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ENGINEERING SUCCESS AT BOSCH ASIA-PACIFIC

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Dear HRM Magazine Asia readers,

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Paul Howell JOURNALIST

Yamini Chinnuswamy JOURNALIST

Melia Widjaja MEDIA & DATABASE EXECUTIVE

Ismail Abdul Rahman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Muhamad Azlin Ismail ACCOUNT MANAGER

Edwin Lim SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER

Jenilyn Rabino EXECUTIVE GENERAL MANAGER

Joanna Bush PHOTOGRAPHER

Ted Chen

tedchenphoto.com CARTOONIST

Gene Whitlock

up2speed.biz PRINTED BY

Times Printers Pte Ltd

PUBLISHED BY

HRM Asia Pte Ltd 60 Albert Street, Albert Complex #16-08 Singapore 189969 Tel: +65 6423 4631 Fax: +65 6423 4632 Email: info@hrmasia.com.sg

W

elcome to the OctoberNovember edition of HRM Magazine Asia! The team here is excited to bring you the results of our latest project – the Watch List 2018, brought to you by our partners at Armstrong Craven. The Watch List has been several months in the pipeline. It developed from the seed of an idea to create our own ‘spotlight’ list of Southeast Asia’s rising HR talent that would be of interest and value to our readers throughout this dynamic and diverse region. After all, even as the HR and business community grapples with what the future of work means for everyone, isn’t it worth highlighting the next generation of talent that’s right there in the trenches, shaping the strategies and approaches of Industry 4.0? We looked far and wide across the region, conducting our own research, calling for nominees from readers, and seeking recommendations from our HRM Asia advisory committee. After hours of conversation with our nominees, and an intense few weeks of work, we now have a list that I’m proud to say is diverse in multiple ways. But if there is one thing that our 16 list-makers have in common, it’s the knowledge and understanding that HR must be at the forefront of transformation – reinventing itself to become always more strategic, and less transactional.

As Monica Oudang, Chief People Officer of Go-Jek in Indonesia, explains: “My team has to have that in-depth understanding of what is actually going on in the organisation: to understand the financials, the business context, and the data, and to be able to strategically partner with leadership to create solutions – rather than just ‘copying-and-pasting’ from what worked before.” It’s a sentiment shared by Bosch’s HR director for Southeast Asia, Jane Tham, who we spoke with in this month’s HR Insider feature. “Not everything has to be based on process; HR has to go beyond transactions,” she says. “To me, everything can be flexible. That’s also how our HR team has progressed, as well – we try to be flexible, but compliant, in meeting employee needs. “As jobs gets fluid and change every other day, we need to be prepared to redesign job scopes to match the strength of an individual, and account for their limits – especially if that individual has the right mindset towards change, overall,” she adds. On that note, we leave you until next time, and hope you enjoy the issue. Best wishes,

YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY Journalist, HRM Asia

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

MEET THE TEAM

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

PAUL HOWELL

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

Editorial Director paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg

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

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MELIA WIDJAJA

Journalist melia@hrmasia.com.sg

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CONTENTS

OC TOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

ON THE COVER

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WATCH LIST 2018

HRM Asia unveils its inaugural list of up-and-coming, and next-generation HR leadership talent from across Southeast Asia

F E AT U R E S READY FOR 22GET LIFT-OFF

HR Festival Asia is coming to Singapore in May, 2019. This launch feature reveals everything about the three-day extravaganza that includes a six-stream conference, awards ceremony, and unique PitchFest for HR technology startups

HOW TO HELP PEOPLE 32“INVENT FOR LIFE”

Using technology to impact society is seen as a team effort at Bosch – where each and every employee is brought along for the company’s transformation journey

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HR DRIFTED 28 HAS OFF COURSE?

Martha Finney, US-based HR author and consultant, says many HR business units are suffering under the weight of expectations from both the business and employees

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39 AHEAD OF THE GAME Serviced apartment providers in the Asia-Pacific region are continuing to expand their horizons, despite stiff competition from new hotel developments and usergenerated brands

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REGULARS 04 06 11 46 47 48

BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS HRM FIVE #NOFILTER READER ADVICE NEXT ISSUE OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

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BEST OF HRMASIA.COM

What’s on

.com Visit - HRM Asia’s bold new website

HRM Asia launched its new website on September 23. Based on the versatile Wordpress format, the site creates a clear visual connection with HRM Asia’s partner news portal in the US (www. hreonline.com) and allows a greater variety of content types and formats. With exclusive videos, digital magazine issues, and links to the latest research from both HRM Asia and the wider HR community – along with all the news and features that you’ll know – the new site is a must-visit destination for every HR professional in the region. Two years’ of HRM Asia’s news and features has been migrated to the new site, along with selected blockbuster pieces from earlier years.

Read - Top three news

(from September 1 to October 15)

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Xero introduces new wellbeing leave

The New Zealand-based accounting software developer is offering up to 14 days of leave without need for medical certification.

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Thailand lifts foreign worker restrictions

Expatriate workers in the kingdom will no longer need their employer’s permission to switch jobs.

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Alibaba launches talent programme in Singapore

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The darling of China’s tech scene is seeking to develop fresh talent in Southeast Asia.

Read - Top three features (from September 1 to October 15)

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Workplace bullying

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HP Inc reboots

Everything a good HR professional needs to know about the costs and potential strategies to combat harassment in the office. Having split from its sibling enterprise arm, HP Inc is making a new life for itself with a talentfocused culture and strategy.

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MarriottInternational’s hiring spree

Marriott International’s Chief HR Officer in Asia-Pacific shares how it is attracting and retaining talent during a time of intense growth.

Your Say

Last month, we asked: Do you believe mobile learning is the “next big thing” in learning and development? This was your response.

Yes. 31 % Employees want to learn using their own devices, at their own time

27 % Yes. Because the technology is

continuing to improve We’ve already 8 % No. had mobile learning for several years

It’s just one tool in a 35 % No. comprehensive platform alongside others, such as classroom learning

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Celebrate - Readers’Choice Awards Commemorative Guide

HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards were presented at a gala ceremony on September 28. Check out the full, interactive commemorative guide right here.

Share - From the HRM Asia Forums

Readers’ Choice 2018

COMMEMORATIVE

GUIDE

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“Just like in other jobs – hands-on learning guided by experts will allow drivers to pick up the skills quickly and with confidence”

Joseph Heng, Head of Volvo Group Trucks Singapore says blue collar workers need a helping hand in learning new Industry 4.0 skills

G Connect

Don’t wait for the printed magazine each month – the best of HRM Asia’s news, features, and analysis are available both online and through the daily e-newsletters. Even this magazine issue can be read cover-to-cover in an electronic version from Wednesday, October 31. With fully-dynamic links to even more content, including video and archived materials, the HRM e-magazine is everything you know from the printed product, plus much, much more. Sign up at www.hrmasia.com/subscribe for daily email updates, and the first look at every story, opinion, guest post, and HRM TV episode. Remember to also stay updated throughout the working week by checking into www.hrmasia.com on mobile, tablet, or computer. And connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make your mark in the HR community in Asia-Pacific All combined, HRM Asia’s multiple platforms and huge variety of content give HR professionals and business leaders the world’s best view of the fastevolving HR universe, here in Asia.

ood workplace ergonomics can help with employee retention,because happier and healthier employees translate into improved morale and employee welfare

Sylvia Ho and Victor Khoo, from Core Concepts Group, spell out the returns on investments available through careful furniture selection

“AS WITH ANY PARADIGM SHIFT IN THE ECONOMY, NEW HIGH-VALUED JOBS REQUIRING MORE SOPHISTICATED SKILLSETS WILL APPEAR, CREATING A MORE DYNAMIC WORKFORCE” Rahul Chawla, from Aon Malaysia, says there is more to disruption and Industry 4.0 than job losses OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

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NEWS ASIA

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIAN EMPLOYERS MUST JUSTIFY FLEXIBLE WORK REFUSALS

CAMBODIA

CAMBODIA TRAINS YOUTH, POOR FOR JOBS IN JAPAN

THE CAMBODIAN GOVERNMENT has started training its youth and poorer residents for possible employment in Japan. Cambodia’s Labour Ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Japan and Cambodia Interactive Association (JCIA) to bring skilled Cambodians to Japan. With this in place, the government has begun training youth and poorer residents for potential employment in the Land of the Rising Sun. JCIA has been sending Cambodian trainees to Japan for the past two years, and there are now more than 8,000 Cambodians working there, according to Labour Minister Ith Samheng. Under the memorandum, 90 private recruitment companies and two organisations have been licensed to choose, train, send and manage Cambodians to work in Japan. The sectors of focus are agriculture, fishing, construction, food processing, garment making, and elder care.

EMPLOYERS IN AUSTRALIA will now be required to justify their refusals of flexible working requests from staff. A clause has been added to the country’s Fair Work Commission legislation, entailing that employers discuss any requests for flexible working arrangements with employees. Consideration must be given to the employee’s needs and circumstances, and there must be “reasonable business grounds” in order to refuse the request. Even if a flexible work agreement is not agreed upon, the employer is obliged to work with the employee to explore potential alternatives. The new clause will apply to employees who have been with a company for more than 12 months. Under the country’s National Employment Standards, employees who are parents or caregivers, have disabilities, or are older than 55, are eligible to make requests for flexible working arrangements.

TAIWAN

TAIWAN LOOKS TO SOUTHEAST ASIA TO PLUG TALENT GAPS TAIWAN IS CONSIDERING expanding its immigration

policies to entice skilled workers from Southeast Asia, in an effort to mitigate the loss of talent to Mainland China. Under the proposed legislation, highlyskilled foreign professionals in Taiwan may be eligible to apply for permanent residency in as few as three years. Other professionals, as well as students graduating from Taiwanese universities, will also be

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eligible – although these will have to wait anywhere between five to seven years. In addition to addressing the “brain drain” of skilled talent to Mainland China, the bill seeks to also address Taiwan’s shrinking labour force due to its ageing population. According to National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-Ling, 20% of Taiwan’s population will be over 65 years old by 2026.

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CHINA

BIG PLANS FOR BIG DATA JOBS THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT and

Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s state planner, says the government will promote the digital transformation of traditional employment sectors and encourage more workers to switch to jobs in the new digital economy. In a statement, the NDRC called on the government to keep pushing the development of China’s US$3.8 trillion digital economy, saying it expects big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to be the key drivers of job creation in the coming years.

