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JUNE 2017

Clear skies ahead

Europe’s biggest airline navigates a global restructure in Asia

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Dear HRM Asia readers,

EDITOR Sham Majid




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JUNE 2017

t is no secret that layoffs and restructures are necessary processes for any business leader to undertake in order to remain competitive and profitable. Heiko Brix, regional director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, of German national air carrier Lufthansa, can attest to this much more than many. Brix, who is featured in this issue’s Leaders Talk HR feature, has personally overseen Lufthansa’s global restructuring efforts, which has entailed letting go of highly-committed and highlyengaged employees in this region. It has been a painful, but ultimately critical step as the airline cuts routes and realigns its workforce priorities to carve out a bigger slice of the global travel pie. As Lufthansa continues with its global restructure, Brix offers a fascinating account of how he steers the headquarters’ people strategies and tailors them to suit the market needs of different countries under his watch. Continuing with the theme of customised people strategies, Farrer Park Hospital, Singapore’s newest private medical facility, prides itself on offering staff three separate career tracks to realise their fullest potential. Jeethu Syriac, the hospital’s Head of HR, explains how these career tracks have been carefully crafted to cultivate a learning culture within the ranks, and to ultimately ensure that patients receive the best possible care. As we count down towards our Smart Workforce Summit 2017 in September, we tackle two key topics that will prominently feature in the flagship event. Our special guest contribution this month delves deep into the art of disruption, with Neal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer of DBS Bank. He offers a unique insight into how disruption now goes hand in hand with innovation. This month’s edition also explores how virtual reality is increasingly being used to train employees in real-life scenarios across different industries. Best Regards,

Sham Majid Editor, HRM Asia CONTACT US:

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

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JUNE 2017




Clear skies ahead

Heiko Brix is no stranger to layoffs at German airline Lufthansa, which is again in the midst of a global restructuring. As its regional director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the veteran leader hopes his experiences will help lead the carrier to a safe landing




The future is now


As real as it gets


Advantage in altruism

For the 15th year, HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017 brought 4,000 HR professionals together for the region’s biggest workforce management event, where they heard from world-renowned thought leaders, and also enjoyed three days of Asia-specific case studies, networking and company site visits

With organisations seeking to train staff in real-time scenarios and settings, virtual reality technology is become an enticing option, as HRM Asia reveals

Unlike management-driven corporate social responsibility initiatives, volunteering schemes let employees work with causes nearer and dearer to their hearts. As several companies share with HRM Asia, giving back through probono work gives their people a greater sense of purpose

34 Showing the human side

Singapore’s newest private hospital prides itself on being a technology-driven medical institution. But Farrer Park 2

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56 Hospital is equally determined to ensure its staff keep sight of the overarching objective to be the best of caregivers to patients


Moving uptown

From Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, a growing number of global organisations have set up offices away from the city centre. The resulting demand for nearby accommodation has led to a new group of serviced apartments located in the suburbs. HRM Asia takes a look at a few new options


Complete coverage

As companies ponder which employee health scheme will best suit their needs, Singapore’s government is pushing a very different approach. HRM Asia looks at the advantages of portable medical benefits, as well as some of the reasons employers are avoiding them


The keys to true disruption

Neal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer of DBS Bank, was recently awarded the Talent Unleashed prize for the world’s most disruptive C-Level change agent. In this HRM Asia exclusive, former colleague Laurence Smith interviews Cross on what it takes to build a standout innovation team and keep it motivated

REGULARS 4 News 10 Leaders on Leadership 54 An HRD Speaks 54 HR Clinic 55 Up Close and Personal 56 HRM Asia Congress Insights 58 Reader Advice

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UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TO “CREEP UP” With Singapore’s total employment falling in the first quarter of 2017 and unemployment increasing slightly from 2.2% to 2.3%, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said workers should brace themselves for the unemployment rate to rise further. Speaking to some 1,500 labour union leaders and guests at the annual May Day Rally, Lee noted that Singapore’s unemployment numbers were low compared to most developed economies. “Our unemployment rate will gradually tend to creep up,” he said. With the global economy undergoing massive disruptions, Lee said the key for the near future lies in sustained job creation, alternative employment, and future-proofing workers. To create a steady pipeline of jobs, Lee emphasised the need for the Singapore government to continue attracting new businesses and foreign investments, while upgrading existing models, a formula which he said has worked for 50 years.


AIRLINE CHIEF NOT BACKING DOWN Air India CEO Ashwani Lohani has defended the way he acted after an Indian lawmaker was banned from the national carrier’s flights, leading to similar boycotts by other airlines. Lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad had demanded a business class seat on an alleconomy flight on March 23, and assaulted a 60-year-old airline executive with his shoe. The ban on Gaikwad was lifted on April 7 after the civil aviation ministry intervened and issued written instructions to the airline. Lohani said Air India’s employees “are most important to me”. “I could get a sense from everyone that they were very, very upset and so we decided to file a police case... They are all feeling much better now,’’ he told NDTV in an exclusive interview. Following Gaikwad’s disgraceful behaviour, the Civil Aviation Ministry has now proposed a national no-fly list of passengers who behave unruly on flights.


JUNE 2017



MATERNITY LEAVE JOY The paid maternity leave entitlement of government employees in the Emirati state of Dubai has increased from 60 to 90 days. This comes after Dubai ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued a new ruling. This was enacted on April 30, but has been applied retroactively to cover maternity leave beginning from March 1. The decree aims to “promote a balance between career and family, support the rights of working women and provide a legal framework for enhancing gender balance”. According to the new rules, any full-time or part-time staff member in a permanent role is entitled to 90 days’ maternity leave from their delivery date. Women on maternity leave receive their basic monthly wage, with weekends and official holidays considered as part of the leave period. The new legislation also asserts that mums-to-be can combine maternity leave, regular annual leave, and leave without pay for a maximum total of 120 days.




CURIOSITY KILLS MC SCAM An inquisitive employer has unwittingly busted a syndicate forging and selling fake medical certificates from a government hospital in Johor Bahru. According to The Star/Ann, the bogus MCs were sold chiefly to civil servants and Malaysians working in Singapore for RM25 (S$8) a piece. State commercial crime chief Assistant Commissioner Mohamed Salleh Abdullah said the syndicate was discovered after the employer checked with the Sultanah Aminah Hospital management about the certificates provided to one of his employees. “We found 60 fake MCs with serial numbers, as well as the rubber stamp of a medical officer. (There were also) seven fake MCs without serial numbers, three rolls of yellow paper, and 59 pieces of the front cover book for the certificates,” Salleh said. Four men aged between 28 and 37 were arrested in raids conducted on May 3 and 5. Salleh also warned staff against buying fake MCs, promising legal action for buyers as well as the forgers involved.



FINED FOR GIVING BIRTH A female employee in eastern China has been penalised after giving birth to a second child without permission from her organisation. According to the Beijing Youth Daily, the employee had signed an agreement with her company in Jinan, Shandong province. This required that only two female staff at the firm could be pregnant each year, one in April, and another in October. The report cited that based on this roster crafted by the firm, the employee would only be permitted to become pregnant in 2020. The employee became pregnant soon after the organisation introduced the regulation. She took maternity leave but was later informed that she would be “fined” more than CNY 2,000 yuan (S$407) for not adhering to the schedule. An officer for the employer said the firm did not wish to stop staff from having children, but did want to be able to plan for staff absences. “The company could not function if they all had babies at the same time,” he told The Daily. The company subsequently refunded the fine it had imposed.

An 84-year-old retired bank worker and his wife have stunned the nation by giving away their total life savings of INR 10 million (S$ 218,539) to the National Defence Fund. According to the Hindustan Times, Janardan Bhatt decided to lend a sizeable hand to the armed forces after reading reports of junior soldiers who had lost their lives in border conflicts. The couple had accumulated considerable savings from his career, and had invested in different funds to pool a significant pension. Bhatt has a sterling track record of helping people, having served as a union leader during his time in the finance industry. He and a colleague had previously given away INR 5.4 million (S$118,043) to assist a colleague.

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DISMISSED OVERNIGHT AS CAR PLANT SEIZED Some 2,700 General Motors (GM) Venezuela employees found themselves jobless via a late night text message last month. The abrupt dismissals came after GM’s manufacturing plant in Valencia was seized by the Venezuelan government, through a city court decision. GM has denounced the move as an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets”. “Yesterday, GM Venezuela’s plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations,” the company said. “In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities.” It added that due to “the total disregard of its right to due process”, the company has been forced to cease operations in the country immediately. For employees, the bad news may have been made worse. Local union leaders said the final pay cheque that many of the dismissed workers received was “too low”. GM says it will pay separation benefits according to Venezuelan law.


FREELANCERS RECEIVE PAY PROTECTION New York City has become the first US district to pass a law mandating that freelancers receive full and timely compensation for their work. Under the new “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, employers have to pay independent contractors for work rendered by a date agreed by both parties, or within 30 days from task completion. The rules apply for all assignments valued at US$800 or more. Hirers will face fines of up to US$25,000 if they are discovered to have violated the law. Freelancers can file a complaint with the director of the New York City Office of Labor Policy and Standards or in a court of competent jurisdiction. This law comes after years of freelancers in the city reporting problems with getting payments. Many had been forced to accept changes to the contract terms after they had begun work on a project. “Freelancers aren’t free,” said city Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It’s now the law in New York City that they be paid on time, have the written contracts they deserve, and have the tools to defend their rights.”


JUNE 2017



JOB SECURITY FOR FAST FOOD WORKERS Fast food chain McDonald’s is giving all of its 115,000 workers in the UK the option of switching from zero-hour contracts (with no minimum working times) to fixed-hour agreements. Roughly 20% of its workforce has opted for the fixed-hour contract, after an earlier trial in 23 restaurants. Observers say this is a significant move for UK employment rights because McDonald’s hires one of the largest number of zero-hour workers in the country. There were almost 1 million zero-hour work agreements in place in the UK last year.






POSITIVE SIGNS FOR WORKERS The US labour market is on the upswing, with the unemployment rate unexpectedly falling to 4.4% for April 2017, the lowest in the decade since May 2007. Over 211,000 jobs were added, the US Labour Department revealed, up from 79,000 added in the previous month. The added jobs were spread across various sectors. The leisure and hospitality industry registered a 55,000 increase in jobs; education and health services was up by 41,000; while the number of jobs in finance rose by 19,000. Retail rebounded with a 6,300 increase following a revised loss of 27,400 jobs in March. Despite overall employment growth, wage increases remained weak. Average hourly wage growth rate dropped to 2.5% in April, from 2.6% the previous month. This was the weakest growth rate since August last year. As a comparison, when the unemployment rate was at similar levels in 2007, pay scales were growing at 3.5% per annum.

France’s banking sector is rejoicing after Emmanuel Macron’s win in the French presidential election. With the UK leaving the European Union, national banking and finance lobbying group Paris Europlace is hopeful that Macron’s victory will convince global banks to relocate their European headquarters to the French capital. This could potentially attract some 20,000 UK workers to Paris, says Arnaud de Bresson, CEO of Paris Europlace. Unlike his election competition Marine Le Pen, analysts believe Macron’s pro-Europe stance provides a more conducive environment for global businesses. De Bresson told Reuters he believes Macron will “personally make it his mission to convince international banks and investors of Paris’ benefits”.


ALITALIA FACES COLLAPSE Alitalia, Italy’s state airline, has filed for bankruptcy after some 11,400 employees, or 90% of its total workforce, voted against a restructuring deal that had been agreed to by both management and trade unions. The proposed plan called for a reduction in headcount of 1,700, as well as an 8% pay cut across the organisation. That would have seen it cut an estimated €1 billion (S$1.5 billion) in costs over the next three years. The Italian government had acted as a mediator in the negotiations. It warned that the airline’s days were numbered if an agreement was not reached. Sources even claimed Alitalia was only a few days away from being completely out of cash. Much of Alitalia’s fiscal woes have come about as a result of intense competition from low-cost carriers. This was despite Etihad Airways acquiring a 49% stake in the airline in 2014, rescuing it from its first brush with bankruptcy.

JUNE 2017




Overcoming all odds While women continue to make giant strides in the working world, a new study by has shed light on some of the key obstacles they encounter in the corporate scene, in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

“D” is for Discrimination “I HAVEN’T BEEN THOUGHT OF FOR PROMOTIONS” SG 33%

A Woman’s Challenge

The biggest challenge for women at work is: Shortage of career development prospects 


Juggling work demands with home demands 


The ways they are perceived or treated by others 


The ways they are perceived or treated by others 

SG 36%

Is flexible working an option for women?



28% Source:#SheMakesItWork report


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PH 17%

Who’s planning to switch employers next year?



MY 24%

Time for a new job?


