MOBILITY FOR MILLENNIALS
WORKFORCE PLANNING UNDER PRESSURE
MOULD Price inc. GST $9.95
Kwang Kam Shing brings a new perspective to JP Morgan Private Banking
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THANK YOU! To our delegates, visitors, sponsors, exhibitors and partners for a successful 16th edition of HR Summit and Expo Asia! Your overwhelming support of the event was once again testimonial to the importance of HR and its contribution to organisational success through managing great workforces and creating better workplaces for all.
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Paul Howell SENIOR JOURNALIST
Kelvin Ong JOURNALIST
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Dear HRM Magazine Asia readers,
ith technology becoming more ubiquitous than ever (if that’s even possible), many of you shared this past HR Summit and Expo that your priorities have gone one step further than the implementation of data-driven strategies. As a critical function, HR’s role has expanded into the forecasting of future skills and roles, the calculated deployment of shrinking talent pools, and the facilitation of innovative applications. In many sense, HR has metamorphosed from mere problem solver, to oracle. One senior HR leader told us that as a result of the business’ changing needs, his responsibilities had also evolved. He said the emphasis on strategic workforce planning has become more pivotal than ever as companies attempt to be agile in order to keep up with a rapidly changing economy. HR people must now be willing to keep their strategist hats on permanently. It was against this backdrop that we approached this month’s in-depth feature (see: page 14), where we review the restructuring plans of some of the hardest hit industries in Asia – they include aviation, retail, banking and finance, and manufacturing. There’s no better time to assess the regional labour market now that we’re halfway through 2018. Our cover subject this month, JP Morgan Private Banking’s Asia CEO Kwang Kam Shing, is well familiar with
restructuring herself, having being a part of the banking and finance sector through both its good and bad times. The new set of manpower challenges posed by digital disruption fails to faze Kwang. “There’s always the fear that you will be replaced. But new technology will create new job opportunities. Those who embrace it faster will be ahead, and those who take long longer will be left behind,” she tells us over on page 10. Skills upgrading is crucial if individuals want to avoid being left behind. Even leaders like Kwang are not spared from the need to be retrained. In fact, as we learned in a special leadership feature (see: page 38), leaders are often expected to wear different hats – and there’s no better way for them to demonstrate this willingness than through job rotations and regular training sessions. Oil and gas mammoth Shell, for example, uses performance metrics that test an individual’s level of agility across functions in their selection of potential leaders; while beer producer Carlsberg encourages future heads to take on overseas assignments. Until next time,
KELVIN ONG Senior Journalist, HRM Asia
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YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY Journalist yamini.chinnuswamy @hrmasia.com.sg
5/28/2018 4:19:52 PM
ON THE COVER
BREAKING THE MOULD
Kam Shing Kwang, the Asia CEO of JP Morgan Private Banking, talks about how the investment bank and financial services company is using technology to leads its people into a new wave of growth
“Technology is not there to replace people. It frees up capacity so that we can do even more high value activities” – KWANG KAM SHING,
ASIA CEO, JP MORGAN PRIVATE BANKING
F E AT U R E S PLANNING: 14WORKFORCE INDUSTRIES AT RISK Traditional industries like aviation, retail, shipping, finance, and manufacturing, are bearing the brunt of technological disruption. HRM Magazine Asia takes a look at how they are coping
THE WAY 18RETHINKING WE WORK For the 16th year running, HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018 brought together the best and brightest in workforce management, leadership, and HR practices
38 ALL THE RIGHT MOVES
When change is the only constant, leaders must adapt or risk ‘dying’. Organisations are starting to build these adaptive skills in their leaders
Generation Y have a particular way of working, and that includes their approach to mobility
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6/1/2018 2:36:12 PM
WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here
SPECIAL REPORT The role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia
26UP TO THE CHALLENGE?
HR leaders in Asia have some big opportunities in the current market environment. But do they have the skills and resources to truly take advantage of them? HRM Magazine Asia investigates
KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Kulshaan Singh, the newly-appointed Chief People Officer of Thai conglomerate CP Group, talks about the indispensable role that HR leaders play in bringing disparate organisations together
GETTING ON BOARD(ROOMS)
REGULARS 04 06 08 52 59 60
BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS HRM FIVE UPCOMING EVENTS TWO CENTS NEXT MONTH
MY HR CAREER GUIDE FOR THE ASPIRING 54AHRHOW-TO SUPERSTAR
The right Chief HR Officer can bring incredible value to any corporate board. Guest contributor Coco Brown suggests four essential reasons for a new diversity in directorships
Raymond Soh of Publicis Sapient in Southeast Asia and Japan delves into the nitty-gritty of what exactly makes an HR superstar “super”
34DELIVERING HR SUCCESS
Tanie Eio, Vice President of HR with UPS in Asia-Pacific talks about the challenges of staying on top of a massive, multinational operation
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL READER ADVICE JUNE 2018
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BEST OF HRMASIA.COM
.com Watch - Too much tech, too soon?
Redmart’s Chief of People Stephanie Nash and Gardens by the Bay’s Senior Director of HR Phan Yoke Fei debate the state of diversity and inclusion in Singapore organisations, and whether it is premature for HR to be adopting emerging technologies.
There are a few HR lessons from a recent United Airlines staff bonus lottery scheme that was subsequently rescinded.
Last month, we asked: What do you think of the latest Singapore Tripartite Standards on Age-friendly Workplace Practices? This was your response.
13 % Not comprehensive
19 % Age inclusivity has
50 % Sounds great on paper, but tough to implement in reality
25 % A welcomed move
never been a problem 04
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5/28/2018 4:25:49 PM
Share - From the HRM Asia Forums
“Business leaders need to set the tone within their respective organisations. Diversity, and the way we manage diversity, will eventually define the organisational environment”
Watch - A helping hand
The Institute for HR Professionals is helping to build and professionalise the practice of workforce management in Singapore, as CEO Mayank Parekh explains.
John Lombard, CEO, Dimension Data, Asia-Pacific, says championing diversity is every business leader’s responsibility
uditing culture helps firms to understand how everyone in the business is affecting its value”
Mark Billington, ICAEW Regional Director, Southeast Asia, on why culture audits can help companies to identify problem areas that need to be fixed
“COMPETITION FOR TALENT IS THE BIGGEST CONCERN FOR HR LEADERS TODAY. RECRUITERS NEED TO ENSURE THAT THEIR TALENT ACQUISITION PROCESS IS CALIBRATED TO MAXIMISE THE CHANCES OF THE RIGHT CANDIDATES STICKING AROUND”
Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice President of HR, Indeed, provides three recruitment tips to beat the growing talent crunch
Don’t wait for the printed magazine each month – the best of HRM Asia’s news, features, and analysis are available both online and through the daily e-newsletters. Even this magazine issue can be read cover-to-cover in an electronic version from Monday, June 4. With fully-dynamic links to even more content, including video and archived materials, the HRM e-magazine is everything you know from the printed product, plus much, much more. Sign up at www.hrmasia.com/content/subscribe for daily email updates, and the first look at every story, opinion, guest post, and HRM TV episode. Remember to also stay updated throughout the working week by checking into www.hrmasia.com on mobile, tablet, or computer. And connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make your mark in the HR community in Asia-Pacific All combined, HRM Asia’s multiple platforms and huge variety of content give HR professionals and business leaders the world’s best view of the fastevolving HR universe, here in Asia. JUNE 2018
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COMPANY FINED OVER WORKER’S DEATH A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY in Singapore has been fined S$290,000 over the safety lapses that resulted in a worker’s death in 2016. Arumugam Elango was crushed to death by piling casings – each weighing almost 2 tonnes – that toppled over at a machine storage yard in the Kranji neighbourhood. Following investigations, the Ministry of Manpower determined that safety lapses by Elango’s employer, ZAP Piling, had enabled the accident.
In addition to a lack of risk assessments, the company had not established safety procedures or applied for the relevant lifting operations permits, it found. “The company’s numerous and glaring oversights in ensuring their workers’ safety resulted in a loss of life. A heavy fine was sought to remind employers not to blatantly disregard the safety of their workers,” Sebastian Tan, director of the Ministry’s occupational safety and health inspectorate, said.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
FASHION RETAILER PACKS UP
CLOTHING RETAILER ESPRIT has announced it will be bringing down
the shutters on all 67 stores across Australia and New Zealand for good. Some 350 employees will be affected by the brand’s exit from both markets. In a press release, the company said operations in both countries had been loss-making and “non-performing”, and that “divesting the operations (would) allow management to concentrate efforts and resources in developing other markets in Asia”. These markets are understood to be China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. For the financial year ended 30 June 2017, the operations in Australia and New Zealand contributed HK$297 million (S$50.5 million) to the group’s revenue, representing less than 2% of its total revenue.
AIRLINE STAFF STRIKE BACK AROUND 400 KOREAN AIR employees took
to the streets of Seoul in protest against the leadership of the family-owned company. The protests were ignited after the daughter of chairman Cho Yang-ho was accused of insulting and hurling fruit juice at an advertising executive during a business meeting. This is the second time a member of the family has made headlines for their violent workplace behaviour. In 2014, Cho’s other daughter was
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sentenced to one-year imprisonment for abusing and belittling two flight attendants, after they had served her macadamia nuts without first seeking permission. She then had the pilot turn the aircraft back to the main terminal so that she could have the chief flight attendant removed. Last month’s incident only served to provoke more negative feelings among Korean Air employees, who said they will continue to protest until the chairman steps down.
6/1/2018 2:49:02 PM
STARBUCKS CEO ACKNOWLEDGES RACIAL BIAS STARBUCKS COFFEE COMPANY closed more than 8,000 company-owned stores
across the US on the afternoon of May 29 to educate employees on racial bias. The company said the “racial-bias education” was “geared toward preventing discrimination” in its stores. The training was provided to nearly 175,000 workers across the country, and will become part of the on-boarding process for all new employees. The company added that workers will go through a training programme designed to promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome. The decision to launch this curriculum comes after the recent wrongful arrest of two African American men at a Starbucks store.
BT TO AXE 13,000 JOBS UK TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY BT –
previously known as British Telecom – will be cutting 13,000 jobs over the next three years. It is expected that two-thirds of the job cuts will affect the 83,000-strong UK workforce. The remaining third of layoffs will disrupt the company’s international labour pool, which numbers 23,000. Most of the positions being cut will be back office and middle-management roles. The layoffs follow only a year after a previous round of restructuring, which saw the company slash 4,000 jobs; half of which were in the UK. In total, the cuts comprise more than a tenth of BT’s total global workforce of 98,000. “We need to do this to be competitive in the future,” said Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT. “If we are compared with our peers, we are frankly too complex and overweight.”
FRENCH COMPANIES TO BE FINED FOR GENDER PAY GAPS
FRANCE PLANS TO penalise companies that do not practice gender pay equality. Unions and employers have been informed by the French government of a proposal for companies with more than 50 employees to install software monitoring their payroll figures. This software will reportedly flag up pay gaps that cannot be explained by the usual factors such as differences in qualification or experience. The rollout of the software will begin next year, with companies that have more than 250 employees. It will then be expanded in 2020, to organisations with between 50 and 249 employees. If “unjustified” pay gaps are not rectified within three years of identification, firms risk being fined up to 1% of their total wage bills. On average, French men receive almost 10% more than their female counterparts – this despite laws dictating equal pay for same work.
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GRIEF IN THE WORKPLACE BY YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY
No matter the size of your company, it’s highly probable that at least one of the employees under its care will experience the loss of a loved one during their tenure. While bereavement is very much a personal matter, it is can also be incredibly overwhelming. Here are some tips for how HR can treat this issue with care and sensitivity.
Put guidelines in place
People are often at a loss when it comes to dealing with the grief of their teammates or subordinates – workplace bereavement policies will help provide a framework. These usually include a few days of paid leave, but can also provide for the option of unpaid leave, just in case employees need more time to wrap up the affairs of the deceased relative.
Temporarily redistribute workloads
HR will need to work with line managers to understand how the affected employee’s workload can be shared by the team for a short while. Do emphasise that this is not a demotion, but an acknowledgement of grief as a very human reaction to loss.
Policies aren’t enough, of course. During such an emotional period, a personal touch can make all the difference. Organising a card, flowers, or collection for the bereaved employee is a simple way to support them, and acknowledge their difficult experience.
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Implement sensitivity training
Sensitivity training isn’t just for the benefit of employees who have experienced a recent personal loss – it will also help bosses and colleagues better understand how they should handle the situation. People often end up saying or doing nothing, and this can end up isolating the bereaved worker even more.
Check in every so often
Even if an employee is back and working hard within a week of their loss, it’s a good idea for HR and managers to work together to ensure regular check-ins. You don’t want to have situations where a worker is struggling, but trying to hide it, and inadvertently compromising their work. This is also a way to acknowledge the human faces that comprise your workforce. An employee who feels that they’ve been treated well will also be a loyal employee. email@example.com
5/28/2018 4:36:02 PM
12th Annual Asia Employment Law Congress Ensuring Compliance to Avoid Risk and Gain a Competitive Advantage 19-20 June 2018 | Singapore
If your organisation is, or is likely to be, involved with the employment of staff in Asia Pacific, then you need to ensure that you are updated with current local employment laws, as well as reliable information on employment conditions, policies and procedures. HRM Asia’s 12th Annual Asia Employment Law will provide you with the latest regional employment law updates on how to ensure your organization is fully compliant when employing foreign, independent, fixed-term contract or agency workers. Attend to discover effective means of making your organization free from unconscious bias and discriminatory practices.
