YOUTH EMPLOYMENT IN SOUTH KOREA BREADTALKâ€™S FASTGROWING HR STORY WHY ADOBE OVERHAULED PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
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How HR can best identify and respond to mental wellbeing issues in the workforce
Paul Howell EDITOR
Sham Majid SENIOR JOURNALIST
Kelvin Ong JOURNALIST
Yamini Chinnuswamy PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATOR
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Muhamad Azlin Ismail GRAPHIC DESIGNER
John Paul Lozano ACCOUNT MANAGER
Edwin Lim MARKETING MANAGER
Jenilyn Rabino EXECUTIVE GENERAL MANAGER
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Dear HRM Magazine readers,
recently spent an extremely fruitful two days at HRM Asia’s second-ever Smart Workforce Summit, which was held in Singapore. The Summit brought together some of the region’s brightest and sharpest minds in the HR profession, and it was absolutely fascinating to listen to how organisations are gearing up to tackle the complex challenges that are unfolding in today’s working world. Intriguingly, while the name of the Summit hinted at future workforce obstacles set to be faced by companies around the globe, in reality, all of the speakers and panellists firmly declared that the future was now. Pointedly, they cited that the “smart workforce era” had already descended upon their organisations, and that they weren’t crafting new strategies for the future, but instead, for the present. Speakers warned companies against having an entrenched belief that “smart” aspects of working life, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and the new world of work, were issues to be dealt with tomorrow. An insistence on holding such views
would signal the death knell for their organisations, they warned. Another rather surprising insight emanated from Professor Dave Ulrich, dubbed the world’s “Father of Modern HR,” who conducted an exclusive Masterclass for attendees. During his opening keynote, Professor Ulrich shared that research undertaken by his team showed that organisations should spend 80% of their focus on processes and systems, followed by the other 20% on people-related strategies. With the development of human capital espoused as the game-changer for companies looking to stay ahead of the pack, Professor Ulrich tellingly said the research results had shocked even him. Food for thought? You bet. Best regards,
SHAM MAJID Editor, HRM Asia
CONTACT US: Read something you like? Or something you don’t? Perhaps there’s some insight we haven’t considered? Have your say on HRM Asia’s news, features, and contributions by emailing: email@example.com
MEET THE TEAM
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YAMINI CHINNUSWAMY Journalist yamini.chinnuswamy @hrmasia.com.sg
OC TOBER 2017
ON THE COVER
THE WORKING BLUES
Employee wellbeing has long been an important part of HR’s daily remit, with clear productivity advantages when staff members’ physical health is better managed. But the spotlight is now increasingly also on mental wellbeing
“Mental health is everybody’s business. And with billions of dollars of lost productivity on the line, it is without doubt an employer’s business specifically” – PORSCHE POH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SILVER RIBBON SINGAPORE
F E AT U R E S
12 THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
For digital media and marketing solutions firm Adobe, both customer and employee experience are key to maintaining market share. V.R. Srivatsan, Managing Director of Southeast Asia, shares how the company balances these in today’s disruptive business environment
26 CREAM OF THE CROP
What began as a confectionery sensation has grown into one of Southeast Asia’s largest food and beverage consortiums. But as BreadTalk Group’s Head of HR, Chan Wing Git, shares, the group still harbours much bigger dreams
32GRADUATES WITHOUT A CAUSE
South Korea’s teenage-focused pop culture may have swept across many parts of the world, but back at home everyday youths are struggling to secure jobs. HRM Magazine finds out why so many young degree-holders are finding themselves on the sidelines
A “LAMP” ON 36 SHINING POOR PERFORMANCE
Sam Neo, Founder of People Mentality, shares a story of effective performance management strategy via the fourstep “lamp” process
WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here
41THE POWER OF EMPOWERMENT
From completely flexible schedules to opportunities for self-promotion, local software firm Titansoft aims to instil a sense of accountability within employees so they can map out their own career trajectories
46 PLUGGED-IN ENGAGEMENT
Rohaya Roslee, Talent Management Leader for Dow Chemical Pacific in Southeast Asia, explains the power of effective employee engagement strategies in a volatile business landscape
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50 TAPPING UNKNOWN POTENTIAL
Singapore-based author and consultant Jane Horan says HR professionals need to find time for their own reflective career conversations, in order to get the most out of their working lives
52 52 53 54 55 56
HR CLINIC HR PEP TALK UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP READER ADVICE EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS OCTOBER 2017
BEST OF HRMASIA.COM
.com Watch - HR in Focus
Serene Wai, Sam Neo, and Sham Majid discuss the correlation between higher salaries and happier staff, how much paternity leave organisations should offer new fathers, and the rise of virtual-reality training.
HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards were presented at a gala island ceremony on September 8. Using a combination of reader votes and our judges verdicts, trophies were awarded in 38 service provider categories, from Best HR Tech to Best Corporate MICE venue. For the full list of winners and their stories, as well as highlights from the presentation at Capella Singapore, head to the Readers’ Choice Forum.
Last month, we asked: Is job-hopping acceptable in today’s disruptive and skillsdriven world of work? This is your response.
I’M NOT SURE
Watch - Ask Me Anything with Dave Ulrich
HRM Asia’s Paul Howell puts readers’ questions to the popularlydubbed “Father of Modern HR” Professor Dave Ulrich. The result is a wideranging discussion covering everything from HR in the global economy to a pant-splitting presentation in Singapore.
Share - From the HRM Asia Forums
“THERE ARE VARIOUS ASSESSMENT TOOLS FROM BIG CONSULTING FIRMS, BUT I’M NOT AWARE OF SOMETHING LESS FORMAL THAT YOU CAN USE AS PART OF A DIALOGUE TO GET A SENSE OF WHERE YOU ARE”
Last month, we asked: Is new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi the right person for the job? This is your response.
IT’S TOO EARLY TO SAY
Don’t wait for the published magazine each month – the best of HRM Asia’s news, features, and analysis are available both online and through our e-newsletters. Subscribe to each of HR in Practice, HRM Asia News Weekly, and My HR Career by heading to www.hrmasia.com/content/subscribe, and remember to stay updated throughout the week by checking into www.hrmasia.com.
ILLUSTRATION BY MUHAMAD AZLIN
Laurence Smith outlines a fun mix of 12 questions to assess your HR team’s level of digitalisation
“Your HR contact database is brimming with potential. It’s just a matter of leveraging what you have and being a good steward of your network”
Gil Petersil outlines the “Networking Funnel” that he uses to keep track of contacts and make the most out of those relationships
n this age of data overload, where access to internet and social media is ubiquitous, it has become too easy to voice opinions and present them as facts to the world”
Stephane Michaud says it is getting harder to sort fact from fiction, which is why it is so important to do OCTOBER 2017
FINTECH FIRST FOR BANK
DBS BANK HAS
BACK TO WORK AFTER MISSILE THREAT
partnered with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to create the first financial technology training programme. The maiden fintech programme will groom and prepare young professionals for the financial services sector. It will look specifically at agile development, operations, information security, and data analytics.
EVEN A SUSPECTED MISSILE
attack from a belligerent neighbour was not enough for some Japanese companies to relax their working demands of staff. A rogue missile test from North Korea flew over Hokkaido, Japan on August 29 – and again on September 15 – and activated missile sirens and alerts in the region. People were urged to seek shelter via text message and other “J-Alerts”. But it didn’t take long for some companies to recover from the threat, and call panicked staff back to their desks. One local Twitter user leaked examples of email messages that firms had forwarded to their staff; however, the original social media post has since been removed.
DBS is the first bank to partner with IMDA. It plans to train over 85 young professionals in these technology skills. “Banks of tomorrow will look very different from the ones today. In order for Singapore to maintain its competitive edge as a leading Asian financial hub, it is crucial that we focus on building a strong talent pool with the right technology and innovation skillsets,” said James Loo, Executive Director, Group HR, DBS Bank.
HITTING WHERE IT HURTS AUSTRALIA’S WORST FLU outbreak since public records began has resulted in more than A$90 million (S$96.5 million) worth of lost labour productivity – with more than half of that in the month of August alone. More than 110,000 Australians had been brought down by the temporary affliction by the end of winter (on August 31) – one in 217 of the entire population. The figures were compiled by financial comparison website Finder. com.au Kathleen Newcombe, CEO of recruitment agency Sarina Russo Group said that the “flu season has been “extremely draining” on businesses. Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s director of workplace relations Scott Barklamb added that “business owners and employees should talk to a health professional about getting vaccinated”.
NEW DELHI, INDIA
CONTRACT RENEWALS SUSPENDED THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT is
set to privatise national carrier Air India, leaving a large number of employees across the organisation in a state of uncertainty. Employee contracts are not being renewed, and the company is also ceasing its practice of relying on retired former staff to serve as consultants. Financial daily Livemint reported that the beleaguered
national carrier had found it tough to recruit management staff for a sustained period, and had been relying on these retiring employees from the same departments. India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has hinted that a swift decision would be taken on Air India’s disinvestment, with at least two unnamed parties having formally expressed interest in buying a stake in the airline.
FAREWELL, HIGH HEELS PHILIPPINES LABOUR SECRETARY
Silvestre Bello is cracking down on businesses that force their female staff to wear high heeled shoes to work. He signed a department order on August 25, banning organisations from asking staff to wear heels taller than one inch. Shoes taller than this may be worn as long as they also have a wide wedge to support the foot. The department order also requires firms
to afford sitting breaks (with reasonable seats available) for all workers who need to stand for more than two hours during the course of their work. According to Bello, the order seeks to reduce exhaustion among employees. He says a meeting featuring representatives of employers, unions, and the government will examine how best to implement the measures.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
SACKED FOR BEING OVERWEIGHT MALAYSIA AIRLINES has come under fire for
allegedly dismissing flight attendants who had, literally, tipped the scales. The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) said on September 21 that a “first wave” of sackings saw the removal of five flight attendants: three men and two women, all above the age of 50. Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin alleged that 20 more cabin crew members were expected to be sacked in the coming weeks. While confessing that notices on their
respective “weight statuses” were dispatched to the affected employees before their terminations, Ismail said such clauses were never part of the employees’ contracts. The termination letters stated that the staff had each “continuously failed to achieve their ideal weight as per the company’s grooming manual,” despite being on a weight management programme for 18 months. When probed for a response, Malaysia Airlines said it would not publicly discuss issues involving employees.
N E W S I N T E R N AT I O N A L
RYANAIR EYES ALITALIA IRISH LOW-COST AIRLINE Ryanair is making a bid to acquire bankrupt
Italian carrier Alitalia. Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’ Leary confirmed this to Reuters in September. He said he hoped to retain the jobs of Alitalia’s current employees, but that they would be subject to Ryanair’s employment terms. Alitalia was put up for sale in May, after it went into administration. In April, some 11,400 staff, or 90% of the total workforce, had rejected a restructuring deal that would have reduced headcount by 1,700, with salaries to also fall by 8% across the airline.
STRIKES OVER REFORMS THOUSANDS OF WORKERS in
Paris, Marseille, Lyon, and Nantes went on strike last month in protest of French President Emmanuel Macron’s new labour law reforms. Over 4,000 work stoppages were reported, with 180 separate marches staged nationwide. Under Macron’s proposal, it would become a lot easier for small and medium enterprises to fire employees. Trade unions will also have less bargaining power, as firms with
fewer than 20 employees will be able to negotiate terms directly with staff, rather than through a union. Additionally, the government wants to put a cap on settlement pay-outs from industrial courts. Macron has defended his reforms, saying the proposed laws will “turn the page on three decades of inefficiency” and help slash France’s unemployment rate down to 7% by 2022.
SHORTER WORKING HOURS GERMANY’S LARGEST labour union, which
represents some 2.3 million workers, has kicked off its 2018 wage negotiations demanding fewer working hours and more pay. The union, IG Metall, is advocating that shift workers be allowed to reduce weekly hours to 28 hours from the current minimum of 35 hours, with a right to return to full-time employment after two years. IG Metall, which successfully negotiated a 35-hour work week for Germans over 20 years ago, said the shorter hours will help hourly-wage earners and workers with young children and elderly parents.
The union also recommended a 6% wage increase for its members, who are mostly employed in the car and manufacturing industries. German Labour Minister Andrea Nahles welcomed the push for shorter working hours, given the growing national emphasis on family time. “If Germany’s economy wants to effectively combat the shortage of skilled workers and achieve high rates of participation in the labour market by both men and women, then it needs to give workers the opportunity to adapt their working hours to their life situation,” she said.
CRACK CODES TO LAND JOBS JAGUAR LAND ROVER has hired an initial batch of 13 electronics and
software engineers through its pioneering app-based code-breaking recruitment challenge. Daniel Dunkley, a 23-year-old from Gloucester, UK, became the first successful code-breaker to join Jaguar Land Rover. He was due to start in the role from October 2. Hosted in partnership with Grammy Award-winning virtual band Gorillaz’“mixed-reality” app, over 41,000 people have attempted the challenge since its launch in June. Of these, some 500 have been successful at solving the puzzle. “Daniel is exactly the kind of person we need. Technology companies like Jaguar Land Rover provide an exciting opportunity for the brightest and best. We want to attract top-notch talent in software, cyber systems, app development and graphics,” said Alex Heslop, Head of Electrical Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover.
