Page 1

www.hrmasia.com

SEPTEMBER 2017

FIGHTING BACK AGAINST HARASSMENT PROCTER & GAMBLE’S “SECRET SAUCE” MICROCHIPPING: BRILLIANT OR ABSURD?

NEED FOR

SPEED Price inc. GST $9.95

Amazon Web Services’ Nick Walton on why agility is the name of the game


EDITOR’S NOTE

Dear HRM Magazine readers,

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Paul Howell EDITOR

Sham Majid SENIOR JOURNALIST

Kelvin Ong JOURNALIST

Yamini Chinnuswamy PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATOR

Ezzaty Nazurah Zainal SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Muhamad Azlin Ismail GRAPHIC DESIGNER

John Paul Lozano ACCOUNT MANAGERS

Edwin Lim Kelly Koh MARKETING MANAGER

Jenilyn Rabino EXECUTIVE GENERAL MANAGER

Joanna Bush PHOTOGRAPHER

Ted Chen

tedchenphoto.com PRINTED BY

Times Printers Pte Ltd PUBLISHED BY

Proudly owned by Diversified Group of Companies

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

H

RM Asia recently had the pleasure of hosting Patrick Tay, the Assistant Secretary General of Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress, for an afternoon discussion. Tay had volunteered time from his extremely busy, multiple hat-wearing schedule to brief our editorial team about efforts to restructure the Singaporean workforce in light of today’s disruptive and dynamic world of work. One major theme was the fact that professionals, managers, and executives are now among the occupational groups most likely to be displaced from their jobs. Tay says blue-collar workers – initially deemed to be the biggest casualty of the new working order – are by contrast coping better than expected, and even usurping their white-collar counterparts. This is because blue-collar employees have been nimble enough to shift quickly from one industry to another, and take better advantage of new opportunities. Meanwhile, white-collar workers are proving more reticent to change, and hence, are struggling to keep up in today’s turbulent times. Why then, the inertia from whitecollar employees? Despite seemingly boasting highervalue skills, why are these professionals not as adept when it comes to navigating

today’s tech-driven and complex era of work? While there is no definite answer to this conundrum, my take is that it all boils down to having an open mind. Employees of all different coloured collars need to keep an open mind about their career trajectories and stay curious and hungry at all times to ride onto the next crest of the professional wave. Employers – and HR teams – should do their part too. This entails constantly scouring for learning and development opportunities for staff, and ensuring they are imbued with the ideal hardware and software to thrive. As Tay enthusiastically alluded to during his briefing, this requires the “tripartite” efforts from all stakeholders: employees, employers, and the government. As a good first start, let’s make sure we rid ourselves of any inertia that we’re still holding onto. 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: info@hrmasia.com.sg

MEET THE TEAM

©HRM Asia Pte Ltd, 2017. All rights reserved. Republication permitted only with the approval of the Editorial Director.

PAUL HOWELL

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

Editorial Director paul.howell@hrmasia.com.sg

SHAM MAJID

Editor sham@hrmasia.com.sg

KELVIN ONG

Senior Journalist kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

SEPTEMBER 2017

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

HRM ASIA.COM

01


CONTENTS

SEPTEMBER 2017

ON THE COVER

12

NEED FOR SPEED

Just like its parent firm, speed, tenacity and intellectual minds are powering Amazon Web Services’ charge as the market leader in the cloud computing industry. Nick Walton, Head of Southeast Asia, shares the progress with HRM Magazine

“I’ve always been involved in technology and I’ve been really passionate about it. I love seeing how technology can change and improve people’s lives, and how it can help businesses grow and innovate” – NICK WALTON

F E AT U R E S

18 BIG BAD BULLIES

Workplace tyrants don’t just bring down the mood across an office. If left unchecked, they also threaten company productivity. As HRM Magazine discovers, harassment from leadership or anywhere in the organisation is an issue HR needs to tread decisively on

25 HR IN THE AGE OF TECHNOLOGY

HR technology has come a long way in the last few years, as HR professionals demand user-friendly tools that provide great insight into their workforces. HRM Magazine considers some of the latest and future developments

28 BUILDING FROM WITHIN

As one of the largest organisations globally, Procter & Gamble has carved an employer brand as strong as its dominance in the world of consumer goods. Vinitaa Jayson, Vice President of HR for Asia, says the secret to this popularity among jobseekers lies in its preference for internal promotions

02

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

18

34 THE MICROCHIPPED WORKFORCE Ben Whitter, founder of the World Employee Experience Institute, shares why an implant is not quite what he has in mind when it comes to employee experience


WANT TO GET CONNECTED? Get in touch with us here

instagram.com/hrmasia/

linkedin.com/company/hrmasia

facebook.com/HRMAsiaMag

38 HASHTAG RECRUITMENT

Recruitment experts have always been quick to adopt new channels for connecting with candidates. The latest campaigns over social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram show just how far the profession has come

43 THAT REWARDING BALANCE

Rob Gosney, Head of Rewards – Growth Markets at Philips Lighting says uncertain times call for a new look at the types of rewards that organisations offer their staff, and the mix between short and long-term incentives

46 CHAMPIONING CHANGE

HRM Magazine’s second interactive Think Tank event urged the HR profession to be a proactive “champion for change” as business in Asia-Pacific experiences disruption and upheaval

50

REGULARS 04 06 10 23 60

28

BEST OF HRMASIA.COM NEWS LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP INFOGRAPHIC TWO CENTS

MY HR CAREER IN A CHANGING 50 LEARNING LANDSCAPES

Lynne Barry, Global Head of Learning and Development at Telstra, shares how HR professionals can learn and develop the skills needed in an era of change

34

52 52 53 54 56 57

HR CLINIC HR PEP TALK UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP READER ADVICE EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

03


BEST OF HRMASIA.COM

What’s on

.com Watch - HR in Focus

Audrey Ang, Narasimhan SL, and Sham Majid discuss America’s first microchipped workforce, the Returner Work Trial scheme in Singapore, and Japan’s efforts to tackle karoshi – or “death by overwork”.

Your Say

Last month, we asked: How do you drive innovation within your organisation? This is your response.

Having collaborative workspaces

18

Conducting internal hackathons

5

Thanks

A special thank-you to all of the entrants in our bulletin codeword competition, held in July. And congratulations to Keri Yong, HR Advisor to Nikko Asset Management, who scooped the prize. She will be taking part in the exclusive Smart Workforce masterclass session, facilitated by HR mastermind Dave Ulrich (pictured). Still celebrated as the “Father of Modern HR”, Ulrich will also be delivering the keynote presentation to Smart Workforce Summit, which will be held in Singapore from September 19 to 22. With all new research material that reflects the fast-changing and volatile business environment that HR now finds itself in, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity. For more information, or to book your seat, head to: smartworkforcesummit. hrmasia.com

23

%

7

%

%

HRM ASIA.COM

%

%

SEPTEMBER 2017

Setting aside time for Design Thinking

14 33

%

04

Helping staff engage in independent projects

All of the above

Others


Share - From the HRM Asia Forums

“ATTRACTING TALENT IS EASIER IF YOU CAN OFFER THEM THE CHANCE TO MOVE ELSEWHERE – ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THE ROLE THEY ARE ORIGINALLY HIRED FOR, OF COURSE”

Watch - How MediaCom’s HR team elevates the business

Sonia Fernandes, Regional Chief Talent Officer, Mediacom, shares how her team has become a key part of all major business deals. “The optimisation of human capital can sometimes define how we deploy all other forms of capital,” she says.

