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BOUNCE BACK MedcoEnergi’s Amri Siahaan on HR’s role in a market crisis
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Dear HRM Magazine readers,
mid the chaos in today’s uberdisruptive and dynamic world of work, opportunities abound at every phase. Every single disruption heralds an opportunity to pick up new skills and perspectives, both professionally and also personally. While the concept of retooling ourselves is the only guaranteed way of staying relevant in today’s workforce, what isn’t cast in stone is the fact that we will always be undertaking this learning and development in the same organisation. Indeed, learning and development can continue throughout the course of our lives in different organisations. From an organisational perspective, it is HR’s role to monitor occurring and upcoming disruptive industry trends and to then equip employees with the necessary skillsets so they can adapt and ride on the crest of the disruptive wave. That being said, it is equally the duty of employees alike to identify potential opportunities that could arm them with new skills and help them
progress in their own careers. In some cases, this could mean moving on, and taking on a new challenge; something which I have decided to embark on this month. After four absolutely fruitful and fantastic years with HRM Asia, I have decided to seek new experiences and challenges. It has been an honour and a pleasure to be with you on this journey, and I would like to thank every single one of you for your support and encouragement. I would also like to offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the entire HRM Asia family, particularly the editorial team pictured below. Best regards,
SHAM MAJID Editor, HRM Asia
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ON THE COVER
Every organisation is looking to drive cost efficiencies in the present business environment – but perhaps none more so than Indonesian resources business MedcoEnergi. Its Chief Human Capital and Business Support Officer Amri Siahaan speaks to HRM Magazine about the impact of falling oil prices
“One of our key strategies to survive in the current condition has been to continue our cost efficiency efforts and become part of the cost leadership in the industry. We are consistently able to maintain our production costs lower than our peers” – AMRI SIAHAAN,
CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL AND BUSINESS SUPPORT OFFICER, MEDCOENERGI INTERNASIONAL
F E AT U R E S
LASTING THE DISTANCE
For Steve Morley, General Manager of Fitbit in Asia-Pacific, life is a marathon – not a sprint. He says his passion for the new and unknown resonates well with the fast-paced nature of Fitbit
18YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
UK-based HR consultant Jon Ingham has a new way to look at HR that will help it create real value for the organisation it serves. He explains his latest research ahead of his debut appearance at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018
28THE FUTURE IS NOW
HRM Asia hosted the Smart Workforce Summit in Singapore on September 19 and 20. We share the five key talking points from the event
TENSION HELPS BUILD 32HOW INNOVATION
Andrew and Gaia Grant explain why innovation is so essential, and the surprising paradox behind how to do it more effectively
WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here
35GIVE THEM A BREATHER
As businesses look to wind down a challenging 2017, thoughts are turning towards rewards for loyal employees. HRM Magazine shares how companies are crafting unique and costeffective retention strategies in an uncertain environment
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BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP INFOGRAPHIC TWO CENTS
MY HR CAREER
38DEVELOPING A FUTURE-READY PIPELINE
Businesses are in a constant state of disruption, and leadership development needs to be a driver for both individual and organisational change. So says Ewan Gordon Clark, Global Head of Leadership Effectiveness and Organisational Development at Standard Chartered Bank
BETTER, FASTER, SHARPER
These days, annual engagement surveys and performance reviews are no longer sufficient for organisations to keep their fingers on the pulse of their staff. To support the needs of a younger, more technology-savvy and impatient workforce, the emphasis is now on real-time feedback, regular interventions, and convenient access
THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY
Tony Tan, Head of HR for Munich Reinsurance in Greater China, explains why many HR professionals are working against their own interests, and those of society
48 48 49 50 52 54
HR CLINIC HR PEP TALK UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP READER ADVICE EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS NOVEMBER 2017
BEST OF HRMASIA.COM
.com Watch - HR in Focus
Sham Majid, Jaclyn Lee and Tarun Gulrajani discuss whether organisations should be more transparent in job applications to candidates, the merits of embarking on a digital HR transformation programme, and the drop in demand for HR roles across Southeast Asia.
Search - Your next career move
HRM Asia’s HR-specific job portal on www.hrmasia. com/jobs is constantly abuzz with the latest opportunities for HR-focused talent.
positions wereposted in the last month
Last month, we asked: What’s the chief productivity killer in your office. This is your response.
Surfing the internet
Share - From the HRM Asia Forums
“Explain to them, get their buyin, and use them as a positive ‘virus’ that will spread the aura of change to others”
Watch - HRM TV
HRM Asia’s Kelvin Ong chats with Sandeep Girota, Head of HR at DaVita Healthcare, on how CHROs need to get their organisations changeready while managing culture shifts
Pambudi Sunarsihanto explains how a senior HR colleague engaged the use of “change agents” to oversee change-management efforts within her organisation
“IN THE WORKPLACE, UNCONSCIOUS BIAS CAN INFLUENCE KEY DECISIONS THAT ULTIMATELY STYMIE DIVERSITY, RECRUITING, AND RETENTION EFFORTS”
Last month, we asked: What’s your preferred social media recruitment channel. This is your response.
60% 23% 10% 5% 3% Others
Vicki Ng shares how unconscious bias can derail an organisation’s culture
henaconflictual negotiationis ongoing,the wheeloscillates andthepressuremoves fromonespoketotheother.Thereis avigorousinterplayofemotionsand movementofpressurefromonespoke totheother” Nikhil Shahane says conflictual negotiations can be analysed via the analogy of a wheel comprising of eight robust spokes
Don’t wait for the published magazine each month – the best of HRM Asia’s news, features, and analysis are available both online and through our e-newsletters. Subscribe to each of HR in Practice, HRM Asia News Weekly, and My HR Career by heading to www.hrmasia.com/content/subscribe, and remember to stay updated throughout the week by checking into www.hrmasia.com. NOVEMBER 2017
BROADCASTER SORRY FOR KAROSHI DEATH
MAKING SILENT WAVES A BUBBLE TEA SHOP in
the southern province of Guizhou in China is quietly gaining prominence – due to its strategy of only recruiting deaf workers. The South China Morning Post reported that the outlet offers an ideal setting for graduates of a local special needs high school to enhance their communication skills. All employees communicate through sign language, save for one cashier who does not
possess any hearing or language impediments. Visual aids and menus are readily visible on the shop’s walls as well as counters. The outlet comprises of 16 permanent employees who each undertook six weeks of training before beginning work full-time. According to China News Service, the chain was due to expand in October with two more branches set to open in the city of Guiyang.
JAPANESE BROADCASTER NHK has apologised to the parents of a young reporter who died of heart failure four years ago. NHK reporter Miwa Sado, 31, who had been covering political news in Tokyo, was found dead in her bed in July 2013, reportedly clutching her mobile phone. She had previously clocked in 159 hours of overtime in a month. Details of her death have again brought a sharp focus on the nationwide problem of karoshi - death from overworking. It is a particularly humiliating episode for NHK, as the broadcaster has campaigned against Japan’s long-hours culture. NHK made the case public last month, after pressure from Sado’s family. Its chief has promised to improve its work conditions. According to a recently-released government report on death from overwork, there were 191 karoshi cases in the year ending March 2017.
NEW DELHI, INDIA
MOVES TO END VIP RAILWAY CULTURE INDIA’S NATIONAL RAILWAY ministry
has ordered a series of shake-ups to eradicate the privileged culture rife in the sector. In an unprecedented move, the ministry ended a mandatory 36-yearold protocol for general managers to be present on arrival and departure of the Railway Board chairman and other board members during zonal visits. The excessive privileges of senior railway officials have also been curtailed at home, after the former was
ordered to relieve all railway employees who have been working as domestic helpers in their homes. Officials estimate that around 30,000 trackmen work at the homes of senior officials. They have been asked to resume their railway duties. In addition, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has also asked senior officials to stop commuting with executive class travel privileges and to instead travel in regular sleeper and mid-tier classes in the hope of interacting with thousands of other regular-travelling passengers.
AIRLINE SET FOR MAJOR REVAMP
FLEXIBLE WORKING STANDARD IN PLACE OVER 250 COMPANIES, employing some
210,000 employees, have signed up for a new standard focusing on flexible working arrangements. This new set of voluntary guidelines aims to encourage Singapore employers to provide flexi-work offerings including part-time work, job-sharing, staggered work hours, and shorter working weeks. About 20% of registered firms are small and medium-sized enterprises, the nation’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed.
Co-developed by MOM, the National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore National Employers Federation, the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements aims to make it easier for all employees to enjoy such benefits. Although many organisations provide flexible work options, some appeared to do so only on paper. This initiative has come at a time when there has been a greater push for more work-life balance and family time.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES (SIA) has announced a three-year transformation plan that it says will help it to regain its former market position. CEO Goh Choon Phong wrote in a company newsletter that this latest decision was made to ensure that SIA “continues to be a leader in customer service and to claim market and financial leadership once again”. A total of 56 initiatives will be rolled out as part of the plan, to help “grow revenue, re-base cost structure and enhance organisational effectiveness”. These initiatives range from fuel burn reduction to self-service platforms that will “ease call centre volumes” and provide greater customer service efficiency. Some reduction in headcount is likely, although the company has not announced any detailed plans on that front. Goh had hinted at the possibility of staff cuts in public forums earlier this year.
CUSTOMS EMPLOYEES CULLED THE COMMISSIONER OF the Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC)
Isidro Lapeña has sacked eight district collectors of the agency for their failure to end corruption within the ports they were supervising. UNTV News & Rescue reported that among those fired included the district collectors of the ports of Cebu, San Fernando, Limay, Iloilo, Subic, Legazpi, Zamboanga, and Appari. A further 30 section chiefs of the formal entry division of the Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port were also relieved of their duties. They were transferred to different provincial collection districts of the agency. “If they are unable to hit the target – say, the collection was too low – that’s one reason for the relief,” Lapeña said. The vacant roles will be filled by staff handpicked by Lapeña from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. There are presently over 3,000 vacant roles at BOC.
N E W S I N T E R N AT I O N A L
NEW YORK CITY, US FREMONT, US
ANTI-GAY LAWSUIT AGAINST CARMAKER A FORMER WORKER at electric carmaker Tesla’s factory in California is suing the company and the recruitment agency that hired him on claims he was unfairly dismissed for complaining about anti-gay harassment. Jorge Ferro first filed a complaint against Tesla with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing in September last year. He alleged that his trainer had made fun of his sexual orientation, even telling him on one ocassion “to watch his back”. In another incident, the same trainer allegedly threatened Ferro, telling him something “might happen” to his car. He also claimed that he was later punished by company management for complaining about the harrassment. Tesla has since issued a statement, saying that it would “always fight back against unmeritorious claims”. It added: “In this case, neither of the two people at the centre of the claim actually worked for Tesla. Both worked for a third-party. Nevertheless, Tesla still stepped in to try to keep these individuals apart from one another and to ensure a good working environment.”
