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HP INC FINDING ITS OWN WAY ACCELERATING HR TRANSFORMATION

JULY-AUGUST 2018

SECRETS TO EFFECTIVE TEAMBUILDING

Playing to win Price inc. GST $9.95

Cargill’s Peter Van Deursen thrives on the competitive nature of the food industry

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Dear HRM Magazine Asia readers,

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Paul Howell SENIOR JOURNALIST

Kelvin Ong JOURNALIST

Yamini Chinnuswamy SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

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t last month’s HRXLR8 Summit, self-proclaimed HR futurist Jason Averbook said people and mindset, not technology, were the most critical elements of successful business transformation. “There are hundreds of enterprise solutions available on the market, but they won’t change anything unless the workforce is willing to change with it. HR needs to look at the mindsets, processes, and the people involved,” he told a room full of senior HR executives. Building a workforce that is “willing” to embrace change has certainly been the mantra of two of our interview subjects this month: Cargill Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Van Deursen, and HP Inc’s Regional Head of HR in Asia-Pacific, Nicolina Marzicola. Van Deursen is a big believer in the art of “playing to win”, as he tells journalist Yamini Chinnuswamy on Page 12. This approach has served him well throughout a 28-year career with the food producer, so much so that he hopes to instill this mentality across the organisation’s 55,000 employees in Asia-Pacific. “Ultimately, it’s not about me. It’s about developing people who can take over. If I’m leaving the company, or the region, in five or 10 years from now, there has to be a whole pipeline of people standing up, and waiting to take over,” says Van Deursen. When HP Inc split from the HewlettPackard Corporation in 2015, it had set out to become a brand known for its “fun and

cool” products. For that vision to be realised, Marzicola says the new entity had to shed its rigid and “bureaucratic” past, and build a people and innovation-centric culture. “What we’re trying to do is build a culture of enthusiasm. I think with enthusiasm comes better productivity. And when you have better productivity, you’re more competitive, and it sets you up to win,” she shared. Do read even more about it in our HR Insider special on Page 36. These factors, however, do not by any means discount the importance of technology, as we discover in this issue’s Smart Workforce Special Report analysis from Page 26. Even though most HR practitioners are not technology-trained, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the function has to step up its technical capabilities if it wants to help drive the digital agenda of organisations. As Alain Bejjani, CEO of retail group Majid Al Futtaim, shared: “Today, technology and digital are a big part of the discussion. They are part of human capital, finance, strategy, marketing, customer experience – everything today has a technological dimension.” Until next time,

KELVIN ONG Senior Journalist, HRM Asia

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

MEET THE TEAM

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

PAUL HOWELL

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

Editorial Director paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg

KELVIN ONG

Senior Journalist kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

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

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CONTENTS

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ON THE COVER

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PLAYING TO WIN

Peter Van Deursen, regional CEO of Cargill, makes no apologies for maintaining an ultra-competitive culture within the food services giant in Asia-Pacific

“Playing to win means challenging the status quo, and continuously challenging oneself to improve” – PETER VAN DEURSEN, REGIONAL CEO, CARGILL

F E AT U R E S

18HR’S BIG GEAR SHIFT

The inaugural HR XLR8 Summit put HR Transformation and Strategy in the spotlight. More than 100 delegates joined the two-day, multiple stream conference in Singapore at the end of June

20 HR’S VERY OWN DEMOCRACY

HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards are back for 2018 – and your vote could make all the difference. Polling is open for the month of August at www.hrmreaderschoice.com

36 THE BIG REBOOT

Less than three years after its splitting from its enterprise arm, HP Inc is forging an entirely different culture for its 25,000 staff in Asia-Pacific

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OF EFFECTIVE 42SECRETS TEAMBUILDING

The workplace of the future will demand strong, cohesive teams who can proactively tackle the challenges that lie ahead. HRM Magazine Asia looks at the latest teambuilding options in Singapore

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WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here

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facebook.com/HRMAsiaMag

30 42 SPECIAL REPORT Technology and HR

26

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FROM C-SUITE TO D-SUITE

HR leaders don’t need to be trained technologists to have an impact on their organisation’s digital strategy. They need to bring their empathy and collaboration skills to bare

KEEPING 30 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE HUMAN

Guest contributor Helen Masters says now is the perfect time for HR leaders to embrace transformation and the benefits it can deliver

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THE FUTURE CALLING

US-based futurist John Sumser says fast-changing technology is creating countless opportunities for HR to make long-term, positive impacts on their organisations and workforces

REGULARS 04 06 10 46 55 56

BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS HRM FIVE UPCOMING EVENTS TWO CENTS NEXT MONTH

MY HR CAREER

48SPEAKING THE BUSINESS LANGUAGE An understanding of finance and general business concepts is one of the most important assets an HR practitioner can have

51 52 54

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL LESSONS LEARNED READER ADVICE J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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BEST OF HRMASIA.COM

What’s on

.com Watch - Demystifying HR 4.0

Bhawna Gandhi, Head of HR, Danone (Singapore); and Mike Bokina, Global Head of HR Organisational Effectiveness, Siemens, explain everything there is to know about HR 4.0.

Your Say

Last month, we asked: Should HR lead the technology agenda? This was your response.

Only when it has been properly trained

62

It’s a collaborative effort between % CHROs and CTOs

12% 12% 15%

No, HR should act as a facilitator

Your Say

Last month, we asked: Which of these attributes are key to a good employer brand? This was your response.

27% 43%

04

14%

12%

4%

Definitely

High future earnings

Secure employment

Ample training and development

A friendly work environment

Supportive leaders

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Watch - Jason Jennings on the evolution of HR

Business management thought leader Jason Jennings gave his take on the state of HR when he stopped by HR Summit & Expo Asia this year.

H Connect

Don’t wait for the printed magazine each month – the best of HRM Asia’s news, features, and analysis are available both online and through the daily e-newsletters. Even this magazine issue can be read cover-to-cover in an electronic version from Tuesday, July 17. With fully-dynamic links to even more content, including video and archived materials, the HRM e-magazine is everything you know from the printed product, plus much, much more. Sign up at www.hrmasia.com/content/subscribe for daily email updates, and the first look at every story, opinion, guest post, and HRM TV episode. Remember to also stay updated throughout the working week by checking into www.hrmasia.com on mobile, tablet, or computer. And connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make your mark in the HR community in Asia-Pacific All combined, HRM Asia’s multiple platforms and huge variety of content give HR professionals and business leaders the world’s best view of the fastevolving HR universe, here in Asia.

Share - From the HRM Asia Forums

“Awareness of mental health is increasing, but some people with mental health problems still face discrimination, and have challenges getting the help they need”

Michelle Leung, Head of HR, Cigna International, on why HR must build a positive approach to workplace mental health

avingtheconfidencetobean advocateisoftenthenatural by-productofaninclusive companyculture;manyofthe strongestLGBTchampionshardly considertheiradvocacyworkto beachoiceatall,butratherpart oftheircorporateDNA.

Michael Gold, editor of The Economist Intelligence Unit, on why companies must continuously work on ensuring sexuality-based equality is not reversed

“IF YOU HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LEADERSHIP TEAM, THIS MAKES SECURING BUY-IN FROM YOUR MANAGEMENT TEAM A WHOLE LOT EASIER, AND SUBSEQUENT EXECUTION OF YOUR STRATEGY SMOOTH”

Mark Leong, Asia-Pacific Head of the Leadership Academy at UBS University, explains why it is crucial that HR forms great relationships with all its stakeholders J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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NEWS ASIA

SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE ESTABLISHES AI ETHICS COUNCIL THE SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT has convened a council to

INDIA

ONE MILLION BANK WORKERS STRIKE UNION REPRESENTATIVES have claimed that around one million bank employees across India went on strike at the end of May to demand better pay and regulatory reform. The two-day strike saw thousands of bank branches – both public sector and commercial – close shop. Workers expressed their displeasure with a proposed pay raise of 2%, which was below the country’s inflation rate of 4.5%. The striking employees also called for a government crackdown on companies that do not pay back loans. India’s banks are weighed down by one of the highest levels of failing loans in the world’s emerging markets, reportedly worth more than US$120 billion. “It is big corporates who are attributable for losses to the banks,” Devidas Tuljapurkar of the United Forum of Bank Unions said. “But for no fault on their part, ordinary employees and officers are being denied their due share in profits.”

advise it on the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data. The council will be chaired by former Attorney-General V K Rajah, with remaining members appointed by the Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran. It will look into “issues surrounding fairness, transparency, and the ability to explain an AI’s decision”. A new research programme will also “advance and inform scholarly research on AI governance issues”. The five-year programme will be led by the Singapore Management University, with support from the Infocomm and Media Development Authority and the National Research Foundation. “We must leverage frontier technologies such as AI,” Iswaran said. “It is a journey that private enterprises and consumers must walk together with the Government.”

HONG KONG

SAMSONITE CEO QUITS OVER RÉSUMÉ FRAUD RAMESH TAINWALA, CEO of luggage maker Samsonite, resigned in

June after being accused of résumé fraud. In its report on the company’ financial practices, activist fund manager Blue Orca claimed that Tainwala had at different points in his career presented himself as a doctor. Although his biography on Samsonite’s website omitted the reference, he was described as holding a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration in regulatory filings and in some media sources. “But when we called (the university’s) registrar, a representative told us that Tainwala never attained a doctorate, but that he merely enrolled in a programme from February 1992 to September 1993,” the report stated. The report went on to state that this was a “classic” example of résumé fraud. Samsonite has since announced that former Chief Financial Officer Kyle Gendreau would be Tainwala’s replacement in the top job.

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JAPAN

JAPAN TO BRING IN 500,000 FOREIGN WORKERS THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT will be

creating new work permits to attract foreign talent to the country. These work permits will be for both skilled and unskilled workers, in areas which are expected to experience significant manpower shortages over the next seven years. They include the construction, agriculture, and nursing care sectors. “We will swiftly create a framework to bring in a wide range of work-ready foreign talent with a certain level of skills and expertise,”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. There are expected to be two pathways to obtaining the new permit: either through a five-year Technical Intern Training Programme, or through an exam on technical and Japanese language skills. Japan’s ageing workforce is expected to fall by 15 million over the next 20 years. At present, foreigners account for only around 2% of the 66 million-strong labour force.

MALAYSIA

17,000 STATE WORKERS TO BE DISMISSED

CHINA

XIAOMI EMPLOYEES SET TO BECOME MULTI-MILLIONAIRES

SOME 17,000 government jobs in Malaysia will be slashed as the newly-elected administration seeks to alleviate public spending and debt. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was elected into power on May 9, said agencies such as the Land Public Transport Commission and the Special Affairs Department would be folded. “Most of these institutions were not part of government (and) were supposed to advise government. We don’t need their intelligence,” he said. A timeline for the various changes has not yet been provided.

SOME 56 EARLY employees of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi are set to win big when the company goes public in the next few months. Xiaomi filed for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the second half of 2018. The company is aiming to raise US$10 billion at a market valuation of US$100 billion. The listing could potentially become the world’s largest since Alibaba debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. At the target valuation, the combined stake of Xiaomi’s shareholding employees could be worth as much as US$3 billion. Xiaomi is currently the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.

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

US

TESLA SLASHES 3,000 JOBS US COMPANY TESLA, which specalises

US

WALMART’S US$1 DEGREES FOR STAFF WALMART, THE US RETAILER known for its’ giant warehouse-style stores, will be offering each of its more than 1.4 million staff the chance to study for an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Staff will pay only US$1 for the approved courses in Supply Chain management or general business being offered online from the University of Florida, Brandman University in California, and Bellevue University in Nebraska. Both full-time and part-time Walmart employees will qualify for the subsidy once they have completed 90 days of employment with the company. Employees who do take up the offer will not be obligated to stay with the company, even after they obtain their degrees. “Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success,” said Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart US.

in electric cars and clean energy infrastructure, is cutting some 8% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring exercise. The more than 3,000 layoffs will hit salaried employees hardest; most probably those working at Tesla’s corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley. All employees working on production lines are expected to remain on the payroll.

Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said the restructuring was aimed at making the company “sustainably profitable”. In an e-mail to employees, which Musk later posted on Twitter, he said Tesla had “grown and evolved rapidly over the past several years”, and this had resulted in “some duplication of roles and some job functions”. “While they made sense in the past, (they) are difficult to justify today.”

GERMANY

DEUTSCHE BANK EMBARKS ON “THOROUGH” LAYOFFS

DEUTSCHE BANK WILL cut more than 7,000 jobs from its 97,000-strong global workforce before the end of next year. The bank ended the 2017 financial year with a loss of €735 million (US$864), and revenues falling 12% from 2016. CEO Christian Sewing said the company would undertake “thorough” cost-cutting measures over the next 18 months. Restructuring is already underway

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in the Private and Commercial division, where HR has identified more than 3,300 work processes that can be automated. Top management will not be spared, Sewing has warned. The management board has already been slimmed down by a quarter, with the two layers below it also under review. The company has declined to comment on the regional breakdown of the job losses, or how many jobs in Asia-Pacific will be affected.

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EUROPE

EU TIGHTENS REGULATIONS ON “OVERSEAS POSTED WORKERS” THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU)

is making moves to improve protections for “posted workers”: those staff sent on assignments in a different EU member state. There are more than 2 million such workers within the EU currently. Under the amended laws – which have been given the go-ahead by the European Parliament –temporary overseas workers in the EU will be entitled to the same minimum pay as those in the host country. They will also be able to benefit from any major collective agreements that are in place in the relevant sector or region. Employers will also be expected to provide funds for travel and accommodation, in addition to wages. The new rules aim to minimise exploitation of these workers. Member states will have two years to enact the rules in their own territories.

UK

PAY GAP TRANSPARENCY ON THE CARDS BRITAIN’S LARGEST COMPANIES

UK

UK HIGH STREET WOES AMID TOUGH CONDITIONS and rising costs,

iconic UK retailer Marks & Spencer will be closing 100 retail outlets in the country by 2022. These closures are expected to affect more than 1,500 staff. It is just one of several High Street giants that have announced a scaling back of operations recently. Mothercare, well-known internationally as a core provider of maternity and baby products, will be shuttering 50 stores; youth

fashion chain New Look is closing 60 outlets. Marks & Spencer says the change of strategy is part of its “wider five-year transformation plan”. Actions taken under the plan will also include the sale and franchise of the firm’s retail business in Hong Kong and Macau. In March, the retailer also appointed an independent “Advisor on Culture Change” to help the company drive employee engagement through improved staff communication.

will soon be required to publish the pay discrepancy between their CEO and the average worker. New rules propose that listed organisations with more than 250 employees will have to reveal the pay gap – and in doing so, justify the salary paid out to the top leaders. “We understand the anger of workers and shareholders when bosses’ pay is out of step with company performance,” Greg Clark, the UK’s business minister, said. He added that the increased transparency would lead to greater accountability for workers, as well as shareholders, while also contributing to building a “fairer economy”. The new laws are still subject to parliamentary approval, and are part of the British government’s “Industrial Strategy” plan. If they are enacted, they will kick in from January 1 next year – which will mean that companies would need to start reporting in 2020.

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HRM FIVE

THE LAST GOODBYE BY YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY

Employee churn is a natural part of an organisation’s operations. Some people will resign; some will retire; and some will have to be let go. The last occurrence is never pleasant for any of the parties involved, but HR can play an important role in making sure that the process is handled sensitively. After all, HR is as much about the “human” angle, as it is about “resources”. Here are some tips on how to ensure that any pain and discomfort related to employee terminations are kept to a minimum.

Time it thoughtfully

It is frequently suggested that it’s best to terminate an employee as early in the week as possible. This gives them a few weekdays to start enacting their next steps of their career. You might also want to wait until the end of the day, when most – if not all – of the office has already left, in order to minimise embarrassment to the employee, or gossip amongst the rest of the staff.

Cover all bases

When explaining to the employee that they’re being terminated, HR needs to be prepared to provide certain information, or make sure that the firing manager is appropriately briefed. For example, they should be ready to answer questions on severance pay, references, and about knowledge and document transfer. Limit the discussion it to the practical steps that need to be dealt with whenever a person leaves the organisation.

Do it face to face

Imagine receiving a text from your spouse saying, “I want a divorce”. That would be shocking, not to mention tactless. Given that people spend most of their waking hours at work, one’s employment – or lack thereof – can have a significant impact on their livelihood. So it is not unreasonable to expect HR executives and line managers to have a face-toface conversation with an employee being let go. That being said, a phone call or e-mail might be unavoidable if you have an absent-without-leave staff member who cannot be tracked down.

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Don’t be cold

You don’t want to go into the reasons why a person is being fired, as that might suggest that the matter is up for debate. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be brusque or cold. Do have a box of tissues to hand, and make sure you don’t have any meetings appointments right after, just so the employee has time and space to cry or vent as they need to.

Don’t jump the gun, but don’t put if off

Some behavioural issues – physical violence and aggression being an obvious example – have to be treated promptly and decisively. On the other hand, it might be difficult to tell if an underperforming employee just needs a kick in the backside, or to be booted out completely. In such situations, consider taking the time to sit down with the employee and their line manager to explain the situation. Give them specific goals and timelines, and explain clearly the consequences of not meeting them. If they fail, the next step will be clear – don’t waste time giving them too many chances, or they could become a liability to the rest of the organisation. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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F E AT U R E

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

PLAY

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AYING TO

WIN I t would be very difficult to mistake Peter Van Deursen, the CEO of Cargill Asia-Pacific, for anything other than a natural-born leader. For one thing, he is an imposing man in person – toweringly tall, sharply dressed, and straight-talking. For another, it’s clear from his hour-long conversation with HRM Magazine Asia that he is a very competitive person: one who is always thinking about how to reach the end-game. The mantra “playing to win” is frequently cited during the conversation, and it’s easy to imagine him repeating those words to employees while holding court in Cargill’s sprawling, environmentallyfriendly offices in central Singapore. But this competitiveness should not be mistaken for aggressiveness or combativeness. Van Deursen is merely a pragmatist; one who knows that agility – rather than circumspection – is now a vital attribute for both people and organisations. “The pace of change is faster than ever it has been before,” he says. “We have to keep thinking, how can we disrupt ourselves? If I’m running a successful business today, what can I do to disrupt that? How can I position myself to be able to adapt?” Van Deursen acknowledges that any business wishing to be disruptive and innovative must make space for failure, “failing fast” even. But he is quick to point out that such setbacks do not represent a

Cargill, led in Asia-Pacific by regional CEO PETER VAN DEURSEN, wants to make the world a better place – by pushing boundaries, and always challenging the status quo B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

zero-sum game. “Innovative companies fail fast, but that doesn’t mean that they continue to fail the pipeline. If you continuously fail, you go bankrupt,” he notes. “In fact, I always celebrate when we kill a project. Because, sure, the portfolio gets smaller, but it also means that we have freed up resources to deliver on that faster, in a different way.” This bold approach might seem at odds with a company that operates in the food industry, but only if you understate Cargill’s impact as a global corporation. The company is one of the largest, privately-owned businesses in the world, and has 55,000 employees in the Asia-Pacific region alone. As Van Deursen notes, “For most of the products that humans eat, Cargill in involved with at least one of the ingredients inside.” Given that mandate, Van Deursen views his legacy as a leader in fairly straightforward terms. “Ultimately, it’s not about me. It’s about developing people who can take over. If I’m leaving the company, or the region, in five or 10 years from now, there has to be a whole pipeline of people standing up, and waiting to take over,” he says. “They don’t have to copy and paste my behaviour, but I would hope that by then we would have established a ‘playing to win’ culture that adheres to the core values of the company.”

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F E AT U R E

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

one WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SINGAPORE?

I like the climate here. There is no snow. A little bit of rain, but no snow

1

around you that is strong even when you leave WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF:

BUT IT’S SO HUMID:

You get used to that very quickly

Get out of the comfort zone as soon as you can. Take a risk and challenge the usual

DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR BUGBEARS?

DO YOU HAVE ANY GUILTY PLEASURES?

Night calls. They’re a necessary evil in a global company, but I dislike them. Especially in Asia where because of time zones, you draw the shortest stick WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?

I don’t plan too much. That’s something I learned – to live by the day. It’s very stressful to think about where you should be next. I think you have to live in the moment, to concentrate on contributing to the business, and leave something behind that is sustainable – to build a team

Q

A What is a typical day for you in Cargill?

A typical day in Cargill doesn’t really exist, especially in this region. A quarter of the global population in Cargill is sitting and living in Asia – and we consider Asia to be everything between India and Australia. It’s a huge territory. Some 60% of the global population lives in that space. And those regions are all dealing with different enterprises and product lines.

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What are the challenges of managing the workforce across such a diverse region?

Q

ON

I like to watch all kind of sports and competitive events. Anything from soccer to cricket. Before I joined Cargill, I was a semi-professional soccer player, and I do still play. I would have liked to have continued that, but I am getting too old for it. But that’s where my competitiveness comes from, I think HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN JUST ONE WORD?

“Challenge.” Challenge the status quo. Challenge what you’re doing today. Always ask the what-if questions

It is just the fact that there is not “One Asia”. Asia, as a concept, is nice for statistics. But what is China, and what do we want to be there? What do we want to be in Indonesia? What do we want to do in Philippines or Vietnam? These questions will all have very different answers. The strategies and capabilities needed are different, because the dynamics are different. In a country like India, you cannot even talk about “India strategies”, because there are so many differences between the states alone – there, you have to talk about strategies at the state level.

“Leaders that play to win are always stretching themselves to the next level. That energy spreads to the people around them as well”

In the Food Ingredients and Bio-Industrial enterprise alone, you’ve got product lines such as starches and sweeteners, oils and fats, cocoa and chocolate, and malt. Then we have our Cargill agricultural supply chain. There’s everything from trading up to buying soybeans, for instance, or animal proteins such as chicken or other meats. Then we’ve got our metals and our trading. They’re all different businesses with different competitors, and different needs.

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What is the state of the industry landscape for Cargill at the moment? What is the business grappling with?

Q

We have to keep asking ourselves, what are the choices we’re making? How and where do we want to position ourselves? Things are moving fast. The world population is growing very quickly. There is more urbanisation, and more impact on the climate. Diets are changing. In China, for example, animal protein is becoming more popular as incomes rise. Whereas in India, and some parts of the western world, there is a greater demand for vegetable protein. All of these things present challenges, but also open huge opportunities. If diets are

changing, that means we have to think about how we can offer a portfolio that caters to all appetites. We do want to continue to facilitate free trade, and we want to be a thought leader in how climate change is tackled. We have also pledged to be completely sustainable in our supply chain. That’s a big commitment, and now we need to make sure we have the technology, policies, and partnerships to enable it.

Q

Is it difficult to get younger people into the business?

Farming is perhaps not as attractive in comparison to anything in the tech space. But concepts like farm-to-fork, sustainability,

and deforestation are debates in which Cargill plays all the time, and they are big themes that a lot of younger people are talking about now. More and more people are interested to know where their food is coming from and how it is being produced. So I think our appeal to the younger generation is actually increasing.