ESCAPING COLONEL SANDERS’ KITCHEN US FAST FOOD CHAIN KFC takes its fried chicken so seriously that it is now leveraging virtual reality to ensure its trainees get extra lessons on its famous cooking process. Thanks to time-lapse technology, trainees will be able to witness a 10-minute demonstration of KFC’s cooking process—something that takes 25 minutes in the “real world”. Called “The Hard Way – a KFC Virtual Training Escape Room”, the gamified training programme requires new employees to fry chicken the right way in order to make it out of founder Colonel Sanders’ kitchen.
If trainees fail to master the technique, then they will be trapped in the room, where they will receive more lessons from a computer-generated image of Colonel Sanders. The company stated that it will also be using the virtual reality technology in its regional general manager training classes, quarterly franchise meetings, and employee onboarding at its headquarters. It will not replace existing training initiatives at the company, but function as a supplement to remind staff of KFC’s history and unique selling points.
GE’S “AGGRESSIVE” LAYOFFS US CONGLOMERATE General Electric (GE) is set to lower its headcount significantly over the coming months. In late August, new CEO John Flannery told senior executives to prepare for job cuts at its offices in New York, as well as from unprofitable divisions elsewhere. One employee told Reuters that the company had already stopped hiring for technology positions, even before plans went public. The source added that the staff cuts would most likely affect HR, recruiting, corporate security, helicopter and jet operations, procurement, and auditing and finance. It is not known how many jobs will be slashed, or if the unprofitable divisions will include those here in Southeast Asia, but the same source said the layoffs would be “aggressive”. In March, GE shared that it had plans to cut US$2 billion in costs by the end of 2018. On the layoffs, GE spokesperson Jennifer Erickson said: “We’ve said John (Flannery) is reviewing all aspects of the company. He will present to investors in November.”
LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP
HOW CAN EMPLOYERS HELP TO BOOST THE CAPABILITIES OF THEIR STAFF?
JAMES HENNAH Managing Director, Southeast Asia, British Telecom
ACCORDING TO the World Economic Forum, over one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed in just five years from now. The onus is not just on the employees to worry about brushing up on the skills front. Companies too, must find ways to hire and hold on to their best people, whether it is hiring more female leaders, engaging their ageing workforce, or creating a working environment that supports the work-life needs of a multi-generational workforce. As a recognised progressive employer managing 87,000 people across 180 countries, British Telecom (BT) has been highly successful in grooming talent in the region, where we have over 5,000 staff. We have created a great place to work for employees and a rewarding environment for them to have opportunities to positively contribute, grow, and succeed. Staying true to the core of our business, we use technology to our advantage even when it comes to talent development. At
BT, we have the Academy, which is a centralised, global platform that focuses on boosting employees’ capabilities. The myriad of learning techniques offered through the Academy range from on-the-job training to formal coaching and traditional training. We also believe that leadership development programmes are vital for sustainable business growth. At BT, we have three unique and intense leadership programmes designed to equip our leaders with the skills and behaviours to get the best out of our people and grow the business. BT also fosters cross-collaboration and innovation from within through the “BT Challenge Cup” – an annual competition that encourages employees from different departments to work together in devising the best solutions to specific business problems. We all agree that innovation is occurring at an unprecedented rate. That, in turn, is generating gaps in nearly every country and industry between the skills workers have, and the skills employers need. In Asia, where the pool of talent is limited and the competition for experienced and skilled professionals is fierce, employers need to always look at innovative ways to upskill, retrain, and boost the capabilities of their staff to ensure their workforces are future-ready.
Senior Vice President of Human Capital, SATS Ltd
CREATING LEARNING opportunities for employees to develop new skills and capabilities is vital to an organisation’s ability to innovate and increase its productivity. SATS adopts a technology-driven, people-led approach in employee upskilling and job enlargement. We invest in technology to enhance our capabilities to handle largescale operations efficiently and better serve our customers. At the same time, this has enabled us to redesign our people’s jobs and enrich their roles so that we can remunerate them based on a progressive wage model as they advance with us. For example, the SATS eCommerce AirHub deploys technology to triple mailbag processing capacity and deliver quicker turnaround for international eCommerce mail. In conjunction with this, we have implemented training programmes to help the team acquire additional skills to manage the technology.
This has allowed us to consolidate the roles of forklift driver, cargo handler, and cargo coordinator into a new highervalue job position called “eHub Specialist”. To date, 18 employees have been reassigned to this role after undergoing three months of classroom and training. To encourage our people to embrace technology, SATS adopts a bottom-up approach to identifying areas where we could use technology. For example, our executives in Technical Ramp services leverage the Internet of Things with the use of smart watches and bone conduction headsets to provide employees with real-time notifications. In addition, we also run programmes in parallel to support the developmental needs of our people at appropriate junctures of their careers. Our “STEP” programme is targeted at general employees to equip them with relevant skills to take on larger roles, while our “LEAP” programme focuses on helping executive level employees develop the skills required to advance to management level. Through harnessing technology, we have achieved a 310 basis point expansion in operating margin and 7.7% increase in Value Added per Employee Contribution over the past three years. Our wage cost over the same period has grown 7% while staff strength has declined 4.28%. As much as we invest in technology, we must also invest in our people through training.
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THE BEST OF
BOTH WORLDS For digital media and digital marketing solutions firm Adobe, both customer and employee experience are key to maintaining market share. V.R. SRIVATSAN, Managing Director, Adobe Southeast Asia, shares how the company balances these two measures in today’s disruptive business environment
BY SHAM MAJID
he move to abolish annual employee performance reviews within the entire Adobe organisation is famous within the company. In 2012, a senior executive met with a journalist from The Economic Times of India after a long flight. While the interview covered many topics for the fast-growing software company, it was the Executive Vice President of Customer and Employee Experience’s ideas on HR that became frontpage news the next day. Donna Morris admitted she had been agitated and sleep deprived from the flight and had not meant to share her personal view that the annual performance review had become a painful and unproductive process. She says she was planning to vet that point-of-view with her CEO and colleagues, but the comments became front-page news under the headline “Adobe Set to Scrap Performance Review”, and the story subsequently spread around the world, forcing Morris to fast-track the change. Fortunately, the rest of the organisation was compelled by the proposal, and the company quickly moved to an ongoing “Check In” process between managers and their direct reports.
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For V.R. Srivatsan, Managing Director, Adobe Southeast Asia, it represents a much more engaging and effective system, with managers empowering staff to take control of their own careers. “The fascinating thing about the checkin process is that it creates flexibility, drives productivity and empowers employees to take their careers into their own hands,” he says. “Every person’s career is their own choice – I didn’t get to where I am because my boss wanted me to be there.” A veteran of over 26 years in the software industry, Srivatsan has certainly taken his career into his own hands. He began it in the US in the early 1990s with the much larger technology firm Oracle, before moving to Singapore in 1993. Since then, he’s been based within the Southeast-Asian region, assuming senior
posts for the likes of SAP and Autodesk Asia. He became Adobe’s Managing Director for Southeast Asia in July last year.
Describe your leadership style
I think my style is broadly to drive the business through my competencies. The first thing is to have the right competencies to lead. The second aspect I would say is my communication skills. This is very important, especially in an organisation like Adobe, where we are fundamentally dealing with people. It’s important to communicate to customers about our needs, what results we need to drive for, and to make sure that everybody is focused on that to take the organisation to the next level. The third aspect is the sense of urgency. In order to take the business to the next
MY INSPIRATION IS: My family MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS IS:
Working hard, but sometimes forgetting to play hard! IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME, I’D LIKE TO BE:
Doing something entrepreneurial – it’s never too late! FAVOURITE QUOTE:
“Success doesn’t just come and find you, you have to go out and get it” - UNKNOWN
Watching all kinds of sports, especially cricket.
Being late on deadlines
How would your employees describe you?
People have said I’m open-minded. I feel I’m pretty open, approachable and easy to talk to. People have also said that I’m fair and consistent. I think they would also say that I’m results-oriented; we’re not here to run a community club, we’re here to run a business.
You’re a huge advocate of digital transformation and simultaneously improving customer experience. Can you talk us through this thinking?
level, you’ve got to have a sense of urgency and push for something more. We are the leaders in the area of digital transformation. We have to continually set the pace. We don’t have other people to look up to. Therefore, dissatisfaction with the status quo is important to drive better results and higher performance from employees.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Take risks, pick something and make it great. WHAT’S THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE?
Moving from the US to Singapore to further my career over 20 years ago. WHAT’S ONE THING PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I am a decent cook though I have not done much cooking in recent times.
The first thing is to realise that the world is changing. We use different gadgets and those things keep evolving. The expectation of the consumer has also evolved. People are not patient anymore, and they want the best possible experience. We at Adobe believe that going forward, the biggest competitive differentiator and the way you succeed in the market will be by managing your customer experiences. This doesn’t just entail marketing – it’s everything. If you’re a business that does not handle your customer experiences well, you will face many challenges. This whole world of digital transformation is driving everybody to take care of that customer experience. There’s no such thing as brand loyalty anymore; it’s about customer experience. The reason why we have many success stories among the larger organisations is because these companies have handled customer experience better than others. The transformation is happening where everybody wants to go digital. At the core of it is how you drive the end-toend customer experience so that you can differentiate from your competitors and build that loyalty and relationship with your customers. These two go hand in hand.
And how are you leading Adobe’s efforts on these fronts?
We’re blessed with some really marketleading solutions. We have transformed ourselves successfully from being the best producer of content through our creative cloud software, to now providing our customers with the most meaningful solutions to drive the customer experience. We have a whole variety of solutions around what we call the “experience cloud” which helps drive that. The good news is that the solutions are already built-in, and many of our global and regional customers use them. What I focus on is the execution part of it. How do we take these world-leading solutions and make the actual customer experience even better? A lot of it really comes down to making sure that every aspect of how we touch our customers in Southeast Asia leads them to have the best possible experience beyond just products and into services.
Donna Morris, Adobe’s Executive Vice President of Customer and Employee Experience, famously abolished the company’s annual performance review in 2012. Tell us more about the “Check In” approach.
It’s a powerful process. What we’ve done with this check-in process is we’ve eliminated this approach of doing an annual performance review, rating employees, drawing up a typical bell curve, and ranking employees. We now have conversations between employees and managers in what we’ve called “Check-ins”. This occurs at whatever frequency is appropriate for the two. This has saved a lot of time and improved productivity for both managers and employees. But most importantly, it’s empowered employees to take career management as their own initiative. Every person’s career is their own choice. They’ve got to plan what they want for their career. Then, the manager becomes a facilitator. If somebody walks into my office and says that they want to do that role, my job becomes a lot easier because I don’t need to second guess what that individual wants to do. I can then assess if the person is capable and to coach and guide them. While
“This whole world of digital transformation is driving everybody to take care of that customer experience. There’s no such thing as brand loyalty anymore; it’s about customer experience” the manager becomes a facilitator, the ownership of career progression goes back to the employee. The fascinating thing about the Check In process is that it creates flexibility, drives productivity and empowers employees to take their careers into their own hands.
Has this led to improved retention levels within Southeast Asia?
The IT industry is always difficult, but I am very happy to report that our retention rates are one of the best in the industry. The check-in process has certainly
contributed to that. We feel that it plays a very important role in employees having a “feel-good” factor around the organisation’s policies. Adobe gets ranked very highly in the Best-Employer-to-Work-For studies globally. There are many other parameters that drive retention, but the Check In process definitely contributes to employees feeling empowered and having the opportunity to do different things. We all know that in the IT industry, there are big changes every few years. It’s a fastmoving transformation and the roles that exist today did not exist several years ago. It’s really important for those in the formative years of their careers to carefully think through what they want and the Check In process has really facilitated that. People feel they have options, more control and empowerment over what they potentially want to embark on. It clearly results in better satisfaction and therefore contributes to a higher retention level.
What are some key workforce challenges of Adobe?
We are in an industry where talent is always a challenge. Companies are jumping into this digitaltransformation bandwagon; everyone wants to embark on it. A couple of years ago, it was a nice-tohave item. Now, it’s a must-have in most boardroom agendas. It’s an area which we continuously work hard in to ensure we have the right OCTOBER 2017
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talent which is enabled and to provide the value-added functions to drive customer experience. We also have a tremendously diverse organisation. We have many different types of software solutions and there is always the challenge of making sure that everybody is aligned to the common goal – which is to simply grow the business. To me, Southeast Asia represents a story for opportunity. The customers in this region are just beginning to get into this wave of digital transformation so we are focused on building the infrastructure and scaling the business for growth.
What do you foresee to be the next “big thing” in the technology sector?
People are already talking about them, but things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, and voice and gesture recognition are now coming into play. This philosophy of embedding artificial intelligence into everyday life is definitely making a big wave. This is huge for us because one of the things we’ve done at Adobe about a year ago
was to launch a framework called Adobe Sensei. It’s a framework that brings all our artificial intelligence and machine-learning services and solutions together. The interesting thing is that we’ve embedded artificial intelligence into many of our cloud and software offerings. We have many different features that have been wrapped into a framework called Adobe Sensei. It is very powerful because as you interact with systems, it helps create better targeting and better experiences for customers because they are advanced enough to know one’s preferences and desires.
What’s your biggest regret as a leader?
That’s a tough one. If I were to look at it professionally, it’s probably not having been an entrepreneur. I have kids who are growing up and when I ask them what they want to do, it seems like nobody wants to work these days. Everyone wants to become an entrepreneur. There are times when I’ve said, “Maybe I should have done that.”
