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MANNING THE MACHINES HR in the age of artificial intelligence


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EDITOR’S NOTE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Paul Howell EDITOR

Sham Majid JOURNALIST

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Dear HRM readers,

D

uring a casual conversation with a senior HR practitioner a few weeks ago, he mentioned that his company was undertaking a massive change management exercise. This entailed departments being realigned and employees having to upgrade their skills to ensure the company could continue to thrive in today’s ultra-competitive business environment. While admitting it was a rather daunting process, the HR head stressed that change was nonetheless imperative. “Whether it’s two or 200 employees, asking them to learn new skills and adapt to complexity and change is by far the biggest challenge,” he said. The crux of the matter is: change can be rather difficult. HRM Asia’s editorial and digital teams can certainly resonate. We have spent the last three months undertaking our own challenging but crucial task – redesigning our website

and magazine, and reimagining all of the content we develop across both platforms. This new-look magazine, with a focus on in-depth reporting of HR issues and interviews with the region’s key HR and executive leaders, is the result. HRM Asia.com also has a new look, and a much wider variety of exclusive, HR-focused content. This includes writing from some of the best HR thought leaders around Asia-Pacific. They have been hand-picked to host a collection of online forums, sharing their valued insights based on a chosen HR theme. Creatures of habit? Not us at HRM Asia – that’s for sure. Best regards,

SHAM MAJID Editor, 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, 2017. All rights reserved. Republication permitted only with the approval of the Editorial Director.

PAUL HOWELL

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

Editorial Director paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg

SHAM MAJID

Editor sham@hrmasia.com.sg

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KELVIN ONG

Journalist kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

HRM ASIA.COM

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CONTENTS

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ON THE COVER

18

MANNING THE MACHINES

As automation and artificial intelligence continue to change the business landscape, the notion that machines will eliminate entire professions is simply untrue. As HRM Asia discovers, it is up to HR to spearhead their organisations’ transformation and determine the technology agenda

F E AT U R E S

12 KEEPING PACE WITH CHANGE

As change becomes the only constant in the disruptive and volatile technology sector, Wong Heng Chew, Country President of Fujitsu Singapore, is determined to ensure his staff are not left behind in the doldrums

24 INDONESIA’S CALL OF DUTY

Southeast Asia’s most populous nation propels forward with its ambitious plan to reconfigure its complex and unevenly-skilled workforce to meet today’s global economic needs. HRM Asia maps out the country’s endeavours thus far

28 MOBILITY ON A SHOESTRING

Mobility teams are facing ever-tightening budgets as they attempt to maintain their international programmes and assignments. HRM Asia finds out how relocation experts are making every dollar count in this new business environment

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34 PAVING THE WAY

As the Hilton hospitality group expands its footprint across the region, several cultural and structural challenges have become apparent in some of the emerging markets. But as its Asia-Pacific vice president of HR Brendan Toomey, explains, “great rewards, great careers, and great environment” are keys to overcoming those obstacles


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40 A STRONG VISION

Japanese optical brand Owndays’ Group CEO Shuji Tanaka believes the best leaders are sometimes required to make both popular and unpopular decisions

MANAGEMENT 44 TALENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE

With businesses under pressure to embrace digitalisation, HR also needs to do its part and take on technological advancements. Gary Lee, Chief HR Specialist of pump solutions firm Grundfos, explains how HR can effectively implement digital solutions, especially in the talent management landscape

48 PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT 2.0

Performance management systems must evolve with the workforces they cover. Sylvia Koh, Chief People Officer with CrimsonLogic, shares her organisation’s journey ahead of the Performance Management Innovation Congress

44

REGULARS 04 06 10 11

34 52

BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP INFOGRAPHIC

MY HR CAREER MENTORING: THE NEXT STEP TO ADVANCE YOUR HR CAREER

Communication and strategic networking expert Gil Petersil says you’re never too young or old to have a mentor, with the best examples having value for both parties

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54 54 55 56 57 58

HR CLINIC HR PEP TALK UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP READER ADVICE EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS J U LY 2 0 1 7

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BEST OF HRMASIA.COM

What’s on

.com Watch - An inside look at Airbnb

Ken Hoskin, Head of Asia-Pacific Talent, offers this fascinating account of the carefully crafted culture at Airbnb.

Search - Your next career move

HRM Asia’s HR-specific job portal on www.hrmasia.com/jobs is constantly abuzz with the latest opportunities for HR-focused talent.

More than

70

positions were posted in the last month

Your Say

Last month, we asked: At what point does extended maternity leave become a burden to the business? This is your response.

Four Weeks

Six Weeks

Three Months

Six Months

Depends on the person and the role

62% 18% 4% 3% 13%

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Share - From the HRM Asia Forums

M

anyofyour traditional HRideasand processeswillbe totallyarchaicforthe fast-movingstartups world–butthat’s exactlythepoint.”

Watch - Gary Hamel breaks down United’s viral meltdown

Thinkers50 stalwart Professor Gary Hamel says United Airlines is not giving its staff the power to “do the right thing”

Laurence Smith says corporate-level HR professionals looking to switch to a start-up business need to carefully research that new world before taking the plunge

“FROM PRE-HIRE TO RETIRE, WE CAN MAXIMISE ALL THE INTERACTIONS AN INDIVIDUAL HAS WITH AN EMPLOYER TO CREATE A DEEP SENSE OF BELONGING.”

Ben Whitter shares how a broad focus on “employee experience” can net long-term engagement results for businesses in Asia-Pacific

“My daughter asked me which major she should take. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘The job that you will do in five years’ time doesn’t even exist today’.” Pambudi Sunarsihanto, Chairman of the Indonesian Society of HR Management, says just being smart may not be enough in the future world of work: agility will also be vital

Win

To celebrate our new look magazine and website, HRM Asia is giving away a seat at the exclusive Smart Workforce Summit masterclass with Dave Ulrich. To enter the draw, simply sign up to our HRM Asia News Weekly bulletins and look out for the special code in each of the July 13, July 20, and July 27 editions. Email that code to us at competition@hrmasia.com.sg to be in the running! The lucky winner will be revealed on this page in HRM Magazine’s September issue.

Subscribe

Don’t wait for the published magazine each month – the best of HRM Asia’s news, features, and analysis are available both online and through our e-newsletters. Subscribe to each of HR in Practice, HRM Asia News Weekly, and My HR Career by heading to www.hrmasia.com/subscribe, and remember to stay updated throughout the week by checking into www.hrmasia.com. J U LY 2 0 1 7

HRM ASIA.COM

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NEWS ASIA

SINGAPORE

DROP IN PRIVATE-SECTOR SALARY GROWTH PRIVATE SECTOR WAGES

HONG KONG

AIRLINE SHEDS 600 JOBS CATHAY PACIFIC is set to slash 600 roles in its head office.

However, Hong Kong’s national carrier has strongly denied reports that it will cut a further 200 positions beyond this. “Rumours of other figures are incorrect,” a spokesperson has told CNBC. The company says the downsizing is part of a transformation initiative to make the airline and its Cathay Dragon affiliate more efficient. It aims to “enhance the speed and quality of decisionmaking by focusing more on customer needs”. Senior, middle management, and non-managerial positions at the group’s headquarters will be impacted, with about 190 management and 400 non-managerial jobs set to be slashed. All retrenched workers will receive a severance package including up to 12 months’ salary, extended medical benefits including counselling and support, and additional travel benefits.

in Singapore increased by 3.1% last year, a slow-down in growth when compared to the 4.9% increase that occurred in 2015. The Ministry of Manpower’s Report on Wage Practices 2016, released last month, also found average bonus payments remained steady at 2.16 months of basic wage. Some 58% of companies in the island state increased their total wage bill in 2016, compared to 64% in 2015. At the same time, a greater number of private

organisations cut total wages (17% last year, compared to 11% in 2015). “As the majority of firms had put in place some form of flexible and performance-based wage system that gave flexibility to adjust wages according to business conditions, total wage increase continued to moderate,” the report found. “The proportion of employers that gave wage increases to their employees also fell in 2016, resulting in a slightly lower proportion of employees with an increase in total wage.”

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

EMPLOYER FROM HELL A 23-YEAR-OLD restaurant employee says she was forced to clock in overtime, and even ordered to continue working after she collapsed on the job. The Indian national said the fear of losing her work visa if she had quit compelled her to tolerate her employer’s antics. Her contract stipulated she was required to work 30 hours a week over five days, but the woman claims she regularly worked 60 to 70 hours without any extra wages. The employer involved has denied the allegations. He initially claimed the worker only clocked in the contracted hours, but later confessed that she worked longer hours on certain occasions, and was compensated extra for those shifts. The complainant, who has approached her union for help, said she was eventually sacked with less than a week’s notice after attempting to take a day off sick.

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TOKYO, JAPAN

LABOUR-VIOLATING FIRMS BLACKLISTED LEADING CONGLOMERATES including

Dentsu and Panasonic are among the more than 300 companies to have been blacklisted for contravening labour regulations in Japan. The labour ministry hopes this will reduce an alarming spate of karoshi cases, otherwise known as “death by overwork”. The data has been released for the first

time, and published on the ministry’s website. Dentsu and Panasonic were both cited for illegal overtime, while a local unit of Japan Post was also noted for failing to report a work-related injury. The list comprises of 334 organisations that received warnings for labour violations between October last year and March. The nationwide list will be updated monthly.

KUCHING, MALAYSIA

WANTED: ENTREPRENEURS MALAYSIA’S HR MINISTER has urged graduates to consider

XIAN, CHINA

BOSS FAILS TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE DESPITE BEING the brains behind an internal wellness scheme that provides financial rewards to employees who lose weight, the boss of a consulting firm has so far failed to shape up himself. The initiative, kickstarted by Xian Jingtian Investment Consulting in Xian, Shaanxi province, offers each worker CNY 100 (S$20) for every kilogram of weight they lose. The monthly weightloss competition was launched March and the company’s Chairman Wang Xuebao says it

has far exceeded his expectations. “I was distressed because our company’s employees are often sitting in the office, and they don’t move around enough – myself included – so they are overweight,” he said. “Through this weight-loss activity, we can form a culture and engage in healthy competition.” Still, the company-wide health kick has not yet impacted his own weight. Wang says he will continue to work on this to soon also qualify for the weightloss bonus.

dipping their toes in the entrepreneurial scene. Speaking at a media conference after a job fair in Sarawak, Datuk Seri Richard Riot shared that the government had now incorporated entrepreneurship syllabus in universities so that graduates could join the entrepreneurial field after graduation, rather than simply aiming to enter the civil service. “This is one way of resolving the current unemployed graduate issue in the country. We have now some 180,000 unemployed graduates. It is feared the number can increase as we have 20 public universities besides private ones and colleges,” he was quoted as saying in Bernama. With Malaysia’s skilled workforce having grown to 31% by the end of last year, Datuk Riot heralded this as a “very encouraging development” and said it bodes well for the nation’s goal of raising that figure to 35% by 2020. He said the latest statistic was a good sign for Malaysia as it readies itself to become a high income society by the projected year.

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

OXFORD, UK

MORE BMW STRIKES AHEAD THE UK’S LARGEST labour union

has planned a series of eight strikes against BMW, after a majority of workers rejected the carmaker’s latest pension deal. The Unite union had said in April that strikes would take place at the Mini and Rolls-Royce factories, but these were deferred in preparation for the new deal. This dispute over pensions stretches back to September last year. BMW expressed disappointment at

the rejection of the offer, which it felt was “fair”. The revised proposal had offered union members the option of a GBP 22,000 (S$38,500) cash payout over three years, or GBP 25,000 (S$43,800) paid into a new defined contribution pension scheme. “It is clear the plan did not go far enough or deal with the concerns many of our members have over BMW’s pension plans,” Unite National Officer Fred Hanna said.

OAKBROOK, US

NEW-AGE RECRUITMENT DRIVE

SUNNYVALE, US

INTERNET PIONEER ACQUIRED INTERNET PIONEER YAHOO is officially no more. Verizon’s

acquisition of the company was completed on June 13, with a price tag of nearly US$4.5 billion (S$6.2 billion). Verizon said it would bring Yahoo and AOL, another early internet company it acquired two years ago, under a new subsidiary called Oath. The synergy of both companies would reportedly see Verizon lay off at least 15% of the combined workforce, or around 2,000 employees. Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Myer, who has led the company since 2012, resigned on the day the agreement was signed. “Given the inherent changes to my role, I’ll be leaving the company,” she wrote in a blog entry. Former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has been tapped to lead the new Oath unit, which will have core businesses in digital media, online advertising, services, and software.

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US FAST FOOD GIANT McDonald’s has rolled out a new social media recruitment initiative, aimed at attracting 250,000 new hires. The company began posting 10-second video clips on the Snapchat platform, popular among millennials and school-age workers. The videos feature staff discussing the benefits of working at the re staurant chain. McDonald’s is the first US organisation to use Snapchat as a hiring tool. It expects that at least half of its target will be young candidates aged between 16 and 24. The company chose Snapchat after research found that 80% of Americans in that demographic used Snapchat on a daily basis. Users who are interested in applying for a job only have to swipe up on their phone screens, and they will be redirected to McDonald’s career page. Dubbed “Snaplications”, this follows a similar recruitment drive launched in Austrialia earlier this year. The company has set its sights on Spotify and Hulu as the next great social hiring platforms.


OTTAWA, CANADA

3D CONVERSION - 25° - 2° - 1° Extrude - 15pt Plastic Shading Light Intensity - 100% Ambient Light - 50% Highlight Intensity - 60% Highlight Size - 90% Blend Steps - 25 Shading Color - Black

HIRING FOREIGNERS MADE EASIER THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT has unveiled its “Global Skills

Strategy”, with the aim of giving local employers a faster and more predictable process for attracting top foreign talent. As part of the initiative, high-skilled workers coming to Canada on a temporary basis are now able to get approvals for work permits and temporary resident visas in as little as two weeks. Open work permits for spouses will also be processed in two weeks. Part of the initiative will also help employers gain access to a pool of temporary, skilled foreign workers. “When companies are able to grow and thrive here in Canada, they create good, middle-class jobs for Canadians,” says Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “We’re keeping Canada competitive in the global marketplace and helping our industries grow and succeed.”