That makes sense, because studies have shown that millennials are interested in joining companies that are making a positive change in the world. Does that ring true for Cargill?

Q

As a company, we want to be the global leader in nourishing the world in a safe,

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F E AT U R E

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

sustainable, and responsible way. That means doing things like standing up for global trade, because we believe it will result in better systems that will mean we can feed and grow the global population. That guiding principle is very strongly rooted in the company from the CargillMacmillan family. You see it shining through the entire organisation, and it cascades down to other things.

Q

What do you look for when you’re hiring or developing leaders?

Our core values are: putting people first, doing the right thing, and aiming high. We also look for people who are curious, and are willing to step out of their comfort zones to learn, and continuously improve. You have to be able to adapt to a changing environment, one that is only changing faster every year. Playing to win is another key element. To me, this means challenging the status quo. It means raising the bar by continuously improving, and continuously challenging oneself to improve. The other side of the coin is playing not to lose. But that means accepting the status quo, and not taking any risks: doing the ordinary, usual thing, and expecting ordinary results. Leaders that play to win are always stretching themselves to the next level. That energy spreads to the people around them as well.

What advice would you give to young professionals who are aspiring to leadership roles?

Q

Agility is very important. Get out of your comfort zone sooner rather than later. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go completely out of your home country – but if you have the opportunity to do so, accept assignments in unfamiliar places – that experience is valuable. The learning curve goes up exponentially when you’re out of your comfort zone.

worked in various Q You’ve countries over your 28-year career with Cargill. What have you learned about how leaders should adapt to different cultures? Surround yourself with people from different regions. I have people on my management team from China, Indonesia, and India. My

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communications director is from Singapore, and so she will often tell me: “You should do that differently”. Of course, a leader has to be open enough to be able to initiate that conversation in the first place. And if your people tell you that you’re wrong, you have to be smart enough to take their advice on and blend it with your own approach.

What do you think is the most important facet of strong leadership?

Q

The play to win mentality is one important element. But as a leader, you also have to be very predictable and transparent. I think it’s devastating for any leader if people say about them: “you never know what they’re really thinking.” You can’t

create trust that way. So I aim to be very predictable and authentic. Of course, I can say a lot of things about that, but the proof lies with the people who work with you, and what they have to say about it. So we do a lot of 360-degree feedback in the company. We ask employees to give feedback not only for their direct manager but also for people around them. And they also get feedback from their direct manager, subordinates, and people around them. Then we get external coaches to help figure out how to learn from that feedback. The process isn’t for the company, it’s for the people – and if they’re open to learning from it, it can be very powerful. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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INDONESIA

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• 18+ high level speakers, 4 CHROs • 8+ case studies, 2 panel discussions, 2 roundtable discussions at high strategy level • Build capabilities to drive the business to the future • Hear how Go-Jek build an agile culture • Discover what it means to be an HR leader and how you can drive digital transformation • listen to case studies on people’s transformation journeys and how they drove the organisation and changed mindsets and behaviours • Manage the millennial generation and how this will impact your future organisation

Key Themes to be Explored: • The role of HR in Digital Transformation • How HR leaders can influence business • Building capabilities to drive the workforce of transformation and culture empowerment the future • Building an agile culture to drive the • Transforming your current HR into digital workforce of the future mindset to cultivate the millennial generation • Transformational leadership for navigating trend through an era of disruption • Lessons learnt from transformation journey’s

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EVENT REPORT

HR’s big gear shift More than 100 delegates explored new ideas of HR transformation and digitalisation across three days of workshops, presentations, and interactive roundtables at HRM Asia’s inaugural HR XLR8 Summit in June

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une 25, 26, and 27 marked HRM Asia’s first-ever HR XLR8 Summit, taking place at the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre. With two exclusive workshops, and four distinct conference streams geared towards HR transformation, strategy, analytics, and organisational development and design, the event saw top HR leaders and professionals from across the region put their heads together to deep-dive into the new ways of working that are transforming the profession every day. The first day of the conference kicked off with a keynote talk by Ross Sparkman, the USbased Head of Strategic Workforce Planning

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for Facebook. He took the audience through a crash-course in future-proofing their organisations through strategic workforce planning. Sparkman highlighted the four key factors that characterise a successful planning programme: vision, people, processes, and technology and data. He noted that “people” – those driving the function – are usually the most important piece of the puzzle. “To have effective workforce planning, you need to have people with the right skills,” he said. Day Two featured a spirited talk by HR futurist Jason Averbook, who warned that

far too many HR leaders focus too much on the workplace technology available to them, rather than building up a digital mindset across their organisations. “There are hundreds of enterprise solutions available on the market, but they won’t change anything unless the workforce changes with it,” he said. “HR needs to also look at the mindsets, processes, and the people involved.” Averbook attributes different weights to each of these four pillars, with technology figuring as the least critical. According to his research, it is the mindset of both people and the organisation that is the most important avenue to change. Certainly, mindset shift was one of the key topics that came up time and again throughout the Summit. As noted by HR scholar Tanvi Gautam: “Digital transformation has no destination, only multiple cycles.”

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5

THINGS WE LEARNED

1

Building allies

2

Mobile-ready HR

3

Be clear on the “Y”

4

Respect the year

5

Not all doom and gloom

For HR to obtain and maintain its seat at the table, even as disruption transforms the workforce, networking internally and externally will be absolutely crucial. “Participate in events like this, and reach out to people – ask for help, offer help. Listen and understand where you can add value,” said Cristina Istria, Regional Director of Talent and Organisation Design for Amcor in Asia-Pacific. “Employees are expecting to experience innovative, creative change anytime, anywhere,” noted Pallavi Srivastava, Chief Talent Leader for IBM in Asia-Pacific (including Greater China). “They want to be able to go on a bus and claim their Grab receipt at the same time. Is it possible? If you were to leverage blockchain, and link Grab as one of the vendors, and then have a manager on the approval chain, through a cell phone, then yes,” she said. “It’s really about design thinking, and looking at what is possible,” she added. When it comes to data analytics, it’s the business goal that will always be the most important metric, and Fermin Diez, Deputy CEO of the Singapore National Council for Social Service, has a sure-fire rule for HR to keep that end result in its sights. “Make the business goal the Y-Axis,” he explained. Whatever HR is measuring, it is only when it is plotted against a real business goal, such as recruitment costs, sales, or overall profits, that the success or failure of the programme becomes visible. Keynote speaker Jason Averbook pointed out that there is a 20-year gap between companies and their employees when it comes to workplace technology: the always-mobile, always-connected lifestyle that most staff have outside of work becomes “printing emails” and “filling forms in triplicate” as soon as they walk into the office. “Companies need to start respecting 2018. Instead, companies are treating their workforces like it is 1998,” he said. Benjamin Roberts, Vice-President of Talent Management, Asia-Pacific, at Essence, noted that there is still a place for HR, even as disruption and transformation take over the workforce. After all, if there comes a day when HR is not needed, “that would mean that companies don’t have empathy anymore,” said Roberts. “You would lose the ‘human’ touch in ‘human resources’. It would be a sad place to be in.” J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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R E A D E R S ’ C H O I C E AWA R D S

HR’s very own democracy The best HR service providers in Singapore and beyond are now campaigning hard for your vote. Make your opinion count in the HRM Asia Readers’ Choice Awards before the end of August

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RM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards are back again for 2018, with more than 120 HR service providers set to compete across more than 35 different categories. From the best in serviced apartments, to HR technology providers, and from corporate health screeners to recruitment consultancies, the full ecosystem of HR and workforce management will be represented. You’ll see some of the industry’s biggest names sharing the finalist list with upcoming start-ups as well as new faces in new product areas.

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Two-tier judging The Readers’ Choice Awards will again be judged on two different assessments. The popular vote, conducted via the dedicated polling service at www. hrmreaderschoice.com will count for 70% of each service provider’s total score. HRM Asia’s judging panel, made up of senior HR professionals from across the Singapore business community, will also consider each of the finalists in each of the categories. Their combined assessment will be worth 30% of the overall tally.

Interactive website

The Readers’ Choice Awards website has been fully updated in time for this year’s voting and gala presentation. There, you’ll find much more information about each of the finalists in order to make your voting decisions both easy and informed. For even more information, just click straight through to each finalist’s own web page. The site also contains photos and event information from the gala presentation dinner, to be held on September 28. Even if you can’t make that, keep an eye out for the live blog that will keep you up to date as events unfold.

Vote early! Voting is open between for the full month of August. So get in fast, and make your opinion on the best HR service providers in Singapore count for 2018.

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HRM Asia’s highly-anticipated READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS returns in September Vote for your favourite service providers and stand a chance to win fantastic prizes! Nominations close on

Voting open

JUL

AUG

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1 -31

www.hrmreaderschoice.com Organised by

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Official Media Partner

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Special Report JULY - AUGUST 2018

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THE WORLD’S LEADING INDEPENDENT HR TECHNOLOGY EVENT SEPTEMBER 11 - 14, 2018 LAS VEGAS, USA F E AT U R I N G

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JULY-AUGUST 2018

Special Report

TECHNOLOGY AND HR

F

or many years, HR professionals and leaders have been told to learn and practice the skills of finance and business operations. It was – and remains today – a vital way for HR to gain its proverbial “seat” at the C-suite table and influence overall business strategy. But the tide is quickly turning toward a new language for HR to master – the language of technology and datapowered decision-making. These factors are now having a massive, and ever-growing impact on the modern workforce, and it is up to HR to ensure it understands both the opportunities and the threats associated. The influence of technology targets HR from two different directions. Firstly, there is the development of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence that is combining to make many human roles easier, more efficient, or even redundant. At the same time, data collection and processing tools are giving HR new opportunities to truly understand the trends and pain points of their own workforces. HRM Asia’s Special Report into Technology Skills for HR covers both of these aspects and more. It delves into the news skillsets that versatile HR leaders will need to call on in the not too distant future, if not already. The opening analysis piece by Kelvin Ong shows the ways HR leaders can work closely with their counterparts in the IT and technology development functions. It argues that any effective digital agenda will require both of these parts, representing the technology itself and the humans that will need to work with it, to work in harmony together (see: page 26 to 29). Guest contributor Helen Masters delves deep into the world of artificial intelligence and the practical implications for HR leaders in Asia-Pacific. She says chatbots in particular are becoming more and more common in workplaces, and are helping HR to handle employee enquiries more efficiently and effectively (see: page 30 to 31). The report’s Field Notes interview is with John Sumser, a US-based commentator on technology and future work practices. He explains why technology is making HR’s job one of the most exciting and challenging roles in the business (see: page 32 to 34).

INSIDE

25 OVERVIEW

HRM Magazine Asia’s comprehensive report into the skills and mindsets that HR will need in this fast-changing world of disruption and “Industry 4.0”

26 ANALYSIS

A lack of specific training should not be stopping HR from getting involved in the race to inspire employees through effective workplace technology adoption. Rather, it will bring an important human and empathy-based side to the debates and decisions

30 GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Helen Masters, General Manager of Infor in AsiaPacific, says a wide range of chatbot tools are now helping HR deal with large volumes of employee enquiries

32 FIELD NOTES

John Sumser is a US-based expert on the ways technology and working are converging. He offers some predictions on the exciting places new tech is taking the world of work, and what that will mean for HR

FOR MORE 12 October – HR Tech Think Tank, Singapore

HRM Asia’s inaugural interactive training event – The HR Tech Think Tank – will bring HR professionals of all industries and levels together for an interactive seminar on the future challenges and opportunities in workforce management. Don’t miss out on this chance to brainstorm and workshop key solution’s to tomorrows HR challenges today J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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TECHNOLOGY AND HR

A N A LY S I S

FROM C-SUITE TO D-SUITE B Y K E LV I N O N G

Although most HR leaders are not trained technologists, that should not hinder them from collaborating with other more tech-savvy colleagues in order to drive their organisation’s digital agenda

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TECHNOLOGY AND HR

A N A LY S I S

n 2014, self-fashioned digital energy conglomerate General Electric (GE) became one of the first global organisations to appoint a “Chief Digital Officer”. This was a groundbreaking move, considering that it happened back when disruption was largely still a buzzword, and tools like big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing were being discussed only in the future tense. Although technology has always sat high on business agendas, digital transformation was still in its infancy at that time. Today, with technologies like machine learning and virtual chatbots now making their moves across organisations globally, the digital strategy can no longer wait. It has taken a few years for the digital agenda to take hold, but in in these last two alone, a long list of global brands have joined GE to appoint their first CDOs. They include the likes of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia, Mars, Lowe, and Wells Fargo.