The beauty is that the thing that attracted me to Adobe and the role I’m enjoying here is that the company does have a very empowering spirit. Within the context of Southeast Asia, I am empowered to do what I need to do to bring the business to the next level. That kind of fills a little bit of the gap. Of course, It’s still not too late for me to be an entrepreneur!
What’s your top tip for leaders?
For me, it’s to focus on both the customer and the employee experience. With growing expectations and today’s instant gratifications, if you don’t take care of your customers, you could lose them. More importantly, just as you’re focused on delivering the best experience to your customers externally, you have to be focused on delivering the best experience for your employees internally. The employee experience is the foundation that can drive you towards delivering the best customer experience in turn. firstname.lastname@example.org
PA R T N E R CO N T E N T
Flexible content management in Asia-Pacific
agnolia is a flexible content management system (CMS) that helps large enterprises create great digital experiences. Enterprises such as Airbus Group, Al Arabiya, Avis and Virgin America use it as a central hub for their web, mobile and multichannel initiatives.
Flexible CMS for digital businesses Magnolia’s open suite approach allows enterprises to go to market fast, adapt quickly to changing business priorities, and integrate easily with third-party systems. Magnolia was rated as best-in-class by analysts – for both back-end extensibility and front-end capabilities. This makes Magnolia ideal for digitally-focused brands that take a best-of-breed approach to integrating third-party tools, from e-commerce, customer
relationship management, and enterprise resource planning, to marketing automation and analytics. Not only can HR choose the preferred digital tools to create the perfect system for the organisation, but it can also be scaled up as business needs dictate. Magnolia makes it simple for enterprises to manage content across digital channels. Powerful tools, an easy-to-use interface, and a unique app framework allow developers and marketers to work efficiently, while creating outstanding digital customer experiences.
Passionate about what we do Magnolia’s core values: Easy to Engage; Passionate; and SolutionOriented; drive everything it does. We’re easy to engage and in constant contact with customers and partners. We’re passionate about building a great product that is a joy to use. We’re solution-
oriented and ready to help businesses succeed with forwardlooking technologies. “Magnolians” – as Magnolia employees are called – live these core values across diverse roles in development, services, product management, sales, and business functions. Magnolia has won “Open Company” and “Top Company” awards from recruitment platform Kununu, where it has been rated 4.3 stars out of a maximum of 5, with a 100% recommendation rate. It was also rated 4.7 stars on Glassdoor. Magnolians contribute to technology and innovation in a buzzing, open, and friendly environment, with flexible work arrangements and regular internal events such as rooftop barbecues, music quiz nights, and sports activities.
Swiss company with a global vision Founded in 1997, Magnolia is a privately-held company with
headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. The founders have realised their vision of creating an open source CMS based on Java and developing it to become a powerful customisable platform that allows brands to create their digital presence exactly the ways they want. The company has come a long way since then, delivering win-win solutions for clients in headless, hybrid and conventional scenarios, and more recently, venturing into its new cloud offering. Magnolia has customers in over 100 countries, and offices around the globe, including a new office in Singapore with Asia-Pacific coverage. Pascal Mangold, CEO of Magnolia International, says this new presence is a great opportunity to tap into one of the business world’s most vibrant areas: “The sales and service office in Singapore is the perfect complement to the Vietnam production office we set up three years ago,” he says. “Magnolia is proud to start the second phase of its Asian initiative and to build on its core strengths in enterprise content management to create great digital experiences for global brands in the Asia-Pacific region. Our people are our best ambassadors and we aim to share the Swiss dedication to quality and solid engineering with our clients and employees around the world.”
Contact: Don Lee, General Manager, Asia-Pacific Magnolia Singapore email@example.com www.magnolia-cms.com Tel: +65 6430 6778
F E AT U R E
BLUES Employee wellbeing has long been an important part of HR’s daily remit, with clear productivity advantages when staff members’ physical health is better managed. But the spotlight is now increasingly on mental wellbeing B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y
19 ILLUSTRATION BY MUHAMAD AZLIN
F E AT U R E
he concept of “mental health” still suffers from a stigma – with a handful of horrific events like mass shootings, frequently followed by reports that the perpetrators were “mentally ill”. There is a persistent struggle to differentiate between such extreme conditions and the quieter and perhaps more insidious manifestations that can have otherwise high-functioning people unable to reach their full potential. While it’s true that certain environments can trigger conditions like depression and anxiety, the reality is that they can affect anyone, regardless of education, economic background, or personal situation. So says Porsche Poh, executive director of Singaporean mental health advocacy group, Silver Ribbon. The so-called “black dog” of depression alone affects up to 350 million people across the globe, according to the World Health Organisation. In the workplace, this translates to both absenteeism and presenteeism (where employees are present, but not fully engaged and performing at lower levels). The UK Centre for Mental Health calculated that presenteeism from mental ill health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion (S$26.5 billion) per annum, while absenteeism costs £8.4 billion (S$14.4 billion). The impact is also being felt in the AsiaPacific region, perhaps more so. Researchers from the London School of Economics have found workplace depression could have “wide and devastating” consequences for thousands of organisations in the region. Their survey of 8,000 employees from eight countries, including China, Japan, and South Korea, found that the collective annual cost for workplace depression in those countries was more than US$246 billion. Interestingly, the researchers said this figure was only an estimate, and the true cost was likely much higher. This disparity was due to the deep cultural stigma that prevents many people from disclosing any problems they might have. According to the research, Japan suffered the highest costs associated with employees taking time off for depression, with 22 percent of those that did taking 21 or more days of leave, costing US$14 billion. “Interventions which support employees
with depression need to be developed, adapted, implemented and evaluated across all countries to mitigate the high costs of workplace depression,” lead researcher Dr. Sarah Evans-Lacko said. Such figures highlight some very real consequences of unchecked mental health. But employers around the world still frown upon the use of health insurance benefits for psychological-based therapies. Medical leave is also typically reserved for physical ailments only, particularly in Asia-Pacific markets, where “mental health days” are rarely taken as a result. Progressive employers in the US and
Europe are beginning to take notice. Live chat start-up Olark has become a nowfamous case in point. Its CEO Ben Congleton offered a positive and encouraging response to one of the team’s web developers taking time off to focus on her mental health, a response that has since gone viral on social media. “Hey Madalyn, I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organisations.”
The business case In Singapore and in many Asia-Pacific economies, employers frequently ask after the mental state of potential recruits – grouping the question with others about criminal records and bankruptcy status. This is despite that fact that there is no requirement under Singapore’s Employment Act for job candidates to declare their mental health histories. What employers do with the information is up to them, but the general perception is that answering with anything other than a flat negative would
HR GETS EMOTIONAL IN SINGAPORE EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL health was a recurring theme at HRM Asia’s Health and Wellness Congress in May earlier this year. Speakers from global organisations like Honeywell, Deutsche Bank, Seagate, Grundfos, and SAP all agreed that while physical wellness would always remain a key HR priority, the increasingly stressful workplace of today has resulted in a shift in focus towards psychological wellbeing.
Eudora Choo, Vice President for Benefits Governance at Deutsche Bank, said, high stress levels and inadequate sleep were the two health issues seen most frequently at the organisation. “In Asia, people tend to see emotional wellness and help as taboo. So what we try to do is see where we can help them and provide support,” she said. One of the ways Deutsche Bank is doing this is through a regular mental health
questionnaire in which employees are assessed based on psychometric indicators. This way, the company can help employees get to the root of the problem. The bank has also introduced “Wellbeing Leave”. These leave days are not recorded, and employees can take time off to spend time with their family or simply relax. This helps ensure a healthy mental state over the long run.
send a candidate’s application straight to the bin. Poh notes that Asian cultures typically carry both stigma and a lack of real understanding towards mental illness. “It’s always a challenge to talk about it here because it’s such a taboo,” she says. “When Silver Ribbon first launched in 2006, organisations frequently told us that they did not want to be associated with our outreach events and education initiatives.” Without intervention, the costs to economies are poised to skyrocket. A Harvard University study estimated that, between 2012 and 2030, these conditions would dampen productivity increases by more than US$9 trillion and US$2 trillion in China and India respectively. Governments across the region have been taking note. For instance, 2010 saw Japan declaring mental illness to be one of five priority diseases to be targeted by research, while China passed its first ever mental health law in 2012. In 2014, India adopted its first mental health policy and Indonesia also updated its existing legislation. In Singapore, the 2017 National Day Rally speech saw Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announce a new focus on mental health issues, with the government planning to spend an additional S$160 million over the next five years to make mental health services available in public-access polyclinics. The funding would also aim to increase general public education around the issue.
A holistic approach to wellbeing As Silver Ribbon’s Poh points out, “mental health is everybody’s business.” And with billions of dollars of lost productivity on the line, it is without doubt an employer’s business specifically. Fortunately, organisations do not lack for options in addressing mental health in both policies and culture. For example, professional services firm EY leverages peer support through a
MENTAL HEALTH IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS. AND WITH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF LOST PRODUCTIVITY ON THE LINE, IT IS WITHOUT DOUBT AN EMPLOYER’S BUSINESS SPECIFICALLY”
– PORSCHE POH,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SILVER RIBBON SINGAPORE
four-step process called, “r u ok?” This encourages employees to check in with colleagues who are struggling with mental illness. In a similar vein, Prudential Financial in the US conducts forums where employees, including senior executives, share their experiences with conditions such as depression and addiction. The company also has flexible work programmes in place to allow employees the freedom to work around periods of poor mental health. OCTOBER 2017
F E AT U R E
US software company Hubspot also offers flexible hours for the same reason – and takes an extra step by providing its employees with unlimited vacation time. According to Katie Burke, the company’s Chief People Officer, both initiatives seek to provide a safe space for employees to “take off the armour” without being forced to disclose their personal issues. Of course, mental health remains a single subset of any holistic approach to wellbeing – and companies are now also beginning to incorporate it into their existing programmes. American Express, for instance, has a global health and emotional wellbeing programme rolled out in more than 30 countries. This offers free counselling to employees, among other things. Mental health advocacy groups are also strong allies for HR professionals in considering the mental and emotional health of their employees. In conjunction with this year’s World Mental Health Day, which is themed around mental health in the workplace, Silver Ribbon recently launched a pledge initiative for Singaporean employers. Participating employers formally pledge their support to promote mental wellness
Mental wellness in the workplace: GETTING STARTED INVEST in specialist support such as employee health screening and counselling creativity, humans still reign supreme TRAIN managers to 1) identify the early warning signs of common mental health problems in the workplace, and 2) intervene and engage supportively with employees who are experiencing difficulties at the workplace – whether by supporting employees coping with mental health issues or not discriminating against job candidates who do. In return, Silver Ribbon offers
managers to adopt flexible working hours and a less rigid approach to sickness leave so as to reduce and avoid presenteeism
NURTURE culture of understanding, through lunch-time talks and forums to educate employees at all levels about the realities of mental health issues LEAD THE WAY - rope in senior
management to endorse new initiatives and demonstrate that the organisation is committed to improving employee wellness in all aspects
its own support to these organisations via complimentary workshops and counselling. Pledging organisations were also invited to the Silver Ribbon Workplace Emotional Health and Wellness Summit to receive a commemorative plaque from Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development. “So far we have recruited more than 30 employers for the pledge,” Poh says. “Once organisations realised that they’d be helping themselves, their friends, their relatives, they started coming on board.” Ultimately, if there is one thing these initiatives have in common, it is in emphasising that people are the most important asset any organisation can have. And they are a resource that is most valuable when happy and healthy in both mind and body. As Ben Congleton – the Olark CEO supportive of his employees taking “mental health days” writes: “It’s 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance. “When an athlete is injured they sit on the bench and recover. Let’s get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different.” firstname.lastname@example.org
ARE YOUR STAFF HAPPY WITH THEIR PROFESSIONAL LIVES? In todayâ€™s talent-scarce workforce, retaining existing employees and keeping them engaged is imperative. However, the onus is on organisations to craft compelling and purposeful careers for staff, through both monetary and non-monetary means as HRM Magazine deduces from the JobsCentral Work Happiness Survey Report 2017 SATISFACTION WITH THEIR CURRENT JOB
35% 65% MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF WORK
Good relations with colleagues
Acceptable work demands
1 2 3
ACTIONS MOST DESIRED FROM EMPLOYERS
Pay raise Improved Work Performance Reward Scheme
Leave Increment Provision of well stocked pantry
WORK HAPPINESS BY JOB FUNCTION MOST HAPPY
1 2 3
Translation / Editorial Public Relations Marketing
Merchandising / Purchasing
LEAST HA PPY
Operations Customer Support
MOST COMPELLING REASONS FOR STAYING IN EMPLOYMENT DESPITE NONSATISFACTION Need to have a constant flow of income to pay off outstanding loans and bills Fear of Not Being Able to Find a Better Job Security and Stability (due to familiarity of company culture and job processes) Developed Close Relationships with Many Co-workers Lack of Updated Skill-sets and Knowledge to Switch Job
27.1% 25.6% 21.0% 11.2% 11.0%
SOURCE: JOBSCENTRAL WORK HAPPINESS SURVEY REPORT 2017
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F E AT U R E
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CREAM OF THECROP
What began as a confectionery sensation has grown into one of Southeast Asia’s largest food and beverage consortiums. But as BreadTalk Group’s Head of HR, CHAN WING GIT, shares, the group still harbours much bigger dreams B Y K E LV I N O N G
BRYDEN TOH Vice President, HR (Food Atrium)
JETHRO QUEK Vice President, HR (Bakery)
ALICIA CHER Manager, HR (Food Atrium)
CHAN WING GIT Head, Group HR, Administration & Training
F E AT U R E
o one could have predicted that the pork floss bun, an unassuming cream-coated bread roll topped by a generous sprinkling of dried, fluffy meat flakes, would propel BreadTalk Group to become one of the largest food and beverage brands in Asia today. Perhaps not even its founder, George Quek, a Singaporean entrepreneur who had already achieved success with two earlier business ventures – food court chain Food Junction in Singapore, and snack stall franchise Singa in Taiwan – could have imagined the heights it has scaled. The first BreadTalk outlet, which opened in Singapore in 2000, was an immediate hit with customers, thanks in no small part to the pork floss bun. Three years and two dozen shops later, BreadTalk Group was incorporated and publicly-listed on the Singapore Exchange. That year, the chain also set up its first bakery outlets overseas in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Shanghai, China, respectively. Today, besides the original bakery brand, BreadTalk Group also owns several other highly popular dining brands, including Taiwanese Michelin-star restaurant Ding Tai Fung, concept food court establishment Food Republic, coffee shop Toast Box, and fast food joint Carl’s Jr.