Top Regional Employment Legal Experts:
Goh Seow Hui Partner, Head Singapore Employment Practice Bird & Bird
Akiko Yamakawa Partner Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo
Donovan Cheah Partner Donovan & Ho
Brendon Carr Senior Foreign Legal Consultant Hwang Hong & Co. PC
Shobha D’Sa Head of HR and Employee Relations Procter and Gamble
Snapshot of the Latest Regional Employment and Labour Laws to be Covered in Asia Employment Law 2018 Recent amendments to employment and labour laws
Chinese labour & employment law update
Changes in law related to fixed term employees
Employment regulations update: an insider’s guide for foreign employers
Hongkong’s labour protection and regulations highlights
Changes to maternity benefits
Revisions to Taiwan’s Labor Standards Act
Update on the amended Labour Protection Act
New changes to BIR and Tax Laws
Update on proposed amendments to the labour code
Recent trends on employee termination
The new employment insurance scheme (EIS)
Update on minimum wage increase
Latest update on Singapore Employment Act
To register or to find out more
09 EMPLOYMENT LAW AD_JUN 2018.indd 9
New employment relations act
+65 6423 4631 |
Vikram Shroff Head, HR Laws (Employment & Labor) Nishith Desai Associates
Enhance Your Learning Experience!
Attend the Country-Focused Employment Law Post Conference Workshops- covering Singapore, India, Indonesia, Korea, and China • 21 June 2018 – Singapore Employment Law • 18 July 2018 – India Employment Law • 16 August 2018 – Indonesia Employment Law • 13 September 2018 – Korea Employment Law • 8 October 2018 – China Employment Law
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.asiaemploymentlaw.com
5/28/2018 4:37:17 PM
F E AT U R E
L E A D E R S TA L K H R
It was never KWANG KAM SHING’S ambition to become a company boss. Now as the Asia CEO of JP Morgan Private Banking, she’s had to count on her wealth of experience to lead the company through changing times
B Y K E LV I N O N G
hile most teenagers were just starting to figure out the mysteries of life, 13-yearold Kwang Kam Shing was already clear about her next pursuit: she wanted to leave her home in Hong Kong and explore the world. “My parents were always very strict with me. My school was only five minutes’ walk away from my house, so I had felt very confined. When I had the opportunity to leave home, I knew it was the best thing that could happen to me,” Kwang recalls. That opportunity came knocking in the form of a full scholarship from from Ministry of Education in Singapore. As the saying goes, “fortune favours the brave”, so one could say that it was that sort of curiosity and boldness that has guided Kwang to a highly successful finance career spanning nearly three decades. Throughout this time, she has taken on key leadership positions at United Overseas Bank, HSBC Asset Management, and now JP Morgan Private Banking. In person and up close, she is a picture of humility and quiet confidence. In between striking poses for the camera, the softspoken mother of two daughters shares that she had never set out to become a business leader. “I remember when I was in university, some of my friends had ambitions to become company directors. For me, I never thought that far ahead. It was always about focusing on what was in front of me,” says Kwang. After graduating from the National University of Singapore with a degree in accountancy, Kwang took on a role
with the now-defunct Arthur Andersen for a couple of years. Kwang admits she was mostly driven by the appeal of financial stability in those early days of her career. “I wanted to have a profession where I could make a decent living,” she says. But when she decided to join the banking industry, it was on the notion that it would be more exciting than the monotony of accountancy. That excitement, however, soon gave way to distress, as Kwang realised that the role of a portfolio manager involved a lot more than just investments and numbers. “It was daunting initially. It wasn’t the most natural thing for me, having to meet with clients, and explaining investment, risk and return in more layman terms,” she recalls. “But you have to put yourself through the process, work hard, and not give up. There is no magic formula.” All these experiences have helped shape Kwang both as a person, and now as the regional head of one of the world’s most renowned financial institutions. She recounts a specific incident in secondary school where she learned that “it’s okay not to be the best”. “There was a physics test. I got my results and I scored 87 marks – not too bad. Then I found out the top girl received 98 marks. “I was really upset at first, but that episode taught me that there are people who will always do better than you,” says Kwang. And now as CEO, Kwang says she’s able to accept failures and imperfections – a trait she believes is necessary for success, especially as a woman in business.
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F E AT U R E
L E A D E R S TA L K H R
At a time when female representation in senior leadership positions is still a work in progress for many organisations, Kwang’s accomplishments remain the exception, rather than the rule. Kwang has been aware of this all along. As a wife, mother, and business leader, she understands the challenges women face in striking a balance between their families and careers. She says this is where women have to accept that they cannot always do everything alone, if they want to have a successful career and home life. “I’m shameless in getting help. As you progress in your career, you need to delegate. I use the same mentality at home too. This way, you can have it all.” Now, Kwang tries to empower other
women in her organisation by allowing them to utilise flexible working arrangements, though she admits the bank still has more room for improvement when it comes to family-friendly policies. “I know how a working mother feels, and the challenges they face. I think being able to put yourself in their shoes, and having empathy, is a good place to start,” says Kwang.
What was it like growing up in Hong Kong?
I came from a very simple family. I wasn’t privileged, but I wouldn’t say it was harder than most of my peers. But I was very fortunate in that my father was a forward looking person. Our family is very traditional, and I think a lot
MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION:
My daughters. They make me a better person. Because of them, I’ve learned how to deal with difficult situations. They often put me in positions that I don’t always feel in control of ADVICE FOR MY YOUNGER SELF:
Don’t rush through things. When I was younger, I took everything really seriously. It’s not a bad thing, but I deliberated too much on certain decisions
THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE:
Coming to Singapore when I was 13 years’ old. That changed my journey. Being away from home during my teenage years was hard, but it moulded me to become the person I am today WHAT GETS ME UP IN THE MORNING:
The unknown. In my job, every day is different, and can turn out to be very different from what I envisioned LEADERSHIP STYLE:
I wouldn’t call myself “hands on” – I think it depends on the individual. If I feel everything is running smoothly and the person or team is doing fine, then I don’t interfere too much
of parents those days would think that the son is supposed to be out there working. For daughters, the most important thing is that she marries well. But my father never had that mentality. He always felt that boys and girls were the same. It was really no big deal so he always encouraged us to work hard in school and always believed in me and my siblings.
At the age of 13, you moved to Singapore to study. Did your parents push you into that opportunity, or was it self-motivation?
In those days, my parents were busy making a living, so we were left on our own a lot. They never gave me any pressure to do things the way they saw fit. If anything, it was all me. But when I got the scholarship, my parents were very proud.
You went on to study accountancy at the National University of Singapore. How did you ultimately end up in asset and wealth management?
I never really set out with a specific goal. I never said in 10 years, I need to achieve this. What I wanted was a profession where I could make a decent living. Somehow along the way, I went from auditing to investments because I thought the investment world was exciting and I felt that I could use some of the skills and the discipline that I already had. I simply wanted a profession that I could excel in.
Since then, you’ve led many business units. What were some challenges you faced throughout your career?
There’s no doubt as a mother and a wife, we all want to do every job well. I want to do well in the office, I want to do well as a mother, and I also want to be a decent wife. I think as women, we tend to expect ourselves to do well in all the three areas. That’s not easy, and I’m not going to pretend that it is. But I’ve always felt that I’m gritty and I should be able to cope with all three, as long as I figure out a way. I don’t have to be a perfect 10 all the time. So if I manage a seven or an eight out of 10, and I’ve managed to achieve all three, then I’ll be better off. That’s the mentality. You need to give out
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certain things in order to do more things. Where I can delegate, I do.
Now as a regional CEO, do you champion gender diversity across the organisation?
I think we are doing a relatively better job now, but there’s still room for improvement. In Asia we are probably doing a little better than Europe, and to some extent the US. We also hire from universities and colleges and that actually makes our composition very even. In some situations, we have more women than men, so I think at least at the entry level, everyone has equal opportunities. As we progress, then you see more women dropping out for all the different reasons that we have mentioned. Still, at the board level globally, we have 30% female representation, which is better than the industry average. I also just want to add that diversity goes beyond gender, and also calls for different sexualities, the disabled, and more. We have a lot more that we can do to embrace these individuals. And if we want to be the best employer, then we have to do that.
“Diversity goes beyond gender, and also calls for different sexualities, the disabled, and more. We have a lot more that we can do to embrace these individuals”
As an organisation, are you providing more flexible working options for women?
We have flexible working hours, and I think that technology is a great enabler of that. With mobile devices, we now can work from anywhere, everywhere. I can take a conference call from home. I can do my approvals from anywhere in the world. I don’t have to be in the office – the only time would be when I have to have face-to-face conversations with clients, and sometimes with my team. The lines have become so blurred because of technology. I can’t say that from 8:00am to 8:00pm it is all work and nothing else, and then beyond that, it is all family and nothing else. It’s no longer about work-life balance. It’s about work-life integration. I think that’s really important.
Speaking of technology, you’ve launched a trading robot that speeds up a lot of the existing processes. What does this mean for employees?
We are actually still growing and adding headcount. It’s a big thing because this is
what I spend half of my time on: how we attract, retain, and develop talent. And that’s because we need more of them, not less. We still need technology because it enhances our productivity. It is also about capturing opportunities that were not possible beforehand. The technology is not there to replace people – it just frees up capacity so that we can do even more high value activities. We spend over US$9 billion a year on technology. One third is on innovation, the other two thirds are for maintenance. People these days think financial technology companies are the ones that have a lot of technology. Banks have a lot too. It’s just that there was not as much user interface for a long time, it was more behind the scenes. For example now with trading, we are using big data, and adopting artificial intelligence and robotics to help us in
some analytics, investment management, and trading patterns. But we still have people to do that.
Moving forward, what other areas will you be focusing on?
I think one of our biggest challenges will continue to be how we work with millennials. We focus a great deal on training and development. We have very comprehensive and structured training programmes for our analysts who we hire from universities and colleges. But as we get progressively more senior, the trainings will become very different – a lot of on-thejob and less structured training. Leadership development is really important, but really hard at the same time. We’re spending a lot of time on that now because the scalability of that is even more significant. email@example.com JUNE 2018
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F E AT U R E
Industries at risk As companies continue to reshuffle in this era of Industry 4.0, HRM Magazine Asia takes a closer look at the workforce planning strategies of some of the regionâ€™s most impacted industries B Y K E LV I N O N G
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ith a rapidly growing number of organisations adopting cutting-edge innovations like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, the skill sets that industries now require look very different from those of even just a year ago. This is especially true for traditional industries like aviation, retail, shipping, finance, and manufacturing, which are now bearing the brunt of technological disruption. It is evident by the number of layoffs and lukewarm hiring pace in the first quarter of this year alone. “There hasn’t been a lot of massive hiring in the market in the last one year,” Foo See Yang, Managing Director, Kelly Services Singapore, tells HRM Magazine Asia. “What’s happening with all these technology adoptions is many companies are conducting internal restructures and redesigning jobs right now.” Singapore’s manufacturing sector, for example, saw total employment drop by 4,300 in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Ministry of Manpower’s First Quarter Labour Report. Like manufacturing, the construction sector had seen total employment shrink for five consecutive quarters, between 2016 and 2017. Similar trends have also been observed across the Asian markets over the last 12 months. In Thailand, the manufacturing Purchasing
Managers’ Index hit an eight-month low of 49.6 in July 2017, according to Nikkei. A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while a reading above 50 points towards expansion.
The impact of Industry 4.0 To really understand what’s happening across the different industries and markets, Foo says it is necessary to look beyond the numbers. “I would not simply look at it as just a cutting of jobs, but the reasons behind it. These layoffs are happening because companies are replacing old work models,” he says. In fact, Foo attributes the tepid job market to the “reinvention” and digitalisation of the economy, and not an economic downturn. Retail is a prime example of a sector that has suffered in recent years as a result of changing market conditions. It is no secret that e-commerce has slowly been eroding the pie of brick and mortar stores since the early 2000s. And based on growth rates in the last two years, analysts are predicting that e-commerce will overtake offline retailers much sooner rather than later. The demise of several household names across Asia, and the rise of online outlets like Alibaba, are further proof of the offline sector’s steady retreat. In February this year, US clothing retailer Gap ceased all its shop operations in Singapore and Malaysia on the back of falling sales. Three months later, Hong Kong fashion brand Esprit also announced it would be exiting the Australian and New Zealand markets for good. Meanwhile, Chinese internet group Alibaba announced in March this year it is injecting an additional S$2.6 billion into the Singapore-founded Lazada; US marketplace pioneer Amazon launched local services across Southeast Asia; and new players like Shopee (backed by The Sea Group, which also owns Garena) continue to expand their footprint throughout the region. “Retail is generally very competitive due to online options like Zalora. It’s no secret that we traditional players are feeling the heat,” says Zen Tan, Senior HR Executive at Big Box Singapore. “We (Big Box) were trying to fight with the big players, but we realised it was not JUNE 2018
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F E AT U R E
working out, so now we’re in a transition phase.” The competition has forced Big Box, a factory outlet concept mall to replace parts of its product offerings with options promising more commercial viability. The fashion and lifestyle department, for example, has been superseded by a furniture section and specialised stores selling imports that are not available anywhere else in Singapore. This has had a negative impact on some employees. Tan says HR will typically redeploy individuals to new roles where possible, but reveals that the business has “had to let some people go” while it “repositions” itself. It has recently been announced that Big Box’s parent company TT International
has put the business up for sale, though the reasons for the sale have not been revealed.