PH 39%



“I feel like I have missed out on career opportunities because I chose to have a family”

MY 42%

13% NO



















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What is the biggest mistake that leaders sometimes make, and how can they rectify it?


am no stranger to starting a business and I realise that a common mistake among entrepreneurs is the tendency to want to do everything yourself. The startup movement is particularly strong right now – and I am reminded of this daily as the company and the team continues to grow. While the hands-on approach is great for the initial startup period, the core focus of the leader needs to be putting together a team of likeminded individuals to help you grow the business. This is paramount to growth and scalability, even for SMEs. Company goals and the overall vision need to be readily shared among the management so that they may have the autonomy to take on the day-to-day tasks for the business. Personally, I am very upfront and transparent with my senior management – putting a good team together is the first step to being

able to let go and allow the professional managers to deliver. With VLV, we took pains to hire a core management team that was very experienced and passionate for the industry. As the owner of the company, I need to trust that my team is able to actualise my vision for the brand. While it is always tempting to micro-analyse how all the customer touchpoints are handled, I try not to! Instead, we have open-table discussions where the department heads are able to table their challenges work towards the company goals. In an SME environment, it is still important for the leader to be on the ground and actively involved in the company operations: however, a balance needs to be struck for the managers to make their own authority and grow their teams.


ANNIE MEYER CEO,Asia, Transtar International Freight

10 JUNE 2017


love consistency. I love it as a consumer, I love it as a team player, and I love it as a leader. I know what to expect, my team know what to expect from me, and I know what to expect they will deliver. In my working world, the only good surprise is a surprise party! As a leader, I value consistency in my role as the number one deliverable that I owe my team. Without consistency, where does my team focus? They are but a rudderless ship. What if I was to deviate from the set message? If I project contradictions to my team in actions, directions or expectations, then they will eventually lose confidence in my ability to lead effectively and efficiently. They will be questioning at each turn: what is she looking for this time? Employees blossom when a leader strongly navigates in troubled times. But don’t confuse consistency with complacency. Complacency by definition is a feeling of being smug with oneself


or one’s achievements, which is a death trap in the business world. There is always a weak link in any business chain – no matter how slick the team. There is a quiet air of excitement when continually leading the pushing of boundaries for growth in revenue expectations which is complimented in tweaking operations for maximum returns and less risk and input. Delivering unpredictable messages and directions to teams is without question the biggest mistake a leader can make. Naturally there has to be elements of flexibility and firmness but by far the main aim as leader is to offer concise and consistent messages be it regarding delivery, quality of product/ service, responsiveness to enquiries, follow up and expectations. Lincoln Chafee is quoted as saying “Trust is built with consistency” and consistency from the leader is the anchor in leading a successful team to deliver trust, consistently.


Clear skies

Heiko Brix is no stranger to layoffs at German airline Lufthansa, which is again in the midst of a global restructuring. As its regional director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the veteran leader hopes his experiences will help lead the carrier to a safe landing Kelvin Ong

12 JUNE 2017


ahead A

s a 10-year-old growing up in Dusseldorf, Germany, Heiko Brix would grab his bicycle and Polaroid camera after school, ride to the fences surrounding the local airport, and take pictures of aircraft after aircraft coming in and out of the city for hours on end. Dusseldorf was one of Brix’s many childhood homes. His family moved regularly in the 70s for his father’s work, taking them also to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Athens, Greece – all by the time he turned 12. Throughout all the change, one thing remained constant – Brix’s fascination with aviation and flying. He says he dreamed of becoming a pilot one day. And while that ambition did not eventuate, it’s something he views not with regret, but more self-deprecating humour – joking about what an accomplished “remote control pilot” he is. Brix knew he would have a career in the tourism and hospitality business since a course-changing three-month internship at a spa hotel in his teens. And bigger things always seemed in store, as even before he turned 30, was already managing business travel agency Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Hamburg. Three years later, in 2001, he moved to German airline Lufthansa’s corporate travel unit, where he was initially


responsible for all its travel agencies at home and abroad as a key account manager. All those years of hard work and mileage in the corporate travel agency business in Germany eventually led Brix into the center of the aviation business, his first love. Since February last year, Brix has taken on the role of German airline Lufthansa Group’s regional director for Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia. The appointment was also a full circle moment for Brix, whose father was a Lufthansa station manager for nearly 40 years. The loyalty to Lufthansa appears to run in the family, as the father of two has himself spent more than 12 years at one of the world’s largest airlines. Brix is humble about his achievements, which he credits to his ability to embrace change, in large part due to the many times he shifted homes in his early years. “The only way to manage change is to embrace it,” he asserts. This positive attitude towards change also informs his management philosophy today, which has become especially crucial during the current restructure. In Southeast Asia, that has seen Lufthansa Group cancel its

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LEADERS TALK HR routes to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta since early 2016, around the time Brix assumed his current post. In the process, the airline has had to lower headcounts significantly in those markets. Still, Lufthansa Group remains Europe’s largest airline conglomerate in terms of employee size. As of December 2016, the group employs 124,000 workers. Brix recounts an earlier restructuring programme. This was in 2009, when he was the managing director of Lufthansa’s call centre operations in Istanbul, Turkey. He had to be involved with the laying off process then as well, something he found challenging, partly because he was still a fairly new manager, but also because he says Turkish people were “more emotional” than the Germans he was used to working with. “I had to gain their hearts and minds first,” he said. As a leader, Brix says it is always “painful” to let people

go, but it has also become a fact of business he has learned to accept. “Restructuring teams is always a very difficult task,” he says. “We do not talk about numbers but about committed people and colleagues,” he says. “Wherever I was challenged to manage these kinds of tasks, I tried to be very transparent and honest in communicating what exactly needed to be done to set up new structures, or even to close locations.” But many times, Brix has found there is a silver lining for both the business and the employees themselves. He says the affected personnel often end up in new and sometimes better opportunities, both within Lufthansa Group and outside of it. “Still, it is one of the most difficult targets to fulfil, and these challenges will never become a routine.”


Coming from Europe, what was the transition into your current role in Southeast Asia like?

Compared to other positions that I took over before, in Istanbul, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf, the challenge in Asia has been that the teams are much more virtual, and much more remote. I’m overseeing the whole region all the way down south to New Zealand, which presents the challenge of how to keep the level of communication just right. The key is to not overdo it. But on the other hand, I also have to regularly approach my people and really understand their individual market issues and needs. When I’m sitting so far away from some of these teams,

ME MYSELF I I love: Honesty I dislike: Hidden agendas My inspiration is: To frequently go back to basics by enjoying a few days on a Greek island or the Polish countryside and finding time for myself My biggest weakness is: Swiss chocolate and traditional Linzertorte cake In five years’ time, I’d like to: See my children standing on their own feet, being confident and happy Favourite quote: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans” John Lennon

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LEADERS TALK HR there is also a learning curve involved in effectively challenging them to perform at their top level. We are kind of an “ambassador” here in Singapore, collecting the needs and requirements of the customers in the region and the markets, even for more remote territories like The Philippines. Then we try to facilitate and ensure the requirements that the headquarters (in Frankfurt, Germany) has to deliver in order for us to work smoothly in each of the local markets. So the biggest change for me was to be in an ambassadorlike role, like a little headquarters in between the main headquarters and the local markets.


What are some of the specific difficulties of being in that “in-between” position?

In New Zealand for example, they might perceive me or our team here in Singapore as “oh they are far away, they are ‘headquarter thinkers’ and only follow the directions of the Frankfurt office”. I would say that to avoid this type of “they” and “we” thinking, and to bring everyone together is the biggest challenge. We need to say we are a unit that’s working in the market together, and we want to facilitate your needs and to bring your sales opportunities to speed. And then just really leading people and staying in touch. I can only see my teams in Australia and New Zealand three or four times a year, because that involves a lot of traveling. So scheduling is another challenge for me.


How did you tackle the remote nature of your teams, as well as their different needs?

It’s a good question because only a few issues are similar and simultaneous. A lot are very specific. For example, in The Philippines, the requirements are quite different from say, Singapore. Over there, the maritime business is much more dominant. So a clear communication structure is very important, which I emphasise. I send out a regular newsletter where I compile the most important happenings that are relevant to and across all the teams.I also try to bring in some best practices that each market is employing, so that they can all share, learn, and be inspired by each other. Another way we keep in touch is through Lync or Skype for regular video and voice conferences. Then there are very specific one-on-one, face-to-face sessions to really listen to each person and go through the different issues. So I would say we have a multi-layered approach to address all the different needs because we have to funnel the strategies down. They need to be informed of the broad-level topics about what’s happening in Lufthansa as a whole, and they also need to understand what’s happening across Southeast Asia,

as well as, finally, the market-specific topics. If you only keep it at the broadest level, then staff would become frustrated because they don’t see their individual needs being addressed or reflected. And if you only go one-onone, then they would ask ‘what’s happening up there in the world of Lufthansa?’


What were your business priorities when you took over?


How was Southeast Asia affected by the global restructuring?


How involved are you with the people management strategies of Lufthansa?

We had just begun a restructuring effort when I first arrived. There was a clear headcount pressure, which is still ongoing and will keep going until 2018. A significant reduction of the headcount in my area was one of the greatest challenges. Definitely for the offline stations that we have, this was a rather painful process. Offline markets are those countries where we don’t operate physical aircraft to, but still conduct sales initiatives from. Obviously these people are highly-committed and highlyengaged, but somehow we had to align all the different parts in relation to potential and revenue. But this was also because we had to bring the same impact and direction to all three airlines under our group – Austrian Air, Swiss Air, and Lufthansa. We had to align the three products and really leverage the synergies so that we could have the same efficiency with fewer people.

From when I started in this role, the only destinations where we are still physically operating to are Thailand and Singapore. But we were much more present in the past. We used to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and even before that Manila and Ho Chi Minh City. So this restructuring has affected us a lot more than other regions because we pulled out of quite a few destinations and had to reduce the teams proportionately.

I would say I am involved with developing our people into the right roles, which is in fact undergoing right now. We’re restructuring not only in terms of reducing our staff numbers to make the teams more efficient and lean, but also completely redeveloping their roles. We have new roles, determined a year ago, to more strategically drive the business, including – for example – the account steering expert. This role, in particular, is about being the peer of the accounts manager and then using analytics to challenge and

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LEADERS TALK HR support the accounts manager in looking for the right business opportunities beyond a simple shotgun approach. These roles are new, and I was personally interested in who was going to fill them. So I was involved with picking these people, asking my country managers for their feedback and recommendations on each particular candidate. So I would say in this restructuring period, I’m more involved, but in the more ideal periods (for which there is still some way to go) I will probably be involved a little bit less because we have great country managers who can take care of things.


How does Lufthansa try to be an employer of choice?

Our company stands for many highly-positive values. One of them is we really try to develop our people and have good infrastructure for doing so. There is the Lufthansa School of Business, which is a very professional setup that really focuses on the individual training and development needs of our staff. There is also an ongoing evaluation of our people policies with the HR team for Asia-Pacific here in the same building. They ask us directors for our needs, which is really crucial, especially right now as we are restructuring and building new roles. So we are developing and customising training schemes according to the needs of our people, and that is really one of

the core values of what we do as an employer. As an organisation, we also do not have much hierarchy. Senior management is very transparent and open with their teams, and I think this is really appreciated by Lufthansa staff all over the world. Across the Lufthansa Group, we have a lot of different subsidiaries. You can be like me in Lufthansa In Touch (call centre), then move across to the passenger airline unit, or even on to the cargo side. There is a variety of choices if you are willing to be flexible and brave enough to move into other surroundings. This is certainly another one of our greater core values as an employer.


Are there plans to increase the number of routes again in the future?


Given the recent United Airlines fiasco, which was a result of an overbooking oversight, what is Lufthansa’s own overbooking policy?

We are definitely investigating on a regular basis how to increase capacity and also add new destinations to Asia. What is already happening now is we are already increasing capacity within our existing routes. We upgraded, for example, the SwissAir route from Zurich to Singapore. This changed from an Airbus 340 aircraft to a Boeing 777, which is about 120 more seats on a daily basis. So that’s a pretty massive capacity increase. And in Thailand we’re starting the next winter season with an Airbus 380, instead of the smaller Boeing 747. But what has not yet happened in the last two years is the invention of new destinations in Southeast Asia because, of course, we have just reduced some of the more challenging and less profitable destinations here. That said, with the new technology aircraft that are coming, such as the Airbus 350, and also our upcoming joint venture with Singapore Airlines, we hopefully will be able to gain more corporate and leisure passengers, and start thinking of reinventing destinations.

Overbooking, as you know, is a very common commercial strategy to optimise the efficiency of the aircraft which is in the interest of the passengers to get a seat, and of the airline to be commercially successful. So this has been a common strategy for decades in terms of revenue management and optimisation. If it doesn’t work out, then we will offer a few passenger volunteers “denied boarding” credits before flight boarding, and this is a general airline procedure as far as we know. Usually it’s a smooth procedure that happens all over the world on a fairly regular basis.