BERLIN, GERMANY

BOOMING JOB MARKET GERMANY IS ON TRACK to create at least 500,000 jobs this year.

A large portion of these will be in the medical field, according to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (DIHK) latest market research. “The demand for health care services is increasing due to the demographic changes, and growing health consciousness, leading to an additional employment of 130,000,” said DIHK managing director Martin Wansleben. He noted that a construction boom resulting from greater housing demand would create a further 35,000 jobs. The Institute for Employment Research (IAB), however, predicted that the new employment figures would be even higher at 760,000 new jobs. IAB Professor Enzo Weber added that he expected the number of job cuts to be much lower this year, compared to those of 2016.

NAIROBI, KENYA

JOBS THREATENED BY NEW BAN THE KENYAN GOVERNMENT has

appointed a US lobby group to reverse a ban on all East African countries from participating in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) programme. If the ban, recently proposed by a US trade association, is passed, over 66,000 jobs are could be lost, the government warned. Thanks to the Agoa programme, Kenya last year exported nearly US$340 million (S$468 million) worth of textiles and clothing to the US, up from US$215 million

(S$296 million) in 2012. “The ban directly contradicts requirements that Agoa beneficiaries work towards eliminating barriers to US trade and investment and promote economic policies to reduce poverty,” said Jackie King, director of US-based Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles association. Kenya has benefitted from AGOA more than any other East African economy. The act, enacted in May 2000, gives market access to the US for qualifying SubSaharan African countries.

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LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP

WHAT CAN LEADERS DO TO HELP EMPLOYEES ADAPT TO MAJOR TRANSFORMATIONS?

VINCENT LOW

Director and General Manager, Business Imaging Solutions, Canon Singapore

IN TODAY’S business landscape, transformation is no longer a choice but a precondition to ensuring competitiveness. While leaders actively pursue and implement solutions to boost productivity, transformation is most effective when employees are at the forefront of driving shifts in innovation. Human capital is every business’s greatest resource, and an organisation is only as strong as its weakest link. As people are often resistant to change, the onus is then on the leadership to encourage congruent corporate beliefs between the employer and employee. This is not just for greater business sustainability but also for continuous personal development. To close the gap between rapid technological advancements and the existing skills of employees, businesses should commit to in-house training to sharpen

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the expertise of workers and equip them with resources to overcome the challenges of the future economy. This not only promotes prime performance but also raises the value of each employee, thus further instilling a sense of confidence and security. It is also important to recognise that transformation does not mean every part of the business needs to be revolutionised. Identify the areas of your business that can support strategic change, and employ savvy solutions that can be easily scaled up or down and also integrated seamlessly with existing office systems. By doing so, manpower can be deployed to focus on other higher-value function, thus conserving time and cost. To help employees cope, pace the introduction of these new processes, and demonstrate how the measures are meant to help, and not disrupt. Fundamentally, the success of navigating through the digital frontier is not contingent on how quickly workers are able to grasp new innovations, but on how adaptable they are when dealing with business transformations. To cultivate this form of resilience, remember that mindsets matter and the key to helping employees become advocates of change is to ensure that they feel empowered and not displaced.

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PAULINE CHUA

General Manager, Human Capital and Corporate Social Responsibility, Fuji Xerox Singapore

TODAY’S BUSINESS environment is a dynamic one with the rise of disruptors and rapid technological change. Business transformations are therefore inevitable for companies to keep pace with the market environment. Transformation is achieved by realigning the way employees work, how the organisation is structured, its products, and how technology is being leveraged. At Fuji Xerox Singapore, we recognise that a lot more has to be done today to help employees adapt to transformation and stay ahead of the curve, especially with “people” being one of the greatest assets to a company. Business leaders should recognise that they play a crucial role in helping their employees adapt to transformation. We have been focused on enabling our employees with the relevant skillsets so they feel empowered with the work

that they do. For example, at Fuji Xerox Singapore, we have implemented an ICT Upskill programme to ensure each employee is trained to proficiently handle the business solutions our customers are using. However, training is only a small segment in enabling our employees. How employees transfer and apply their new knowledge and skills on the job is even more important. Mentoring and coaching, and receiving constructive feedback from line managers, help employees fine-tune their performance. In essence, leaders should work towards a goal of creating a more conducive and empowering work environment for all employees, by having open conversations with staff on their performance, providing constructive feedback, creating the line of sight in terms of showing them how their work helps to contribute to broader organisational goals and objectives, listening to any challenges on hand and helping their employees remove any barriers that may hinder them in carrying out their work effectively. With millennials forming a large group of today’s workforce, leaders have to change the way they engage with their employees to provide them with the growth they desire and keep them motivated.


INFOGRAPHIC

SINGAPORE DISCREPANCY FINDINGS

DISSECTING CANDIDATE DISCREPANCIES

background checks done in Singapore in 2016 had discrepancies

24.2% 24.3%

2015

9 80 70 0 6 50 40 0 3 20 10 0

A drop of

3.7

percentage points from 2015

How are Singapore candidates stretching the truth?

25%

MALAYSIA

40.9 %

ASIA-PACIFIC DISCREPANCY RATES

2016

% 24.7

1 20 30 40 0 5 60 70 0 8 90 0

Inaccurate information on job applications often spells the death knell for candidates; yet it continues to be commonplace in Asia-Pacific, with close to one in four applications having something questionable. HRM Asia shares some insights on these discrepancies, from a recent study by background screening company HireRight

INDIA

20.1%

2016

13 .8%

2015

18.3 %

21.3% 26.9%

2016

16 % 16 .5%

HONG KONG

28.3%

2015

2015

2016

2015

2016

2015

2016

9.7% 21.5% vs

Education Qualifcations and History

Employment History

Professional Licenses

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SOURCE: HIRERIGHT

GLOBAL VS ASIA PACIFIC DISCREPANCY RATES

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G N I P E E K with GE N E A C H A C P

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

“Fujitsu approached me and I was keen to try something different and be in a non-American company,” Wong says. “Here I am still, seven years later.”

consuming services. That’s why we have things like cloud computing. Companies need to find a competitive edge in what they’re doing, whether it’s in Big Data or the Internet of Things. All this gives rise to a different way of doing things in business. This is where the application of artificial intelligence and robotics becomes very important. Artificial intelligence is the means of making sense of the voluminous data. For example, police forces around the world are applying it to fight terrorism. As a leader in my business, I need to bring my people from one paradigm to another. I read up and talk to people about this to really understand what’s going on in this sector and to see how I can lead effectively.

Fujitsu has been traditionally known for its computing and software products, but it has now ventured into other areas such as cloud computing and infrastructure solutions. Is this an inevitable consequence of being in the technology sector?

Q

I think it’s an evolution. We have always built on our strength and heritage. If you look at when Fujitsu first started, we were anchored in telecommunications and computing. This year, we are celebrating our 87th anniversary. The fact that we’re a long-enduring company means we have been able to look at trends, move with them, and evolve based on our experience and expertise. Companies cannot survive if they don’t move with the times. For example, today’s mega-trend is the different mode of

How is Fujitsu implementing artificial intelligence and robotics into its business?

Q

AI and robotics are emerging businesses. If you look at today’s market share, the revenues from these streams are not very big, but over time, this is where we

one ON

I LOVE:

Quiet time, and being in deep reflective mood

Indifference or “couldn’t-care-less” types of behaviour MY INSPIRATION IS: Mother Teresa. Her work defined what pure human love is all about

HRM ASIA.COM

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Q

MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS IS:

Sweet dessert

Be in a slower lane

FAVOURITE QUOTE:

“Give, but give until it hurts” - MOTHER TERESA

How would you describe your leadership style?

I think I have a very engaging style. I like to be at the forefront of things with my employees and customers. I’m very much of a “feel” person and I’m in the trenches with my people, rather than being at the back.

Q

IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME, I’D LIKE TO BE:

I DISLIKE:

14

1

will see lots of growth. As a business, we always need to be looking at high-growth areas. For example, we recently acquired a robotics company and we’ve also been investing in research and development for the last 30 years. In fact, we’ve probably had more patents in Japan than any other company in the country. That’s how serious Fujitsu is in this space. In terms of market share, we are working in high-technology areas such as looking for cavities in roads. In Japan for example, there are lots of old sewerage systems that could lead to sinkholes over time. It’s a huge safety concern over there. We’ve been applying artificial intelligence techniques to these problems, but it’s still very much in its infancy stages.

How would your employees describe you?

I’m pretty friendly and approachable. In fact, you can see me walking the ground all the time and striking up conversations with staff. People do not avoid me, so I guess that’s good news to me!

Fujitsu has more than 159,000 employees in 100 countries. What are some of your biggest workforce challenges?

Q

In our part of the world, talent management becomes very important. People move around quite a lot and there’s a lot of workforce mobility. It’s always a question of how do we keep talents. With all the incoming developments in our industry, it’s also about knowing how to equip our people and retrain them to ensure their skills are relevant. Technology can also be applied quite quickly now, although the adoption rate is different in various countries. I think that disparity will come into equilibrium, though there will still be certain gaps. This disparity will then be filtered down to people in terms of competencies.


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about Fujitsu calculating the return-oninvestment. That’s the kind of mentality we have as a business.

“As a leader in my business, I need to bring my people from one paradigm to another. I read up and talk to people about this to really understand what’s going on in this sector and to see how I can lead effectively” Being a Japanese conglomerate, how does the company still maintain strong local values?

Q

I think I can relate with my own experience. My career has always been built around American companies and the western way of thinking and looking at things. I was initially unsure about joining Fujitsu. I heard that it was a different environment and I had often heard many things about Japanese culture. But when I look back, I can actually associate myself as an Asian and with the Eastern influence in terms of treating people and of my leadership style. One thing that always surprises me is how Fujitsu treats its customers. From my experience, I think we’re over-serving. But after seven years with the company, I think it’s the right way. You pay attention to your customer and treat them as a partner because you want a life-cycle relationship, not a transactional one. I was told that in the early days, when Toyota wanted to have a foothold in Asia, Fujitsu stressed that it would follow Toyota till the end and set up operations to support its customers. It wasn’t

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would you say is your Q What biggest challenge right now as head of Fujitsu Singapore? The pace of change in this industry is tremendous. I always think: how can I get my staff through this transformation where they can move from one phase to another? They need the support and guidance, and that’s my biggest challenge.

Q

What is your biggest regret?

I don’t really have regrets but I always wonder what’s it like to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee. I also wonder what it is like not to work in an IT company. Whenever I see a fish or vegetable farm, I often think that if I had taken on that track, my life would have been

very different. It’s probably a bit too late at this stage!

Q

What is your top tip for leaders?

Employees on the ground do struggle. Whether you’re fresh from school and entering the workforce or even if you’ve been working for five to 10 years but you’ve yet to gain the wisdom and experience needed for this new business environment. I really think managing change is tough for many junior employees. Leaders must help employees with that. First of all, leaders should talk about change with their employees. If you talk about it, you let employees know that change is impending and at their doorstep. Talk about change so they’re well prepared. sham@hrmasia.com.sg


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F E AT U R E

IN DEPTH

MANNING THE MACHINES As automation and artificial intelligence continue to change the business landscape, the notion that machines will eliminate entire professions is simply untrue. As HRM Asia discovers, it is up to HR to spearhead their organisations’ transformation and determine the technology agenda B Y K E LV I N O N G

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replacing human workers appears to be unfounded and misguided. If the statements from Wipro and IBM are analysed carefully, the real crux of their orkers all over the world are celebrated on May talent requirements is about human adaptability: 1 and the weeks after, but for thousands of IT how quickly and easily individuals master new technologies. professionals in India this year, it was a month to Staying constantly technology-competent is fast forget. becoming a vital skill in itself. Several large Indian IT firms carried out mass retrenchment exercises This is why experts like director of Baidu mere days apart, axing thousands of workers in one fell swoop. Research’s Institute of Deep Learning Lin Yuanqing While some layoffs were not unexpected in today’s slower economic have downplayed fears that robots and automated technologies will “steal” jobs en-masse. He says the conditions, the disconcerting proximity of the bloodbaths signalled idea that robots could eliminate entire professions is something much deeper at work. “exaggerated”. Although it was initially reported that most were performance-based “Even the best robotic financial analyst is only decisions, it soon came to light that the culling was in large part due going to prepare a report at 70% of the capability and insight of its human counterpart,” he says, though to the digital transformations that these companies were beginning to noting that the work can be produced in less time. embark on. “This is not scary – we are not going to As part of their business overhauls, IT giants like IBM and Wipro be replaced. (In fact) all our work lives will be confirmed that quality of talent, and not quantity, would be the key complemented for the better.” Many workers in Asia agree. A recent Randstad workforce ingredient.

IBM India, in particular, cut “at least a few thousand employees” because it wanted to remove dead weight who it felt were no longer able to contribute to the organisation’s digital business. A senior executive told local media that IBM’s main objective was to achieve “100% capacity utilisation” across all projects, especially as demand for digital-technology based services is expected to skyrocket. What this means, another software engineer said, is that “no one is kept idle on the bench now”. “In some cases, people have to upgrade themselves with new technology skills to get redeployed. But, those who are not willing are at risk and often told to go.” Wipro was another notable participant in this combined reduction in industry headcount. It removed over 500 employees from its Indian operations in what the company referred to as a “rigorous performance appraisal process”. “This systematic and comprehensive performance evaluation process triggers a series of actions, such as mentoring, retraining and up-skilling,” Wipro said, adding that individuals who were unable to upskill and work with newer technologies would likely be released.