Hiring for specialised roles The aviation industry has also seen revenues fall steadily this decade, and this has resulted in Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa and many more reducing their headcounts. Between 2011 and 2016, Singapore Airlines shed 12% of its pilots. Then, following a S$138 million net loss in the fourth quarter of 2016, CEO Goh Choon Pong announced a three-year transformation plan that will reportedly involve a significant number of further retrenchments. The plan, Goh wrote in a company newsletter, is aimed at helping the airline to regain its “market and financial leadership”.
ON THE REBOUND IN SINGAPORE
– JEREMY BROOME,
SINGAPORE’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE is predicted to drop to 2.1% this year, according to the Kelly Services’ 2018 Singapore Salary Guide. Top-paying jobs are expected to come from Electronics and Precision Engineering, Finance and Insurance, Transportation, Storage and Wholesale Trade, and the Retail and Food Services sectors.
The Singapore government launched its Industry Transformation Maps for the electronics manufacturing sector in September 2017. It claims the reforms and investments will create S$22.2 billion in value-add and 2,100 jobs for professionals, managers, engineers, and technicians by 2020. An industry transformation map for the energy and chemicals sector aims to create 1,400 new jobs by 2025.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY MUHAMAD AZLIN
By 2020, accounting firms are expected to employ about 21,000 accountancy professionals. However, all businesses in this space experience high attrition rates, and will need to broaden the talent pool with emerging competencies like data analytics, and valuation research and analysis.
IF YOU’VE GOT A RELATIVELY LONG LEAD TIME OF A FEW YEARS TO PREDICTIVELY UNDERSTAND HOW THE SKILLS DEMAND IS CHANGING, THEN YOU ARE ABLE TO PLAN YOUR PIPELINE EFFECTIVELY”
BANKING AND FINANCE
Singapore’s plans for its financial services industry see it growing the sector’s real value-add by 4.3% and create 3,000 new jobs. This is in addition to a further 1,000 roles slated for Singapore’s FinTech sector.
The IT sector’s value-add is expected to grow 6% a year, twice the speed of the overall economy in Singapore. The sector aims to add another 16,000 jobs by 2020, of which 13,000 are expected to be professional roles.
PROCUREMENT, SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS
The new port in Tuas, slated for progressive opening from 2021, is expected to add 2,000 new professional jobs even before a container is lifted, according to the sector’s industry transformation map.
REGIONAL HEAD OF HR, ASIA-PACIFIC, DEUTSCHE BANK
Industry observers say the layoffs could indicate that there is trouble in paradise, but in this instance, it’s more a case of passé roles being phased out and redesigned to make room for high-value roles and functions. As Ashish Ashdir, Air Asia’s Group Head of Global Talent Acquisition, shared at a recent LinkedIn business event, redeployment is certainly a top priority for airlines now, as they look towards reskilling their people with the necessary competencies for their next phases of growth. “Future-proofing is not just a concept. Everyone recognises that this is the only way an organisation will survive,” says Ashdir. And as an organisation that “never lays off people”, Ashdir says the focus is now on upskilling and coaching employees so that they become agile and prepared for any uncertainties, while equipping them with technical skills at the same time. Ashdir is tight-lipped on Air Asia’s recruitment volume for the past 12 months, but says that “in this transition phase, a bulk of hiring will be for digital skills”. With the company now on the cusp of rolling out an HR chatbot and other hightech platforms, hiring for specialised roles, rather than hiring in bulk, is the order of the day.“These are not skills of tomorrow, these
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are skills of today, and we need to prioritise them,” says Ashdir.
Retrenchment as a last resort Arguably, nowhere has restructuring been more widespread than the finance industry. In Australia, the top four banks – namely National Australia Bank (NAB), the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank, and Westpac – are said to be slashing their workforces by a combined 20,000 employees this year. In September 2017, NAB announced it would cut 4,000 jobs over the next three years. And as part of ANZ’s reorganisation of its Australian corporate division to become more agile and startup-like, as well as its withdrawal from Asia, some 5,256 staff members were let go between 2016 and 2017. Elsewhere, former Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan told The Financial Times at the end of 2017 that the organisation employs too many people, before adding that the introduction of machine learning and artificial intelligence could potentially halve the 97,000 workers currently on its books. Jeremy Broome, Regional Head of HR for Deutsche Bank in Asia-Pacific, echoes his former boss’ thoughts, saying that technology will have a “huge impact on the banking industry in the next two to four years”. Broome says job cuts are inevitable during this transition period, but at Deutsche Bank, the first step is to redeploy people, not retrench them. “We redeployed 40% of roles that were at risk in 2017,” he shares. The next focus for HR, Broome adds, will be in determining what jobs will be automated, what jobs will remain, and what training and development will be needed in the new job landscape. “The interesting thing for HR is around the speed at which that change is happening,” Broome tells HRM Magazine Asia. “If you’ve got a relatively long lead time of a few years to predictively understand how the skills demand is changing, then you are able to
plan your pipeline effectively. “But with the rapid speed at which change is happening today, the extent to which you as HR can predict development needs is much harder now.”
Why functions are changing The insurance industry, which is on the road to recovery after a slow 2016 and 2017, is also feeling pressure from the proliferation of intelligent machinery. Angie Ng, Chief HR Officer, Manulife Singapore, says although the financial services sector is still more traditional and “behind” the banking industry, many insurers are already looking at what processes can be automated. Parts of policy underwriting, for example, can be performed by artificial intelligence. This then frees up underwriters to focus more on value-added tasks like cognitive behavioural analysis of customers. Customer service chatbots will likely also replace the need for face-to-face interactions. But even as the roles for humans change, Ng agrees with Broome and Air Asia’s Ashdir that “there’s no need to lower headcount when you can redeploy roles”. Where skills cannot be built, Ng says the company is “looking for people who can change our organisation and industry”. With so many industries disrupting their work models just in these last two years alone, it seems that this is only the start of more reshuffling to come. It also appears that as we move towards 2020, companies will continue hiring and firing strategically, so as to remain relevant and competitive in a dynamic digital economy. As for jobseekers, Ashdir puts it this way: “The concept of lifetime employment is now a thing of the past. Everyone should accept this.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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Rethinking the way we work HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018 was packed to the gills with insights, learnings, case studies, and best practices
or the 16th year running, HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018 descended upon Singapore to bring together the best and brightest in workforce management, leadership, and HR practice. With more than 100 speaker presentations across eight difference conference streams, it proved to be an action-packed event. And that’s not even counting the more than 70 HR solutions providers who took over the Expo floor for the two days. Taking place on May 9 and 10 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, the event played host to business gurus such as Professor Lynda Gratton and Jason Jennings – both of whom captivated audiences over at the crowded plenary stage. “We’ve built ‘work’ for robots. And now we’re asking people to be human,” said Gratton, noting that HR 4.0 would involve a complete restructure of what we currently know as “work”. “Workers have been ‘vision-ed’ and ‘mission-ed’ to death,” said Jennings, who was quick to shoot down the idea of corporate vision and mission statements. He
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highlighted that it is more useful for companies to think about their “purpose”, than to waste time coming up with vision and mission statements that no one can remember. Also on the programme was renowned thought leader and business consultant Marcus Buckingham, who delivered his presentation via live web link from his home in the US. He discussed the “nine lies” that people tell about work. These include, for instance, that people care what company they work for, or that well-rounded people are better. Buckingham advised audiences that many have a tendency to focus on mitigating weaknesses, rather than continuing to hone one’s strengths – even though doing the latter can result in great success. Across the plethora of case studies, shared by companies such as Facebook, Google, and HP Inc, one theme came up again and again: the world of work is rapidly changing. Transformation isn’t just inevitable or unavoidable in this new era; it is essential for survival. For organisations that want to have a competitive advantage in this new paradigm, having innovative talent with the right skillset is vital.
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OVERHEARD AT HR SUMMIT & EXPO HRM MAGAZINE ASIA’S journalists had their ear to the ground throughout the two days of HR Summit and Expo 2018. Here’s some of what they picked up:
“WOW, THE ROOM IS PACKED!”
It was standing room only for many of the key sessions across the event.
“IT’S BEEN VERY INSIGHTFUL FOR ME IN TERMS OF WHAT I NEED TO DO AS A NEXT STEP.” Delegates got the practical answers they were looking for in the Develop and Perform stream, powered by Black Dog Consultants.
“THAT SESSION WAS SO INSPIRING.”
The US-based Jason Jennings’ plenary session had the final-day crowd on its feet and ready to build “businesses with purpose”.
“I’LL NEVER LOOK AT POWERPOINT THE SAME WAY AGAIN”
David JP Philips’ 20 minute Power Talk on how to get more out of presentation software was a hit with the Expo crowd.
“I’VE WANTED TO COME HERE FOR THE LONGEST TIME. I FINALLY MADE IT, AND I’M GLAD I DID!”
Patience is a virtue – but best not to leave it another 16 years. Register your interest now for HR Summit & Expo Asia 2019!
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Six things we learned at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018 1
PREPARE FOR THE TECH STORM
Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain, natural interfaces, and automation are set to become big players in how the world functions. In this future, social interaction, empathy, and risk-taking will become more important than ever, said futurist and technology investor Nicklas Bergman. “Be curious. Understand how these things can improve your organisation, and embrace them,” he added.
As Gaurav Hirey, Group Director of HR and Talent Development at Teledirect Singapore said, “to thrive in this era of disruption, HR has to be bold and brave.” In the C-Suite Symposium powered by ADP, a stream dedicated to the highest levels of HR and workforce decision-makers, delegates heard from a wide range of fellow leaders, and HR thought leaders over the two days. Their number included former Air Asia X and iFlix CEO Azran OsmanRani, who shared some insights into the successful start-up cultures he built at both organisations. “If you are doing something that no one else in the world is doing, it’s impossible to get it 100% right – you’re bound to make mistakes,” he said. “So the key point for us (at Air Asia X,
CONSIDER POTENTIAL RATHER THAN JUST EXPERIENCE
Michael Ferrario, co-founder and CEO of StashAway – also previously the Group CEO of Zalora – suggested that instead of just thinking about potential versus experience, organisations could consider the idea of hiring the candidates of tomorrow, today. A candidate who doesn’t currently have the right experience might just do in five or 10 years – with help from the company to gain exposure and take on more responsibilities.
KEEP TENURED TALENT UP-TO-SPEED
During a panel session focused on “talent 4.0” in the Develop and Perform stream, Stephanie Nash, Chief People Officer at Redmart, talked about valuing continuous learning. “For people that we’ve recruited into the organisation at the executive level and throughout – we’ve really looked for
and later iFlix) was creating a culture that embraces mistakes.” Over 4,000 people attended HR Summit and Expo Asia across the two days, with
HR Summit and Expo Asia will be back again on May 8 and 9, 2019. Set the date in your calendar now, and get ready for the region’s biggest and best HR event to return to Singapore with a whole new informative and interactive programme. We’ll keep you updated as the exciting agenda develops, both here in HRM Magazine Asia, and at www.hrmasia.com.
E SAVE TTEH DA
that growth mindset. We embed ways of ensuring that they’re being curious,” she said.
MAKE USE OF SOCIAL SHARING TO BUILD EMPLOYER BRANDING
”LinkedIn is a powerful tool for us to get our employees to shout out about us as a company, and what it’s like to work here,” said Lim Teck Yong, Head of Regional Operations and People Team, Shopee, during a panel discussion in the Start-Up stream.
BE OPEN-MINDED TOWARDS DISSENT
“Instead of engagement, think about ownership,” said HR transformation expert Bernard Coulaty, who has previously worked in companies such as Danone. This does not mean owning shares in the company, but about making employees feel invested in the company’s work, such that they think of the company as “we”, rather than “them”, he said.