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For the 15th year, HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017 brought almost 4,000 HR and workforce professionals together for the region’s biggest workforce management event. These delegates not only heard from world-renowned thought leaders like Professor Gary Hamel (pictured, left) and Brian Tracy, they also enjoyed three days of Asia-specific case studies, networking and company site visits

R Summit & Expo Asia 2017, held early last month, commemorated 15 years as a pillar of excellence to the regional HR community. But this year’s event encompassed much more than the sentimental tugging of heartstrings often associated with anniversaries. The theme for this year’s edition, Disruption Proof, Agile, Future Ready, was epitomised on all fronts, from the plethora of quality speakers who shared their deep insights on a wide range of workforce issues, right through to the bustling expo where market leaders shared the latest tools and products to help HR navigate today’s complex working landscape. Complementing the speaker sessions and expo was a myriad of dynamic activities, all carefully crafted to ensure delegates had a comprehensive learning experience. One of these was the bustling start-up zone, which enabled enterprising new businesses to share a glimpse into the extremely disruptive nature of the workforce today. They also showcased effective and practical technological solutions to help them stay ahead of those challenges. Other immersive activities taking place on the sidelines included the Expo Power Talks, bite-sized sessions aimed at galvanising professionals with practical useful tips on diverse topics, as well as the VIP Business Lounge, an area that was cordoned off exclusively for HR and business executives to engage in extensive networking and dialogue. All of these simultaneous activities served to further strengthen the credientials of HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017, maintaining its reputation as Asia’s preeminent strategic workforce event.

Getting deep on innovation With different conference streams taking place concurrently, as well as all-inclusive plenary sessions, the HR Summit & Expo offered a unique six-conferences-in-one programme. This year’s headline act Professor Gary Hamel spoke powerfully about the importance of organisations and HR future-proofing their workforces through constant and deep innovation, especially in the present age of digital disruption. Speaking to the packed plenary hall, Hamel said that as an international consultant who had worked with hundreds of companies, he had found that many express the intention to transform processes, but then failed to come through on the execution. For organisations to effectively transform, he asserts the key lies in major reorganisation, from senior


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EVENT REPORT leaders all the way to rank-and-file staff. “Every level of your workforce should be involved with the transformation process,” he said, adding that only then would innovation efforts truly take root. “What makes our corporations truly human is their capacity to innovate,” he said. Renowned leadership coach Brian Tracy, was another of this year’s speaker highlights. Tracy believes leaders form the heart of an organisation, and ultimately, are the ones driving their workforce and businesses to greater heights. “Great leaders find balance between business foresight, performance and character,” he told the Day One plenary session. “They have vision, courage, integrity, humility and focus, along with the ability to plan strategically and catalyse cooperation amongst their teams.” The Singapore National Employers Federation echoed these ideas regarding the need for business innovation. The business lobby’s Assistant Executive Director Stephen Yee shared how Singapore organisations could subscribe to its “SAPPHIRE” (Agency for Productivity Practices, HR, and Industrial Relations) initiative, which aims to drive workplace transformation through a holistic approach that integrates HR, industrial relations, and productivity practices.

Australian speaker Michael McQueen urges the C-Suite Symposium to recognise and build on the momentum they create within their workforces

Exciting new zones Also reflecting this year’s future-oriented theme were three brand new exhibition zones. With employee experience being one of the hottest topics in the HR profession today, the new employee experience zone gave attendees a new insight into the employee-centred amenities and wellness features that could be incorporated into any office environment. The zone proved to be a huge hit among summit attendees, with many taking time to relax on the hammocks and bean bags, or even to enjoy a group game of “Pool Ball”. A dedicated team of massage therapists was also on hand to iron out the neck and shoulder kinks of the busy attendees on site. The startup zone featured innovative, up and coming HR solution providers including engagement analytics software business EngageRocket, and SME-focused medical benefits platform Mednefits. EngageRocket’s founder Leong Chee Tung said he and his team were able to meet with hundreds of HR directors over the course of the two days. They were able to highlight the advantages of using data to design the best engagement strategies for any given workforce. The teambuilding zone, also making its debut this year, was dedicated solely to teambuilding organisers, including the likes of Believer Music, CulinaryOn, and Dream Cruises. Meanwhile, the Expo Power Talks again proved a crowd favourite. Alternating between two stages, a wide range of 20 JUNE 2017


On the Power Talks stage, Gallup’s Head of Consulting Group, Asean, Taek Lee, shares key findings from the company’s latest report on millennial motivations

Over 20 of the HR Summit & Expo 2017 speakers, including Productivity: Winning in Life author Michael Podolinsky, made time to sign books for delegates

EVENT REPORT speakers provided short, sharp presentations, all rich in takeaways and ready-to-use strategies. The topics covered both HR professional issues, and individual professional development tools, such as networking and presentation skills.

Future-ready offices

The C-Suite Symposium panel discussion featured a lively debate about the roles leaders have to play during times of transformation

The HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017 culminated in a company site tour, another new addition to this year’s event, and one of the biggest highlights. First stop was Google Asia-Pacific’s massive new headquarters at Mapletree Business City in Singapore, where delegates saw firsthand how employees at one of the world’s most progressive organisations work day-to-day. As DN Prasad, Google’s People Services Director for Asia-Pacific, explained, the office was designed to facilitate creativity and spontaneous collaboration. This is evident in the number of open-plan seating areas, playfully-named meeting rooms, well-stocked pantries, and smartly-positioned miniature discussion spots spread out throughout the building. But the two features that left attendees most envious were definitely the nap room and spa that employees can retreat to after, or during, a long day at work. Participants also got to experience the future of work at Lego, which moved into its sprawling three-floor office at the end of 2015. With 56,481 square-feet of space, it is nearly three times the size of the company’s former Singapore office. The organisation spent a full year designing the space, incorporating a strategic decision to implement activity based working. This entails doing away with assigned seating places for Lego staff in a bid to break down hierarchies and adopt a flat and fluid corporate structure. The massive office is also peppered with a plethora of breakout rooms and spaces which afford employees total concentration on highly strategic tasks. Creativity, risk-taking, and agility are core organisational traits at Lego, and employees are strongly encouraged to dabble in the construction of possible prototypes. There are even dedicated spaces for Lego staff to try their hand in fixing models, all geared towards cultivating a sense of adventure, innovation and disruption as they constantly source for new product ideas. The HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017 site tours also visited the modern regional headquarters of Tripadvisor, as well as Level 3 – a unique co-working space developed by Unilever Foundry and Padang & Co.

101 Bringing presentations to life: Timothy Hamons sketches out the key points of Professor Gary Hamel’s highly-anticipated keynote on fostering innovation in organisations

Transportation disruptor Grab’s Head of People Ong Chin Yin shares key HR lessons from the fast-growing platform with the Redesign stream

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Ken Hoskin, Head of Asia-Pacific Talent at Airbnb shared that transparency of information is a core ethos of the organisation’s business model. “We treat our employees like founders,” he said. Speaking in the Experience stream, Ben Whitter, Director of Organisational Development with the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, shared that employee engagement is best delivered through unique employee experiences. “Through technology, employees are now able to share their positive or negative company experiences globally, similar to how tourists share their hotel reviews on TripAdvisor,” he says

Delegates enjoying a game of “Pool Ball” (a combination of 8-ball pool and football) at the new Employee Experience Zone, one of this year’s Expo highlights

HR Summit & Expo 2017 ended on a high note, as attendees visited the future-ready offices of four progressive global organisations. At Google Asia-Pacific’s headquarters (pictured), People Services Director D N Prasad shares with delegates how the workspace has been designed and fitted with numerous discussion spots to enable regular collaboration and exchange of thoughts. “We try to ensure that working here is fun,” he says. Networking consultant Gil Peterson (left) makes a connection with HRM Asia’s Paul Howell through the Networking Wall, where potential business partners, mentors, and mentees could find each other 22 JUNE 2017


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LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT With organisations seeking to train staff in real-time scenarios and settings, virtual reality technology is becoming an enticing option, as HRM Asia reveals Sham Majid


he School of Air Traffic Services in the Singapore Aviation Academy conducts a wide range of air traffic control operations and management courses for air traffic control officers, airspace planners, and managers. Realistic and practical training is imperative for developing employees for the high-pressured scenarios involved in each of those roles. This entails the use of virtual reality (VR)-incorporated simulator training. “VR simulator training works for the training of air traffic controllers and airport emergency services personnel as these professions have limitations for training in a live operating environment,” says Director of the Singapore Aviation Academy Michael Lim, . Likewise, VR technology has been increasingly permeating the building and construction industry.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has been encouraging firms to adopt impactful and productive construction technologies, including the use of digital engineering and information communication technologies such as three-dimensional modelling to enhance collaboration among partners in the construction landscape. For instance, VR technology can be used in the design process to enhance the experiential and immersive experience of building projects virtually – before actual construction commences. The demand for such technology led to BCA’s opening of the Centre for Lean and Virtual Construction (CLVC) in 2015. Cheng Tai Fatt, Deputy Managing Director of the Built Environment Research and Innovation Institute at BCA, says the CLVC is a first-of-itskind immersive and experiential facility for building modelling, virtual design, and lean construction to enhance communication and collaboration between stakeholders and improve productivity. “The CLVC provides the industry and academia a platform to test the concepts, technologies and tools such augmented reality and VR technology. Firms can also use the facilities at the CLVC for projectbased collaborative discussions and immersive training,” he shares.

Growing interest The use of VR-related technology in employee training is increasingly gaining traction across several industries. A recent UK report published by learning and talent management provider Kallidus revealed that 91% of learning and development professionals polled were planning to utilise VR for learning within their company. Over a third were planning to introduce VR over the next three years. Ender Jiang, Chief Marketing Technologist of Singapore start-up Hiverlab, says the widespread local use of the internet, mobile phones, and 360-degree videos has further spurred JUNE 2017


LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT interest in VR. “A lot of companies in Singapore have started to embrace VR. It is based most likely on their current clients and networks, and to see what they can bring through VR,” he shares. For instance, he says production companies use VR for storytelling, entertainment and educational purposes. Last year, property group Ascott engaged the services of Hiverlab to help it generate VR simulations of serviced apartments for potential clients to view before they set foot in the country. “We basically used VR to build the showflat and to show a 360-degree view, and included interactive features for users,” says Jiang. Hiverlab also collaborated with the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority and DHI Water & Environment to develop a prototype VR training programme called Eyes on Habitats: Coral Reefs. Through VR, new divers and biologists were able to “dive” in Singapore waters with their trainer without ever getting wet, and were virtually able to identify key corals and points. Dr Yaakub, Senior Marine Ecologist of DHI Water & Environment, says the training programme helps staff understand how ecological surveys are carried out on coral reefs, and explains the specific techniques required for collection of ecological data underwater. “There will be a set of lectures and exercises in the training course, and the VR programme will be one of the exercises. The advantage of the VR programme is that it allows the trainers to communicate with a relatively large class and for the students to interact with one another, which is very difficult in a real-life dive situation,” she says. “In this particular context, we can train a large number of people, not necessarily just employees, at the same time, yet maintain a level of interaction in instruction that cannot be achieved underwater.” Plans are currently afoot within the company’s research centre to further 26 JUNE 2017


develop this prototype into a full working programme to be used as part of an introductory course for marine ecology survey techniques. While the training course is still in development, Dr Yaakub reveals that reaction to the demonstration of the VR prototype has been positive. “Most people marvelled at how realistic the whole setting was. A crowd favourite was the 3D scans of corals,” she says. Dr Yaakub believes that the lure of VR lies in its novelty. “In using it as a training tool, one can build on this interest and curiosity to make training more exciting and hold the attention of the trainees. In making it memorable, my hope that it aids with information retention as well.”

Getting a head start One such simulator in the School of Air Traffic Services is the “360-degree Virtual Tower Simulator”, designed and developed to train air traffic controllers to handle a variety of situations from the Changi and Seletar Control Towers in Singapore. The simulator can generate full and realistic aerodrome operations of both airports under different weather conditions and aircraft emergencies. The simulator is also complemented with the LORADS III long-range radar and display system, presenting a paperless and highly-automated environment. It also incorporates technologies and innovative features that exploit advances in aircraft navigational accuracy and functionality. The simulator can also provide a generic airport scene to train participants who will be working on international airports. The School of Airport Emergency Services provides training in aircraft rescue, fire protection, and emergency management for both civil and military airports in Singapore. Participants are given first-hand experience in handling emergencies using advanced fire training simulators;

one of which is the Airport Foam Tender Driving Simulator (AFTDS). First commissioned in 2008 and enhanced in 2016, the AFTDS is one of the most technologically advanced airport emergency simulator training systems in Asia-Pacific today. The AFTDS allows trainees to undergo hazardous driving situations in the safety of a virtual environment, by generating various emergency scenarios including aircraft fires or crashes. With this simulator, foam tender operators are able to learn to drive the vehicle under different circumstances and terrains, and in all weather conditions. It also has visual geospecific maps of the latest airport layout plans, including the soon-to-be opened Terminal 4 at Changi Airport to enhance operational readiness. The AFTDS also allows instructors to playback the training sessions to analyse trainee’s performances and provide them with accurate and on-the-spot feedback. Dr Lim says the use of VR simulators will enable trainees to familiarise themselves with real-life situations safely and give them a head start before being placed in a live operating environment. “Trainees can be challenged under the various emergency scenarios which cannot be replicated if training is conducted in live operations or with actual equipment,” he explains. “As the runways are operating round the clock, AES foam tender operators are not able to use actual foam tenders for training. The VR simulators allow foam tender operators to be trained continuously throughout the year.” BCA’s CLVC has also been a source of attraction for public sector agencies, built environment firms, schools and overseas delegates. To date, Cheng says CLVC has received a total of 1,900 visitors, with close to 30 unique project reviews and workshop training sessions having been conducted at the facility. Even major firms such as Tiong Seng Group and Sembcorp have adopted the

LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT use of VR devices at their own premises, modelling it based on the technology solutions at the CLVC.