Fear of machines? Two things became apparent in both of these situations: One, the emergence of new technologies is forcing workers to acquire new skills in order to operate effectively in both the present and the future business landscape. Secondly, the worry about automation

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survey has found that fewer than one in five professional employees in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia are fearful that automation will impact their job security. Over 60% of the respondents also indicated they understood and appreciated the need to continually develop new competencies. It is also no coincidence an overwhelming number of respondents indicated positive feelings about technology’s ability to add value to their own industries. In a 2016 whitepaper by MIT Technology Review and business outsourcing service ADP, professional staff in the US were found to have a high level of willingness to work with technology, with the majority of the research participants viewing technology as “an enabler” of increased productivity. Furthermore, with the mainstreaming of artificial intelligence, defined in the same study as “technologies that enable computers to simulate elements of human thinking”, it has become more crucial than ever for workers to be trained in a wide range of systems and machines.

Embracing automation While upskilling is ultimately an individual’s responsibility, it is employing organisations that have the resources to most effectively train people on a large scale. Francis Fong, Managing Director at business analytics company SAS Singapore, notes that employers would do well to educate their employees on the benefits of skills development, which will help them increase their own individual value over the long run. This is especially true for developing countries


like Indonesia, Cambodia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, where the impact of automation will be greater. The International Labour Organisation, for instance, estimates that 56% of all salaried roles in these countries will be displaced by automation and advanced technologies in the coming decades. But even in more technologically-advanced markets like Japan, South Korea and Singapore, automation is expected to replace at least a quarter of existing jobs by 2025, the Boston Consulting Group has found. “The pace of work displacement in (parts of) Asia will be at a much faster rate, because of the relatively higher percentage of low-skilled jobs in the labour force relative to more developed economies,” says Tak Lo, a partner at Hong Kong– based AI accelerator Zeroth.AI. Still, Fong believes robotics and new technologies can also create new job functions and further elevate developed economies. “It can enhance the productivity of jobs in countries like Singapore, and we expect it to create more knowledge-intensive jobs across industries and organisations big and small,” he says. The financial services sector is one industry where advanced innovations are already widespread. Today, many banks and financial institutions use artificial intelligence to study market movements and historical behaviour and gather actionable insights. These analytical software solutions also advise clients on when and how to trade most effectively. But more than just analysis, the latest innovations leverage machine learning to better

“ALTHOUGH A RECENT ANALYSIS OF RECRUITMENT TECHNOLOGY CONCLUDED THAT (MACHINE) EQUATIONS OUTPERFORM HUMAN DECISIONS BY 25%, MOST ORGANISATIONS ARE STILL RELUCTANT TO LET MACHINES MAKE THE FINAL CALL” – LYNDA GRATTON, PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICE, LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL

Get A I -savvy at Smart Workforce Summit THE NEED TO INNOVATE, and strategies HR can use to drive innovation will be key focus points of HRM Asia’s Smart Workforce Summit 2017. Featuring a keynote session and exclusive workshop with “the father of modern HR” Dave Ulrich, this four-day learning opportunity will guide HR

professionals through the complexities and interrupters of the emerging workplace. Smart Workforce Summit takes place in Singapore from September 19 to 22 this year.

understand and model the behaviours of their customers in real time, resulting in more accurate segmentation and forecasting that continually improves. This is why many banks in Asia today, from DBS Bank to BNP Paribas, have established training centres dedicated to the digital development of their workforces. That’s an idea the Singapore government hopes to see spreading to other parts of the economy. Its National Research Foundation is set to boost Singapore’s artificial intelligence capabilities by S$150 million over the next few years, with many more industries primed for major transformation as a result.

Data-driven decisions Across the world, people are fascinated, but also perplexed about the impact that machines will have on their individual jobs. Firms, too, face extraordinary tension as a result of the increasing use of artificial intelligence in data analysis, as well as the growing threat of robotics displacing and augmenting skilled production tasks, revolutionising the work of even the most specialised employees. Even the uniquely human skill of decisionmaking is being threatened, says Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School. Gratton attributes this to the constant march of robotics along with the “hollowing out of work”, which have made management and decisionmaking an increasingly less clear practice. “A recent analysis of recruitment technology concluded that (machine) equations outperform human applicant-selection decisions by 25%, though research indicates that most individuals and organisations are still reluctant to let machines make the final call (on a new hire),” she says. While it is difficult at this point to draw firm conclusions about how exactly each technology trend will affect work in the future, Gratton says organisations can improve adaptability by considering a number of changes to their work models. One such change is for businesses to reframe the way they view artificial intelligence, and see machines as “knowledge partners”, instead of merely something that is “nice to have”. “With this more pragmatic view, there are the chances to: work out what great feats workers can accomplish with the assistance of robotic co-workers; explore cases in which workers can collaborate with machines to do things that neither could do well on their own before; and understand what kinds of new jobs might be J U LY 2 0 1 7

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created,” she adds. To Professor Zhang Yue, a machine language researcher at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, data is the most important resource for successful machine learning development. “Mobile data, large in volume and rich in context, provides developers with a large amount of useful information,” says Zhang. This data also helps inform firms on which concepts are most alienating to their workforces, and which will require greater training efforts.

HR in the age of AI Artificial intelligence is already a reality for many industries, and leaders are naturally looking at HR to ensure their workforces are technology-ready. Companies also expect HR processes to not simply follow suit in the evolution, but lead the way and set a company culture of innovation. As John Atos, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing at US-based HR technology firm ADP, states, the HR function is likely to evolve into a broader, and more strategic, “productivity management” role. In fact, two-thirds of the HR professionals recently surveyed as part of the company’s whitepaper said their roles would encompass the management of both human and artificial talent in the next five years.

WILL ROBOTS TAKE MY JOB?

Artificial intelligence and automation are expected to replace about a quarter of the world’s jobs by 2025. Unfortunately for HR, waiters and software programmers, they fall into this uncertain category. Yet, upon closer examination, professionals in these industries can remain valuable if they learn to leverage technology to their advantage.

HR - With HR chatbots becoming commonplace in organisations, talent managers can add value by learning how to interpret data and even operate the programmes. SERVICE STAFF - It is already possible for dining patrons to place orders using technology. Restaurant managers who are able to troubleshoot faulty equipment while managing unique requests will remain in demand. SOFTWARE PROGRAMMERS - Robots can code faster and better than humans, but let’s not forget it was programmers who created them. Where it concerns flexibility and creativity, humans still reign supreme. This is already happening in parts of Asia. Last month, OCBC Bank Singapore became the first bank in the country to roll out an artificial intelligence-powered HR mobile app. Called HR In Your Pocket, the app is a one-stop shop aimed at providing assistance to the entire workforce on any HR-related matters. One feature that sets the platform

THE INDISPENSABLE HUMAN FACTOR IN THE 2016 film Passengers, an intergalactic commuter finds himself awake and alone with only an android bartender for company. While the two share long, and often intelligent, conversations, the robot is still devoid of emotions, and it is never the same as interaction with an actual person. The film asks: can human beings truly live happily and productively where creativity, compassion and intuition are missing? As Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, notes, focusing too much on technology can minimise all the other factors in life that are equally important.

“As we try to frame the future and prepare for it, it seems to me that Thomas Moore was right – the big questions are about how we want to live with each other, what our communities could look like, what it is we value, and how we might think about what we want to tell our children,” she states. “So surely our questions about the future should centre as much on this as on the technology?”

apart is an interactive chatbot that is fully integrated with the bank’s HR information system. Employees can ask the chatbot, named Buddy, even complex, individual questions in real-time and get instant responses. Similar to the Apple iPhone’s virtual personal assistant, Siri, Buddy has humanlike conversational skills and natural language processing capabilities. It is able to interpret questions and answer them in plain English. HR played a key role in the development of the platform right from the start, driving the entire process and gathering feedback from staff at each stage completion, says Jason Ho, Head of Group HR, OCBC Bank. “The internal feedback was that our apps for customers are innovative and useful, so we thought: ‘Why not channel our bank’s digital capabilities and technological expertise into developing intuitive and easyto-use apps for our employees too?’.” SAS’ Fong says artificial intelligence gives HR a golden opportunity to flex its muscle and show its strategic value. “HR can analyse the company’s workforce to assess skills, risk and talent, and better understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of one’s workforce on a departmental and enterprise level,” he says. kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

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19 - 22 SEPT

Ten years ago, Facebook didn’t exist. Ten years before that, we didn’t have the Web. So who knows what jobs will be born a decade from now? Time

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A smart, digital, mobile, hyper-connected and agile world of work is emerging. New technologies are redesigning the way we work, forcing companies to reassess business models and seek new skills and talents. There is now a pressing need for HR to develop new capabilities and become more technologically savvy as well as change capable rather than change responsive. Smart Workforce Summit will explore all these evolving trends and more while showcasing the skills, technologies and strategies required to keep up with the pace of change and drive this evolution forward.

Meet the most influential HR and Management thinker of all time: Prof. Dave Ulrich!

That’s right! Dave Ulrich will deliver: • Keynote (19th & 20th Sept): A New World of Work: Emerging Trends in HR Value Creation • Masterclass (21st Sept): Transforming the HR department and Upgrading HR Professionals

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Contact info@hrmasia.com.sg for more information www.smartworkforcesummit.hrmasia.com


INDONESIA

HR COUNTRY REPORT

Southeast Asia’s most populous nation propels forward with its ambitious plan to reconfigure its complex and unevenly-skilled workforce to meet today’s global economic needs. HRM Asia maps out the country’s endeavours thus far

I

t’s already Southeast Asia’s biggest

economy, but it is also one of the region’s fastest-growing, with 5.0% growth recorded over the 12 months to March 31 this year. Still, Indonesia is eyeing further macro-economic improvements, and has embarked on a vigorous transformation of its entire workforce. While the industrial and manufacturing sectors have been the country’s main growth engines for decades, Indonesia is now also witnessing significant development of its financial and accounting, information technology, fast-moving consumer goods, and services industries. Steep growth is accompanied by a crucial need for Indonesia to transform itself into a knowledge-based economy, of which a skills-based workforce is an absolute imperative. That’s something President Joko Widodo has targeted since assuming the government’s top post in 2014. He recently again stressed that developing human capabilities was a

BY SHAM MAJID matter of national importance, citing that Indonesia was expected to have a “demographic bonus” between 2030 and 2035. “During that time, 52% of our population will be within ‘productive’ ages (and only 48% will be non-working elderly and children) and this will be our strength. However, if we fail [to develop skills], then this will be a great burden for the country to bear,” Widodo said.

Low proficiency levels That burden could be a great one. A 2016 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted that adults in Jakarta showed much lower levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy compared to international benchmarks. The Survey of Adult Skills study, for example, found that fewer than one percent of adults in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, had attained the highest levels of proficiency in literacy, well below the OECD average of 10.6%.

At the same time, only 1.4 % of adults in Jakarta can boast the highest levels of numeracy proficiency, also far behind the OECD average of 11.2%. The findings are alarming, for the country as a whole, given that Jakarta is Indonesia’s economic and development hub, and rates outside the city are likely lower still. With the country looking to push into high-growth areas such as science, mathematics, technology and entrepreneurialism, the findings reinforce Indonesia’s pressing need to modernise and upskill its workforce on all fronts. Pambudi Sunarsihanto, for one, isn’t surprised by the findings. The Vice President of HR at Danone Aqua says working adults do not have a culture of continuous learning. “Adults in Jakarta and in Indonesia read books at a much lesser rate compared to adults in other countries,” he says. “It would be much better if they spend more time reading books and also using their technology gadgets to upgrade their knowledge and competencies, instead of only connecting with their friends.” Audi Lumbantoruan, Human Capital Business Partner at Suntory Garuda Beverage, shares another view for Indonesia’s poor skills outlook. He says many Indonesian adults have not been afforded adequate learning opportunities, because of the limited number of schools that provide basic elementary education. J U LY 2 0 1 7

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INDONESIA’S CALL OF DUTY


HR COUNTRY REPORT

“They (instead) have had to survive by getting a job, such as working in factories or in home industries,” says Audi.

Synergy In Vocational Training Widodo’s administration is pressing ahead with a root-and-branch reform of Indonesia’s skills landscape, beginning with the robust implementation of vocational training. This will form the bedrock of skills development for both the present and future workforce, and will be a core part of the country’s education system moving forward. The public and private sector have been roped in to partner with the federal and regional governments to encourage a strong culture of vocational training throughout their ranks. In 2016, Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir announced that Indonesia was preparing to set up 10 vocational schools to provide training for employees in several strategic industries, including the maritime, electronics, transport, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors. Indonesia is looking to mirror Germany’s efforts in the vocational education space, specifically in developing a skilled, future-ready workforce that can work in highly technical and niche highgrowth industries. “Why vocational education?,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi asked during a working visit to Germany last year. “Vocational education is obviously very necessary at this time to respond to the needs of today’s market.” A year on, both countries have now promised to deepen their partnership in the field of technical and vocational education and training. As part of this cooperation, Germany will help Indonesia build an internship programme, in which students would gain practical work experience and real world skills through placements with private companies. Reno Rafly, Talent and Organisation Manager at Accenture Indonesia, says vocational training will help to close the talent demand gap sooner, especially for the hospitality, construction, and healthcare industries. “It will bring a greater advantage to

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INDONESIA

131.55 Labour force:

million

Breakdown of people employed by sector:

31.8% Agriculture

47.65% Trade & Services

20.4% Manufacturing & Industry

Unemployment rate: 5.3 % SOURCE: SAKERNAS, LABOUR FORCE SURVEY FEBRUARY 2017

Gross National Income per capita

3,440 USD CURRENT, 2015

Gross Enrolment ratio for tertiary education

31.1% 2014

SOURCE: WORLD BANK DATABASE

Ease of doing business ranking

91 2017

SOURCE: DOING BUSINESS 2017, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL, WORLD BANK GROUP

the Indonesian economy in general and speed up the employability process,” she explains. But Pambudi warns that economic acceleration can be a double-edged sword. Pointing out that some areas of the economy are growing too quickly, he says providing a workforce that satisfies the needs of this rapidly-growing economy is a challenge. “It would be too long and costly to expect that we develop everyone using the conventional education programmes,” says Pambudi. “Vocational training is the answer to this. It is faster, cheaper, and more relevant to meet those workforce needs, particularly in the tourism and manufacturing industries.”