FALL OF FAMED FILM PRODUCER FAMED HOLLYWOOD FILM producer
Harvey Weinstein made headlines everywhere last month after a New York Times exposé revealed that his sexual indiscretions had resulted in a string of harassment allegations dating as far back as 30 years ago. The HR department of Weinstein’s production unit The Weinstein Company was also implicated in that story for being ineffective at holding the perpetrator accountable. According to the accounts of former employees, “The HR operation was considered weak in New York, and worse in London”. This meant most women would not go far with their complaints. The result was that Weinstein,
also the co-founder of Miramax, another highly-successful film studio, had reportedly reached settlements with at least eight women for sexual harassment and assault accusations. In 2015, Lauren O’Connor, who was a book scout at The Weinstein Company between 2014 and 2016, recounted how a female assistant to Weinstein said she was forced into giving her boss a massage while he was naked. “There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” O’Connor wrote in a memo to senior executives at the time, adding that she and other female staffers suspected Weinstein was only using them to set up “liaisons with vulnerable women who hope he will get them work”.
MENLO PARK, US
FROM “FAKE NEWS” TO “FAKE ADS”? IN THESE TIMES of “fake news”, Facebook last month
announced plans to hire 1,000 more employees for the specific purpose of reviewing advertisements, and ensuring they meet its terms and conditions. The move came after the social media giant revealed that some 3,000 politically divisive sponsored posts in the US could be linked to Russian agencies. These ads were placed in the lead-up to the November US Presidential Elections, as well as in the months after.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company would ramp up efforts to stop governments from abusing the network to interfere in the agendas of other nations. “Reviewing ads means assessing not just the content of an ad, but the context in which it was bought and the intended audience – so we’re changing our ads review system to pay more attention to these signals,” the company said in a statement early last month.
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
BIG “NO” TO MERGER WORKERS AT TATA STEEL in The Netherlands have opposed the preliminary joint
venture plans between Tata Steel and German steel giant Thyssenkrupp. The Central Works Council (CWC) of one of the country’s largest employers expressed its concern about the impending merger, due to the lack of its involvement in the negotiations and the fear of potential job losses locally. “The number of jobs will be greatly reduced, and will go beyond the suggested figure of 4,000 job losses across the joint venture as a whole. Current indications are that the new company plans to outsource large swathes of the support services to lowwage countries,” the CWC said in an official statement. “The CWC believes that this envisaged 50-50 joint venture will be a very difficult business to manage because both parties, in the Netherlands and in Germany, will do all in their power to defend their interests against this new business.”
PIONEERING GLOBAL LEAVE SCHEME IN A LANDMARK MOVE, energy and
automation giant Schneider Electric has announced a new global family leave policy as part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The policy will support Schneider Electric employees worldwide by providing paid personal time during moments when it matters the most, enabling them to better manage their hectic personal and work lives. The policy features 12 weeks’ leave for the primary parent; two weeks for the secondary parent; one week of care
leave for an immediate family member that either needs elder care or care for a serious health condition; and one week of bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member. One unique feature of the new leave entitlements is that it extends an equal amount of parental leave to parents of both natural birth or adoption. The policy will be deployed gradually, rolling out first in over 40 countries including the US, Mexico, China, and India by January 2018.
TRAPPED BY THE SYSTEM IT’S A VICIOUS CYCLE for poorly
paid UK workers. New research from the Social Mobility Commission found that the country had an “endemic” problem with low pay, as only one in six poorly compensated labourers have managed to rise above their income bracket in the last decade. On average, individuals earning low pay have seen their hourly wages grow by a mere 40 pence ($0.72) over the last ten years. This is compared to a £4.83 (S$8.67)
salary raise for those who have permanently escaped low wage jobs. In 2016, the median hourly wage for the average British worker was £12.10 (S$21.73), while low paid workers received £8.10 (S$14.54) in the same period. Women were also more likely to be stuck in the lowest pay brackets. Lack of quality, flexible work also meant it was difficult for women with childcare duties to secure decently-paid jobs.
LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP
HOW CAN COMPANIES USE HR ANALYTICS TO DRIVE WORKFORCE PRODUCTIVITY?
SUBHANKAR ROY CHOWDHURY Executive Director, HR Lenovo Asia-Pacific
ALTHOUGH THIS is a topic that has been spoken extensively in various forums, articles and in HR events, there is still a lot of interest and curiosity around it because the potential and the opportunities are immense. Data is the new oil, as a new popular slogan goes, and just like during the exploration, refinement and distribution of oil, without the workforce analytics team’s ability to explore, mine, analyse, and communicate, the value of HR data is untapped. Most organisations have invested historically in expensive HR management tools like Peoplesoft, WorkDay, and SAP, but yet are sitting on a huge repository of HR data that is untapped, underleveraged, and unused. Building the HR analytics journey starts with identifying the most important business or people challenges that HR analytics can solve. It is important for the analytics
team to get its priorities right. Improving organisational productivity and efficiency, creating a data -driven workforce plan, arresting attrition of high potential talent, improving diversity, and improving net promoter scores are just some examples of where HR analytics can help. Once the strategic priorities are identified, the focus then shifts to metrics, analysing the data, and sharing findings. There is an abundance of data in any organisation, but not everything can be used. A Harvard Business Review study revealed that on average, 47% of newly-created data records have at least one critical error. Poor quality data wastes time, increases costs, weakens decision making, angers stakeholders, and makes the HR analytics function lose credibility. A huge focus on data quality, accuracy, consistency, and completeness is needed to get it right the first time. HR analytics can be brought to life through visualisation in the form of self-service HR visual dashboards. Our brains do not naturally process long lists of numbers, and data visualisation helps to digest large amounts of data at scale, compare and contrast, spot trends and patterns, and reveal questions that would otherwise be missed. Democratisation of dashboard access helps to accelerate analytics adoption.
Head of HR Cigna International Markets
IN TODAY’S competitive business world, the most successful companies are integrating big data and analytics into nearly every facet of their operations. Many people tend to jump straight into predictive analytics without understanding the differences between data, analytics, and insights. To put it simply: Data is the information we obtain from our employees and customers, such as demographic information and behaviour. But data is more or less useless without analytics. Analytics is how we make sense of the data and uncover meaningful trends. Insights are the values obtained through the use of analytics. The insights gained through analytics are incredibly powerful, and are used to drive business growth or engage with our employees while identifying areas of opportunity. Leveraging analytics is more than just systems or IT. It is also about awareness, mindset change, and a shift towards data-
driven decision making process. Internally, we provide a variety of online training and webinars for employees on the importance of analytics and insights. Introduction to Business Analytics; Insights That Matter; and for our own HR team Telling Better HR Stories though Analytics are just two examples. I believe we have more to do in the HR analytics area. A recent Bersin study found that only 14% of companies have used HR analytics in any meaningful way. HR analytics provide a wealth of information to companies about their new hires, existing workforce, what motivates people, and why employees leave. This goes way beyond the traditional—and often anecdotal—monitoring of recruiting and retention into a deep, data-driven analysis of the true success of company’s HR management. In terms of behavioural change, business partnership is absolutely key to success with analytics because the ultimate goal of analytics is to support and empower the business. If we are working in a silo and just throwing information over the fence, our ability to empower the business is incredibly diminished. We have invested in very strong talents in our HR analytics team in the past two years because we believe that HR analytics are more than facts and figures—they’re the new business reality.
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS 2017
Strengthening Leadership Pipeline in the Lean Economy
How can leadership development drive business growth? Leadership development has always been a hot topic for modern organisations. But it’s important not to jump on the bandwagon without a thorough understanding of your organisational needs. • How do you build good leadership? • How do you find the right development solutions and implement them in a way that delivers a high ROI? These questions will be addressed at the Leadership Development Congress, taking place on 5-6 December in Singapore, with the theme “Strengthening Leadership Pipeline in the Lean Economy”. This 2-day conference is the only event focusing on leadership learning & development to help you build a future-proof leadership competencies that align with your business goals. Industry experts who will join us at the Leadership Development Congress include:
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Michael Vaz Director of Learning and Development (Luxury APAC Accorhotels Asia Pacific
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Arthur Lam People & Organisation Lead, APAC Syngenta
Vanessa Teo VP, Global Learning & Talent Development DFS Venture Singapore
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F E AT U R E
L E A D E R S TA L K H R
LAST NG THE DI For STEVE MORLEY, General Manager of Fitbit in Asia-Pacific, life is a marathon – not a sprint. He says his passion for the new and unknown resonates well with the fast-paced nature of Fitbit BY SHAM MAJID
teve Morley, Vice President and General Manager of Fitbit Asia-Pacific, says he has seen it all. From compact disc players and video recorders to plasma televisions, digital cameras, mobile phones, and now wearable devices, Morley’s career has always intertwined with the birth of new products in the technology sector. “I’ve been very lucky to have been at inflection points where brand new products entered the market,” he acknowledges. Morley’s current obsession is now understandably with wearables, given that he is driving marketing and sales operations in Asia-Pacific for Fitbit. The American technology firm is still synonymous for its wireless-enabled devices that monitor and record health-related data for individuals.
DISTANCE NOVEMBER 2017
F E AT U R E
L E A D E R S TA L K H R
Having spent the vast majority of his career in technology, Morley proudly recalls another recently-attained milestone. “I’ve just hit 30 years in a leadership role,” he says, before adding: “That shows how old I am!”
We run the Asia-Pacific headquarters here and run the sales, marketing and business functions. Finding the talent to bring all those things together is the toughest challenge we have.
Describe your leadership style.
I think I’m approachable, nonhierarchical, direct, and passionate.
Out of all the companies I’ve worked for, Fitbit is most centred culturally around problem-solving. It’s also the most respectful, fast-paced, and relentless business. No one here bangs tables; we all face challenges every day. We have a strong culture of problem solving, respect, and care, but it moves quickly and never ends.
How would your employees describe you?
Hopefully exactly the same way as I just described! They would probably say there’s a greater emphasis on directness and the passionate side of me.
Describe the corporate culture of Fitbit.
What are some of Fitbit’s biggest HR challenges in Asia-Pacific?
What are some key trends you have witnessed over the last five years?
Fitbit created this category globally, and the brand first established itself in the classical Western markets of the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The biggest challenge we have is finding talent in Asia that can be flexible, resilient, and skilled to work for markets in a business that is still centred around a Western product. Aside from the baseline talent that requires a high degree of resilience and fortitude, it’s also very a fast-paced environment.
Our consumers’ attitudes to health and fitness are definitely changing in Asia. People are more cognisant of the benefit of being more active and getting better sleepmetrics that Fitbit helps to improve upon. If you take China as an example, there’s a huge change towards moderation and increasing self-awareness on the importance of performance-health at a consumer level. We’ve also seen massive changes in the level of interest of companies have in the health and wellness of their employees. The
benefits of a healthy workforce are much more than just the health of an individual. It’s the general positive attitude that comes from employee programmes. There’s much more interest in the scientific research of health-based institutions across Asia, including governments. Businesses and individuals are using this to improve health via prevention and good habits, rather than reacting to a problem. The biggest movers in the corporate world at the moment in terms of tapping into the power of what Fitbit has created are the insurance companies. There’s empirical evidence showing that employers or consumers who are on a Fitbit health management programme see their cost of health insurance and incidences of claims reduced by 42%. Clearly, that’s a massive benefit to insurers.
