she said. “Our customers get the intangible travel experience to be able to immerse and co-live with the local communities’ culture and lifestyles, while enjoying more value in living connectivity.”

Investments in co-living Some operators are also looking at brands and concepts that target the Millennial travel specifically. For this demographic, an era of “co-living” is being developed. The Ascott Group’s lyf brand, for example, promises to redefine serviced apartments for this burgeoning group of business travelers – with flexible, communal spaces that facilitate collaboration and social activities among guests. “lyf is an exciting new concept in the serviced residence industry in Singapore,” Ervin Yeo, Ascott’s Regional General Manager for Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia said. “It is designed and managed by millennials for the millennial-minded.” Likewise, Ariva is also developing the co-living concept at its Ariva Trillion Residences in Kuala Lumpur. “We are certainly looking forward to being more pronounced in our co-living concepts,” Heng said. “(This) not only extends within our community, but also developing them on the properties.”

Take the pressure down Serviced apartment operators are facing a wide range of economic and market issues in the disruptive business environment. Among the factors affecting demand for their product are:  Technology allowing new players  Oversupply of private apartments  Companies reducing travel budgets  Mobile professionals combining business and leisure travel  International trade conflicts reducing corporate activity  Companies looking for alternatives to high-cost relocations

Marketplace - Serviced Apartments The Ascott Limited

Far East Hospitality

The Ascott Limited is a Singapore company that has grown to be one of the leading international lodging owner-operators. Ascott’s portfolio spans more than 170 cities across over 30 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the USA. Ascott has more than 59,000 operating units and over 42,000 units under development, making a total of more than 101,000 units in over 680 properties.

Far East Hospitality is an established international hospitality owner and operator with a combined portfolio of more than 15,500 rooms under management across 95 hotels and serviced residences in seven countries: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore. It has a stable of nine unique and complementary brands: Oasia, Quincy, Rendezvous, Village, Far East Collection, Adina Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Travelodge Hotels, and TFE Hotels Collection, offering guests a greater diversity of choice and locations.

www.the-ascott.com

www.StayFarEast.com

Frasers Hospitality

Winsland Serviced Suites by Lanson Place

Frasers Hospitality has Gold-Standard Fraser Suites, Fraser Place and Fraser Residence, Modena by Fraser, a second-tier brand targeted at the road warrior and Capri by Fraser, a design-led hotel residence aimed at the Millennial business traveller. In addition, two brands of upscale boutique lifestyle hotels, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin. Frasers’ intrinsic understanding of the importance of excellence in service and innovation in meeting the evolving needs of corporate travellers is reflective in the number of prestigious accolades garnered over the years.

www.frasershospitality.com

Winsland Serviced Suites offers a relaxing, tranquil environment for travellers seeking short or long-term accommodation in the heart of Singapore. Inside, you’ll find newly-renovated, spacious suites with a modern look inspired by nature. Outside, an abundance of exciting shopping, dining, and entertainment options wait just a block away on Orchard Road, while the nearby Somerset MRT station offers easy access to the rest of the city.

www.winsland.lansonplace.com/

O C T O B EJRU- LNYO- A VU EM B ES RT 2 0 1 9 8 GU

HRM ASIA.COM

37 4 5


PA R T N E R CO N T E N T

FA R E A S T H O S P I T A L I T Y

It’s all about the family

Far East Hospitality – a leading hotels and serviced residences operator – believes that treating employees well is the key to business success.

Village Residence Robertson Quay

T

here is a saying in business – that happy staff make for happy customers. This is certainly the case at Far East Hospitality – a leading and home-grown hotels and serviced residences operator – which has consistently been one of the top corporate accommodation providers in Singapore. Just ask two of its employees: Residence Manager Ace Tan, and Sales Manager Pearlyn Lim, who agree the secret to good customer service, starts with a positive employee experience and people management. Tan, the Residence Manager at the Village Residence Robertson Quay, is a veteran in the hospitality industry, having made her first foray into the industry with Far East Hospitality’s Front Office department 16 years ago. She credits her longevity in the industry to supportive bosses and the organisation’s many attractive employee