Certainly, in today’s digital economy, the Chief Digital Officer has become an integral part of the overall business strategy. In fact, the International Data Corporation predicted in 2015 that by 2020, 60% of Chief Information Officers in multinationals will be supplanted by the Chief Digital Officer role. The Chief Digital Officer is now next in line for the position of the CEO, and there are several examples to back this up. Al-Ishsal Ishak, the former Chief Digital Officer of McCann Worldwide Group in Malaysia, was appointed the CEO of Pos Malaysia Berhad in February this year. Vivian Zhu, former Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Publicis Media China, was promoted to the role of CEO at Publicis’ subsidiary Blue 449 China.

Co-drivers of the digital agenda This trend bodes well for digital and IT teams everywhere, but what has it got to do with talent management professionals? It is no secret that HR has fought hard to secure a seat in the boardroom, and in recent years, an exclusive but steadily growing group of Chief HR Officers have themselves been made CEOs. But if HR wants to maintain its position, practitioners and industry observers alike say it will have to increase its currency as a tech-capable function, particularly in today’s highly digitalised world. At a recent round table of HR leaders, one of the most pressing concerns of participants was the lack of technical know-

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how across the profession. Many organisations have also yet to define the Chief Digital Officer position, choosing to spread the responsibilities across departments and executives. This means HR is also expected to participate in the digital agenda. It is unsurprising then that many talent management professionals are worried about how they would fit into this evolution. Digital transformation leads also typically oversee the people and culture aspects of the business evolution, which encroaches into HR’s jurisdiction. What does that mean for HR? The answer was hinted at during that same ideation meeting. Several practitioners emphasised the urgent need for HR to work closely with the IT department and other trained technologists so as to elevate their own digital savvy, and truly become a part of the digital fabric. One HR leader said that “HR needs to go from being a follower, to leading with other functions on technology.”

Stepping out of silos While some HR and organisational development practitioners are already doing this, there is still some ways to go in terms of real collaborative change, says Puneet Swani – Partner and Growth Markets Career Business Leader at Mercer. Swani says there is a tendency to “perceive technology as a means to automate existing processes, rather than as a means to shift the way organisations think

about a process”. Because of this mindset, he believes Chief Digital Officers may not be engaging Chief HR Officers enough around new technologies, and vice versa. “Being digital from the inside out implies that the top executives are wellaligned around the expectations from digital transformation and are thinking of the impact on the business holistically, and not in their respective silos,” says Swani. The other dimension, he adds, is for “HR teams to step up and be more conversant around emerging technologies, in a way that they can meaningfully engage with their technology counterparts and influence decisions around procurement and onboarding of digital product”. “We have to move beyond titles and look at how well-aligned the different functions are with the overarching corporate strategy: whether it is technology, information, or human resources,” says Swani.

HR’s value to other functions Alain Bejjani, the CEO of United Arab Emirates retail and property group Majid Al Futtaim, believes that type of partnership will only happen when HR is able to influence the top levels of their organisations. “Business leaders also need to have the right mindset and desire to invite human capital into the business discussion,” says Bejjani. “Today, technology and digital are a big part of the discussion. You cannot deal with them on their own. They are part of human capital, finance, strategy, marketing, customer experience – everything today has a technological dimension. Technology and digital are not add-ons; they are about augmenting what you have and moving from two dimensions to three.” The reverse is also true, says Bejjani. He says other organisational functions can also look towards HR for valuable information. “Talent strategies should not just be the sole responsibility of the human capital team. Yes, they are the custodian of the people agenda, but everyone in the organisation, starting from the CEO, need to be human capitalists and focused on bringing the people agenda to life.” Kathleen Yu, CEO of Rumarocket, agrees that HR has been overlooked for a long time.

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Whether it is IT or finance, Yu believes other business functions can improve their own standing by actively working with the HR department. She encourages technology heads to consult HR leaders on new digital interventions, especially since HR will play a huge part in the hiring of talent and ensuring a smooth transition among employees. HR will be able to give insight into what projects will take off and which ones will be met with resistance. Still, Yu is cognisant of the fact that HR generally has more to gain in this relationship, and that regular communication with the technical teams is pivotal for HR to fully understand and effectively leverage the latest tools. “Chief HR Officers have to understand from Chief Information Officers the strengths and limitations of each digital process, and be able to translate to staff with regards to how their jobs, incentives, and future careers will change,” says Yu. Regularly checking in with the digital teams will also help HR to plan for skills and functions that will be needed in the future, while paving the way for more strategic HR functionalities through digitalisation and artificial intelligence simultaneously.

Specialised strategic partnership The role of an HR practitioner is undoubtedly evolving rapidly to include both technical and operational responsibilities, says Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice-President of Global HR with Indeed. “In an age where competition for talent is heating up, HR practitioners must create uniquely positive experiences in order to attract the best talent and retain highperforming employees,” says Wolfe. HR can do this by utilising the many platforms that exist to make day-to-day

“BEING DIGITAL FROM THE INSIDE OUT IMPLIES THAT THE TOP EXECUTIVES ARE WELL-ALIGNED AROUND THE EXPECTATIONS FROM DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND ARE THINKING OF THE IMPACT ON THE BUSINESS HOLISTICALLY, AND NOT IN THEIR RESPECTIVE SILOS”

– PUNEET SWANI ,

PARTNER AND GROWTH MARKETS CAREER BUSINESS LEADER , MERCER

tasks hassle-free – ranging from end-toend recruitment, leave applications, expense claims, payroll, and timesheets. This often involves some level of collaboration with the technical department, which Wolfe says is increasingly evident. HR also has a role to play in the highly specialised and seemingly non-HR arena of data security. In fact, George Chang, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, Forcepoint, believes that a comprehensive yet respective security strategy starts by partnering with HR.

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To begin with, IT and HR often see security and monitoring from different perspectives. Traditional IT security assumes everyone is a potentially malicious insider and therefore works to identify people who do things like clicking a suspicious link, visiting dangerous websites, or inappropriately accessing or sharing sensitive data. However, HR understands that not everyone is malicious, as employees can make honest mistakes. “Ultimately, IT strives to protect their networks and confidential data, while HR works to develop and preserve a positive culture,” says Chang. With the path now clearly mapped out for HR, the dream is that one day HR, too, can lead the digital efforts of their organisations. Rumarocket’s Yu says this is already happening in some workplaces, where machine learning algorithms have been used in talent profiling and learning and development. “With the introduction of artificial intelligence, HR professionals are now evaluated on the quality of the people they bring in, and how this quality affects the top line. This makes them a true strategic partner in the organisation,” says Yu. kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

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TECHNOLOGY AND HR

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Keeping artificial intelligence human Most industries and business functions are now facing the reality of digital transformation. HELEN MASTERS says this is great time for HR leaders to embrace transformation and the benefits it can deliver

W

ith the advent of classification methodologies in

machine learning and the development of big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform HR functions significantly. The recently conducted annual Harvey Nash HR Survey found that 63% of HR leaders in the Asia-Pacific region expect automation and AI to impact their organisations over the next five years, while 26% report these technologies are already having an impact today. The creation of individually-tailored learning and development plans generated by big data processes, and chatbots that are able to recruit applicants are just two examples in which AI has already started to impact HR and talent management.

Starting the conversation Chatbots are already omnipresent in consumers’ lives, and now they are starting to appear in the workplace. Intelligent assistants are being used to simulate human interactions. HR leaders are now using chatbots to recruit job candidates and also respond to internal employee enquiries. Chatbots are usually the first line of contact, followed by the HR personnel for more complex enquiries and conversations. In addition, chatbots can help in the screening process for recruitment by performing quick background checks, can help in onboarding, training employees and with annual self-assessments.

Predicting employee performance Machine learning is perhaps the most successful part of AI, at least from an industry point of view. Usage cases include when employers want to know which candidates are the most suitable for open positions, or when there is a group of employees that HR would like to evaluate in terms of likely attrition rates. Predictive talent analytics and employee flight risk models will revolutionise how HR looks at workforce planning. However, human intervention will still be required at some points to work under a diverse set of scenarios.

Modern upskilling Traditionally, coaching modules have been used by the HR profession to offer upskilling and career development for employees. AI can

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help successfully plan, organise, and coordinate these training programmes for staff members across all levels. Digital classrooms are the most common solutions for these training programmes. AI can also help in determining the best timeframe for new courses so as to fit the preferences of all employees individually.

Employee engagement Sentiment analysis techniques have been used to evaluate positive and negative emotions and biases in a wide range of digitally published materials, including tweets and blog posts. There has also been an increase in these techniques in the HR space to better evaluate emotions and engagement levels of employees in particular. Some AI platforms are also designed to identify employees that may be heading for the exit. The platforms help track employee computer activity and then analyse the data to determine a baseline of regular use. Any significant deviation from the normal baseline will then be flagged to the employer. In practice, sentiment analysis to measure employee engagement can be quite effective. But what is less talked about are the ways in which biased, or even blatantly incorrect results can be

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generated through traditional methods only. Therefore, HR management must be careful to establish a consensus on sentiment analysis that is fair and objective. In this way, AI tools clearly support this HR function.

A balanced approach As technologies develop and more data becomes available, AI will continue to impact HR in new and vastly different ways. However, HR managers should take the time to fully understand the advantages and potential considerations to various approaches and build the right set of algorithms and data architecture before solely relying on technology solutions. Because of the human factor, there is no aspect of HR that is purely black or white. HR managers will need to find the right balance between greater insights through data and AI and maintaining the human insights and judgments that are essential to an effective HR team.

About the Author HELEN MASTERS is Senior Vice President and General Manager for software developer Infor in Asia-Pacific, where she is responsible for the development of the company’s market presence across Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Greater China.

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TECHNOLOGY AND HR

FIELD NOTES

The future calling

Technology – whether it is robotics, blockchain services, artificial intelligence, or more – is transforming the way HR goes about its business. US-based futurist JOHN SUMSER, says the opportunities are endless for those leaders who can grasp that very exciting future today

H

ow do you see the future of HR? Does it even have one in this fast-changing world of automation and artificial intelligence (AI)?

HR certainly has a future. The future of managing the workforce is going to involve a lot more monitoring and measurement. So HR is going to be the place where that stuff ends up. We’re going to have information about people from all sorts of different areas that helps us manage their productivity in the workplace, and that’s going to be where HR spends its time. The next thing is that the workforce itself is going to change pretty rapidly.

How do you see it changing? Where will the biggest impacts be? What’s about to happen in workplaces is that people are going to get more completely utilised in their work. There’s always been this idea that if it isn’t hard – if it doesn’t make you want to cry before it’s time to go home – then it isn’t work. The future is likely to be about going to a place you like and doing the things that you’re good at. In that world, the whole of the workplace environment that you operate in – including HR – is going to be there to help you do better. It won’t make sense for people to do things that they don’t like or aren’t good at, because machines can do all things that are distasteful. It’s not like tomorrow morning we’re

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going to wake up and everybody is going to be happy at their jobs, but you can easily imagine progress towards that goal.