Local talent is key While Indonesia presses on with its longterm workforce-modernisation efforts, it still has numerous medium-term HR challenges to contend with. One of these is the country’s steady decline of foreign employees. A Reuters report last year revealed that foreign employees were departing the country at an increasing rate due to the slump in commodity prices that had forced resource firms to cut jobs. This coincided

with the government also introducing tighter regulations on expats. The number of temporary residential permits issued to foreigners, including renewals, fell to to 171,944 in 2015, down more than 11% from 194,162 in 2013. Rob Bryson, Director of Robert Walters Indonesia, says barriers to entry for overseas workers remain high, and companies are expected to continue focusing on localising their workforces. “As a result, the number of working visas currently active in Indonesia is at its lowest for more than a decade,” he shares. “It is also expensive to hire foreign talent, especially for the oil and gas, and commodities industries, which are not faring too well currently.” The drop in foreign talent, coupled with the push to advance the local workforce’s skillsets, mean it is crucial for organisations to accelerate their internal talent development processes to groom adaptable and skilled local employees. This entails offering individuals with opportunities to expose themselves to different functions of the business, as well as sending them abroad for working stints. Employees in Danone Aqua’s Indonesian headquarters are encouraged to change their jobs every three years, and undertake lateral career moves. This philosophy goes all the way to the board of directors, where it is mandatory for members to have been exposed to at least two different roles or markets. Pambudi says this can be a difficult culture to encourage, because Indonesians are “very comfortable” in their own backyard. “We need to send Indonesians overseas,” he says. “When they’re overseas, they will get out of their comfort zones and will have to struggle and adapt to the changes. They also have to manage the cultural changes. When they come back, they will be much better employees and people.” The organisation also actively engages in external scouting by identifying local talents within the country, as well as skilled Indonesian citizens who are currently working overseas. For the last two years, Suntory Garuda Beverage has also crafted its own management traineeship and fast-track programme to prepare its millennial


MAKING AN IMPACT AT HOME Pambudi Sunarsihanto, Vice President of HR at Danone Aqua, and Reno Rafly, Talent and Organisation Manager at Accenture Indonesia, have each returned to Indonesia after long stints studying and working abroad. They are among those who have answered President Joko Widodo’s call for Indonesians working overseas to return home to help accelerate the nation’s quest to become a knowledge and skills-driven economy.

RENO RAFLY

Talent and Organisation Manager Accenture Indonesia

Having worked in New York City in academia and as a professional for the previous 10 years, Reno Rafly says she moved back to her home country in 2017. She say it was the right time for her to contribute towards developing a stronger Indonesian workforce. “I believe Indonesia has a lot of potential in building a stronger and more competitive workforce. What we need is the confidence, critical thinking and innovativeness,” she says. Having been away from home for such a long time, Reno initially found

it challenging to adapt to what she says was going from a low-context culture in the US (“telling it as it is”) to a high-context culture in Indonesia (“relying on context and unspoken norms”). In addition, she also had to adjust her expectation on the concept of time, having to take into account Jakarta’s famous traffic jams. However, she says there is still a sense of community amid the chaotic life in Jakarta. “I know what I do professionally will make a difference in helping leaders and organisations to be ready for a better future. That, to me, is pretty rewarding,” she says. Reno believes there should be a “string” between Indonesian talent overseas and their home country. “As an Indonesian and a working professional, I know other people would love to return home. It’s just a matter of when and whether

workforce to become future leaders. Meanwhile, Accenture’s “Return Home” programme saw HR heads visit several campuses in the US to introduce its company to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics students. It hoped to highlight internships and job opportunities to entice Indonesians to come back home after their study.

they believe they would get the same appreciation and acknowledgment,” she says. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunities to make a difference in peoples’ lives. If they are looking for a sense of purpose, now is the time to make a real impact to the Indonesian economy.”

PAMBUDI SUNARSIHANTO

Vice President of HR Danone Aqua

After completing high school in Indonesia, Pambudi Sunarsihanto earned a scholarship to France, where he completed his Bachelor and Master’s degrees. What followed was a long overseas-working stint which started at then French

Reno says HR in Indonesia needs to expand its network throughout the country to develop wide and deep talents that will meet the increasing demand in coming years. Learning should also continue beyond that of formal education, in line with developing a “liquid workforce” where talents are ready to learn and adapt to

telecom giant Alcatel. After moving to Nokia, Pambudi worked in Germany, Singapore and Thailand. He went on to complete his MBA in Finland, and swapped his technical work for an HR role at Nokia. “Moving from one country to another shifted my cultural understanding and that helped me influence others,” says Pambudi. He says the countless overseas experiences have also built up his confidence and communication skills. “Some companies try to send Indonesians overseas, but the talents are hesitant,” Pambudi shares. “I wish Indonesians talents would be more willing to take risks, get out of their comfort zones, go to places they have never been, and discover things they never knew. Only then can they bring back their experiences and upgraded skills to Indonesia.”

I KNOW WHAT I DO PROFESSIONALLY WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN HELPING LEADERS AND ORGANISATIONS TO BE READY FOR A BETTER FUTURE. THAT, TO ME, IS PRETTY REWARDING” − RENO RAFLY

new roles based on changes in business environment, she says. Pambudi says the HR community in Indonesia can spearhead the nation’s charge to transform its workforce. “They are great employer champions and change agents,” he adds. sham@hrmasia.com.sg J U LY 2 0 1 7

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MOBILITY ON A SHOESTRING International businesses are crying out for mobile staff but the obstacles continue to stack up. Besides the increase in protectionist labour policies in many key markets, mobility teams are also facing ever-tightening budgets. HRM Asia finds out how relocation experts are making every dollar count in this new business environment

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ross-cultural training; leadership development; succession planning; and engaging rewards: a comprehensive mobility programme can tick a lot of boxes for an international organisation’s workforce. That’s even truer in this age of globalisation and disruption, where businesses know that one bright idea from anywhere in the world can now become a global brand sensation. Still, it takes well-travelled, cross-culturally savvy leaders to ensure that full international potential can be realised. Forward thinking, multi-market organisations therefore still pay a lot of attention to their mobility programmes, taking staff of all levels and supplanting them in international offices for both one-off assignments and longer-term team development. But where once profits and margins were high enough to allow the budgets for these projects to grow unchecked, today’s business leaders need to see a much clearer projected return on every dollar spent. Luxuries and extravagances are out, replaced only by cost-effective enhancements that add direct value to the assignment being undertaken. Kenneth Kwek, Managing Director of Cartus Asia-Pacific, says his organisation’s annual survey on mobility issues has found cost control remains one of the biggest concerns for international relocation programmes, although it has been falling as apriority in recent years. “There was a decrease of 26 percentage points in the number of respondents who said their company’s focus on cost control had increased from 2010 to the present,” he says. “However, the fact that the percentage stating their cost focus had ‘remained the same’ has risen over the same time period suggests that cost control is simply becoming ‘business as usual’ for companies relocating their staff internationally. So where can savings be made? Certainly compensation and benefits is one area that most companies have already cut back on for most, if not all of their international staff. Now that those gains have been realised, mobility teams have to look elsewhere to reduce the financial impact of their programmes going forward. As experts that HRM Asia spoke to confirm, that doesn’t mean having to reduce the scope of any given mobility programme.

“COST SAVINGS CAN BE ACHIEVED IN MANY DIFFERENT AREAS OF MOBILITY. FROM THE MORE OBVIOUS LOGISTICS SAVINGS ON HOUSING, HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPMENTS, TEMPORARY LIVING, AND SCHOOLING TO LESS OBVIOUS COST SOLUTIONS LIKE LANGUAGE AND INTERCULTURAL TRAINING”

Going local As noted, the main cash component of expatriate packages in Asia have been significantly reduced in recent years, with many employers of foreign talent offering only “local” salaries. These may not necessarily be J U LY 2 0 1 7

– KENNETH KWEK, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF CARTUS ASIA-PACIFIC

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in local currencies, but the absolute value has definitely fallen to take into account the lower costs of living, particularly in developing economies of Asia-Pacific. The “hardship” allowances associated with foreign postings have been reigned in significantly. Instead, employers are emphasising the career and lifestyle benefits associated with these moves to keep their mobile staff interested in global opportunities. A similar economic experience is taking place in the private education markets, with many different tiers of international schools now available for expatriate children. Where previously enrolments in the most celebrated international schools were a standard part of an international relocation package, today those benefits are likely to be far more modest, if they exist at all. Most common is for expatriates to be offered part-payment subsidies for education, with them paying at least part of the fees for their chosen school from the cash portion of their salary package.

Kwek says there are still a lot of savings to be found in the typical assignment support benefits that accompany each expatriate. “Cost savings can be achieved in many different areas of mobility. from the more obvious logistics savings on housing, household goods shipments, temporary living, and schooling to less obvious cost solutions like language and intercultural training to reduce the risk of costly assignment failures,” he says. In terms of language training, online classes are fast-becoming a viable option, offering both flexibility and strong learning outcomes for a fraction of the outlay of traditional, intensive training. US-based service provider Global Mobility Solutions has crunched the numbers and believes organisations can save between US$4,500 and US$17,650 per transferee, while expanding access to training to the employee’s wider family. “When reviewing your mobility management policies, you should benchmark against other companies within your industry, and also leverage technology for key services,” a recent whitepaper from Global Mobility Service advises. HRM ASIA.COM

Someone to help Other cost areas that it believes are ripe for better management, and therefore savings and higher mobility returns, include transport services (movers and allowances), health benefits (both insurance coverage and add-ons such as gymnasium memberships), and temporary accommodation services.

Bigger picture

The little things

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framework for international relocations, and the policies underpinning it. “Cost efficiencies here can be achieved by increasing the level of flexibility in your programmes.” Alternatively, teams can leave their frameworks unchanged and follow a policy benefit-driven approach by determining the areas that represent the highest spends and streamline where possible (with consideration for the effect on employee experience). “This approach will be more viable for organisations with a lower tolerance to change,” Kwek says.

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Beyond these incidental savings, the biggest budget enhancers come from having a strong understanding of all of the inputs and outputs of a mobility programme. If the HR or mobility team does not have an understanding of what each of its international assignments is hoping to achieve, it cannot hope to allocate resources effectively, and will end up spending more than is necessary. “Companies that make the most significant savings over time look at every aspect of their mobility programme and do this on a continuous basis over time,” Kwek says. He recommends three different approaches for mobility teams undertaking this assessment for the first time. The holistic approach considers how the mobility programme is aligned with the organisation’s overall business goals. “This approach requires looking at how your company’s mobility and talent management programmes complement each other, and developing a holistic view of business objectives, employee demographics, and the rationale for international relocation programmes,” Kwek says. Another option is to look at the

Of course, not all expenses can be put on the chopping block – and just because a mobility team is facing budget pressures, doesn’t mean they should try to do it all on their own. The value of a consulting partner only becomes higher when the margins are tighter, Kwek says. “Employing a specialist relocation provider is a long-term partnership,” he points out. “Typically they work with teams right across a business, in HR, Procurement, Finance and IT. In order to achieve the best outcomes, this long-term relationship should be viewed as a strategic partnership that can both add value to and control costs within a relocation programme.” By working on mobility across all parts of the business – in multiple locations – consultants are well placed to pinpoint cost pain points and drive reform. “A client company’s policy consultation is driven by timely industry data, comparisons and benchmarks. This enables Cartus to design a relocation policy that meets individual business needs as well as the complexities of individual moves. From this base, regular reviews and data analytics based upon actual programme components identify ongoing cost efficiencies and savings in the areas of policy, programmes, and processes.” An outside consultant is also best placed to ensure compliance across multiple geographies. Whether it is the tax, legal, immigration, data security, or other implications, missing even just one document or authorisation can involve significant fines and penalties for the business. Kwek says such mistakes can undo every cost-saving measure being considered above, and more.


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No matter how complex the relocation challenge, or how unusual the request, Cartus will find the solution that’s right for you. Because in 60 years, we’ve found solutions for just about everything. From everyday to once-in-a-lifetime, count on the industry leader to manage your program. At Cartus, we realize that success isn’t about any one aspect of relocation – it’s about all of them. Visit us at www.cartus.com/havedonewilldo and see how our personalised service and flexible solutions can work for you. www.cartus.com | ©2017 Cartus Corporation. All rights reserved. Cartus and the Cartus logo are registered trademarks of Cartus Corporation.


ADVERTORIAL

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

Home away from home

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t doesn’t take long for staff members of Far East Hospitality to learn the names of their serviced apartment residents. From that moment forth, guests are greeted personally by name whenever they interact with the team. That unique, personal touch is just one of the ways that Far East Hospitality, which operates 10 serviced residences in Singapore and Malaysia, creates that perfect “home away from home” feel for its business travelling guests.

creating a hand-made greeting card (complete with the guest’s favourite cartoon character), this determination to go the extra mile is what stands Far East Hospitality apart from other accommodation providers. Further to this, staff have also accompanied guests on trips to local markets, and helped them to navigate themselves across their new, unfamiliar city. Whatever it is that a guest needs, the team at Far East Hospitality works to make things within their means happen.