Ben Roberts of Publicis Communications, shares why it is important to keep an organisation’s best staff mobile

A

cademic papers are often inaccessible in their language and thickness, and are therefore not often referred to by the HR community”

Stephane Michaud says academics need to do more to share their findings with HR and business leaders

“If you start engaging talent on the wrong note, your chances of retaining them is probably close to zero” Sam Neo of Changi Airport Group, says an effective onboarding programme is vital for later talent retention

Your Say

In August, we asked: Would you consider microchipping your staff? This is your overwhelming response.

YES!

NO!

16% 84% Subscribe

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/subscribe, and remember to stay updated throughout the week by checking into www.hrmasia.com. SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

05


NEWS ASIA

BIHAR, INDIA

“WHAT’S YOUR VIRGINITY STATUS?” A GOVERNMENT-RUN hospital in the city of Patna wants its workers to declare their virginity in a marital status declaration form. The Times of India has reported that the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Science also asks employees about the number of wives they have, and details about the past marriages of their spouses. Employees have to specify whether they are “married to a

person who has no other wife living”, “married to a person who has another wife living,” or “married and have more than one wife”. The hospital’s Medical Superintendent Manish Mandal, however, told media the form was anything but bizarre. “The form is according to prescribed rules, which are made by the government and Constitution. If they change the words, we will change it,” said Mandal.

SINGAPORE

KEEP CALM AND RETURN TO WORK THE NATIONAL TRADE UNION CONGRESS

(NTUC) has initiated a programme to assist long-term unemployed professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to reintegrate into the work force. The Returner Work Trial scheme will be a key feature of NTUC’s Returners programme. The scheme helps PMETs who have been unemployed for at least two years to find short-term contracts of up to six months. Under the scheme, “returners” will receive a minimum training allowance of S$2,500 per month, to be co-contributed by statutory board Workforce Singapore and their respective employers. During the contract period, employers can assess the returner’s suitability and fit for a fulltime job, before choosing to offer permanent or longer term contract positions. Companies who choose to do so will receive a one-time bonus of S$3,000. Applications for the scheme began from the start of September this year.

06

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

SINGAPORE

CABIN CREW SELF-GROUNDED A SINGAPORE AIRLINES initiative to allow voluntary unpaid leave has been enthusiastically taken up, perhaps more-so than the company had bargained. Over 400 cabin crew had applied for the leave, with requested durations ranging from five days to one month, within 24 hours of

the offer being made on August 4. The airline is hoping to address a “temporary crew surplus situation” with the programme that will last for three months from September 1. The last time Singapore’s flagship carrier requested its cabin crew to take unpaid leave was in 2009, after the global financial crisis.


TOKYO, JAPAN

NEW RULES TO TACKLE SUICIDES THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT has approved a five-year plan to curtail excessive working hours in a bid to reduce the number of work-related suicides. Declaring the situation as “a state of emergency�, the government hopes the new guidelines, to be reviewed every five years, will reduce the number of suicides from the current 18.5 per 100,000 individuals by more than a third by 2025. Having identified outrageous overtime hours as the leading cause of suicides,

authorities are seeking to crack down on organisations violating the overtime limits. In Japan, authorities rule such deaths as karoshi, which translates to death from being overworked. In addition to lowering overtime hours, the new guidelines also aim to improve working conditions by addressing harassment and promoting mental health. Japan has the highest suicide rate among the Group of Seven advanced countries.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA

PUBLIC SECTOR STAFF HEAD TO COURT PUBLIC-SECTOR EMPLOYEES

have lodged about 2,500 lawsuits against government ministries and departments at the Court of Grievances, the Ministry of Civil Service has revealed. The ministry did not disclose the basis of the cases or the

verdicts, but revealed that they included 335 lawsuits against itself from a number of its staff. The ministry said it was encountering obstacles filling vacant medical and academic positions in remote areas, as applicants were avoiding such far-flung locations.

HONG KONG

AN EXTRA BUNDLE OF JOY GLOBAL LAW FIRM DLA Piper

has extended its maternity leave allowance to 18 weeks, while doubling paternity leave to 10 days, both with full pay. Adopting parents will also be offered the same benefits available to birth parents. DLA Piper has also introduced a Maternity Coaching Programme to new parents, offering support and assistance prior, during, and after parental leave. This aims to ensure new parents will have a successful

transition when returning to the workplace. The move is said to take DLA Piper to the forefront of parental leave policy among Hong Kong employers, offering a longer leave period than the current market standard and what is legally required. At present, new mothers are legally entitled to only 10 weeks of paid maternity leave, while new fathers have a statutory benefit of three days of paid paternity leave.

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

07


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

SAN FRANCISCO, US

GOOGLE’S DIVERSITY WOES TECHNOLOGY TITAN Google has been embroiled in controversy thanks to an employee’s anti-diversity document spreading on to the internet. Engineer James Damore criticised Google’s diversity policies, arguing that the shortage of women within the company and the overall technology industry was due to “biological differences”. Damore also called for greater support within the company for those espousing conservative politics.

Google was quick to distance itself from Damore’s views. CEO Sundar Pichai sent out his own internal memo condemning the note as “[violating] our Code of Conduct and crossing the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”. Soon after, Damore was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”. This recent incident comes as Google fights off accusations from the US government alleging systemic discrimination against women at the company.

LONDON, UK

BBC WOMEN DEMAND EQUALITY THE BBC’S TOP female stars have called for the broadcaster to shatter

its glass ceilings. According to the corporation’s latest annual report, its highest paid male star, Chris Evans, earns more than four times as much as its highest paid female star, Claudia Winkleman, with earnings in 2016 of about £2 million (S$3.54 million) and £500,000 (S$885,000) respectively. More than 40 of the broadcaster’s highest-profile women have signed an open letter demanding greater pay equality between the genders. “The pay details released in the annual report showed what many of us have suspected for many years… that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work,” the letter reads. The BBC’s director-general, Tony Hall, says the corporation is already working to rectify the issue.