And how are you positioning your organisation to capitalise on these trends?
We created the category 10 years ago when the company was formed, and eight years ago we launched our first device. We’ve now sold over 60 million devices to consumers across the world in 55 countries. Independent reports have shown that we’re still the clear leader, despite many entrants coming into the category over the
IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME, I’D LIKE TO BE: Have helped millions
more improve their health and fitness, probably saving thousands of lives in the process FAVOURITE HOBBY:
Soccer, and Chelsea Football Club
MY INSPIRATION IS: To try and
achieve something everyday
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS IS:
Calm down! It’s a marathon, not a sprint
I speak too much
“Don’t mistake my passion for aggression” WHAT’S THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE?
To have children
WHAT’S ONE THING PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I used to be a national-grade crosscountry runner in my teens, but none of my current team members ever believe that!
years. In fact, many of the initial competitors are no longer in the category, or no longer in business at all. In the specific segment that we focus on – which is the activity-tracking business – we’ve accounted for more than 80% of all sales globally. So we’re in a clear leadership position and we intend to continue innovating and maintaining that position. It has served the company well in its first 10 years, and we have so much more than first-mover advantage. We are the inventor of this category and our brand name is what Kleenex is to tissues. That’s hugely positive for us.
How does Fitbit stay ahead of its competitors in such a crowded
Our intention is to continue to innovate, and we’re spending more on research and development than anybody else in this space. We want to add utility to our products. This means that Fitbit is not a nice-to-have, but a must-have. We have a huge advantage in that we have the biggest single in-store base health data records of our consumers. We treat that with extreme privacy, but the learnings we get from having the largest samples really fuels our ability to continue innovating. Some of the features in our products are included because we understand the big data from our large consumer base. Therefore, we can pick the algorithms and analyse the patterns and trends. The scale of what we’ve built fuels the competitive edge of our business.
What challenges has the organisation faced in adapting to the Asia-Pacific markets?
As the products that we are selling get smarter, the biggest challenge is in ensuring that the products and our brand are optimised for Asia. An example of that is the social element. Fitbit is a social network and the social media landscape in Asia is entirely different to that in the western world. The payments infrastructure in Asia is also different to what is available in many western countries. In addition, the attitudes to health and fitness are highly-nuanced. For example, our research shows that US attitudes to health
“No one here bangs tables; we all face challenges every day. We have a strong culture of problem solving, respect, and care, but it moves quickly and never ends”
and fitness are all about “achievement” and it is quite public. People are happy to share their health and fitness goals. However, Asian consumers are a lot more nuanced and they’re a lot more conservative and private about things. We’re also in such a diverse region – we’re managing up to 13 countries. Therefore, my team’s challenge is to optimise our base product offerings to make them ideal for these nuanced Asian markets, whether they be payment structures, social media platforms, or how we position our brand relative to the attitudes of health and fitness of our Asian consumers.
What’s your biggest regret over such a long career?
I’ve just hit 15 years of living in Asia. I’m originally from the UK. I came here in my early 30s but I wished I came here in my early 20s. It’s much more egalitarian here in Asia, and my career has been able to blossom more in Asia than it would have been able to in the UK.
What is your top tip for leaders?
Work with people. Have people working with you, rather than them working for you. firstname.lastname@example.org NOVEMBER 2017
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HAVING A STRATEGIC VOICE
While HR seeks to reinvent itself as a strategic player in the business, insights from the KellyOCG Workforce Agility Barometer Report illustrate the difficulties leaders in Asia-Pacific and Singapore have in ensuring their HR functions are aligned with business and talent priorities TALENT SHORTAGES WILL CURTAIL BUSINESS GROWTH IN THE NEXT THREE YEARS
LACKLUSTRE BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT WITH HR
61% ENGAGING EXTERNAL HELP
POOR CAPABILITIES IN OFFERING INSIGHTS
of businesses in Asia-Pacific engage HR at their business strategy development stage
in Asia-Pacific engage external HR consultants to provide insights that will inform their strategic workforce planning
of leaders in Asia-Pacific believe their HR functions are capable of providing strategic workforce insights
Singapore is at
For Singapore C-Suite leaders
is the figure for Singapore
BENEFITS OF A CONTINGENT WORKFORCE Access to specialist skills and expertise that lie outside the organisation
The ability to scale the workforce according to business cycles
The skills not typically available in the permanent workforce
The ability to fill shortterm project requirements
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YOU’RE DOING IT
WRONG! UK-based HR thought leader JON INGHAM has a new way to look at HR that will help it create real value for the organisations it serves. He explains his latest research and thinking to HRM Magazine, ahead of his debut appearance at HR Summit & Expo Asia in 2018
JON INGHtAM 9 th
a mit S HR um ia A & Expo s
0 & 1 0th May 2
here is no doubt that HR – as a business function – has become far more strategic over the last decade. The days of the highlytransactional personnel department are long gone, but that doesn’t mean the journey is yet complete. Far from it, says UK-based HR thought leader Jon Ingham. The well-known thinker, blogger, and speaker at next year’s HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018 says there is an even higher calling for the once humble HR department. He says the profession needs to begin leveraging on the many opportunities available to “create value”, rather than merely adding it. Here’s how he explains the difference to HRM Magazine. “When it is adding value, HR is still a support function,” Ingham says. “Creating value is the next big step and it involves truly seeing the potential in both the workforce and the HR team that knows it inside and out.” “When it is creating value, HR is being a proactive, strategic partner with the business, identifying problems and coming up with real, people-centred solutions to them – not just executing the people side of the organisation’s declared strategy.” Ingham says there has been a flaw in a lot of traditional thinking around HR. “Many assume that adding value is being strategic,” he warns. “But there are also opportunities to enable individuals working in our organisations to contribute in an even bigger way. – that is where HR can really create value.”
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JON INGHAM HR consultant, author, and blogger
SE CLwO ith...
Based in: Bracknell, UK Academic background: Masters in Engineering, Masters in Business Administration, and (“more recently and more relevant”) a graduate degree in Psychology. Mantra: We’re doing HR wrong! What does that mean? People have amazing potential, so why constrain them by putting then in a box (such as a job description? Help them break free to drive business success. Social media of choice: Twitter (I’m @joningham) Most supported sports team: I’m more interested in “communities” than “teams”. Biggest moment of your life thus far: Together with my wife, meeting our daughters in a Russian orphanage for the first time. You’re presentation is complete. You’re fully rested – and you’ve got 24 hours left in Singapore – what’s on the agenda? Walking around Marina Bay, followed by dinner in Boat Quay.
Asked for an example, Ingham highlights the work of McDonald’s Restaurants in his native UK. In the early 2000s, it faced a damaging social trend, in which the phrase “McJobs” – to mean employment that was uninspiring, menial, low-paid, and unempowering – moved into widespread use. While the term applied to a wide range of the organisations and positions, it was naturally tied to its namesake and unlike other businesses, McDonald’s was not able to divorce itself from that perception. Ingham says it was the HR leaders that identified the issue and the long-term ramifications for the organisation. If it was not seen as a good, positive employer, it would struggle to both fill positions and please customers. It was the HR team also that led the fightback, with an employer branding strategy that actually embraced the “McJobs” label and turned it on its head. Through a long advertsiing, public relations, and communications campaign, staff were shown achieving far more than the term would imply, and let the public know that – yes – they had a “McJob” and they loved it. “The HR team went to the business and confronted the issue even before the other leaders saw it as an issue,” Ingham says. “It started to invest more in people and focus on learning to create a highly-valued Employee Value Propisition and then communicated that promise widely.”
Next generation thought leader Ingham has been researching and thinking
about HR’s place in the organisation for many years. He actually started his career as an engineer and IT consultant. It wasn’t until he was called on to manage a significant organisational change in that capacity that he saw the potential and importance of the HR role. This was in 1999, and Ingham went on to tackle some key operational HR roles for organisations in both the UK and Moscow towards the end of the Soviet Union. He says he was inspired by HR thought leader Linda Gratton’s work on The Future of Work, and began investing more and
more effort in not just his own role but in how it could be changed and improved upon. That led to a successful career in HR consulting, and Ingham has worked with some major clients in financial services, retail, chemical manufacturing, and the UK public sector to develop highly strategic and impactful approaches to people management. Ingham has also been a prolific writer on HR issues over the last two decades. His first book, Strategic Human Capital Management, was published at the end of 2016 and features case studies from his own consulting work with thje likes of Ernst & Young, Royal Bank of Scotland, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Adding to this, and dozens of research papers and contributions to journals such as the Strategic HR Review (including one chapter co-authored with Dave Ulrich), is his latest book, released earlier this year. The Social Organisation, Ingham says, looks at a new way many forward-thinking HR teams are creating value through helping their workforces become more collaborative. The book explores the role of communities and other social groups in organisational design, and how social technologies – including Facebook for Work – can be aligned with each of these. “It’s about how HR can fully leverage on employees’ high propensity to collaborate,” Ingham says. “That is a real opportunity to create value across the organisation.”
Live in Singapore HR SUMMIT & EXPO ASIA 2018 celebrates its 16th anniversary in 2018, with a jampacked programme of ground-breaking HR thinking and best practice case studies. With multiple conference streamsand a free expo filled with the latest HR solutions and innovations, the two-day event is a must for anyone in business and workforce management in this part of the world. The conference takes place on May 9 and 10 next year, at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. For more information, and early bird registration deals, visit: www.hrsummit.com.sg/
The Social Organisation, and the ideas and case studies behind it, will be a key part of Jon Ingham’s keynote presentation to next year’s HR Summit & Expo Asia in Singapore. Held at Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 9 and 10, 2018, this promises to again be the region’s largest workforce management convention and expo, bringing together the world’s most influential business thinkers, solutions providers, and top HR decision makers. For Ingham, it’s also a chance to get back to the world’s most dynamic business region. “I’ve done a lot of work in AsiaPacific,” Ingham says. “I always look forward to getting back to Singapore in particular and seeing the dynamism and creative work up close.”