According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, the country’s digital economy grew by 18% in 2017, equivalent to one third of China’s gross domestic product. The NDRC said China should aim to make further advances in areas such as the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and AI, that will create more high-end jobs. China should also actively aim to attract foreign skilled workers to promote innovation in its digital economy.

ASIA-PACIFIC

AVIATION SECTOR SET FOR 50% RISE IN JOBS MORE THAN 30.2 million jobs in the Asia-Pacific region are currently being supported by the aviation and related sectors, and the number is expected to rise to 44.0 million by 2036. This is according to the report Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, released by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). More than a third of global passenger traffic comes from the Asia-Pacific, making it the busiest air transport region in the world. ATAG’s executive director Michael Gill said that by 2036, aviation in the region was expected to support 44 million jobs, and US$1.7 trillion (SG$2.35 trillion) in economic activity. Among the key drivers for growth will be the sustainable development of air transport as part of national growth plans in several key markets. Passengers in the region have also taken advantage of lower ticket prices over the past decades.

SOUTH KOREA

RECORD LEVEL DISCOURAGEMENT IN KOREA

THE NUMBER OF discouraged job-seekers in South Korea, or those who showed no signs of seeking

employment for at least four weeks, rose to a four-year high in August, according to official data. Statistics Korea showed that the number of South Koreans that had given up on finding a job stood at 510,000 as of the end of August, a 5.4% rise from the same period last year. The increase was the highest since 2014 when the government first started collecting the data. Government data pointed to a feeble employment market and slowing economic growth as the main reasons why more than half a million South Koreans had lost interest in looking for jobs.

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

QATAR

QATAR ABOLISHES UNPOPULAR EXIT VISA SYSTEM FOREIGN WORKERS in Qatar will now be able

to leave the country without having to acquire exit permits from their employers. However, employers will be allowed to apply for exemptions from the new law. Such applications must include “justifications, based on the nature of the work”, and can only be applied to at most 5% of an employer’s workforce. Further, foreign workers in Qatar who wish to change jobs, will still require the permission

of their current employers. More than 90% of Qatar’s population comprises of foreign migrant workers. Most of these hail from Asia, particularly India and South Asia. Under the controversial “kafala” system, practised in many Gulf countries, visa sponsors have ultimate responsibility for migrant labourers. The treatment of workers under this system has long been criticised by international labour groups.

GERMANY

TALENT-STARVED GERMANY LOOKING TO RELAX IMMIGRATION LAW GERMANY’S COALITION government is looking to push through a new immigration law that would make it easier for skilled foreigners to work in the country. Unemployment has reached its lowest levels since East and West Germany reunified in the early 1990s. Under the new law, German-speaking candidates from outside the European Union (EU) will have the opportunity to stay in Germany for six months to find employment locally. It has also been proposed that companies no longer need to try and hire German citizens as a priority over both EU or non-EU candidates. Lawmakers hope that small and medium sized organisations will benefit from the relaxed rules, as they have previously struggled to compete for talent with larger companies.

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SWITZERLAND

NOVARTIS MOVING THOUSANDS OF JOBS OUT OF ITS HOME BASE SWISS MULTINATIONAL

pharmaceutical company Novartis has announced plans to cut about 1,500 manufacturing jobs in Switzerland by 2022. According to the reports, Novartis is planning to streamline its global manufacturing and service operations. If the plan pushes through, the pharmaceutical giant will also cut up to 700 business service positions in Switzerland, on top of the 1,500 manufacturing jobs that it is eliminating. These jobs will be then moved to the Czech

Republic, India, Ireland, Malaysia, and Mexico. The closure of a plant in England will also see the loss of another 500 jobs. The changes are necessary to help the company shift focus toward personalised medicines and boost its bottom line, according to Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan, who took on the role in February this year. As such, the job cuts will be slightly mitigated by the creation of 450 new jobs in Switzerland, in the specialised areas of cell and gene therapy manufacturing.

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US

ALIBABA UNLIKELY TO MEET US JOBS CREATION PROMISE THE ONGOING TRADE row between China and the US will make it hard for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to fulfil its promise of creating 1 million jobs in the US, its founder Jack Ma has warned. He said he had made the vow on the assumption of a friendly US-China business partnership, and “rational” trade relations. That premise no longer exists so the promise cannot be fulfilled, Ma said during the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China. One million jobs would be close to 1% of all jobs in the US, and would make Alibaba one of the country’s largest private employers. The US-China relationship, however, has soured in recent months, with both countries introducing escalating trade tariffs.

GLOBAL

HR LEADERS EXPECTING GLOBAL SKILLS GAP GLOBAL RESEARCH and advisory firm

Gartner Inc says that about 80% of employees around the world do not have the skills needed for their current and future roles. According to its research, only 20% of employees have the skills needed, despite most organisations undergoing a digital transformation that directly impacts on how they do business. Brian Kropp, group vice president of

Gartner’s HR Practice, added that more than two-thirds of business leaders believed that if their companies did not become significantly digitalised by 2020, they would no longer be competitive. The majority of HR leaders also see a significant skills gap, with 64% of HR managers polled believing that their firm’s employees were not keeping pace with future skill needs.

UK

GOLDMAN SACHS TO SHIP BREAST MILK FOR TRAVELLING STAFF NEW MOTHERS working at Goldman Sachs in the UK and US will now have the option to courier their breast milk back to their babies while on international work assignments. The investment bank will pay for breastfeeding staff – at least, those who must travel for work – to send their expressed milk home. An internal memo reportedly notes that “parenting and work can sometimes feel at odds. Goldman Sachs aim[s] to make the balancing act a little easier.” Goldman Sachs is not the first to offer such a service. It is understood that IBM, Twitter, and Accenture already offer a similar programme for US-based employees.

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Recognising the Convergence Between HR, Tech and the New World of Work

SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATIONS NOW!

Nomination entries close on

Singapore and ASEAN-based organisations of all sizes are invited to submit their nomination entries for this exciting new Awards platform taking place at Asia’s Largest and Only HR & Tech Event, next May - The HR Festival Asia 2019.

Nominate your peers, teams or organisations for FREE NOW

7 December 2018

HR Fest Award Categories: • Best C-suite Leader (Individual Award) • Best HR Leader (Individual Award) • Best Use of HR Technology • Best Innovation in HR • Best HR Transformation

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HRM FIVE

BENEFITS THAT ENHANCE ENGAGEMENT BY YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY

I once worked at an organisation that provided a yearly, three-figure allowance that employees could use for a variety of purposes – for buying gym memberships, mobile phones, or even plane tickets. While this benefit was one of many great perks provided by the organisation, it did not help much in making me feel more engaged with the work, or the environment. Benefits aren’t about spending money, or even copying the “cool kids”. Sure, it’s great when an employer provides breakfast and dinner – but not so much when the implication is that they want you to spend all your waking hours slaving away at your job. We already spend a great proportion of our lives working, as it is. Here are five benefits that organisations can provide to employees, which will help them feel more engaged and motivated.

Free, or subsidised day-care The day-care dilemma is a source of much stress and anxiety for many working parents, and frequently distracts them from their jobs. Children can fall sick; babysitters can be called away; school can be cancelled: there’s no shortage of unexpected circumstances in life, and that’s all multiplied when you bring young children into the mix. Of course, not every organisation has the option of building a proper day-care facility. But it might be worth exploring what options are available, such as setting up your office in a business park which also houses a day-care provider.

Total wellness packages It’s safe to say that we’re living in the “wellness era”. People are more educated than ever about how they can lead happy and healthy lives. A total health and wellness package requires some effort, but it can lead to fantastic outcomes. Company health screenings, subsidised gym memberships, ergonomic office furniture – all these will help your employees stay healthy and productive. In contrast, a sick employee is more likely to be mentally and physically exhausted, and be a liability more than an asset.

Educational assistance Most people would jump at the opportunity to pursue a diploma or higher degree. Bursaries and scholarships – perhaps even sabbatical time off to pursue studies full-time over a short period, rather than part-time over an extended period – will motivate employees to ensure their own “continuous learning” journey. They will likely pursue skills and knowledge that will be beneficial to their work – and thus their employers too.

More vacation time Even an extra day or two could make a difference to employees who are parents, care-givers, expatriates, or even just anyone who needs a long weekend to recharge every so often. If you have employees who do not use up their paid vacation time as is, then you might need to give them a little nudge. Perhaps consider a policy where paid leave can only be rolled over once – and also ensure your line managers are not preventing people from using these up.

Flexible work Humans have different quirks, skills, and dispositions. So why do we expect them all to come into the office at 9:00am, leave at 6:00pm, and have the same level of productivity as everyone else? That’s just unrealistic. Of course, businesses need a certain level of stability to operate. But many office jobs can easily be adjusted into compressed work weeks (for instance, doing a 40-hour work week over four days instead of five), done partly from home, or split into two job-shared positions. Empowering your employees with the freedom to adjust their schedules according to their own peak periods is a benefit that will be used and appreciated weekly, if not daily. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

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F E AT U R E

WAT C H L I S T 2 0 1 8

POWERED BY

HRM Magazine Asia is proud to unveil its highly-anticipated list of up-and-coming, and next-generation HR leadership talent from across Southeast Asia. This celebration highlights 16 of the most driven, impactful, and creative HR professionals set to make big strides in their respective careers over the coming years.