08

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

WASHINGTON DC, US

GREEN CARD REFORM AMERICAN’S INFAMOUS Green Card

lottery may soon be a thing of the past, if a proposed immigration bill becomes law. The Reformining American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, which has US president Donald Trump’s support, seeks to slash green card numbers issued each year from one million to 500,000 over the next decade. The reduction would be accomplished by replacing the long-standing family-based immigration system with a “meritbased” points system. Young, highly-skilled applications who are fluent in English, and financially independent, are expected to flourish in the proposed new system. However, with significant resistance mounted by immigrants’ right activists, opposition Democrats, and even some Republicans, the legislature is not expected to pass without considerable changes.


BRAZIL

UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS 14 MILLION PEOPLE – mostly

young workers – have been left unemployed by Brazil’s worst recession on record. More than a quarter of all Brazilians aged 18 to 24 were unemployed in the first quarter of this year, despite many holding more formal education their parents. Nearly 3 million jobs were lost

over the last two years, ending early this year when job creation appeared to resume. However, recent government figures have shown that these opportunities are largely in the “informal” economy, with Brazillians turning to side gigs like Uber driving or selling homemade snacks to pay the bills.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA

SCIENCE JOB CUTS RUSSIA WILL BE axing thousands

of science jobs from the country’s universities. The redundancy plans were announced by the federal government last year, but suspended in hopes of an economic recovery. With said recovery failing to materialise, it has been reported that up to 8,300 workers will now lose their jobs by 2020. The Russian government has already approved funding cuts to research and development, and infrastructure.

ERFURT, GERMANY

NO SPYING ON STAFF GERMANY’S HIGHEST labour court has ruled that the use of keylogging

software to spy on employees is a violation of personal rights. This comes after a company used evidence from keystroke-tracking software to accuse an employee of working for the competition, before firing him the same day. In the subsequent lawsuit, initiated by the terminated worker, judges in the Federal Labour Court ruled that the use of such spying software against employees was unlawful. However, they did note there may be a case for surveillance if there was good reason to suspect criminal wrongdoing.

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

09


LEADERS ON LEADERSHIP

HOW CAN ESTABLISHED ORGANISATIONS ADJUST THEIR EMPLOYER BRANDS TO ATTRACT YOUNGER RECRUITS?

CHRIS KERSHAW Managing Director for Global Markets, Peak Re

TO ATTRACT young talents, as an established organisation, we have to first acknowledge that the career aspirations of young people today are very different from in the past. These days, they are looking for a more mobile career with a set of options where they can build their future. They are looking for experience and a learning curve of over three years which they can then apply in the next phase of their work lives. That being said, one of Peak Re’s ambitions is to modernise the reinsurance industry. We are only going to be able to modernise when we have younger, dynamicminded people, and open and liberal minds who can be thought leaders within the company. At Peak Re, employees are encouraged and empowered to make decisions, to lead as well

10

HRM ASIA.COM

as contribute to the growth of the company. Age is not a factor in the selection process. Instead we focus on the employee’s capability. If the candidate demonstrates competence and maturity beyond their age, the company will be very happy to entrust these employees with new responsibilities and challenges, often an experience that will be rewarding and satisfying to the right candidate. The office environment also plays a big part in attracting young talent. The success of the company is built on the diverse exchange of ideas and active team collaboration; having an open concept layout and a flat hierarchy are thus key to that process. Peak Re values the group of individuals working together with the right approach – where success is measured by the achievement of the team, rather than the outstanding performance of an individual. Finally, Peak Re believes the top-down approach should be eradicated in order to give more voice to young talents and their aspirations, all of which will be the lifeblood of established organisations – for the present and future.

SEPTEMBER 2017

STEPHEN CONCHIE

Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Herbalife Nutrition

MILLENNIALS FORM more than half of Herbalife Nutrition’s workforce in AsiaPacific and their influence on company culture continues to grow. Their strong sense of purpose, and ability to adapt to technological change and thrive under pressure, make millennials a unique generation that has the potential to bring immense value to all organisations. While our established ways of building the business have served us well, we need to continue to evolve in order to be relevant to a new generation of millennials poised to become key drivers of change in the future workplace. This is why we take a holistic approach to transforming our brand – beginning with fostering a strong corporate culture that emphasises innovation and authenticity between the company and our brand values. This then extends to product development and the kind of actions we

take and language we speak when marketing our brand to millennials. At Herbalife Nutrition, our purpose is to make the world healthier and happier through inspiring healthy active living and positive nutrition habits. By building a strong corporate culture, we have since fostered an environment where employees can be a living example of our brand mission. Employee-engagement initiatives like our Team Herbalife Healthy Active Lifestyle Challenge – a taskbased game encouraging our employees to compete in a series of healthy lifestyle challenges – was extremely well-received among the millennials. Additional employee benefits, such as subsidised gym membership, have been introduced to meet the desires of the millennial generation for a balanced lifestyle that includes healthy, active living. To help instill a greater sense of purpose in millennials’ career aspirations, we introduced initiatives aimed at encouraging innovation, a key growth driver for our company; and on the marketing front, we expanded the range of communication channels we use to incorporate social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to deepen our connection with digital-savvy millennials.


F E AT U R E

L E A D E R S TA L K H R

NEED FOR

SPEED Just like its parent firm, speed, tenacity and intellectual minds are powering Amazon Web Services’ charge as the market leader in the cloud computing industry. NICK WALTON, Head of Southeast Asia, shares his customer obsession with HRM Magazine BY SHAM MAJID

A

mazon Web Services is one of the world’s largest IT infrastructure services firms, and a subsidiary of Amazon, the e-commerce retail behemoth. It boasts much of the agility and disruptiveness of its parent, including through the key mechanism to drive innovation: the “working backwards” methodology. This requires that before a single line of code is written for any new project, the team behind it practices the more traditional form of writing with a mock press release. This is designed to clearly explain the basics of the new service, feature, or business, and how it will impact customers. AWS’ working-backwards blueprint is the foundation for the entire organisation’s innovation ethos; one which saw the firm roll out more than 1,000 significant features and services last year. Leading the change is Nick Walton, Head of Southeast Asia for AWS.

12

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

“I’ve always been involved in technology and I’ve been really passionate about it. I love seeing how technology can change and improve people’s lives, and how it can help businesses grow and innovate,” he says. Walton himself is drawn to “high-change environments”. Having grown up and attended university in New Zealand, he has since lived and worked in both the UK and in Australia. He spent 15 years in various business development and technology roles, including working for Microsoft. Always passionate about the rapid changes heralded by technology, Walton joined AWS as Regional Sales Manager in 2011, where he was involved in helping establish the business in Australia. After assuming the role of Head of Enterprise in 2014, Walton took over the reins as Head of Southeast Asia in January last year.


SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

13


F E AT U R E

L E A D E R S TA L K H R

“I’ve always been involved in technology and I’ve been really passionate about it. I love seeing how technology can change and improve people’s lives, and how it can help businesses grow and innovate” Walton religiously ascribes to the Amazon motto indoctrinated by Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos. “At Amazon, it’s always Day One. We always look forward, not backwards. We’re always challenging ourselves in serving our customers,” he says. “We’re just getting started.”