9th & 10th May SUNTEC SINGAPORE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE Workforce Revolution â€“ Transforming for the New World of Work
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LEADING HR EVENT IN ASIA FOR OVER
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ENDANG TAURIANI Manager of HR, Area
SHAUQI GOMBANG ALEYANDRA Manager of HR, International
AMRI SIAHAAN Chief Human Capital and Business Support Officer
B Y K E LV I N O N G
TIA NASTITI PURWITASARI ARDIANTO Senior Manager of HR and General Services
IWAN PRAJOGI Vice President of Human Capital and General Services
CISCA ALIMIN Lead of Board Administration Office
Every organisation is looking to drive cost efficiencies in the present business environment â€“ but perhaps none more so than Indonesian resources business MedcoEnergi. Its Chief Human Capital and Business Support Officer AMRI SIAHAAN speaks to HRM Magazine about the impact of falling oil prices B Y PAU L H OW E L L
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etween 2014 and 2016, the global price of oil plummeted to record lows. From US$113 to under US$27 per barrel in less than two years; the sharp drop impacted almost every economy and every business in the world. Even today, the price has stabilised around US$55 and there are no expectations for it to recover to its previous heights in the near term. For the most part, that impact has been a positive one. Cheaper oil has meant lower business costs for almost every industry, and at least part of the world’s economic growth since 2015 can be attributed to it. But spare a thought for those in the global hydrocarbons business itself. This is an industry marked by large-scale, multinational projects involving dozens of partners, and some seriously long-tail investments. When the expected revenue from those projects falls by 76% in just over 18 months, it brings a new meaning to the concept of a “volatile” business environment. So perhaps spare a thought also for anyone charged with keeping those fractured, often fearful workforces engaged and motivated for the challenges ahead. One such HR leader still working at the coalface is Amri Siahaan. As the Chief Human Capital and Business Support Officer of Indonesian resources heavyweight MedcoEnergi Internasional, he has been responsible for not just navigating the impact of the low oil-price environment on a workforce of over 11,000, but also taking advantage of it. “MedcoEnergi sees the current low oil price environment as an opportunity to grow our company,” he tells HRM Magazine. “Instead of downsizing our workforce, Medco is keeping the workforce to support the growth and prepare ourselves for the upturn of the industry.” Now, with the oil price only somewhat recovered, the company is forging ahead, and Siahaan says a highly skilled and stable workforce is one of the key drivers.
Cutting cost, not staff That did not happen by accident. Siahaan says times were difficult but a lot of energy and resources were invested in preparing the organisation for the brighter days ahead. The company now aims to do the same things and more with greater cost-efficiency and productivity.
AT A GLANCE Number Of Employees (globally)
11,050 Key HR Focus Area Talent development Effective remuneration Leadership
Size of the HR Team
“One of our key strategies to survive in the current condition has been to continue our cost efficiency efforts and become part of the cost leadership in the industry,” Siahaan says. “We are consistently able to maintain our production costs lower than our peers.” Indeed, in the tumultuous year of 2016, MedcoEnergi reduced its hydrocarbon cash (production) costs by close to 30%, from US$12.30 per barrel of oil or its equivalent in natural gas in 2015, to US$8.80 by the end of 2016. HR led by example on this front, and Siahaan instituted a number of programmes to get more out of both the HR department itself, and also each individual headcount across the organisation without necessarily spending more direct cash. “(The) Human Capital (team) continuously tries to find ways to design and implement HR programmes and interventions that can give the most added value to the organisation in the most costeffective manner,” he says. In particular, a new compensation and benefits regime was rolled out last year. The oil and gas sector offers a relatively high amount of its work on a project basis, with big rewards for successful exploration and production assignments lasting from a few weeks to up to two years or more. But MedcoEnergi sought to improve the balance between short-term and long-term incentives across the organisation. Siahaan says the programme aimed to push back scheduled cash incentives into later years, while maintaining engagement and loyalty across the permanent workforce. “Our effort was to maintain our competitiveness in the (talent) market in the most economical way,” he said.
Training and systems overhaul Siahaan also adjusted the balance between “buying” talents on the open labour markets, and “building” them from within. With the falling oil price, the Jakartabased HR team found much greater value in transforming the organisation’s learning and development system, than in competing
across borders for established skill sets. “We moved to leverage in-house training resources, and also e-learning, to deliver most of the common and basic training needs,” he said. “These were supplemented by ‘fit-for-purpose’ external training and development programmes that addressed specific and critical gaps.” The HR team has also been undertaking an internal process improvement project, in which data, dashboards, and HR systems are being better integrated for greater practical insights and service delivery.
Local workforce; global work MedcoEnergi was founded as a small, private drilling company in 1980. Through both acquisitions and organic growth, it grew in both size and scope, such that by the time it became listed on the Jakarta Stock Exchange in 1994, it was a fully-fledged end-to-end oil and gas producer. In 1997, it added “downstream” activities – refining and consumer-grade product development – to its portfolio of “upstream” – exploration and production –work. And in 2009, it added mining to the mix, and today has interests in coal, gold, and copper extraction, principally in its home market of Indonesia. MedcoEnergi’s oil and gas interests – on the other hand – stretch far beyond the Indonesian archipelago. For sure, it has development rights and production projects in each of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, and Sulawesi. But its Oil and Gas Exploration and Production – International unit also flies the company flag through partnerships and projects in the US, Oman, Libya, and Tunisia. Building a talented workforce for such a broad range of required skills and competencies is, Siahaan admits, an ongoing challenge. But the company is able to compete fiercely for the best local talent through its enviable employer brand and deliberate development strategies. “In the oil and gas industry, the Indonesian workforce is highly regarded as a world-class workforce,” Siahaan says. “In fact, we have to compete with international multinationals in recruiting them.”
“One of our key strategies to survive in the current condition has been to continue our cost efficiency efforts and become part of the cost leadership in the industry. We are consistently able to maintain our production costs lower than our peers” – AMRI SIAHAAN ,
CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL AND BUSINESS SUPPORT OFFICER, MEDCOENERGI INTERNASIONAL NOVEMBER 2017
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That young, technically competent workforce is typically built from the ground up, and then supplemented by a handful of highly-qualified expatriates to ensure high standards are maintained across every project. Siahaan says the company boasts an integrated development programme to ensure the workforce is able to successfully deliver on the given business agenda. This involves recruiting graduate talents from the best local universities in Indonesia, offering them individually targeted development opportunities, and exposing them to broad skills development through a combination of in-class training, formal on-boarding, and on-the-job assignments. From there, the sky is the limit for each individual. “MedcoEnergi’s lines of business in oil and gas, mining, and power generation – both nationally and internationally – provide unique opportunities for our workforce to develop through movements, assignments, and projects.”
The leadership quandary Asked what is the company’s greatest HR challenge over the long-term, Siahaan quickly identifies leadership development and succession planning. With such a broad range of activities spread across numerous projects and units across the world, and its commitment to building skills from within, MedcoEnergi is constantly looking out for the next generations of talent for every level of seniority. Siahaan says his team has developed a structured, disciplined approach to identify, develop, and succeed leaders systematically throughout the organisation. Potential successors to critical positions are grouped based on their individual readiness to take over: they are considered “Ready Now”, “Ready in the next two years”, or “Ready in the next three to four years”. A separate grouping is made for “Bench Strength” with high potential talents that have not yet been connected to a specific role. Each potential successor is given a unique development plan – crafted around the 10:20:70 model – and monitored on their progress. Siahaan says they are each given structured in-class leadership training, coaching, and exposure to specific assignments and projects that will help them to progressively expand their skill sets.
INTENSIVE TALENT DEVELOPMENT MEDCOENERGI INTERNASIONAL is continuously building its workforce skills and competencies through an integrated development programme that covers all staff, regardless of level or position. Amri Siahaan, Chief Human Capital and Business Support Officer, says there are four key parts to it:
• Sourcing fresh graduate talents from reputable local universities in Indonesia • Attracting and retaining these talents by offering individually-targeted development opportunities, and competitive remuneration against leading companies in the global market. • Exposing talents
Winning culture Siahaan likens his role to that of a sporting coach, working to ensure the best parts of the MedcoEnergi organisation are all working to their best and in coordination with each other. “Imagine that we are in a boat race,” he says. “We are ensuring that everybody is staying in the boat and working
early and often, through structured graduate development programmes, in-class training, and on-thejob assignments. These are then further supplemented by a coaching regime. • Closely monitoring further development needs at the individual level, and identifying action plans to close the gaps.
effectively and efficiently together to win the race.” “For that purpose, we are stepping up more in employee engagement and continuously driving a performance based culture by refining and integrating our HR initiatives.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Readers Choice 2017
SMART WORKFORCE SUMMIT
The future is now
HRM Asia hosted the Smart Workforce Summit in Singapore on September 19 and 20. We share the five key talking points from the event
hile HRM Asia’s Smart Workforce Summit encompassed a host of forward-looking topics, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, chatbots, and analytics, it was also made abundantly clear that these aspects have already permeated today’s workforces and organisations. The key message that emanated during a packed four days of presentations, workshops, panel discussions, and site tours, was that the new world of work is here and now. Disruption is occurring as we speak; technology is changing the way people work and communicate; and a new army of contingent workers have thrown a massive spanner into the works of talent and management strategies. Here, HRM Magazine presents the five key things learned at this year’s Smart Workforce Summit:
• HR is not about HR Yes, you read that right. And it was stressed by none other than Professor Dave Ulrich, globally renowned as the “Father of Modern HR”.
“HR is not about HR,” he said. “It’s about the business and what the business requires.” So, how do you transform HR? Ulrich offered this three-point plan: 1. Separate the strategic and the transactional tasks 2. Concentrate and build on centres of excellence focused on different aspects of strategic HR 3. “Focus on relationships, more than roles”
• The Innovation Race We’re all familiar with the reality TV series “The Amazing Race”. But what about the Innovation Race? Innovation thought leader Andrew Grant said the innovation race was now defining business and organisations across the world.
time and a concerted effort to see the difference,” said Penfold. “We all struggle with the day-to-day and even just planning for tomorrow.” “But we need to see where we can guide our organisation for the next 10 to 20 years. Hence, a continuous learning mindset is really important.”
• A user-experience perspective
“If innovation is a race, who wins,” Grant asked. “Who loses? And who gets eliminated?” According to Grant, creativity and innovation are the biggest tools enabling organisations to stay ahead of the game. But finding these skills, and developing them across the organisation still leaves many falling behind. Grant said there are, in turn, some big tools that help attract innovative talents and mindsets to organisations, and even whole cities, industries, and markets. “What attracts the creative class? Talent, tolerance, and technology.”
• Force a culture of discontentment Singapore fried chicken chain 4Finger’s secret
sauce is neither its popular Korean soy, nor spicy chicken dressings. The key to its success, said CEO Steen Puggaard, lies in how the company enforces a culture of “discontentment”. “We try to force a culture of discontentment, and it is not a bad thing,” said Puggaard, whose own business card consists of the unusual but insightful title of “Leader of the Resistance”. “Discontentment is positive because it means people are never satisfied and always strive for more.”
• Cultivating a continuous learning mindset is key Philippa Penfold, Senior HR Manager at Infosys Consulting shared that a monumental effort was required to see the true effects of change within an organisation. The key is to ensure companies breed a continuous learning mindset. “While we can try to futureproof our organisation, it really takes
In today’s technology-driven and complex world of work, all employee-related aspects must be viewed from a userexperience perspective to ensure maximum engagement. For instance, technology giants Google has begun viewing its onboarding process through a user-experience design perspective. The key was to identify and design the ideal onboarding process that would provide an improved experience for “Nooglers” – or new Google employees. Nandini Jayaram, HR Lead, Southeast Asia, Google Asia-Pacific, said user experience entails a 360-degree view; hence, Google leverages the inputs of a user-experience design team comprising of employees from different departments. “The user experience team got a sample list of Nooglers who joined the company within three to six months, and asked them a wide range of questions about the onboarding process, gaining qualitative and anecdotal data in the process,” she said. “By personalising the onboarding experiences into Google’s values, it helps the Noogler or candidate to hit the ground running when they join us.”