Multi-concept group With a current headcount of over 7,000 employees working in almost 1,000 restaurants, eateries and shops across 17 countries, BreadTalk Group prides itself on being a multi-concept food and beverage (F&B) establishment, which Head of HR Chan Wing Git says forms a key part of its employer brand. “We want to position ourselves as an employer of choice, be known as a good employer, treat our staff with respect, and be an organisation that really develops our employees, and where hires can have a good career track,” says Chan. As a multi-concept F&B player, the group is split into three main business divisions: bakery, food atrium, and restaurant. Chan believes the heterogeneous classification is one of the leading factors that separates BreadTalk Group from its competitors. That’s because with such an organisational anatomy, employees have the opportunity to be exposed to three different business units through being cross-trained and cross-deployed. So this means that all employees, regardless of their existing roles, will have the opportunity to experience various business styles, should they express their desire and exemplify the ability to take on
different responsibilities. But the emphasis, says Chan, is on providing operational exposure, since most of BreadTalk Group’s labour needs are for day-to-day in-store processes. Even corporate staff interested in trying out operation roles can do so. What would perhaps be most appealing to staff, especially those who are younger, is the opportunity for overseas exposure and assignments in any of the territories BreadTalk Group operates in. This allows individuals to experience cultures and places different from their home countries. Chan says this type of overseas exchange programme is welcomed by the various business divisions because it benefits the different markets through a cross-pollination of ideas, knowledge and expertise. Being able to offer unique secondments is attractive to employees, but such flexibility is also only possible because the consortium has, over the years, positioned itself as a regional player, gradually cultivating a major presence in places like
Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as its home base in Singapore. “When individuals join us, they are not just joining a restaurant; they’re joining a brand with many portfolios. There’s a chance for them to always learn new things as they progress in the company,” says Chan.
Fast-tracked to the top In fact, through its fast-track programmes, individuals who join as operations associates at any of the group’s many brands can progress to become branch managers in as little as 12 months At Food Republic, for example, entrylevel associates are put through a series of trainings so that they pick up all the essential ground skills. Likewise, in the bakery division, staff undergo training in areas from cashiering, all the way to the actual baking. The idea, Chan states, is to expose individuals to all the different roles and stations in a time frame of between 12 to 24 months, then appoint them as branch managers thereafter. He says the fast-track programmes have proven to be a great motivational and retention tool, particularly for younger staff who can be more impatient, and want to learn and move up the career ladder quickly. But by investing in their development, elevating them to more senior roles and giving them more responsibilities, individuals end up more committed to giving their best to the organisation. “So it’s dependent on their performance and how fast they can progress in their development. But at least we try and clear the initial hurdles where previously they would have to be a baker or assistant baker first before becoming branch manager,” Chan says. At present, the fast-track model is
AT A GLANCE Number of employees (Asia-Pacific) Key HR Focus Areas
7,000 100 Size of HR Team
Succession planning Talent development
Talent attraction Employee engagement
limited to only countries where the group is facing more severe manpower challenges, but Chan reveals the plan is to eventually replicate it in every country. “Singapore, as our headquarters, will always be the place where we start, followed by Shanghai, and Beijing,” he says.
Mobile communication With the vast majority of employees being in operational roles distributed across hundreds of locations around the region, Chan says engagement and communication are also key concerns for his team. In China, the company uses the WeChat mobile application extensively to ensure there is a consistent connection with workers. Chan says BreadTalk employs WeChat because it is the most popular mobile messaging tool in China today, with almost one billion users. “You’ll think not everyone there uses data technology, but that’s not true,” he notes. “Almost all our Chinese workers have a WeChat account. WeChat has become their national identity. So naturally, we use it too.” So HR created an enterprise account on WeChat, which not only acts as the official communication channel for management to staff, but also as a tool for issuing electronic payslips. As an F&B operator in China, this is a big shift from how things were typically done there. In the past, Breadtalk Group, and other companies like it, would issue hard copy payslips exclusively. The mobile approach has helped to cut down administrative costs, and also made the process more convenient for employees. Management also uses the app to broadcast major company announcements, from organisational changes to quarterly financial results. In January this year, the group even posted a video message of its Chairman and Managing Director sending Chinese New Year well-wishes to employees. “This technology allows us to engage our staff, and lets them know we value them, and that there is communication from the headquarters,” says Chan. Sometimes, it’s the little touches, not the fancy technology, that counts for more. In Singapore, staff appreciation can actually come in the form of back rubs.
“We want to position ourselves as an employer of choice, be known as a good employer, treat our staff with respect, and be an organisation that really develops our employees, and where hires can have a good career track” – CHAN WING GIT, HEAD OF HR
In March this year, some 220 Ding Tai Fung employees got to enjoy massages provided by the restaurant’s partners at the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped. A section of each restaurant was closed off during off-peak hours, providing employees with some much-needed downtime and physical therapy. “It’s all in the little treats – the fringe benefits,” says Chan.
New CEO, new systems Despite the successes of these existing policies, the HR team continues to drive new programmes and systems. With Henry Chu being appointed the new CEO of BreadTalk Group in July this year, HR transformation has become the order of the day – and of the year ahead. That’s because Chu, who himself holds a degree in HR, recognises people management as a top priority. According to Chan, his superior has always emphasised that as a F&B company, customer service is key, which makes employees the backbone of the whole business. Succession planning and talent development have been areas of focus for the company, but with Chu now at the helm, they have become bigger objectives than before. “Our new CEO wants us to differentiate ourselves. To do that, we need to invest a lot
more into our people’s development,” says Chan. Chu is familiar with BreadTalk Group’s operations. He first served as the bakery division’s CEO from May 2010 to April 2012, before re-joining as the Group Managing Director last October. Another reason behind the ongoing drive for transformation lies in the need for HR to align the respective markets and their individual HR policies and strategies. Chan says that while the group’s old growth formula allowed it to expand into new territories rapidly, that also led to distinct HR practices and overall misalignment between markets. The Singapore and China operations, for instance, both run on different HR systems. “This presents a problem because as Group HR, I don’t have visibility of employee data outside of the Singapore headquarters,” says Chan. “Each time I need an update, I have to send out a template and have the individual teams get back to me. The data captured is also limited.” OCTOBER 2017
F E AT U R E
So one area where change is already happening is in the company’s HR systems. In Singapore and China, the team has already begun moving its information onto a well-known industry solution used by many Fortune 500 organisations. The new platform will harmonise the various HR approaches used by the different markets, while consolidating talent information and providing functionalities like data reporting and data generation. “We need to move out of the old systems because if you want to become more global, then you need to align all the different parts,” says Chan. “Our aspiration is to become a Fortune 500 company, and that’s why we use the same platform as them.” BreadTalk Group’s evolution is also evident in its performance review process, where a new set of performance appraisal forms were used for this year’s mid-year employee evaluation. But like the consortium’s other functions, this is only the beginning of the staff assessment modification.
GOOD SERVICE GOES A LONG WAY
As a major food and beverage player, BreadTalk Group expects its people to deliver top-notch service standards, says Chan Wing Git, its Head of HR. “In this industry, service is a key differentiator,” he says. “So we focus a lot on how to get the best people, train them up and make sure they deliver the best quality service and products to our customers.” At the BreadTalk Academy, all new operation hires are required to complete basic training in areas like food hygiene, workplace safety and service excellence, prior to starting work at the frontline. They also receive on-the-job coaching from their managers or production heads. The Singapore office also runs some Workforce Skills Qualification programmes and modules on service excellence that are applicable for all ground staff across its brands. These cover basic service aspects such as personal grooming, interacting with guests, greeting, and taking orders. Furthermore, within each brand, there is customised service training that would be specific to the standards, and operations of the respective business. For example, the service training in Din Tai Fung would place a greater emphasis on customer engagement and interaction, while BreadTalk would focus on the greeting and cashiering skills.
“We will refine it further. The new appraisals will include quantifiable performance indicators and be tied closely with salary adjustments and bonuses,
so that we can hold our people more accountable for the results,” says Chan. email@example.com
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HR COUNTRY REPORT
GRADUATES WITHOUT A CAUSE South Korea’s teenage-focused pop culture may have swept the world, but back at home everyday youths are struggling to secure jobs. HRM Magazine finds out why so many young degree-holders are finding themselves on the sidelines
or all the glamour of Hallyu, a
newly-coined term that refers to the diffusion of Korean culture beyond its shores, the economic situation is much bleaker back home. Since late last year, the biggest concern for South Korea has been the plight of jobseekers in their late teens and 20s. In March last year, youth unemployment rose to its highest level in decades, with 12.5% of people aged 15 to 29 finding themselves jobless. That number had stabilised at 8.2% by November, but grew again to 11.3% in March 2017, the same month former President Park Geun-hye was impeached and removed from office. The timing is hardly a coincidence. It was during the Park administration that unemployment across the board skyrocketed. So it’s also unsurprising that her shock dismissal would have ripple effects throughout the economy. Although Park, the first-ever elected female head of state in East Asia, was turfed for misusing her power through an unauthorised aide, her government’s inability to lower unemployment was also
B Y K E LV I N O N G cited as a key reason for record low approval ratings and eventual loss of favour among 20 somethings. Still, Park and her cabinet shouldn’t be sidled with all the blame for South Korea’s economy. Total employment was already on a downward slide when Park took over. Furthermore, as Hong Junpyo, a research fellow at Hyundai Research Institute in Seoul, notes, Park’s team did attempt to create more public sector jobs and welfare services for the unemployed, but their efforts were ineffective in the face of that already sluggish economy.
Desperate times for jobseekers At nearly three times the nation’s overall jobless rate, South Korea’s 11.3% youth unemployment today is at a critical point. Despite this being relatively low compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, where youth joblessness hovers between the 22% and 16% marks, the situation in South Korea is worrying because numbers there have been worsening every year since 2012. Compared to its neighbour Japan,
which has seen youth unemployment fall consistently since 2010, South Korea has seen those numbers average 9.3% in 2016, up almost two percentage points from four years earlier. The government has acknowledged that these are desperate times for all citizens, not just millennials and Generation Z. “Not only is the economy not in good shape and not creating enough ‘good’ jobs now, but winter is also a cold season for job seekers, with hiring by large conglomerates kicking off in spring or summer,” Kim Yihan, director of the Ministry of Finance’s policy planning division said.
Lack of quality jobs But the employment outlook for school leavers in particular is more complicated than just the hiring changes across seasons, Mira Lee, Managing Director of digital industrial company General Electric’s (GE) Society of HR for South Korea, tells HRM Magazine. “Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers,” she says. “Some people would say it is because of economic slowdown; some would say it is because of demographic changes; and some would say it is because of labour policies. “But as a corporate HR executive, I think the main problem is there is just a lack of quality jobs for fresh graduates.” Lee says the low number of university graduates gaining employment is not due to the quantity of available jobs, but the quality. As a result, these graduates tend to defer their graduation by a few semesters, until they find a suitable position. OCTOBER 2017
HR COUNTRY REPORT
“They spend a lot of time in preparing the job applications and making their résumés stronger with different degrees and internships, and so on,” she explains. Due to this lack of “quality” jobs, more university graduates find themselves competing for fewer jobs from a smaller pool of companies. Government roles, for example, receive some 172 applicants for every position advertised, while conglomerates like Samsung see an average of 100,000 students sitting for their annual entrance exams each year. “So what is happening is that the young talents are becoming selective, and are choosing very specific job categories or companies where they see quality jobs,” says Lee. Another reason for the high rate of youth joblessness, according to Lee, is that companies are operating more leanly today. Individuals are now given more responsibilities and asked to contribute more. Companies, consequently, prefer hiring more experienced professionals than entrylevel staff.