What are the drawbacks? While utilising VR-related technology for employee training has tangible benefits, potential downsides include the high costs involved as well as potential health issues. While there has been no concrete evidence to ascertain that VR leads to negative long-term health effects, prolonged exposure can lead to dizziness and nausea in the short term. According to Jiang, organisations need to follow the safety guidance of asset providers, including stipulated age

limits. “For each session, we also avoid prolonged experiences for everyone. We don’t get people to watch things for an hour, or even 30 minutes,” he shares. Jiang also concedes that cost is a concern, though this depends on how complicated the production process is. “If companies want to have a very complicated training model along with interactivity, they will take a step back sometimes and ask if they really need this,” he explains. Dr Lim concurs, and says VR training requires high initial outlay as well as high maintenance costs. “To ensure realistic and life-like scenarios training, the training

provider also needs to ensure that the VR simulator is constantly updated to mirror the real-life environment. Any inaccuracies might lead to undesirable training results,” he adds. “A cost-benefit analysis should be done to ascertain if the benefits of VR simulators outweigh the costs.” While agreeing that it is expensive to develop a training programme around VR, Dr Yaakub also cites the experimentation factor as a major challenge. “Because it is a relatively new technology, the pedagogy around it is still in the nascent stages, and there needs to be a lot of experimentation with what works and what doesn’t,” she says.

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ADVANTAGE IN ALTRUISM Unlike management-driven corporate social responsibility initiatives, volunteering schemes let employees work with causes nearer and dearer to their hearts. As several companies share with HRM Asia, giving back through pro-bono work gives their people a greater sense of purpose Kelvin Ong

Philanthropy should be voluntary”, Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said. Was Gates, a well-known philanthropist himself, onto something? It would appear so. A recent Deloitte report has found that today’s workforce, particularly millennials, have a deep desire to volunteer and give back to the less advantaged in our world. Some 77% of millennials, in fact, say they are involved in JUNE 2017


EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT a charity or “good cause”. Over 30% indicated to the Deloitte research that they were active volunteers.

Volunteer work empowers employees Most of these individuals, however, feel they are unable to exert any meaningful influence on some of society’s biggest challenges. But by being employed in a socially-minded organisation, they perceive a greater sense of control, purpose and direction, the report found. This was because they were better able to contribute directly to a greater good. With Generation Y making up the majority of the current labour force, corporate volunteer policies are fast-becoming a much greater priority for large organisations. That’s because this generation wants to drive the charity process itself, and not wait for management to direct where and how their efforts are delivered. Where such opportunities are offered, millennials are significantly more likely to say they can influence social equality, the environment, the behaviour of businesses, and even the directions and agendas of their national governments. And just as importantly, if not moreso, they are more likely to stay on with their employers as a result. When executed well, the survey found that these programmes have resulted in higher staff engagement and retention rates, and an overall improvement in business performance. Regardless of whether staff can make a tangible difference on such large issues, the key point is that employers are actually empowering their people by giving them the freedom to commit to causes that strike a chord in them. Unlike management-mandated humanitarianism which almost all large organisations today boast, corporate volunteering programmes, on the other hand, truly emphasise this empowering factor. In the process, a far more positive mindset also develops

“Millennials want to work with a purpose and expect their workplace to be aligned with their personal values.” Raja Zalina Raja Safran, Head of Corporate and Government Affairs, Mondelez Malaysia 30 JUNE 2017


throughout the organisation. This in part counters the oftlamented issue of millennial workers lacking a firm career direction, which leads them to frequently “job-hop” between employers and even across industries and job roles. Mahatma Gandhi, India’s most beloved civil rights activist, perhaps said it best in this famous rhetoric about giving back: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” It’s a philosophy that an increasing number of companies are adopting in their approach to corporate social responsibility.

Transforming youths’ lives In October last year, over 100 employees from Mondelez International took part in a voluntary work programme with two underprivileged schools in Klang Valley, Malaysia. The employees hailed from Mondalez offices in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, and Seberang Prai, and worked hand in hand with the Community Recycle for Charity programme to transform the schools’ unutilised areas into more vibrant and interactive spaces. The volunteers brought in various materials recycled that were then turned into furniture and functional fixtures, including tables, chairs, benches and storage cabinets. They also spent time re-painting the rooms, making them colourful and attractive, while stocking the shelves with more than 150 books donated by Mondelez employees. These new rooms also incorporated elements of Malaysian traditional games through the design and artwork. Students can play life-size Dam Haji (checkers) and Ting-Ting (Hop-Scotch), or even use the space for other activities that promote the development of their social and cognitive skills. The new “Joy Corners” promote active play and collaborative learning among the more than 1,800 students across both schools, and will also serve as resource centres. Raja Zalina Raja Safran, Head of Corporate and Government Affairs, Mondelez Malaysia, notes that such philanthropic activities do add to the company’s overall value proposition, especially in the eyes of Generation Y. “Millennials, who increasingly comprise the bulk of employees today, want to work with a purpose and expect their workplace to be aligned with their personal values,” says Raja Zalina. “By extending the opportunity to help improve wellbeing of the community, Mondalez’ Global Volunteer Month brings all of us closer to the company’s positive value and culture built upon the commitment in creating delicious moments of joy.” Tan Vern Ching is one employee who has volunteered every year since she joined the company, and says she looks forward to performing social work because it gives her a sense of accomplishment beyond her daily duties at work. “I have a chance to connect with people in the community, which inspires me to think of ways to make their life and surroundings better,” she adds.


Mondelez Malaysia employees putting together new “Joy Corners” for two underprivileged schools In view of the programme’s success, Mondelez plans to continue helping schools to organise activities that foster healthy habits, including through presentations on nutrition and healthy food preparation.

Nurturing a charitable culture South Korean electronics manufacturing giant Samsung is also in tune with the power of staff volunteerism. The organisation believes corporate philanthropy can lead to a happier workforce, and it aims to have at least 30% of staff globally involved with social work initiatives each year. Irene Ng, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Samsung Southeast Asia and Oceania, says these “citizenship” initiatives are a key part of the company’s culture globally. “We believe in nurturing a culture where our employees feel self-motivated to give their time and lend their assistance to communities,” she explains, adding that staff can sign up as volunteers on the company’s time without having to use their annual leave. Each country office has its own dedicated citizenship committee, which conducts thorough research on social issues to understand the needs of the local and international communities. This is followed by a rigorous evaluation process of the relevance and likely impact of the initiatives. The citizenship teams then use the findings to improve on programmes and deliver more tailored activities that better suit each community. To increase awareness of the schemes among employees, Samsung publishes participant testimonials on its external and internal platforms, including employee newsletters, social

media, and company website. Through such testimonials, where volunteers share their motivations and experiences, management hopes that other employees will realise how meaningful such engagements are for their own personal development as well as for the beneficiaries, and will sign up for future citizenship activities.

Caring for the less fortunate One key initiative active across the Asia-Pacific region under Samsung’s citizenship programme is “Love and Care”. This was first launched in 2005 as part of Samsung’s continued commitment to creating positive differences in communities, harnessing technology and other resources to address pressing educational gaps and social issues in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Over the course of three days in October last year, some 56 volunteers from across Samsung’s Asia-Pacific workforce helped out over 2,800 needy Cambodian children. Together with non-governmental organisations Pour Un Sourire D’enfant and People Improvement Organisation, the volunteers organised educational and interactive activities for the children, building ties, and teaching them numerical and literacy skills. Volunteers also helped with simple refurbishments for the schools. Tree planting – where the children were taught how to care for the environment – and cultural exchange were other notable highlights of the 2016 programme. “It has truly been an amazing and fulfilling experience being here on the ground volunteering to help these wonderful organisations, says Dita Puspawathy, Public Relations Manager JUNE 2017


EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT at Samsung Electronics Malaysia, one of last year’s volunteers. She adds that the initiative has also helped to unite colleagues from various departments and markets for a greater cause, bringing them closer together. “At Samsung, we are always committed to go beyond business achievements and to contribute back to the communities,” says Ng. “We believe that technology can go a long way in empowering youths. By addressing the local needs and focusing on the children’s well-being, we want to make a positive difference,” she adds.

Impacting more than others Auditing firm Deloitte looks locally for programmes it can add value to in Singapore. Over 500 professionals came together on August 26 last year to make a difference through “Impact Day”. “Impact Day” is an annual celebration of Deloitte’s year-round commitment to driving positive change in the communities. In 2016, volunteers focused on projects that supported older

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Singaporeans, nurtured young minds, engaged people with disabilities, and helped to build a sustainable environment for the growth of Singapore. Since 2012, Deloitte’s social efforts have impacted over 8,000 lives, says Philip Yuen, CEO of Deloitte Singapore and Southeast Asia. “At Deloitte, our corporate giving culture begins with our core business strategy and extends to the way we interact with our clients, people and the communities,” he says. “Our purpose as an organisation is to ‘make an impact that matters’ and this is at the heart of our approach to corporate giving.” Seah Gek Choo, Talent Partner at Deloitte Singapore, says these volunteer programmes also utilise the technical skills of its people, which have intensified the overall welfare effort. She adds that volunteering has also been beneficial in boosting Deloitte’s attractiveness as an employer. “This has had a positive impact on staff retention and also inspired talent, especially the millennial generation, who are not only interested in how a business develops its people but how it offers opportunities to contribute to society,” says Seah.

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he main lobby area of Farrer Park Hospital, in operation in Singapore since March last year, looks more like a glamourous spa than a busy medical facility. But that luxurious atmosphere is by design, and certainly no accident. Indeed, the private hospital is the first in the world to incorporate a five-star hotel – the One Farrer Hotel and Spa, with 243 rooms, suites, and villas – into its complex. Combined with its own medical centre of more than 189 clinics, the 20-storey building called Connexion is located in Singapore’s inner-north. Farrer Park Hospital aims to be a centre for comfort, service, and medical excellence. Jeethu Syriac, Farrer Park Hospital’s Head of HR, says the hotel and hospital are linked in more ways than just sharing the same building. Many patients will leverage on the hotel’s rooms and spa facilities in their recuperation efforts. And as the hospital’s kitchen is run by the hotel, patients are able to order the healthy meals they choose- all from a touch of the hospital’s in-house tablet application.

AT A GLANCE Number of employees: - 584 Size of the HR Team: -8

Singapore’s newest private hospital prides itself on being a technologydriven medical institution. But Farrer Park Hospital is equally determined to ensure its staff keep sight of the overarching objective to be the best of caregivers to patients Sham Majid

Key HR Focus Area: - To attract, retain and surround the organisation with the best talent from the industry - Grooming outstanding individuals through significant investment in training and development - To create a culture of caring and sharing; the “Power of One”

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HR INSIDER Syriac says this is just one way that patients benefit from Farrer Park Hospital’s technology-driven strategy. Employees also benefit, through the faster career development and the chance to use the most advanced equipment available for patient care. And the hospital itself is seeing cost savings with the more efficient work processes. “Technology saves 2,100 hours of work at this hospital every week,” he says.

Technology with a human touch Syriac shares that the use of technology in employees’ day-to-day work is especially attractive for new-generation recruits. “Even when you tell them there is an internal staff app, it excites them,” he says. “But it also offers challenges because when we hire people, they need to have some knowledge of technology.” The staff app Syriac refers to is Farrer Park Hospital’s key communication tool for employees. “Everyone has a smartphone now and the best way to communicate with them is through a means that is available to everyone,” he says. The app comprises of a training calendar, a customised nutrition, stress-management, and diet plan for every employee, and a step-tracker to calculate how far they walk each day. While technology is a key enabler for employees, Syriac says the human touch is also incredibly important, especially in a hospital setting. “A hospital is a place where your customers are always unhappy,” he notes. Nobody comes to a hospital happy, unless it’s for the birth of a child.” “If there are no human beings around, it’s going to be very depressing for them.” Hence, Syriac says while every effort is undertaken to ensure employees can

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be more efficient and productive in their day-to-day tasks, some roles simply cannot be automated. “This is why we have client service executives and patient service officers. We want to have a human touch and a face that people can interact with when they’re depressed, or need assistance,” he explains. Service excellence is a key component of Farrer Park Hospital’s values, and there are annual training programmes in this area. In addition, the hospital also invests substantial resources in emotional intelligence (EQ) programmes for its staff. “The duty of a clinical person is not just about doing clinical work; it’s about emotionally connecting with the patient,” says Syriac. “We have a number of EQ programmes which run almost every month, and if we see a gap in clinical staff emotionally connecting with patients, we train them.”