T

here is something about the HR profession that naturally attracts the quiet achiever. Perhaps because the role is inherently collaborative, an HR leader’s biggest career highlights are often shared across several stakeholders, or even the organisation as a whole. There can sometimes be a lack of celebration and appreciation for the individual at the heart of all that teamwork! It’s not that you’ll hear anyone complaining – shared celebration is par for the course when it comes to getting the most out of a workforce, no matter what size of organisation is involved. But HRM Magazine Asia’s inaugural Watch List for 2018 aims to give just a small amount of rare individual applause to some of the region’s up and coming HR leadership talent

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Our research team has scoured throughout Southeast Asia to find workforce leaders who are having a tremendous positive impact on both their organisations and the profession as a whole. Each of the list makers listed here, and also online at www.hrmasia.com/watchlist, has shown significant career progression over the last decade, and is now be at the peak, or very close to it, of their organisation’s HR hierarchy. Most of those selected are now directing policy and strategy at a national or multi-

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HELPING CLIENTS ATTRACT THE BEST SENIOR AND SCARCE TALENT

Armstrong Craven is delighted to be sponsoring HRM Magazine Asia’s Watch

WORDS: YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY & PAUL HOWELL; DESIGN: MUHAMAD AZLIN ISMAIL; SOCIAL MEDIA: STACY LIM

market (regional or sub-regional) level. And they are all destined for even bigger things in the not-too-distant future. Further, they are all passionate advocates for the function. “The Watch List recognises just a handful of the hundreds of HR folks who are helping their organisations thrive – and not just survive – in the complex business environment facing the world at the moment,” HRM Asia’s editorial director Paul Howell said. “It doesn’t claim to be the definitive list of HR’s next guard. “Rather, it seeks to showcase the enormous diversity of HR professionals in this region, and the wide breadth of projects and strategies that they are leading.” The Watch List features talent from eight of the 10 markets within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with a deliberate emphasis on those based outside of the key economic hub of Singapore. It features HR leaders from both huge conglomerates and multinationals, as well as burgeoning start-up enterprises. There are those who have been life-long ambassadors to the HR function, and others who have moved sideways into the career after successful stints in other professions. The most frequently represented market is Malaysia, where four of the list-makers are based. Three work from Indonesia, two from the Philippines, two also from Myanmar, and one each from Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei. “The list is as diverse as the business landscape of the Southeast Asia region itself,” lead journalist Yamini Chinnuswamy said. “It’s been a thrill to unearth these HR leaders and I hope their stories can inspire conversation and further great HR leadership over the years to come.” The Watch List is presented with the fantastic support of Armstrong Craven, which specialises in talent mapping, pipelining, and workforce insights. CEO Tom Mason [see: welcome letter, opposite] says the company has been in Singapore for three years and is helping its clients get ahead of the competition by taking a more strategic and considered approach to their talent acquisition.

List – profiling some of the most exciting next-generation talent in Southeast Asia. The opportunity comes at an exciting time for Armstrong Craven in Singapore and the wider Asia-Pacific region. We see the region as a hugely important part of our company’s international expansion as we continue to build a strong presence in all major global hubs. Armstrong Craven opened a dedicated office in Singapore just over three years ago, and since then, we have continued to invest to ensure we have a highly-experienced and knowledgable team in the region. Our Director – Asia Pacific is Helen Coult. Helen, who is based in Singapore, has over 15 years’ experience in executive search, recruitment, and talent consultancy. We have seen growing demand for our support in providing clients, both local and global, with a more strategic approach to their talent acquisition. Clients turn to us to ensure they identify and attract the best candidates for their senior and scarce roles. Insights are key. We are enabling employers to better understand the scarce and senior skill landscape, something that is critical if they are to drive their business growth. Armstrong Craven’s core services of talent mapping, pipelining, and insight are all about helping our clients to steal a march on their competitors by taking a more strategic and considered approach to their talent acquisition. The benefits of such an approach are multiple. They include a greater likelihood of identifying, attracting, and retaining the best talent – whether a business has an immediate or longer-term requirement. All of the data belongs to the client which means they can maintain a warm pipeline, ready to make further hires as necessary. Further benefits include a significant reduction in both the time and cost of hires. Major areas of work include diversity – not just gender but all facets – and helping businesses win the talent battle as disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics become ever-more critical to the workplace. The latter is driving the so called “future skills” agenda with organisations desperate to ensure they have the right people with the right skills in line with the fast-evolving nature of the workplace. While technical skills remain hugely valued, there is an increasing desire to recruit talent with broader skills such as creativity, critical thinking and sociability. The talent landscape in Singapore and the wider Asia-Pacific region, like in many other parts of the world, is altering dramatically. Understanding the shifting dynamics is essential. Being able to meet the challenges that are created now, and into the future, will depend on being able to attract the best talent to your organisation. Yours sincerely,

Tom Mason

CEO, Armstrong Craven OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

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F E AT U R E

WAT C H L I S T 2 0 1 8

AGAPOL NA SONGKHLA

Chief People Officer, Thai Beverage

Agapol Na Songkhla is a quintessential multihyphenate. He is fluent in Thai, Japanese, and English, and succeeded in the broadcast, consulting, and banking worlds before finding his way into HR. In his ongoing role as Chief People Officer of Thai Beverage, Songkhla has the hefty task of overseeing a 59,000 strong workforce. Only half of that figure comprises of employees based in Thailand; the rest are spread across Southeast Asia including in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Myanmar. They are working for iconic food and beverage brands such as F&N (Singapore) and Oishi (Philippines). “ThaiBev has grown from a national champion status, and it’s not stopping,” says Songkhla. From his vantage point, strategically planning for such business growth has been both challenging and fun. “We’re putting great effort towards creating regional capabilities, and establishing trust in our new markets.” Prior to joining ThaiBev, Songkhla also clocked in a stint as Head of Strategy and Transformation, at TMB

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Bank; just one of a few high-level strategic functions he served during his eight years there. And he’s bringing all that business experience – along with his years as a principal and project lead at the Boston Consulting Group – to bear at ThaiBev, as he works with the people team there to bring transformation to the next level. After all, he points out, “Transformation is neverending.” Another current focus is the embrace of the multigenerational workforce. That does not just mean catering to so-called “digital” millennials, Based in but also to baby Bangkok boomers reaching or passing retirement age. HR Focus Areas “It’s about inspiring Transformation, Engagement, the idea that people Human Capital Development are at the centre of how we do things,” he Favourite aspect of HR explains. “I’m proud to “That the profession can be able to say that we transform people and help believe in the potential them realise their full potential.” of people – and that Career-defining moments we are able to get that journey moving for “Transforming our HR practice not just us, but for our into a Human Capital mission in 2015.” partners as well.”

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FELICIA TEH

Regional HR Director, Southeast Asia, Carlsberg Group Felicia Teh’s career in HR can certainly be considered the epitome of “fast trajectory” – she was barely 30 years old when she was promoted to the role of HR director at AstraZeneca Malaysia and Singapore. “A lot of times, people have to leave to progress in their career,” she notes. “But in my last two organisations, I have been promoted internally, and it’s been great to be recognised in that way.”

She admits it hasn’t always been easy, however. “[The AstraZeneca role] was interesting, as I was juggling my MBA part-time as well – so I had to strike a balance between work and school – but it was very rewarding, ultimately.” After six years at the Based in pharmaceutical titan, Felicia moved over to Kuala Lumpur another big name, albeit HR Focus Areas this time in the food and beverage industry – Organisation Development, Talent Development Carlsberg. There, she started Favourite aspect of HR out as the HR Director “Making a difference in people’s for Malaysia, where the growth in the company – company is listed on the seeing them develop and reach local stock exchange. But their full potential.” within two years, her portfolio was expanded Career-defining moments to also include the rest of “Being made HR Director Southeast Asia. by my previous company, a “It’s a challenge pharmaceutical multi-national, because the scope is at the age of 31 – an affirmation so diverse,” she says. that I was being recognised for After all, the developing my performance and potential, market of Myanmar is and not by the number of years an entirely different under my belt!” environment to Malaysia, where the business is more established, or even to Singapore, which is smaller. “My strategic priority is to build a high-performing culture across markets — to make sure that everyone has the right mindset to win, and that regardless of market, they are fit for purpose and fit for the future,” she says. In the long run, Teh is keen on contributing to the development of thought leadership in the HR sector, but what’s driving her right now is business transformation: “Because I still have consulting very much in my DNA,” – she started out as a consultant at PwC – “I always feel the need to solve problems and add value. But that’s what will continue to excite me in years to come.”

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F E AT U R E

WAT C H L I S T 2 0 1 8

JASPREET KAKAR Chief HR Officer, AXA Philippines

Since graduating with an MBA in HR in 2003, Jaspreet Kakar has developed an impressive cadre of workforce management experience around the world. He has made the insurance industry his home for the better part of 15 years, beginning with a long stint at Prudential in India, where Kakar was earmarked for the company’s global leadership programme. That opportunity sent him to the global headquarters in the UK, where he deep-dove into performance management, talent management, and culture change across different markets. The multi-market work did not stop there. In 2013 – following turns in performance management and business partnership – Kakar headed over to Hong Kong to oversee talent management for AXA across Asia. There, he successfully led efforts to establish a standard methodology of identifying and training highpotentials across seven Asian markets. In 2016, he landed in Manila to embark on what

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he describes as the most challenging and fulfilling role of his career so far – that of Chief HR Officer at AXA Philippines. “AXA has been growing rapidly, and we have had to build a strong HR infrastructure to support all aspects of this rapid growth: how we hire people, how we on-board people, how we train them, and how we manage the evolution of the company culture,” he notes. It’s no easy mandate, but that’s exactly what keeps Kakar going. “I’ve sought out challenging assignments throughout my career,” he says. Based in In the future, he says Manila he might like to serve a short stint in a business HR Focus Areas role, to expand his Transformation and Change horizons and insights. Management But for the moment, Kakar is excited about Favourite aspect of HR the ongoing task ahead “The opportunity to unleash of him and his HR team. human potential” As he explains: Career-defining moments “Seeing our impact on the business day-to-day “Getting drafted into a global has kept me excited leadership development program in 2007 and accepting to show up every morning.” my current role in 2016.”

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MONICA OUDANG Chief People Officer, Go-Jek

Technically, Monica Oudang is still in her first formal HR practitioner role – but considering the role in question is Chief HR Officer at Go-Jek, it’s safe to say that she is no novice. The billion-dollar Indonesian unicorn has become one of the region’s hottest names in tech, and has seen its workforce grow from less than 100 in early 2015 – when Oudang formally joined the company – to almost 5,000 today.

Oudang brings a diverse slate of business experience to her work as head of people for Indonesia’s hottest start-up. She began her career in investment banking, spending just under three years as a fund analyst, before shifting verticals into marketing. Based in A stint at Indonesia’s Global TV followed, Jakarta where Oudang oversaw HR Focus Areas marketing and communications – but Culture and People Analytics the work required travel, Favourite aspect of HR something that became trickier to manage after “I love that we deal with people and that they pose different Oudang got married. challenges every day that not She decided then that only require great empathy, but she would establish also great understanding of the something on her own science of behaviour.” terms, something that Career-defining moments played upon her interests in working with people: a “Transitioning from being a recruitment firm. banker to a marketer, and [then] Her firm, Staff Search, realising that my true passion started out serving lies in helping other people mostly medium-sized discover their true potential [in business. But as the HR].” company grew, so did the client base – and that was how she met Nadiem Makarim, now Go-Jek’s co-founder and CEO. The rest, one could say, is history. But Oudang isn’t concerned with history, not with Go-Jek continuing on a rocket-fuelled trajectory towards regional dominance. As she sees it, HR has a crucial part to play as the bridge between leadership and the rest of the organisation. “My team has to have that in-depth understanding of what is actually going on in the organisation – to understand the financials, the business context, the data – and to be able to strategically partner with leadership to create solutions. Rather than just ‘copying-and-pasting’ from what worked before,” she explains. “It’s about transforming mindsets, and starting to think about things from a different perspective.”