THERE IS A DEEP STRUCTURAL PROBLEM WITH SOUTH KOREA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM. IT’S REGARDED AS ONE OF THE TOP EDUCATION SYSTEMS IN THE WORLD, YET THE REALITY IS MANY STUDENTS FACE GREAT DIFFICULTY IN FINDING JOBS”
– PAUL EVANS,
EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR,INSEAD
The education paradox Paul Evans, Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Insead, and academic director of its Global Talent Competitiveness Index, sees the situation very differently. He believes the main cause of youth unemployment lies with the country’s “paradoxical” education system, which has produced many academicallyqualified individuals who still lack employable skills. “There is a deep structural problem with South Korea’s education system. It’s regarded as one of the top education systems in the world, yet the reality is many students face great difficulty in finding jobs,” says Evans. “The question is, is the system working if graduates can’t actually find jobs?” Evans says the system may have worked well in the past, but is no longer effective for the market conditions of today. Social stubbornness has led to a culture that severely undervalues vocational training and expertise-based education. Instead, society views the universitybacked career path as more prestigious and financially rewarding. “In Korea, everybody wants to go to the top three universities: Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University,” says Evans. “Families view vocational training as a second choice. So you have these students cramming in classes, when they should be going out and doing things and gaining experience. “Instead, they are studying till late in the evening to try and get into the top universities under the supposition that this will help get them good jobs.” While it is true that graduates from those three institutions go on to secure solid careers in top organisations, the limited number of student places mean many high schoolers end up in the remaining universities that have more broad-based, non-specific curriculum. The result is a large number of graduates from these academies leave without acquiring any hard employable skills. They find themselves unable to to compete with their counterparts from the top varsities. At the same time, Evans says these degree-holders often have unreasonable
salary expectations, further slimming their chances of finding a suitable employer match.
Highly educated, but unemployable Indeed, national statistics show that there is a significant skills gap across industries, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are struggling most with the skills shortage. “They can’t find the technicians and engineers that they need,” Lee says. “These companies can’t find skilled people because there are a lot of people coming out of good but second-rate universities who don’t have any concrete, tangible skills.” The situation had reached a point that the government even introduced Swissstyle apprenticeship programmes (a split part-study, part-work model) for university graduates who are unable to find jobs – so as to equip them with some tangible competencies. Still, Evans believes more needs to be done to truly solve the root of the issue. South Korea is ranked 46th out of 118 countries in the Global Competitiveness Talent Index, with the lack of skilled talent the major driver behind its middling result. And herein lies another paradox. While the East Asian country is among the top five nations in the world in terms of information technology-readiness and usage, it lacks technology talent in particular. The Global Competitiveness Talent Index found the country’s base skills were lower than those of countries that do not share its technological sophistication, including Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand. “It’s a great country that’s having difficulty adjusting to some of the deeper changes which digitalisation and automation are bringing about, because a lot of its people don’t have the skills for this ‘Industry 4.0’ world,” says Evans.
Government should spearhead change While GE’s Lee acknowledges the mismatch between graduates’ majors and the relevant job skills required, she insists the lack of technical skills is not the biggest problem, noting that staff of all levels “actually learn more on-the-job”. She says almost 40% of university graduates undertook engineering or science degrees in 2016, which is a “healthy-enough”
indicator to show that Koreans do value skills training, and not just reputable paper qualifications. Furthermore, most university students undertake double degrees and include business administration as one of their majors. “When I interview those graduates, I don’t see a lack of business acumen,” says Lee. Graduates also have the option of working as independent contractors and accumulating work experience in that way, she adds. Of course, Lee says there is always more that could be done to soften graduates’ entries into the job market. Internships are one potential avenue. She says companies themselves should work closer with the universities (with the help of the government) to provide single-semester internship programmes for students. “In Europe, the governments provided support and eased the company’s liabilities to accommodate students and interns. In Korea, there’s no such governmental support or special programme right now,” she says. But with a new President and a government that has laid out employment policies as one of its key priorities, Lee is hopeful that things will get better for young jobseekers in South Korea. Evans, however, says it’s too early to tell, cautioning that the South Korean government, up until President Park’s administration, had only done “some small reforms” since 2002. “They haven’t really tackled the fundamental problems of an education system which was well-suited for the machine-factory age of the 20th century, but ill-adapted for the fast moving, highlycompetitive age of ‘Industry 4.0’,” he says. The long-term solution, he believes, lies in changing a culture that “kills individual creativity” and will have to start with the attitudes of families who are reluctant to send their children to vocational training schools that “don’t have as good resources”. “They need to rethink the education system – make it harder to get into universities; and make it more attractive to go to technical schools.”
DO GOOD LOOKS LEAD TO GOOD JOBS?
South Korean President Moon Jae-In is looking to give the country’s existing recruitment processes a facelift – so that job candidates don’t have to do the same. With youth unemployment at a record high, Moon wants to stamp out the widespread practice of employers rejecting candidates based on their looks and background. On June 22, the South Korean government announced plans to enforce “blind hiring” in the public sector by September this year. “Except in special cases where a job requires a certain level of education or meeting certain physical requirements, job application forms should not require
discriminatory factors such as education background, hometown, and physical condition,” said Moon on the new requirements. Up until now, it has been common for Korean employers to ask job applicants to spell out their physical attributes, such as weight, height, blood type, and level of eyesight. Employers often also ask for other intrusive and irrelevant information, such as the occupations of the candidate’s parents, as well as whether they live alone or with their families. Such questions are illegal in many countries, but not in South Korea, where the practice is rampant. In a survey conducted by job portal Saramin last year, 93% of some 760 firms
required a photo of the job applicant, while some 50% of 312 HR managers said they had rejected a candidate because of their appearance. With such selection methods, it is not surprising there is an overwhelming perception today that being physically attractive will help individuals secure good jobs. This pursuit for beauty has reached such extremes, with reports of South Korean parents giving plastic surgery procedures to their children as high school graduation gifts. Instead of viewing cosmetic modifications as a sign of vanity, researchers Ruth Holliday and Joanna Elfving-Hwang say they are seen as “worthy investments” of self-development. The Ministry of Employment and Labor is hoping the new “blind recruitment” policy will give young jobseekers more hope in gaining employment, without having to embellish their application forms or rely on risky plastic surgeries. Although the law does not yet apply to private firms, President Moon believes the results of unbiased hiring will ultimately speak for themselves. “We cannot force the private sector to follow suit unless we revise the law, but previous cases where private firms used a blind hiring system have shown that they were able to hire far more skilled and more enthusiastic workers,” he said.
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F E AT U R E
Shining the “lamp”on poor performance SAM NEO, Founder of People Mentality Inc, shares an effective performance management strategy via a four-step process
s an HR Business Partner, supporting the line
managers in managing performance issues is one area that we have to deal with. That includes both rewarding good performances and, of course, tackling poor performances. When it comes to poor performance issues, they can easily frustrate the hell out of most managers and HR. One might simply think, “Let’s fire them”, or “Get them out of my team!” It is definitely a quick fix to remove the poor performer from the team – but does that really solve the problem? What kind of message are we sending out to the individual and the rest of the organisation? Will this quick fix result in a bigger issue at the end of the day? These are some questions to think about before making any rash moves. To anchor the first of a two-part topic, I will adapt the “LAMP” framework from the book Investing in People, written by Wayne F. Cascio and John W. Boudreau. This will draw relevance to a case that I’ve managed previously.
F E AT U R E
Logical questioning Ms X, a regular employee, has been displaying lacklustre effort at work, showing a poor attitude to her supervisor, and spreading negativity among her colleagues. Her manager approached me, to ask for advice on resolving the issue. I sat him down and started the conversation by asking questions such as “What are your observations?”, “What could have caused the sudden change after years in the company?”, “What has been done so far?” and “Have you spoken with her to find out more?” We need to first get the facts
right to diagnose the situation objectively, before jumping into any conclusion. Data points are required to triangulate and assess the matter in a holistic manner. He shared that Ms X’s performance had been fluctuating over the years but recently, he observed more frequent lapses at work and also discovered she had been intentionally hiding some of these matters. The manager reckoned that she might be jaded after taking on the same role for several years, and could potentially be facing some personal issues which she did not want to share. What he did was drop her
email reminders, without digging deeper into his suspicions. When I probed further, he shared that they were not exactly on talking terms, and had not been communicating effectively. There we go, that is one potential issue, right in the face! The next question then is: where are the data points for us to assess the situation objectively?
Analyse with data Now that the manager has answered some parts of the mystery, it is important to drill one level deeper by gathering more data points. This helps to analyse the situation while
removing any potential biasness in the judgment. I asked for specific examples of Ms X’s lapses, and he named a few: ranging from missing out on document submission deadlines to not providing the team with timely updates and not documenting official agreements. Of course, I had to find out the impact and gravity of such lapses to ensure that it was not a personal grudge – since I am now aware that they do not have the best of relationships. I investigated further to understand how bad the lapses were, and what was the standard operating procedure to gather more insights. It was then shared that those issues mentioned were simply the basic requirements that everyone else had to follow. Ms X’s poor delivery had resulted in her inconveniencing her team which had to make up for the gaps created while potentially putting the company at risk of losing credibility among its stakeholders. Besides her lapses, I also wanted to find out more on what had been communicated. I asked the manager about the daily interaction, the communication style and
expectations that were laid out. This provided him with some potential reflection points, while giving me an appreciation of the balance between his perception and the potential truth behind the poor performance. With objective facts and a proper assessment of the severity, we can then have a clearer picture that this is not just an individual bias, but rather a real problem that has to be resolved.
Measure the desired outcome The next part is outcome measurement. I asked the manager what was the expected level of performance across the team, and got him to break it down into smaller parts. By doing so, it helped him rethink his expectations objectively, while providing
When it comes to poor performance issues, they can easily frustrate the hell out of most managers and HR. One might simply think, “Let’s fire them”, or “Get them out of my team!” It is definitely a quick fix to remove the poor performer – but does that really solve the problem? clarity for both himself and Ms X. He went back to the standard operating procedure and listed the basic expectations that have to be met in order to meet the operational requirements. With such clarity, we then know that the bias has more or less been removed because we have objective facts and measurements to convey.
Clarity is key because a lack of it could lead to many unnecessary contentions and accusations.
F E AT U R E
effectiveness, we will need to rely on a process that is well defined and clear. That way, the affected employee will be assured that it is nothing personal and that the manager and business are working towards a fair approach to help get her up to speed.
About the Author SAM NEO is Founder of People Mentality Inc. He also hosts the Millennial Insights Forum on HRM Asia’s website.
Managing the process After asking logical questions, analysing the situation with data points, and setting out a measurable outcome, the final step is to execute the strategy. To ensure consistency and
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EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE & ENGAGEMENT 2017
Revamping your Employee Experience for the New Economy
At the 2nd Annual Employee Experience & Engagement Congress, we will gather forward-thinking HR practitioners to discuss the trends, challenges, new strategies and technologies on how organisations are effectively investing in employee experience to drive better business performance.
Stephanie Nash Chief People Officer RedMart
Bryden Toh VP HR (FA Division) Breadtalk
Jocelyn Chan Human Resource Director Cold Storage
Shalini Bhateja Talent & Development Director Coca Cola
Yin Leng Loke Senior Director, Total Rewards, APAC | Corporate Human Resources Medtronic
Tommi Korhonen Strategic Resourcing & Talent, Vice President SwissRe
Key Topics to be Discussed Include: • • • • • • • • • •
Integrating engagement into key business performance metrics Measuring daily organisational health using sentiment analytics, and pulse surveys Crafting a branded digital employee experience with new with Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud tools How to better engage with millennial, and gig employees Enabling shared ownership of engagement from business owners, and line managers Designing a high-Impact on-boarding program for new managers to lead and inspire Strengthening total rewards & recognition programs that go beyond monetary benefits Re-engaging with disengaged staff FOR Translating feedback insights into actionable programs with better listening strategiesINSTITUTE HUMAN RESOURCE PROFESSIONALS Career development and mobility to retain key talent
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From completely flexible schedules to self-promotion, local software company TITANSOFT aims to instil a sense of accountability within employees so they can take pride in mapping out their own careers. HRM Magazine delves deeper into the initiatives of a firm that scooped home the Singapore Computer Society’s “Best Tech Company to Work for Award” for mid-sized organisations BY SHAM MAJID
hor Poo Siang, a product owner at Titansoft, is an avid triathlete. A regular participant in long-course events, Khor needs to adhere to a progressive, yet intense training regime in order to successfully complete a punishing triathlon which comprises of a 3.8km-swim, 180km-cylcle, and an arduous 42km-run. His training programme requires him to partake in early-morning and evening running, swimming, and biking sessions. This means Khor may arrive to work later than his colleagues, and could leave earlier to focus on his training schedule. His employer, however, has no qualms with the flexible work hours. “The company gives me the freedom to plan my own time. I know my organisation trusts me to get my work done so that I can pursue my own activities outside,” he shares. “When work needs to be done, it has to be done. We take personal accountability for the time spent sitting in the office. There are definitely days when I need to stay back to get my work done.” Khor says what is key is that he delivers his projects within the stipulated deadlines. “What’s the point of me sitting in the office if I’m just surfing Facebook and waiting to clock my time?” he asks.
Flexible and agile Khor’s sentiments are shared by Yves Lin, General Manager of Titansoft. Ever since the organisation in 2014 adopted Agile and Scrum practice frameworks for managing product development, teams have been empowered to decide when and how they want to work on projects. Working hours are now completely flexible. Employees can come in at any time they want, and as long they have tapped in to the internal system, they are considered present. “Because we work as a team, employees will arrange among themselves the time they want to work together, and this encourages empowerment,” says Lin. “I don’t really believe in working from home and we don’t enforce minimum hours for staff to be in the office.”