As author Margie Warrell noted, the best ideas sometimes come from people who don’t agree with you. She noted the example of Abraham Lincoln, the US president famed for leading the country through the Civil War. Lincoln was known for recruiting his political opponents onto his cabinet, because he wanted the strongest people to help him lead the country. “Encourage cohesive dissent to normalise loyal disruption,” she said.
packed houses for all of the key plenary sessions and Expo Power Talks. That number also includes one of the largest international attendances in HR Summit and Expo Asia’s history. More than 30 countries of origin were represented among the visitors, including formal delegations from Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Delegates from as far afield as Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and the Maldives helped to make the event a truly regional conference for HR across AsiaPacific. JUNE 2018
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26-27 June Singapore
Navigating the Future of HR Transformation, Strategy, Workforce Analytics and Organisational Development HRM Asia is excited to bring you the HRXLR8
Summit 2018 to help you unleash opportunities in HR Strategy, HR
Transformation, Workforce and HR Analytics and Organisational Development. We have extensively researched the most pressing challenges in HR today, to equip you with the right tools and strategies to drive business results and help you navigate the future
KEY THEMES TO BE EXPLORED Tackling HR transformation with the right technology, skills, capabilities, culture, and gaining organisational buy-in Understanding and using data to drive business decisions and plan for current and future trends Addressing the skills and capabilities an HR leader needs to have to become a strategic business partner Executing an HR strategy and driving the organisation towards the future Developing organisational capabilities to grow leaders and inspire organisational growth Changing mind-sets and empowering a culture of change and innovation Aligning strategy, people and processes
Featuring Four Conference Streams
Workforce Data and Analytics
Organisational and Development
Developing a sustainable and high-performing strategy is vital for your organisation’s success. Bringing you the latest innovations and best practices from leading HR professionals, this conference is sure to get you right on track to gaining the strategic competencies you will need to prepare your workforce for the future. Transformation has never been more important in today’s fierce environment. Tackle challenges around digital, mindset changes, culture and technologies through informative case studies and discussions to help you draw the best insights, and to better leverage your HR transformation strategies.
Drive business results and draw better insights from data through this compelling agenda packed with case studies, roundtables and panels to help you gain a competitive advantage, organisational buy-in and to meet talent supply demands now and for the future. HR Leaders need to rethink and reshape their traditional workplace strategies in order to prepare for a new way of working. This stream addresses current trends and best practices in the industry to enable professionals to become key players in their organisations, develop leaders, grow the organisation, and ultimately shape the workplace of tomorrow.
Ross Sparkman Head of Strategic Workforce Planning Facebook (USA)
Jason Averbook Futurist “Redefining The Future of Work”
REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: email@example.com | www.hrxlr8summit.com
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Special Report JUNE 2018
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THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA
or many years, HR professionals and leaders dreamed of the proverbial “seat at the table”: the chance to influence strategy and direct the organisation on matters of the workforce. That dream is now a reality for many HR leaders at the top of their game in Asia-Pacific – and the timing could not be more exciting. Now, more than ever before, the Chief HR Officer role has some significant weight to it. With technology disrupting industries and the rising scarcity of professional talent, decisions made in this office can be the difference between winning the race for innovation and languishing with a poor culture that fails to attract new recruits. HRM Magazine Asia’s Special Report into the Role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia explores this complex new world for senior HR leaders. It looks at the region-specific challenges they face here in Asia, while also taking on a global economic context. The opening analysis piece asks one of the toughest questions of HR leaders: do they have the skills to do the job in this complex environment? And perhaps more importantly, do they have the resources and leadership buy-in they need? (see: page 26 to 29). The report also includes an exclusive interview with Kulshaan Singh, who has recently taken on the huge job of leading HR at one of Thailand’s biggest and most famous conglomerates: CP Group. He says his role will be to help bridge the gaps between the group’s many businesses and its more than 350,000 staff (see: page 30 to 31). Our guest contributor is Coco Brown, who heads up the Athena Alliance – which advocates for greater diversity on corporate boards across the world. She says Chief HR Officers are well placed to offer strategic advice at the director-level (see: page 32 to 33). And our regular Field Notes interview features Tanie Eio, Vice President of HR for UPS in Asia-Pacific. She shares some of the organisation’s structures that are in place to build and develop a multiple market workforce of more than 400,000 people (see: page 34 to 36). The report is a timely lead-in to HRM Asia’s upcoming CHRO Series events in both Singapore and Jakarta. These invitation-only events will bring together top-level HR leaders for single-day seminars focusing on today’s most pressing workforce challenges.
HRM Magazine Asia’s comprehensive report into the fast-changing role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia; its very local challenges, as well as the opportunities available across a global context
HR leaders in Asia have some big opportunities in the current market environment. But do they have the skills and resources to truly take advantage of them? HRM Magazine Asia investigates
Kulshaan Singh has just joined Thailand’s CP Group as Chief People Officer. With 350,000 staff across the conglomerate’s multiple markets, a fast start is going to be important
32 GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Athena Alliance founder Coco Brown says Chief HR Officers have the skills, knowledge, and wisdom to have a big impact at the director level – so why aren’t more HR leaders taking up boardroom positions?
34 FIELD NOTES
Tanie Eio, Vice President of HR with UPS in Asia- Pacific talks about the challenges of staying on top of a massive, multinational operation
FOR MORE 11 July – CHRO Series Singapore / 19 September – CHRO Series Jakarta
HRM Asia’s 3rd Annual CHRO Series brings together the region’s most senior HR leaders across both corporate and public organisations, for a single-day symposium of case studies, thought leadership, and HR innovation. Don’t miss out on this chance to be part of the carefully selected audience and network with your HR professional peers at the highest levels. JUNE 2018
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THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA
A N A LY S I S
UP TO THE CHALLENGE? HR leaders in Asia find themselves in a unique position, thanks to todayâ€™s disruptive business environment. But do they have the skills and resources to truly take advantage of the new opportunities? HRM Magazine Asia investigates B Y PAU L H OW E L L
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THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA
A N A LY S I S
isruption is more than just a buzzword in business circles these days. The changes taking place across multiple industries with new entrants, new business models, and new consumer demands have forced organisations to carefully analyse their own processes to find new ways of achieving their business objectives. It is into this complex and volatile environment that HR leaders have perhaps one of their biggest opportunities to add real and sustained value to their businesses. It is, after all, generally accepted that the biggest source of new margin and competitive advantage today comes from an organisation’s own workforce. Technical skills, creativity, and innovation are all what makes the difference between business success and underwhelming performance today.
In Asia, the choice is even starker. HR teams are responsible for attracting and retaining that all-important talent, developing it, and building cultures that allow those staff to continually perform at their most innovative best. They are required to balance the competing demands of staff and the business, and they must do it all within the confines of shrinking budgets and competing agendas. It is clear that HR leaders in Asia have a unique opportunity right now. But as every good HR professional will know, opportunity alone is not enough to make an impact. Skills, resources, and motivation are also vital parts of the puzzle. The question therefore becomes: Do HR leaders in this region have the skills, resources, and power to do what needs to be done? Can local Chief HR Officers here in Asia rise up to the challenge?
Diverse professional backgrounds Recruitment firm Hays has looked closely at the typical career path of HR leaders in Asia, and found they come from a wide variety of educational and work experience backgrounds. Only 16% of the 570 HR heads that were interviewed for its DNA of an HR Director report studied HR specifically for their first degree. More than half had worked outside of HR for at least part of their professional career. They still come with some solid experience in the field. Some 86% of the respondents in the Hays research had over 10 years of experience in HR-specific roles, prior to first wearing their Chief HR Officer hat. Indeed, 24% of them had been working in the profession for 20 or more years. Most had worked for multiple organisations throughout their HR careers, with only 12% having been a one-company player throughout their career.
That breadth and depth of experience has helped Chief HR Officers to be prepared changes when they came, and for the rapid transformation now taking over many traditional industries. They say it has also helped them to build up the very broad and wide-ranging skill set they need to be successful at the top of the HR function within their organisations.
The skills that matter So what skills are required to make a successful Chief HR Officer? According to Hays, they are many and varied – but overwhelmingly “soft” and people-focused. Its researchers asked HR leaders to list the top skills they used in their day-to-day work, with Strategic Planning up-voted as the clear priority. Stakeholder engagement and influencing abilities were also considered vital, with, People Management skills perhaps not surprisingly rounding out the top three. Commercial acumen, broader communication skills, and change management skills were also listed among the top responses, creating a clear distinction between the hard HR skills learned at university, and the ability to focus those skills on real-world business problems. “To be a great HR professional, you need to understand the business you support,” Wendy Montgomery, Head of HR for AsiaPacific at Red Hat, says. “It’s not enough to just be a specialist in HR. (You) must know how each of the different departments supports the business.”
CHIEF SKILLS FOR A CHIEF HR OFFICER It is clear that every Chief HR Officer needs a broad range of skills and experience in order to do the job successfully. Part of this is about understanding the roles and talent within the organisation. But there are also some “must have” abilities that were common to all 570 HR leaders that Hays interviewed for its DNA of an HR Director report. The top six were:
Stakeholder engagement and influencing:
53% 43% 41% 39% 30% 26% SOURCE: HAYS
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Shahzad Umar, HR Executive Director of Nestlé Malaysia and Singapore, agrees. He believes strongly in HR playing the role of an “insights advocate” and the Chief HR Officer taking the lead role in this. “You must (be able to) effectively convey the messages of what the organisation is thinking and how you can communicate those thoughts to the employees,” he says. “You have to know how to gain consensus from both parties.” Umar further says it often falls on HR leaders to inspire their organisations across multiple teams. And this requires an overwhelmingly positive attitude and focus from Day One. Digital skills, or at least an understanding of the way digital technologies are impacting business and organisations, are another key subset of aptitudes for HR leaders to be across. Gaurav Hirey, Group Director of HR and Talent Development at Teledirect Telecommerce, says this is being driven by the wider workforce of today, dominated by the so-called “digital natives” of Generation Y. “We have all these tools right now to ensure that employees are able to access anything that they need – not just online, but also on their mobile phones because that’s the way they prefer interacting,” he tells HRM Magazine Asia. Of course, technological advances shouldn’t be taken on just for their own sake. Hirey says it needs to be about adding to the employee experience. “When we talk about employee experience, it’s not just about providing tools and technology for our employees to communicate and work efficiently – in the way they want to,” he says. “It’s also about giving them a meaning and purpose to what they do.”
The most important resource It’s not just all of these skills however. The majority of Chief HR Officers that HRM Magazine Asia spoke to overwhelmingly acknowledged there were other key drivers of success for the role. Tangible resources, including financial budget and talent dedicated to HR itself, are also vital. But most important of all is a high level of buyin from the organisation’s management, and indeed the other functions and
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD HRM Asia spoke with more than 100 Chief HR Officers with regional responsibilities ahead of its CHRO Series events in Singapore and Jakarta. They highlighted the major challenges for HR leaders across the region in this age of Industry 4.0. The top three challenges impacting CHROs today are:
Talent attraction and retention strategies
Building the employee experience
business units within it. Without this, HR initiatives all too easily become bogged down in bureaucracy, or struggle to get approval in the first instance. This is perhaps why the ability to influence rates so highly among the required attributes of a senior HR leader – some 43% of the Hays’ respondents placed it in the top three skills necessary of a Chief HR Officer. The research also asked HR leaders to name the biggest challenges they had faced in their careers to date. “Organisational politics”, which typically places the HR function at a lower rung to more established teams such as finance and marketing, was indicated as an impediment to 44% of the survey’s respondents. Xiaoguang Sun, Vice President of HR with the Alibaba Entertainment Group, says it can be a long and difficult road to change those perceptions around, but an absolutely essential journey nonetheless. He says HR leaders need to have the courage of their calling and convictions in order to win management and the rest of the organisation over: both to the fundamental demands of the HR function, and to the individual aspirations of the HR leader in question. “A Chief HR Officer should have the courage to make a decision, even though it may not be popular or well-received by those in the organisation,” he told Hays. “If your character is one that wishes to appease everyone around you, you will not (be able) to make changes.”
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Embarking on HR digital transformation
More work to do It is fair to say that the vast majority of people holding a Chief HR Officer role or its equivalent do indeed have the skills, resources, and management buy-in to do the job successfully. The problem is that there are still many organisations where the top of the HR tree brings those leaders eye-to-eye with senior managers of other functions; not the C-Suite. Particularly in Asia, that traditional mindset – where HR is a purely transactional function – remains pervasive. Mike Bokina, the Singaporebased Global Head of HR Organisational Effectiveness with Siemens, says the ability to break down that sort of thinking will become vital for organisations still in that frame of mind as Industry 4.0 takes hold. “We are catching up a bit as a function,” Bokina admits in a recent episode of HRM Asia’s HR in Focus. “We need to speed up that catch-up; and then refocus ourselves externally (instead of being focused on ourselves).” “There is a lot of opportunity for HR in Asia,” he continued. “I do think the embracing of the more agile world is really critical, and that’s probably a bit of a gap (for at the moment). “We, as HR practitioners, have to help push the human capital side of the arguments.” firstname.lastname@example.org
6/1/2018 2:17:54 PM
THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA
It has been said that the Chief HR Officer is the glue that holds an organisation together. In this exclusive interview, the newlyappointed Chief People Officer of Thai conglomerate CP Group KULSHAAN SINGH shares how he plans to be a bridge between the business and its people
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hat is CP Group’s vision, and how do you promote this through the Chief People Officer role?