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F E AT U R E

WAT C H L I S T 2 0 1 8

NAVEEN CHHABRA

Vice President and Regional Head of HR, Southeast Asia, Olam International Based in: Ho Chi Minh City

DIANNE GOETTE

Regional Director – Talent Acquisition, Ogilvy Based in: Jakarta

An engineer by training, Dianne Goette brings a slightly different perspective to HR: numbers, logic, and systems are all second nature to her. Indeed, compensation and benefits, as well as HR systems, was the portfolio that launched her HR career at ON Semiconductor Philippines. She soon expanded her horizons into recruitment, and the transition brought her into new, challenging territory. “That was different from what I was used to – it shifted from the logic base of systems and numbers, to something more psychological,” she explains. These days, in her current role overseeing talent acquisition in the AsiaPacific region for advertising and PR giant Ogilvy, she finds that human element to be more important than ever. “As a talent lead, I have the unique opportunity to guide leaders in thinking through different perspectives, recognising and appreciating emotions in the workplace, and ensuring each conversation results in positive action,” she notes.

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Naveen Chhabra started out his career in the technology hub of Bangalore in India. Armed with an engineering degree, he began working life as a software engineer with a development company in the year 2000. After a series of functional roles in companies such as Accenture and Microsoft, and an MBA programme with a HR focus, he joined Olam International as Head of HR for its global technology division at the end of 2010. That led to him heading up HR across Southeast Asia from Olam’s base in Vietnam in 2013. With 7,000 employees across 45 locations in six countries, Chhabra oversees an incredibly diverse workforce. “There are very diverse skillsets, with some highly-niche specialists and also a significant blue-collar workforce,” Chhabra said. Chhabra is also responsible for aligning the HR strategy to the business objectives, building and strengthening the system and processes on employee engagement, and culture-building.

CLAYTON TAN

HR Director – Southeast Asia, Vinda Group SEA Based in: Kuala Lumpur

Technology is the next big thing in HR, and any leader who can bring tech savvy to the job has considerable leverage over their peers. Clayton Tan, currently the HR Director for Southeast Asia at Vinda Group SEA, is no doubt one of them. In addition to 10 years of direct experience as a HR leader, Tan has founded his own successful HR tech start-up, WorkExcite PLT. He also served a stint at IBM Global Business Services, hopping between Brunei, Singapore, India, and China, to consult for multinational companies on transformation and change management projects. “To really make an impact to organisations, it’s not just about people learning, but how the organisation develops and evolves as a whole,” he notes. These days, he’s looking to create a unique employer value proposition blending Eastern versus Western approaches to HR. “Interestingly, blending the two has actually been great for innovation and growth in today’s environment,” says Tan.

CHEN FONG TUAN Chief People Officer, Mah Sing Group Berhad

Based in: Kuala Lumpur

For Chen Fong Tuan, the current Head of People at Malaysian property developer Mah Sing Group Berhad, life was thrown into sharp focus when he realised that “tinkering with transformers and capacitors” as an engineer was not his calling – rather, he wanted to help shape careers and nurture leaders. “Seeing how people I have mentored [in my HR career] have progressed in their careers and gone on to bigger jobs – sometimes bigger than mine – has kept me going,” he says. Chen himself is no slouch. Looking over his résumé, one is struck by the diversity of roles he has taken over the years, at a range of organisations. They include stints overseeing talent practice at Willis Tower Watson, regional organisational development at British American Tobacco, and rewards and performance at Maybank. So, what’s next? “CEO?” he says with a laugh. “A CHRO would make a different kind of CEO. After all, every single part of the business needs people.”

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VANESSA MERCADO-MANINGAS

MONIR AZZOUZI

Based in: Manila

Based in: Kuala Lumpur

HR Director, Teledirect Telecommerce Philippines

Head of Employee Experience & HR Business Partner, Maxis

Just half-a-year after joining Teledirect Telecommerce Philippines as Talent Acquisition Director, Vanessa Mercado-Maningas was elevated to the role of HR director for the entire market. She now leads a team of 45 HR staff, focusing specifically on talent acquisition, payroll, employee relations, and compensation and benefits. “The move into a broader role was especially exciting because the industry is booming here in the Philippines,” she says. “From 600 employees when I first joined in March 2017, we’ve now grown to 1,800 – and that’s only going to continue.” With such intense levels of growth, Mercado-Maningas is very much cognisant of the fact that talent retention becomes even more important. “Attrition can be high in this industry – 60% to 80% annually,” she admits. “We ended 2016 at 59% attrition, but last year, that figure was 50%.” She attributes that strong improvement to a very employee-centric strategy. Indeed, her HR team’s tagline is “people matters: because people matter”.

EVANGELINE CHUA

Chief People Officer, Government Technology Agency of Singapore Based in: Singapore

Evangeline Chua is the Chief People Officer of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore, but her academic background is in much more of the “human” space than her current role might suggest. Having majored in social work at university, she is very much interested in ensuring employees are not treated as nameless assets. “Employees are not digits. We have to treat them more as individuals with their own strengths and capabilities. The relationship between the company and employees is more than merely transactional,” she says. With an impressive résumé that includes international, regional, and country-level HR leadership stints at organisations including Citi Singapore and Temasek International, no one could fault Evangeline for taking a break. But that’s not on the cards. “Every role I take on, I look for challenges, and for something new to learn,” she says. “One should never stop learning, no matter your position.”

RUDY AFANDI

HR Director, General Electric Indonesia Based in: Jakarta

Rudy Afandi has developed a respectable body of HR work that has taken him all around the business, and the region. He started out in Unilever, where he served stints in as a HR business partner in the company’s personal care unit in India, as well as customer development in Indonesia. These bookended a short project in Saudi Arabia, where Afandi was a change management consultant. In his current role as HR director for General Electric in Indonesia, which he embarked upon three years ago, Afandi has two key priorities: talent attraction, and retention. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in Indonesia due to a large amount of investment that’s coming in. Unfortunately, talent capabilities haven’t been able to keep up with that growth.” His goal in that regard – and in general, as a HR leader – is fairly straightforward. “I want to continue to help leaders become more passionate and inspiring coaches for their teams and the rest of the organisation.”

Organisational and digital culture is a highly-tangible commodity for Monir Azzouzi, Head of Employee Experience and HR Business Partner with Maxis. Whether through qualitative data, such as the telecom’s regular employee engagement surveys, or anecdotal evidence, Azzouzi is able to see the trends, the changes, and the potential roadblocks to that ideal workforce environment up close and in real time. “I see my role as critical to making HR relevant in the ‘VUCA’ world, and we have been able to drive change through the vehicle of Employee Experience,” he says. Native to Denmark, but at home in Malaysia since 2008, Azzouzi has experience across both large multinationals and much smaller businesses. His stint with Maxis marks his first official HR role – although his previous work did prioritise people management and culture – and he’s taking the opportunity to accumulate as much functional knowledge as he can. He joined as Head of Performance and Development in 2014, and last year laterally shifted to be the company’s Head of Employee Experience and HR Business Partner.

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F E AT U R E

WAT C H L I S T 2 0 1 8

TONY TAN

NORAZLINA IDRIS

JAHJA SOENARTA

Based in: Yangon

Based in: Bandar Seri Begawan

Based in: Jakarta

Group Chief HR Officer, Jewellery Luck Group of Companies As the Group Chief HR Officer of the Jewellery Luck Group, Tan is spearheading an ambitious four-year strategy to completely transform the business – one which includes restructuring, automation for scalability, and commercialisation of in-house services. This latest role, which he took on in May this year, follows HR leadership stints at Munich Re, Willis, Aviva, and Prudential. “I recognised how much impact I could make to the workforce of about 15,000 in a local conglomerate that is seeking to improve,” he explains. “I saw the chance to help improve the lives of many colleagues and their families by helping the businesses become more successful financially and also to groom leaders who will take care of their staff and help make the company a great place to work.” He is also looking to set up a nongovernment organisation during his time in Myanmar, to support the local community.

Head of HR and Development, Total E&P Borneo BV

“Succeeding in HR takes a particular set of skills,” notes Norazlina Idris. “You need to have empathy, and to be able to listen to people.” Upon graduating from university, she joined Brunei Shell Petroleum, where she was actively involved in developing localalised HR policies, and laying down a strong company culture. After some seven years there, she headed over to Total Borneo BV in 2012, where she’s making her mark as the head of HR and development. Her focus at the moment is on maintaining the tricky balance between employee aspirations and company needs – but in the future, she hopes to continue accruing experience across the various HR functions, and to perhaps even look into becoming a specialist. Ultimately, she says, it’s all about coming back to her main motivation and purpose in HR – to help people develop grow into their careers, and in so doing, help the organisation soar to greater heights as well.

MINN YAN AUNG NAING SOE Head of HR, International SOS Myanmar Based in: Yangon

Minn Yan Aung Naing Soe has packed a lot into his 13year career within HR, in a market where the definition and demands of people management are both fastevolving. He has been with International SOS for just over a year, and is responsible for all aspects of HR across the organisation’s Myanmar operations. With a strong emphasis on high-wage medical professionals

Vice-President – HR, Lippo Karawaci

As the Vice President for HR at Lippo Karawaci, a listed property, hospitality, and leisure company under the Lippo Group – and one of Indonesia’s largest property developers – Jahja Soenarta is responsible for some 10,000 employees across multiple business units. In the last two years, transformation – digital and otherwise – has taken up much of Soenarta’s focus. “When we talk about the transformation journey, it means change in every aspect of business: redefining our mission and value together, and shifting mindsets,” he says. Initially a finance man, Soenarta was encouraged by a previous boss to give HR a try. He has risen through the ranks over the years in a range of regional and operational roles, but what has kept him hooked is the satisfaction that comes from helping people grow and develop into their talents. “I love seeing and helping employees grow from blank slates to even director level,” he says. “That satisfaction can’t be described.”