Engagement reaping rewards Despite growing from an initial team of three in 2005, to 70 in Singapore (along with another 100 employees in its Taiwan
office), Titansoft still encounters obstacles in recruitment. High levels of security in the niche entertainment and gaming industry, where Titansoft has a number of clients, coupled with the huge transaction values, make it extremely difficult to source for talent in a niche industry. Titansoft tried to plug this gap by hiring senior-level candidates almost exclusively, without much success. “Not many senior-level talents knew about our organisation and their skillsets were not what we needed,” says Lin. The organisation then reconfigured its strategy to target graduating university students. From 2009 onwards, Titansoft started participating in university job fairs, even sponsoring events such as the National University of Singapore’s showcase for students’ final-year projects. In addition, the company has been giving seminars in Singapore universities. Lin says it took three years for the organisation to fully reap the benefits from its robust engagement with universities. As of now, nearly 40 university graduates have joined the firm. “We have also arranged for internships with students. When they go back to their universities, they can share through wordof-mouth that Titansoft is an interesting employment option,” shares Lin. Khor was one of several university interns who eventually became full-time employees at Titansoft.
Lin says Titansoft’s recruitment efforts are presently much more stable. “The process is much smoother and the quality of our applicants increases every year,” he says.
Embedded training With the software industry being a hotbed for innovation, Titansoft employees are awash with training and development options to stay ahead of the learning curve. The company affords a plethora of training programmes for staff, ranging from in-house seminars to engaging external industry trainers to develop technical, management, and communication skills.
Self-promotion Training is also embedded in employees’ day-to-day duties. For instance, the majority of staff work in pairs when undertaking coding assignments, with one employee engaged in coding and another observing their work. “Speaking from a software engineering perspective, this is to reduce defects in coding. Secondly, observing how employees do their work allows them to learn further,” says Lin. “Due to the confidentiality of our products, we cannot use our brand name to attract talents so we’re trying to create something unique, and this is through our training and development.”
“WE CANNOT USE OUR BRAND NAME TO ATTRACT TALENTS SO WE’RE TRYING TO CREATE SOMETHING UNIQUE” – YVES LIN, GENERAL MANAGER OF TITANSOFT
Empowerment is also personified in the development of employee career pathways. The organisation offers staff its “selfpromotion” concept, where employees can make a case as to why they think they deserve a promotion. Twice a year in June and December, employees have the opportunity to recommend themselves. Under pre-determined Skills and Knowledge Criteria, details such as the nominated employees’ technical competencies and the contributions they’ve made to the organisation thus far are all considered. Titansoft’s HR department then collates OCTOBER 2017
the information and hands it over to a panel of technical experts. Should employees pass the technical assessment, they subsequently move to a second-round panel interview, featuring an HR representative, the employee’s manager, a product owner, and two peers who have worked with the nominated candidates. At the conclusion of each candidate’s interview, the panel then comes to a consensus as to whether they should be promoted – with each individual member having a powerful veto. As long as one doesn’t feel the candidate deserves the promotion, it will not be granted. “The candidate’s peers can also support the manager to offer them a promotion. Everyone on the panel is of equal standing,” says, Joanna Zhan, HR Specialist in the Talent Engagement and Development Department of Titansoft. Now in its second year, the selfpromotion scheme has a 70% promotion success rate. “The company has a flexible quota on
our job grade positions to take into account the possible promotions,” says Zhan. “This initiative breeds a supportive environment where every employee helps each other to grow.” For those who are unsuccessful in their bids, the company does not, as Zhan puts it, “leave them high and dry”. Candidates are offered feedback as to why they have failed their assessment and
are offered technical guidance from the organisation’s experts and managers to bridge their skills gap. “We always encourage staff and advise them that failure is okay. We urge them to try again and apply for a promotion once they have become more competent in the required skillsets,” adds Zhan. email@example.com
FUNDED PROGRAMMES Be awarded with WSQ Statement of Attainment (SOA) issued by SSG upon successful course completion and assessment
AD ARTWORK WSQ Lead Workplace Communication and Engagement (Code: WD005) TO COME
WSQ Display Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills (Code: WD001)
WSQ Apply Basic Negotiation Skills and Techniques (Code: WD002)
WSQ Solve Problems and Make Decisions at Managerial Level (Code: WD006)
WSQ Fundamentals of the Personal Data Protection Act (Code: WD003)
ICDL Secure Use of IT (Code: WD007)
WSQ Assist in the Development of a Business Plan (Code: WD004)
WSQ Develop and Establish Financial Budget and Plans (Code:WD008)
Find out more at https://eservices.isca.org.sg/CPEHome
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HR FOR SMEs CONGRESS 2017
Addressing the Challenges of SMEs in Achieving Full Potential of HR
Join us at the HR for SMEs Congress, taking place on 29-30 November 2017 in Singapore. This is the only conference dedicated to small medium enterprises to facilitate peer sharing and learning to equip HR best practices and strategies for business growth.
Featured Speakers: Terence Teo Sales Director and Owner, Anewtech Systems Pte Ltd
Jason Dacaret CHRO & Head of PR REAPRA
Wan Ezrin Wan Zahari Chief People Officer TIME dotcom
Violet Lim CEO & Co-Founder Lunch Actually Group
Sam Chee Wah General Manager Feinmetall Singapore Pte Ltd
Ang Gey Wee Head of HR – Global Shoe Production & Sourcing ECCO Shoes
Key Themes to be Discussed Include: • • •
Revamping HR Strategies to Attract and Retain Talent Leveraging on Technological Innovations for HR Automation Transitioning HR into a more strategic role
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Plugged-in R engagement Aon Hewitt research shows that a five percentage point increase in employee engagement can be linked to a threepercentage point increase in revenue growth in the subsequent year. ROHAYA ROSLEE, Talent Management Leader for Dow Chemical Pacific in Southeast Asia, explains the correlation ahead of the Employee Experience and Engagement Congress 2017
esearch shows a sustainable connection between increasing employee engagement and business growth. Is that something that you’ve seen at Dow Chemical Pacific?
Yes, that correlation has definitely been the case for us as well. The way that Dow looks at it, engagement is, ultimately, about going “above and beyond”. And you can link that to the intent that the employee has to stay and contribute. We are at an 80% favourable engagement score, Asia-Pacific wide, at the moment. And our average tenure is more than ten years – both of these highlight the intent of the employees to stay and contribute to the company’s overall success. We’ve also had very positive growth in this region so there is also a positive correlation between engagement and business results.
What are some successful engagementincreasing strategies or policies that you have adopted at Dow? Respect for people is one of our key values right
Flexible Benefits scheme. Employees get a set of points that they can use on 10 different categories of items that they can co-share payments on with the company. We respect that everyone has different priorities, and those priorities change over time – and we want to encourage ownership as well. So there are no restrictions on what staff use the points for. So a single employee may use all their points on vacation items – flights and hotel bookings, but another who may have young children may choose to use all the points on enrichment classes for their family. This is unlike some organisations that reserve a minimum portion of points for medical and dental benefits only.
A lot of the focus is now on millennial employees – do you have to do something different to keep these workers engaged?
across the globe. We respect people for the differences they bring; and we respect them for having a life outside of Dow. One area where we support and help employees, particularly in Singapore, is our
What the millennials want is very similar to what other generations want. I don’t think they are so unique that we have to treat them very differently. The basic motivation is about being understood, respected, and appreciated, and this is common with the other generations as well. Understanding their perspective, and explaining the “why” we do things a certain way are key. Once you get their buy in, they will go with you when it comes to doing more for the organisation.
The employee experience up close JOIN ROHAYA ROSLEE, Talent Management Leader with Dow Chemical Pacific in Southeast Asia, and more than 15 other senior-level speakers and panellists for the Employee Experience and Engagement
Congress in Singapore next month. Taking place in Singapore on November 28 and 29, this exclusive learning event will offer the latest thinking and best-practice case studies on a
vital area of HR management today. Delegates will hear first-hand from organisations including Breadtalk, Coca-Cola, Redmart, Swiss Re, and Danone. They will each reveal why and how they are constantly seeking to improve their employee experience offer, as well as the measured results of their programmes. For more information, visit www.congress. hrmasia.com.
Is there something more or different that needs to be done to re-engage staff who have “switched off”? Through interactions, one is able to sense whether an employee has disengaged or switched off. One way of bringing them back is to look at it from both sides. What is it that has been removed or added that has resulted in them being disengaged? In most cases, what we see happening is that the team they are in plays a very big part – particularly the leader. One possible starting point is to look at the dynamics of the team and see if something has changed in that space prior to the disengagement.
What does it mean to align the customer experience and the employee experience? What each stakeholder needs from the organisation is often connected, and something that disturbs the employee experience will also affect the end customer. For example, if an employee has to go through multiple levels of approval to get a sale done for an external customer. The employee experience is affected because they may not be able to do as good a job as they hope; and the customer is also impacted.
What new engagement opportunities are made available by changing technologies and mobile communications? At Dow, we have an appreciation platform that every employee has an account with. They can use this to formally recognise others, peers and leaders. There are multiple forms of recognition, from an e-card to much bigger peer awards that are available. That platform has recently gone mobile, which means that recognition can now be a lot more instantaneous. This social technology also allows communities to build; with fellow employees able to “like” or comment on the recognition given.
What are the next steps to continue improving engagement? When it comes to engagement, ultimately it is the ownership involved. If it lies only with HR or with the leaders, it cannot be as effective. It is a shift of mindset where everyone is accountable to make the system work, not only for themselves but for the team and the organisation. OCTOBER 2017
CALENDAR Fourth quarter of 2017
HRM AWARDS 2018 - NOMINATIONS DEADLINE The 15th anniversary HRM Awards is set for March next year, but now is the time to nominate your most inspiring HR-focused teams, leaders, and organisations. Have your say before October 6, and check out the finalists in the December issue of this magazine.
EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGEMENT CONGRESS
The 2nd Annual Employee Experience & Engagement focuses on a holistic range of topics to allow organisations to better engage with their employees, and shift from a “policy developer” framework to one of “experience architect”.
HR FOR SMEs CONGRESS
REINVENTING TOTAL REWARDS CONGRESS
With a changing, more volatile business environment, compensation and benefits experts are altering their approach to employee rewards. The Reinventing Total Rewards Congress will explore new strategies for linking performance management with talent compensation and leveraging on data and analytics in total rewards practice.
The HR for SMEs Congress will focus on understanding how disruption is changing the landscape of HR in SMEs and explore HR trends, initiatives and technologies innovations that drive productivity. Attendees learn how to: design creative and practical talent management strategies in SMEs, transition HR into a more strategic role, and leverage on technological innovations for automation.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS 2017
With today’s disruptive business landscape, building positive leaders and having a strong leadership pipeline are critical for organisations to capitalise on the upcoming opportunities. However only 20% of identified high-potential staff currently end up advancing to higher levels of leadership. With the theme of “Strengthening Leadership Pipeline in the Lean Economy”, the Leadership Development Congress will look at new strategies to identify high potentials and fit them into leadership profiles within the organisation.
HR PEP TALK 52 UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL 53 READER ADVICE 55
MY HR CAREER
“HR professionals should take a page from Aristotle to flex their reflective muscles (and) define what has meaning in their careers”
author and consultant
READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE
MY HR CAREER
TAPPING UNKNOWN POTENTIAL
Singapore-based author and consultant JANE HORAN says HR professionals need to find time for their own reflective career conversations, in order to get the most out of their working lives
or the past five years, there’s been much talk on “finding meaning and purpose” at work. It’s not just millennials seeking purpose; these conversations first started with Aristotle defining the “good life” to find that “meaning” was the common goal of humanity. We may be seeking the same goal, but meaning can only be defined by the individual. Whether you’re just starting in HR or in the upper echelons of HR leadership - who you are and
what you want to be will always be a primary question of reflection.
Finding purpose requires time I’ve observed that HR professionals often do not stop and think about themselves. True to their role – HR – they focus on the development of others for professional growth and business success. The demands of HR leave very little time for self-reflection. Most HR professionals tell me that taking time to reflect on their career goes to the bottom of their to-do lists. Or they wait for their year-end career discussions (which may, or may not happen). Almost every HR leader I’ve known is on a path to pursue goals and longs to find purpose. HR professionals should take a page from Aristotle to flex their reflective muscles, define what has meaning in their careers, and in doing so, help others to do the same.
questions (based on Richard Finnegan’s book The Stay Interview) to uncover what is meaningful at work, and create a career path with purpose. Why do you stay in HR or with your organisation? What do you genuinely like best about your role? Describe what are you learning? What would make leave your work? (This last question can be more challenging than the others but is critical to understand values and engagement.) When I facilitated an off-site with the team of the aforementioned HR leader, I suggested she ask those four questions to her team. She was hesitant to ask her best talent “when have you thought about leaving?” but she did – and it released both untapped team potential and a realignment of work that had previously been leading to disengagement. All four questions reveal strengths, values and motivations in which to do the work you do. Let me also add that “meaning” is unique to the individual, and “purpose” evolves through new experiences and throughout life. In coaching HR leaders, I recommend recalling one’s different roles, tugging out and dusting off the previously forgotten areas of energy, interest and disengagement. Revisiting the past – whether it was good or bad – offers a future perspective.