Offering personalised service

Making friends along the way

It’s not just their guest’s names that Far East Hospitality staff members learn. They also make it second nature to understand the individual habits and preferences of each of their residents. This allows them to surprise guests with genuine and personalised service at every opportunity. Whether it is something as simple as arranging a wake-up call, or

The most endearing part of

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this focus on each guest as an individual is the genuine friendships cultivated as a result. Some staff members have even visited guests in hospital, after they have fallen ill during their stay. They go out of their way to organise a personalised getwell care-pack when the guest returns to the serviced residence to recuperate, and will continue to check in on them throughout their recovery.

All the comforts of home But sometimes it is the simple things that help to build that “home away from home” that business

THE MOST ENDEARING PART OF THIS FOCUS ON EACH GUEST AS AN INDIVIDUAL IS THE GENUINE FRIENDSHIPS CULTIVATED AS A RESULT. SOME STAFF MEMBERS HAVE EVEN VISITED GUESTS IN HOSPITAL, AFTER THEY HAVE FALLEN ILL DURING THEIR STAY

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travellers so often yearn for. A comfortable sofa to relax on and unwind after a draining day of meetings; a 55-inch smart cable TV to catch up on a favourite drama or sports action; and seamless connectivity through high-speed internet access: these all help to make a great Far East Hospitality stay even better. Outside of each apartment, guests can also cool down in the swimming pool, or work up a sweat in the exclusive gymnasium available on each Far East Hospitality property. Or they can meet up with friends and colleagues on the decks and function areas. Every option is designed to make guests feel at home, even if “home” is actually far, far away.

To experience home-grown, world class hospitality at Far East Hospitality’s collection of serviced residences, visit www.StayFarEast.com/servicedresidences


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F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

PAVING THE WAY As the Hilton hospitality group expands its footprint across the region, several cultural and structural challenges have become apparent in some of the emerging markets. But as its AsiaPacific vice president of HR BRENDAN TOOMEY, explains, “great rewards, great careers, and great environment” are keys to overcoming those obstacles B Y K E LV I N O N G

EVELYN WOO Senior Director, Recruitment, Asia-Pacific

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LEONARD LEE Senior Director, Leadership and Talent Development, Asia-Pacific

ARIEL TOH Executive, HR, South East Asia and India


SABU RAGHAVAN Senior Director, HR, Southeast Asia and India

MAGGIE SAW Senior Manager, HR, Asia-Pacific

BRENDAN TOOMEY Vice President, HR, Asia-Pacific

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HR INSIDER

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hen US hospitality chain Hilton opened its first two properties in Myanmar – one in the capital city Nay Pyi Taw in October 2014, and the other in Ngapali three months later – it faced a multitude of challenges developing a reliable and consistent talent pipeline. The Hilton brand might be one of the world’s most recognisable names in hospitality, but that counted for little among service professionals in emerging Myanmar. The usual hire, train, and place method of filling roles was not suitable for such a greenfield market entry. A big reason for this was because many locals had never been exposed to the hospitality trade, says Brendan Toomey, the group’s vice president of HR in Asia-Pacific. So those required skills simply did not exist. Furthermore, the hotel industry had a stigma attached to it, particularly among the older generation – as was the case in Sri Lanka and India, where Hilton operates many properties. “In these countries, parents of young women are not so keen for them to work in our business,” Toomey says. That has a significant impact on the available talent. In Sri Lanka for instance, women make up only 10% of the Hilton workforce.

Developing a local talent pool “One thing we realised very quickly up there in the north (of Myanmar), was there were no trained hospitality workers,” Toomey says. This meant the HR team had no choice but to build up its own talent pool from scratch. “We had to figure out a way to develop the future workforce for the country,” he says. So in late-2015, Hilton launched the Hilton Vocational Training Centre at its Nay Pyi Taw property, with the blessings of the Myanmar government. The school offers a 24-month training programme in food and beverage operations, housekeeping, and front-office duties. Upon successful completion of the programme, graduates receive a Diploma certified by the local Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. The first batch of 26 trainees are expected to graduate in September this year, and Toomey says they will be appointed as ambassadors across Hilton’s upcoming properties in Bagan and Mandalay. “When they first started, none of them could speak a word of English. Today they

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AT A GLANCE

61,000 Number of employees (Asia-Pacific)

Key HR Focus Areas

Recruitment Leadership development Learning and development Corporate social responsibility

1,550 Size of HR Team (Asia-Pacific)

all speak fluent English and have regular jobs with regular income,” he shares. “These people came from nothing. Their stories are just heartwarming.”

Local strategies China is another country where recruitment has been an enormous struggle for Hilton, Toomey reveals. “We’re essentially taking people from the countryside in many of the environments we are setting up; and many of them have never even set foot in a hotel previously,” he says. To overcome these cultural and structural challenges, HR has had to tailor its programmes and initiatives. For example, it has invested significantly in translating its various learning programmes and global employee surveys into multiple languages. “We are absolutely making sure that in each different market, we are offering relevant staff programmes,” says Toomey. In China, Hilton has also entered partnerships with some 18 schools and universities in a bid to attract and develop budding hospitality talent. Classes conducted by Hilton are held regularly at these schools to develop students who are interested in careers with the organisation. This way, when students join one of its hotels, they already understand the company’s culture, its operations, and their potential career roadmap. Toomey says such localised strategies are key to solving the brand’s talent shortages, especially because the hospitality industry is notorious for its low starting salaries. “We’re not always the first business people want to join because we are unfortunately known for low pay,” he confesses. “But what people don’t realise is once they get past the first level, the pay scales become much more competitive.”

Boosting the EVP Toomey admits that managing some 61,000 employees across 185 Hiltonbranded properties in 21 countries regionally has not been an easy task.


While he acknowledges the company is unable to compete with other industries in terms of initial compensation, it can attract entry-level talent by providing other wellmarketed benefits. The HR team has boosted the hotel’s employee value proposition (EVP) through well-defined and well-structured opportunities that Toomey summarises as “great rewards, great careers and great environment”. One focus area involves ensuring all new employees receive a memorable welcome from the moment they come through its doors. Toomey says Hilton has launched a massive ongoing global project aimed at building the best onboarding experience for team members. “We ask ourselves: ‘What does that experience look like and feel like for team members? Is there Wi-Fi for them once they come in? Is there music playing? What are their uniforms like? What are their meals like in the dining room? What do the locker rooms look like?’.” He cites wardrobe to be a key element when it comes to developing the “environment” side of the equation. Far from a secondary though, Hilton is in fact partnering with sporting apparel company Under Armour to create new uniforms made out of cooler, more breathable materials. In certain roles that require heavy manual lifting, such as banquet operations and even housekeeping, the existing uniforms are not light enough. Staff often have to work for hours through their discomfort. Leadership is another key aspect of the employee experience, with Hilton believing a highly-engaged workforce is the result of great leadership. HR has even introduced a leadership index to measure the effectiveness of the hotel chain’s business leaders. “It’s about giving all our team members a great boss. Great bosses will mentor them, coach them, and give them opportunities to grow and develop,” Toomey states. “Most people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. That’s said time and time again, and it’s still so true.”

“It’s about giving all our team members a great boss. Great bosses will mentor them, coach them, and give them opportunities to grow and develop. Most people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. That’s said time and time again, and it’s still so true.” – BRENDAN TOOMEY, VICE PRESIDENT, HR, ASIA-PACIFIC J U LY 2 0 1 7

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HR INSIDER

CHANGING 1 MILLION LIVES AT THE WORLD Economic Forum’s annual meeting in 2014, Hilton Worldwide announced a global commitment to impact the lives of at least 1 million young people by 2019, all through helping them to reach their full potential. Since then, the initiative has opened doors for hundreds of thousands of young people by preparing them for careers in the hospitality industry through mentorships and apprenticeships with Hilton leaders. Brendan Toomey, vice president of HR at Hilton Asia-Pacific, says the hospitality group hopes to reach out to thousands of unemployed youth, particularly in emerging markets such as China and India. Research shows that many young people today face a grim socioeconomic reality, with more than 71 million worldwide unemployed and nearly

290 million – more than a quarter of our planet’s young people – neither working nor studying. Simply creating more jobs will not be enough to address the issue if young people are not equipped with the range of skills needed to succeed in today’s complex marketplace, Toomey says. “There is a high unemployment level of youths around the world, and we want to help bring that down,” says Toomey. In developing Asian countries, where the hospitality industry tends

Elevate, engage, excel This focus on effective leadership is why the Hilton talent management team places such strong emphasis on its leadership development programmes. It also ensures employees across all levels are given a fair opportunity to further their careers. Similarly, a progressive career development framework forms a major piece of the overall jigsaw, says Toomey. Besides championing employees, it fulfills the company’s succession planning objectives. “It is about making sure our programmes help to create opportunities for team members at different career stages to grow with us,” he says. In light of this, the company has

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to be viewed negatively, such youth-centred programmes are also opportunities for Hilton to open up its doors for people to have a look inside, understand the hotel business, and hopefully change their mindsets. “When we run our youth programmes, we are inviting parents to come with their children to see what goes on behind the scenes and what are the different types of jobs we offer – whether it is in finance, HR, or digital marketing.”

divided leadership development into three stages: “elevate”, “engage” and “excel”. The elevate level is dedicated to mapping out careers for young, entrylevel supervisors and managers. This level is made up of mostly millennials, who Toomey says seek dynamic jobs and portfolios that allow them to work on different things from time to time. This generation also wants to be engaged with meaningful projects, whether it is community or work-based. And most importantly, they need to know what their next job opportunities with the company are going to be. Otherwise, Toomey says, they might

“join the hotel down the road that is willing to offer them more pay”. “So it’s really about making sure they are aware of their career paths, and that everyone at this level has access to some form of learning and development.” This could be a management trainee programme lasting between 12 and 18 months, or something from the Myanmar Vocational Training Centre. The “engage” portion sees HR focusing on identifying high-potential mid-level managers, and developing these individuals into future senior business leaders. High-potentials at this level are further split into two groups under what is called the Shine programme: Shine 1 and Shine 2. Shine 1 is dedicated to developing director-level positions under the various general managers, while Shine 2 will groom the next generation of general management. “Excel”, the highest stage, is aimed at ensuring senior business leaders at the very top of the hierarchy are equipped with the skills needed to stay relevant. Examples of programmes at this tier are the Vice President Excellence Leadership Development Programme, and the Women in Leadership Excellence Programme. The latter sees the company sending many of its best female leaders in Asia to the US for a week of intensive learning. Toomey says all three components have been very critical to Hilton’s success globally, where there has been a high level of promotion from within the company. As a result, attrition rates in Asia-Pacific have also fallen. He believes these initiatives have also contributed to Hilton being named the third best multinational to work for in Asia by the Great Place to Work Institute. “It hits all the touch points for hotels and the corporate side as well. That’s where we have spent most of our energy in the last three years – just getting those programmes tailored specifically for the different needs and groups,” he explains. kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg


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H I G H I M PAC T H R

A STRONG

VISION JAPANESE OPTICAL BRAND OWNDAYS’ GROUP CEO SHUJI TANAKA BELIEVES THE BEST LEADERS ARE SOMETIMES REQUIRED TO MAKE BOTH POPULAR AND UNPOPULAR DECISIONS B Y K E LV I N O N G

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apanese eyewear brand Owndays’ Group CEO Shuji Tanaka believes in leading with an iron fist, even if it means ruffling the feathers of some employees. And this was exactly what happened back in 2008, when Tanaka first acquired a 52% stake in the then-flagging business that he says was on the verge of bankruptcy. Taking over as Group CEO that same year, he recognised the urgent need to clean out the entire organisation, and replace all of its existing systems and processes. He immediately began introducing a series of corporate reforms, where every function, including HR, was overhauled.

Enforcing elections But despite his penchant for autocracy, he was also well aware of his own blind spots, and understood the importance of letting others have a voice in company matters. He says it all comes down to timing. This realisation was also what informed one of Tanaka’s earliest HR initiatives. In 2010, Tanaka introduced annual store manager elections across all of Owndays’ outlets in Japan. The elections are open to all interested full-time retail staff. Shortlisted employees then run their own campaigns and fight for votes from their co-workers to be elected as store managers. This year, a group of around 30 finalists pleaded their cases to the staff they will eventually have to manage if the votes fall their way. Besides Japan, the elections also take place in Owndays’ stores across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan every year in March. In Singapore, election victors are announced in March each year during the Owndays Summit, the company’s version of a dinner and dance party. Tanaka says the initiative was introduced after internal complaints

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about his choices for store managers. He decided the best way forward was to empower store employees with a democratic selection process. When the elections were first launched, there was a lot of resistance from both senior management and the retail division.

Tanaka recalls many directors told him the practice would be counter-effective. “But I did it anyway because it’s not about their satisfaction or what they like. It’s more about them understanding and accepting this culture,” he says today. The key, he adds, is not to implement one big change overnight, but gradually introduce one small change every day. That way, there is less stress when the real transformation happens because staff are already wellexposed to it.

No prisoners

“TO LISTEN TO EVERYONE’S OPINION HARMS YOU MORE THAN IT HELPS. ALL EMPLOYEES WANT TO HAVE A STRONG LEADER TO LEAD THEM” – SHUJI TANAKA, OWNDAYS GROUP CEO

Tanaka acknowledges there is some irony here. He admits he took a no-prisoners approach to the company’s path to democracy. He was not concerned about the potential backlash regarding the elections because he says he knew that “eventually everyone will fall in place and embrace the concept.” It appears that he was right. Elections are now very much a part of the Owndays culture, shares Owndays Singapore director Massa Mizoguchi, adding that this is now also true for the corporate departments. Mizoguchi says the election culture is now so deeply ingrained across the organisation that if the boss appoints a new position, staff would feel “very weird” about it. Store managers, once voted in, hold the post for a year. Even this duration was carefully calculated, says Tanaka. He compares the scenario to that of a professional sports player who has signed a three-year contract. “By the second and third years of their contract, they will start to get lazy. If it’s only for a year, they will remain more aggressive because they will work hard to be appointed into the same role again,” says Tanaka.