Q

Tell us briefly what AWS does.

We deliver more than 90 different cloud computing services today, ranging from virtual servers, analytics, and the Internet of Things, to artificial intelligence and machine learning. These are all delivered as a service to consumers. If you contrast that to the old world where delivering technology was about buying services, building, and configuring data centres, this is a new world of utilitybased cloud services that we’ve pioneered. We’re helping customers of all kinds, including large banks and start-ups. You can see the kinds of economic activity that is driven from there.

Q

Describe your leadership style.

One thing that is really important to me as a leader, and one that’s been particularly crucial since I moved to Southeast Asia, is to be open and hire people who are more experienced and capable than me. The strength of the people around you is such a key part of success. I’m also very open-minded and I would describe my leadership style as being heavily consensus-driven. That’s a really key characteristic of the culture at Amazon. We believe that the best ideas come from all parts of the organisation. It’s not just the most senior person who has all the right ideas; we encourage and expect ideas to come from employees who have different roles and who are at different levels. We do a lot to encourage this type of culture where everyone can have a voice and really contribute to come up with the best strategies for the business.

14

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

Q

How would your employees describe you?

I’ve been with the business for quite a while and have a reasonable degree of experience working with customers and understanding how they are able to leverage on cloud technology. But it’s also about adopting that consensusdriven approach. I encourage and like to hear ideas coming from different people within the organisation. I’m under no illusion that I have all the best ideas. That’s something that is important to me.

How do you drive Amazon’s leadership philosophy within Southeast Asia?

Q

Most definitely. The Amazon leadership principles are a key part of how we think and how we run the business. That’s been developed during the 20-plus year history of Amazon. We have 14 leadership principles and “customer obsession” is the Number One. It’s been deliberately crafted as the first principle and it has been so central to our success over the last 20 years. Focusing on and obsessing over customers, and doing everything we can to deliver the best services and the right products, is entrenched in our retail and web- service businesses. More than 90% of the services and features we develop are driven by our customers. I think this is also a key differentiator.


one Q

What’s it like to work at Amazon Web Services?

I’ve been having an amazing experience working here over the last six years. We like to build at Amazon. What does that mean? We like to build new services, businesses, and careers, and to give people opportunities to develop their own experiences. I think it’s an amazing environment where we’re open to experimenting and trying new things, and this offers new and challenging opportunities for our employees to develop themselves.

Q

ON

I LOVE:

A light-bulb moment

1

in Southeast Asia

I DISLIKE:

Moving slowly

FAVOURITE HOBBY:

Tennis

MY INSPIRATION IS: Family

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF:

Don’t give up

MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS IS:

Impatience

FAVOURITE QUOTE:

What qualities are you looking for in new hires?

Positivity and energy are the most important things for me. We need people who are optimistic and who are looking for the best solutions to solve problems. That’s really important. We also need individuals who are able to operate and navigate in an increasingly ambiguous business landscape. Things are moving faster and there are changing trends and elements in terms of how businesses run. We need individuals who can cut through the noise and identify how to make an impact. At AWS, we’re really focused on how we can help customers be successful. We’re changing the way technology is delivered at a pretty fundamental level. We’ve been in the cloud business for more than 10 years and this is a huge once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the way technology is delivered. It’s having an amazing impact with our customers. Organisations are tapping onto our technology to help society. For example, a company has built a platform that allows radiology services to be distributed more broadly across a wider audience than it has ever been possible before. We’ve also worked with the International Rice Research Institute and they are looking at ways to increase the yields of rice around the region. These things are having a huge impact on society and to have the technology to enable these impacts for customers is very exciting and motivating for me, AWS, and our employees.

IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME, I’D LIKE TO BE: Empowering more customers

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” - WAYNE GRETZSKY, ICE HOCKEY PLAYER

What are some of Amazon Web Services’ biggest HR challenges in Asia-Pacific?

Q

Growth is a challenge. The business is growing really fast on a global basis. We’re expanding our team, so one of the big initiatives and investments we’ve made across Asia-Pacific is that we’ve opened more than 20 offices in a short period of time. Hiring and finding the right talent in a distributed manner across lots of different markets is definitely something we’ve invested lots of time and effort in. While we have an “Amazon” way of doing things, we need to be locally relevant. We need to understand the local market, and have relationships with customers and partners in different countries.

So, finding the talent who can strike the right balance between local relevance and alignment with the Amazon culture is something we spend a lot of time on.

Q

And what strategies is your organisation driving to tackle this?

We hire more for a culture and an attitude than anything else. That’s the priority. We want to create the right kinds of teams who are really obsessed over customers, able to move fast and make decisions quickly, and enjoy being part of an empowered team. One of the characteristics of AWS and Amazon and why I think it’s such a fun place to work is that we really empower our teams. We want to hire the best people that we can

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

15


F E AT U R E

L E A D E R S TA L K H R

find and empower them to make the best decisions on behalf of our customers. The second thing we’re doing is that we’re increasingly looking at how we can build and develop talent. We provide people with opportunities to experiment with new things, both within AWS and the broader business. As we continue to expand and move into new businesses, that presents amazing opportunities for individuals to develop their careers. But we’re also looking at being more systematic about these things. For example, solution architects are absolutely critical to our business. These are the individuals who work with our customers and help them develop applications on top of our platforms. There is a global shortage of cloud solution architects. What we’ve started to do is to hire more junior individuals such as graduates and those with only a few years of experience.

We then put programmes in place to help them develop, build experience, and become more impactful throughout their career with Amazon.

Q

How do you drive innovation in such a large, global organisation?

Amazon has a strong track record of being able to innovate despite being a pretty large organisation. We’re very deliberate in how we do that and we think that the mechanisms are really critical to execution. We say that good intentions alone are not enough. You need to have mechanisms to make sure you’re really executing and holding yourself accountable. We’ve employed lots of mechanisms internally that really help foster the kinds of innovation we seek. An example of this is AWS itself, which is not the most obvious thing for a seemingly e-commerce retailer to invest in. We are a large provider of IT services to businesses and we started with a very keen focus on the customer. One of the mechanisms we use to encourage and drive innovation is the “workingbackwards” methodology. This is about starting with the customer. Before we write any line of code for any new project, the first thing we do is to write a mock press release. It helps us distil whether what we plan to do will really impact and be useful and interesting for our customers. That’s one example of a mechanism that really helps us innovate by being very focused on what customers are after.

Q

Describe the corporate culture at AWS.

We look at aspects like empowerment, but we also like to move fast. “Bias for Action” –which means making decisions and moving quickly, rather than over-analysing and missing market opportunities – is something we really spend a lot of time on. As mentioned, there are 14 leadership principles that really encapsulate the Amazon culture.