A learning culture Syriac is candid when it comes to the organisation’s difficulties in fostering a unified culture across the nearly 600-strong workforce. This is a big ask for any new hospital. “We have been attracting people from other hospitals, so everybody comes with their own culture and way of thinking,” he says. “It’s tough to ensure they are all focusing in the same direction.” Despite the difficulties, Farrer Park Hospital is striving to specifically foster a learning culture across the ranks, with training consistently at the forefront of its HR strategy. The hospital has drawn up a training roadmap for its first three years of operation. This calls for an annual set of core training programmes that are compulsory for all employees. “Apart from this, we also have our learning needs and analysis which is done for employees on a yearly basis. This is where the supervisor assesses


Rita Trehan

each employee and identifies their learning gaps, before rolling out customised training programmes for them,” says Syriac. Training is also geared towards enabling employees to cross into different roles, whether they are doctors, nurses, or support staff. For example, under the CrossFunctional Training (CFT) programme trained nurses can be found working in the hospital’s business office. “It’s a learning process for them and it also gives them the opportunity to switch between roles,” Syriac shares. Cross-functional training is firmly aligned to a competency-based career structure. Staff can only progress through the career ladder if they have demonstrated that they possess the necessary competencies required for the new role. This includes clinical employees, especially doctors. “If you’re not clinically proven, it could lead to death. Unless a person proves a particular competency, they do not climb up the ladder,” says Syriac. “We don’t specify how many years this should take; we train them and if they are competent, they move up.” There are three career tracks: with different paths for managers, individual contributors, and professional roles. The managerial track is for employees in managerial and support functions, while the individual contributor track covers staff such as payroll workers who perform a particular task alone. The professional track is reserved for employees requiring technical expertise or certifications, including nurses, doctors and pharmacists. All employees at Farrer Park Hospital are afforded the flexibility to move “up” or “down” these three tracks. For instance, the marketing head at the hospital’s Health Screening Centre is actually a trained nurse, while Dr Timothy Low, Farrer Park Hospital’s CEO, was a practising doctor before progressing on to the managerial track.





Employee Engagement Lead

Anyone keen to move into another track are subjected to competency-based interviews, similar to when the hospital is looking to hire fresh blood. Twice-yearly held appraisal sessions are also competency-based processes, with each employee also entitled to an individual development plan. “That’s when the supervisor sits with the appraiser and finds out where the person needs to progress in the next three-to-five years, and comes up with a development plan,” says Syriac.

Family-based benefits Due to Singapore’s rapidly-ageing population, the demand for quality healthcare in the city state has never been more pronounced. Syriac stresses that there’s only one clear factor that attracts patients to any hospital – public or private: competent staff. “The population of clinical staff in Singapore is not huge. There’s a limited population and we need to get the best ones,” he says. “This is where HR comes into play,” he shares. With at least 50% of Farrer Park Hospital’s patients being Singaporebased locals, the hospital’s primary focus is to hire locally-trained nurses. One key recruitment tool is a deliberately enticing compensation package. For Farrer Park Hospital, this includes its unique Family Care Leave initiative.

SAM POW CHAN Recruitment Lead


This is separate to an employee’s annual leave, with the hospital offering an additional three days of leave for all staff to ensure they can spend time with their families. Employees are also entitled to a flexible spending allowance of between S$750 and S$1,750, which can be used for health screenings, familyrelated activities, or even recuperative vacations. On top of these schemes, employees are also entitled to a medical spending allowance. This sets aside a small amount for each family to spend on medical expenses incurred through a general practitioner. “One of our key mottos is ‘the power of one’; We aim to cultivate that one big family culture,” says Syriac.

Where to deploy? Attracting talent to join Farrer Park Hospital has been the easier task for HR. “It’s easy to attract people - when you pay them more, they will come,” shares Syriac. “But we need to know where to position these staff as well. “If you position them in a wrong place, it’s going to be more damaging than getting the wrong person initially.” Hence, the hospital undertakes personality profiling for all new hires above the managerial level, as well as

Training Lead


HRIS & Benefits Lead

for front-office staff such who deal with clients and customers. “We do this for all new employees to find out where they work best,” he says.

Engagement on its own backyard Working in a 24-hour-a-day environment means it is impossible to gather all employees together for a single function or company event. However, this doesn’t mean Farrer Park Hospital shirks on engaging staff through events and activities. It organises several “reruns” of the same activity to ensure employees don’t miss out. It also tries to plan its activities during shift changes which take place between 2:00pm and 5:00pm, so that more employees can join in the fun. Farrer Park Hospital also offers parents its “Kids at Work” initiative, where employees are permitted to bring their children to work for a full day during the school holidays. This allows children to see what exactly their parents do in a typical day “at the office”. Participating children are even given some hands-on learning and development themselves. “For example, kids have studied Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and have learned how to bandage a wound. They even wear medical gowns and headgear,” says Syriac.

JUNE 2017





From Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, a growing number of global organisations have set up offices away from the city centre. The resulting demand for nearby accommodation has led to a new group of serviced apartments located in the suburbs. HRM Asia takes a look at a few new options Kelvin Ong


one are the days when business travellers opted exclusively to stay downtown, because that was where most of the action traditionally took place. But with more business hubs, convention centres and tourist attractions springing up along city outskirts, demand for properties located further away from the core has grown. This trend is particularly evident in the number of serviced apartments that have sprung up outside the main business hubs of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh City. In Kuala Lumpur, for example, offerings like The Signature Hotel & Serviced Suites and Damas Suites & Residences are located approximately 30 minutes away from the heart of Malaysia’s capital.

These two properties, like many others in that neighbourhood, were developed to serve crowds visiting secondary MICE venues like the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre in the outlying Mont Kiara district.

Opportunity for short-term business stay Located in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 is Capri by Frasers Hospitality Group, an international chain of serviced apartments. Although District 7 is some 40 minutes away from the main happenings of District 1, it has been heavily touted as the city’s next big commerce and leisure hub. The bold choice for location reflects both the physical and market positioning of the Capri by Frasers brand, which has long identified a unique opportunity in

less apparent destinations. The idea behind this move was to cater to a growing trend, rather than to join in an earlier one, the company says. In Singapore, the hospitality group piloted this approach when it opened a full-service property in Changi Business Park in 2012. Capri by Frasers has also expanded its footprint to Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Shanghai in China, and even Berlin, Germany. Frasers Hospitality’s decision to launch the Changi Business Park apartments, for one, was underpinned by meticulous research, which showed a growing opportunity towards short-term extended stay for business executives in the peripheral quarter, says CEO Choe Peng Sum. JUNE 2017


SERVICED APARTMENTS The group found that a growing number of global technology, research, IT and pharmaceutical organisations had set up shop in suburban office spaces like Changi Business Park. Furthermore, with Changi Airport Terminal 4 slated to open in the latter part of 2017, and Terminal 5 plans already underway, the Singapore airport’s handling capacity was set to be boosted to 85 million passengers a year. “This has naturally increased the demand for accommodation near the airport and will continue to,” says Choe. “This area presents a strong catchment zone and has generated significant demand for Capri by Fraser,” he adds. Cost has been a huge determinant in why so many international names are moving uptown, says James Chua, co-founder of relocation and corporate accommodation specialist MetroResidences. “Land constraints and high rental rates in the central business districts have resulted in businesses looking to cut costs. Therefore, they are starting to relocate to newer business hubs outside the city centres,” says Chua. Consequently, these corporations are looking to house international staff in nearby accommodations, rather than those downtown. Chua explains that this trend has seen an increase in uptake of MetroResidences’ services because it is able to scale to requirements more easily. He says the company does not actually own the inventory it markets, and therefore does not incur high overhead costs.

In line with urban development At the other end of Singapore is the newly-opened Oasia Residence West Coast, part of the Far East Hospitality Group. Far East Hospitality decided to launch a serviced residence in this part of Singapore after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Singapore’s 2014 Masterplan. In that proposal, the national planning 40 JUNE 2017


unit outlined how the western region would be developed into a hub for the country’s biomedical, information communications, research and development, and innovation sectors. The plan has come to fruition, and today, Western Singapore is home to specialised business clusters such as International Business Park, Biopolis, Fusionpolis and Mapletree Business City. Google, Unilever and Samsung are just three of the many global organisations that have set up offices in Mapletree Business City, located a stone’s throw away from Oasia Residence West Coast. The rising number of international businesses in the vicinity, naturally, started driving up accommodation demand, but Arthur Kiong, CEO of Far East Hospitality, said the group saw that there were few hotels in the west. The low supply presented a market gap, which was all the sign Far East needed to begin construction, says Kiong. Furthermore, compared to conventional hotels, serviced residences provide greater value and service for company employees, as they come with housekeeping services, fully-equipped business centres and in-unit kitchen, as well as complimentary shuttle services to key business district locations, including Mapletree Business City. Besides their convenient location for professionals working in the area, both Oasia and Village Residence West Coast, another serviced apartment nearby under Far East Hospitality, are also close to tertiary institutions such as the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technology University, where global conferences and dialogues are also often held.

The new age business traveller The business traveller of 2017 also has very different requirements from that of a decade ago. Today’s typical jet-setter is much better-connected, well-travelled, and well-read. These qualities have made way for the “b-leisure” traveller, or executives who

combine their business trips with leisure components. These seasoned travellers, according to corporate travel agency Carlson Wagonlit Travel, typically extend their business trips into the weekend. Being exposed to as many foreign cultures as they have, these executives tend to favour packing the leisure end of their trips with more authentic and local activities. This trend has consequently been a big reason behind why uptown offerings are increasingly sought-after, says Kiong. In Singapore, that’s because these suburban properties are located in the heartlands of the island, where guests can experience the local neighbourhoods for themselves. Guests of Oasia Residence, for example, can immerse themselves in the local culture during their stay, with West Coast Park just minutes away, and Singapore’s renowned food centres also nearby. All of Capri by Fraser’s properties globally provide smart functional spaces that also meet individual business, wellness and relaxation needs, appealing to business and leisure travellers alike. The burgeoning number of millennials in the workforce have also changed the accommodation scene across AsiaPacific, says Frasers Hospitality’s Choe. Properties like Capri in Changi, for example, are “designed to meet the lifestyle needs of a digital-driven generation”, Choe adds. For guests who have been away from home for a long time, these apartments are also fitted with fully-equipped kitchens that allow them to make homecooked meals when they start getting home sick. Both Oasia West Coast and Capri by Frasers have gained healthy traction since their openings. Capri by Frasers at Changi, in particular, has enjoyed a steady occupancy rate of around 85% since 2012.

Away from the hustle and bustle If both West Coast and Changi are too far


away, consider The Club Residences by Capella Singapore on the resort island of Sentosa. There are many serviced residences in downtown Singapore that offer greater convenience, but The Club Residences came into Singapore in 2009 with an aim to offer “a home away from home” for business travellers who also look to unwind in a calmer environment after a long day of meetings, says Sandy Liw, Executive Assistant Manager of Sales & Marketing, Capella Singapore. She says the group decided to establish a property on Sentosa so as to offer a dedicated full-service residence that came with ample living space resembling a real home. In land-scarce Singapore, this vision could only be realised away from the congested mainland. “The beauty of The Club Residences by Capella Singapore is that it is away from the city’s hustle and bustle, yet just a stone’s throw away from the major business and shopping districts,” says Liw. With work-life balance a top HR priority today, Capella Singapore also recognised a market gap for products with an emphasis on both work and play. The Club Residences appeals to a niche group of business travellers who have relocated to Singapore with their families. Liw says the decision makers of big multinational firms often decide on locations that are not only convenient for business but also an ideal place for employees’ families. “HR and mobility professionals are increasingly looking for accommodations that are more than mere business service apartments with WiFi and business centres,” she states. “They are looking for proper homes that offer other leisure activities in proximity.” JUNE 2017






he profiles of business travellers today are vastly different from those of the past. The contemporary sojourner is much better-read, well-travelled, and far more exposed to different cultures. They seek novel experiences beyond anything they may have encountered previously. To cater to these different demographics and their needs, Far East Hospitality has meticulously developed three unique brands: Oasia, Village and Far East Collection. Each serviced residence offers something vastly different to the others, while maintaining a strong base standard of service and accommodation.

Journey well at Oasia For the modern, wellness-minded traveller whose priority is a restful respite after a long day at conferences and meetings, Oasia Residence, Singapore has exactly what these busy professionals seek in a serviced residence. The Oasia brand prides itself on the three “Rs”: helping travellers to Refresh, Refuel, and Recharge. Through these three wellness pillars, Oasia hopes to provide guests with a truly wholesome stay, so that they can accomplish more in the day. Each Oasia property serves Singaporeinspired hospitality and is designed with the busy traveller’s wellness in mind for an elegant “home away from home”. At the newly-opened Oasia Residence in Singapore, all apartments are equipped with modern essentials. There are also plenty of open-air spaces surrounded by scenic views throughout the grounds, providing a calming retreat. Guests can even take a stroll at the nearby West Coast Park, and enjoy its sprawling greenery.

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Live like a local at Village The Village collection of serviced residences, as the name suggests, aims to capture and reflect the uniqueness of the local neighbourhood where each property is situated. Located both within the bustling city and in the colourful heartlands of Singapore, Village properties are designed specifically for the adventurous traveller seeking an authentic and an undeniably local experience. Each property draws inspiration from its surroundings, even incorporating those elements into its aesthetics and designs. Guests are immediately transported to a different world the moment they arrive. Village Residence Clarke Quay, for example, features woodcarvings and handpainted ceramic tiles influenced by Straits Chinese and Peranakan culture adorning its apartments. Whether travellers are alone or have come as a couple, the property is ideal as it is located close to many exciting landmarks, such as the culturally-rich Chinatown district and the lively Clarke Quay riverside.