Is that the end goal for technology then – to make work more enjoyable? You can easily imagine that it is a desirable place to go. That people having fun at work, enjoying their jobs is something that we – as HR - are in favour of. And we therefore should spend our time and energy thinking about and working on the process of getting there.

How can HR leaders either help or hold back that progress? It’s an interesting thing. I believe that a lot of drudgery can be taken over by machines. Now there’s definitely capital investment required and it will take time. And we’re going to have to learn what the next “kind” of work is – because if we’ve got robots that do all the chimney sweeping, then we also have to figure out how the chimney sweepers are going to be happy. If we don’t do that then we have some dark times to look forward to. So I think it’s probably a worthy goal to think about what can people do that’s enjoyable with their time? So that’s going to turn out to be the primary element in HR’s charter. So where HR will come in is in thinking about what people can do that is enjoyable with their time. That’s going to turn out to be the primary element in HR’s charter.

How will technology help? You can do this with technology that helps managers to develop their people. A very clear problem that every organisation has is that skills are evolving faster than the workforce is evolving. That’s going to put the employer market into the business of training people to be better at their next job. You have to do that or you’re going to end up with a whole bunch of people working for you who don’t actually help you. The alternative isn’t to find other people because there is already a talent shortage around the world.

What about AI specifically – does that also fit in to HR’s role of the future? Oh – it absolutely relates to HR. AI is going to be part of every piece of software that you touch. Instead of you giving a machine some information, and it giving it back to you – which is what we’ve been doing for the first generation of software (“storage and retrieval”), it will give you a prediction, or a forecast, or an improvement suggestion back. There are going to be so many improvement suggestions that it’s going to be hard to tell which ones to take. Even Microsoft Office, starting maybe next year, will start recommending that you do things a certain way. It already makes some levels of recommendations, but these will be more context-sensitive. There are, today, about 200 vendors in the US who offer some sort of AI for HR. They are all in very different applications,

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TECHNOLOGY AND HR

FIELD NOTES

but in general, every one of those 200 vendors offers a way of thinking about flight risk – whether or not staff are going to leave their job – and forecasting attrition. AI is to software today what relational databases were to software 25 years ago. I distinctly remember a conversation with a friend of mine where I said, “The way you need to do this is with a database.” They looked at me like there was something wrong with me! Back then, nobody, particularly in HR, thought anything about relational databases. But today you don’t really have a piece of software that isn’t fundamentally an expression of a relational database.

“I believe that a lot of drudgery can be taken over by machines. Now there’s definitely capital investment required and it will take time” – JOHN SUMSER , US-BASED FUTURIST

How is AI being used in HR today? There are five basic kinds of AI that you find in HR software today. There’s the rudimentary capability that Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offer, and big consulting companies are building projects internally with these developments now. The next kind is what I would describe as modular AI. This allows you to take data from around your organisation and plug it into a template. These products give you predictive analytics based on the data that’s already in your system. The next kind is the micro-services. The vast majority of the AI in HR right now is devoted to recruiting, with services that will automatically update all of the data in your applicant tracking system. They will give you a smarter way of sorting and filtering.

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Get thinking on HR Tech US-BASED FUTURIST and technology commentator John Sumser will be the lead thought leader and keynote speaker at HRM

Asia’s HR Tech Think Tank on October 19. He will anchor the interactive, thoughtprovoking, and in-depth discussion on the myriad of

They’ll schedule interviews for you and more of that sort of capability. The fourth category is very interesting – and it’s where AI is being embedded into enterprise software applications. All of the major providers, including Oracle, SAP, and Workday, are doing this to some degree. I was on the phone today with Ultimate Software, which has done the equivalent of lifting their entire house up, putting an AI layer underneath it, and then sitting the house back down on that AI layer. So that everything about their tool is now designed to harness employee feedback as a way of running the company. Then the fifth category is the suites that are built from scratch out of AI – the AI-first suites, which are typically being built by startup organisations at the moment. Last year at this time, there were around 30 companies offering this kind of software (in the US). This year it is 200 – so a 700% increase. My guess is that by this time next year there will be around 1,000.

How did you get started thinking about, and researching this sort of technology? One way of thinking about my career is that I’ve spent much of it helping technology move from the place that it is, to some place where it isn’t (yet).

Can you give some examples? So, in the very beginning I ran camera stores and taught people how to use a professional

opportunities that technology is providing HR leaders in Asia today – and in the future. With limited delegate spaces available, this inaugural event is set to sell out quickly. Reserve your place now, and take the first leading step in the vital journey that every HR team will need to embark on.

SLR camera. That’s a very technical transmission. Then, I was a technical writer for electronics and computers in the US defence industry. Following from this, I ran a project to install an automotive factory in the middle of the desert in Jordan. Part of that involved the discovery that you can’t really transfer technology easily to people who haven’t had a formal education system. So you need to go to classes and change classes, and that sort of stuff to then do real work in a factory. I got to the world of HR – and the ways technology and AI can be applied to it – about 25 years ago.

You’ll be bringing that knowledge to Singapore in October, as part of the HR Tech Think Tank. What will be the focus of that? That’s right. I’m really looking forward to being in Asia and part of this interactive workshop event. It is going to be a deep dive into the ways AI and other technology are currently being applied to HR, but also ways that they could be applied in the future. I’ll be delivering the closing keynote address, where I’ll share some of the most exciting developments that are taking place now in the research labs of some of the biggest HR technology providers in the US. It’s going to be an intensive look at the future of HR in Asia, and some of the exciting opportunities that will help the profession achieve much more with much less effort.

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19 October 2018 Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre

HRM Asia is excited to announce the HR Tech Think Tank, a one day event that will deep-dive into the latest HR Technologies that are enabling faster, better and cheaper solutions to HR practices and people operations. The HR Tech Think Tank features 8 technologist led interactive workshops which will provide you with the opportunity to: Discover how these solutions are solving real HR and people problems Explore how you could apply these solutions to your own problems; and Interact with the solutions to get a sense of how they could be adopted in your organisation

Choose Your Think Tank:

You get to choose to join a 4.5 hour deep dive that will explore the following HR Tech solutions:

Recruitment Tech

Engagement Tech

Talent Management Tech

Learning and Development Tech

C&B Tech

Payroll Tech

AI & RPA Tech

HRIS

Emerging Intelligence: AI, Analytics, Predictive Tools and Data with John Sumser We will also be joined by US-based futurist and technology commentator John Sumser who will lead an exciting, interactive deep dive into the ways AI and other technology are currently being applied to HR. John will share some of the most exciting developments that are taking place now in the research labs of some of the biggest HR technology providers in the US. In his session, John will share: Intro to AI and Predictive Technologies Case Study of AI Implementation Trends in HR Tech Driven By Data, Cloud Processing, Intelligence, and Robotic Process Automation Bias and Ethics How To Buy and What to Consider Examples of the Playing Field Conclusions

This is your opportunity to build your digital acumen and to deepen your understanding of how HR Tech can enable your HR department and/or function to gain efficiencies, reduce costs and mitigate transactional burden.

REGISTER NOW!

Secure your attendance and book now for ONLY SGD $75 + GST.

(Please note that registration is capped 50 PAX per workshop and closed once sold out, therefore, book now to avoid missing out!)

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F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

JASON WONG Compensation Manager

SANJAY SINHA HR Director, Southeast Asia and Korea

RACHEL FITTON Director, Talent Acquisition

THE BIG REBOOT Having split from its sibling enterprise arm, HP Inc is making a new life for itself – and that starts with shaping a culture and strategy that very much places talent at the forefront B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

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SUZANNE SHAH-HOSSEINI

SHELLY RAJPAL Singapore, Country Head of HR

Regional HR Business Partner

NICOLINA MARZICOLA

Regional head of HR, Asia-Pacific

CYNTHIA LEE MAI

Director, Talent and Learning

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F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

nless you’re a particularly dedicated technophobe, you’ve probably seen the HP symbol around – or maybe even owned one of the company’s printers or computers yourself. But though HP the brand has been around for many decades, the company as it stands today was only formed towards the end of 2015, when the Hewlett-Packard Company was split into the eponymous Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. As Nicolina Marzicola, the Regional Head of HR, Asia-Pacific at HP Inc says, the split was relatively painless for employees – perhaps even welcome. “For the majority of the employees, it was actually a clean split. If you were working in the printing and imaging or the services solutions area, you came with HP Inc. Then, if you were working in software or enterprise group, you went with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise,” she notes. In the months leading up to the split, she says, the leadership team of the new HP Inc had already identified everyone who would be coming over. They then sent out three questions to these employees: What are the things that you want to take with you? What are the things that you want to leave behind? What are the things that you want to be known for? More than 10,000 employees responded to that survey. “It was a really busy time. We were in the midst of a transformation, people were moving jobs. A lot of things were going on. To have that many respondents despite all that, we knew that people were excited,” says Marzicola. What the survey showed was that the people who would make up the nascent HP Inc wanted to bring with them “the HP way” – namely the fun and the collaboration. “What they wanted to leave behind were the old tools and processes; the bureaucracy of a company that was, at that time, over 300,000 employees; and the slow decision making, which you get in a big company like that,” says Marzicola. And what they wanted for HP’s legacy and reputation was integrity, trust, and innovation. A brand that was dedicated to putting the customer first, and also for “really cool” products. Of course, it wasn’t all smooth-sailing.

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Marzicola admits that some people still needed a bit of a nudge. “We had to set the example at the top. We wanted to show them that we’re all employees of the same company, and the difference between the former company and our company now was that we wanted every individual to take risks. It’s OK to fail, as long as you take these very deliberate risks to try something different,” she says. “That’s why we have our ‘reflect’ conversations frequently; because we want managers and employees to discuss, ‘What might you do differently next time? What did you learn?” “We still need to push some of those folks over the curve.”

An eco-system that empowers One theme that came up frequently during

HRM Magazine Asia’s conversation with HP Inc was the value the company and its employees places on diversity and inclusion. They even have a motto for it: “HP is hiring, and the only criteria is talent”. Marzicola shares the example of the “Disha” initiative – where disha is the Hindi word for “direction”. “A member of my team in India, along with one of our Learning and Development leaders, designed the Disha programme to help women promote their careers. It is led by women for women, supported by male and female managers,” she says. Disha gives female employees the opportunity to learn, network, gain visibility, and work on cross-functional projects in order to push out of the boxes that employees are frequently placed into. “It’s been a great programme. Our first cohort graduated in November 2017, and we launched the second Disha programme in conjunction with International Women’s Week in March.” Marzicola points out that programmes like Disha have only come together because of an eco-system that allows them to flourish. “We allow for a flexible workforce. We allow for job sharing. We allow for part-time work,” she says. “We hope that by creating different opportunities and options for women in the workforce, it will be more attractive to them and they can customise their role for their personal life as well.” As an example, Marzicola notes that HP Inc hires a large number of female engineers,

AT A GLANCE

25,000 >100 Number of employees (Asia-Pacific)

Key HR Focus Areas Talent landscapes

Sales culture

Size of HR Team

Rotations

Graduate engagement

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“It’s OK to fail, as long as you take these very deliberate risks to try something different” – NICOLINA MARZICOLA,

REGIONAL HEAD OF HR, ASIA-PACIFIC, HP INC.

but that many of them venture off to start a family. “What ends up happening is that you have women who eventually get married and then they are that person in the family that’s responsible for everything: for their household, kids, in-laws, and parents. It becomes a huge burden to carry all of that, plus a workload.” Policies like job sharing provide these employees with the flexibility to work around their home needs, while also allowing them to remain a part of the workforce. “I think you’ll find that [employees who job share] are probably the most effective and productive employees, because they

know they only want to work a Monday, Tuesday, and a half day Wednesday, as an example, and they know they need to get their work done, because they’re job sharing for a reason,” says Marzicola. “They’re very good at what they do and we often use them as examples for women in the workforce. They often become mentors for other women because of that.”