Our vision is “to provide food for both body and mind, create shared value, and bring health and wellbeing for all”. Underpinning our vision is the belief that people are our most valuable asset, and if we prioritise others’ interests, our business will also succeed. Our motto of the “Three Benefits” has been guiding our business ever since we were founded. This ensures we provide benefits to the countries where we operate, to the communities we engage with, and finally to our company and our employees. To deliver on our vision, especially as we continue to grow and expand globally, we need to develop the next generation of leaders who continue to embrace our values. Our people determine the future of our company. My role as Chief People Officer is to work on attracting, retaining, training, and grooming our talent, and ensuring all our employees embrace our vision and core values
What are your priorities in your new role? What advice would you give to other incoming HR leads? One of my key priorities is to prepare our workforce for the future – Industry 4.0. We need our team to adapt to and manage the global disruptions that are impacting the industries and markets we are operating in. This includes training them to embrace innovation, digital platforms, and advanced technologies; equipping them with the right skill sets; and empowering them to embrace a growth mindset. All this is done while working hand in hand with disruptive forces and ecosystem teams.
“To ensure you can execute the goals of your company, assess the skills you have in your teams and have a plan in place to both build capacity and cultivate the right capabilities” – KULSHAAN SINGH, CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, CP GROUP
To help us achieve this, I will work alongside our Senior Chairman, Chairman, and Group CEO to build our global employer brand and create an employee experience that will unlock the immense and unmatched potential of our over 350,000 staff. My advice to incoming HR leaders is to develop deep insights on how macroeconomic and disruptive forces will drive changes in your business models, and then assess their implications on your organisation and people. To ensure you can execute the goals of your company, assess the skills you have in your teams and have a plan in place to both build capacity and cultivate the right capabilities.
What are your current priorities? We have two key focus areas. The first is a re-examination of our talent acquisition process. We have now radically transformed our hiring practices. Senior Chairman Dhanin Chearavanont is personally driving the strategies to ensure we are able to attract and nurture the talent we need for the future success of the group. Recent initiatives include working closely with leading universities in Thailand and the region. We have also extended our efforts globally and are building relationships with top schools to attract the best talent worldwide.
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Our second focus is to ensure our employees are given the opportunity to continuously develop, as well as encouraging them to build skills to promote disruption and innovation within their businesses. A core initiative in this area is the CP Leadership Institute, our incubator and development engine. This will serve as our innovation hub where we run cross-functional development initiatives, finding synergies, and new ways of working together.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to recruiting, developing, and retaining the right talent? I see a couple. Firstly, although we are a well-known business and employer brand in Thailand and China, we are still relatively unknown in the global arena. This impacts our ability to attract talent globally, and we need to address it. Secondly, our talent acquisition strategy needs to continue to evolve in order to attract global expertise. Our portfolio ranges from agriculture, food, retail, and telecoms to automotive operations, and brings a diverse employee demographic and skill matrix. Our HR strategies need to cater to this very varied, multi-generational, and multi-cultural workforce.
5/28/2018 4:45:34 PM
THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA
Gettingon board(rooms) COCO BROWN, the former President and Chief Operating Officer of US technology firm Taos, makes a compelling case for why Chief HR Officers should be favoured when it comes to directorships
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raditionally, the makeup of corporate boards
has followed a clear set of parameters: a Chief Information Officer for technology strategy, a Chief Financial Officer for financial strategy, and a CEO to teach your own chief executive how to move the company forward. Today, many of the challenges companies face actually make a compelling case for adding another must-have role to the board – a Chief HR Officer (CHRO) – someone who can provide guidance around talent acquisition and culture, succession planning, compensation, and board structure and evaluation. Recent news has been full of stories about highperforming companies with cultures that enabled deceitful practices or toxic workplaces. Some of the CHRO areas of expertise, once considered “the soft stuff,” have now become “the strategic stuff”. And with the very nature of work changing amid automation, visionary leaders see multiple reasons to attract top CHROs to their boards. Here are four reasons why:
Succession planning The primary job of any board of directors is to make sure the right leadership team is in place to drive the business, and the CEO is at the heart of that goal. A strong leadership bench is one with a succession plan in place, but this can be a delicate topic. There are disclosure issues around such material information, of course, and some CEOs need encouragement to leave
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when the time is right – whether the change is contentious or not. Similarly, boards are often nervous about the timing of such shifts, particularly when they perceive a lack of a strong successor. Managing through these issues doesn’t come naturally to many board members, but it does for experienced CHROs. Such executives can offer insights on planned transitions and how to navigate the process, from identifying internal candidates to talking about development plans to introducing these topics to CEOs. These processes are becoming more formal and documented, thanks to shareholder activism, and regulatory requirements. Jan Becker, an Athena Alliance member who was most recently the Head of People and Facilities at Autodesk, brought on a couple of new CEOs during her 17 years at the company, and she worked with the board on succession planning. She has overseen transitions driven by internal planning and those driven by activist shareholders, and notes that while the two scenarios are different, they have one thing in common. “Success depends on the quality of the decision-making discussion and the ability of the board of directors to hear each other and act as a real team,” Becker says. “When there is a CHRO on the board of directors, it makes it more likely the process and the conversations will be of high quality.”
Compensation strategy CHROs are experts in designing compensation and equity structures that incentivise, motivates and align the right behaviours and results. This is key for the CEO, as the role of the board is to manage their performance. However, it is also critical for the overarching structure of the business. Often, the single most expensive line item in a company is its people. Optimising spend to performance and outcome is essential for business longevity, and a CHRO is uniquely able to deliver insights in this area.
Board structure performance and evaluation Strong self-governance is an increasingly recognised essential capability of the board of directors. CHROs are experts here too, and can help the board operate effectively as a collective, evaluate individual and team
performance to meet evolving needs, and ensure meetings are run well.
People, culture and the future of work While many businesses have focused their board invitations on technical leaders who can guide them through technological transitions, companies need to be equally concerned about shifts in the workforce. Millennials now comprise more than one-third of employees, and they bring a different dynamic to the workplace. Meanwhile, rapid advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will transform many roles, while creating new ones. The nature of work is changing, and shareholders are right in their increasing emphasis on talent and culture. As former PayPal CHRO and McKinsey advisor Marcia Morales-Jaffe puts it: “Often viewed as a threat, the rapid progress in automation really creates an opportunity for visionary leaders to embrace its enormous potential and develop action plans. Boards need to consider adding members fluent in innovation and its implications for the future of work. A CHRO with the right experience can be an invaluable asset to the board.” Beyond transitions in the nature of work, the challenges surrounding people and culture crop up throughout the lifecycle of a business. Whether the company is in start-up, hyper-growth or acquisition mode, leaders and boards need to ensure they begin with the end in mind in terms of talent and organisational culture. Athena Alliance member Kathy Zwickert most recently served as the Chief People Officer at NetSuite. She says that when the company is growing organically, the tone
The rise of the CHRO In an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “People before strategy: a new role for the CHRO,” the authors called for CHROs to take their place beside CFOs in terms of strategic value to companies. The writers – including the global managing director at McKinsey and an advisor to CEOs and corporate boards – note: “It is up to the CEO to elevate HR and to bridge any gaps that prevent the CHRO from becoming a strategic partner.” That same article suggests that discussion of people should come before discussion of strategy. That is certainly happening – to a point. According to research by the Corporate Executive Board and Gartner, 67% of US public companies discussed talent matters in their first half earnings calls in 2017. And in the past six months, numerous companies in the communications, banking, manufacturing and other sectors have announced the appointments of senior HR executives to their boards of directors. Corporate boards need to include experienced Chief HR Officers. For those corporations that don’t yet have directors capable of furthering people-driven conversations, it’s past time for a change.
About the Author COCO BROWN is founder and CEO of The Athena Alliance, an organisation dedicated to advancing diversity in the boardroom by preparing executive women for board service and facilitating board matches. In addition to leading Athena, Brown is the founder and CEO of Executive Kinections, a Silicon Valley consultancy that advises executive teams in the development of their visioning, organisational design, and strategic planning process.
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from the top must be an imperative to hire the best talent, who are also aligned with the values and culture of the company. “And when the business grows through acquisition, retaining key talent and integrating them should be one of the most important considerations,” Zwickert adds. “A CHRO on the board not only understands this, but will also hold management accountable to ensure deals increase shareholder value in the long run.”
6/1/2018 2:18:35 PM
THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA
DeliveringHRsuccess TANIE EIO, Vice President of HR with UPS in Asia-Pacific says there are plenty of workforce challenges at the top of such a massive, multinational operation. She shares her thoughts on the role of top-line HR leaders with regional responsibilities
hat are the biggest challenges facing Chief HR Officers and Vice Presidents of HR in Asia at the moment?
Digital disruptions in the marketplace such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data analytics technologies are changing the way we search, hire, and develop our workforce. Besides keeping up with these developments, it is crucial that companies continue to identify people with the right skills that help move the business forward. For Chief HR Officers, the primary challenge is fostering an environment that allows that to happen. An equally interesting challenge is to cultivate the high-performance culture needed to then retain this talent.
What does the performance management strategy at UPS entail? Performance management has always been a core component of UPS’s growth strategy. At UPS, we believe in letting our employees take ownership of their career development and work performance by empowering them to set their own performance goals and targets relevant to their work assignments. This encourages employees to think about how they can contribute meaningfully to the growth of the company – and at the same time, how they would like to grow in their career. The goals are reviewed on a quarterly basis and are tied not just to compensation, but also to career progression.
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Rather than looking at changing the tools to manage performance – which is important for transparency and seamless communication throughout an organisation as large as ours – I believe it’s more important for each individual to be able to influence and be accountable for setting their own meaningful goals, and work towards achieving them.
How important is career development to HR leaders across Asia at the moment? With more than 434,000 employees globally, our priority is to nurture our talents and constantly challenge them, providing them with growth opportunities. We believe that talent management is critical for us to retain an engaged workforce. To ensure that our employees remain engaged, we help them to meet their career goals. Our employees take ownership of their Career Development Plans, which provides a platform for UPS to formally acknowledge these goals. Together with individual and peer performance assessments, we identify high potential employees that would benefit from job rotations, which may include an international assignment. When employees realise that their employer is genuinely concerned about their personal development and will invest time and resources into it, they become more engaged with the organisation. Policies like this help us to retain a strong talent pool with a high retention rate. Many of our employees have been with
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THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF HR OFFICER IN ASIA
us for more than 15 years, and a lot of our senior executives started off as part-time loaders or package car drivers.
Should HR leaders in Asia be taking their cues, particularly in performance management which will always have some cultural elements, from trends and innovations happening in the West? I would not differentiate between “East” and “West” because every geography and company is different and unique. Whether or not a company chooses a specific type of performance management method or programme, or even chooses to have one at all, is really up to each individual company and its culture, priority and focus. We see advancements in technology, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things coming from both the “East” and the “West” at the same time – so there is really no cultural or geographical bearing or need to take cues from one particular area.
“I believe it’s more important for each individual to be able to influence and be accountable for setting their own meaningful goals, and work towards achieving them” – TANIE EIO, VICE PRESIDENT OF HR, UPS ASIA-PACIFIC
Is there pressure to transform the HR team? Or indeed, is there pressure to change other wholesale parts of the UPS organisation as a result of this changed landscape? UPS has been around for more than 110 years now, and we’re good at adapting to the changing demands economically, politically, socially, environmentally and even culturally, across the 220 countries and territories where we work and serve. A strong part of UPS’s culture involves
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Challenges and solutions for HR leaders TANIE EIO, is one of the more than 20 senior HR leaders who will be taking part in the
CHRO Series in Singapore on July 11. This invitation-only, single-day symposium will
being “constructively dissatisfied”; so often times, whether internal or external, there is always a desire to improve. We want to continually develop, train and prepare our people to serve the evolving distribution, logistics, and commerce needs of our customers worldwide, offering excellence and value in all we do. In fact, we’ve created an Asia-Pacific region “Vision Map” that defines the company’s goals and aspirations, and describes how every employee based in Asia plays a key role in achieving that collective vision. It inspires employees to adopt three key people traits: to be agile, empowered and innovative. This will enable them to respond quickly to changes in our external environment, transform our business to stay ahead of market disruptors, and execute our operations flawlessly.
What is the risk of not adapting to this new, disruptive, and volatile business environment? We risk becoming irrelevant and uninventive. Ultimately, this creates an uninspiring environment where you have talent that are not adequately motivated to excel or grow to their full potential.
Given the holistic, all-encompassing role of the Chief HR Officer, what does it mean to also be an effective business partner? You need to have strong business acumen and foresee human capital issues that may arise from high-level business decisions.
feature highlevel thought leadership, interactive round-table discussions, and Asia-focused case studies to help build on the already significant experience of C-Level HR leaders in the region. To find out more, or to request an invitation, visit www. chroseries.com
At the same time, you also need to be able to diagnose anticipated issues and provide solutions or recommendations so as to influence organisational decisions. It is also important to have a finger on the pulse of the HR industry so that you can make wellinformed decisions, particularly when it comes to making investment calls. At the end of the day, it is all about being able to understand what is good for the business, and providing the right advice and insight to the boardroom. I believe HR professionals can benefit from an “outside-in” approach. As a department helping to shape the environment and culture of the company, HR needs to be plugged in to the marketplace and macro-trends so as to create up-to-date and aligned solutions to take the company to the next level. With all these changes happening right now, it’s an exciting time to be in HR!