16

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

Bias for Action is one of these. Learning to be curious is something that is really important as well, particularly in an environment that is moving so quickly. Being open minded, proactive and embracing new ideas and technologies is another key part of our culture. And of course: It’s day one in Amazon and we’re just getting started!

Q

How does AWS stay ahead of intense competition?

Pretty much every large technology company today is trying to build what AWS has been doing for more than 10 years. There are no shortcuts in running this type of business and operating at the scale we do. The operational experience, as well as our understanding of how to continuously innovate, are key for us. Our pace of innovation continues to accelerate. Last year, we released more than 1,000 new features and services. This year, we’re on track to increase this further. Our innovation is very much oriented towards our customers. More than 90% of our roadmap is driven by them. We have millions of active customers on the platform today. That gives us amazing insights and input in terms of the things customers are asking us for and knowing how to serve them.

What would you say is your current biggest challenge as Head of Southeast Asia?

Q

One of the challenges we have is understanding how to continue to cover this broad market. Specifically for Southeast Asia, we opened offices in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand last year. We’ve also put local teams on the ground of each of these countries. This year, we’ve also opened an office in Vietnam. This is about being able to work more closely with our local customers. Continuing to expand is a really big focus for us.

Q

What’s your top tip for leaders?

Specifically in Southeast Asia, I think it’s about being really open-minded and sensitive to the different ways business is conducted across a very diverse and dynamic market. sham@hrmasia.com.sg


Asia

2018

9th & 10th May SUNTEC SINGAPORE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE

LEARN

DISCOVER

SAVE THE DATE 9-10 MAY 2018

CONNECT

“It’s the first summit I have attended. I didn’t expect it to be so huge! I originally wanted to go for the Develop talk, however I found myself going from one area to another because there were so many interesting sessions. It was also a great networking opportunity, I found myself talking to and learning from others as well; it was great.” Shazlina Shahriman, Head, Talent Management, Group HR Management, PETRONAS

www.hrsummit.com.sg

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

17


F E AT U R E

18

IN DEPTH

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017


BIG BAD

BULLIES Workplace tyrants don’t just bring down the mood across an office. If left unchecked, they also threaten company productivity. As HRM Magazine discovers, harassment from leadership or anywhere in the organisation is an issue HR needs to tread decisively on

“M

B Y K E LV I N O N G

y boss would berate me openly in the office in front of all my colleagues,” recalls a former employee of a large financial research firm with offices across Asia-Pacific. “He would yell expletives at me and I dared not retaliate so as not to trigger him further. I almost cried at my desk once.” This was only one month into the job, and the analyst says she felt powerless then because her superior was an industry veteran who she had depended on for contacts, considering she was still new to the finance sector. He was also a company co-founder himself, and reports to HR proved futile. It was noted that the leader had 20 years’ management experience, and the newcomer was likely overreacting. Her co-workers also did nothing to intervene. They were just as fearful of incurring this manager’s wrath. The public lectures soon became a regular occurrence, and as months went by, she felt increasingly stifled by her fear of him. “His nastiness influenced me to withhold a lot of feedback I’d otherwise have. I also didn’t dare to ask about my performance or how to improve because I didn’t know if he would laugh in my face,” she shares. SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

19


F E AT U R E

IN DEPTH

She finally decided to resign after close to a year, when things did not get better.

Culture of systematic bullying This story is similar to many other junior employees in her position, where bosses who have too much authority start abusing their power and the people reporting to them. Take the case of Australian broadcaster SBS. In July last year, several staff members told local media anonymously that the company had a rampant culture of “systematic bullying and belittling of staff”. One whistleblower said young journalists in the newsroom, described as the “dark heart” of the station, were often bullied and felt paranoid they would lose their jobs.

HR CAN PUT IN PLACE A WHISTLE BLOWER POLICY WHERE EMPLOYEES CAN SPEAK IN TOTAL CONFIDENTIALITY”

– HELENA SANTOS,

HEAD OF HR, ASIA-PACIFIC, INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE

Managers would spend more time criticising journalists on their “writing and appearance” than providing constructive training and improving team morale. Another staffer said they were aware of harassment complaints being lodged to SBS’ HR department, but that no formal investigations ever took place. Things had gotten so bad that they said the workplace atmosphere had become “absurdist and dystopian”. But a bad boss isn’t just someone who mistreats others. The classic office villain has been described as the two-faced Janus who steals credit for the work of others, and this type of cunning conduct is even harder to spot, and just as damaging. In the 2011 US comedy film Horrible Bosses, one manager teases his staff with the possibility of promotion before giving it to themselves. Another threatens to tell their employee’s fiancé they engaged in inappropriate acts together, while the third takes drugs at their desk and openly talks about firing people based on their appearance or disability.

20

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

Believe it or not, reality is sometimes even harsher. And without the laughs and punchlines of satire. Two months ago, a photography studio in Sichuan, China, came under the spotlight when a video of three of its employees being forced to drink water out of a squat toilet went viral on the Chinese social media platform WeChat. These workers were reportedly forced to perform the gross act because they had failed to meet targets set by a company trainer. The other ill-judged punishment included having to eat earthworms. One victim told a local paper that the incident left her traumatised and caused her to lose her appetite for days. The company general manager said he had been unaware this was happening, but would look into the matter. These examples are just among those that have been reported. There are other similar incidents out there that do not receive any media coverage. While many are not quite so extreme, such misconduct is unfortunately more common than it should be. In all of these cases, there is no doubt, at least to the reader, that the fault lies with the managers.

HR hesitant to take action But are those anecdotes as straightforward as they seem? If they are, why then did the HR and management in those companies not act more swiftly and decisively in holding bothersome leaders accountable. At the very least, they could have opened enquiries into the claims. Judging by the first example, one reason could be that the offender was themselves part of the senior leadership team or a high performer, which can make any policing effort feel both highly awkward and superficial. Other times, companies have clear policies on harassment and even communication channels for complainants, but that might only be because they are legally required to by the countries they operate in, says Gaurav Hirey, Group Director, HR and Talent Development, Teledirect. In Hong Kong, for example, the “duty of reasonable care” clause states that if an employer has sufficient reason to believe there is a risk of misconduct to an employee which puts other workers at risk, then “the employer is under duty to take reasonable steps to avoid that risk materialising,” says Samantha

Cornelius, Co-Head of Employment and Incentives, Linklaters Hong Kong. This responsibility extends to harassment and abuse by co-workers, including managers. Cornelius adds that “an employer has a statutory defence if it has taken the steps as were reasonably practicable” to prevent the inappropriate behaviour. Such steps include workplace behaviour policies and relevant staff training. In the case of Ha Kwok Ming v Boxton Ltd, the employer (Boxton) was found liable for an attack by one kitchen worker against another, because the court was satisfied that the employer was aware of the “widening rift” between the two particular employees (with a real risk of quarrels and fights developing), but did nothing to intervene. Furthermore, Hirey says HR is sometimes hesitant to act due to the complainant’s lack of evidence. Most companies would take action if the bullying was proved, but if it could not be immediately verified, no action would commonly be taken. “It is easy to claim to be a victim, especially when the other party is a supervisor or a reporting boss. It puts a huge strain on the investigators to ascertain the truth, and many times the truth is something no one wants to believe,” he states. “I have experienced several cases where allegations are made and not backed up with evidence or proof. In such cases, the organisation would normally place their trust with the supervisor.”