Shaping an intentional people strategy In a landscape where everybody is fighting for technology talent – not just the conventional players, but also everyone else trying to get on top of the digital transformation paradigm – Marzicola admits that HP Inc has had to step up its recruitment game.

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F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

DRIVING DIGITAL LITERACY IN INDIA

SINCE 2016, the newlyformed HP Inc has been undertaking a unique digital literacy programme in rural India. It has created almost 50 different “mobile learning labs” – effectively buses equipped with computing and printing equipment – which have been travelling across the country, providing education programming, entrepreneurship training, and other community services. The plan is to reach 6,400 villages and 15 million people over six years. Nicolina Marzicola, Regional Head of HR, AsiaPacific, HP Inc, says the labs have been hugely popular wherever they visit. “They

give underprivileged people the opportunity to experience what our computers can do, and what they (themselves) can do with computers,” she says. “I love going to places like that, because the look on

“We’re trying new things. Just this past year, here in Singapore, we’ve brought our new gaming platform Omen to a couple of the universities. Our graphics solutions business actually built us a huge gaming pavilion which we’ve brought with us during our on-campus recruiting for the students to come and play,” she says. This particular approach goes back to what HP Inc’s employees said they wanted

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these children’s faces means everything. It makes your job so rewarding, and it makes us want to do better. “Our vision is to create technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere,” she adds.

to be known for: fun and cool products. “A lot of the younger generation don’t really see HP that way. So we decided to show them what we know we are.” That focus on interns and graduate talent continues even after they’ve signed on the dotted line, and made the jump into the company. As part of its “intentional people strategy”, HP Inc’s HR team developed HP STAR, a graduate engagement programme.

Coincidentally, all four positions in the programme were filled by women who were recent graduate hires into HP Inc. These women will be overseeing a full portfolio dedicated to the recruitment and training of young talent within the company. “They’re helping us to improve oncampus recruiting; they’re helping us to build an alumni, because we don’t have one today; and they’re helping to build a manager associate programme,” she says. “It will be a self-electing process, where in two years, the participants will rotate out. But they are going to elect people to be their successors. We felt like it needed to be for them, and by them,” explains Marzicola. On the topic of rotations, Marzicola says the company plans to be very deliberate in how these are conducted. They are, after all, another core building block of the intentional people strategy. “If someone comes into a call centre position in India, we will be quite clear to them that their next role in nine months would be, say, as an inside sales rep. Then they maybe get to go to category sales. That way, when someone comes in, they know that there is career progression,” she says. “I think that’s what we’re missing today. It is still really great to have HP on your résumé, maybe as a first job, but we’re not necessarily known in that generation as a place to have a career.” That perception, however, is changing. It’s all a part of the people-centric culture that propels the company towards a new era as HP Inc, and the investment in this culture has shown itself to be worthwhile. Last year, for the first time since 2013 – and not long after becoming a separate company – it became the world’s leading personal computer manufacturer in terms of market share. “Being with the company for 20 years, you see it all. But I have never felt so good,” says Marzicola. “The energy – especially in an office (HP Inc’s sprawling new regional campus in Singapore’s Depot Close) like this – it really has a true ‘vibe’.” “What we’re trying to do is build a culture of enthusiasm. I think with enthusiasm comes better productivity. And when you have better productivity, you’re more competitive, and it sets you up to win.” yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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THE NEXT BRIGHT SPARK

IS RIGHT HERE!

With a reach of more than 40,000 relevant professionals across online, print, and weekly newsletter, job listings can connect you directly with your next big thing in workforce management nly o s ’ a i s is A ia source medicated to ded fessional HR preolopment dev

For all the latest job listings, scan here

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To advertise your role, get in touch with the team at

info@hrmasia.com.sg

7/13/2018 2:16:06 PM


SECTOR FOCUS

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TEAMBUILDING

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SECRETS OF EFFECTIVE TEAMBUILDING

D

With the future of work just around the corner, helping teams bond and grow stronger collectively is more important than ever

uring a recent discussion about the future of work, one key point emerged: the idea that organisations themselves must transform to enable new ways of collaboration. The old hierarchies are dead – long live team-based structures; or so the sentiment went. Indeed, team-based working itself is set to evolve to become more fluid, adopting a plug-andplay approach that will enable cross-departmental collaboration and a sense of agility across organisations. That, in turn, will help talent across the spectrum to keep up with the age of disruption. This is not a brand-new concept by any means: from as early as two years ago, a report by Deloitte noted that “a new organisational model” was already on the rise. In this model, companies were building and empowering a networks of teams to work on specific business projects and challenges “These networks are aligned and coordinated with operations and information centres similar to

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

command centres in the military. Indeed, in some ways, businesses are becoming more like Hollywood movie production teams and less like traditional corporations, with people coming together to tackle projects, then disbanding and moving on to new assignments once the project is complete,” the Human Capital Trends 2016: The new organisation - Different by design report noted. “Companies are decentralising authority, moving toward product and customer-centric organisations, and forming dynamic networks of highly-empowered teams that communicate and coordinate activities in unique and powerful ways.” This networked structure seems to be the logical step following the increased frenzy around innovation and collaborative working. Many organisations have already eliminated the physical walls of cubicles, instead ushering employees into open-office layouts. So why not eliminate the “metaphysical” walls, as well? Of course, people aren’t necessarily going to work better with each other just because teams now reign supreme within the organisation. J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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SECTOR FOCUS

TEAMBUILDING

The science of teambuilding

To get the most out of a networked structure, organisations need to help their teams find that vital trust and synergy. Teambuilding might seem like an oldfashioned idea – or just another word for “enforced fun” – but in the new ways of working, it becomes more important than ever before.

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Gregory Kalabekov, founder and Lead Facilitator of Griness, says the outcome of a well-designed and delivered teambuilding programme may not be immediately obvious. He likens it to a carrot growing in a garden – “the most valuable part is not immediately visible – it is hidden under the ground.” Trust is one of these invisible benefits, and one that many HR practitioners seem to specifically want from teambuilding activities. In a recent HRMAsia.com poll, it came up tops as the most desired outcome. Ultimately, teambuilding provides a way for people to work together without all the stakes and risks of regular work. People aren’t necessarily inclined towards politics or showboating when they’re out on a field armed with paintball guns, and these lowered walls make it easier to communicate – especially about things that aren’t related to work. Kalebekov says this communication is foundational for trust to develop. The mere act of getting out of the office to do something unrelated to work can be akin to lifting a weight off one’s shoulders. For example, a drumming session can help people de-stress while making music – and just being able to see a fellow colleague smile and show some hidden talents might put them in a new light, or deepen existing connections. There’s also the idea of “collective efficacy”. Psychologist Albert Bandura defines this as a group’s shared belief in its ability to organise and execute the courses of action required to achieve success. Various studies – often in sports teams, but also among students and in the military – have shown that a strong collective self-belief in turn improves collective performance. Translating this academic concept into a solid teambuilding exercise is not as difficult as it might sound – Kalabekov explains that it’s simply a matter of structuring it such that groups are able to overcome challenges and work together. “Along the way, we encourage teams to acknowledge and celebrate small wins,” he adds. Teambuilding is also about enabling psychological safety, says Kalabekov. A recent Google study, conducted over two years among the tech giant’s near-200 teams, found that psychological safety – the sense that you can speak up, ask questions, be yourself, and make mistakes, without fear of repercussion – was a common trait shared by its highestperforming teams.

Much about the act of forging psychological safety depends on workplace culture, and how organisations and managers handle feedback and conflict, but teambuilding exercises can also be a useful tool. For instance, a day of silly contests like egg races might seem like an exercise in embarrassment, but it can also be also help people realise that their teams can be a “safe space” – if you can get pie on your face in front of your colleagues, and laugh it off, you might feel less self-conscious about bringing up ideas or comments. Kalabekov concurs, explaining that psychological safety can be encouraged by “creating a playful atmosphere, introducing out-of-comfort-zone challenges, and encouraging constant communication between participants.”

Getting started Thought and consideration are essential to get the most out of teambuilding, If nothing else, because there are multiple stakeholders to address, as Kalabekov points out. Firstly, there is senior management. This group usually wants to know what the objectives and outcomes are for a teambuilding event: “these could be about reinforcing corporate values, making the team more adaptable to changes, or building positive work culture,” notes Kalabekov. Then, of course, you have the participants themselves: “They are looking for a

TRUST IN TEAMBUILDING

HRM MAGAZINE ASIA conducted an online poll among its HR audience over June, 2018. The poll received more than 100 responses. This was your response:

What do you hope to achieve with team-building or teambonding activities? For teams to develop trust To improve morale For employees to have a break/have fun To identify potential leaders

45% 18% 23% 14%

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teambuilding experience that is novel (no one wants to play the same games again and again), engaging, and meaningful (they should be able to understand how they can apply their learning back in the workplace).” But that’s not all: HR leaders also have to consider the current dynamics and maturity of the different teams. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman has described different teambuilding stages as: “forming , “norming”, and “performing”. Forming, as the name implies, is the infancy stage. Team members have only just come together – perhaps the result of restructuring – and are still developing their thoughts on each other. In this instance, HR leaders might want to consider ice-breaker games that help them get to know each other. In the norming stage, teams are more familiar with each other, but still working to reach an optimum stage of synergy and comfort. That is when they reach the performing stage. Each of these stages necessitates a different approach in team building and bonding. “Just as there are different medicines for different cases, there are different activities for different groups,” notes Kalabekov.

Fun with dominos and laser swords Fortunately, teams are spoiled for choice these days. For instance, Griness offers activities ranging from art-jams to the “Bizarre Olympics”, which features wacky takes on conventional sports – “XXL Volleyball”, “Goofy Golf”, and “Hamster Wheel Run” are just three of the favourites among corporate clients. There’s also domino-building, which is great for larger teams that want a specific project to collaborate on. “[In this experience], teams build small domino designs and then connect them together with an ambitious goal to topple 100% of dominos by a single touch. We have done it for groups as large as 1,000 people,” says Kalabekov. Smaller groups might also enjoy “CSI”, an immersive crime scene experience where teams can work together to solve the mystery – and where participants “tap on various unexpected talents of their team members, allowing everyone to shine at some point of the game.” When done well and structured with care, a teambuilding experience can make

people think about how they function in a group, and bring them closer together. But perhaps one of the most important features is that they are a way for people to get out of the office, and indulge in the lighter side of working life. At The Fun Empire, as the name implies, it’s all about fun and memorable experiences through “the power of play”. “We take great effort to design our experiences and game-play to incorporate elements of team work, communication, trust, and camaraderie while clients are fully engaged in the game-play,” says Stephenie Koh, Manager at The Fun Empire. The Singapore-based company’s most popular activities include combat archery, laser tag, along with proprietary activities such as SaberFit, a Star Wars inspired fitness class that has participants wielding colourful laser swords as they go through saber striking techniques. As Koh points out, “The future of work is evolving and clients are constantly looking to incorporate fun into their workplace.” yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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UPCOMING EVENTS

CALENDAR Third quarter of 2018

28-29 AUG

19 SEP

In this disruptive economy, SMEs are facing just as many HR-related challenges as their multinational counterparts. HRM Asia’s 2nd Annual Future of SME Workforce will share vital business on the essential, practical changes required to optimise the efficiency of small workforces

The role of the Chief HR Officer is becoming more important than ever as these employee-focused leaders become partners to the CEO, drive strategy, and ultimately enhance business success. For the first time in Jakarta, this exclusive one-day event is shaped around the unique HR challenges faced by businesses investing in today’s competitive workforce.