(75% of the organisation’s Myanmar headcount are doctors), ensuring effective recruitment, retention, and engagement procedures is paramount. “Probably my biggest challenge at the moment is developing the employee engagement programme from nothing,” Minn says. While there is still more to do at International SOS, Minn has an eye on an HR consulting career in the future. “This might be in between five and eight years’ time,” he says. “Right at the moment, I have to try to develop my current organisation to have an even stronger HR department.”

The HRM Asia Watch List for 2018 was brought to you by Armstrong Craven. Armstrong Craven is a talent mapping, pipelining and insight specialist employing over 70 people in the UK, US, Switzerland, and Singapore. Founded almost 30 years ago, the firm carries out in excess of 500 projects a year, the majority of them cross-border. In total, its projects cover more than 120 different countries in any given year. Key focus sectors are Healthcare and Life Sciences, Financial Services, Technology, Consumer, Industrial, and Professional Services.

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F E AT U R E

H R F E S T I VA L A S I A

Get ready for lift-off

HR Festival Asia, coming to Singapore in May, 2019, is set to redefine HR thought leadership in a technologydriven world of volatility and disruption. Don’t miss out on this game-changing conference and exposition – the biggest in Asia to focus on HR and technology

Region’s biggest HR expo

Don’t miss the largest collection of HR-focused service providers to be assembled under one roof in Asia next year. The more than 3,000m2 hall – with more than 100 different booths and exhibitors – is complemented by private meeting spaces, demonstration rooms, and the exciting Power Talk stage, with short, sharp presentations that will hit home with all delegates.

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W

ithout a doubt, the game

has changed. Volatility, disruption, new players, and new customer demands have affected almost every industry and market sector over the last five years. Business functions have also been forced into transformation – and it is currently HR teams that are being faced with this dilemma. The question is not whether to transform or not; the challenge is in defining the “how” and “why” of change, and then plotting a way forward. HR Festival Asia aims to help HR leaders throughout the Asia-Pacific region tackle this and other high-level workforce strategy issues arising from the complex

new business environment. The event is brought to you by two of the world’s leading events: HR Technology Conference & Exposition (US) and HR Summit (Asia). To be held in Singapore from May 8 to 10, it will be the region’s largest gathering for the HR and Tech industries. With six different targeted conference streams featuring the likes of Josh Bersin, Jason Averbook, and John Sumser; a comprehensive expo hall filled with the latest products and services to help HR through its transformation, and a wide range of related events and demonstrations, HR Festival Asia promises to inspire, inform, and challenge the profession at every turn.

THE MUST-SEE SPEAKERS WITH THE JOINT reputational backing of both HR Technology Conference & Exposition (US) and HR Summit Asia, the team at HR Festival Asia has scoured the globe to bring the best of HR thought leadership and research-driven insights to Asia. Industry analyst and founder of Bersin by Deloitte Josh Bersin will deliver the closing keynote to the Festival, drawing on data gathered from throughout Asia and the world to explain how the workforce is changing and the ways employers need to evolve. HR Futurist Jason Averbook will also be on the plenary stage, sharing his insights on the changing world of work. And HR Technology expert John Sumser will delve deep into the ways automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence are making life for HR easier. They are just three of the more than 110 speakers who will be part of HR Festival Asia’s six separate stages over May 8 and 9 in 2019.

Pitching to be the next big thing

Staged in the bustling Expo hall, the HR Festival Asia PitchFest will give representatives from 30 start-up and emerging companies the unique chance to pitch their innovative and disruptive solutions before a multidisciplinary panel of practitioners, business leaders, investors, and HR Festival Asia delegates. OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

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F E AT U R E

H R F E S T I VA L A S I A

INTRODUCING THE HR FEST AWARDS

THE INAUGURAL HR Festival Asia will also play host to the first-ever HR Fest Awards in 2019. These are designed to celebrate the best of the best in Asia, with nominations for the five exclusive categories open from across the HR and business communities of Southeast Asia. Nominations are now being sought for each of the two individual categories (Best C-Suite Leader and Best HR Leader) and three organisation or HR team prizes (Best HR Transformation, Best Use of HR Technology, and Best Innovation in HR). The awards will be presented on the plenary stage during the opening day of the Festival. For more information, and to nominate, visit hrfestawards.com.

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Something for everyone

HR Festival Asia offers six conference streams for HR and business leaders to attend, with packages that allow to mix and match the best of every stage. The streams are:

1

HR FESTIVAL ASIA AIMS TO HELP HR LEADERS THROUGHOUT THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION TACKLE THIS AND OTHER HIGH-LEVEL WORKFORCE STRATEGY ISSUES ARISING FROM THE COMPLEX NEW BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT HR Festival Asia is set to host over 5,000 HR and HR Technology decision makers. They will hear from some of the world’s most prominent speakers, thought leaders, and visionaries in the workforce management space, as well as leading service providers from around the world.

HR tech up close

CXO SYMPOSIUM

Exclusively curated for C-level executives, this stream connects senior business and management professionals with leading industry experts and thought-leaders

4 TALENT MANAGEMENT

AND DEVELOPMENT

Gain concrete insights on how to effectively and continuously reinvent business strategies to keep workforces agile, engaged, and productive

2

HR AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Organisations are increasingly investing in tech to empower their workforces and drive productivity

5

RECRUIT AND ENGAGE

Covering practical tactics to keep organisations ahead of their competition in the ongoing and expanding war for talent

As this special feature highlights, they also be able to explore the more than 3,000m2 expo hall, featuring more than 150 different service providers, participate in

One of the most important stages for the HR Festival Asia conference is situated right in the Expo Hall. Surrounded by the latest HR technology products and services, the HR Technology Conference Stream will reveal essential updates on how organisations can further leverage the cloud, design thinking, the digitisation of work, and the role that artificial intelligence can play in delivering value to your workforce.

3

Expert presenters will divulge how organisations can redesign their existing business models to increase mobility, responsiveness, and agility within their workforces

6

HR TECHNOLOGY

Incorporating the award-winning Women in HR Technology conference, this stream will empower delegates with the expert practical insights required to enable smarter workplaces with technology integration

live demonstrations of the latest technology applications, and celebrate the best and brightest of the profession through the HR Fest Awards. With invaluable takeaways from every speaker, demonstration, and panel discussion, HR Festival Asia is a once-a-year opportunity to learn from, and network with, HR innovators, understand the megatrends and current shifts in the industry, and take a sneak peek into the future of work. Be part of the excitement! Register now at www.hrfestivalasia.com.

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SMART WORKFORCE AND INNOVATION

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Sieme ns Tr ans ormatio n: Sieme ns HR HR Tr ansff ormatio n: An Agile Ope r ati ng Model t e An Agile Ope rati ng Model too Ma Mat tch ch th th e Evolvi ng Busi n es s Land s cape Evolvi ng Busi ness Land scape MMIKE BOKIN AA IKE BOKIN

Vice VicePresident President&&Global GlobalHead, Head,HR HROrganisational Organisational Effectiveness Effectiveness Siemens Siemens

With an Withnearly nearly350,000 350,000global global employees employees and and an HR HRfunction functionnearing nearing6,000 6,000 people, people, Siemens Siemens HR HRTransformation Transformationisn’t isn’t happening happening overnight.

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www.hrfestivalasia.com www.hrfestivalasia.com 26-27 HR FEST DPS AD_OCT-NOV 2018.indd 26

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REGISTER NOW NOW REGISTER 31/10/2018 6:50:35 PM


Asia Asia 2018

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F E AT U R E

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

POWERED BY

Has HR drifted off course?

MARTHA FINNEY, US-based HR author and consultant, says many HR business units are suffering under the weight of expectations from both the business and employees. It’s time to take stock, and recognise the initiatives that are truly important to the business

H

ow’s about a rousing game of “Let’s Bang Our Heads Against the Wall One More Time”? In the three decades that I have been writing about HR – the practice, the career and the fabulous people doing the work – the complaint never changes: “We’re just not getting the respect we deserve, and need to achieve full potential in the people side of the business.” The complaint continues, with varying degrees of intensity, from whispering to wailing. In the meantime, companies will pay top dollar for their new Chief HR Officer, but that person is likely to be sourced from another business function. Or, even if they do stay true to the HR school, they will seek out the new chief from outside; bypassing any internal, custom-groomed HR leader who might have their eye on that promotion. That just has to hurt. And so the complaint continues, year after year. And the HR finger is always pointed outward: “out there”, somewhere, where it’s someone else’s fault. Or maybe “that’s just the way it is.” And, to some extent, that would be true. But. Talk to senior HR leaders who have walked the length of their career – or who have achieved the top spot – and they will offer a different perspective. To some degree, HR professionals get in their own way. Not in all ways, all the time, of course. But why not remove the obstacles that are within your control?

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What’s the point of HR? I often ask HR professionals to give me the mission statement of their function: “Why does it exist? Why does the company fund the function? What does the company expect in terms of absolute results? What do you produce?” I haven’t found one who can articulate the answer. I usually get HR gobbledygook about culture, inclusion, and a workforce that feels safe. Ask someone who runs a supply chain the same question, and the answer is clear: “My job is to move parts and finished product through the pipeline with the greatest degree of efficiency, at the lowest cost.” It’s the same with HR: It’s the business of human capital supply chain. If you don’t have a supply chain of talent that is powerful, sustainable, and does the job it’s intended to do, then you don’t have an effective enterprise. As a nation, we in the US are getting used to the idea of a transient workforce – talent that moves on every 18 to 24 months. In Silicon Valley, it’s a never-ending game of musical chairs.

A lot of intellectual property goes out the door when an employee walks. No supply-chain professional in the world would want their finished product to run off and jump into a competitor’s line, or allow the parts that went into making the product to just fall out of the system. Their job is to keep the supply chain intact. That should be HR’s job, too. But instead, we’re finding ways to accommodate this trend of our product falling out of the system.

Much more than a seat You hear people still complaining about not having a “seat at the table”. What they don’t understand is that, in fact, they own the table. That table everyone is sitting around is the talent of the company. Every company has roughly six asset classes: physical, inventory, financial, intellectual property, brand equity, and people. What’s powerful to remember here is that the people one is the asset that creates all the other assets. It’s the primordial asset.

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

HR professionals would do themselves a favour by taking mentoring only from leaders who really see and respect HR for what it can do for the enterprise through the stewardship of this primordial asset. Granted, there are many guidelines and rules that HR needs to have in place inside the company. But if you’re not careful, you become that person everyone comes to with every little problem. So then, not only are you wrapped up in prevention, you’re also not enabling people to take care of things themselves. Grown adults can handle whatever is bothering them on their own.