TAKING THE TIME TO REVIEW YOUR EXPERIENCES PROVIDES INSIGHTS WHICH LEAD TO ACCEPTING BOTH STRENGTHS AND MOTIVATIONS
Career questions you need to ask Instead of looking at what you need to fix, consider what do you do well and what do you truly like about your role. I once asked the Regional HR Head of a luxury brand: “What can you do for hours and hours without realising the time passing?” She soon came up with a long list of words, feelings and insights. From that list, we pulled out successes and achievements, which in turn created a mind-map to visually display areas of energy and engagement. This exercise need not be more than 10 minutes. Taking the time to review your experiences provides insights which lead to accepting both strengths and motivations. The next step is to share the results with a business partner or colleague with experience in the myriad areas of HR. They will verify your conclusions and undoubtedly add more strengths to your visual career map to make it more relevant. Your conversations may transition into a long-term mentoring relationship beneficial to both. HR professionals must move away from asking: “what’s wrong?” to understanding “what’s right”. To do so, I start with four
About the author Jane Horan is an author, speaker, and consultant focused on helping organisations build inclusive work environments and meaningful careers for their people. She has held senior Asia-Pacific management positions at The Walt Disney Company, CNBC, and Kraft Foods, and has an extensive professional background in inclusion, belonging, diversity, and cross-cultural leadership. OCTOBER 2017
MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE
A well-rounded Total Rewards programme ELSA KOH
Head of Compensation and Benefits, Singapore and Malaysia, Coca-Cola Singapore Beverages
EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE establish themselves differently in not only the provision of fundamental compensation and benefits, but also ensuring a well-rounded total rewards programme. A well-rounded total rewards programme plays a large role in attracting, retaining and motivating employees along prevailing market trends. It enables organisations to hire qualified workers with differentiated compensation and benefits plans. This leads to better results, customer service and higher productivity. Below are four insightful considerations for a well-rounded total rewards programme: Health A heathy workforce contributes significantly to
company success and the management of workforce’s medical costs. Engaging, enabling, and energising the workforce with regular health and wellness programmes creates a significant advantage for the company. Regular active and healthy living programmes will boost employee engagement, and forge a healthy work culture. Financial A compensation strategy should also include rewards for employees based on workplace performance. This may include the commonly adopted commission-based system that rewards employees for total amount of sales or recognition rewards for good results. A reward system should be easy for employees to understand and also encourage everyone to work harder. Differentiated Compensation and Benefits It is important to design the financial compensation and benefits package to meet different employees’ needs. When differentiating the compensation
and benefits programmes, it is important to consider fairness as an element, as this is always on the mind of employees. Employers of choice establish differences between themselves and competitors in key benefits, such as life insurance, disability, paid time-off and retirement. Career Other non-financial compensation refers to areas such as career development and advancement opportunities, as well as opportunities for recognition. Retaining quality workers requires a strategic plan for compensation that rewards employees for their loyalty. Compensation based in part on seniority with the company shows new employees that the business values workers who choose to remain with the company longterm.
ASK OUR HR EXPERTS Email your questions to email@example.com
Engaging employees at different journey stages DEEPTHI VISHNUMAHANTI Regional HR Manager, NHST Media Group
THE FOCUS ON AN employee lifecycle has never been stronger. It has become the foundation of the HR department to plan, strategise, and create a strong employer brand. The best way to map out the employee journey is to keep it both simple and workable. Here are four condensed steps that will get you thinking: Attraction The first step is very crucial. It is the first contact a potential employee has with the company, and engagement starts from this level. It is not just about putting up a perfect ad online; the
subsequent steps have equal weightage – the invitation for the interview, the structure of the interview, the number of rounds, and the response time. We are talking about the full, end-toend recruitment process. Transition When we develop an on-boarding process, we often work around orientating and immersing the newcomers in the company culture. The flip side of this process is to understand the differences between the past company and current company. Use the first month to understand the challenges the employee faced in the previous company. With the available information, you will be able to customise the employee experience effectively. Inspiration Once the employee has settled in, the focus should shift to the career path. Some employees want progression while others prefer a stable job. The company has to ensure that none of the
employees fall behind. Customise programmes to keep all staff equally motivated. Separation When an employee leaves the firm, it affects both the employee and the colleagues in their team. So, use the opportunity to gather the reasons behind the separation. What can be done to improve the current team environment? How can we keep the team committed? It is important to note that engagement does not end with the exit. In fact, it can become challenging as the employee is free to share their experience with others. You can use online communities, social media, and alumni networks to stay connected and continue creating positive engagement. All the above stages are intertwined and should be used to gather insights to work on improving the employee journey continuously.
MY HR CAREER FEATURE HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP HR PEP TALK READER ADVICE
Senior HR Manager Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong and Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong
ho is Cheryl Lye? How would you describe yourself?
I’m a Senior HR Manager for Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong and Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong. I would describe myself as someone who is energetic, and one who appreciates spontaneity and adventure.
Complete this sentence. HR is… about helping people and organisations grow.
What are the best parts of your job? I find it tremendously rewarding to see talents whom I’ve worked closely with thrive in their careers. There’s a great sense of job fulfilment knowing that you have made an impact, no matter how big or small, on someone else’s job fulfilment, career aspirations, and livelihood.
What’s the worst part? Having to dismiss or terminate someone for various reasons, especially employees who are good performers but in a moment of folly committed a wrongdoing.
WHY DID YOU GO INTO HR?
DIGITAL IMAGING BY MUHAMAD AZLIN
You can say my path into HR was not planned for. I graduated with a degree in science and maths, and actually started off my career in banking
What would you be doing if you were not in HR? If I wasn’t in HR, I would probably set up my own business, preferably in food and beverage. In having my own business, I know that every action I take truly has a direct impact on the outcome of the business and the people in the team. When you’re an employee, there are still limitations. When you’re running your company, everything you do has risks involved, and this suits the risk-taker in me.
That must have been a risky move?
How do you unwind after work?
Yes it was. But I’m quite a risk-taker, and HR is something that really matches my personality and my passion for people.
I unwind by listening to music on my commute home, playing with my dog – who I treat as my son – and reading a book by my balcony at night when the dog has fallen asleep.
What else are you passionate about? I am passionate about travelling. It allows me to expand my perspective of the world. I like discovering new people, places and cultures, and of course, fabulous new food!
What book are you reading right now? I am currently reading How to Win Friends and Influence Others by Dale Carnegie. I believe it will help me in my present role. OCTOBER 2017
MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE
Demystifying OD for everyone EVEN AS DISRUPTIONS and new market trends continue to emerge, it seems organisational development (OD) practitioners only have to grasp one key piece of advice: that it is intuition, and not knowledge, that renders their interventions effective. This was the consensus reached by a panel of seasoned OD and HR practitioners at HRM Asia’s recent Organisational Development Innovation Congress 2017. While the conceptualisation stage of an OD input used to be key, Raghu Ram, Head of HR, Global Specialties and Asia Talent Lead of Shell, shared how the actual application process is where OD specialists can now truly impact their businesses. “Just as with any function, there is the conceptual knowledge base. OD is all about behavioural transformation, and originates from behavioural sciences,” says Ram. “But the application side is most interesting, and that’s why OD practitioners
can really make a difference,” he says. More importantly, however, Ram emphasised the need for specialists to develop their own frameworks and models, rather than simply relying on existing ones. He warns that here in Asia, in particular, not enough research has been carried out in this field. “I do believe OD is losing its edge. It’s all western models. We haven’t seen new ones in decades and that’s where we – the practitioners – can design our own models,” says Ram. “You do not always have to carry the burden that you should be a theory expert or a PhD holder in OD,” Ram says. Meghna Shukla, General Manager Talent and OD – Asia, Middle East and Africa at New Zealand dairy co-operative Fonterra, also believes that being “allknowing” should not be the top concern of practitioners. Instead, they should focus on
At The Scene with... What brought you to the Organisational Development Innovation Congress today? I wanted to learn more about organisational development with specific regards to leadership development and training, and how leaders can grow their capabilities and capacities to effect change at the organisational level.
Which sessions in particular did you find useful? I take care of HR for the regional office for one of the business domains in DHL, namely Global Forwarding. I also oversee the HR functions in Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia.
Which sessions in particular did you find useful? HRM ASIA.COM
JIVARANI GOVINDARAJOO Assistant Director, Research SAFTI Military Institute
started on a very good note, especially the panel discussion about reigniting the fire of the organisational development profession. I think it was a very good opportunity for the attendees to understand more about what innovative organisational development is all about, especially in the current business landscape.
What was the biggest takeaway from the panel discussion? The panel gave us a very good overview
I think the conference
understanding the market landscape and competitors, and their own workforces. “Don’t rush into acquiring the knowledge first. It limits your view,” says Shukla. “First understand your business’ context, then start looking at the models that are out there.” But the main lesson, she says, is not to just blindly apply an existing model, but rather to be “intuitive” practitioners. At Fonterra, major transformations have been taking place, and Shukla’s team has had to exercise careful judgement in which elements to incorporate. “We looked at introducing the gig economy, gamification in the learning space, and automation. But we examined whether to apply such things across the board, and the answer was ‘no’,” she says. “So being a smart business thinker and then applying OD is absolutely the key.”
and deep insights into some of the latest developments and challenges, as well as what are some of the potential applications of organisational development in the real world. I did raise a question to the panelists about what were the different aspects of organisational development today, and to my surprise, as much as we’re looking at the practical application, there’s also the conceptual part of it. As much as we expect leaders and people in the organisation to apply organisational development models and effect change, we also should know a considerable amount of theory for us to be able to contextualise our understanding with the organisation.
MY HR CAREER
I FIRST STARTED my career in marketing, but have now had eight years in my current HR role and am ready to declare that this is the profession for me much longer-term. Is there any one best piece of advice that helped guide you in to the senior stages of your career?
I’d recommend a few areas to consider. HR is not the same as it was five years ago; many areas have now evolved into recognised areas of specialisation, from analytics or benefits, to mergers and acquisitions. Which parts of HR do you most enjoy? Why? Which areas do you likely need to develop? Some believe HR’s future is in data, with highly specialised roles of Data Scientist and Predictive Analyst. As you progress in HR, understanding the value of data will be absolutely critical. Do not ignore it. Next, I’d recommend building a diverse network: find a mentor, someone overlapping HR and the business. A network provides ongoing career and business advice to keep you honest, and updated on trends and the industry. Build your consulting and coaching skills. The future is about information – not only through vast amounts of data – but in the ability to provide informed and measurable HR counsel. As you move up the organisation, your ability to coach executives, ask great questions, offer advice, and listen will serve you well.
Once you have the fundamental skills and you’re doing well in your role, and you’re enjoying the people you are working with and the value you are delivering – the next stage of your career will require a mentor. Find people that can guide you, help you grow, challenge you , and give you honest feedback. It will also be about looking at how you continue to grow yourself; taking on broader roles, new challenges, and volunteering if necessary for different project teams. And the third part is: How do you start to give back? If you’ve been in HR for eight years and come from a marketing background, you probably have a different mindset and approach to more traditional HR people, many of whom are still internallyfocused and process-orientated. Is there some value you can add to help more HR people be more business minded, be more outward-looking, and get better at promoting HR services and capabilities within the organisation?
Author, speaker, and HR consultant
LAURENCE SMITH Head of Asia Smartup.io
FEATURE HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP HR PEP TALK READER ADVICE
Is your HR career progressing as you’d planned? Obstacles and barriers come in all shapes and sizes, but seasoned advice is never far away. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to anonymously connect with HRM Asia’s team of career advisors.
I AM SET to be made redundant in the New Year as my company moves to outsource its HR services. I am looking at it as an opportunity to find work that is more strategic than my current, more-administrative role. Do you have any advice for taking best advantage of this?
You now have a great opportunity to take a deep breath, step back, and think about your next steps. Use the time to do some serious soulsearching on what you want to do next. Let’s start with this question: what makes for a great day in strategic HR? Think on what you enjoyed and what you just tolerated about an administrative or transactional HR role. What kept you engaged, and what would you steer clear of in your next role? Armed with new insights, start mapping the industry and organisations and industries that likely value strategic HR professionals. Build your own advisory board. Looking for a job can be lonely, so get a network of advisors, former bosses, ex-colleagues, and one or two natural connectors – there’s always someone who knows someone. Build your network of advisors and you may also find referrals for strategic HR positions. Do more homework and “interview” strategic HR professionals, functional and business leaders to learn from their experiences. As much as this is an opportunity, it takes time and dedication, so your network provides support, energy, and balance. Good luck and let me know how you fare!
This is a situation a lot of us will face in the years to come, either through outsourcing or through artificial intelligence (AI) replacing jobs that are administrative in nature. Anything that is routine and rules-based can – and probably should – be automated. I love the positive spirit in which you’re taking this. I think this is an opportunity to learn and reinvent yourself. The last thing you want to do is move into a similar job in HR, and be outsourced or automated 18 months later. I’d actually recommend taking some personality assessments and thinking deeply about what you’re best at, and what you love doing. And also spending some time to learn about the digital world and AI in particular. Find an area where human discretion, judgement, empathy, and pattern recognition creates real value, and hopefully you’ll find some alignment between what you love doing and the jobs that will be future-proof. Within HR, I can see opportunities for people who have empathy, can build relationships, can strategise and conceive new solutions and innovations, and can manage and inspire teams. Take this opportunity to understand what you love, but also where business and organisations are going.