What happens when the HR function is cut off, or siloed away from other parts of the business? It is possible for the business to still go on, but with the risk of a fragmented workforce and conflicting culture without HR’s involvement to manage it along with business needs. People management is both a science and an art. HR professionals must take into account human psychology, behavior, and emotions to anticipate and plan ahead. This is not possible when the HR function is isolated.
5/28/2018 4:47:28 PM
SERIES 2018 Driving the Business to Succeed and Shaping the Future of Work
11 July 2018 | Singapore
The role of the CHRO has become more important than ever as a partner to the CEO, drive strategy, prepare and drive the organisations towards the future. Join us at the CHRO Series 2018, a high-level, closed door environment where HR Leaders come together to collaborate and explore strategies for driving the business to succeed and shaping the future of work. CHRO Series 2018, is an exclusive platform by invitation only and strictly limited to the country or regional Head of HR who holds a title of nothing less than CHRO, HRD or SVP from the top 150 companies in the region - keeping the crowd intimate and networking as effective as possible.
Patrick Tay Assistant SecretaryGeneral in the Labour Movement, Chairman Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Manpower
Jacob Jacob Group CHRO Columbia Asia Healthcare
Tanie Eio VP Human Resources UPS
Harpreet Singh Chhatwal HR Director Radisson Hotels
Priya Shahane Chief People Officer AXA
Ravi Bhogaraju Global Head HR Archroma
Key Highlights 16+ Speakers Sessions
7 case study presentations, 4 roundtable discussions, 4 panel discussions, and a number of hand-picked leading networking breaks tofrom help you get the best out of organisations your experience
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The Future in Human Capital Management Changing Mindsets and Building Capacity to Drive a Workforce of the Future Building the Talent Pipeline Through an Employer Branding Strategy How HR Leaders can Influence Business Transformation and Culture Empowerment Building an Agile Culture to Drive us to the Workforce of the Future Enhancing the Employee Experience and Building Engagement
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F E AT U R E
ALL THE RIGHT MOVES In a globalised world facing non-stop change, job rotations are a potent way for a companyâ€™s future leaders to show off and develop their agility B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y
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T F E AT U R E
he importance of agility in business is hardly a new concept, but it is one that has become increasingly important in the constantlyshifting landscape most organisations are now experiencing. Agility is not a skill that can be taught through a workshop or virtual training programme. It can, however, be groomed through first-hand experience – and many companies are finding that forcing disruption into their very structure can help to filter out, and nurture, future leaders who have the willingness and disposition to adapt. “Here at Shell, we do not think of jobs in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, we like to think of them as assignments. There is of course a minimum amount of time we like for someone to be in the job and for this, we have a concept of a ‘window’ built in our HR systems which indicates the employee’s earliest availability to explore other jobs within Shell as agreed with their supervisor. This is one of the mechanisms that Shell has put in place to encourage progression and learning agility across the organisation,” says Eric Yim, Global Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Shell. The HR systems allow prospective managers to review a potential readership talent: their development goals, performance metrics, and existing manager feedback, all before arranging their own interview. Presumably, the performance metric across different functions paints a picture of a person’s leadership potential – if they score well across different functions, it becomes clear that they are not only highly-talented but also very agile, and to consider as a highpotential for leadership development.
approach to learning and development, where each segment breaks down to onthe-job training; coaching and mentoring; and formal training, respectively. After all, the most important part of a training programme is, arguably, when the trainee goes back to the workplace and turns what they have learned into practical reality. The 70% component is partly comprised of overseas assignments, both long and short. “These could be outcomes of our talent review sessions, or our development centres for high-potentials,” says Low. “I frequently get requests from colleagues in other countries: ‘We’ve created a short-term assignment role and are looking for people with this set of competencies to come over and work for a period of time and exchange
knowledge and skills’.” In particular, for leadership positions such as country directors, Carlsberg expects candidates to showcase experience from a range of markets. “We send talent to go do a functional or management role elsewhere, maybe a smaller market, so that they are exposed to different setups within or outside the region. It’s very valuable and can’t be gained from attending a leadership programme,” says Low.
Developing globally-minded leaders At the recent opening of Schneider Electric S$23 million Asian hub, the company’s president of East Asia and Japan, Tommy Leong, announced the establishment of the Energy Generation Programme. This is a new management trainee course for fresh graduates, to be run in partnership with Singapore’s Economic Development Board. “We strongly believe that to develop the leaders of the future, it is not just about working in one country; it is about having an international perspective, orientation and exposure to other cultures,” he told local media. The company plans to hire local Singaporeans, and send them on one- to two-year stints in important international markets.
On-the-job training Lisa Low, Regional Talent Management Director, Asia at the Carlsberg Group, notes that leadership development managers need to focus more on helping individual contributors transition into leadership roles. This could, for instance, be by giving them a range of functional or management experiences, whether locally or abroad. “On-the-job development opportunities expose employees to a different way of doing things,” she says. “They make a person more adaptable and prepared to change, because they experience first-hand that things aren’t always going to be the way they expect or are used to.” She explains that the multinational beer giant has always followed a 70/20/10
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For Panasonic in Singapore, adding an overseas flavour to rotations is a way of a grooming a globally-competitive workforce. “In Asia-Pacific, promising talents are assigned to take up roles in regional offices for frontline experience in various functional roles. These roles range from manufacturing to sales and support functions, such as procurement and IT. These assignments last between one and two years,” says Loh Kwok Cheong, General Manager of Corporate HR at Panasonic Asia-Pacific. “These programmes not only develop and nurture our people for key roles, but also optimise their potential and skillsets as well,” he adds. “Upon successful completion of their training stint and job attachments, these high potentials will return to their home countries to assume leadership positions. They are also expected to take part in knowledge transfer, impart skills, and groom the next level of high potentials who will one day succeed them.” High potential candidates are also
“WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT TO DEVELOP THE LEADERS OF THE FUTURE, IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT WORKING IN ONE COUNTRY; IT IS ABOUT HAVING AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE, ORIENTATION AND EXPOSURE TO OTHER CULTURES” – TOMMY LEONG,
PRESIDENT OF EAST ASIA AND JAPAN, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC
seconded to Pansonic’s headquarters in Japan, so that they can develop new skills and acquire more knowledge.
Stepping stones Of course, secondment initiatives alone can only do so much. “Employees themselves have to have that agility mindset,” says Low. “They need to have that motivation to take on that 12-month assignment in Europe, even if it means making a few sacrifices.” Ultimately, leadership development functions need to be conscious that they
can only provide tools and opportunities – but these will be meaningless unless mechanisms are in place to identify the right kind of talent, and the structure is in place to empower employees to take charge of their own development. As Low says, “[employees] can’t be sitting there, expecting employers to take care of them. We always stress that employees own their own career development. You need to have the will because no one else can give that to you.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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MOBILE MILLENNIALS With millennials now dominating the workforce, itâ€™s time for organisations to make sure their approach to mobility is aligned with the unique demands of this generation
B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y
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he millennials have arrived in the workforce, and they aren’t going anywhere — at present, they comprise the largest demographic of most workforces around the world. They have certainly already changed much about the way we work, with their digital savvy and preference for flexible working. “This year, we expect millennials to have an even greater influence on mobility trends,” says Lisa Johnson, Global Practice Leader - Consulting Services of Crown World Mobility. “Talent has arguably never been more globally mobile than it is today, and millennials are hungry for international experiences.” With this new generation comes the need for a fresh approach to old ways of doing things. In the area of mobility, several millennial-driven trends have already emerged – such as the rise of employee-initiated moves. Even as multinational companies use international assignments as a way to groom leaders, workers themselves are taking the initiative to gain overseas experience. Millennials are even taking it into their own hands, as online travel platforms such as Airbnb and Kayak make do-it-yourself and low-cost adventure moves all the more reachable for the average person. But with this comes an increased focus on risk management – Johnson says that more than half of multinational companies now have employee-initiated mobility policies. These can provide updated provisions for lump sums and cash allowances, and also go hand-in-hand with risk management steps such as the use of security or travel-tracking technology.
A smaller world Medium-term international assignments are also on the rise. Millennials, after all, are well known for their preferences for accelerated career progression; frequently spending two or so years in a role or organisation before moving on. Expecting the younger generation of workers to spend five years on an overseas assignment might, as such, be a tall order. Beyond just shortening such assignments to two or three years, companies can start to consider short-term assignments that last anywhere from one to six months. “[Organisations should] expand the mobility team’s activities into new areas, including frequent business travellers, commuters, and extended business trips. These types of moves are difficult to track and often managed at local or regional
levels, but in the mind of millennials, the barrier between extended business trips and short-term and between a short term and a long term assignment is tenuous,” suggests Olivier Meier of Mercer in the advisory firm’s The Future of Global Mobility: Seven Dilemmas report. Given the millennial focus on career progression, it’s worth taking the time to integrate development plans with overseas moves and assignments. Milestones and learning targets are straightforward ways to provide a sense of structure. Millennials are also frequently labelled as ‘digital natives’. Whether this is accurate or not, it’s certainly true that digitalisation and digitisation are unavoidable in this day and age. Technology has helped the world become a smaller, more connected place. In this context, digital transformation needs to also integrate with the mobility function. “Reactive communication pushed via email will no longer meet the needs of a generation used to instant 24/7 access to information via smartphones, chat-bots, and self-service solutions,” suggests Meier. Even as the world has become smaller, workers have become more knowledgeable about lands beyond their shores – Google Maps and Instagram make it seemingly easy to find out more about other countries and cultures. Unfortunately, this might lead to some level of a mismatch between locations that workers want to experience, versus where they are needed by their organisations. As such, organisations should expect to do some amount of storytelling and narrativecrafting to detail what employees can and will get out of an overseas assignment.
Where are millennials sent in company-initiated moves?
UK CHINA ORE SINGAP BRAZIL NY GERMA
21% 21% 20% 17%
Why do millenials take on overseas assignments?
Career development opportunities Discovering new countries and cultures Learning opportunities Higher compensation Family reasons
Where are millenials going in employee-initiated moves? US UK ORE SINGAP CHINA NY GERMA BRAZIL
50% 29% 17%
C y p w
13% 13% 6%
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“The appeal of an assignment destination can stem from various factors: direct career and learning opportunities, business networking (for example, being at the heart of operations and involvement in critical projects – an indirect boost for the career and a way to accelerate learning), financial benefits (such as pay, tax, and saving opportunities), quality of living, the possibility to integrate into local life and contribute to the society, lifestyle, and personal family considerations,” says Meier.
Moving jobs to people A PwC survey of 9,000 women in more than 70 countries showed that more than seven out of 10 female millennials (including 82% in Singapore) want to work abroad during their career – but only 20% of the current internationally mobile population are women. In PwC’s subsequent Modern Mobility: Moving Women with Purpose report from 2016, the top three barriers cited for this phenomenon were: women with children not wanting to take on international
assignments, organisations not having a clear view of which employees are willing to be mobile, and women not wanting to risk losing their spouse’s higher income. Yet making international assignments friendlier to female needs might prove helpful for everyone, not just women. Yvonne McNulty, a researcher at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, recently told Quartz that the most successful relocations for couples happen when it is the woman who has been offered the job. “Women expats look at it far more
MARKETPLACE - MOBILITY SIRVA Worldwide
SIRVA delivers customised relocation and moving solutions that satisfy the needs of clients and their people in the highest quality and most efficient way – wherever they do business. Offering an extensive portfolio of mobility services across 204 countries and territories, Sirva provides end-to-end solutions and delivers an enhanced mobility experience for clients and their people. Sirva has a portfolio of well-known and recognisable brands including Allied, northAmerican, Smartbox, and Allied Pickfords.
Cartus Relocation Services
Fraser Suites Singapore
Cartus has more than 60 years of demonstrated solutions and satisfied clients. Our services cover every phase of the relocation process, from selling a home, and shipping household goods, to settling in and adjusting to new communities. And our relocation services are as flexible as they are varied. We understand that relocation, can be a stressful experience. So no matter which of Cartus’ many levels of assistance you select for your employees, they’ll have one-on-one support from a personal relocation consultant throughout.
Nestled in a prime residential district, Fraser Suites Singapore is only a short distance from Orchard Road, Singapore’s renowned shopping destination, as well as the Central Business District. The vibrant riverside corridor of Clarke Quay and Boat Quay hosts of a myriad of theme restaurants, al fresco dining, chic cafes, pubs and specialty shops are also located close by, while Changi International Airport is only a 30-minute car ride away. The location, service, and hospitality make Fraser Suites an ideal accommodation option for any assignee in Singapore.