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How tension helps build innovation “S
ANDREW and GAIA GRANT, explain why innovation is so essential, and the surprising paradox behind how to do it more effectively o who wins?”
This is the first question we have often been asked since we released our latest book The Innovation Race. After 25 years of global travel to explore the state of innovation, and several years of doctoral research on the topic – including over 30 interviews with heads of innovation from a range of organisations, and in-depth case studies on the process of innovation – it has been reinforced for us that there is no simple answer. Many organisations today seem to assume that there are a few innovation ingredients that can make all the difference. They think that mimicking Google’s canteen and campus model, or constructing a purpose-built innovation lab will automatically lead to better innovation. We have talked with a number of companies who have learnt the hard way that taking actions like these may end up being superficial measures rather than sustainable solutions. The good news is that though there may not be any shortcuts to innovation success, some clear practical principles have emerged from our research. These principles are not just found in the
latest successful technology companies, they can be found in a range of cultures going back over thousands of years. If navigated effectively, these principles can provide guidelines for sustainable innovation. Before we delve into these principles, it will be important to recognise why innovation is so essential to prepare for the journey ahead.
Innovation is not an optional extra Organisations that innovate better have been found to perform better over all.
Innovative organisations are more productive (up to 50% more), have better employee engagement, and experience higher decision-making effectiveness. The current fast-paced and constantly-evolving environment means that innovation can no longer be an optional extra. It must now become an essential core competency for any contemporary organisation. Yet many individuals and organisations think they can simply sit out the ‘race’. Rather than taking the passive position of the armchair viewer, the savvy leader recognises that inaction can too easily lead to elimination. Leaders need to become actively engaged “travelers” who are prepared to explore global practices and learn from other countries and companies in order to uncover the otherwise elusive inherent treasures.
Some surprising, paradoxical principles The study of global innovation
Finding the ideal balance
maps reveals that some countries and companies have thrived over the ages, while others have floundered. Distilling the key core principles of the global survivors can lead to surprising results. Around 60 years ago, some researchers identified cultures that produced an unusual concentration of creative geniuses. These “creativogencic” cultures have popped up in different locations over time, such as during the Renaissance period in Europe. They reveal some important cultural principles. The nine principles identified by these researchers indicated that an openness to new ideas was critical. As examples, democratic politics and a ready access to diverse sources of information were found to be important. Yet more recent research has demonstrated that the antithesis of these factors is also just as important. So while openness is valuable, being able to focus and specialise
We need to incorporate a balance of the best principles from all cultures that do well on innovation measures, all of which come from different perspectives is also critical for innovation success. Our key finding is that good innovation actually requires both of these contradictory yet interrelated elements: The Exploration Mindset to move ahead for breakthrough innovations that will help to solve demanding challenges; a focus on openness to exploring new ideas for growth; and The Preservation Mindset to ensure there is stability and a firm foundation to build on for
growth: a focus on maintaining current systems and structures for stability. By avoiding the typical swing between one state and the other, the “polar positioning” strategy revels how it is possible to escape oscillation, compromising, and sidelining of important innovation factors. Effectively balancing both simultaneously produces a creative dynamic that fuels innovation and ensures it is sustainable over the long term.
Every individual, team and organisation needs both perspectives. We need the open-minded mindset to empathise, imagine, and ideate in order to come up with the most creative ideas, and we also need the more stable mindset to help test, prototype, ground, and implement these ideas as innovations. We need to incorporate a balance of the best principles from all cultures that do well on innovation measures, all of which come from different perspectives. Real world examples could include: the empathy of the Scandinavian culture, the ideas optimism of the Americans, the dedication to process excellence of the German culture, the commitment to follow through of the Japanese culture, the collaboration seen in Asian cultures, and the inventiveness of the Indian mindset. It is possible to better prepare a culture for innovation by identifying individual and team preferences and looking for strengths and challenges. Try the five-minute quiz Innovative Change Leader profile tool at www.the-innovation-race to identify potential growth areas. Which side of the paradoxical pairing do you gravitate towards? Are you more of an Explorer or Preserver? And how innovation ready are you and your organisation?
About the Author ANDREW and GAIA GRANT are co-authors of the new book The Innovation Race: How to Change a Culture to Change the Game, along with the international bestseller Who Killed Creativity?... And How Can We Get It Back? Andrew is the CEO of Tirian and a professional speaker and facilitator. Gaia is the Managing Director of Tirian, and is also researching the paradox theory for innovation culture and sustainability at Sydney University Business School. NOVEMBER 2017
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GIVE THEM A
As businesses look to wind down a challenging 2017, thoughts are turning towards rewards for loyal employees. HRM Magazine shares how companies are crafting unique and cost-effective retention strategies in an uncertain environment BY SHAM MAJID NOVEMBER 2017
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hatri Sityodtong, founder of mixed martial arts company Evolve, swears by a relatively simple philosophy, which is ingrained throughout his organisation. “We work hard, and also play hard,” he says. “Our annual vacations at Evolve is a time to ‘play hard’ for all of us.” Just as Evolve is rapidly growing to now be of the world’s largest martial arts entities, the organisation has also been making waves for its extremely generous company retreats. In 2016, Sityodtong garnered global attention after whisking off 100 of his employees for a surprise luxury retreat to the Maldives in recognition of the organisation’s meteoric corporate rise. The Evolve boss had also previously organised company retreats to the likes of Bali and Bintan in Indonesia.
“I take my team on an annual vacation at a five-star resort as a small token of my gratitude and appreciation for their hard work,” he says. “I feel that my gesture would not be sincere if we had to work on these trips. I want my team to relax, have a blast, and create amazing memories together.” For some, the retreat to the Maldives was a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. For example, a husband and wife who serve as housekeepers at EVOLVE’s Orchard Central mixed martial arts branch flew on a plane for the very first time in their lives.
A short sojourn Although company performance is a factor when planning year-end employee rewards, most organisations do set aside a budget to craft meaningful, engaging and ultimately fun retreats and activities for employees across the board. Of course, not every business can afford the six figure budget that Evolve sets aside to fly employees to exotic locations, but short trips to nearby places are increasingly gaining prominence in the employeerewards landscape. For instance, Montigo Resorts in Batam island, Indonesia, is fast-emerging as a popular, cost-effective destination for organisations. Located just half an hour away from Singapore by ferry, Montigo Resorts is an ideal destination for employees to escape the hustle and bustle city lifestyle and to relax and unwind and recharge their batteries. Von Go, Area General Manager of Montigo Resorts, says guests who visit in a
personal capacity often propose the place as an ideal choice for employee-related incentives and rewards to their bosses. With its value-for-money packages and attractive value proposition to organisations, Go says Montigo’s in-house team can also tailor rewards programmes to varying budgets and needs, including an oftenrequested desire to infuse teambuildingrelated activities during the trip. “Corporates are also increasingly comparing offerings in terms of destination, packages, and value-added services; hence, it is even more critical for resorts to sharpen their niche and product offerings to remain ahead of the curve,” says Go.
Rise of staycations Another option that is increasingly appealing to organisations is the use of “staycations” – short-stay holidays in the same city as the team resides in. With staycations growing in popularity across Southeast Asia, particularly in Singapore, companies are now tapping onto it as a means of rewarding employees for their hard work and application. Staff do not need to travel overseas but are able to indulge in the suite of facilities afforded to them. The staycation option for rewarding employees is epitomised by the fact that a
“I TAKE MY TEAM ON AN ANNUAL VACATION AT A FIVESTAR RESORT AS A SMALL TOKEN OF MY GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION FOR THEIR HARD WORK. I FEEL THAT MY GESTURE WOULD NOT BE SINCERE IF WE HAD TO WORK ON THESE TRIPS. I WANT MY TEAM TO RELAX, HAVE A BLAST, AND CREATE AMAZING MEMORIES TOGETHER” – CHATRI SITYODTONG, FOUNDER, EVOLVE
rising proportion of businesses – both big and small – are partnering with hotels to draw up rewards and incentive packages for their staff.
Traditional teambuilding For organisations that prefer a more traditional employee rewards package, one that focuses on more collective aspects such as teambuilding, an ideal location for a day-trip from Singapore could be Focus Adventure, located on Sentosa Island. Companies can engage in a myriad
of fun and thought-provoking teambuilding activities offered by Focus Adventure such as the rafting challenge, scaling high elements, the incredible race challenge and even LEGO Serious Play. All these activities have been strategically crafted to build qualities such as leadership, employee bonding, teamwork and fortitude- traits that are crucial for developing a vibrant and dynamic workforce. email@example.com
MICE SOLUTIONS Experience the perfect fusion of comfort, convenience and privacy at ParkRoyal on Beach Road in Singapore. Surrounded by quaint shop houses and authentic restaurants, this hotel offers a glimpse into local life in one of Asia’s most modern cities, alongside the familiar comforts of home. Your workforce can be part of the action with exclusive benefits from ParkRoyal on Beach Road. www.parkroyalhotels.com/ Tel: (+65) 6295 1998
Developing a future-ready pipeline Businesses are in a constant state of disruption, and leadership development needs to be the driver for both individual and organisational change. So says EWAN GORDON CLARK, Global Head of Leadership Effectiveness and Organisational Development at Standard Chartered Bank
ow important are leadership development programmes in today’s lean business conditions?
I think they are as important as ever, but the pressure to make a difference and get them right has increased. Programmes have to be viewed as an important investment that contributes to the business. In these cost-conscious, volatile and uncertain times, it is critical that you make it count, so quality and impact have become more paramount than ever.
In these times of constant disruption, how has leadership development evolved? Disruption can be done to you, or you can do it to yourself. This applies at both an individual level and at an organisational level. If the business isn’t changing at the rate of the environmental changes then externally-driven disruption will occur. I believe that there is opportunity with disruption and when done deliberately, it can create energy and vitality for a business. At an individual level it is the same thing. Leadership development needs to be a lever and driver for both individual
and organisational disruption, not an outcome in itself. Somebody very clever (I think it was Jack Welch) said that “if the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near”. Leaders today need to not only be able to keep up, but must be at the forefront of disruptive change. As a result, the development must be immediate, even more specific to the individuals, and yet also totally ‘on-point’ with the needs of the business.
What are some important things organisations should consider when developing their leadership pipeline? They should consider how they define what success looks like, and how to measure it. We plan succession based on current structures and contexts for the few people
that we already know, when we know that the people today are not necessarily the people of tomorrow, and today’s need will not be the same in the future. We then celebrate success when we have these things in place and we have organisational data that we can talk about. I don’t think that is good enough. We need to start earlier, and we need to be more democratic so that we are not just dealing with insights about the elite few, but about the whole system. Technology now enables us to create insights at both individual and collective levels, and should be fully and courageously leveraged.