Vibrant city living with Far East Collection The Far East Collection is all about city living at its finest. Each Far East Collection property is conveniently located in the heart of the city, bringing a wide range of leisure options right to their doorsteps. Families with young children will also find the Orchard Scotts Residences a particularly good fit for their needs. Orchard Scotts Residences gives guests easy access to Singapore’s premier shopping district, with Orchard Road located just a stone’s throw away. The property is set in 2.5 hectares of beautifully sculpted gardens with wide open spaces, providing residents a sanctuary from the city whenever they feel the need to unwind. Singaporeans looking for a getaway in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, can also check out the Sri Tiara Residences in the exclusive neighbourhood of Taman Seputeh.

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CHRO SERIES 2017 Th e C H R O fo r t h e Ag e o f D i s r u p t i o n

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June 2017 Singapore

Exploring the theme ‘The CHRO for the Age of Disruption’ this event brings together the most senior HR Leaders to explore and discuss the key challenges for CHRO and HR Leaders as they navigate today’s disruptive and evolving world of work. Themes explored include: • Transitioning into the age of the contigent workforce • Creating a holistic HR culture and mindset to increase HR’s strategic value • The increasing importance of employee engagement and experience • Leveraging technological innovations in HR • Creating an agile workforce by re-imaging talent management

*This event is restricted to 60 CHROs and Senior HR leaders only - to guarantee the quality and seniority of the audience we’ll be hosting. Secure your attendance now!

Featured Speakers Include: Dr Timothy Low Chief Executive Officer Farrer Park Hospital

Ng Ying Yuan Executive Director – HR and OD Economic Development Board

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Kiranmai Pendyala CVP - HR, EMEA, APAC and Greater China AMD

Raghu Ram Head of HR & Asia Talent Lead Shell

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44 JUNE 2017



COVERAGE As companies ponder which employee health scheme will best suit their needs, Singapore’s government is pushing a very different approach. HRM Asia looks at the advantages of portable medical benefits, as well as some of the reasons employers are avoiding them Sham Majid


hen employees seek greener pastures, they bring with them all the skills and experiences accrued at their previous organisation. These include practical and technical skillsets, and soft skills such as networking and communication. However, the one thing they have never been able to transfer to their new job is their previous health benefits. That is the case outside of Singapore. There, the national government there has been actively pushing the idea of portable health benefits among its labour movement and tripartite partners for the past 10 years. Still, the adoption of these transferrable medical benefits by employers has not been overwhelming. Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say has revealed that a 2013 survey by his ministry showed that only about four percent of local employers have signed up to the options available under the Portable Medical Benefits scheme.

Making sense of portability Portable medical benefits are a basic insurance package that workers can take with them if they switch employers, become unemployed, or retire. This is in contrast to standard medical benefits which are lost when employees stop working for that specific organisation. JUNE 2017


HEALTH AND BENEFITS Companies can choose from three portable medical benefits options for staff: the Portable Medical Benefits Scheme (PMBS), the Transferable Medical Insurance Scheme (TMIS), and providing a Shield plan. Under PMBS, employers make an additional contribution to their employees’ Medisave (national savings scheme to help Singaporeans pay for personal insurance and future medical expenses) account every month. TMIS is an enhanced group hospitalisation and surgical insurance that companies can purchase for their employees. Staff covered under TMIS plans will be treated as continuously insured when they join a new company who has also bought a TMIS plan. They will also receive continued cover for pre-existing conditions. The third option entails employers affording their workers with inpatient medical benefits through a “Shield” hospitalisation plan. Employers pay the premium on behalf of their employees, either directly to the insurer or as a reimbursement to the employee. Companies adopting any of the three transferrable medical schemes receive a higher tax deduction for medical expenses incurred.

Why the inertia? While there are clear advantages for employees when it comes to transferrable health insurance, there are some obstacles that have meant relatively few employers have signed on. The first of these is higher costs. A 2015 report cited that switching to a transferrable medical benefits scheme would equate to an increase of about 30% to 50% in costs, depending on the company’s current scheme and demographics. This would especially ring true for organisations with older workforces, as well as for SMEs which do not have access to extensive financial resources. Some workers have also been unexcited about portable medical benefits schemes 46 JUNE 2017


because most require a co-payment from their own pockets.

Switching over Still, two organisations that have adopted Portable Medical Benefits for their workforces say the decision has been successful, with employees enjoying greater peace of mind. They have returned that favour in the form of greater loyalty and engagement. Raffles Hotel Singapore was on a standard Group Hospitalisation and Surgical Insurance policy before being the first in the hotel sector to switch to transferrable medical benefits in 2008. Jennifer Tan, the hotel’s Director of Talent and Culture, says the group insurance had several limitations. One major gripe was that the scheme had an age limit of 65. With the hotel having a substantial proportion of workers in their early 60s, this meant that many staff would have been left stranded without insurance coverage once they hit 65, regardless of whether they retired or stayed working. With transferable benefits, employees can now enjoy lifetime insurance coverage even after leaving the hotel. Some of the hotel’s employees did voice their reservations about the scheme. Many said they had been happy with their existing coverage and were not happy about the additional co-payments. In order to clear the doubts, the hotel ran a series of roadshows to educate its staff on the benefits of the new scheme. The HR team also got into the act by having a one-on-one explanation for colleagues who needed more clarity and information about the transferrable benefits scheme. The hotel’s decision to switch predominantly to a transferrable-based scheme (foreign staff are ineligible and so continue to be covered under group insurance) has paid dividends; its average voluntary staff turnover of 1.3% per month in 2016 was well below the industry average. Raffles Hotel has also fared consistently well in its employee

engagement space, having attained a score of 96% in its last colleague engagement survey. The hotel has even gained international prominence after it represented Singapore in the International Workshop on Sustainability in Happy and Healthy Workplace in Asia, held in Tokyo in 2015. Tan says since the launch of transferrable benefits, there have been a few cases of colleagues being diagnosed with serious illnesses. “They saw the benefits of the coverage, which may not have been sufficient had they remained on the group insurance scheme,” she says. Retired staff have also since visited the HR team to thank them, saying that the portable benefits scheme has meant greater financial independence and peace of mind in their retirement. Another company that has adopted portable medical benefits is Canon Singapore. The organisation’s decision to switch to this initiative stems from its corporate philosophy of Kyosei, which means “living and working together for the common good”. In a local context, one key aspect is ensuring that the welfare of its staff are being well looked after. “The portable medical benefits scheme is aligned with our beliefs because of how it stays with employees for life, instead of only covering employees for the period that they remain with a particular organisation,” says Jason Hon, Canon Singapore’s Senior Director of HR. Another attractive option for Canon Singapore employees is the fact the scheme caters to their needs at different life stages and guarantees them lifelong medical coverage. Hon believes the more generous coverage has played a key role in employee retention, with average staff tenure now at more than nine years. “Schemes like this go a long way in showing employees that they are valued, thus boosting their satisfaction and fostering a strong sense of belonging,” he adds.

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23 June 2017 Singapore

The HRM Awards Best Practices Congress is the highly anticipated follow-up event to the HRM Awards. The congress brings together winners and finalists for a day of in-depth sharing of the internal practices and projects that made them the indisputable winners in their respective award categories.

Who knows, maybe you could be the next HRM Award Winner?! Award Winning Presenters Include: HRM Award Winner: Best C-Suite Leader

HRM Award Winner: Best Diversity Tand Inclusion Strategies

HRM Award Winner: Best Talent Acquisition Strategies

PAUL CHONG President and Group Chief Executive Officer The Certis Group

SOPHIE GUERIN Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) Dell Inc.

LYNN HONG Director, Human Resources & Office Services McDonalds

HRM Award Winner: Best Culture and Engagement (below 500)

HRM Award Winner: Best Culture and Engagement (below 500)

HRM Award Winner: Best Change Management Strategies

ANGELINE YET Recruitment Manager Flight Centre Travel Group

NATALIE VINE Peopleworks Team Leade Flight Centre Travel Group

TIM RATH Group Chief People Officer Lazada Group

Join us on 23rd June to experience a day of award winning peer to peer mentoring and sharing of best practices. REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: |


THE KEYS TO TRUE Neal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer of DBS Bank, was recently awarded the Talent Unleashed prize for the world’s most disruptive C-Level change agent. In this HRM Asia exclusive, former colleague Laurence Smith interviews Cross on what it takes to build a standout innovation team and keep it motivated

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LAURENCE SMITH: Organisations worldwide are facing disruption from digital startups and are racing to hire Chief Innovation Officers (CIOs) — but there is only a small pool of people with the right skills. How do you find the right one for your organisation? NEAL CROSS: For any CIO to succeed, they need the right working environment. Even the best CIO won’t succeed without a conducive environment. In my case, there are four things which are essential to performing my role effectively. I provide protection, inspiration, education, and freedom to

my team – and while I think any leader needs to do the same, it is especially important as a CIO. Why? The first question to ask yourself is where in the organisation should the CIO sit? Because no matter what, they will face politics and have to fight for resources, budgets, bonuses, and the CEO’s mindshare. So the CIO needs visible connection to top management, either positional power on the organisational chart, or very explicit sponsorship by the CEO. This must be highly visible support so that the connection to power helps negate any potential politics. But this role is still far from plain


E DISRUPTION sailing. In some ways, innovation groups tend to do what other groups do: build products, generate PR, do technology and the like – managing multiple relationships is key here. But the most important thing, especially if it is an individual’s first CIO role, is that they have a place where they have protection. Because there will be many who have gotten used to doing things in a certain way. They will not like being disrupted and may sometimes oppose the change. Having a layer of protection ensures that the innovation team isn’t afraid to come up with new ideas, even if they get rejected from time to time. But protection for innovation

teams isn’t enough. They also require inspiration. At DBS, the CEO Piyush Gupta, was clear that we wanted to be one of the best banks in the world. That’s a vision that I can take on and make my own. So now my team and I are inspired to do something really big and ambitious, using that as our driving force! And to help us get there, there is a lot of education that needs to be done. Not just within the innovation teams, but also across the organisation’s wider workforce. The key about innovation is that it is not just driven by one team, it is an organisation-wide mentality that needs to be nurtured. That is where education comes in to

introduce new ways of thinking, working and problem-solving that really help organisations to step up. The final thing a new CIO needs is freedom: freedom to write your own key performance indicators (KPIs), which, of course, the CEO must sign off on. As the CIO, you still need to decide on the actual programmes and provide direction on how to get things done. Now, of course, this can be a doubleedged sword. If you have the wrong CIO, things could go wrong. If you’re hiring a CIO, just let them be, at least in the short term. When you think about goals, it is really critical not to force KPIs on them or expect JUNE 2017


GUEST CONTRIBUTOR immediate returns, especially not immediate revenue. This just sets them up for failure. Initially a new CIO’s role should be about activity: getting as many staff as possible through some form of engagement with the innovation office. For the first year, if you do not let them write their own KPIs, then make it clear you want lots of activity and measure how many startups and employees are engaged by an innovation programme.

a silver bullet. You have to decide what organisational problem you’re trying to solve: whether you need better products, a more innovative culture, a greater brand impact, or to attract better talent. Many of these aspects may be present, but not all innovation groups are the same, and you need to start with clear objectives.

Upcoming HRM Asia Events

Asia Employment LS: When you first joinedLaw DBS, did you already have a plan in mind of2017 what type 13-14 June Congress of2017 innovation organisation you wanted to Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

LS: Are there any typical schools, HR’s Legal Competencies build? Strengthening to Fight Risk, Stay Compliant while Protecting Business Interest organisations, roles, or industries that NC: I’ve always believed in involving as consistently produce great innovation many people as possible in the business talent? of innovation. In some ways, this can

NC: Unless you’ve got a big budget, you be a defensive strategy, to ensure that won’t2nd be hiring everyone is aligned. If a business unit Annualthe rock stars. But you can find people starting on the journey isn’t involved in an invention, chances who have the right characteristics. are they won’t adopt the idea, or any idea They’ve worked at a technology for that matter. The innovation group June 2017 T h edevelopment C H R O f o rand t hsome e A g e ocan’t f D i just s r udictate p t i o nadoption. Singapore company, done sales, a bit of innovation, and some In fact, this is why most innovation consultancy: that’s a good combination. groups fail, they just don’t involve the Hiring someone from a big consultancy business enough. can work, but I’m not sure that’s a I like to do radical stuff, which means great strategy unless they’re design involving the business isn’t enough, 15 - 16 Aug 2017 consultancies like IDEO, What if or Frog. I actually want the business to do the Singapore Building HR Competencies to Thrive on Disruption – Hiring someone from the Analytics. Big FourDesign. is not Readiness invention themselves. Digital.


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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

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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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. For more information, see:

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I started with three staff, but coming from a technology company background, I knew how to get free resources and partners to scale, and to utilise the bank staff as a multiplier. My group has grown to a 25-strong team, but we still have this huge multiplier of a large external ecosystem of startups, government, and students. Internally we are putting some 5,000 staff through some form of innovation programme this year and that’s having a huge effect on the bank’s culture. Each innovation team member is essentially training and supporting about 200 bank staff. These engagements range from monthly lunch briefings with external speakers to taking part in our FinTech pitch days, or running workshops and inventing products.