FUTURE OF SME WORKFORCE CONGRESS 2018

CHRO SERIES 2018, JAKARTA

20 SEP

VIETNAM HR SUMMIT

Vietnam HR Summit and Expo is the national largest annual gathering of HR professionals and business leaders in Vietnam. Held at the White Palace Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, this year’s event will focus on the theme: “Transform to Win”.

28 SEP

READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS

HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards are back! Don’t miss the gala awards ceremony, held in the exquisite ballroom of Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island. You’ll enjoy some great food and wine, witness some fantastic entertainment, and share in the celebration of over 35 different award categories.

19 OCT

HR TECH THINK TANK

Don’t miss this first-of-its-kind, interactive learning event in which HR professionals work together to roadtest solutions for some of the biggest tech-related challenges facing the function today. With a roundtable discussion format across a single day in Singapore, the Think Tank will get HR professionals of all levels thinking and acting on the myriad of opportunities to make their work both easier and more impactful.

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

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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL 51 LESSONS LEARNED 52 READER ADVICE 54

MY HR CAREER “In order to partner well with the business, it is extremely important that we understand business review terminologies, and listen for performance cues that we can act upon”

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PALLAVI SRIVASTAVA,

Asia-Pacific Talent Partner, Global Technology Services, IBM

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READER ADVICE LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE

READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE

MY HR CAREER

SPEAKINGTHE BUSINESS LANGUAGE

Business acumen enables HR to understand the drivers of organisational success, and is one of the most important skills for practitioners to have, writes PALLAVI SRIVASTAVA, AsiaPacific Talent Partner, Global Technology Services, IBM

P

ursue excellence and success will be compelled to follow”. Success is defined differently by different people, but looking at it from a very basic professional perspective, it means excelling in your area of work and moving to roles that give you the mandate to make a significant impact on the business and its future outlook. HR’s strategic value to business is no longer debated, and former HR leaders such as Mary Barra of General Motors and Lisa Weber of MetLife have even become CEOs, clearly showing that HR professionals can rise to the highest levels of an organisation. These leaders carried the mindset that HR is a business function just like any other. It just happens to deal with people matters, which are the most critical resource for any company – whether it is a car manufacturer or a technology consulting firm. It therefore follows that one of the most important skills HR professionals need to develop is business acumen. This enables us to understand the drivers of organisational success, and speak the same language as the business. Only when we in HR understand how our business makes or loses money, and what internal policies or processes influence our ability to satisfy clients, will we be able to truly partner with the business and make an impact. That is equally so for both the organisation itself, and for our own career progression. However, developing business acumen has to be a deliberate process, since HR

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professionals do not deal with external clients or markets on a day-to-day basis. While there are many ways to build this capability, I have found personally that my career growth has been enhanced by using these approaches:

Be best friends with the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and other business colleagues. In order to partner well with the business, it is extremely important that we understand business review terminologies, and listen for performance cues that we can act upon. Why a business is losing revenue or profit, how many sellers have not met targets, or which competitors are changing their product mix are things HR professionals also need to understand. Simply having regular discussions with other functional colleagues, and attending finance or sales review meetings as active team members can help enhance our understanding. An example would be an HR Business Partner or a recruiter participating in a sales discussion of a potential project. An HR colleague with a business mindset will listen and pick up cues about the timeframe of project delivery, and then make proactive assessments of the skills needed. They will also be able to call out risks to resource needs or the hiring timeframe, and have a plan ready to deliver before the deal is closed. An unaware or disinterested HR colleague would be a passive participant,

wait for the business to reach out and prescribe the project requirements, and then initiate actions leading to loss of speed in delivering to the client’s needs. The perception of HR as an active strategic driver comes from the former

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approach whereas the second leads to the perception of a lagging support mindset. During my own career journey, I took a Business Finance certification to augment my understanding. It helped me actively participate in business discussions, listen for

the need, and design HR solutions that were aligned to a specific outcome.

Build an outside-in focus. Business acumen can never be developed by looking only internally. In one of my

international assignments, I was fortunate enough to work with the global head of HR while preparing a paper on the future of corporate healthcare in the US. The research needed for this helped me not only understand the nuances of American corporates; it also J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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READER ADVICE LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE

READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE

MY HR CAREER helped to build an understanding of how corporate policies get influenced by economic forces, both current and future. That learning then helped expand my thinking and ability to look at my own organisation as an external person would: the outside-in view. Therefore, it is critical that HR professionals: Evaluate their employees’ aspirations in the context of a competitor’s employee value proposition Evaluate the efficacy of their HR interventions, practices, and programmes in the context of market best practices Evaluate the HR performance from the perspective of the organisation as a whole A related requirement is to look for opportunities to build an external HR network and keep updated on the latest research and trends in our profession. This can be easily accomplished by meeting with HR colleagues in other firms (including from the competition!), joining compensation or recruitment clubs, and seeking every

“BUILDING CONSULTING SKILLS AND A “SELLER MENTALITY” IN EVERY HR FUNCTION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN ORDER TO LEVERAGE THE EXPERTISE YOU HAVE AS A STRATEGIC ADVISOR TO THE BUSINESS” 50

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opportunity to connect with future talent for the company: career fairs, campus meets, or similar forums. Within my organisation, we have several online forums and partnerships to connect with the latest HR trends and research. And we are encouraged to self-learn through external webinars and podcasts.

Develop consulting and analytics skills Building consulting skills and a “seller mentality” in every HR function is extremely important in order to leverage the expertise you have as a strategic advisor to the business. A recruiter needs to convince a prospective hiring manager on the recommended external candidate through factual market mapping; a compensation professional needs to seek buy-in for budget allocations with salary survey data, and a talent professional may need to convince the Chief Financial Officer to invest in a creative training programme with proof of concept roadmaps. All of these need the ability to articulate

a compelling business case; present it; and negotiate with internal clients with convincing data, facts, and insights. Irrespective of which function you belong to, the ability to create a value proposition for your programme or advice is critical. HR professionals should invest time in learning consulting tips and tricks, and take some extended courses to augment their skills in HR analytics, and in creating business cases. “Good ideas only remain ideas unless they’re articulated well for execution” In a recent conference, Dave Ulrich, considered the father of modern HR, said: “HR is not about HR, but the value it provides”. This would be a good motto for all HR professionals to internalize, when building their capabilities for excellence and career success!

About the author As the Asia-Pacific and Greater China Talent Partner for IBM’s Global Technology Services Unit, Pallavi Srivastava is responsible for leveraging talent analytics to define and execute strategic initiatives, and foster a high performance culture

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MY HR CAREER FEATURE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL LESSONS LEARNED READER ADVICE

Sureash Kumar Former General Manager of HR B.Braun Medical

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ho is Sureash Kumar, and how would you describe him? The constants of my life have always been my wife, kids, family, and my love for football.

As an HR leader, what do you do each day? It’s not any different than most: engaging key stakeholders, attending meetings, solving problems, etc. However, I’ve had the privilege to work for some great bosses who taught me that long-term success is built on daily routines that are consistent and predictable to others.

Complete this sentence. HR is… Engaging people’s hearts and minds to achieve business results.

What’s the best part of being in HR? The satisfaction that comes from connecting people to the business. Few functions are able to have such contributions in building both people and organisation capability. We also have the added advantage to apply our practices and skillsets across various industries.

What’s the worst part?

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

“Winning the Special Recognition award for Best Change Management Strategies at the 2017 HRM Awards, as part of UTAC’s regional HR team. We established strategic people initiatives and helped build HR capability, which supported UTAC in its transformation to become one, cohesive company”

What would you be doing if you were not on your current career path? As an HR leader, my passion has been in developing others and also building HR capability. In that sense, doing consulting work would be a great option for my skillsets.

I understand you’re now taking a break. Why is that so? It’s been 26 years since I first started working. And this has been with different companies, industries, and countries. The last 10 years especially have been very hectic and challenging. I’ve been thinking of a career break for some time, and thought now would be a good time to take a breather and recharge myself. I’ve always wanted to travel, write, and also spend more time with my family.

What is your next career move? The key to career longevity has always been about reinventing oneself by taking on different roles, trying different industries, working in diverse regions, and that’s what I will be looking for as an HR practitioner. J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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DIGITAL IMAGING BY MUHAMAD AZLIN

How volatile and fast things change these days. This means HR has to manage ambiguity, complexity in resolving people issues, and restructuring and downsizing.

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MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE LESSONS LEARNED UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE

Employment law across the region AT HRM ASIA’S 12th Annual Asia

Employment Law Congress, which took place at the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre on June 20 and 21, delegates learned about key changes and critical updates in legislation across Asia-Pacific – all

from the mouths leading employment law practitioners across the region. A topic which came up several times during event was the impact of the #MeToo movement, and the way it was highlighting issues of workplace harassment and

discrimination. During a panel discussion, Shobha D’Sa, Head of HR and Employee Relations at Procter & Gamble Singapore, highlighted how the company had set boundaries and expectations on the matter from the moment employees walk through the door. “We have a worldwide business conduct manual that everyone needs to sign,” she said. “That very clearly calls out what the standards are irrespective of where in the world you are, or what market you are in.”

mandatory for workplaces with more than 50 staff to provide crèche facilities. It became effective on July 1, although additional guidelines and clarifications are still being worked out.

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Tightening regulations in the Philippines

In the Philippines, there has been movement towards new laws relating to contractors. One proposed provision would abolish almost all fixed-term employment. It is hoped that this provision would prevent employers from abusing temporary contracts by – for instance – placing an employee on revolving one-year temporary contracts.

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Five things we learned about ... EMPLOYMENT LAW

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Top trends to take note of

There were several recurring trends that popped up across multiple geographies, including: The European General Data Protection Regulation, which impacts companies that have customers or employees who are from the European Union, or which are subsidiaries of European companies. The increasingly diversified workforce, that includes gig and contingent workers. The increasing demands of transparency

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towards businesses. Diversity and inclusion issues such as the gender pay gap, and making the workplace friendlier to working mothers. Workplace harassment and the #MeToo movement.

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India’s crèche provision and maternity policies

A significant development in workplace legislation in India relates to the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act. This makes it

Vietnam’s changing employment laws

Vietnam’s government continues to grapple with changes that were proposed to the country’s labour code a few years ago. Proposed amendments will impact retirement age and overtime pay, amongst other things. It is also likely that there will be expansions to both employer and employee rights to unilaterally terminate a contract. These changes are expected to be passed in 2019.

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Treat change management as complexity management

What’s important when managing change is keeping people pointed towards the figurative “north star”, said Eric Yim, Global Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Shell. Explain to people what the impending changes are, and don’t discount the use of small wins – video clips, competitions with small prizes – to get people on side, he advised.

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MY HR CAREER

THE 2018 LEARNING and Development

Conference, which took place on July 3 and 4 at One Farrer Hotel & Spa, saw a packed roster of experienced speakers discuss 21stCentury learning tools and strategies that drive improved business performance, along with advice and on how to create a culture of continuous and self-directed learning. Harlina Sodhi, Senior Executive VicePresident of HR at IDFC talked about the three aspects that are increasingly dominating the learning and development function: democratisation, consumerisation, and personalisation. “Until a while ago, much of the learning

work we did – especially leadership development and organisational development – happened for senior leaders and maybe managers. It was elitist,” she noted. But the new age employee is viewed very differently – everyone is treated as a learner. Sodhi ended her talk by highlighting how learning leaders need to adapt to this new paradigm: “The number one skill that learning leaders need to have to thrive, if not survive, in today’s environment is learning agility – to be able to reskill themselves, and to learn and re-learn constantly,” she said.