All about leadership development JOIN EWAN GORDON CLARK, Global Head of Leadership Effectiveness and Organisational Development at Standard Chartered Bank, and more than 15 other senior-level speakers and experts at the Leadership Development Congress in
Singapore next month. Taking place on December 5 and 6, this exclusive conference is the leading leadership learning and development platform to help companies build more future-proof leadership
development is also important. Memorable – One thing that is important to me is that the programme is fun but challenging. You want to make the work you do memorable and within the leadership development space you have the luxury where you can be quite creative. There is an emotional component to it so it is important to design experiences for people that are memorable.
What are some useful indicators that organisations can employ to identify talent with leadership potential?
What does an effective leadership development programme entail? Could you elaborate on some key features? It will depend on the needs and what you are trying to achieve. However generically, and at a principle level, I think there are four things that should always be present: 1. Inside-out – The programme needs to be intimate and personal, but also deeply grounded in the context of the business; 2. Applied – We learn best through doing, so there must be an element where it can be experienced and applied 3. Relational – We lead and learn in relation to others, so designing connection points in
This needs to come back to my earlier point. I believe that the most important factor for leadership potential and future talent is the ability to learn and reinvent oneself. For today, we can look at specific capabilities, but for tomorrow, we need to look at the ability to be different from what we are today – that’s the only requirement that we can truly be sure about.
How does Standard Chartered approach leadership development and what opportunities are there for employees ? We have a suite of leadership development programmes at Standard Chartered, from new managers to the CEO of the bank. All managers and leaders are eligible for programmes at their level and are able to express interest in participating. Talent systems will prioritise certain people at
programmes that address the latest organisational leadership trends and needs. Delegates will get to hear cutting-edge case studies from LinkedIn, Standard Chartered Bank, DFS, Sony and Carlsberg Group. They will learn how these companies are revamping their leadership training to improve organisational bottom-lines. For more information, visit www.congress. hrmasia.com.
certain times but the programmes are open to everyone. We are working hard to increase the level of access of our leaders to what is required, at the time that it is needed. As a team, we want to be led to where we are able to respond to the shifting needs of the business.
You will be presenting at the Leadership Development Congress in December. What will audiences take away from your session and the company’s case study? I would like to tell the story of what we have been doing in Standard Chartered recently. We have had this amazing opportunity with the coming of our CEO a couple of years ago, which gave us the perfect conditions to do some really interesting, impactful work. For the last 18 months we have been undergoing systemic culture change across the bank, and using leadership and team effectiveness as levers for the change. We have been engaging our external clients and our employees at all levels to shape the desired culture and creating a movement of change in the bank. We have been using all of this architecture to build the leadership capabilities required to lead the change. There is definitely some pretty cool stuff in there and I look forward to coming to the conference to share our recent experiences. NOVEMBER 2017
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EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE & ENGAGEMENT 2017
Revamping your Employee Experience for the New Economy
Why should HR be concerned about employee experience? Organisations around the globe have spent years channelling their efforts on employee engagement without truly understanding that employee experience drives business outcomes, and enhances staff productivity and engagement level. HR leaders now need to reflect about what does or does not work to construct a holistic employee-centric experience that goes beyond monetary benefits. Join us at the 2nd Annual Employee Experience & Engagement Congress, taking place on 28-29 November 2017 in Singapore, will gather forward-thinking HR practitioners to discuss the trends, challenges, solutions and technologies being utilised for HR transformation with a keen focus on employee experience to increase workforce engagement and productivity. Industry experts who will join us at the Employee Experience & Engagement Congress include:
Tommi Korhonen Strategic Resourcing & Talent, Vice President SwissRe
Hunter Morgan Talent Acquisition, Program & Employer Branding, Manager Grab
Jocelyn Chan Human Resource Director Cold Storage
Chetna Manglik Regional Talent Director - HR Danone
Yin Leng Loke Senior Director, Total Rewards, APAC | Corporate Human Resources Medtronic
Rohaya Roslee Talent Management Leader (SEA) Dow Chemical Pacific
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F E AT U R E
SHARPER These days, annual engagement surveys and performance reviews are no longer sufficient for organisations to keep their fingers on the pulse of their staff. To support the needs of a younger, more technology-savvy and impatient workforce, the emphasis is now on real-time feedback, regular interventions, and convenient access B Y K E LV I N O N G
F E AT U R E
coot, OCBC Bank, Trivago, Lenovo, and Swarovski: these are just a few of the many global companies that have recently moved their HR functions onto a single, comprehensive talent management platform. And the list is quickly expanding, particularly as HR departments globally are now required to be even more than just strategic. They are also expected to possess updated capabilities to meet the needs of their businesses. With a growing emphasis on newer workforce objectives, such as real-time employee engagement, integrated performance management, temporary workforce management and staff wellness, coupled with traditional needs like payroll and leave management, more organisations now see the benefits of adopting a customisable, yet still exhaustive people management solution. Flexible and scalable Swarovski, for example, moved onto a new system hosted on Workday in the hopes of achieving more transparent, efficient and simplified people processes, while supporting new ways of working and catering to changing organisational objectives. Beyond that, the organisation was looking to empower its people and line managers to make data-driven and fact-based people decisions. Earlier this year, hotel search platform Trivago, was seeking out a cloud-based HR solution capable of providing one single source of “truth” for employee data, while empowering HR leaders and managers with better insights to make faster and more accurate decisions. The company also needed a platform that its 1,300 employees globally could access at any time and from anywhere in the world. Using Workday’s Human Capital Management, the deployment saw Trivago transform day-today HR processes, such as compensation, absence management, time tracking, recruiting, expenses and performance and development. “We needed an HR solution that provided the technological platform for a single, always-up-to-date database – a solution that was flexible and especially scalable as we grow,” says Sian Williams, Business Operations and Strategy – Talent Solutions at Trivago. “It is fantastic and also new for us that we’ll be able to use the system no matter where our people are, or which device they are using”.
Indeed, as Workday’s President David Hope notes, whether it’s collecting real-time staff feedback or managing contingent workers, companies today understand that with business needs constantly evolving, having the flexibility and freedom to design functionalities based on priorities, is the ultimate key. “Our clients are already exposed to a comprehensive suite of functionalities that encompass many of (these) trends,” says Hope. “I think more important than designing any specific new feature for one particular client is the ability to continuously innovate and update our software to meet the fastchanging needs of the modern HR landscape, as well as to tailor our systems to specific client needs.” But many companies are also avoiding bespoke systems that are overly complicated and difficult to maintain. Hope says that Workday’s technology enables customers to configure their rules and policies without requiring extensive
“A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH IS NO LONGER FEASIBLE AS DIFFERENT COMPANIES HAVE DIFFERING NEEDS” – CHARLES LIAW,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, TIMES SOFTWARE
customisation or coding, which means they are not adversely affected by upgrades.
Real-time functionalities Times Software, the winner of two awards at HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards this year, foresees increasing demand for fully digital solutions that provide real-time employee engagement integrated with a performance management system able to facilitate consistent, two-way communication between management and employees. At present, the service provider is experiencing a surge in clients requesting for more interactive performance reviews, as well as dashboards that are able to boost interaction and engagement of employees, says Managing Director Charles Liaw. Alongside the increase of temporary workforce management inquiries, largely from the hotel industry, and the growing demand for mobile-enabled features such as geo-tracking and push notifications on apps, Times Software ensures that the latest trends can be easily integrated into its systems. “We ensure our solutions are built with constant improvements in mind. That is why our products are easily enhanced in accordance to the market needs,” says Liaw. For example, the company is currently in the process of adding data analytics, and has also built a broadcast facility, in which temporary jobs are advertised via SMS and with mobile push notifications. Liaw agrees with Hope, saying client organisations appreciate platforms that are not fixed with limited functionalities. “A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer feasible in HR as different companies have differing needs. Therefore, we provide a basic platform which is flexible for customisation,” he says.
Moving with market trends In Singapore, where the bulk of Times Software’s clients are based, the government’s call to move towards a “Smart Nation” is expected to see greater development on the mobile technology front. Liaw foresees an increase in digitisation of payment methods in particular. “The government’s push for cashless technology means that there will be more
payment options available and we wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future, petty cash for claims will all be paid through QR codes instead of physical cash,” he says. The major technology companies’ development race in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also see robotics technology mature, although Liaw says it will still be a long time before this plays out. Still, there will be more integration of AI in almost every sector, and that includes HR solutions. “Deep learning will become part of HR solutions, where the system is able to learn about the company’s trends through repeated usage, and then make improved recommendations to users,” says Liaw. “AI will enable more productivity as menial functions such as delegation of tasks will all be done by the system.”
Disruption in developing countries Similar changes have also begun happening in developing countries in Southeast Asia. At the recent Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations, law and tax advisory firm VDB Loi shared
how the world of traditional HR was being rapidly disrupted with cloud computing, social media, mobile technology, and analytics changing the way businesses are run across the region. In order for companies to keep pace with these trends, it is essential to take their HR processes into the digital era, said Dara Ouk, Business Development Manager of VDB Loi. Ouk further stated that by 2020, “digital natives” will comprise more than 50% of the global workforce, which will present a new set of challenges for any HR teams still prioritising traditional strategies. Employee engagement and development; attracting top talent; retaining and rewarding this talent; and performance management are just some of the issues that business leaders and HR professionals will face. In late-2015, VDB Loi entered a partnership with technology firm Microimage HCM Asia in Myanmar. VDB Loi employed Microimage’s digital HCM Cloud solution, which was customised for the niche market based on VDB Loi’s local data, knowledge and expertise. The HCM solution enables companies
to maximise the full potential of digital technology while receiving a consumergrade user experience that is intuitive and interactive. The solution works across all devices including mobile. Just last month, the legal firm also rolled out the platform across its Cambodian offices. “Taking HR into the digital era with a platform that was designed for the future generation of digital natives is the only way organisations will be able to attract, retain and motivate the right talent and remain relevant,” says Ouk. email@example.com
HR TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Times Software offers a range of integrated products and web-based solutions to streamline payroll and HR processes, and provide a more cost-effective total solution. Its products provide comprehensive functionality to help companies automate labour-intensive HR processes and offer real time transaction data to managers and employees. www.timesoftsg.com.sg Tel: (+65) 6295 1998
CALENDAR Fourth quarter of 2017
29-30NOV HR FOR SMEs CONGRESS
The HR for SMEs Congress will focus on understanding how disruption is changing the landscape of HR in SMEs and explore HR trends, initiatives and technologies innovations that drive productivity. Attendees learn how to: design creative and practical talent management strategies in SMEs, transition HR into a more strategic role, and leverage on technological innovations for automation.
EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGEMENT CONGRESS The 2nd Annual Employee Experience & Engagement focuses on a holistic range of topics to allow organisations to better engage with their employees, and shift from a “policy developer” framework to one of “experience architect”.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS 2017
With today’s disruptive business landscape, building positive leaders and having a strong leadership pipeline are critical for organisations to capitalise on the upcoming opportunities.
However only 20% of identified high-potential staff currently end up advancing to higher levels of leadership. With the theme of “Strengthening Leadership
Pipeline in the Lean Economy”, the Leadership Development Congress will look at new strategies to identify high potentials and fit them into leadership profiles within the organisation.