Issue more than empty threats So while many companies have some sort of “code of conduct” around harassment, are these directions simply there as protection for the organisation? Helena Santos, Head of HR, Asia-Pacific, International Baccalaureate, asserts that it is not in the organisation’s interest to sweep these issues under the carpet. She says obnoxious bosses, or any tyrant in general, tend to target colleagues “who are the best and brightest because they want to drive out anyone they see as a threat to their own career advancement”. These are the very high performers organisations desperately want to keep, and if they were to leave because of an unpleasant boss, then the adverse impact on the business could be significant.


Checking the gatekeeper Teledirect’s Hirey agrees that companies and HR alike have to be committed to building a “bully-free” organisation and unafraid to “check the gatekeeper”. “There is nothing like a short-term or a long-term solution for bullying. The only solution is that it must be eradicated from the workplace at the cost of whatever it takes,” says Hirey. This can be done only if HR implements clear procedures for investigating and addressing bullying. “Clear policies and open communication need to be a part of the company culture. The zero tolerance to bullying must be a part of

SIX TYPES OF HORRIBLE BOSSES THE CREDIT STEALER This boss compliments a direct report’s output frequently, but then takes credit for all of their ideas and work in front of senior management, or anyone for that matter.

THE EGOMANIAC This boss talks over staff; they doesn’t actually listen to much of what others have to say because they already know best, ok? The egomaniac tends to dominate meetings with lots of self-glorification talk.

THE CONTROL FREAK Needs to oversee every single thing a direct report does, right down to the last word in an outgoing email. Staff even have to ask for permission to go for lunch.

THE UNPREDICTABLE MEAN-SPIRIT This boss hurls insults at staff. They are constantly finding fault and can get extremely hurtful when in a bad mood. They might then crack a joke when their mood picks up; but the cycle will always repeat. ILLUSTRATIONS BY MUHAMAD AZLIN

Whether it is through nasty words, bullying tactics, psychological abuse, sly moves, or even humiliating punishments – no one action can be ranked as worse than the other. Over time, any form of awful behaviours managers display, small or big, can wear down the spirit, morale and emotional wellbeing of employees. The result is usually high turnover in those departments, which HR needs to pay close attention to. So although most organisations already have policies surrounding workplace persecution, more can be done in terms of management taking decisive actions and providing safe spaces for victims, says Santos. “HR can put in place a whistle blower policy where employees can speak in total confidentiality,” she says. This way, those on the defence feel comfortable enough to step forward and tell their stories. But even if employees don’t know how to talk about it, leaders and managers have the additional responsibility to act immediately on observations and allegations of harassment or discrimination. “They should also be responsible for creating and maintaining a harassment and discrimination-free organisation, and should address potential problems before they become serious,” says Santos. The key, she adds, is to impress on those behaving out-of-line that there will be consequences and that HR’s words are more than just empty threats. “One way to deal with such managers is to set boundaries, be direct about what is not acceptable from their behaviours, and let them know that HR will report, escalate or take the necessary disciplinary measures.”

THE BIG BAD WOLF This is the classic bully. These bosses possess all the above qualities, and more, and can make staff feel awful about themselves. HR should intervene at all costs.

THE “NEVER” GUY Never asks staff for their opinion, never empowers them to make decisions, never gives them room to make suggestions, never…

that culture,” he explains, adding that leaders must lead by example and uphold this policy irrespective of hierarchy. To show staff that it takes harassment seriously, it is of utmost importance that HR takes immediate action once complaints have been made. It is highly critical in these early stages that HR speaks to the alleged wrongdoers immediately to assess the situation or complaint so that at least in the interim period, the victim feels like they have been heard and some action has been taken. At International Baccalaureate, there have been cases of employees who have been harassed by their superiors, and HR did take immediate action, says Santos. “Unfortunately, yes, we did all the above to address the problem, to create a space and workplace so employees will heal from feeling helpless, frustrated, devaluated and worried about the security of their jobs,” she reveals.

“We also acknowledged and communicated across the organisation that we say ‘no’ to workplace bullying.” But she adds that the solutions were effective only because of the support shown by the company’s most senior person, who listened and took to the appropriate action. At the same time, Hirey warns that HR’s role is not just limited to ensuring that these managers are immediately spoken to and that their inappropriate behaviours will not be tolerated. HR also needs to identify what is instigating such patterns. “One cannot ignore the fact that most of the times, the ‘bullies’ might be acting out or reacting, either out of pressure or personal insecurities,” he says. “HR needs to be aware that such behaviour may have deeper reasons and needs to probe for the real reasons behind their behaviour.” kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

21


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

NEWFIELD ASIA

Waste not, want not

H

R departments face a recurring dilemma: Managers require development but the majority of interventions do not work. What to do? A common reaction is to play safe with vendor choices and subjects. Pick a wellknown name, brand, or course and even if the intervention is ineffective, it is unlikely that HR will be criticised. Corporate training became discredited – almost a dirty word – because “we all know it does not work”. Then along came coaching. Having moved from a remedial “last chance” model reserved for managers where all else had failed, coaching became the new answer for development. If training wasn’t

22

HRM ASIA.COM

working then individual coaching must be the answer. If training was a shotgun that missed as much as it hit, then coaching was the sniper’s rifle. No longer were people sent on general, expensive training courses to help them improve – instead they were hired a coach; a tailored solution that would be far more effective and, importantly, cheaper. In the blink of an eye, coaching has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world. But is it actually working? Coaching has just become iTrain: A 21st Century solution that gets its popularity as much from its format (more personal, less expensive, easier to organise, and requiring less vulnerability on the part of the learner) as from its success rate.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Of course, coaching can and does produce results; so can training. Corporate training was failing to produce the desired results not because training was a bad mechanism in and of itself, but because the majority of the training programmes were not fit for purpose. Corporate training was not working because it looked like school and placed no accountability on the participant to develop. While coaching has been growing in popularity at the expense of training in recent years, it too is heading for the edge of the cliff. On its own, a monthly, private one-to-one conversation is unlikely to change behaviour or develop a leadership competency. There may

be other benefits, but behaviour change is a tough ask in that scenario. Instinctively, we all know that. But still the money pours into coaching for exactly that kind of brief. It’s a bubble. There is now a new dilemma in town: Managers still need development, but if neither training nor coaching are proving consistently effective, then what next to try? Some elements of development are best carried out in a group format, others in a one-to-one format, and no one said it had to be an either/or choice between training and coaching. At Newfield Asia, we believe a synergistic mix of both modalities, via our ontological interventions, is often the most powerful solution.