From opticians to managers Two Singapore employees whose careers have progressed as a result of the store manager elections are west area manager Trevor Hwong, and store manager Lie Lyvern. Both Hwong and Lie joined Owndays Singapore as store opticians in 2014, before taking part in the store manager elections in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Lie, who was successful in her first attempt at the elections last year, repeated the feat again this year. “Being a manager at Owndays, I have had the opportunity to develop my management skills and I believe this will bring me to greater heights,” says Lie. “This was why I joined Owndays, as I wanted to acquire more skills and develop my career in a growing company.” Hwong was able to go one step further. He participated in a separate area manager election that takes place every September, and emerged with the highest number of votes for his district. He is thankful to the company’s open election system, which he says gives “everyone a chance to move forward as long as they raise their hands”. Hwong, whose goal as Owndays

Singapore’s west area manager is “to create a better working environment for my colleagues... and keep operations running smoothly”, was put to the test in April this year, when two store employees were physically assaulted by a belligerent passerby. The incident, which made headlines in Singapore, took place at around 10:00pm on a Monday night. At that time, Hwong was reportedly at dinner with friends when he received a phone call from one of the assaulted staff members. Without hesitation, he rushed down to the shop and got on top of the situation. The two store staff were also given a few days off to recover from the incident. Hwong said that both staff stayed calm throughout the trying incident, which was a testament of the company’s emphasis on service training and standards.

A religious experience Indeed, at Owndays, every new hire will receive a “must-read” 71-page guidebook, titled Owndays by Owndays. Employees learn about the company’s brand philosophy, purpose, history, working culture ,and the Owndays service standard. Tanaka refers to the handbook as a “bible” for all Owndays staff. “This is why I sometimes liken the company to a religion, because I don’t localise my strategies,” says Tanaka. Whether one agrees with Tanaka’s unusual approach or not, his methods have certainly paid off. Less than ten years after the

Owndays rebrand, the company has increased its revenue eight fold, from S$24million in 2008 to S$160million last year. The company’s attrition rates have also fallen below 3% per annum, a long way from the massive 30% turnover when Tanaka first took over. The full transformation also steadied the company’s performance, allowing it to venture out of Japan for the first time in 2013. Since then, it has established and grown its presence across ten countries, with 187 stores altogether. In Singapore alone, the brand has 23 stores and counting. These days, Owndays is well-known for how it has applied the private label business model into the optical sector. Private labels are sub-brands offered under an existing and bigger brand. In Owndays’ case, some of its key brandlines today include the AIR UItem lightweight range and the classic 1930s-inspired John Dillinger collection. Tanaka says this is just the beginning, as there are bigger plans ahead. Owndays plans to enter India, Indonesia and even Russia. “I often joke that there’s a market for us even in the galaxy,” he says.

Firm leadership for success For all of the elections’ successes, Tanaka remains adamant that for a business to prosper, “democracy is not always ideal”. He believes his original tough stance on leading an organisation is still superior. “To listen to everyone’s opinion harms you more than it helps,” he says. “All employees want to have a strong leader to lead them.” He even compares Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. He says that unlike Kim, who was blindly autocratic, Lee was firm but also enlightened. He listened to the people around him, and knew when he had to lead, and when to pull back. Lee, indeed, has often been credited for the rapid transformation of Singapore into one of the world’s top economies. Tanaka says he greatly admires that form of steely leadership style, an approach he hopes he has emulated well at Owndays. “This is my management philosophy” he says. “If I think a plan will be good for employees and the business, then I will action it. The key is to execute.” kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg J U LY 2 0 1 7

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Talent Management in the Digital Age With businesses under pressure to embrace digitalisation, HR needs to also do its part and take on technological advancements. GARY LEE, Chief HR Specialist of pump solutions firm Grundfos, explains how HR can effectively implement digital solutions, especially in the talent management landscape

A

s more organisations jump on the digital bandwagon, the HR community is no exception to the rule. Technology has already permeated many parts of HR, including from the talent acquisition function to talent development. Some HR teams have adopted simpler solutions, like automated payroll or learning management systems (LMS), while others have utilised more resource-intensive HR solutions such as enterprise resource planning systems which handle end-to-end HR processes. With more HR technology vendors present in the market today, it is easy for HR professionals to be dazzled and to sometimes even end up worse off than before the implementation. It can also frustrate business users, which in turn tarnishes HR’s reputation as an organisation-enabler. When you ask HR leaders to define talent management, you are likely to get a wide range of answers. To simplify, talent management here is defined as a combination of talent acquisition, retention and development.

Think business, not HR What HR believes is important for the business may not be what the business really needs. As the business goes digital, is it the right time for HR to implement technological solutions as well? Even if the HR technology solution is relevant to the organisation, how will end users respond to the new changes? The usefulness and timing of the implementation is crucial to ensure better buy-in from all business units. Here’s an example to illustrate this point. A LMS vendor promises to increase employee competencies through hours of online learning, with effectiveness measured through surveys conducted before and after training, combined

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with the total number of training hours. If you ask a sales leader if this is good for their team, you are likely to get responses such as “Will the learning management system make my sales people more productive in sales?” or “As the time utilised for learning is an opportunity cost, how much time do my salespeople have to invest?” These measurements do not convince business leaders that investing in HR technology can increase productivity. Moreover, if salespeople have to simultaneously learn other online systems like customer relationship management systems or enterprise resource planning, you can guarantee there will be stiffer resistance to adopting the LMS and an increased probability of employee burnout. Partnering with business leaders can help create better buy in with the employees and increase the shared ownership and accountability of the proposed solution.

Instead of pushing it to the business as an HR initiative, let leaders adopt the HR technology as a business solution to solve their most pressing needs specifically.

Simple can be complex With increasing complexities in today’s workplace, the last thing the business needs is an additional layer from HR. This will only burden and further frustrate employees. Using a reputable HR provider might mean a better initial buy-in; however, that does not always mean it will bring relevant business value.


One of the organisations I worked with previously decided to implement a reputable HR system handling end-to-end HR processes. The transition was painful as the solution was so cumbersome and rigid that multiple stakeholders and leaders had to be involved in endless meetings. At times, everything would come to a standstill because the proposed solution could not fit needs and customisation would incur heavier costs. Worse still, there were some needs that the system could not fulfil, like how most

talent development activities could not be tracked through standardised administration. One key takeaway from this experience was that one size does not fit all, especially in talent management. Finding the simplest solution is not about finding a

method that solves everything; it’s about a combination of resources designed in the most optimal format to make things work. Understanding what the organisation and employees really need before searching for the right solution can save time,

Finding the simplest solution is not about finding a method that solves everything; it’s about a combination of resources designed in the most optimal format to make things work

resources and finances over the long haul. If your organisation is still on a learning journey, it may be better to start with a simpler solution and to build as you move along.

Focus on employee experience To prepare for the digital age, talent management also has to focus on creating the best employee experience. It is not simply about renaming the HR organisation or changing job titles; it’s about evolving the identity of how HR organisations contribute to the business.

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F E AT U R E

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

activities, it is crucial to see it from a business perspective as one process flow with key performance indicators. What “effectiveness” means to HR can mean something totally different to the business. For example, accurately tracking and reducing “timeto-fill” for vacant positions by reaching out to social networks and job portals is important to HR, but does it really impact the business positively? What if candidate A fills a position in one month but takes five months to get up to speed while candidate B fills the position in three months and takes only one month to gain full competence? Who would be the better candidate? From an HR perspective, candidate A would reduce “time to fill” while the business would prefer candidate B as the business downtime for B would be two months lesser than A.

I L LU S T R AT I O N B Y M U H A MA D A Z L I N

Understand, manage and improve the employee experience

Here are the roles HR can play to focus on employee experience:

Ensure your baseline people processes work well Imagine if you wanted to apply for leave on your organisation’s HR system only to find that you cannot access the system. Or that incorrect numbers are being reported on your payslip every month. This can lead to a frustrating employee experience which will render

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other new HR initiatives useless. Employee engagement does not matter to employees if their baseline HR process is not working well consistently. Therefore, HR has to ensure

that all administration of operational HR processes and record keeping is done well.

Build the talent system Instead of viewing talent management as silo-driven

About the Author

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GARY LEE is Chief HR Specialist, Global Talent Development, Group Organisational Development of pump solutions firm Grundfos. He has more than 12 years’ experience in talent development, leadership, and learning and organisational development.

Making your company a productive and great place to work is a key role HR plays in today’s digital age. This includes focusing on key HR trends like culture, engagement, design thinking, HR analytics, and organisational redesign. It requires building new and relevant end -to-end HR capabilities to create a holistic experience for all employees, so that they can operate in a transformational customer-centric, and collaborative way.


proudly owned by

HR TRANSFORMATION Building Business-Driven HR Competencies to Thrive on Disruption Digital Analytics Design Readiness

4.O 15-16 SINGAPORE AUGUST 2017

HR Transformation 4.0 Congress 2017, taking place on 15-16 August in Singapore, is a two-day event that will equip you with business-integrated HR strategies, taken into account your HR maturity stage and your employee techreadiness level, to not just survive but thrive during the time of change.

Featured Speakers

MICHAEL BOKINA

Vice President and Global Head, HR Organizational Effectiveness, Siemens

JEREMY BROOME

Managing Director, Head of Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Bank

NORBERT MODLA

Global Head of Human Resources, JF Hillebrand Group

ADRIAN OLE HR Director, Deloitte

RACHAEL POGSON

VP Global Talent Acquisition & HR Central, Seagate Technology

KAMALI RAJESH

Head of Human Resources APAC, Syngenta Asia Pacific

By staying future ready with the disruptive changes, this event will help you achieve; • Victory through organisation: Cultivating business-driven HR strategies • HR business acumen and agility to nimbly curate organisational transition • Digital competencies to create high-impact digital transformation program • HR Design Thinking to build better personalised HR strategies • HR technology-savvy: SMAC – Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud • Building innovation competencies with limited resources

SUPPORTING SPONSOR

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


CONGRESS INSIGHTS

2.0 I

Performance Management Workforces are changing rapidly, and an on-the-pulse HR team knows that that means performance management systems also have to evolve. SYLVIA KOH, Chief People Officer for CrimsonLogic, shares her organisation’s journey ahead of the Performance Management Innovation Congress in September

s there such a thing as a perfect, one-size-fitsall performance management solution for every employer?

No, there really isn’t. A good performance management system should take a range of factors into account, including the size and business of the company, the types of roles in the workforce, and the risk profile of the organisation. It should evolve as the organisation evolves as well. It will always be prudent to adopt a more developmentcentric approach to managing performance.

With that in mind, can you describe the performance management system currently in place at CrimsonLogic? Our system provides for evaluation of performance on an annual basis, with a mid-year checkpoint that is more focused on development and to further refine goals for the way forward. We set our goals at the start of the financial year, and keep the system open to enable stakeholders to make a timely update in case of changes, especially in projects assigned. All permanent employees are covered (there are over 800 at the moment). There are ratings (out of five) attached to each employee, but managers do not need to fit people into a given curve. The ratings are tied to recognition and variable compensation, with higherranked performance attracting larger individual bonuses.

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Is this the ideal solution moving forward? No. In fact, we are going through a transition with our system at the moment. This is not because we are following a trend, but comes after having considered all the issues – including staff development, recognition platforms, and succession planning, very carefully.

Tailoring a performance solution DRASTIC CHANGES IN the demographics of the workforce, including the rise of the instantgratification-demanding millennial generation, are having a massive impact on performance

management strategies in Asia-Pacific and beyond. HRM Asia’s Performance Management Innovation Congress 2017, on September 5 and 6, will showcase how a wide range of different

Where is this transition leading CrimsonLogic? We are looking to see how we can transition into a non-rating system in the 2019 financial year, when our people have adapted to a feedback system which we’ve been institutionalising for two years now. Qualitative peer reviews are now part of our process, as is manager review feedback from team members, but we want to make these the backbone of performance management moving forward. In the perfected version, this feedback will be more timely and more regular. Managers will be meeting one-on-one with each of their direct reports at least once a month. As well as performance, these conversations will kick-start a consistent development dialogue, through which training needs and gaps can be identified and suitable opportunities arranged. Coaching will also be a major focus – and all managers will be expected to be a coach to their staff. They will have had coaching capabilities developed through their own feedback sessions with their supervisors.

Have you encountered any challenges or roadblocks in this transition? Factoring recognition and rewards into the system is taking a lot of work. We have hired a compensation and benefits

consultant to help us iron out the details so that the programme is appropriately incentivised while still having economic value. We will most likely move toward a pool system for bonuses and variable pay components. In this, managers would be responsible for allocating portions to each employee based on their performance over the year. This is much easier to do with hard ratings for each employee, but is still possible and worthwhile when performance management is more qualitative in nature.

“Qualitative peer reviews are now part of our process, as is manager review feedback from team members.”

organisations have dealt with this specific conundrum, Along with CrimsonLogic’s Sylvia Koh, HR leaders from UTAC, Thorne Group, SAP, and more will outline the new reality for performance management in this region, and provide a range of practical strategies that teams can implement in their own organisations.

You will be presenting at the Performance Management Innovation Congress in September. What will audiences take away from the CrimsonLogic case study? Performance management is such a complex and fast-changing world. I’ll be sharing how the HR team carefully considered the priorities for the system, identified where change was necessary, and the steps that went into executing the current transition. I’ll also discuss the comprehensive communication strategy that has been involved, keeping all ranks of staff informed of how the transition is progressing.