HR CLINIC 52 CONGRESS WRAP 54 READER ADVICE 56
MY HR CAREER “Managers know it’s important to delegate, and that it will save them time and help others develop new skills. So why aren’t they doing it?”
Head of HR, Munich Re Greater China
READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE
MY HR CAREER
THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY TONY TAN, Head of HR for Munich Reinsurance in Greater China, explains why many HR professionals are working against their own interests, and those of society
ach of us has been endowed with unique strengths that, by default, are meant to help us advance humanity, to help ourselves, and to help others. For instance, if you have a compassionate heart; you just can’t help but be nurturing. If you’re a go-getter, you walk into a situation, see what needs doing, and then get it done. There’s no end to the varied and beautiful strengths with which any one person has been endowed.
Therefore, it is imperative that each person has full access to the support necessary for the development of their full potential for the benefit of society. This is the principle of subsidiarity. It advocates that those in stronger positions are obligated to aid others who are less able to overcome obstacles to development on their own, such as in the case of someone with an illness, a disability, or personal struggles. Therefore, those with greater strengths
are not divorced from the obligations of social responsibility. As Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, once said, “When you were made a leader, you weren’t given a crown; you were given the responsibility to bring out the best in others.”
The real thing In the book In Search of Excellence, authors Tom Peters and Robert Waterman empirically examine the most successful companies
While Packard believed that was certainly a vital factor, he felt that humans had to probe deeper and source for the real reasons of their being. “We inevitably come to the conclusion that a group of people exist as an institution so that they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not achieve separately – that they make a contribution to society,” he said. In The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker, wrote that “The principle of subsidiarity states that whatever action can be accomplished by individuals or subordinate bodies ought be left to them and not subsumed by higher organisations.” He said it therefore protects the possibilities of action at all levels of a group. “It does this not only for the sake of the individual but also for the sake of the vitality of the group. To act in a contrary fashion is to invite stagnation,” he explained. Yet, according to a recent Willis Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, a third of managers are not coaching employees in their roles, and a quarter are failing to accurately evaluate performance. Only a third of managers communicate with employees in decisions that affect them. The report further suggested that employees are sympathetic to the challenges managers face, with 37% acknowledging that their managers don’t have enough time to develop them in their jobs. Managers know it’s important to delegate, and they know it will save them time and help others develop new skills. So why aren’t they doing it?
from their own importance, while others lack self-confidence and don’t want to be upstaged by their subordinates,” he says. “No matter how self-aware you are, don’t assume that you’re immune to these biases.” As HR professionals, we need to change our mindset if we are to meet the challenges of the present day to protect our common future. Under the original social market economy, managers accepted their social responsibility and their duty to the common good. They realised that they were beholden to a wider array of stakeholders than shareholders alone. This ethos needs to be restored and reinvigorated so that managers can live up to its “noble vocation” calling again. To make this vision a reality, we need to apply healthier principles like that of the principle of subsidiarity that is often overlooked in our drive for convenience and personal gain. We need to question all things that we do and hold fast to what is good. In this way, all the ideas that we implement, and innovations that we introduce come together for the common good of our organisations and society at large - not just for personal benefit or the benefit of the business. As Robert Kennedy once said, “History will judge you, and as the years pass, you will ultimately judge yourself, in the extent to which you have used your gifts and talents to lighten and enrich the lives of your fellow men.”
THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY STATES THAT WHATEVER ACTION CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED BY SUBORDINATE BODIES OUGHT BE LEFT TO THEM AND NOT SUBSUMED BY HIGHER ORGANISATIONS.
and distinguish carefully between strategies of sham respect for the individual (which relies on gimmicks only), and real respect (which implies allowing people to perform as intelligent agents and therefore some form of subsidiarity). “These companies give ordinary people control over their destinies; they make meaning for people,” they write. David Packard, co-founder of Hewett Packard, said in 1939 that many people wrongly assumed an organisation exists only to make money.
The danger of self-enhancement According to Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Stanford University, some are perfectionists who think it’s easier to do everything themselves or that their work is superior to others. Pfeffer calls this the “self-enhancement bias.” “Some believe that passing on work will detract
About the author Tony Tan is an advocate of Servant Leadership, an author, volunteer, and seasoned HR professional in the financial services and consulting industries. He is currently based in Hong Kong as the Head of HR for Munich Re in Greater China. NOVEMBER 2017
MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE
Supporting employees during disruption CECILIA NG
Head, Group HR, YCH Group
THROUGHOUT THE transformational journey of YCH Group – from a home-grown passenger transport company to the logistics and supply chain industry leader that we are today – technology and human capital have been the key enablers which not only grew and expanded our businesses, but also kept our employees ahead of the game. As the logistics industry still remains labour-intensive, YCH took the bold step to become an early adopter of innovative technology to manage the complexities of its business. This ensured that employees have not been made redundant but are instead empowered by technology.
An example of this is the Supply Chain City, a 2 million square-foot facility with more than 5,000 employees, serving as Asia’s supply chain nerve centre in Singapore. In the facility, technology is used to help reduce inefficiencies and support employees in their roles. Robotics such as Automated Guided Vehicles perform repetitive and time-consuming tasks, and drones enhance operational excellence by tracking assets, monitoring risk hotspots, and locating missing cargo. While technology has boosted productivity, employees need to be trained and prepared to leverage it. This is where HR plays a key role. YCH is strongly committed to developing our employees to their fullest potential by offering onthe-job structured programmes, including the TalentRISE and WINGS initiatives. The company also provides career growth pathways such as the Leadership Development Initiative. YCH has also adopted and
implemented several SkillsFuture initiatives, and is partnering The Supply Chain & Logistics Academy – an industry academy housed within Supply Chain City that leverages experiential workplace learning. This will help professionals, managers, and executives to gain relevant knowledge and pick up new skills. Providing a positive work environment to cultivate, maximise, and realise employee potential is strongly founded on YCH core values and is key to helping the business navigate the complexities of today’s economy. Whether it is technological disruption or any other trends, HR plays a key role in helping bridge the divide and empower employees for business growth and sustainability.
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Working with the broader business NIKU GOGOI
Head, Asia-Pacific Recruitment Chiltern Clinical Research
HAVING SPENT MORE than a decade in recruitment and staffing functions, and having worked on both sides of the table, one thing I can unwaveringly say is that recruitment has up-scaled its value chain in the last decade. The recruitment function has undergone a paradigm shift and has become more strategically sought-after than ever before .With the integration of technology and digitisation, recruitment has seen significant changes in its value creation and in its potential to impact the business outcome. It is imperative for organisations to
empower recruitment heads to think beyond bringing resources into the firm. Recruitment teams need to build a strong collaboration with the business to provide market intelligence and not only be confined to meeting resource demands. Recruiters also need to hone their business acumen and cultural skills, which will eventually help business leaders make informed decisions on hiring. Being a recruitment leader and having worked with business leaders across geographies, I always emphasise on collaboration between recruitment and the business. Collaboration helps recruiters understand business situations and cultural
requirements. Every country or region brings its own flavour to the market and has its own candidate culture which needs to be understood by the business leader – with the help of the recruitment team. At Chiltern, we practice this collaboration at every level. It is not only confined to the high-end leadership level, but is apparent at every stage of recruitment and with every hiring manager. I am excited and positive to see the transformation happening in the recruitment space and I would not be surprised if recruitment is considered to be the most strategic discussion among the business leaders in the next couple of years.
“RECRUITERS NEED TO HONE THEIR BUSINESS ACUMEN AND CULTURAL SKILLS, WHICH WILL EVENTUALLY HELP BUSINESS LEADERS MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS ON HIRING.”
MY HR CAREER FEATURE HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP HR PEP TALK READER ADVICE
Bay Siew Yee Head, People and Culture StashAway
ho is Bay Siew Yee? How would you describe yourself?
I have an outgoing personality, and I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life to gather fresh perspectives and learn more from them. Sometimes, I’m described as “crazy” (which I perceive as a compliment); I effusively share stories and often catch myself getting more excited the more I talk.
Complete this sentence. HR is… About growing every individual of the team, on a personal and professional level and over the long run, while concurrently aligning the needs of the business and employees.
What’s the best part of your job? Constantly getting to meet new people, while forging relationships with existing connections both within and outside of the organisation. Also, working for a company like StashAway that truly appreciates the value of its people.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
“Happiness is a choice, not a result.” I truly believe happiness is about gratitude and a positive attitude towards life What’s the worst part?
DIGITAL IMAGING BY MUHAMAD AZLIN
I have yet to truly experience this firsthand, but I would imagine it being a challenge having to deliver termination messages for costreduction or restructuring purposes. This is especially so if it involves high-performing colleagues, or those who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own.
What has been the highlight of your career?
What are you most passionate about? I actively discuss personal finance with people I know and care about, to have them consider the importance of financial planning for their future. Through these small acts, I hope to contribute to a reduction in income inequality, starting from the social circle and communities closest to me.
It is a privilege working at fast-growing financial technology start-up StashAway, with initiatives, processes and policies having to be built from the ground up to complement the team’s culture and comply with industry regulations.
How do you unwind after work?
What would you be doing if you were not in HR?
What is your favourite dish?
Optimising operational processes or being in the hospitality industry are of interest to me. Anything that taps on my love for organising – I find it difficult to function when my environment is in a mess.
I ask myself this a lot, and it’s difficult to choose. But if I really have to, it would be duck porridge because it was something my grandma used to cook.
There are several things I enjoy doing after work on weekdays: catching up with friends over dinner, going for a run, whipping up a hearty meal to indulge in, or reading books on my to-read list.
MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE
Proving the value of HR analytics THE IMPLEMENTATION and utilisation of HR analytics in a business is only worthwhile if it achieves the intended results and sales targets. But as Sarajit Poddar, Head of Workforce Planning and Analytics at Ericsson, shared at the HRM Asia Workforce and HR Analytics Congress, there are many angles that businesses do not consider or are not aware of. It is the job of HR, and the workforce planning and analytics team, to set the expectations of leaders, and educate them on why results are not always so clear cut. Poddar explained how sometimes, even if a data-driven intervention had improved the workforce dimension, sales margins might not have followed suit. In such cases, the business may be of the opinion that the use of analytics did not actually lead to the desired results. This is then where HR steps in to explain the angles that may have been overlooked. One reason could be that while sales margins did not increase, costs overall were
lowered during a plans difficult to execute. time when sales also “Coming up with happened to be down. three to four scenarios Another reason could is good to show be that HR overlooked management different having a wider review of possibilities and issues, – SARAJIT PODDAR, business partners and HEAD OF WORKFORCE PLANNING & and how to overcome ANALYTICSK, ERICSSON those constraints,” said their effectiveness. “Real business Poddar. problems are not only But he added HR’s problems,” said Poddar. that it was important to not just present Where verbal explanations fail to scenarios in isolation. HR should also make convince leadership, preparing a thoughtful recommendations alongside a given action presentation with scenario simulations and plan. analysis would be the next best bet. Ericsson’s own analytics journey Sometimes when building financial started four years ago and Poddar says that targets, leadership can make assumptions today, all the business units are dependent that are not totally accurate. on his department for insights and It is during this stage that the analytics recommendations. team should employ “what if” scenarios, “But don’t expect full buy-in from evaluating which targets are feasible and day one,” he cautions. “You need to build which are not. The team should also assume credibility first as you embark on your legal constraints that might make certain analytics journey.”