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A Relaxing Home Amidst City Living Discover a restful, roomy living solution inspired by nature and with all the comforts of home at Winsland Serviced Suites by Lanson Place. Explore an abundance of exciting shopping, dining, and entertainment options that await you on Orchard Road, or discover the rest of the city with nearby Somerset MRT Station. This is ideal accommodation in Singapore, one of Asiaâ€™s most livable cities. 167 Penang Road Singapore 238462 email@example.com winsland.lansonplace.com
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“THIS YEAR, WE EXPECT MILLENNIALS TO HAVE AN EVEN GREATER INFLUENCE ON MOBILITY TRENDS. TALENT HAS ARGUABLY NEVER BEEN MORE GLOBALLY MOBILE THAN IT IS TODAY, AND MILLENNIALS ARE HUNGRY FOR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES”
holistically in terms of money and relationships or family wellbeing and career. If one of those is off, they don’t do the relocation, because they know that success will only happen when all three are in place,” she said. As such, compensation packages are a vital aspect to re-examine. Crown World Mobility’s 2018 Global Mobility Trends also points out that “family” means different things to different cultures, and that companies should be open-minded in this respect. In Asia, particularly, it might be beneficial to include the parents of employees when crafting mobility policies. But the conversation about diversity and mobility has larger implications for the contemporary understanding of what it means to work. rather than the reverse. “Whether or not to move jobs “The days when you to people and how to do it is an could tell someone to pack entire dilemma in itself… This their suitcase and move is something that needs to Outer Mongolia to be considered as part tomorrow are gone. of the decision process We’ve got to be more when an assignment is of millenial open-minded about planned. The equivalent women want where global roles of working from home to work abroad and regional roles can for globally mobile during their be done from. We talk millennials is allowing career a lot about how digital assignees to work from a enables us and is changing third country that might not be the workforce, but still insist either the home country or a host on certain jobs being done in certain location,” notes Meier. locations,” he said. During a panel discussion at HR “I’ve been in organisations Summit & Expo Asia last month, where one of the tick boxes when Stephen Brown, HR Director for Asiaapplying asks, “Are you mobile?”. Pacific at Rolls-Royce, highlighted But with the way the world is moving, that organisations need to start seriously you need to go where the talent is and thinking about “bringing jobs to people”,
– LISA JOHNSON,
GLOBAL PRACTICE LEADER - CONSULTING SERVICES, CROWN WORLD MOBILITY
create jobs that can be done pretty much from everywhere,” agreed Aditi MadhokNaarden, another panellist at the session, and HR Director for Asia-Pacific at The Body Shop, “Obviously you can’t do that with every job, such as one in a factory, but if you find someone who is really talented, instead of thinking, ‘we can’t hire them because they can’t be mobile’, I think it’s time for organisations to start thinking, ‘Does this job really need to be done in Singapore? Can it be done where the talent is?’” she added. At the end of the day, it’s all about bringing on, and keeping talent – and companies that can recognise the changing needs and preferences of the millennial workforce are likely to stay on top of the game. firstname.lastname@example.org
MARKETPLACE - MOBILITY Winsland Serviced Suites
The Ascott Limited
Winsland Serviced Suites offers a relaxing, tranquil environment for travellers seeking short- or long-term accommodation in the heart of Singapore. Inside, you’ll find newly renovated, spacious suites with a modern look inspired by nature. Outside, an abundance of exciting shopping, dining, and entertainment options wait just a block away on Orchard Road, while the nearby Somerset MRT Station offers easy access to the rest of the city. For a relaxing home away from home for your staff, look no further than Winsland Serviced Suites.
The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It is one of the leading international serviced residence owner-operators with more than 500 properties in over 130 cities spanning more than 30 countries across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Its portfolio of brands includes Ascott, Citadines, Somerset, Quest, The Crest Collection and lyf. In Singapore, Ascott currently operates six serviced residences including Ascott Orchard, Ascott Raffles Place, Citadines Fusionopolis, Citadines Mount Sophia, Somerset Bencoolen and Somerset Liang Court.
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PA R T N E R CO N T E N T
S I R VA W O R L D W I D E R E L O C AT I O N A N D M O V I N G
Mobility challenges ahead Alignment challenges
Only 50% of the survey participants rated their mobility programme as “somewhat” or “completely” mature. This was – in part – due to the wide array of reporting arrangements that are in place for the teams. Only 10% of the programmes were managed under the Talent function, with most placed under another HR grouping, usually Compensation and Benefits. There is evidence that a push toward the “branding” of mobility as a critical success factor supporting business growth and talent objectives has not yet been successful. The survey found that most employees still do not view relocation as a prerequisite for career advancement. Organisations need to bridge this gap between operational and strategic mobility functions by providing appropriate infrastructure to recognise employee preferences. They should also focus on internal communications that can highlight the importance of mobility in business terms.
Cost control While most survey participants were unable to fully quantify the cost of relocating an
employee, it was still clear that managing costs remains a priority for mobility leaders around the world. Organisations that are looking to increase efficiencies within their programmes have considered a range of policy options. They include analysing and rationalising the scope of services being offered; partnerships between the mobility function, and subject matter experts both within and outside the organisation, additional efficiency-driving technology, and clearly-visible Return-on-Investment tracking.
Data concerns Perhaps of most concern to outside analysts, was the lack of technology awareness and digital savvy within mobility teams. When asked what type of technology was used to support big data and mobility trend analysis, over 34% of the survey participants indicated “not applicable” to their organisation and programme.
Analytics platforms enable mobility managers to extrapolate historical relocation information from hundreds of thousands of past relocations, in order to generate performance, financial, and operational reports. In addition, these tools enable users to track ongoing programme costs, policy exemptions, and satisfaction survey results.
AVERAGE RELOCATION PACKAGE COSTS Long-term assignments:
US$1.2million Short-term assignments:
US$520,000 Permanent transfers:
SOURCE: SIRVA ANNUAL MOBILITY REPORT
he SIRVA Mobility Report: Talent Mobility for Business Growth – Aligning Practices to Drive Organisational Impact, highlights the shift many organisations are now taking toward a strategic mobility function. The best programmes are now global, and primarily focused on operational excellence. They are thinking deeply on factors such as candidate selection. But there are still challenges ever-present. Ensuring alignment across different markets and functions within the organisation, managing costs, and successfully leveraging on the opportunities presented by big data are some of the key focus areas identified by the research. SIRVA conducted in-depth interviews with 143 mobility professionals, representing the international programmes of 134 unique organisations. Those programmes handle an average of 90 permanent relocation moves per year, as well as 186 long-term international moves. Almost all of the participants expected their programmes to grow in scope and volume over the coming three years.
The report notes that the lifecycle of a relocation requires touchpoints from a multitude of sources, and each of these touchpoints represents an opportunity for data to be collected, and used to enhance and improve the end-to-end experience for relocating staff. “Gathering, reviewing, and extrapolating this data is challenging due to the immaturity of the systems being used, or because of the number of systems employed to manage the process,” the report notes. It suggests organisations leverage off their internal HR information systems and combine data with external vendor systems to get the most useable results.
The full SIRVA Annual Mobility Report is available for download on the company’s website: www.sirva.com
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Learning and Development Conference
Re-Skilling and Up-Skilling Talent through 21st Century Learning Tools and Strategies 3-4 July 2018 | Singapore
As HR and Learning and Development specialists, no one understands the evolving landscape of jobs and skills like you do, given that every day you are faced with the demands of today’s fast-changing and evolving world of work; and the pressure to transform your workforce in order to remain relevant and competitive. Join us at the 2018 Learning and Development Congress where we’ll explore the latest learning trends in four core areas including: science and research, design and development, management and implementation and tools and technologies for modern workplace learning.
Early Confirmed Speakers: Aye Wee Yap SVP, Head of Learning and Development OCBC Bank
Harlina Sodhi Harlina Sodhi, Senior Executive Vice President – HR IDFC Bank
Adaline Lee Head of Learning and Development - APAC, LATAM & MEA Mundipharma
Topics to be explored include: Future technology and learning Practical neuroscience for learning professionals Aligning learning to the needs of your organisation Transforming the learner experience with big data Transitioning from face-to-face to digital learning Successfully introducing micro-learning within your organisation Adopting a growth mindset to drive learning agility How to gamify your learning to make it more impactful Creating a culture of continuous and self-directed learning
Raman Sidhu Global Head of OD & Learning Global Commercial Shell
Tricia Duran HR Director Unilever
Why attend this event? Receive: Practical insights into 21st-century learning tools and strategies that drive improved business performance Cultivate: An understanding of how to create a culture of continuous and self-directed learning Discover: Tools for effectively measuring L&D impact and outcomes Learn: How-to’s for getting buy-in for new learning and development initiatives
REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: email@example.com | www.learninganddevelopmentasia.com
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CALENDAR Third quarter of 2018
In these turbulent and disruptive times, employing organisations need to be fully aware and up to date with their rights and responsibilities toward their staff. The Asia Employment Law Congress 2018 will provide a comprehensive overview of the evolving employment law landscape in key Asian markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan.
This new, monthly, invitation-only networking event is exclusive for the HR community in Asia. It is a deliberately social environment, where HR professionals can meet, exchange ideas and share advice, or even just a few stories. Other upcoming dates are July 11 (Singapore). Register your interest at www. hrdrinks.com
ASIA EMPLOYMENT LAW CONGRESS
HR DRINKS, SINGAPORE
HR XLR8 SUMMIT
Strategy, Analytics, Transformation, and Design: the new world of HR demands a new, holistic approach to workforce management utilising all four of these concepts. For the first time in Asia-Pacific, this multistream conference will provide a new perspective on the traditional HR function and inspire delegates to seize the many opportunities for innovation that abound.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE 2018
The 2018 Learning and Development Conference will explore the latest learning trends for modern workplaces across four core areas: science and research, design and development, management and implementation, and tools and technologies. Delegates will gain critical insights from companies and thought leaders who are re-skilling and up-skilling their talent in this disruptive business environment.
CHRO SERIES 2018, SINGAPORE
The role of the Chief HR Officer is becoming more important than ever as these employee-focused leaders become a partner to the CEO, drive strategy, and ultimately enhance business success. CHRO Series 2018, taking place in Singapore on July 11, is themed “Driving the Business to Succeed and Shaping the Future of Work”. This exclusive one-day event is shaped around the unique HR challenges faced by businesses investing in today’s competitive workforce.
VIETNAM HR SUMMIT
Vietnam HR Summit and Expo is the national largest annual gathering of HR professionals and business leaders in Vietnam. Held at the White Palace Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, this year’s event will focus on the theme: “Transform to Win”.
Do you have an upcoming event to share with the HR community in Singapore? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL 57 READER ADVICE 58
MY HR CAREER
“With broad knowledge and specialist depth, it builds the capacity for inventive thought and quick understanding of situations”
People Operations Lead, Southeast Asia and Japan, Publicis.Sapient
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READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
MY HR CAREER
AHOW-TO GUIDEFORTHE ASPIRINGHR SUPERSTAR
To become “HR superstars”, practitioners have to tap into these three attributes, writes RAYMOND SOH, People Operations Lead for Publicis.Sapient in Southeast Asia and Japan
Developing depth and breadth of skills As HR, what “repairs” are most urgent for the function right now? To answer that question, we’ll first have to examine what a specialist and a generalist are. In the words of Jennifer Arnold in an article for the US Society for HR
Management, “HR professionals must be ready for anything and skilled in many things”. As an HR generalist, you may be someone who has experience handling many aspects of HR, but you might not have specialist knowledge in one particular area, which results in having skillsets that end up looking like a straight line.
n the last decade, we’ve all experienced a myriad of changes in our lives, and how we perceive the future. Throughout the 2010s, the word “disruption” has gained significant traction in Silicon Valley, particularly among the start-up community. Since then, it has evolved to become one of the most used business buzzwords across the globe. In the late 1990s, the Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen defined “disruptive innovation” as a principle whereby entrenched, dominant product or service providers could be replaced by smaller rivals who offered solutions that were better or cheaper. The famous quote from Heraclitus, “the only thing that is constant is change”, has become increasingly embraced by business leaders and innovation leaders across the globe. In a recent interview with CNBC, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma, said: “When we see something is coming, we have to prepare now. My belief is that you have to repair the roof while it is still sunny.”
T-shaped model By investing time to develop the depth of a skill in a specific matter, your skillsets are shaped more like a “T”. The vertical bar represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar represents the general and broad knowledge that individuals possess. ‘T-shaping” of skills isn’t new in HR. Many organisations such as KPMG Singapore have embodied this concept in their learning and development blueprints so as to ensure their people are well-equipped across disciplines.
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Since the introduction of the “T-shape” concept, a few other concepts have also emerged, including the “Pi-shape” and the “Comb-shape”.