For more information, visit www.newfieldasia.com or email info@newfieldasia.com


INFOGRAPHIC

SEEKING GREENER PASTURES

As employees attempt to navigate in today’s disruptive and skills-driven world of work, they are relishing the chance to take advantage of new opportunities to climb the corporate ladder. HRM Magazine sheds light on their intentions based on findings from the Michael Page Job Applicant Confidence Index Q2 2017 SINGAPORE

30% are positive about the job market

MALAYSIA

44% 43% 55%

are optimistic that the job market will get better in the next 6 months

are positive about the job market

62%

are optimistic that the job market will get better in the next 6 months

are confident of securing a job in less than 3 months

are confident of securing a job in less than 3 months

Top 3 areas professionals are optimistic of in the next 12 months

55%

Top 3 reasons why professionals switch jobs

Top 3 areas professionals are optimistic of in the next 12 months

skills development

skills development

skills development

skills development

expansion in scope of functions

work-life balance

expansion in scope of functions

work-life balance

lack of growth prospects

better compensation levels

66% 58% 46%

39% 28% 46%

promotion prospects

Top 3 reasons why professionals switch jobs

81% 74% 59%

47% 38% 35% better salaries

FURTHER AFIELD INDONESIA

INDIA

Top 3 areas professionals are optimistic of in the next 12 months

Top 3 areas professionals are optimistic of in the next 12 months

89% 78% 75%

skills development

expansion in scope of function

better compensation levels

Top 3 reasons why professionals switch jobs

61% 56% 48%

work-life balance

better salaries

skills development

82% 78% 75%

skills development

expansion in scope of function

better compensation levels

Top 3 reasons why professionals switch jobs

51% 40% 34 %

skills development

better salaries

SEPTEMBER 2017

work-life balance

HRM ASIA.COM

23


PREFERRED

HR Vendor

Profile

Products

Services

TIMES PAYHR , TP 8 Casual,

Software as a Service

E-Payroll, E-Leave, E-HR

Payroll Outsourcing

User Friendly

E-Payslip, E-Timesheet

Regular Updates

Web-based Solutions

E-Appraisal, E-Training

HRIS / GL Interface

E-Travel Request, E-Claim

Customizations &

E-Recruit, E-Casual Labour

Enhancements

PAYROLL & HRIS THAT WORKS FOR

More than 5000

YOUR BUSINESS

Active Clients

Enabling true employee empowerment and HR automation

Reliable Customer Care & Technical Support

2006 - 2016

TIMES SOFTWARE PTE LTD

Co.Reg.No.199804415D

is the developer and distributor for TIMES products

10, Jalan Besar, #14-01, Sim Lim Tower, Singapore 208787. Web-site: www.timesoftsg.com.sg For sales enquiry, please e-mail to sales@timesoftsg.com.sg or call (65) 6295 1998


HR TECHNOLOGY

F E AT U R E

HR IN THE AGE OF

TECHNOLOGY

HR technology has come a long way in the last few years, as HR professionals demand user-friendly tools that provide great insight into their workforces. HRM Magazine considers some of the latest and future developments helping HR excel

G

B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

iven the ubiquity of online jobs platforms today, and software like SAP and Oracle, it might be difficult to fathom the “olden days” when office technology mostly meant typewriters and calculators. But in fact, it was not so long ago – less than two decades, in fact – that classified advertising in newspapers and trade publications were a HR manager’s main tools for recruitment, while payday still meant hauling out the cheque writing machine. Considering the rapid speed of technology change we’ve witnessed since the turn of the millennium, HR professionals today can safely expect their successors to boggle at the technology even used today, thinking it quaint and maybe even antiquated by their not too distant future standards. It’s a prospect that HR professionals themselves seem to be happily preparing for – the Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte last year noted that 74% of executives identified digital HR as a top priority. SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

25


F E AT U R E

HR TECHNOLOGY

Dreaming of digital HR One obvious consequence of the recent technology revolution, even beyond HR, is the fact that it has made the world smaller. Thanks to high-speed internet as well as computers that are faster, smaller, and more robust than their predecessors, connecting with teams and employees around the world has become easier than ever. Do you have a new starter in your company’s Beijing office? No problem, even if you’re all the way in Singapore – chatting apps are just one of the many options available for HR managers to connect. Cisco, for example, has developed an app called YoungBelong@Cisco to help the company’s fresh starters – and their supervisors – through their initiation into the company. The networking titan also created its own version of Apple’s Siri with a voice command app called “Ask Alex”. Alex, a “personal intelligence compass”, won’t tell users what time it is, or the closest place to buy a milkshake, but it will give them customised details about their annual leave and medical insurance entitlements. Analytics technologies, in the meanwhile, do not just provide HR and business leaders with extensive data, but also the means to leverage the information to make people decisions – based on tangible numbers, rather than just “gut feelings”. SAP’s Digital Boardroom, for example, provides C-suite leaders with real-time metrics on recruitment, turnover, and other people-related numbers – thus enabling them to make informed decisions with minimal bureaucracy. Alexis Saussinan, global head of Organisation Development and People Analytics at Merck, shared an example of how analytics technologies enabled the pharmaceutical titan to do just that. During a review of a Research and Development organisation within the business, where the overall mandate was to bolster innovation: “We saw that the structure was too fragmented to foster good practice sharing and innovation,” he says. “We also found that there was not enough focus on developing pure expert roles, as most people had diluted roles and could not focus on making core contributions. These insights arose from studying various angles of our analytics, and they helped to both provide new insights as

26

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

RECRUITMENT MACHINES

THE BUSINESS WORLD now has access to a wide range of artificial intelligence-enabled recruiting assistants. Just a few of these chatbots (yes, for some reason, they have all been given feminine names) that are transforming the hiring process include: Olivia is a personal recruiting assistant which uses machine learning to engage with candidates. Olivia kicks in right from the moment they express interest in a company or specific position, and elevates the process beyond rote form-filling. Wendy first learns about a

company’s culture and needs and then screens candidates accordingly. Wendy also has a “sibling”, Wade, who advises job seekers. Stella vets candidates’ qualifications before connecting them with hiring companies. Stella’s makers claim the chat-bot can slash the time needed to recruit a new employee by 80%. Mya automates candidate sourcing and screening as well as scheduling. Mya’s makers claim the chat-bot can free up 75% of a hiring professional’s time, while still allowing for instant and positive engagement with candidates.

well as confirm existing thoughts held by the business leaders.” That, perhaps, is the ultimate dream of digital HR – the ability to provide people managers and leaders with tools that release them from the chains of transactional work, and allow them to optimise bigger picture strategy-making instead.