48

HRM ASIA.COM

Ace Tan (left) and Pearlyn Lim love their jobs with Far East Hospitality, and that translates into positive experiences for guests. programmes and benefits. “I was given a lot of opportunities, and there were many training and sharing sessions conducted over the years that helped me to perform well in my roles,” says Tan. She further shares that the organisation is pro-family and provides generous medical benefits, not just for employees, but their immediate families as well. Employee benefits in the form of annual birthday stays at one of the organisation’s many properties, and the Employee of the Month programme, are just some of the other reasons that make Far East Hospitality a great place to work at, she says. As Residence Manager of Village Residence Robertson Quay, Tan is in charge of ensuring that guests’ needs are taken care of, her team members are happy, and the property is well maintained. She also pays it forward by grooming others with leadership aspirations. Daily briefing sessions at

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

the start of each shift, where Tan and her staff talk about “everything under the sun”, including their pain points and career goals, are how she keeps her employees happy and engaged. “My team members are like my children. We are like family here, and there is no fingerpointing or blame games,” Tan says, adding that this culture of inclusivity has also influenced guest relations in a massive way. The organisation also believes in empowering employees across all levels. Sales Manager Pearlyn Lim, says this is evident in the way things are run at the corporate end. For Lim, this culture of empowerment has allowed her to perform more effectively in her role as a Sales Manager, despite her being a newcomer in the industry. “I am provided with the autonomy to customise our

packages according to my clients’ needs, thus ensuring greater value and satisfaction for my clients,” she shares. This type of customisation and flexibility is not lost on clients, and Lim says this quality is what customers love most about working with Far East Hospitality. “They tell me that Far East Hospitality, despite being a big organisation, does listen to its customers’ requirements.” Certainly, Far East Hospitality has been able to position itself as one of the region’s trusted brands because of passionate employees like Tan and Lim, who feel the organisation has played a huge role in keeping them motivated. “We have been able to give our best because our company has so generously invested in us over the years, not just as workers, but also as individuals with ambitions,” Tan says.

For more information on Far East Hospitality’s serviced residences, visit: www.StayFarEast.com/Serviced-Residences


FEH-HRM Asia-SR ad adaptation-210x268mm-20190325-p.indd 1

3/25/19 6:01 PM


PA R T N E R CO N T E N T

THE ASCOT T LIMITED

Accommodation for every business traveller The world may be more digitally connected than ever before, but that hasn’t slowed down the need for business travel. With more and more visitors working in Singapore, accommodation providers like Ascott are expanding and diversifying their property portfolios.

T

here is no denying the allure of Singapore as a hub for global businesses, research, and policy-making at the moment. Across all industries, the island-state is welcoming business travellers in their millions, and the trend is set to continue in the years ahead. The accommodation sector has certainly taken notice, with one company in particular expanding its already significant serviced apartment portfolio across Singapore. The Ascott Limited (Ascott) is set to open three new serviced residences in the city-state in 2019, bringing its local footprint to 15 properties, and more than 2,600 serviced residence and hotel units under management. “Travel has become a vital part of doing business in this region, and we pride ourselves in providing the best possible home-away-fromhome accommodation,” said Mr Ervin Yeo, Ascott’s Regional General Manager for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. “As we expand across different brands, we will be able to offer even more accommodation choices for business travellers and the HR and mobility professionals assisting them.” Yeo says the demographics of business travellers are also shifting dramatically. “It used to be only the most senior executives who were globallymobile,” he says. “These days,

50

HRM ASIA.COM

lyf Funan Singapore staff from every level of the organisation are being called on to lead international projects, share knowledge, and learn from their counterparts wherever they are based.” Recognising this increased diversity, Ascott offers a range of different brands to business travellers in Singapore. Ascott The Residence offers “tailored exclusivity” to its loyal guests, and Citadines is known for “vibrancy at its best”. The Somerset brand, meanwhile, has offered “balanced home living” for many years in Singapore. This year, Ascott will introduce its latest coliving brand lyf, that was inspired by the rise of the millennial traveller.