LS: So on that point, how do you scale innovation? NC: You can’t do all this manually. We have six key markets and even in Singapore alone, we have three main locations. So we need some digital touchpoints, and platforms for crowdsourcing. You need to involve as many people as possible, especially when they are geographically dispersed. One tool we’ve used is SmartUp. It is a really effective method of engaging through learning, and the great thing about it is it is a platform you can put any content on. We use it to train people on everything from innovation to compliance training. In particular I think the use of SmartUp for on-boarding is really interesting. When people sign the new employment contract there still a 30 to 60-day lag before they join us. With the gamification aspect, and because it’s so versatile, they can get a great understanding of the bank before they even arrive.

LS: How have you gone about driving innovation at DBS? NC: The first thing is hiring great people. They can come from any background,


“There will be many who have gotten used to doing things in a certain way and may oppose change. Having a layer of protection means the innovation team isn’t afraid to come up with new ideas, even if they get rejected from time to time.” but you need to look at lots of résumés. A good hunting ground for us is looking at design thinkers, but that’s highly competitive. There is a lot of talk, but some find it hard to convert and deliver. Their level of skill isn’t high enough, or they don’t have the right culture. What we do is look at what people have done before, and find people who are known in the industry, and people who can get stuff done. Also, you must have someone in the team responsible for the culture. We have Cade Tan who

is the “culture queen” and interviews all final candidates to judge alignment, blackballing anyone who would not be a good fit.

LS: What skills do you look for and how do you judge capabilities? NC: The required skills we look for are design thinking, the ability to work with a lean startup mindset and carry out experiments, as well as experience working with startups.

We like people who have done lots of jobs in different industries, working in sales, marketing, or technology. We like good movement, not necessarily those who have done a year here and a year there, but good tenures with good movement and diverse experiences.

LS: What else do you look for when interviewing? NC: We look for people who are quite humble, but really the skill that is most

About the Authors Neal Cross (left) is the Chief Innovation Officer at DBS Bank, and a constant advocate for innovative thinking and agile cultures within organisations. His tenure since April 2014 has involved building and developing a comprehensive innovation roadmap for DBS. Cross is charged with driving that innovation agenda regionally, as the bank looks to shape the future of finance in Asia-Pacific, enhance customer experiences, and better engage audiences in the digital landscape. Laurence Smith is a former colleague of Cross, having served as DBS’ Managing Director of Learning and Development between 2013 and 2016. He is currently Global Head of Talent and Learning for, as well as an advisor to its board. JUNE 2017


GUEST CONTRIBUTOR THE TOP 10 CIO SKILLS The Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) is a niche and very new role that requires a unique combination of skills, experiences, and attitude. DBS Bank’s Neal Cross, who was recently named the most disruptive CIO in the world, outlines his top 10 requirements for the role

1 2 3 4 5

Sales ability – Executive-level selling and a proven track record in negotiating large deals is all about influence. There’s a difference between someone who says they can influence and someone who can actually sell $10 million to $50 million deals to senior executives in large corporations. Relationship skills – Building relationships across an organisation is essential. Having a track record in sales experience earlier in their career can be a good indicator of this, revealing whether someone can navigate large complex organisations. Executive presence – When you walk into the room, or when you stand up to talk, people should listen. Not because you have wacky ideas, but because you’re credible and can command the room. All executives should have this, but in reality, many don’t Presentation skills – Being a good presenter is mandatory. CIOs talk to potential clients about your organisation and position your brand in terms of innovation. On a basic level, they have to talk about projects and plans to internal audiences.

lacking is the ability to listen. People answer the question they want, not the one you asked. Too many lack listening skills, and really being “present” in the conversation. I like people who sell to me, but not overtly or aggressively. I prefer a more mature sales approach, where they can tease things out of you, and then gently convince you that they are the person you need. Sales skills are very important to innovation, as, essentially, innovation is all about behavioural change. You’re asking people to move from waterfall to agile, from inventing things themselves to co-innovation. Being able to influence is a very significant skill. During an interview, people must be very enthusiastic, feel that it is a great honour to work for this innovation group, and that we do really important work. If people say “I’ll think about it”, I immediately turn them down.

Technical skills – So much of innovation is powered by technology. The job is not entirely about technology, but about solving problems for the business, and you need to be able to understand things like the future of tech, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and virtual and augmented reality. Without a deep understanding of technology, you lose credibility. Experience in a tech firm can be useful here.

6 7 8 9 10

The ability to inspire – CIOs need to be able to inspire and motivate, build relationships internally, and develop smart partnerships on external platforms. Through engagement with government agencies, students, and startups, the ability to build and maintain large ecosystems is critical. Innovative nature – CIOs must be personally innovative, but not overtly so with crazy random ideas. Ideal is someone who creatively solves problems, and pushes the boundaries and their teams out of their comfort zones.

A hands-on approach – At the CIO level, innovation teams tend to be small so you need someone who will roll their sleeves up and be hands-on. They should be running workshops, drawing prototypes, mentoring startups, and more. They must understand the mechanisms and skills required to deliver results.


A talent magnet – The one thing that has made me successful is the ability to attract really good talent. So look at the potential CIO’s personal philosophy and leadership style – will it also attract high quality people? It’s the role of the CIO to get the very best inside the corporation or to bring talent in. Culture building skills –The culture you build within the innovation team can appeal to people who do not typically thrive in conventional corporate cultures. You can get really great talent from design and creative agencies who can’t perform in big corporations, but can in innovation teams.

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Neal Cross (right) celebrates his Talent Unleashed Most Disruptive CIO Award with competition judge and co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak

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

Technology is disrupting all aspects of business, creating a smart, digital, mobile, hyper-connected and agile world of work where the lines between work and life are increasingly blurred. What does this technology-led future mean for your organisation and business? Smart Workforce Summit 2017 will explore the impacts of disruptions both present and emerging such as: • AI (Artificial Intelligence) • Contingent workforces • Wearables in the workplace • Transformation • Automation • Globalisation and much more, while demonstrating the existing and start-up technologies that are revolutionising the way we work.

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Making a smoother career transition


ransitions are a busy period for anyone, and can be chaotic. From the start of your notice to the time you begin your new job, key things need to be checked off - a handover for your successor as well as from your predecessor. A common trapping that derails a smooth transition is our lack of professionalism in handling handover by indulging in our emotions, both positive and negative. More often than not, we attach emotions to the job being vacated - it could be happiness from leaving a toxic environment or a reluctance from leaving a job that brought joy. Whatever it may be, it is clear that emotions tied to the job or the organisation are immaterial for your successor and for the company. A mentor of mine said, “Take care of exits, both yours and others. Leave behind how you want to be remembered as a professional.” Indeed the main point is professionalism. Do this by exhibiting a credible image with a well-

managed exit. The notice period is an opportunity to document guidelines for your successor. Create a handover checklist and provide sufficient time to delegate tasks to them. Allow some lead time for them to make mistakes, as a chance for you to correct them if need be. Now that your exit has been taken care of, do not forget to manage your own succession. Create opportunities to interact with your future team(s) and predecessor. Get familiarised with the people you will be working with, as well as their expectations and practices. Transitions can be chaotic but it doesn’t have to be if you effectively manage the exit process.

Carina Rogerio

Head of Coaching Division Executive Coach International

Ask our HR experts. Email your questions to


The best time to be in HR


his is a time when there is a perfect alignment of multiple disruptions all happening at the same time. Be it the election of political novices or nationalists, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), or the dawn of the gig economy: all these forces are changing the way many people imagined their work to be. These forces of disruption are going to push HR further into the centre-stage of action and it will be a great time for HR professionals who truly believe in making a difference to the organisations they work in and the people they work for. Here are some ways HR can play a major positive role in this era of 54 JUNE 2017


disruptions: • Be a change agent: Accepting the fact that these disruptions are here to stay, become a champion of this change. See how you can be a credible partner to both the business and the employees in translating these changes to meaningful discussions and actions. Being visible and available are key in this case. • Become a technological proponent: Ideate, create, and disrupt the HR organisation to stay ahead of the race. This may mean scanning the market for disruptive technologies, investing more heavily in upgrading the capabilities of yourself and the team, and

bringing more analytics into HR. • Moving from HR to HRi – a human-robotics integrator. HR needs to help ease the transition of purely human-focused organisations to one where human and technology (robotics, AI, and also hybrid thinking) will need to co-exist. As this is going to happen at a much faster rate than ever before, there will be issues with unions, governments, and higher rates of employee dissatisfaction, health and attrition. HR folks can play a vital role in the productivity of organisations, as well as manage with empathy during this critical stage of integration.

Jayesh Menon HR Leader and Director


Naresh Taneja Group President, HR and Administration, IRB Infrastructure Developers

Who is Naresh Raneja – how would you describe yourself?  I’m an HR professional who is based in India, and has over 40 years of experience. How would people describe you? 

They would say I’m someone they can trust; someone who is reliable, sincere in his approach, and always willing to help others.

Complete this sentence. HR is... 

About helping people to realise their full potential. HR’s purpose is to help expand the potential of individuals.

What’s the best part of your job?  When I’m able to help someone and they say “thank you so much”. That makes my day. What’s the worst part?  When I have to enforce some organisational policies. Personally I may not like to do it, but being in an organisation, there has to be some structure. What would you be doing if you were not in HR? 

I would be a

consultant, a counsellor, or a teacher.

Why a counsellor? 

Because again, I like to help people. I feel that I can help them with their problems. I’ve also found that people tend to connect easily with me and trust me. I’m able to keep their secrets, which I will not betray.

What do you like to do outside of work?  I like to listen to music, walk around, and explore new places. I’ll have a camera with me that I use to take pictures. I love nature, so wherever I go, I will look for some good parks. What kind of music do you listen to?  I listen to all types of music. From jazz and rock, to Sufi and classical. Music touches my soul. Who is your favourite leader, past or present? 

Dr Abdul Kalam, the late President of India. I like him because of his simplicity and firm belief in what human potential can do.

“I’m someone who is reliable, sincere in his approach, and always willing to help others” JUNE 2017



THE BIG CHANGE With the changing business environment and economy, any HR team that stands still is set to be left behind. Instead, many are making widescale transformations to the ways they operate. Michael Bokina, Global Head of HR Organisational Effectiveness for Siemens, shares the journey that his 5,000-strong HR team is undertaking.

What exactly is the HR transformation that the Siemens HR organisation is going through? Siemens HR Transformation is indeed a global transformation. Within the context of operating in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment, and changes to our business portfolio, we need to evolve how we operate, our portfolio and most importantly our mindset as a global HR team.  We have developed a set of global “Design Principles” that provide the framework for what we are doing – and it provides us with the blueprint to achieve the common vision we have of ‘Unlocking the Full Potential of our People’ across Siemens globally.

56 JUNE 2017


HRM ASIA CONGRESS INSIGHTS What are the goals of this exercise? There are three main cornerstones of our transformation: to be more agile, to increase the level of expertise, and to focus on what is core to the business. Agility means thinking less hierarchically and leveraging the size, scale and capabilities of our global HR function: if we win a project in Egypt, we find the right people to deliver on the business requirements in Egypt. Another component of agility is to be able to turn services ‘on’ and ‘off’ as the business requires.  The Siemens portfolio is diverse, with a wide range of businesses all in different stages of growth and development.  That means that requirements for HR differ and we need to be able to meet those various requirements without having stand-alone HR organisations for every business and every country. Increasing the level of expertise is moving away from a generalist model and more toward a Centre of Expertise model. And expertise lies beyond the traditional areas like Compensation and Benefits. It now also extends to Shared Services and our HR business partners.  Our goal is to bring the best marketdriven, innovative solutions to the business, and that requires the right level of expertise. Core to the business is the last driver of our transformation.  Here we need to focus our portfolio on what is unique to and for the benefit of Siemens, finding where we can help Siemens create a competitive advantage.  For other services, we will look to outsource.  Traditionally, we have wanted to do everything in-house, but this concept forces us to be more thoughtful about how we staff our organisation, what skills we keep in-house, and where we can leverage expertise externally.

How can these aims be measured before, during, and after the fact? We continuously track our spend-peremployee, our headcount ratios, and the like. We do annual business satisfaction surveys as well, along with a defined HR

partner board made up of business and country CEOs and other stakeholders. We look at all these aspects as an over-arching measurement system to determine if we are on the right track.  No one measure will tell the distinct story, but rather all combined tell us if we are progressing on our transformation… and most importantly, helping our businesses to achieve their objectives. What are some of the risks of attempting to change a global HR team only half-heartedly, or without the appropriate preparation? We are about 5,200 HR employees globally, so building and maintaining the transformation is quite a challenge.  The old adage tells us to “capture the hearts and minds”. We have spent more time recently focused on these change elements to get the right level of buy-in and

commitment to where we are headed. We also have a dedicated team which drives the topics, timelines, and content to ensure we are moving forward appropriately.  The combination of dedicated resources and leadership commitment are essential to keeping us on track.