Trust in the intentions At WillowTree, we always say, “assume positive intent”. That solves a lot of problems right there. If you get bogged down with just being the problem solver, you miss out on the time that you could be making a positive impact of building people up and creating a culture that lets people be their best. You should make expectations clear, but then give people the benefit of the doubt. This stance creates its own reward in the culture because then people start to understand that “no one is telling me what to do. I’m expected to behave in a good,

positive, respectful manner.” That becomes the culture rather than this thing that you’re constantly under pressure to enforce by creating more and more rules.

This exclusive guest contribution is brought to you by SIM Professional Development (SIM PD). SIM PD comprehensive range of executive programmes provide wide learning pathways and career development courses for PMEs (Professionals, Managers and Executives) to sharpen their business and management skills. SIM PD also offers customised programmes for unique corporate needs. With a wealth of experience in the industry, it is able to tailor training programmes that will fulfil your business needs and training return-on-investment. Find out more at : pd.sim.edu.sg

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You benefit professionally, too. You get a better professional brand yourself. If your résumé is filled with preventative actions, you don’t have much of a story to tell future recruiters and prospective employers. Anyone can create and install a bunch of rules. But it takes a completely different skill set to build people up and create positive processes that create a company where people enjoy working. Give your people the opportunity for professional growth. Develop leadership plans. Find ways of increasing diversity and inclusion. Those are the elements that make a company better. Those are also the experiences that recruiters will be asking you about. If you’re not sure where you are in term of preventative versus possibility thinking, review the last three years of your career and ask yourself: What have I done to make the company better? Or have I only been about making the company safer? There’s this constant drive throughout the organisation to create bureaucracy where it’s not needed – especially in HR. There are so many demands on HR that take our attention and limited resources away from our core critical priorities. HR leaders must prioritise and stay focused on the bottom line. And we have to do it with the same rigour and efficiency that one would expect from any other business function.

do other things. The same goes for the HR function. For instance, the conversation today is increasingly around culture and its implications for the organisation’s health and success. HR is, and always will be, the steward of the organisation’s culture and partnership with the CEO. That’s the way it should be. But it’s not our overarching, most important mandate. I can’t think of any request that ever hit my desk that I didn’t think was important. But we can’t do them all. We must be able to say ‘no’ to things we want to do when they aren’t the most important. But in order to say ‘no’, we have to have a business-focused rationale. We have to keep it simple so that we can clearly recognise those initiatives that truly do serve the organisational priorities. We have to keep our focus on those critical things that just won’t happen if we don’t pay attention to them. What are they? And in what order of importance? We have to exert the discipline of a business rationale so that we can do a few things well, instead of many things not so well. Keep it simple.

About the Author MARTHA FINNEY is a lifelong HR career trends watcher and best-selling author or co-author of 26 books on HR career management, leadership and employee engagement. This article was part of her Advice from the Top column, first published by HR Executive magazine in the US.

Keeping priorities in order There’s this tendency to believe that human capital is limitless. But that’s not the case. When we ask a manager to take on tasks, we’re taking away productive time to

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F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

HAZEL GOH

Manager, Human Resources, Southeast Asia

JANE THAM

Director, Human Resources, Southeast Asia

HOW TO HELP PEOPLE “INVENT FOR LIFE” Using technology to impact society is seen as a team effort at Bosch – where each and every employee brings value, and is in turn brought along for the company’s transformation journey B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

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GWEN KEE

Manager, Human Resources, Southeast Asia

SHANNEN LIM Senior Manager, Human Resources

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I

t’s very possible you have a Bosch drill or washing machine in your home, but even if you don’t, the company is likely present in your life in other ways. For one thing, it doesn’t just make appliances – it also contains an engineering firm that supplies hydraulic drives to London’s iconic Tower Bridge, among other famous landmarks. “That’s the interesting thing about working at Bosch,” says Jane Tham, HR Director for Bosch Southeast Asia. “Most of our products are probably around you somewhere. Our slogan is ‘invented for life’, and that means using our technology to impact society.” In Southeast Asia alone, the company has had a long and storied history of doing just that, having first opened shop in Indonesia in 1919. But in this digital day and age, ‘technology’ takes on an additional connotation. “We are, like many other organisations, transforming. But for Bosch specifically, our biggest shift has been our move into becoming an Internet-of-Things company – providing connected solutions for the current trend towards smart cities,” says Tham. “So that has also influenced our branding, our image, the kind of work we do, and the kind of talent we need.” The quick and obvious solution is to hire people to plug the new capability gaps that are popping up. And Bosch is certainly taking that route. But the company is also very much focused on reskilling large parts of its existing workforce. “There are companies out there that people describe as ‘hire and fire’, but that isn’t us. We make sure we prepare our people well enough to be able to progress along with us – because their knowledge is so valuable, whether it’s knowledge about the products or about our customers. It is critical to retain that knowledge,” says Tham. “As jobs get fluid and change every other day, HR now has to go into working with the business to redesign job scopes and team structures. We need to be prepared to match the strength of an individual, and account for their limits – especially if that individual has the right mindset towards change overall.” Because, after all, change is the only constant in this era of disruption, and the most useful tool a person can have in gearing up for the future is an agile and responsive state of mind. As Tham says, “We want our people in Southeast Asia to become comfortable with change.”

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Evolving beyond processes and transactions Even as employees are expected to be more agile, Tham is mindful that the company itself must be pliant and open-minded in its workforce approach.

“We have a very flexible working arrangement that’s gotten very strong over the years, and people now see it as a very good selling point for Bosch that they can go on sabbatical for a year, or have long-term work-from-home arrangements,” says Tham. “Not everything has to be based on process; HR has to go beyond transactions. To me, everything can be flexible. That’s also how our HR team has progressed. We try to be flexible, but compliant, in meeting employee needs.” Bosch is also taking this flexible approach to employee contracts. “People are increasingly wanting to go and work freelance, rather than full-time, so we now have to manage this ‘gig economy’ as well, just so we can still access that talent,” says Tham. The matrix organisation also comes into play. Bosch has long-functioned this way, but it’s now time for the next step. “We’re actually breaking down the entire hierarchy. We are still a matrix, but now we’ve got a business unit – our power tools unit – which doesn’t have any reporting levels. They have transformed to

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have working groups that break and form as necessary. If a project doesn’t work, they dissolve, and move on to other things. That’s more difficult to do when you have a fixed structure,” explains Tham. “Of course, at the very highest level, there is still someone overseeing the whole business. But otherwise, everyone has an equal part to play.” It’s all part of an overall workforce strategy that looks to prioritise employee engagement with a view towards long-term retention – of which development forms another vital prong. “Development is one of the pain points that managers often come to me about: ‘How do we develop this person that we really want to retain? What can we offer them? What kind of roadmap can we help them build’,” Tham says. Along these lines, Bosch Southeast Asia’s HR team pioneered a coaching programme in 2015, where stakeholders are trained and

“HR now has to go into working with the business to redesign job scopes and team structures. We need to be prepared to match the strength of an individual, and account for their limits” – JANE THAM,

HR DIRECTOR, BOSCH SOUTHEAST ASIA

IMPACTING SOCIETY WITH TECHNOLOGY

GOOGLE HOME and smart doorbells are just scratching the surface of the possibilities that exist with the Internet of Things. Even as Bosch looks to evolve into a company that doesn’t just provide solutions for life, but “connected solutions for life”, it’s actively bringing the next – and current – generation of talent along for the ride. In Singapore, the firm has partnered with Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to launch two innovation labs located within the tertiary institution’s

campus. The S$800,000 labs, with a combined area of almost 260 square metres, are equipped with hightech Bosch equipment and technologies. The collaboration also extends into the realm of lifelong learning. Bosch is working with SP to develop short courses and advanced diplomas for industry professionals to enhance their understanding of advanced manufacturing

certified to provide an additional level of advisory support to their colleagues. “That has actually helped greatly with retention, because through the coaching, employees have started to realise that a meaningful career is about more than just promotions,” says Tham. “Coaching does

technologies and processes using the new facilities. About 400 industry professionals have been trained in smart city technologies and digital transformation so far, and it is expected that an estimated 1,000 industry professionals will be trained in advanced manufacturing by the end of next year. “As we lend our expertise to budding talent, we hope that it will enable them to shape the future with new innovations that are truly ‘Invented for Life’ and in turn, accelerate Singapore’s digital journey towards a Smart Nation,” says Martin Hayes, President, Bosch Southeast Asia.

help change mindsets.” In tandem, the HR team has also actively nurtured a strong feedback culture within the business. “People are given the space now to change and improve constantly – it doesn’t all hinge on a once-a-year performance

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review process,” explains Tham. “When we first started, people were very shy with the feedback, but as they realised that they could trust in the process – that feedback does have consequences, and is making tangible impact – they started warming up,” she says.

A long-term investment in talent Bosch’s talent development focus is one of its strengths – but it can also cause the engineering and appliances company to become a victim of its own success. “Our competitors often try to poach our people, because we’ve been able to work with them and help them realise their potential. So our competitors can just bring them in and have a ‘plug-and-play’ situation because our employees would just be able to hit the ground running,” says Tham. A person would be well within their rights to shift over for that US$50 per month extra in Vietnam, of course, but Bosch continuously looks at the small pressure points that can strike an emotional chord, and contribute to talent retention in that way.