“REAL BUSINESS PROBLEMS ARE NOT ONLY HR’S PROBLEMS.”
At The Scene with... Could you describe your current role at PSA Corporation? My current role is looking after our company’s HR management systems. I am in charge of the HR Information System, which is PeopleSoft. I handle this platform, HR reporting and also the analytics part.
What brought you to the Workforce and HR Analytics congress? For me, it’s to understand a bit more about analytics, to hear from other organisations and how they implemented analytics into their processes, and also to see what ideas I can bring back to PSA that will help improve our current platforms.
What were your biggest takeaways from these two days? It’s interesting to learn how other
Senior Manager (HR Information Systems) PSA Corporation
companies use analytics to solve their day-to-day issues. I think for us it’s worthwhile to learn from others’ insights and apply them back in our own organisation. I also learned a bit more of how other
organisations are using different frameworks and models. For example, if we start to see analytics as a product, then of course the mindset will also start to shift.
Was there one session that you found particularly insightful? One of the speakers (Bitasta Roy Meta, author of Have a Think) shared how we should approach our understanding of data through this model called “Think”. What she shared, through her stories, was how we can treat the whole analytics function as an experience, rather than thinking that it has to solve a problem.
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MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC 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: firstname.lastname@example.org to anonymously connect with HRM Asia’s team of career advisors.
I AM NOW PREPARING for a second-round interview for a regional talent development role with an extremely well-known internet brand. Everything that I know about this company’s workplace and appreciation for HR makes me thrilled to be considered. Do you have any advice for that one special “interview of a lifetime”?
One word comes to mind: prepare! If this is the interview of a lifetime, your preparation and practice will serve you well. Research as much as you can about: the company, the people you’ll be meeting, whether they’ve given any interviews or talks, any new offices or research centres, any recent acquisitions or expansions, the CEO, and more. As it is the second round, also use the insights from your first round to formulate more insightful questions so that you sound more like an insider. Part of your preparation is to [once again] review the job description and your résumé. And of course, have questions prepared. You won’t be able to ask many, but have them prepared. Based on your knowledge of the company and role, highlight strengths from your résumé that easily dovetail into what is required. It’s a conversation, not a grilling. The more prepared you are, the easier the flow of the interview, and the overall conversation, as you both learn something about each other.
Through your network, find people that work there, who have worked there, or who at least have interviewed there – and get every insight you can out of them. If the company is this well-known, I guarantee somebody in your extended network who can help. Some of these companies are famous for their use of analytics in assessments and are extremely data driven in their assessments. You need to understand how the interview process works and how they use data and analytics to assess people. Also make sure you’re up to date with the news and announcements from that company; what they’re doing in the local and regional marketplace and their current strategic initiatives so that you’re as well informed as possible. A lot about interviews is about confidence. The more informed you are, the more people who work there that you’ve chatted with, the more articles you’ve read, the longer you’ve spent on their website: the more familiar with all of this you are, the more confident you’ll be and that will shine through.
Author, speaker, and HR consultant
LAURENCE SMITH Head of Asia Smartup.io
I AM WEIGHING UP two very different job offers in my field of total rewards. One is a shorter-term contract with a company that I have worked with previously and very much enjoyed. The other is a full-time role with a company I had not previously heard of. I am leaning toward the contract – because I think job security is rare, even in apparently permanent positions. Do you think this is right, and is there anything else I should consider in this decision? advantage of this?
I’d start with two questions: What exactly do you want to do, and what matters most to you? Easy questions, but tough to answer. While job security is somewhat more elusive, it’s hardly impossible. More important is being clear on who you are, and what you want to do – which will provide a solid platform for security and growth. Instead of looking externally at the roles, look within. A simple exercise: Create a two-columned list, highlighting the benefits for each position, pluses and minuses of each criteria. But don’t stop there. Take it one step further, and do an inventory of yourself. That is, assess what’s important to you: your strengths, values, and what you want from the role before deciding on the next opportunity. Start by looking backwards rather than forward – back on your previous achievements and setbacks. It’s always good to start with the positive, but greater learning comes from exploring setbacks. Think about your past two or three roles. What did you like, and what drove you crazy about each of them? Be honest. Which role brought out the best in you? You’ll be able to make an informed decision on which path to take, which will be the one that is aligned with your values and strengths.
I think you’re right in that job security is quite illusory these days, and there’s definitely a comfort in going back to the organisation what you know. And that may well turn into a permanent position. However, before you make that decision, I’d urge you to learn as much as you can about the other company. Because there are some really interesting organisations out there that neither you or I have ever heard of either because they serve a particular industry, or they are business-to-business and not business-to-consumer, or they are stealthy but very respected at what it is they do. So research it, leverage your network, and learn about it first. At the moment I think you are rushing to a decision of comfort and safety. That’s OK but you owe it to yourself to better understanding the other opportunity first. Because the permanent position at the mystery company may actually be an amazing opportunity that would broaden your options in the future.
Opportunities for Life
RGF HR Agent Singapore Pte Ltd EA Licence No. 10C2978
Head of Human Resources, Thailand
HR Director (China) • Well known and established brand • Hands-on, challenging and strategic role
• Asian technology industry MNC • Hands-on, challenging and strategic role
Our client is an established leader in its market with production and sales operations within China.
An Asian technology company with international footprint, our client has an immediate need for an experienced and consummate HR leader to lead its people agenda in the dynamic, growing Thailand market.
You will be a strategic HR business partner to the management team and a key player in helping the organization meets its growth and expansion plans through the provision of HR excellence. In this role, you will report to the Asia Pacific HR Director (based in Singapore) to manage all aspects of HR operations and drive HR strategies. The HR teams located in different locations, manage respective commercial and plant requirements. This role drives all aspects of recruitment strategies, compensation and benefits, employee and labor relations, coaching/development, talent management, performance management and process improvements.
You will develop and implement HR strategies and programs in areas of recruitment, learning & development, compensation & benefits, talent management and employee engagement to support attainment of business objectives. As advisor to management team, you will participate in business strategy development, maximize organizational performance and lead HR projects. You will provide direction, develop and coach the HR team to support the business.
You should be a graduate in HR Management and ideally 10+ years of HR generalist experience in a MNC environment. You should be capable of operating in a matrix organization structure, managing multiple and challenging assignments concurrently. The role needs someone with strong interpersonal skills with proven track record in managing senior level relationships.
The successful candidate is degree-qualified in Business Administration or HR with minimum 10 years HR management experience including 5 years in managerial capacity. You bring demonstrated ability in stakeholder management, dealing with ambiguity and works well in fast-paced environments. Pre and post-merger & acquisition HR related experience coupled with strong project management skills are desired. You are hands-on, mature, task-oriented with influencing and mentoring skill, and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at email@example.com or Audrey Chong at firstname.lastname@example.org
To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at email@example.com or Audrey Chong at firstname.lastname@example.org
EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147
EA Personnel Registration No. R1105976 & R1105147
RGF is the global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest HR and recruitment services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$14 million annual net sales in annual revenue. For more than 56 years, RGF provides comprehensive HR and talent acquisition services which include retained and contingency executive recruitment and market mapping, senior to staff level specialist and contract recruitment as well as payroll services. RGF operates in more than 48 locations across 27 cities in 11 countries and markets in Asia with in-country specialist consultants. Best Recruitment Firm in Accounting, Banking, Finance; The Executive Search Company of the Year; The HR Recruitment Company of the Year; Best Recruitment Firm, Non-Management Roles and Best Recruitment Firm, RPO. HRM ASIA, RI ASIA, Human Resources magazine www.rgf-hr.com.sg
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A different take on diversity and inclusion A CO-WORKER at my former workplace, the lone female employee, used to joke repeatedly about how she was our “token diversity hire”. While that was ever only said in jest, it got me thinking one day - that perhaps she could be hinting at something else deeper. Was she trying to tell us to hire another female so that she didn’t feel so much in the minority? Maybe. But as my friends would tell you, I have a tendency to read too much into things. That same day, I asked our boss why we hired mostly men, to which he replied rather matter-of-factly: “But there are only five of us.” “But”? Why did he immediately take on a defensive stance? Did I not phrase the question as innocently as I thought I did? I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and I wasn’t prepared to force a clarification, so I just stared at him blankly and made a hasty exit. On hindsight, I might be wrong, but I think he meant to say that my question would have been justified if there was a more sizeable headcount to draw any such conclusion. That was a few years ago, and having attended numerous diversity conferences and hearing hundreds of viewpoints on the topic since then, I do owe him the benefit of the doubt to believe his hiring choices were not intentionally exclusive. As SAP’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader Kate Barker said at an industry presentation last month, diversity should not only revolve around physical attributes like race or gender, when the real objective is to achieve a diversity of thought. The whole idea behind this, she says, is that people should be hired for how they think, and not how they look. In that case, true diversity is then not about having an equal number of men and women, but a multitude of beliefs, personalities, and skills. This becomes much more apparent in larger entities like SAP, where differences are viewed as business assets. Perhaps, this was the point my ex-employer was trying to make, but was unable to articulate? Since we’re on the give-people-the-benefitof-the-doubt trail, I would also like to take back what I might have said privately about a big
local organisation I interviewed earlier this year. One thing that struck me the moment I walked into their office, was how ethnocentric it was. In fact, from my vantage point, I can safely say there was only one ethnicity represented. So much so that I couldn’t help but make a few unsavoury comments about how I’ve never seen any company of that scale with such a startling lack of racial diversity. Could they have been guided by this principle of “diversity of thought” all along? Frankly, I still find it slightly ridiculous that there was only one ethnicity present. Surely, diversity of thought also emerges when people from different backgrounds with unique experiences come together? So wouldn’t that mean a lack of racial diversity would result in a dearth of heterogeneity in experiences, and hence a smaller range of ideas.
B Y K E LV I N O N G But within this very logic lies the unsaid conundrum with diversity and inclusion practices – they assume that all homogeneity is bad for creativity and innovation. When diversity-driven companies make statements like “we need more LGBTQ representation in the company”, those good intentions can, ironically, reinforce labels. Perhaps this is why staffing approaches like blind recruitment have become increasingly popular. Organisations who use blind hiring to fill roles purely seek individuals with the most ideal or unique skill sets. This might not be helpful in checking their diversity boxes, but at least they can say they were unbiased in the process. So instead of valiantly pursuing diversity and inclusion and attempting to eliminate unconscious bias, simply being consciously unbiased might be the way to go. email@example.com
Published on Nov 15, 2017
Published on Nov 15, 2017
Record low oil prices hit Indonesian resources business MedcoEnergi Internasional hard between 2014 and 2016, but the company has been able...