– SYLVIA KOH , CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, CRIMSONLOGIC

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UPCOMING EVENTS

CALENDAR Third quarter of 2017

15-16 AUG HR TRANSFORMATION 4.0

The pace of change in the business world is accelerating, and HR needs to evolve itself in order to keep up. HR Transformation 4.0 focuses on the ways HR can transform itself during times of disruption.

05-06 SEP

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT INNOVATION CONGRESS An increasing number of businesses are radically changing the way they measure, evaluate, and recognise employee performance. Join us to find out why, how, and with what results.

12-13 SEP

ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN CONGRESS

Changes in the competitive landscape can substantially impact a company’s strategy and operations. This is where innovative organisational development strategies can propel resourceful businesses forward. The Organisational Development Innovation Congress will highlight how HR can fully leverage technology and analytics in their capacity-building initiatives, identify key stakeholders for successful HR transformation, and unwrap the complex relationships between recognition, employee engagement, and high performance.

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19-22 SEP

SMART WORKFORCE SUMMIT Back again in 2017, Smart Workforce Summit takes a holistic view of the technology and disruption-led changes affecting businesses and workforces today and into the future. With “the father of modern HR” Dave Ulrich as the keynote presenter and workshop leader, this event will provide a vital blueprint for HR to navigate this new world of work.

26-27SEP THIRD ANNUAL HR & WORKFORCE ANALYTICS CONGRESS

Building and understanding data is an essential tool in every business function today. The HR & Workforce Analytics Congress showcases the vast pool of workforce data that HR now has access to, and will guide delegates on how best to analyse, interpret, and take full advantage of changing demographics.


HR CLINIC 54 READER ADVICE 56 EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS 58

MY HR CAREER

“Your mentor is a person you can trust and someone who knows what is best for you. They will inspire you, support you, and they won’t give up until you’ve reached your full potential”

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GIL PETERSIL,

Serial entrepreneur, business coach, and strategic networking expert

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READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

MY HR CAREER

MENTORING:The next step to advance your HR career It doesn’t matter what stage you are at in your professional HR career, an effective mentoring relationship will always be of benefit. Communication and strategic networking expert GIL PETERSIL says the best examples of mentorship have value for both parties

P

eople are at the core of working in HR. You listen to people, manage them, and address their needs. In some cases, you are at the forefront of dealing with varying temperaments and personalities. Regardless of your role, whether managerial or not, you need someone to guide you in your complex HR job. You need someone with experience and expertise in HR to mentor you. Why? Because this will help you navigate through people issues easily and professionally. Employee management requires not only people skills but also a good

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83% Percentage of professionals who would like to participate in a mentoring programme in their company

foresight of situations that only experienced mentors can provide.

Why mentoring? Everyone needs a mentor no matter what level you are in your career ladder. You may be a fresh graduate, a top manager, or the CEO – you still need someone who will teach and advise you. Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs as a mentor during the early stages of Facebook’s development. Visionary Jobs was himself guided and mentored by Mike Markkula, one of Apple’s first investors and top managers. Although Sergey Brin and Larry Page formally hired Eric Schmidt, he also became a mentor and advisor to them. Do you think these guys are less confident than you? No, but just like you, they also needed help. A mentor is necessary for anyone who wants to do more, and to be more.


Why? Because the learning never stops, and therefore the teaching should never cease.

Why do you need a mentor? Having a mentor will show you the best way to accomplish your goal. They will tell you if you’re about to commit a mistake, because most likely your mentor has made them in the past. Not only that, they have learned from them too. Their experience will prevent you from making the same mistakes. A mentor can also help you use your resources wisely, especially your time. Choose a mentor who has already walked the path you’re in: someone preferably in the HR profession, or a manager that has handled a good number of employees. A good mentor will teach you. One of Yoda’s famous lines in Episode I: The Phantom Menace was, “Always pass on what you have learned.” This is exactly what a mentor does. He passes on nuggets of wisdom to you. But that’s not the only thing a mentor does. He will also criticise you. Hence, you have to be ready for constructive feedback. Keep in mind that your mentor is a person you can trust and someone who knows what is best for you. He inspires you, supports you, and doesn’t give up until you’ve reached your full potential. Your mentor meets you at your level but pushes you to go to the next. Your mentor will also share their contacts with you to help expand your network. They will make recommendations and put in a good word for you. Take advantage of these HR connections to get into your mentor’s community, since most likely you have been waiting to be part of this circle for the longest time. Here’s an interesting stat from Forbes that should motivate you: employees who have mentors are five times more likely to be promoted than those who do not, while mentors themselves get promoted six times more often than those who are not mentors. According to global employment consultancy Robert Walters, 83% of professionals would like to participate in a mentoring programme in their company but only 29% of them actually have that opportunity. If that’s the case with you, my advice is for you to wait until your talent is recognised by your company. Meanwhile, find a mentor yourself. Continue to equip yourself and perform well. On top of all this, here are three

things you need to remember when finding a mentor: Show that you’re worth mentoring Mentors don’t pick a mediocre person as an apprentice. You have to show through your performance and character that you are worthy of their time and effort. I had always wanted to be mentored by Tony Robbins. I worked on impressing him by bringing 1,200 Russian business leaders to one of his workshops. What I did caught his attention because it was his biggest delegation. After the workshop, Tony sent word that he wanted to meet me, and he eventually became my mentor. Choose a mentor that is a few ranks higher than you Don’t ask HR bigwigs like Kris Dunn or William Tincup to mentor you. Why? Because first, they won’t have time for you. Second, because you most likely have very little to offer in return. Mentoring relationships should be mutually beneficial. While paid mentoring is an option, I believe it defeats the purpose of this kind of relationship, primarily because at the core of being a mentor is getting that sense of satisfaction that you are helping someone. If you are getting paid to help then you are simply a service provider, and not a true mentor. So as much as it is enticing to pay for a mentor, it would be better if you find one for free. Choose someone who’s a few levels higher than you. If you earn $10,000 a month, pick someone who earns $30,000 a month. If you are mentored by someone with a $1-million income, chances are you don’t have much in common. You will be given situations that are almost impossible to overcome. A mentor whose rank is almost attainable from where you are will give you more practical and realistic goals for your career. You can be a mentor too Yes, you read it right. Everyone can be a mentor. Even if you are 25 years old, you can mentor a student who is about to graduate. You have valuable experiences you can share with someone. Being a mentor is also

the best way to find a mentor for yourself. It allows you to understand what you need in a mentor as you discover what you want out of this relationship. In the process, you will also realise what will be expected of you as you expect the same with your apprentice. Mentoring will let you discover how you want to make this relationship beneficial for both parties.

MENTORS ARE EVERYWHERE. THEY CAN BE FOUND WITHIN YOUR CIRCLE, OR THEY CAN EVEN BE FOUND ONLINE. THE FIRST THING YOU NEED TO DO IS REACH OUT

How do you find a mentor?

Mentors are everywhere. They can be found within your circle, or they can even be found online. The first thing you need to do is reach out. Write to them or call them. Let your potential mentor know what you want to achieve and ask if he can help you. Mention the expertise and experience that your mentor can give and how you think it helps you reach your goals. More importantly, show him how you can be of help to him. At the end of the day, mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship. Be the apprentice you want to mentor before looking for one. Aspire to be a mentor yourself. Choose a mentor you can relate to. Have a passion for learning and growing. All of these things can help you advance your HR career with a great mentor backing you up along the way.

About the author Gil Petersil is a communication and strategic networking expert with over 20 years of business experience as a serial entrepreneur and a business coach for more than 200 companies spanning across diverse industries. He has lived, studied, and worked in Israel, Canada, the UK, and Russia, using his broad knowledge in effective communication, customer engagement, marketing mindsets and business experience to enable people and organisations to flourish. Connect with him at www.gilpetersil.com J U LY 2 0 1 7

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READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

MY HR CAREER

Rethinking training needs through strategic analysis LAURENCE YAP Head of HR Dexon Electrical Engineering

BEING INVOLVED IN training management across many large corporations for the last 20 years, I have discovered that training needs analysis matter most to CEOs and business leaders. Many HR, organisational development, and training managers have failed to stay relevant to their business’ rapidly changing needs. As a result, they are being sidelined in the major decision-making processes. In the past, I focused only on employee competencies, where I looked into their training needs based on face-to-face interviews, emails, and performance

appraisals. But this can only address employee needs and not the learning needs of the various departments and the company. In the new model, I focus on delivering the training needed to help the company achieve wider business goals. For example, at my former workplace Carsem, a semiconductor company, I focused my efforts on lean manufacturing to drive productivity up and costs down. To do that, our strategic training needs analysis was mainly focused on lean manufacturing and team development. Such business-related training programmes were also high on the business leaders’ priorities. The training attendance was close to 99%, and project completion was 100%. I broke down this new Strategic Training Needs Analysis model of training needs analysis into four areas. These are:

employee competencies (Level One); department goals (Level Two); compliance requirements (Level Three); and corporate strategy (Level Four). Level Four is the highest, and studies the business strategies of a company. It attempts to figure out what will be the best training and organisational development solutions for each of the given problems. Before discussing your findings with the board of directors, it is crucial for you to have an initial chat with the decision makers or CEO about your observations. If the change is massive, like what I did for Carsem, you need the CEO or Chief Operating Officer to drive the initiative to make it successful.

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

The art and science of employee engagement MAANSI GAGROO JAIN

HR Regional Director, Wipro Unza and LD Waxsons group of Companies

THE FIRST FEW months of the year have brought in some interesting perspectives on employee engagement and retention. Employee experience is clearly the central theme for the coming years and all HR leaders will need to step up to redesign the tools which drive people agenda in their organisations. With this new expectation, HR leaders now need to prioritise more than ever before to provide an integrated experience to employees and to think of employee experience more holistically than just

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engagement and retention tools. At Wipro Consumer Care International, we have started to go beyond the traditional ways of looking at employee engagement. With a growing base of over 10,000 multi-racial and multi-generational employees, we are redesigning our talent engagement and development leveraging technology like mobile apps, for a lot of employee touch points. Our attempt is to provide our workforce with a seamless framework across various facets of their professional lives. Wipro Consumer Care international has acquired diverse businesses via inorganic growth. Each of these businesses have their own processes and own unique culture which we retain to ensure minimal disruption for employees. This makes employee engagement that

much more complex, interesting and challenging. While we are embarking on new and innovative ways of deepening engagement, we continue to provide the traditional and fundamental interventions for our diverse workforce. Some popular programmes include a range of fitness programmes, bio-diversity parks in our manufacturing plants, marathon training and runs, and workshops for mature employees to learn financial planning. Employee engagement is advocated by all leaders and not just limited to HR practitioners. At Wipro Consumer Care, leaders across functions have started to look deeper and beyond to ensure the employees are getting the holistic experience they seek.


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

Bryden Toh Vice President of HR BreadTalk Group

W

ho is Bryden Toh and what defines him?

I am a strong believer in the value of strategic HR. I also believe that flexibility and adaptability are keys to ensuring we remain relevant in the ever-changing world.

What would you be doing if you were not in HR? I would have a career in marketing.

Why marketing? Because of my outgoing nature. What interests me most about marketing is the viral nature of things.

How did you get your start in HR then? I am a marketing graduate. But I got into HR because I love talking to people, and HR shares a lot of similarities with marketing in that we are selling our strategies and plans to the business.

What is the best part of your job? I get to see the differences in cultures across the six countries I oversee today.

And the worst part? The travelling!

WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

I would say seeing my team members spread their wings and fly, even if it is always a bittersweet moment. A simple “thank you for your guidance” warms my heart, and further affirms my decision to nurture my juniors

Why is that? Most people love travelling. Well, at the beginning, travelling was a great opportunity and motivator. But after getting into a regional role, I’m not as motivated by it anymore. But I do understand the excitement of going overseas for younger staff as I was once in their shoes.

How do you unwind after work? I’m a gym-goer – I love to exercise. I am also quite the movie -buff.

What’s one thing you can’t live without? Definitely my family. Family is one thing that drives me and keeps me going. Life is not just about my career and job.

What do you hope your future will hold? I would say that I wish to see the development of my company and my own HR staff. That would give me lots of job satisfaction. J U LY 2 0 1 7

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

Health = Wealth

introduced wellbeing leave days. These leave days are not recorded, and employees can take time off to spend time with their family or simply relax. This helps HRM Asia’s Employee Health and Wellness Congress was ensure a healthy mental state over the held in Singapore on May 24 and 25 long run. ONE RECURRING THEME at the recent “We very much focus our resources on At technology company Seagate HRM Asia Health and Wellness Congress ensuring employees know where to get International, executive director of was the growing emphasis on employees’ support,” she says. compensation and emotional and mental health. “In Asia, what we are benefits Molly Ang Speakers from global organisations seeing is people tend to shared that as a computer like Honeywell, Deutsche Bank, Seagate, see emotional wellness hardware manufacturer, Grundfos and SAP all agreed that while and help as taboo. So wellbeing policies were physical wellness would always remain a what we try to do is see not as progressive as key HR priority, the increasingly stressful where we can help them those of other industries. workplace of today meant the focus had and provide support.” Still, Seagate started now shifted to psychological wellbeing. One of the ways its wellness programme During the panel discussion, Deutsche Bank is six years ago, and it has Eudora Choo, Vice President for Benefits doing this is through a grown substantially over – EUDORA CHOO, Governance at Deutsche Bank, said her regular mental health the years to now include VICE PRESIDENT, BENEFITS organisation’s benefits policies were questionnaire in which more than physical health. GOVERNANCE, DEUTSCHE BANK guided by three key pillars: financial, employees are assessed “People should physical, and emotional wellness. based on psychometric exercise and do physical Choo says that high stress levels and indicators. This way, Choo says the activities of course. But we need to inadequate sleep were the two health company can help employees get to the progress to financial and mental peace. issues most frequently seen at the German root of their problems. You need to help employees improve their bank’s Asian offices. Beyond that, the bank has also emotional health,” says Ang

“WE VERY MUCH FOCUS OUR RESOURCES ON ENSURING EMPLOYEES KNOW WHERE TO GET SUPPORT.”