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AT A GLANCE Number Of Employees (Southeast Asia)

9,000+ Key HR Focus Areas Digital transformation Development Mobility

Size of HR Team

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Nonetheless, it is inevitable that in a disruptive process such as transformation, there will be casualties. “Logically, from a business standpoint, it’s about becoming more efficient, and providing more value. Unfortunately, that sometimes means people will not be needed, and will thus have to be dropped from the

overall game plan. It’s not all rosy stories, unfortunately – that’s just the reality of any business,” Tham admits. “But one thing I’ll say about Bosch is that even in such situations, our family-oriented, family-owned values really come through,” she adds. “Myself, I actually come from the oil and gas industry, where people were just bumped up and down along with how the business went travelled. Everything was about productivity. “But Bosch is actually the longest I’ve stayed at any organisation, and I have seen for myself that they truly value their people. As long as you’re willing to get along with the change, they will find a use for you. There is great amount of empathy.” Indeed, this philosophy has led the company to persist even in loss-making markets. “The books may not look very good, but it’s all about the long-term investment in our talent, and the business,” Tham says. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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Join the Only and Biggest Showcase of HR Tech Solutions and General HR Services in Asia The ongoing advance toward full digitalisation has disrupted all industries and business functions over the past few years. In 2019, the HR conference scene will have its turn. HR Festival Asia will bring together more than 5,000 HR and technology decision makers over three days in Singapore. This one-stop platform will put you in front of 150+ leading HR tech solutions and general HR services from across the full spectrum of workforce management. • • • • •

Discover the latest gathering of technologies, trends and innovations in Asia this season - all in one place Interact with speakers and industry peers to widen your network Join the two day HR Tech conference, located in the heart of the Expo, included in your Expo entrance ticket Get bite-size learning from over 20 HR experts at the Expo Power Talks stage Experience live demos and new product launches to ensure you are up to date with the latest industry developments

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A Relaxing Home Amidst City Living Discover a restful, roomy living solution inspired by nature and with all the comforts of home at Winsland Serviced Suites by Lanson Place. Explore an abundance of exciting shopping, dining, and entertainment options that await you on Orchard Road, or discover the rest of the city with nearby Somerset MRT Station. This is ideal accommodation in Singapore, one of Asia’s most livable cities. 167 Penang Road Singapore 238462 enquiry.wssg@lansonplace.com winsland.lansonplace.com

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AHEAD OF THE GAME Serviced apartment providers in the AsiaPacific region are continuing to expand their horizons, despite stiff competition from new hotel developments and user-generated brands such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing B Y S U M AT H I S E LVA R E T N A M

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The Asia-Pacific is the largest business travel region in the world, accounting for 38% of global business travel. It is expected to dominate business travel spending over a rate of 80% till 2026. With a market poised for continued growth, opportunities are ripe for serviced apartment providers in the region. One key market is Singapore, which was ranked as the top city for expatriates by the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2018. In line with this movement, The Ascott Limited (Ascott) is expanding strongly in Singapore and Southeast Asia, says Ervin Yeo, the company’s regional general manager for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. “In Singapore, we see significant opportunities, in line with continued national efforts to maintain a probusiness climate that is attractive to both multinationals as well as new economy players,” Yeo says. Ascott has six new properties in the pipeline in Singapore over the next three years, offering over 1,600 new units. Citadines Balestier Singapore, Citadines Rochor Singapore and lyf Funan Singapore are scheduled to open in 2019, with Citadines Raffles Place Singapore, lyf Farrer Park Singapore and lyf one-north Singapore to come shortly after. The growth of affluent middle-class travellers, particularly in Asia, presents immense opportunities for Ascott, says Yeo. “Global spending by the middle class is expected to increase to US$56 trillion by 2030,with Asia contributing more than 80% of this demand, and China and India making up the bulk of it,” he says. To expand its reach to middle-class travellers in Asia, Ascott has partnered with market leaders such as Tujia and Fliggy:

online accommodation booking platforms that already have an established database with these demographics. “Ascott has one of the largest serviced apartment listings on Fliggy, which has more than 200 million users. Our properties on Fliggy cover over 50 cities most popular amongst Chinese travellers, including Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Paris and London,” Yeo says. While the overall demand for serviced apartments continues to grow, companies are also getting more cost-conscious, and international assignments are getting shorter. Some of the cost-cutting measures being seen include companies opting for smaller apartments, observes Serenena Koo, Director of Sales, Winsland Serviced Suites by Lanson Place. “With our newly renovated suites, we managed to carve out more studio units to accommodate such requirements,” Koo explains. Lanson Place also views short stays as an opportunity to reach higher average room

rates. “We try to be competitive by offering value-adds for short stays –free laundry or breakfast for example,” says Koo.

A premium customer experience In 2018 alone, there were some nine new hotel openings in Singapore. How are serviced apartment providers keeping up with these new upstarts? “Brand recognition and trust, offering differentiated appeal and the ability to continuously anticipate healthy demands for all types of travellers will set the serviced residence industry apart from its competition and bridge the gap between hotels, which cater mainly to short stays and the traditional rental market,” says Yeo. In addition to the typical services and facilities available in hotels, residents at Ascott properties also benefit from more space, comfort and privacy, says Yeo. “With a fully-equipped kitchen where guests can easily whip up a meal, separate living, dining, and sleeping areas as well as modern amenities such as home entertainment system, broadband and wireless internet connectivity, our serviced residences provide guests the feeling of staying in a home, away from home,” Yeo explains. Life in a new city can take some getting used to. The Ascott Lifestyle programme helps residents navigate their new environment through insider city tours, local food excursions, and even customised jogging routes. Ascott staff members can help busy professionals to arrange secretarial services, courier pick-ups, and grocery shopping as well.

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MARKETPLACE - SERVICED APARTMENTS The Ascott Limited

The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It is one of the leading international serviced residence owner-operators with more than 500 properties in over 130 cities spanning more than 30 countries across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Its portfolio of brands includes Ascott, Citadines, Somerset, Quest, The Crest Collection and lyf. In Singapore, Ascott currently operates six serviced residences including Ascott Orchard, Ascott Raffles Place, Citadines Fusionopolis, Citadines Mount Sophia, Somerset Bencoolen, and Somerset Liang Court.

www.the-ascott.com

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Winsland Serviced Suites

Winsland Serviced Suites offers a relaxing, tranquil environment for travellers seeking short or long-term accommodation in the heart of Singapore. Inside, you’ll find newly-renovated, spacious suites with a modern look inspired by nature. Outside, an abundance of exciting shopping, dining, and entertainment options wait just a block away on Orchard Road, while the nearby Somerset MRT Station offers easy access to the rest of the city. For a relaxing home away from home for your staff, look no further than Winsland Serviced Suites.

www.lansonplace.com

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“We also see a growing trend of families choosing to stay in serviced apartments instead of booking multiple hotel rooms. This allows the family to stay together, while enjoying the privacy of individual bedrooms and family-friendly facilities like washer/ dryer and kitchen,” Yeo says. User-generated brands such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing are vying for a slice of this burgeoning pie. Airbnb for example is targeting the changing needs of business travellers and companies. The Airbnb for Work service offers accommodation options for business trips, company offsites as well as team building programmes. Launched in 2015, this service provides HR or travel managers with a dashboard that makes it easy to book and manage company trips on the platform. This tool also allows them to have a better overview of incurred costs, and track spending.

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However, it is worthy to note that shortterm rental apartments are illegal in some markets, including Singapore, Thailand, and Myanmar, even though online listings of such places continue to exist. Staying at a brand name serviced apartment provider could translate to greater accountability, higher service standards, cleanliness and quality control, say the industry players. “We seek to educate our clients that it is of utmost importance to book with reputable companies so that we can ensure that their stay is a seamless one. Should there be any issues pertaining to the apartment, they may approach us directly,” says Koo from Lanson Place. Yeo from Ascott agrees. “Competition in the form of Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and other platforms is inevitable, which is why serviced residence operators like

Ascott continue to emphasise our core competencies in providing vetted, safe and quality apartments to our guests, while continuing to evolve to match guests’ preferences.” “We have a dedicated team of Ascott Hosts who will take care of the needs of our extended-stay guests even before they arrive. Each extended-stay resident is assigned an Ascott Host who is available 24 hours a day throughout their stay,” he explains.

Smart solutions According to The Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report 2018/19, consumers are prioritising spending on factors such as easy access to city amenities and events, digital connectivity, and communal living spaces. Serviced apartment providers are offering innovative technologies and solutions to meet these demands. “We have

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SECTOR FOCUS

S E R V I C E D A PA R T M E N T S

adopted smart solutions and constantly seek to innovate to create seamless online and offline experiences for our guests and cater to travellers’ increasing need for connectivity,” says Yeo. In Singapore, guests of Ascott are provided with a pocket Wi-Fi device to enjoy wireless connectivity anytime, anywhere.

In Hong Kong, the company’s guests can enjoy smartphones equipped with unlimited mobile data, and free local and international direct dialing calls. Ascott’s Chinese properties go a step further. “Service butler robots in Ascott Raffles City Beijing and Ascott IFC Guangzhou can perform a suite of tasks,

such as leading guests to their rooms or other facilities on the properties, providing concierge services, refilling room supplies, and delivering packages. Other initiatives include the use of WeChat to allow guests to request invoices and staff to issue e-invoices instantly,” says Yeo. Ascott is also testing the use of artificial intelligence to learn guests’ temperature preferences over time, and pairing this with a smart thermostat device to control airconditioning settings and enhancing guest comfort. Communal living spaces are also gaining popularity among millennial travellers, who favour social interaction after work hours. Responding to this rising trend, Ascott’s new brand offering , called “lyf”, will feature co-living and co-working spaces that aim to connect like-minded travellers. Each lyf property will include communal spaces, which are co-working areas that can be easily transformed into zones for workshops or social gatherings. “Residents can also hangout at the ‘Wash & Hang’ laundromat and play a round of foosball while waiting for their laundry to be done. The ‘Bond’ social kitchen is where guests can prepare home-cooked meals, take cooking classes, and socialise while learning more about global cuisines from other guests,” shares Yeo. Ascott will also offer guest a superior digital experience by going paperless and cashless. “We are working on a mobile app which will enable check-ins, direct bookings, and participation in social activities at its upcoming lyf properties,” says Yeo.

MARKETPLACE - SERVICED APARTMENTS Far East Hospitality

Oakwood Asia-Pacific

Far East Hospitality Holdings is a premier hospitality assets owner and operator. It now has a combined portfolio of close to 14,000 rooms under management across 90 hotels and serviced residences in seven countries: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Far East Hospitality’s stable of 10 unique and complementary brands: Oasia, Quincy, Rendezvous, Village, Far East Collection, Adina Apartment Hotels, Medina Serviced Apartments, Travelodge Hotels, Vibe Hotels, and TFE Hotels Collection, present excellent opportunities for business travellers of every type.