Live your freedom lyf coliving properties encourage guests to “Live Your Freedom” in a dynamic environment, with flexible communal spaces that facilitate collaboration,

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

community-building and social activities among guests. To meet the needs of the digital natives, Ascott will provide them a digital experience by going paperless and cashless. Ascott is working on a mobile app which will enable check-ins, direct bookings, and participation in social activities at its upcoming lyf properties. “lyf is an exciting new concept in the serviced residence industry in Singapore,” Yeo says. “It is designed and managed by millennials for the millennialminded and signifies a new way of living and collaborating as a community.” Ascott’s first lyf property– lyf Funan Singapore – will open as part of the new “creative intersection” at the Funan digital and lifestyle mall, in September 2019. Two more lyf properties are slated to open in Singapore in 2021. Ascott is set to open two other Citadines properties

Ascott’s growing footprint The Ascott Limited is expanding its already extensive portfolio of serviced residences in Singapore, with three new developments slated to open in Singapore towards the end of 2019, and a further three in 2021. These 12 serviced residences have brands and locations to match the diverse range of business travelers in Singapore on both short and long-term assignments. The 12 properties are: Ascott Orchard Singapore Ascott Raffles Place Singapore Citadines Balestier Singapore (Opening Sep 2019) Citadines Fusionopolis Singapore Citadines Mount Sophia Singapore Citadines Raffles Place Singapore (Opening 2021) Citadines Rochor Singapore (Opening 4Q 2019) Somerset Bencoolen Singapore Somerset Liang Court Singapore lyf Farrer Park Singapore (Opening 2021) lyf Funan Singapore (Opening September 2019) lyf one-north Singapore (Opening 2021)

this year. Citadines Balestier Singapore in the city fringe, and Citadines Rochor Singapore, near the downtown core, will each boast the Ascott’s trademark focus on guest comfort, service, and hospitality. “Ascott provides a onestop-shop for HR and mobility professionals,” Yeo said. “Whether it is in Ascott, Citadines, Somerset, or the new lyf brand of serviced residence, Ascott’s guests can look forward to a comfortable home-awayfrom-home environment with all the facilities and services they need to make the most out of their stay in Singapore.”


PA R T N E R CO N T E N T

THAILAND CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION BUREAU

Experience unique meeting venues in Thailand Whether it is by the beach, or in the mountainous jungle, Thailand offers an enviable world of MICE and teambuilding destinations for every organisation to consider.

O

Angsana Laguna Phuket

Veranda High Resort Chiang Mai - MGallery

verlooking the shimmering Bang Tao Bay, Angsana Laguna Phuket is perfectly located to connect your delegates within the resort’s own facilities and varied team building and social activities. Just 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport, Angsana offers a dedicated group arrival lounge for check-in to the accommodation, from Laguna Rooms to Two-bedroom suites. This resort offers unique venues, services and facilities, including an 18-hole golf course, and restaurants and bars such as the XANA Beach Club and awardwining Angsana Spa. This beachfront resort is able to host meetings and events for every occasion with a spacious ballroom, meeting rooms, and even a dedicated beachfront area and the newlybuilt Angsana Convention and Exhibition Space.

52

HRM ASIA.COM

The resort’s team of Certified Incentive Specialists and Certified Meeting Planners are on-hand to assist with every detail to make your event a success. Additionally, the resort has been accredited by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau with the Thailand MICE Venue Standard Designation and ASEAN MICE Venue Standards certification to host international-standard MICE events, acknowledging our staff and venues in the areas of setting, technology, and services. Shape your event by the beach, private roof top, or by the lagoon to combine local chic offerings with a memorable experience for meeting and incentive delegates.

Forest vistas Veranda High Resort Chiang Mai - MGallery is a stunning mountain retreat blending into the beautiful natural landscape

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

in the northern capital of the Lanna Kingdom of Thailand. The 4-hectare resort is dedicated to pure relaxation and spectacular views of the forest, overlooking the Loha Prasart Mueang Pong (Buddhist Metal Castle) on top of the opposite hill. Local materials are given a modern touch in this 69-room boutique resort which subtly reveals itself to guests as always being an oasis of calm. Veranda Spa, Fitness Centre, infinity pool, two restaurants, a bar, meeting spaces, and a library come together to deliver a very Zen experience sheltered away from the daily bustle. The Higher Room restaurant offers an experience of dining with a spectacular infinity pool view on the forest hill background, while Rabiang Cha restaurant showcases a variety of cuisine from

traditional Chiang Mai tastes to international gourmet. The resort is an ideal meeting destination for creative events, and can deliver that extra inspiration to meetings. Surrounded with breathtaking scenery, Veranda High Resort Chiang Mai - MGallery can cater for groups from 10 to 250 guests in multiple indoor and outdoor locations. A wide range of activities within and outside the resort are readily available for the adventurous guest, or can be integrated into the event schedule. These range from walking excursions to rice planting, bicycle tours, yoga, meditation or the daily complimentary shuttle service into Chiang Mai town. Discover the true north of Thailand at Veranda High Resort Chiang Mai – MGallery.