At The Scene with... Can you describe your role at Singapore Prison Service? I’m from the staff wellbeing branch, which is part of the staff development division, equivalent to the HR division in most private companies. My appointment is about policy and research, and I have to come up with wellness programmes for staff, and look into improving the benefits of our various departments.

MOHAMMAD ISMAEL

Officer-in-charge (Policy & Research) Staff Wellbeing branch, Singapore Prison Service

What brought you to the Health and Wellness Congress today? My colleague in charge of training recommended that I come here. I decided to take a look at the outline myself and thought the sessions seemed really good.

How did the content relate to your work? Personally, the sessions have definitely been applicable. I’m definitely in the right place because my area of work is in wellness, rather than just HR in general. The congress highlighted and went

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in depth on key topic areas of particular interest to me.

What was the biggest takeaway for you? Definitely the session by Gary Lee from Grundfos. He was very down-to-earth, relatable, and his presentation was very applicable and similar to what my organisation is doing. In anything we roll out, it’s very important that we engage the ground, which is something he emphasised repeatedly. It’s not just a policy thing where we roll out, publicise and not follow up on it. When we implement something, we have to follow up with staff, get their feedback, and hear from them on whether it has been beneficial for them.


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

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

Q

I WAS RECENTLY promoted to a senior HR management role and now have a former same-level colleague and friend reporting to me. I can feel he is upset about the changed circumstances, although I don’t think he will do anything to deliberately undermine me. I do worry that his engagement and focus are going to drop, and he may resent both me and the company. Have you encountered anything like this in your career, and is there anything I can do to help this friend accept the new hierarchy and thrive again? Asking for a friend, Singapore

A

This is always a difficult situation, and yes I have been in exactly this position. I have two key learnings to share. One is: No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, and no matter how sincere you are, that person’s true character will define whether you can continue to work together or not. In my situation, the incumbent whom I was hired over did indeed systematically sabotage me, and I had no choice but to remove him. However, his replacement, who was also my equal in position (and also more senior in years) was a delight to work with. He realised that we both had different strengths and that we could learn from each other. There was no way I could be successful without his support; and equally I could help him to achieve his future career goals. I’d ask you to think: what can you do to help your colleague be really successful, to grow and develop as a leader and to be the next person promoted. And how can you help them understand that you’re completely genuine in your desire to see them succeed. I’d recommend you taking them to tea, lunch, coffee, or beer – whichever is appropriate – and having a heart-to-heart. If they are a person who has an open heart and open mind, they’ll appreciate your sincerity and support you. And if they intended to sabotage you, you’ll know about it much sooner. My second learning was that if the worst case scenario eventuates, and you have to make a tough people decision and remove somebody – do it sooner, not later.

Q

I AM A SENIOR HR manager with a manufacturing company in Malaysia. I am the highest ranking HR leader in the firm and I report to the Finance Director – I don’t yet have “a seat at the table”. I have completed a “Finance for HR” course, and feel I do present compelling business cases for the workforce and culture changes I know would have a lasting positive effect, but I can’t seem to get past the financial director’s focus on immediate cash-flow. Do you have any advice for increasing my level of influence with him or the rest of the leadership group? Where’s my seat, Malaysia

A

I would take the CFO out for lunch or dinner and ask them to walk me through how they support the CEO; how they help the company grow; and what are their priorities and strategies – not in a technical, functional way, but in a very human conversation. “You are the second most important person in this company; help me understand” is what you need to say, and then really try to enter their view of the world. Understand the pressures they are under, the performance indicators they are trying to meet, and how they are just as committed to the future growth of the organisation as you are. Because you face a dilemma. In many more traditional companies, HR is seen as a cost. It reports into the CFO who, quite appropriately, manages it as a cost. In more progressive organisations, HR is a peer of the CFO and you both report directly to the CEO. In the short-term, it is unlikely you can change this. You may want to look for roles outside where you can report directly to the CEO and can add more value. But if you wish to stay at this

organisation, the first thing you must do is understand the world from the CFO’s perspective. Once you have that empathy and rapport, you can begin the journey of helping them understand how you can help them meet their objectives through HR and your capabilities, but you must always ground it in the business objectives. It’s great that you’ve taken Finance for HR. I’d really recommend you also read deeply on Dave Ulrich’s work on how to be a credible activist. This is the role you need to step into.

LAURENCE SMITH

A board-level advisor to SmartUp.io. With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including stints and projects with LG Electronics, GE Capital, McKinsey, the World Bank, and as Managing Director of Learning and Development for DBS Bank. J U LY 2 0 1 7

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Opportunities for Life Senior HR Manager

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

Human Resources Director, South East Asia

• US Medical Device company • Commercial environment

• US Consumer MNC • High visibility, exciting and hands-on role

Our client is a leader in its market and a trusted name in the medical devices sector. They are currently looking to hire a Senior HR Manager for the Asia Pacific office.

Well reputed and highly respected brand name in its field, our client has an immediate need for a strategic and consummate HR Leader to lead, shape and drive its people agenda.

In this exciting and challenging role you will report to the Chief HR Officer based in US headquarters. With the support of 2 direct reports, you will partner business heads in providing the full spectrum of HR services covering Asia Pacific region. You will be a key player in supporting the region through provision of HR excellence. Key aspects include providing HR advisory services to development of human capital, culture & values, people development, attracting talent and integration of new acquired businesses into current business.

Reporting to Global Head of HR, you are accountable in developing and implementing HR strategies in areas of talent acquisition, development & management, compensation & benefits, and employee engagement that align with organizational objectives. As a strategic HR advisor to leadership team, you will participate in business strategy development, maximize organizational performance and take lead in driving HR projects. You will lead, coach and mentor HR team on providing first class HR services to the business.

To be successful, you should have a relevant degree, 10+ years HR generalist experience in a corporate environment preferably within the pharma/medical industry. You must be goal-oriented, have excellent communication skills and is familiar with local legislations and best practices. Experience in leading new projects or merger & acquisitions is highly desired.

You should ideally possess a post-graduate Master degree in Business Administration or HR with minimum 8 years relevant experience in strategic HR leadership roles with regional remit. Preference will be given to those with expertise in organizational design & talent development, and ability in dealing with ambiguity in a highly matrix & fast-paced work environment. You are a hands-on, forwardthinking leader with coaching and mentoring skills.

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at lili.kang@rgf-executive.com.sg or Audrey Chong at audrey@rgf-executive.com.sg

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at maureen@rgf-executive.com.sg or Audrey Chong at audrey@rgf-executive.com.sg

EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

EA Personnel Registration No. R1105976 & R1105147

RGF is the global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest HR and recruitment services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$14 million annual net sales in annual revenue. For more than 56 years, RGF provides comprehensive HR and talent acquisition services which include retained and contingency executive recruitment and market mapping, senior to staff level specialist and contract recruitment as well as payroll services. RGF operates in more than 48 locations across 27 cities in 11 countries and markets in Asia with in-country specialist consultants. Best Recruitment Firm in Accounting, Banking, Finance; The Executive Search Company of the Year; The HR Recruitment Company of the Year; Best Recruitment Firm, Non-Management Roles and Best Recruitment Firm, RPO. HRM ASIA, RI ASIA, Human Resources magazine SINGAPORE VIETNAM INDIA INDONESIA MALAYSIA PHILIPPINES THAILAND CHINA HONG KONG TAIWAN JAPAN

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

Call Kelly on

+65 6801 4572 for more details THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST IN HR FIND THEIR NEXT BIG ROLE AT 58

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only is Asia’s urce o mediatsed to HR dedicfaessional pro opment devel

www.rgf-hr.com.sg


www.kerryconsulting.com | Returning the Human to Resourcing

Headquartered in Singapore since 2003, Kerry Consulting is Singapore’s leading Search & Selection firm. Our consulting team is the most experienced, and amongst the largest, in the ASEAN region. Regional Senior HR Manager, Operations

Associate Director, Talent Management

• ASEAN Region • Consumer Industry • Strong HR Operations

• Major Investment Corporation • Consulting Experience Preferred • Excellent Career Progression

Our client, an European MNC is looking for a Regional Senior HR Manager to contribute to their business through the provision of HR operations for the ASEAN region. Reporting directly to the Head of HR, you will be responsible as a HR Business Partner and HR operations.

Reporting directly to the Director of Talent Development, you will be part of the team that builds and manages the talent development and talent management function. You will design and implement talent management solutions. Responsible to manage; refine performance and talent review processes. It is crucial in your role to develop high potentials to ensure an enhanced pipeline of high performing talent. In addition, you will work with the team to build strategic learning programs for the development of organisational capabilities. There will be regular review and refine competency models.

You will provide quality HR service including recruitment, compensation and benefits, performance management, talent succession planning, employee relations, to develop and promote HR initiatives aligned with the goals of the business. Having a close business partnering relationship with business is pivotal in order to understand their strategies to identify the HR competencies to reshape the business and support the growth. You will be degree qualified in Human Resource or relevant discipline with a minimum of 12 to 15 years of strong HR generalist background. You will have strong interpersonal skills to build rapport across all levels, demonstrate leadership abilities, and display a partnering mentality. Experience working in a MNC organisation within the Technology or FMCG sectors will be an advantage. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at joy@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS12192. We regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

You would have a minimum of 10 to 12 years of experience in a multinational company, preferably in a global bank or consulting firm. Successful leadership experience within matrix international businesses. High level of self-motivation and independent thinking, strong business understanding linked to strategic insight & perspectives. Strong interpersonal skills with the maturity to work with different stakeholders. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at joy@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title and reference number JS12155. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates are notified. Reg No: R1107886

Reg No: R1107886

Head of HR Shared Services – Leading Financial Services Group

Organisational Change Management Specialist (Snr Manager/Director level)

• Prominent Financial Services Group • HR Leadership position • Progressive environment

• Global Trading Organisation • APAC Coverage • Newly created headcount

This is a leading financial services group with a strong presence in the Asia Pacific region. The organisation has a strong track record of stable growth and profits. It has now embarked on a journey of people transformation to prepare the company for its next lap of growth.

We are in close partnership with a global organisation to appoint an Organisational Change Management Specialist. This is a well-regarded MNC, which is growing very quickly in the region and its regional office is headquartered in Singapore. In order to support ambitious growth plan, the organisation now needs top HR talent.

This role will report to and work closely with the CHRO to drive the transformation agenda and to lead a HR Operations team. Scope includes project management, HR systems administration, mobility, vendor management. You will build the processes, team capabilities and necessary infrastructure to deliver high quality and consistent HR guidance, resolution and services to HRBPs and employees with a focus on enhancing employee experience. You will also be responsible for ensuring compliance in daily administration with all applicable regulatory requirements.

Reporting to the VP HR APAC, you will lead in the assessing, identifying, planning, and directing organisational change. You will need to establish parameters to ensure early adoption, effective utilisation and proficiency to new change initiatives for individual employees as well as departments. Program management includes maintaining tactical engagement with business leaders, change champions, etc to ensure a seamless transition to change and organisational-wide successful implementation of change initiatives. The person should have a good mix of strategic and operational experience within progressive and complex multinational environments. It's a pacey environment so we are seeking people with dynamism and the desire to work in an intense and demanding environment. Proven track record of working across different countries and having a global mindset will be essential. Key to your success will be building strong consultative relationships with people at all levels.

To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at finian@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title. Due to high volume of responses, only shortlisted candidates are notified.

To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at finian@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title. Due to high volume of responses, only shortlisted candidates are notified.

Reg No: 16S8060

Reg No: 16S8060

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HRM ASIA.COM

Licence No: 03C4828

You will have a minimum of ten years of HR experience in Financial Services environments. You should have relevant experience in starting and managing an HR shared services team. You are a self-starter who is highly self-motivated, resilient and tenacious with a good track record in change management and leadership development. You should have the gravitas to influence the business in a commercial sense and be willing to ‘roll up your sleeves’ if needed.

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Regional Manager Talent Management We represent a global engineering MNC with presence over 50 countries and nearly 100,000 employees. As the company continues to generate healthy sales numbers and investing into digital technology, there is now a need to revamp and review their talent management framework, to ensure the strong pipeline of leaders. Reporting into the Director of Human Resources Development and working in close collaboration with the global team, the role of the manager will directly interact with the senior leaders across Asia region, shaping the corporate culture and refreshing the talent strategy, tying in with competency development for the talents identified at every level. This is a highly visible role and will require an individual who is seasoned, articulate and confident with at least 7 years of experience in talent management, with a progressive and complex With nearly 10,000 employees in Singapore, our environment. client is a large profitable organisation and a market leader in its space. As they continue to build with efficiency, there is an opportunity for a HR Shared Services Leader to join the team.

HR Shared Services Leader Country Focused

The key mandate for the HRSSC Leader is to ensure an effective HR organisation by re-examining operational efficiency and process alignment across the full spectrum of Human Resources, offering client focused, responsive, cost effective and consistent HR services to managers and employees. As the role will lead a sizable HR team, it is paramount that the individual has solid people management background with demonstrated track record in building efficiency and sustaining cost savings in an organisation with large headcount.

RECRUITER PROFILE With a decade of Executive Recruitment experience, Audrey Neo holds a solid track record in partnering with CEOs and Senior Management to build their regional and global HR teams. For a confidential discussion, get in touch with her at AudreyN@charterhouse.com.sg or call +65 6435 5621.


HRM July 2017 Manning The Machines  

In the July 2017 issue, HRM Magazine examines HR’s new, pivotal role in leading their organisations’ transformation

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