Offering a range of almost 40 properties across 21 cities and 10 countries, Oakwood Asia-Pacific has a little something for everyone, whether you’re travelling alone, with a family, looking to stay downtown, or seeking out opulent luxury.Through its five brands in the region (Oakwood Premier, Oakwood Apartments, Oakwood Residence, Oakwood Studios, and Oakwood Suites), Oakwood aims to provide top-notch service based on allday-everyday customer care. Its properties are modern, leveraging on new trends and technologies – but all with the intent of providing a seamless experience that is engaging and comfortable.

www.stayfareast.com

www.oakwoodasia.com

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

At home with three generations at Orchard Parksuites

I

t’s fair to say that Sherman Chen Xinyu and his family are loving their expatriate life in Singapore. In the island state for the second long-term stint since 2015, they are thrilled with the ease of living and family-friendly activities available. It is a far cry from their home city of Shanghai, where traffic, pollution, and weather all weigh on the daily activities of the three generations of the Chen family. “This is the second, long-term stay in Singapore for us,” Sherman, who is a fund manager with a multinational, tells HRM Magazine Asia. “We first came in 2006 – just my wife (Anita) and I, and we spent about three years here.” We came

here again in August, 2015 and maybe we'll stay here for another several years – as we have just

received permanent resident status.” Sherman says the family’s serviced apartment accommodation has also played a key role in their long-term integration into Singapore. They – Sherman, Anita, their son, and his parents – have lived in a threebedroom apartment at Orchard Parksuites throughout this second tenure. Choosing the property was a simple decision, as Sherman and Anita had stayed at the residence for part of their first stint back in 2006 to 2009. “The last several months in that living space was quite wonderful,” Anita recalls. “We liked the apartments; we liked the staff; and the facilities and hospitality were very good.” Sherman is quick to agree, particularly when it comes to the working culture across the property’s long-term staff. “They are very professional and

SERVICED APARTMENT RESIDENT PROFILE Name: Sherman Chen Xinyu Employer: China-based multinational Industry: Financial Services Family size: 5 (Sherman; his wife, son, and two parents) Time in Singapore: 3.5 years Accommodation: 3-bedroom suite Property: Orchard Parksuites Operator: Far East Hospitality What do you most appreciate about your residence? “The friendly and helpful staff, the location, and the community”

PA R T N E R CO N T E N T

experienced service staff, which I love,” he says, noting that it is the “small things” that have added up over time to truly impress him and his family. “Every morning, they say hello, and every night, they open the door for you,” he says as an example. “Any problem we have, they deal with it very well. Once we report it to them, they can normally find a good solution for us – which is quite impressive I think.” Location was also an important consideration – particularly as this second stint has included their now eight-year-old son and Sherman’s parents in the family home. For Sherman, whose office is in the Marina Bay Financial District, the property is just a short train ride to work. While the family does have a private car, Sherman says he enjoys the ease of commuting via Singapore’s renowned public transport system. Son Joey attends school at a nearby international campus, and Anita appreciates the location for its close connection to friends and the school community. Sherman’s parents are also able to walk to most of their daily amenities, which is great for their independence, mobility, and health. Sherman does in fact have many options for accommodation in Singapore – his family own another apartment in the country. But he says that is purely an investment vehicle, and the family has no plans to move out of his current accommodation. “Generally speaking we like it here very much, so that's why this is the fourth year we will stay here,” he says.

Far East Hospitality Tel: +65 6428 8600 Email: reservations@fareast.com.sg Website: www.StayFarEast.com/ serviced-residences OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

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# N O F I LT E R

r e t l i #nof

WITH YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY

FIGHTING THE CLOCK-WATCHERS A FRIEND OF MINE – let’s call them Doc – recently told me about an uncomfortable situation at work, where HR was obsessively monitoring all of the staff’s clock-in and clock-out times. “It’s one thing if everyone is being watched, but there are people who come in late every day – who don’t even have the ‘excuse’ of being highperformers - who don’t seem to get any grief,” Doc confided. Yet despite getting in early every day, and leaving well after their “prescribed” clocking-out time, Doc was hauled up in front of the jury for needing to adjust her work hours once or twice. Even though her line manager was fine with this, the organisation apparently was not. Call me a millennial, but it is truly surprising to me that in this day and age, some organisations worry more about the exact time that staff get in, than about the quality and efficiency of their work. There’s a great video making the rounds on social media, which features an Indian worker leaving his office at 6.30pm – only to be met by a snarky comment from a colleague of “once again a half-day today?” To use internet parlance, the departing worker ‘snaps’ (that is to say, he loses his cool). “The problem is that people like you stay here in the office whole night (just to) show that you’re working... which creates that impression that ‘he’s such a hard-working employee, he’s so serious and committed’,” he vents. And yet, he notes, people like this snarky worker are often just hanging around for the free air-conditioning and wi-fi. They take breaks throughout the day, and need 12 hours to finish nine hours of work.

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If it comes down to a battle between that guy, versus someone who can efficiently complete their work in the prescribed time, there’s no question that my bet would be on the latter. As Ariana Huffington once pointed out, “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” Beyond that – in this digital age, so many of us are have our work emails and content systems loaded on our mobile devices and laptops. If HR is watching the time that employee X steps in and out of the office, is it also taking note of that e-mail they replied to on their day off? Or the fact that they logged in even after heading home for the night? American Express recently made a long-term commitment to address this new working paradigm through “Blue Work”. This initiative prioritises results over timesheets or face time, and includes staggered working hours and home office arrangements. It has reportedly increased employee productivity, and also helped the company attract millennials and working mothers. It is ultimately up to each organisation to figure out what works best for both the business and the employees. But the fact is, it’s easy to buy a clock-in machine – anyone can do that. On the other hand, actively tracking employee output and progress in a productive and qualitative way requires a greater investment of time, money, and effort. Yet, it’s the only way to keep up – because “the times, they are a-changin”. yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

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READER ADVICE I WORK IN A MID-SIZED company of around 150 staff, as part of a six-person HR team. My problem is that my immediate boss doesn’t seem to like me. He is always polite, but doesn’t make any effort to interact with me outside of giving his instructions. It makes it an unpleasant place to work, but I don’t think I can get another job because my boss is the only one who can provide a reference. Tense atmosphere, Singapore

Q

Can I challenge your thinking on this? You are making assumptions about your boss’s thinking based on his observable behaviour only. As an HR professional, you should stop to consider if maybe his

personality or his management style is causing you to think this, whereas in reality he may have a very positive view of you; and he may just want to be very neutral in his treatment of his staff. Or he may be an introvert. You don’t know if

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

you’re making assumptions that you haven’t validated. I would urge you to take your boss out to lunch occasionally and get to know him a bit better. At some stage, when you’ve built enough of a relationship and trust to bare your heart, say ‘Boss, I’d really like some feedback from you on how you think I’m doing’, or ‘in the meeting last week, I got the impression you didn’t like what I had proposed – I’d love to understand more about your thinking.’ If you’re an HR professional, your job is about people, understanding people, and indeed coaching people. So before you think about changing employer, make sure

you really understand your boss’ motivations and opinions. He may actually think the world of you and is just not being very good at expressing it. I’ve seen this happen a lot. People make assumptions that turn out to be the exact opposite of reality.

LAURENCE SMITH is the Head of Asia for SmartUp.io. With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including stints and projects with LG Electronics, GE Capital, McKinsey, the World Bank, and as Managing Director of Learning and Development for DBS Bank

HR Roles in Singapore Vice President HR

Consultant in-charge: Sean Tong

Our client is a conglomerate group with diversified businesses in industrial, real estate, healthcare and renewable energy with turnover in excess of EUR 75 billion, operations in over 62 countries and hiring more than 70,000 employees. With their strong global network, outstanding results and consistent growth, Frazer Jones is instructed on this retained search for a Vice President Human Resources to lead the HR function and be an advisor to the Board. Reporting through to the CEO and Chairman, you will be working with the management team in driving and spearheading changes and ensure that the business has the people and organisational capabilities to support the business growth objectives through the provision of strategic customer and business focused HR solutions. Sean Tong Partner - Head of Asia seantong@frazerjones.com

Brian Hardiman Associate Director brianhardiman@frazerjones.com

Head of People – SE Asia

Consultant in-charge: Brian Hardiman

Our client is a globally renowned international travel business who are seeking an experienced HR leader to join them in this newly created role. This position sits as part of the regional leadership team and has full responsibility for the people strategy in the region. Working as a partner to the Regional GM there is a real opportunity to make an impact and take the lead on regional talent management, workforce planning, and implementing performance and reward frameworks in the region. With a major cultural transformation underway this will be a high profile role and one that could prove to be career defining.

Global HR Business Partner

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

Sheldon Toh Associate Director sheldontoh@frazerjones.com

Consultant in-charge: Fay Phillips-Jones

Our client is a global Financial services provider with a base in Singapore and have engaged our services for a global HR Manager to join this thriving fast-paced business. This person will act as a key point of contact to the business across 4 global locations offering advice and support and operational excellence. This person acts as a key support to the business who are smart and engaging and appreciate the value that HR add. This is a standalone role where the successful person will own the entire HR remit globally for a small – mid sized business. Excellent exposure to the senior leadership team as this role reports into both the business and HR.

Talent & Diversity Director

Consultant in-charge: Sheldon Toh

Our client is a highly reputable heavyweight in the technology sector and with various M&As and expansion projects under their belt, they are looking to build a higher level of sustainability, diversity & inclusion in their culture. This was driven primarily by the VP of HR previously, however with the growth of the organization and the need to be highly talent centric, they have decided to newly create the Talent & Diversity Director position for the business.

Senior Regional Talent Manager Siying Wang Head of Research siyingwang@frazerjones.com

Consultant in-charge: Siying Wang

We are delighted to be working exclusively with a leading Multinational firm with significant market share. This is a Senior Regional Talent Manager role for APAC HR in Singapore to work across all businesses in the Group with a good blend of different businesses and you will also be part of a very strong and diverse global team. Known for its talent development and great work culture, this is an excellent opportunity to join one of the Top 100 Best Companies to work for.

EA Licence No: 17S8475

frazerjones.com

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2018

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@frazerjoneshr

frazer-jones

HRM ASIA.COM

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NEXT ISSUE

Next Month Coming Up

in the December 2018 - January 2019 issue

HRM Magazine Asia deep-dives into the latest thinking, data, and analysis on learning and development.

Plus:

Thought Leader

Josh Bersin, the world-renowned consultant and analyst on HR, learning, and talent gives HRM Magazine Asia an insight into his latest research, and a preview of his keynote presentations at HR Festival Asia.

See it online first at www.hrmasia.com from 48

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HR Insider

Kulshaan Singh, Chief People Officer of Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group, sheds light on the workforce challenges facing the handful of large and complex conglomerates in Southeast Asia.

Tuesday,Dec 11

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HRM Asia Watch List 2018  

HRM Magazine Asia reveals 16 up-and-coming HR leadership talents in its inaugural Watch List feature. This issue also looks at the HR team b...

HRM Asia Watch List 2018  

HRM Magazine Asia reveals 16 up-and-coming HR leadership talents in its inaugural Watch List feature. This issue also looks at the HR team b...