Five things we learned about ... LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

1

Features of a life-long learning culture

Aye Wee Yap, Senior Vice-President, Head of Learning and Development at OCBC Bank, highlighted the bank’s philosophy of promoting a life-long learning culture among its people. The key characteristics of this culture are: being business-driven, learner-centric, and frictionless.

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Building a learning eco-system

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Social learning will remain as important as ever

Digitalisation might be taking over the learning and development function, but that doesn’t mean that training will be experienced in isolation. As noted by Tricia Duran, HR Director at Unilever Asia, “Learning doesn’t just happen through the leadership. It happens through peers; through the community.”

To enable a life-long learning culture, one must first have the relevant infrastructure. Michelle Iking, the Head of Talent and Learning with Citibank Malaysia, highlighted the vital traits that such an eco-system should have: a structured framework that supports employees as they develop the learning mindset; community support and space for interactions between peers, mentors and coaches; and a sense of urgency through visible accountability factors – for example, presentations where learners present on the outcomes they achieved.

“THE NUMBER ONE SKILL THAT LEARNING LEADERS NEED TO HAVE TO THRIVE, IF NOT SURVIVE, IN TODAY’S ENVIRONMENT IS LEARNING AGILITY – TO BE ABLE TO RESKILL THEMSELVES, AND TO LEARN AND RE-LEARN CONSTANTLY” – HARLINA SODHI,

SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT OF HR, IDFC

Helping organisations through troubled periods

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Todd Bowler, Director of Learning and Development at RedMart, noted that corporate training can also play a role in helping companies guide employees through difficult periods. “When workforces are faced with [business turbulence], people get worried; and look for other jobs. So when the company was going through a bit of a dark period, we upskilled our supervisors in caring for their team. They learned how to talk to people, how to communicate properly to limit rumours, and how the company could just help them keep their teams together,” he said.

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Bringing learning to employees via mobile

Harlina Sodhi, Senior Executive Vice-President of HR at IDFC Bank, led her team in making all learning content mobileready. Other policies helped to encourage near universal adoption, including for example, by allowing any employee who logged in on their way into work to be counted as having clocked in at the office. “Employees were happy that they could swipe in on-the-go, and we were happy because the learning content that was created in service of our clients and customers was being consumed,” said Sodhi. J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 8

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The future of learning

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MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE

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

Q

ONE OF MY TEAM members wants to leave the organisation for a position offering a higher pay and bigger job title. I don’t think it is a job that they will like very much, but I do want to be help them achieve their goals. How should I support this move? Asking for a friend, Philippines

A

It’s the perennial question, isn’t it? Pick a job you love, or go for money and status. This is very much a personal decision, one which everyone grapples with at some point in their career. It is important to remember that a career spans an entire lifetime, with its ups, downs, twists, and turns. For this particular employee, maybe it’s time to move on and try something new, or take a different route.

But before jumping into something new, it’s important they have a clear awareness and understanding of the reasons for moving. If your team members seek such advice, consider the following career questions: What makes your current role truly meaningful? What’s more important to you: money, status, or following your interests? What do you know you’ve learned this year?

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

What are you looking forward to next year? These four questions uncover underlying motivations while bringing the tensions of choice to the surface. The responses will indicate whether it’s about pursuing a role for extrinsic reward (money and status), or exploring a role with purpose, aligned with values and capabilities. Through these questions and by listening carefully, you’re allowing for an open dialogue. The four questions will help both you and the team member better understand the career choice, and ultimately opening opportunities to use their talents more broadly within the HR function. After all, most employees want

to know how their strengths fit within the organisation, and how to use those strengths more broadly. You’re simply helping them do that.

JANE HORAN

Jane Horan is an author, speaker, and consultant focused on helping organisations build inclusive work environments and meaningful careers for their people. She has held senior AsiaPacific management positions at The Walt Disney Company, CNBC, and Kraft Foods.

HR Roles in Singapore Regional Head of HRBP, APAC

Consultant in-charge: Sean Tong

This Fortune 300 US MNC has significant market share and is a global technology leader in many areas of its business. This role will functionally report to several individuals in global roles across different locations, and will have numerous critical stakeholders in the region. We are seeking an experienced HR professional who can drive change and business results through the use of strong influencing skills and deep functional expertise. Relevant International HRBP experience within the technology industry is a must.

Strategic Talent Acquisition Manager, APAC Sean Tong Head of Asia seantong@frazerjones.com

Brian Hardiman Associate Director brianhardiman@frazerjones.com

Consultant in-charge: Fay Phillips-Jones

This is an exclusive engagement with a Fortune Global 500 household brand. Due to ambitious growth plans for South-East Asia, the need has arisen for a new Strategic Talent Acquisition Manager, APAC to come with fresh & innovative ideas to help re-design, shape and deliver; the talent strategy, social media, EVP, branding, recruitment metrics, how they go to market and ensure they attract and retain the best talent. A fantastic role for a successful recruiter looking to utilise their skillset away from traditional operational hiring.

Regional HR Operations Director

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

Sheldon Toh Associate Director sheldontoh@frazerjones.com

Consultant in-charge: Sheldon Toh

My client is a global leader in the aerospace industry and has seen strong and consistent results across APAC. They are currently anticipating the next major shift within the industry and will be undergoing plenty of changes to prepare for this. They are looking for someone who has been through transformational work in their career and has strong experience influencing and managing senior stakeholders.

C&B Director, APAC

Consultant in-charge: Brian Hardiman

Fantastic opportunity for a fast paced, high achieving C&B professional to join a leading consumer-focused MNC to lead the function in the region. With a focus on engaging with senior leaders and providing strategic advice as well as leading a team this is a career developing opportunity for an ambitious rewards professional.

General Manager, Learning & Development

Siying Wang Head of Research siyingwang@frazerjones.com

EA Licence No: 17S8475

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Consultant in-charge: Siying Wang

Our client is a leading industrial firm with a strong footprint in Asia and a rapidly growing organisation. With the aim to continually build up Learning & Development in their organisation, they are looking for a dynamic and engaging General Manager, Learning and Development to be based in Singapore. Reporting directly to the Head of Learning & Development, you will be responsible for designing leadership programs globally and partnering closely with the business stakeholders and senior HR leaders to determine the training needs and gaps. Key to your success is your ability to manage the learning needs of the organisation independently and have the gravitas to deliver the formulation of learning plans to align with the business strategies and objectives. frazerjones.com

@frazerjoneshr

frazer-jones

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TWO CENTS

Stepping into greatness AT EVERY HR EVENT I attend these days, one common pain point shared by practitioners continues to be the lack of leadership support and trust in the capabilities of HR. The argument against HR used to be that it did not speak the language of finance, and that it added little commercial value. Now, the same doubt is being cast over the function’s technical know-how in driving the digital agenda of their companies. Which is why fears around the talent management function losing its hard-earned seat at the table, proverbial as it may be, are very real. Some would even argue that HR is still not yet even in the conversation. One of the questions frequently posed by HR leaders themselves is whether HR is ready and equipped for the digital revolution. Angie Ng, Chief HR Officer, Manulife Singapore, is one senior HR leader who recently expressed that anxiety. “If I tell you I’m not nervous, I’m lying,” she tells me. “If you look at the last two to three years, technology has evolved so fast. I need everyone in HR to step up to the change.” While a Deloitte study in 2016 showed that HR’s organisational skills, alignment with business, and ability to innovate had improved leaps and bounds, the function remains under huge pressure to evolve and drive innovative talent solutions. Today, business leaders expect HR to be more than a cost centre. They expect the people department to stay connected to topline objectives by performing the following (non-exhaustive) list of “higher value” tasks: Collecting real-time data on internal stakeholders Turning data into actionable insights Implementing productivity solutions Providing strategic change management and training Creating strategies utilising insights while keeping aligned with business goals Reimagining succession planning, talent development, and employee engagement Monitoring industry and market trends With all the different hats HR has to wear these days, it’s not uncommon to hear people say that this profession is not meant for the faint-hearted. One young HR professional even joked that she rarely left the office when there was still daylight outside. I know this might come across as superficial, but the amount of work you guys have to do each day does sound like a huge load. I write about HR and company practices, and I talk a great deal with HR professionals of all levels, but I’ll never truly understand what it’s like to be in your shoes.

Yet as daunting as the picture might be, this is actually a great time to be in HR. This is your time to step into the spotlight, showcase your abilities, and shine as human capital champions. It’s no secret that HR has traditionally been thought of as administrative, and more of a support function than a true business partner. But as HR thought leader Dave Ulrich says: “As HR moves to centre stage,

BY KELVIN ONG

delivering real business outcomes, the demands need not be threats, but opportunities if personal and department resources exist. Now is the time to be in HR — the demands have never been greater, and neither have the resources to accomplish greatness.” So do heed Ulrich’s advice. It’s time for you to step into your own greatness! kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

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NEXT ISSUE

Next Month Coming Up

in the September 2018 issue

In Depth

HRM Magazine Asia scours the region to find nine of the best emerging HR leadership talent building winning cultures and effective workplace strategies. Based throughout Southeast Asia, from Manila to Bangkok, to Jakarta, these names are well-placed to be the “next big things� in Asia-focused HR leadership and talent

Plus: Leaders Talk HR

Sector Focus Research

Ong Kim Pong, Regional CEO for Southeast Asia, PSA International, says the stevedoring business has been quick to embrace the era of disruption and Industry 4.0

HRM Magazine Asia looks at some of the best corporate-level training providers across a wide range of curricula and subject areas.

See it online first at www.hrmasia.com from 56

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HRM Magazine Asia reveals the headline results of its recent benchmarking research into the practice and penetration of digital learning in Singapore and beyond.

Monday, Sep 4

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JUNE 2018

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2nd Annual

Future of SME Workforce Congress 2018

28–29 Aug 2018 Singapore

Empowering Competitive, Diverse SMEs for Growth in the Digital Era

Early Confirmed Speakers:

What’s NEW in 2018? • • • •

Jonathan Wong HR Director BHS KINETIC

Professor Tan Khee Giap Co-Director Asia Competitiveness Institute

• •

Develop a transformation strategy with a focus on proven solutions to improve operational efficiencies Explore the most disruptive cutting-edge tech trends to gain a competitive advantage Empower HR to align different business functions towards common organisational goals Discover the secret to developing innovation that can be commercialised and up-scaled Retain and attract skilled talent by having a strong professional development focus Identify how to gain the critical buy-in needed to improve the employee experience

Key Themes to be Explored:

Eric Goh Head of Human Resources Fitness First

Willson Deng Chief Executive Singapore Manufacturing Consortium

SYSTEMS IMPROVEMENT: Transforming HR with Digitalisation for Improved Efficiency STRATEGY: Leading HR with a Strategic Plan that Aligns Organisational Objectives CULTURE: Gaining the Organisational Buy-in Required to Effect Change and Enable Growth

Proudly Sponsored by:

Rishita Desai HR Business Partner MullenLowe Singapore

Media Partners:

Alex Teo Head of Employee Experience Shopback

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

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HRM July-August 2018 Playing To win  

The state of the food industry according to Cargill Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Van Deursen, plus a Special Report on Technology and HR

HRM July-August 2018 Playing To win  

The state of the food industry according to Cargill Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Van Deursen, plus a Special Report on Technology and HR