For more information on any of Thailand’s unique MICE venues, visit the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau www.tceb.or.th.


Celebrating the best and brightest HR service providers in Singapore and beyond, these awards offer a key recognition for those vital partners to the HR industry

HRM Asia is inviting all organisations and businesses in Singapore to nominate themselves, as well as anyone else worthy of this ultimate prize of dedicated HR service.

NOMINATE NOW:

www.hrmreaderschoice.com

Readers Choice 2019


UPCOMING EVENTS

R E A D E R S ’ C H O I C E AWA R D S

HR’s great democracy returns

The HRM Asia Readers’ Choice Awards are back again in 2019, with nominations across 23 categories now open.

H

RM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards are back again for 2019. Celebrating the best and brightest HR service providers in Singapore and beyond, these awards offer a key recognition for those vital partners to the HR industry. With 23 categories representing the entire ecosystem of HR service providers in Singapore, there’s a category (or more) for every vendor. This includes the technology providers, consultancies, trainers and coaches, recruitment experts, and mobility advisors. Even serviced apartments and MICE venues will be represented when the trophies are awarded on November 1.

HRM Asia’s vast readership from across the HR profession in Singapore have the biggest say in determining the winners and runners up in each category. Your votes – which will be collected between September 16 and October 7 – account for 70% of each participant’s final score. HRM Asia’s panel of expert judges – all senior HR leaders based in Asia-Pacific – contribute the remaining 30% of the score, so that the competition is much more than a popularity contest.

Nominate your organisation, or one that you work with, via the Readers’ Choice Awards website at www.hrmreaderschoice.com. Nominations close on September 13.

#1 HR Software 19 Years of Cloud-based HR Experience Fully Integrated HR Management System Only ISO 27001 Security Compliant HR Software Award-winning HR Software

Payroll

Leave

Clock

Expense

Benefits

People

Supported by:

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

HRM ASIA.COM

55


A Relaxing Home Amidst City Living Discover a restful, roomy living solution inspired by nature and with all the comforts of home at Winsland Serviced Suites by Lanson Place. Explore an abundance of exciting shopping, dining, and entertainment options that await you on Orchard Road, or discover the rest of the city with nearby Somerset MRT Station. This is ideal accommodation in Singapore, one of Asia’s most livable cities. 167 Penang Road Singapore 238462 enquiry.wssg@lansonplace.com winsland.lansonplace.com


MHCL FPFC Ad in HRM_210x268 R2.pdf

1

9/5/19

3:10 PM

MASTER OF HUMAN CAPITAL LEADERSHIP Where People Strategy Drives Business Strategy

C

M

Valentin Lorenzo Posadas General Manager, APAC, Arctic Shores Master of Human Capital Leadership, Class of 2017

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Programme Highlights • Gain experience in solving human capital challenges with the aid of analytics and evidence based approaches • Acquire real-world experience with internship opportunities through our network of 3,000 companies worldwide* • Enrich your education with a one-week residency at an eminent institute of education for human capital management and site visits to companies in the US *Applicable to full-time students only

Visit bit.ly/smumhcl1 to learn more about the Master of Human Capital Management programme.

smu.edu.sg/mhcl

mhcl@smu.edu.sg

(65) 6828 0882

SMULKCSB

Profile for HRM Asia

HRM Magazine Asia - July-August, 2019  

DBS Bank's ten-year transformation journey; HR Festival Asia wrapped-up; and how serviced apartments are diversifying their products.

HRM Magazine Asia - July-August, 2019  

DBS Bank's ten-year transformation journey; HR Festival Asia wrapped-up; and how serviced apartments are diversifying their products.

Profile for hrmasia