What aspects of HR transformation will you be presenting on at the HR Transformation Summit 2.0 I’ll be discussing the HR transformation journey at Siemens in more detail, looking at the whole story as well how and why we have been changing the mindsets of all our staff. The biggest take-away lesson is that the transformation is only successful if we ourselves can be agile and learn as we go along.

HR’S EVOLUTION ON SHOW Michael Bokina and the Siemens’ HR journey will be one of many highlights of the HR Transformation Summit 2.0, on show in Singapore on August 15 and 16. Delegates will hear from HR professionals overhauling their teams across a wide range of industries to discover why the function is in need of change, and how to kick start that process. Along with Bokina and other high-calibre speakers from the likes of Deutsche Bank, Deloitte, and Syngenta Asia-Pacific, delegates will also be able to participate in an exclusive, in-depth workshop on HR Design Thinking. For more information, visit congress.hrmasia. com

JUNE 2017


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

Dear Laurence, I graduated in 2016 and now have 10 months’ junior experience with a medium-sized logistics business in Singapore. However, I have not enjoyed the work – which is mostly data-entry and administration– or my colleagues, who constantly emphasise my low place on the company ladder. I have started looking for other opportunities but don’t know what, if anything, my limited experience counts for. Should I be fighting with the newer graduates for entry-level jobs, or are there higher positions that I might qualify for now? In limbo, Singapore Let me ask you: what made you want to work in HR in the first place, and what were your expectations of your first job ? I think the reality in many organisations is that entry level jobs in HR are quite administrative, and many have a process of “winning your spurs” through hard work and learning before you are fully accepted by your peers and colleagues. Having said that, it does sound like the culture of the organisation you have found yourself in may not be that of a growth mindset organisation, where they look for the best in people and facilitate their growth and career development. So I’d advise you to reflect on why you want to work in HR and what your expectations are. And while you keep this job and work as hard as you can in

it, to also network as broadly as you can and explore other opportunities. Also talk and network with as many as your peers as you can – those with the same experience, or maybe a year or two more. Find out what their journey has been, and use that to help you clarify your own expectations. Then get a clear idea of where you want to be three years from now, what you need to do to get there; and the price you are prepared to pay in terms of time and effort and jobs that are not always very exciting. Perhaps most importantly, I recommend you to think deeply about the type of culture you want to work for and ensure that in your next job there is a better cultural fit between how you want to contribute and the type of contributions and development the organisation enables.

Dear Laurence, I am the assistant manager of a very small HR team covering a relatively large public organisation. Apart from me and my boss, we have had relatively high turnover of staff below us, I think because we don’t allocate any budget to training within the HR team. Now I feel like I am not getting the training I need to progress in my career. Can you recommend any free or lowcost development options that I can then suggest on behalf of my team? Untrained, Singapore

First of all, you suspect people are leaving because of a lack of training, but you don’t know that. My first action would be to implement exit interviews if you don’t have them. And if you do have them but you’re not confident in what they’re telling you, to even reach out to people who have left a second time. It may not be the lack of training. It may be the workload; it may be the leadership style; it may be the culture. You need to validate your assumptions. It is often a sad reality, that HR people are the cobbler’s children, and the last to receive training. The most progressive HR organisations and teams are good at ensuring that their people are also trained because they understand that it is a multiplier within the organisation. Better trained HR people lead to better workforce outcomes across the board. You should note that the Singapore government’s focus is on future-skilling the economy, and that training workers in multiple industries are a national priority. HR should be a critical enabler in this in every company. Surely the government needs to be a role model in this case. There are many good opportunities in Singapore, included many government-supported training programmes, and your Skills Future credit can help. You can also look to online options, including e-Cornell, Coursera, and Udacity. Many of these have free programmes available. I also recommend you network broadly and join some form of HR community.

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

58 JUNE 2017


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19 - 22 SEPT

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

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

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HR Business Partner

• Global MNC in the medical devices industry • Implementation of processes and systems for recruitment function

• Well-established MNC in the Manufacturing Industry • Strategic & Operational HR function

Due to plant expansion, the Talent Acquisition Manager is primarily accountable for managing recruitment processes across blue and white collar functions

Our client is a well-established leading player in the industrial sector, and has built a strong presence as it continues to expand itself in the APAC region. They are currently seeking a seasoned HR professional to partner the business in achieving its objectives and fuel long-term growth.

The successful candidate will serve as a strategic and tactical business partner to all business units in Singapore. You will also work closely with the HR head to work on improving or reengineering existing recruitment procedures. Degree qualified with a minimum of 10 years relevant experience ideally in MNCs and in the manufacturing industry. Ideally, you will have proven success in process engineering and execution globally. You are hands on, self motivated and flexible operating in a fast paced environment, and possess strong communication as well as influencing skills.

Reference number: JO/448851 Contact person: Jennifer ONG (Registration Number R1324297)

In this role, you will report to the Country HR Director, while partnering closely with senior business leaders and HR CoEs to deliver best HR practices. You will take a strategic and yet hands-on approach, with the mandate to provide counsel as well as drive and implement changes around people strategies. The successful candidate comes at least 8 years of experience and is an impact-driven HR professional of high strategic calibre and strong operational exposure. You will have demonstrated excellent stakeholder management skills, takes a proactive and analytical approach around resolving issues and have proven success around implementing and executing initiatives. Reference number: CC/JD438444 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)

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

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

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60 JUNE 2017


HR Business Partner • Well-established MNC in the media and digital industry • Regional role in a dynamic and fast paced environment Our client is a well-established leading player in the media sector, who has built a strong presence across the globe and continues to expand in the APAC region. They are currently seeking a seasoned HR professional to partner the business in achieving its objectives and fuel long-term growth. In this role, you will report to the Country HR Director, while partnering closely with senior business leaders and HR CoEs to deliver best HR practices. You will ideally be hands-on and able to act as an advisor to provide counsel as well as drive and implement changes around people strategies. The successful candidate is an impact-driven HR professional of high calibre and strong operational exposure. You will have demonstrated excellent stakeholder management skills, able to take a proactive and analytical approach around resolving issues and enjoy the challenge of building processes from scratch. Reference number: NC/JD452014 Contact person: Niharika Chaturvedi (Registration Number R1104291)


Talent Acquisition Manager

Opportunities for Life

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

Compensation & Benefits Manager

Human Resources Director (based in Hong Kong)

• Excellent Growth Opportunity • Covers Asia Pacific region

• International technology start-up • Strategic, challenging and hands-on role

Our client who is a market leader in their industry is currently seeking a dynamic C&B Manager to join the team.

A technology start-up with aggressive expansion plan internationally, our client has an immediate need for a consummate and dynamic HR Leader to shape and drive its people agenda.

Reporting to the Head of Compensation & Benefits, you are an integral team member supporting the full suite of C&B activities partnering closely with various in-country HR Managers. Your role will create reward strategies, compensation survey, analysis of competitive salary, market trend data and establish salary and bonus review guidelines. You will coordinate annual compensation review process, review and develop compensation & benefits strategies in line with organizational and business objectives. You will be a graduate in HRM or Statistics with more than 5 years strong regional C&B knowledge and HR experience. You hone exceptional skills in establishing operational guidelines, systems and processes for assessing program performance. Strong communication, analytical and numerical ability is highly desired. You need to have good knowledge of excel applications and is a strong HRIS user. Ideally, you should come from a sizable & fast-moving organization with regional presence. To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at or Audrey Chong at EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147

As HR Leader, you will develop and implement HR strategies and programs in areas of talent acquisition and development, total rewards, employee engagement to support attainment of business objectives. As a strategic HR advisor to the leadership team, you will participate in business strategy development, maximize organizational performance and take lead for HR projects. You will provide direction, develop and coach local HR team with required competencies to support the business. Ideally, you possess post-graduate Master degree in Business Administration or HR with minimum 8 years relevant experience in strategic HR leadership roles with international or global remit. Demonstrated ability in stakeholder management, dealing with ambiguity in a highly matrix and fast-paced work environment is mandatory. You are a hands-on and forward-thinking leader with coaching and mentoring skills, and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills. To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at or Audrey Chong at 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




JUNE 2017



Regional Recruitment Lead (Digital Advertising)

A European global brand, this multinational organisation has an exciting opening for a Senior HR Business Partner. This is a huge opportunity as it’s a newly created role with an organisation that is expanding rapidly in this part of the world. As a key member of the HR team, this individual contributor role will be looking after both the commercial and operations side with 250 employees in Singapore, working closely with the business and translating their strategic objectives into specific HR programs.

This global business provides leading-edge solutions for online advertising. With solid funding and superior technology, they are well placed to be the market leader in Asia Pacific. Due to continued growth and a new business strategy, the company needs to up-skill the recruitment function. Leading the regional talent acquisition team, your mission is to improve the speed and quality of hiring senior professionals in the industry. A hands-on role where you will be expected to manage the entire recruitment and on-boarding process in multiple countries.

Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

HR Director (Aerospace) A US multinational within the manufacturing industry is currently looking for a HR Director to set up the HR function across Singapore and Australia. You will be reporting to the VP and be responsible for providing advice, leadership and direction to the function. You will continually review, develop, and implement new strategies, policies, and plans to provide, promote and sustain an employee-oriented and high performance culture. You must be from a similar industry and have progressive HR generalist experience with more than five years at senior management level. Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

EA License Number: 07C3924

62 JUNE 2017


Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721.

Regional Learning & Development Head (Online Media) A market-leader in online services and technology, our client has presence in multiple countries across the Asia region. You will be responsible for establishing and delivering the full spectrum of learning and development programs across the business. This will include new joiner induction and training programmes, and ongoing professional development plans for each function and level. Contact Ash Russell (Reg ID. R1109296) at or call +65 6303 0721 | 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. Country HR Leader (Director Level) Prominent Industrial MNC • Country HR leadership role • Established MNC • Progressive work environment This is a leading industrial company with an established global footprint and a leading product pipeline undergoing extensive organic growth. They are aggressively expanding their APAC market presence. We are delighted to be working with one of our clients to help appoint their Country Head of HR to be based in Singapore. Reporting directly to the Country MD and APAC HR Leader based in Singapore, this role will manage a team and be responsible for all aspects of human resources business partnering for several business units covering areas such as performance management, organization development, rewards, talent selection & management, HR Processes, and strategic business planning. This role has wide exposure throughout the organization and will play a key role in support the Country MD’s commercial strategy and actively participate in senior leadership decision making, develop a robust learning & development agenda, lead change management initiatives, and create an innovative and commercially focused HR team. You are degree qualified with at least 15 years+ of relevant experience in blue chip MNCs. You must be able to build rapport across all levels and markets, demonstrate strong leadership abilities, and display a partnering mentality. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title. We regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Payroll Manager, Hospitality • Strong payroll experience • Support headcount of 1000 • North West work location Our client is in hospitality industry in Singapore with exciting development plans in the next few years. They are looking for a Payroll Manager to manage both their in-house payroll and payroll vendors in Singapore. You will be managing the entire payroll function for employees in the capacity of both full time and part time employment. In addition, you will be working closely with HR partners and supporting payroll-related queries from business stakeholders. You will also be managing the insurance matters including policy renewals and claims including health screening and perform other related duties and HR projects as required or assigned. You will need to work closely with Finance department to monitor cost against budget and highlight discrepancies as well as implement systematic procedures to streamline workflow and efficiency. You will have at least 6 to 8 years of payroll experience, with strong vendor management experience. Solid experience in supporting payroll for a headcount of 1000 and above will be desired. You will be familiar with local employment legislation, and be able to handle complexity and thrive in a fast-paced environment. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and reference number JS12032. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates are notified. Reg No: R1107886

Reg No: 16S8060

• Global Technology Organisation • Progressive work environment • APAC region This is a global technology organisation which has been in business for over 30 years. With a strong employee base and stable revenue streams, the organisation is looking to expand in Asia, and needs a strong HR manager for the region. This critical leadership role will be instrumental in aligning and executing the HR strategy, core processes, and activities in the region. This person will be expected to manage and continuously enhance HR functions, come up with solutions and take the company to greater heights.The role requires a high performance business partner with the gravitas to liaise with senior leaders in order to deliver efficient and quality HR services. 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. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title. Due to high volume of responses, only shortlisted candidates are notified

Regional HR Operations & Projects • APAC Region • 11 countries • Strong HR operations Our client, one of the global leaders within the luxury industry has a newly created Regional HR Operations position based in Singapore. Reporting to the Regional HR Director, you will work closely and collaborate with the respective country HR leaders to support the 11 countries within the APAC region. You will help to support across end to end HR functions including regional projects & initiatives relating to L&D and rewards. In addition, you will help to manage HR data and market reports for the region. You will be degree qualified in Human Resources or Business related discipline. Ideally, you will have 8 to 10 years of HR generalist regional experience. You will be highly adaptable in a fast paced and dynamic environment. Regional experience is critical and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse stakeholders in the region. Experience in using various social platforms for recruiting or employer branding will be an advantage. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS11639. We regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Licence No: 03C4828

Regional HRBP (Director Level) Technology Industry

Reg No: R1107886

Reg No: 16S8060

JUNE 2017


64 JUNE 2017


JUNE 2017


HRM June 2017 Lufthansa  

In the June edition, Lufthansa's regional director talks about his organisation massive global restructure