Jane Horan OCTOBER 2017
Laurence Smith HRM ASIA.COM
• One of the largest IT services organizations • Growth and Development Opportunities • Dynamic Culture and Attractive Employee Welfare Our client is one of the world’s largest IT services organization has pride itself as the global market leader among various industries. With plans to further develop in Asia, they are looking for a Talent Acquisition Specialist to support this growth within Singapore. The individual will be responsible for managing the entire talent acquisition life cycle which includes sourcing, screening, selection and on boarding the best talents for the organization. You will also be involved in passive headhunting, talent pipelining, talent attraction and employer branding initiatives such as campus recruitment activities. The successful candidate will come with 3 years of experience of core talent acquisition experience preferably from external recruitment agencies, proven track record of strong candidate attraction and management. You will be comfortable operating in a matrix organization, have a can-do attitude and embrace technology. Reference number: CC/JD499798 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)
Learning & Development, Senior Manager
Director, HR Total Rewards (Asia)
• Newly created opportunity • Develop and execute Learning and Development strategies and initiatives • Global exposure
• Established Manufacturing MNC • Optimize and integrate Total Rewards strategies for the region • Strong employer branding with global mobility opportunities
One of the world’s leading operator in the maritime industry is currently seeking to hire an experienced HR professional to lead the training arm of the organization, to develop and execute learning and development strategies and initiatives.
Our client is an esteemed Manufacturing MNC and prides itself as a global market leader in its field. They are currently seeking an experienced Total Rewards professional to set up the Compensation and Benefits CoE in Asia.
In this role, you will partner the HR team and key business stakeholders in the Organizational Development and Effectiveness agenda. You will be responsible for managing the learning and competency frameworks, develop and propose training plans, manage training calendars and budget, measure and review training effectiveness to achieve current and future business needs. The successful candidate will have demonstrated a strong track record of organizational development and management training, are familiar with training concepts and techniques, and have strong stakeholder management skills.
Reference number: CC/JD499799 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)
In this role, you will partner closely with HR Business Partners, other CoEs, and senior business leaders to ensure a robust Compensation and Benefits structure across the business for the region. As part of the People Strategy team, you will gather and analyze workforce information, trends and benchmarking data that will identify Total Rewards issues and areas for improvement. You will review, integrate and develop compensation programmes for the region such as compensation reviews, job evaluations, salary benchmarking and benefits review. The successful candidate will have demonstrated a strong track record around compensation and benefits strategies, has strong analytical skills, is process-driven and has strong communications skills. Reference number: CC/JD484284 Contact person: Celestine Chia (Registration Number R1442191)
Your Human Resources recruitment specialists To apply, please go to astoncarter.com and search for the respective reference number. For a confidential discussion, you can contact the relevant consultant for the specific position in our Singapore Office on +65 6511 8555. Aston Carter (formerly Talent2) is an operating company of Allegis Group, the global leader in talent solutions. linkedin.com/company/aston-carter
Allegis Group Singapore Pte Ltd Company No. 200909448N EA Licence No. 10C4544
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Opportunities for Life
RGF HR Agent Singapore Pte Ltd EA Licence No. 10C2978
HR Development Manager
Regional Recruiter • Oil & Gas focus • Central location
• Key member of Group HR function • Leadership role managing 1-2 L&D specialists
A fantastic opportunity has arisen within a well-known player in the oil & gas industry that is hiring a Recruiter for their Asia Pacific office.
Our client, a technology company that provides global solutions is hiring a key team player to join the Group HR team.
You are responsible for end-to-end recruitment pertaining to the company’s various ongoing and new projects. In this exciting role, you will be engaged on a dayto-day basis with relevant staffing matters, monitor cost effectiveness of existing staffing plans/channels and recommend well thought-out, fact-based solutions to meet strategic recruiting objectives. You will work closely with the HQ Recruitment team on the requirements for hiring. This start-up role requires you to handle large volume of open positions from Singapore.
You will support global leadership, commercial and behavioral development initiatives by working closely with each business units and key senior stakeholders. You will lead the development of a comprehensive leadership development project; manage full spectrum training cycle; embed company’s core competencies into development plans and individual objective setting; deploy career reviews; plan and implement people development and engagement initiatives such as training needs analysis, workshops, feedback sessions and team building. You will also manage Government claims and grants.
You will be an experienced and independent recruitment specialist with over 5 years experience from an in-house or search background within the oil & gas sector. You should be able to plan, develop, manage pipeline and is familiar with direct sourcing and working with vendors. Experience using ATS like IBM Kenexa Brassring would be a plus.
You will have a Degree in Business, preferable in HRD with minimum 6 years HRD experience including 2-3 years in a team supervisory role. You will be experienced in designing, implementing and evaluating leadership development initiatives; employee engagement strategic deployments, lead organizational transformation and consulting. Accreditation in technical training will be advantageous.
To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at email@example.com or Audrey Chong at firstname.lastname@example.org
To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at email@example.com or Audrey Chong at firstname.lastname@example.org
EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467 & R1105147
EA Personnel Registration No. R1105976 & R1105147
RGF is the global brand of Recruit Holdings, the world’s fourth largest HR and recruitment services company and the largest in Japan, generating over US$14 million annual net sales in annual revenue. For more than 56 years, RGF provides comprehensive HR and talent acquisition services which include retained and contingency executive recruitment and market mapping, senior to staff level specialist and contract recruitment as well as payroll services. RGF operates in more than 48 locations across 27 cities in 11 countries and markets in Asia with in-country specialist consultants. Best Recruitment Firm in Accounting, Banking, Finance; The Executive Search Company of the Year; The HR Recruitment Company of the Year; Best Recruitment Firm, Non-Management Roles and Best Recruitment Firm, RPO. HRM ASIA, RI ASIA, Human Resources magazine www.rgf-hr.com.sg
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www.kerryconsulting.com | Returning the Human to Resourcing
Headquartered in Singapore since 2003, Kerry Consulting is Singapore’s leading Search & Selection firm. Our consulting team is the most experienced, and amongst the largest, in the ASEAN region. Senior Manager, Leadership & Talent Development
• Newly created Headcount • Dynamic work environment • Strong growth potential
• Fast growing MNC • Leadership & Talent Development & Management • SEA Region
This is a reputable financial services organisation which is looking to expand its presence and needs a strong HR Manager for the Singapore office.
Our client is a leading European multi-national and is expanding rapidly within the FMCG industry. They are recruiting for a high calibre who has a strong background in Leadership and Talent Development to join their HR team in Singapore. Reporting to the Regional HR Director, you will play a key role to establish and build the talent management framework for the region. A hands-on mind-set and approached is required for this position.
This critical role will be instrumental in aligning and executing the HR strategy, core processes, and activities in the region. This person will be expected to set up, manage and continuously enhance HR functions, come up with solutions and take the company to greater heights. The role requires a high performance business partner with the gravitas to liaise with senior leaders in order to deliver efficient and quality HR services. This role also need to lead the integration of complex business factors to build talent capability, develop leaders and succession plans and drive change efforts. The person should have a good mix of strategic and operational experience within progressive and complex multinational environments. It's a pacey environment so we are seeking people with dynamism and the desire to work in an intense and demanding environment. Prior work experience in financial services industry is highly preferred. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at email@example.com, quoting the job title and reference number FT12539. Due to high volume of responses, only shortlisted candidates are notified. Reg No.: R1104310
Country Head of HR, Myanmar • Fortune 500 US MNC • Country HR Leadership role • Growing business This is a leading energy company with an established global footprint and aggressive expansion plan. In particular, Myanmar is developing rapidly in the region making it a significant market of strategic importance. We are delighted to be working with one of our clients to help appoint their Country Head of HR to be based in Yangon, Myanmar. Reporting directly to the Country MD and APAC HR Director based in Singapore, this role will manage a small team and be responsible for all aspects of human resources business partnering for several business units covering areas such as performance management, organization development, rewards, talent selection & management, HR Processes, and strategic business planning. This role has wide exposure throughout the organization and will play a key role in support the Country MD’s commercial strategy and actively participate in senior leadership decision making, develop a robust learning & development agenda, lead change management initiatives, and create an innovative and commercially focused HR team.
You will partner regional senior leadership team in building organizational bench strength and driving the division’s talent management and organization effectiveness initiatives and work streams. This includes driving core people processes and programs through Talent Review, Performance Management, Talent Development and Engagement. Map the competency model to the organizational development needs and determine areas, which need to be created to support the on-going developmental needs. Collaborate with GMs and senior leadership team on curriculum design and development planning for corporate employees. Leverage on the group resources for leadership development and talent development initiatives. Manage the executive coaching program. Deliver in-house training programs, particularly in the Leadership Development areas to support the on-going leadership development for all markets. Co-create program design of the curriculum, both for classroom learning and digital learning. Foster a learning culture and driving talent reviews. Ideally, you will be an experienced HR professional who has at least 15 years of experience in Leadership and Talent Management. You would be keen to work in a start-up environment and has a mind-set to work with a fluid environment. You would have the commercial acumen and the ability to influence business stakeholders. Experience in aggregating psychometric tools and assessments will be critical. E.g. Hogan, MBTI etc. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting the job title and the reference number of JS12656. We regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Reg No: 1107886
Country HR Manager (FMCG Industry) • FMCG Industry • HR Generalist • Experienced in HRBP and Mobility Our client is a renowned FMCG leader and there is now an opportunity for a high calibre HR professional to join them as a Country HR Manager. Reporting directly to the Head of HR, you will be responsible for all aspects of human resources business partnering for several business units covering areas such as performance management, organization development, rewards, mobility, talent selection & management, HR Processes, and strategic business planning. The role is key to continue to align people practices and whilst driving key HR initiatives in Singapore. Drive the creation, execution & alignment of the People Strategies & Plans to optimize the contribution of employees to the business needs.
You are degree qualified with at least 15 years+ of relevant experience in blue chip MNCs. You must be able to build rapport across all levels and markets, demonstrate strong leadership abilities, and display a partnering mentality.
You will be degree or post graduate qualified in Human Resource with at least 10 years’ relevant HR experience. You will have strong stakeholder management capability and must have worked directly with senior business leaders as a business partner. Excellent influencing skills with strong adaptability are key to work in an extremely fast paced environment. Preferably, you would have worked in FMCG or Health & Life Science industries.
To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at email@example.com, quoting the job title and reference number FT13343. We regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted.
To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting the job title and reference number JS12631. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates are notified.
Reg No.: R1104310
Reg No: 1107886
Licence No: 03C4828
HR Manager - Financial Services Industry
The fine art of office humour B Y K E LV I N O N G
PICTURE THIS SCENARIO. You are in a meeting, and two of your team members are not seeing eye-to-eye. The tension is palpable and growing by the minute. One of them makes a slight at the other and you can already see the dissention splitting up the lunch group. You know this is not going to end well for you, because you like both of them and don’t want to have to pick sides. It just goes against your peace-loving nature. At this point, you make a split second decision on going “all-in” to diffuse the tension. So you blurt out: “Alright, and the winner is Lim!” Silence. You feel a fever coming. Why is no one reacting? Finally, confusion. And then a chuckle. Phew. Nothing is settled yet, but at least the two warring coworkers understand your intention and the mood in the room instantly lightens. This little story shows how humour can be used as an important conflict remediation tactic. We’ve all had a boss who delivers bad news deadpan (the punchline-less kind), and another who somehow makes every negative update tolerable because of their charmingly amusing articulation. The message is still the same, but the person with the lolzy delivery gets the last laugh when everyone melts to their bidding. Cue: evil laughter. Just in case you’re wondering, I didn’t make this stuff up. A Robert Half survey found that professionals tend to believe colleagues with a good sense of humour are also better performers. Behavioural experts have also long agreed on the benefits of workplace humour, and here are six vital ones (because listicles make me feel relevant), based on their findings. 1. Draws attention to your message 2. Gets people to listen 3. Makes your argument more persuasive 4. Diffuses tension and conflict 5. Helps workers to bond 6. Breaks down barriers But as useful as humour is, there’s a fine line to walk when cracking jokes at the workplace. Too soft and it ends up flatlining, achieving the opposite of the intended effect. Too biting and you might find yourself in a meeting with the HR leader (or yourself) after.
It’s a trade secret among comedians, but being funny tends to only come with lots of practice. Fortunately, there is an art to it, so you too, can get others rolling on the floor laughing, or “ROFLing” as the internet people say. Think about it, there are many sub-genres of comedy. Satire, slapstick, sardonic...the list goes on. And depending on your office culture, one of these is bound to make at least one person laugh every time... although perhaps out of pity. Or, you could simply use generic lines that apply in many situations, such as my personal favourite: “that’s what she said” – no one knows why it gets the giggles, but it does. I personally love a dry one-liner (sarcasm is an HRM Asia specialty), but
I can also appreciate the fact that it doesn’t always land well. Of course, not everyone should try having a go at their co-worker (especially if no one has ever found you funny, not even your mother), but if you still insist on doing it, here’s the first rule of comedy: Be funny. Who knows? If you succeed at mastering office farce, you could become the next viral stand-up sensation. But before I end this elegant prose, here’s an HR-specific joke: “I thought I wanted a career. It turns out I just wanted pay cheques.” Didn’t laugh? That’s OK. It wasn’t mine anyway. email@example.com
Published on Oct 13, 2017
Published on Oct 13, 2017
How is HR taking a holistic approach to employee wellbeing and ensuring its workforce stays engaged, both physically and mentally? HRM Magaz...