Generalist/Broad Knowledge Specialist
Comb-shaped model Generalist/Broad Knowledge Specialist
Pi-shaped model A look into the career of Laszlo Bock, former Google Senior Vice President of People Operations and bestselling author of Work Rules!, tells us that he is a comb-shaped individual, with broad general knowledge and specialised skillsets. Bock did not study HR in university. Instead, he majored in International Relations during his Bachelor programme, before pursuing a Masters of Business Administration. He started his career with McKinsey and Co as a management consultant, which exposed him to many aspects of business. His two notable positions in HR prior to Google were first as a compensation consultant at Hewitt Associates; then as an engagement manager for McKinsey and Co, where he advised clients in the areas of organisational design, talent acquisition and development, and culture transformation. These roles also helped Bock to gain a huge spectrum of skills which he leveraged throughout his HR career. Through this we learn that there are three things you need to become a HR superstar: Gain a broad range of knowledge Improve and become a specialist in each of these fields Leverage that knowledge to your advantage JUNE 2018
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In order to effectively leverage knowledge at work, individuals have to utilise both wit and wisdom as subject matter experts. With this, I propose an adaptation to the comb-shaped model: The Star-shape model. The Star-shaped model emphasises on leveraging skills attained across each
ge led ow Kn ist ial ec Sp
Specia list Kn owled ge
ge led ow Kn ist ial ec Sp
Sp ec ial ist Kn ow led ge
ge wled o n K ialist Spec
of brand guidelines within an organisation, which will ramp up your ability to provide seamless brand experiencse across HR tasks such as onboarding and internal communications. With broad knowledge and specialist depth, it builds the capacity for inventive thought and quick understanding of situations. This is particularly critical for an HR professional who meets people from all walks of life across different stages of the employee life-cycle. So now that we have established how an HR employee can add value through wit and wisdom, how does grit come into the picture? Many thought leaders have spoken on grit, and till this day, I find that the presentation by Angela Duckworth best represents the concept: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,” she says. Ultimately, grit is a mixture of passion, understanding of personal goals, and attitude towards situations. As HR professionals, the road we’ve chosen to take is not one paved with marble, but one with many potholes and roadblocks along the way. Not every initiative will be wellreceived, and we are constantly under threat to prove our worth to the business. The next order of e business here is for you as a g d e owl professional to find a goal that you list Kn a i c e Sp feel passionate about and want to slog for against all odds. By working on these three aspects (wit, wisdom, and grit), the Specialist possibilities you can bring Knowledg e to your HR career are endless. Congratulations, you are now on your way to becoming a HR Superstar.
De pt ho fk no wl ed ge
specialisation to provide value. Each tip of the star represents a specialisation which may be interlinked to other specialisations in some way. The length of each prong represents the experience and knowledge attained in a specific field. The body of the star connects the different specialisations, which represents a free flow of information across knowledge areas. So, what’s in it for you to move from a simple straight line to a comb-shape or star-shape? This leads to the reflection of the three aspects I mentioned earlier: building capabilities and knowledge with both wit and wisdom. As an HR professional, what it means is the possibility to bring fresh ideas to business initiatives and processes. Imagine the possibilities that lie ahead – it could even mean having a better understanding and alignment
Sp ec ial ist Kn ow led ge
It is also important to know that as individuals, we all possess the following attributes that will help us tap into our skills and knowledge: Wisdom – This is the harmonisation of experience, knowledge, and good judgement Grit – The power of passion and perseverance, and how it is used to accomplish goals Wit – The capacity for inventive thought and quick understanding
READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
MY HR CAREER
About the author Raymond Soh is the People Operations Lead, Southeast Asia and Japan, at Publicis.Sapient, where he manages the end-to-end employee life cycle and experience across four brands
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MY HR CAREER FEATURE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL READER ADVICE
Senior HR Business Partner Advanced Micro Devices (Singapore)
ho is Meghal Goradia, and how would you describe her? I’m a passionate person who is not afraid to speak her mind.
As a Senior HR Business Partner, what do you do on a dayto-day basis? I take care of the employee cycle, from the time they join right through to the time they leave.
Complete this sentence. HR is… One of the fundamental pillars of any business and organisation.
What’s the best part of your job? Every day, there is something new. There’s always a new challenge to work on, and I love that we always have to come up with innovative solutions.
What’s the worst part?
DIGITAL IMAGING BY MUHAMAD AZLIN
When the business is not doing well, and you need to have tough conversations with employees, especially if they are your top talent.
What would you be doing if you were not in HR? I would be in the food and beverage business. I might have a restaurant, or I might be doing something in the space of human behaviour.
Why food and beverage in particular?
You must cook often?
Because I’m a foodie! I’m very passionate about food. I love feeding people, I love cooking new recipes. I have a lot of friends coming over for dinner.
Yes, I cook every day for my husband and I.
WHO IS ONE PERSON YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH FOR A DAY?
“Actually, there is no one. I just love my life the way it is. I want to experience everything that’s going to happen in my life – whether it’s good or bad”
He’s a very lucky man. What’s your home life like? My home life is very vibrant. It’s just me and my husband, but there’s always something going on. We share similar hobbies: we love playing badminton, going for long walks, watching movies, and discussing intellectual topics.
What is your favourite movie? The Blind Side. It stars Sandra Bullock, and it’s about how her character helps a homeless teenager to become a successful football player.
What are your guilty pleasures? Bingeing on junk food, and binge-watching Netflix programmes. I just finished watching Suits, and am eagerly waiting for Season 7. JUNE 2018
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MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FEATURE
Is your HR career progressing as you’d planned? Obstacles and barriers come in all shapes and sizes, but seasoned advice is never far away. Email: email@example.com to anonymously connect with HRM Asia’s team of career advisors.
FOR MANY YEARS now, the thought leaders of HR have been telling me to “learn the language of finance and business”. As a head of HR for a single-market company, I have done that, and feel confident conversing with the business leaders of other functions. But I am still waiting for that long-awaited seat at the table. Is there more that I can do, or is it up to others to now learn the language of HR? Sick of waiting, Kuala Lumpur
You raise a great question: ‘’Is it up to others to now learn the language of HR?” Absolutely. It’s definitely time for everyone to learn the language of HR. And your role is facilitating this knowledge transfer. Businesses with an effective and integrated HR strategy will always deliver results. Sharing your knowledge
on how to build a cohesive and integrated HR function which drives business objectives not only guarantees a seat at the table, but will also move you into the role of the highly-valued advisor to the business unit leaders. How do you do this? First, start with an audit of the HR function and assess its reputation. Ask the ‘so what’ and ‘why’ questions of HR: what is
Meet our Singapore & South East Asia team
its impact, and why does HR matter? With measurable insights in hand, translate the HR and talent implications into business objectives. Ensure every aspect of HR’s function is joined for successful execution; rewards, measurements, resources, and skills. Consider the commercial risks associated with a lack of talent or inconsistent capability development. Then focus on solutions – not simply within HR, but by deploying initiatives across the organisation. Second, think like a company owner. Take the responses from your audit and use the data to demonstrate how HR supports the business. Third, use the data to identify the gaps which have
the potential to impede business performance. And finally, create a plan to co-join HR and functional leaders to close those gaps.
Jane Horan is an author, speaker, and consultant focused on helping organisations build inclusive work environments and meaningful careers for their people. She has held senior AsiaPacific management positions at The Walt Disney Company, CNBC, and Kraft Foods.
HR Roles in Singapore Regional Head of HR, APAC
Consultant in-charge: Fay Phillips-Jones
Our client is an internationally headquartered Professional Services ﬁrm, with a base in Singapore. They have exclusively engaged our services for a Regional Head of HR, APAC to manage a team and be accountable for a progressive HR agenda and stakeholder relations with the senior and global leadership teams. There is a high emphasis on senior leadership hiring and stakeholder management. This is an exciting opportunity to join a successful ﬁrm going through change. You will own operations through to strategy for APAC and liaise with your global counterparts. Sean Tong Head of Asia firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Hardiman Associate Director email@example.com
Chief People Oﬃcer
Consultant in-charge: Sean Tong
Partnering closely with a US venture capital ﬁrm, we are delighted to be retained by a ﬁntech start-up who has achieved positive cashﬂow, proﬁtability and are currently in Series B funding. Reporting directly to the CEO and Board, you will be responsible for the HR team across the region. We are looking for a proven leader with executive presence, an astute commercial mind and the ability to eﬀectively partner with C-Suite leaders. You must have strong stakeholder management skills, a real passion for people and be prepared to “roll up your sleeves” and “walk the ground”.
Head of Talent & Leadership, APAC
Fay Phillips-Jones Head of Professional & Financial Services firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheldon Toh Associate Director email@example.com
Consultant in-charge: Sheldon Toh
Our client is a European listed MNC in the travel industry. They have strong brand presence in Europe and have been focusing their resources to penetrate the Asia Paciﬁc region. You will be responsible for the overarching talent and leadership strategy, ensuring the talent bench-strength is adequately pipelined through a stringent and revitalized talent assessment/identiﬁcation framework and covers the leadership development space. As such, they are currently looking for a Talent Director to create a signiﬁcant impact on people success in Asia Paciﬁc.
General Manager, Learning & Development
Consultant in-charge: Siying Wang
Our client is a leading Industrial ﬁrm with a strong footprint in Asia and a rapidly growing organisation. In the interest of continually building up Learning & Development in their organisation, they are looking for a dynamic and engaging General Manager of Learning and Development to be based in Singapore. Reporting directly to the Head of Learning & Development, you are responsible for designing leadership programs globally and partnering closely with the business stakeholders and senior HR Leaders to determine the training needs and gaps.
Talent Acquisition Director
Siying Wang Senior Researcher firstname.lastname@example.org
EA Licence No: 17S8475
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Consultant in-charge: Brian Hardiman
This global hospitality & leisure business are investing heavily in the APAC region and are looking for an experienced Talent Acquisition professional to both plan and execute their talent growth strategy. We are seeking a creative thinker who can drive talent attraction through the development of both employer branding initiatives and the existing talent acquisition team. As a proven TA leader from multi-national consumer businesses, you will be looking for a role where you can make an impact and contribute to the continued success of the business. frazerjones.com
5/28/2018 4:57:00 PM
Listening out for bias “YANNY” AND “LAUREL”. These two words had the world divided last month, after an audio clip first shared on Reddit made its rounds on social media. Those who heard “Yanny” could not fathom why others heard “Laurel”, and vice versa. Some super humans among us were able to identify both. This was basically #DressGate all over again (I saw a black and blue dress for that one.) For approximately one and a half days, I too found myself listening to the clip over and over again in a desperate attempt to hear “Laurel”. But for the life of me, soft or loud, slow or fast, all I could make out was a word that sounded like “Granny”. The correct answer, according to the internet, is Laurel. The original clip had supposedly been posted on vocabulary.com under that title. Unsatisfied and still in disbelief that I was “wrong”, I began to look for answers as to why there was such a stark contrast in our auditory receptors. My search led me to an article that I feel best explains this
BY KELVIN ONG
frustrating phenomenon. Some people hear “Yanny” because they are more sensitive to higher frequency sounds, while those who hear “Laurel” are more sensitive to lower frequencies. Apparently then, I have the hearing of a dog. But no matter what you heard, there seems to be a deeper message here, and it has nothing to do with sound waves. Indeed, this Yanny-Laurel divide brings up a bigger question about cognitive bias. Why did so many of us react as strongly as we did to those who had a different perception than us? On Twitter, users were getting into huge rows over the matter. The fact that people were unable to see (or in this case, hear) the same thing shows just how biased the human mind is once it’s been made up, or once it believes it is right.
Individuals become unable to see the flaws in their own thinking and judgement. As it’s often said, perception is reality, and this seems to be the case here. For HR, this information is gold. Closely related to cognitive bias is unconscious bias, a condition in which individuals inherently lean towards one viewpoint over another. In an organisational setting, unconscious bias can be harmful for businesses, as countless studies have shown. A manager who exhibits unconscious bias, for example, is more likely to promote someone they prefer over someone who actually deserves the promotion. This could end up driving top talent away. When this pattern is repeated across an organisation, it also inhibits thought diversity, a key ingredient for any business to succeed in this modern age. To combat this, many HR departments I’ve spoken to have in place some form of unconscious bias training as part of their employee development programmes. Unconscious bias training makes employees aware of their implicit biases, and provides tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking, ultimately eliminating discriminatory behaviours. The saga has only served to reinforce the need for HR to get involved with cognitive training. HR should consider facilitating regular training forums instead of a mere one-off session. It is also a timely reminder to everyone that diversity and inclusion should not be taken for granted, and is always a work in progress. Even as individuals have become more sensitive to other cultures and beliefs in our increasingly connected world, just knowing that we have a tendency to be biased can help us become more tolerant of different opinions. As a society, or as an organisation, that’s really all we can ask for. email@example.com JUNE 2018
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Next Month Coming Up
in the July-August 2018 issue
Having split from its sibling enterprise arm, HP Inc. is making a new life for itself. Nicolina Marzicola, the Regional Head of HR for Asia-Pacific (centre), says that starts with shaping a culture and strategy that places talent at the forefront.
Plus: Special Report
Leaders Talk HR Teambuilding
HRM Magazine Asia takes an in-depth look at the Smart Workforce and new ways of working that are turning entire industries inside out at the moment.
Peter Van Deursen, CEO of Cargill Asia-Pacific, says the company is “playing to win” in the era of disruption – rewarding and prioritising continuous learning and agility across its workforce.
See it online first at www.hrmasia.com from 60
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HRM Magazine Asia looks at some of the unique options for organisations wanting to enhance their teamwork and unit cohesion. Don’t be fooled however – it’s not all fun in the sun!
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JP Morgan Private Banking’s Asia CEO Kwang Kam Shing, plus a comprehensive report into the role of the Chief HR Officer in Asia