Era of the thinking machine In Singapore, companies like iqDynamics seek to provide integrated software catering to the entire suite of people management functions. The proprietary HRiQ system developed by iqDynamics is comprehensive yet customisable, with modules that cover everything from performance appraisal to training and development, and even succession planning. “Our philosophy is that an organisation behaves like a Maslow Pyramid,” says Lim Say Ping, director and co-founder of iqDynamics. “Without the basic security and assurance that the human capital is taken care of, an organisation would find it very difficult to attain its peak potential. “We created our software to facilitate organisations in this process by making sure that HR needs can be easily met, leaving them more time and manpower to concentrate on strategic matters.” Lim notes, however, that the industry has been under non-stop flux, with disruptive technologies constantly provoking paradigm shifts. As a matter of course, iqDynamics and its HR technology

peers are relentlessly upgrading their offerings and moving towards the “next big thing”. “We consciously monitor and invest in resources to adopt the latest technology in developing and upgrading HRiQ,” notes Lim. “We’re continuously looking to adapt the latest technology to our applications – such as delivering more secure hosting and cloud applications.” Some of the fast-emerging technologies iqDynamics is currently investing in for future adoption include mobility, the Internet of Things, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence (AI). Of these, AI – the science of machines simulating human intelligence, and therefore fulfilling human tasks – is perhaps the most inevitable, with developments in machine learning and natural language processing techniques fuelling an AI boom across multiple sectors. In the HR space, “AI will not replace the need for talent professionals; instead, it will change the nature of what they need to do to succeed,” suggests a recent report by staffing firm Allegis. Talla, for example, is one of many chatbots changing how companies engage with talent. Talla organises and automates much of the HR workflow, including scheduling meetings and guiding employees through the on-boarding process. “If you came to work for us, rather than give you a whole stack of information, we say ‘Here’s a bot, Talla, and she’s going to walk you through it,” Talla CEO Rob May told


cannot: a bias-free environment for the hiring process. Indeed, the recruitment space is proving to be particularly lucrative for AI. Digital assistants can take on tedious tasks like candidate screening and interview scheduling – and thus free up recruiters to focus their time on interviewing highpotential candidates and closing out offers.

Moving beyond gimmicks

Technology Review last year. Meanwhile, Talent Sonar generates job descriptions and screens résumés to free up time for HR professionals. It also claims to provide something that most humans

“Technology, as we all know, is pervasive and also progressing rapidly. It is no longer a ‘nice to have’ or a gimmick. It can be disruptive to businesses, the roles of individuals and the way we live,” notes Lim. It’s a two-way street of supply versus demand, however. As practices such as flexible working and employee agility continue to transform the workplace, there is a corresponding demand for technology to elevate beyond basic functionalities – and provide tools that match smartphones and social media apps in being easy to use and responsive across multiple platforms.

Further, intense technological advancement does give rise to very particular concerns. Data protection and privacy, network security: these are all issues that businesses and governments are grappling with today, and which will need to be addressed by stakeholders. Sooner, rather than later, because the market for human capital management technologies is expected to balloon from US$14.5 billion this year, to US$22.5 billion by 2022. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to form a particularly high-growth sector, according to a recent report by Reportbuyer. In such a landscape of digital disruption, HR professionals can anticipate that in the near future, apps such as Switch – which applies machine-learning algorithms to provide recruiters with a Tinder-like experience – will become the norm rather than the exception. Swipe right for the next candidate? Well, why not? yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

AD ARTWORK TO COME Readers Choice 2017

☎ 65944151| ✉ hrm@iqdynamics.com | ⌨ www.iqdynamics.com SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

27


F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

BUILDING FROM WITHIN

As one of the largest organisations globally, Procter & Gamble has carved an employer brand as strong as its dominance in the world of consumer goods. VINITAA JAYSON, Vice President of HR for Asia, says the secret to this popularity among jobseekers lies in the preference for internal promotions B Y K E LV I N O N G

28

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017


MOHIT NAYYAR HR Director, Global Skin and Personal Care

VINITAA JAYSON Vice President of HR for Asia MAY ZHANG HR Director, Product Supply, Asia

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

29


F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

H

iring entry-level positions exclusively is a move most companies would shy away from. But that’s not the case for consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble (P&G), where around 90% of all its hires globally are for junior roles. As one of the largest employers in the world (as of June this year, it had a headcount of 95,000 workers), and an organisation which owns such recognisable brands as Pantene, Olay, Gillette, and SKII, it’s understandable why this staffing approach could be seen as risky. That’s because hiring mostly rookies naturally means a lot of training and development is needed to get them up to speed, which is both costly and timesapping. But as Vinitaa Jayson, Vice President of HR for P&G Asia, shares, that is hardly a concern. Rather, the company is a firm believer in leadership development and “building its future leaders from within”. “Leadership development is not only HR’s bread and butter, but for the organisation as a whole,” says Jayson. From intern to CEO This focus on developing its people is most evident in how almost every person on the Asia-Pacific executive board of directors started their P&G careers at the very bottom of the organisation. “We hope each time when we hire an individual, that they might end up one of the presidents or CEOs of the organisation – because that’s how each of our CEOs have started,” says Jayson. Jayson, herself, stepped foot into P&G’s India business as the Associate Manager of Compensation & Benefits in 1995, She has not seen the inside of another organisation since, thanks to the company’s robust leadership development programmes and meticulous career-planning frameworks. Over the years, the Asia HR head was able to rise up the ranks while being attached to various business units across the world, from Manila in the Philippines, to Cincinnati and Boston in the US. Throughout her 22 years at P&G, she has been able to not only hone her skills in a multitude of HR areas, but also directly impact business outcomes. Jayson recalls her time at the head office in Cincinnati, during which she wore the hat of HR leader for the beauty and grooming business. This was in 2007, and the team was concerting its efforts on the iconic skincare brand Olay.

30

HRM ASIA.COM

“The team was focused on launching a new product, and I was part of the team that helped in teambuilding and strategy and so on. When I saw the final product on the shelves, I felt really good because I was very much a part of building it,” she says. This sense of ownership and high level of involvement is indeed one of the main benefits of the organisation’s well-

AT A GLANCE Number Of Employees (Asia-Pacific)

10,000

SEPTEMBER 2017

Key HR Focus Areas

Recruitment Leadership Development Diversity and Inclusion Organisational Design

Size of the HR Team (Asia-Pacific)

OVER

200

established hire, develop, and promote model. Where most organisations would be daunted by having to fill such a huge talent pipeline, let alone following that up with well-structured career development and succession planning frameworks, this is not viewed as a challenge for P&G leaders. Rather, it is an “ongoing opportunity” for the business. “It is an ongoing opportunity for us because it allows us to constantly find and attract the best talent to fill our large pipeline,” says Jayson.

Elaborate recruitment This massive undertaking would be near-impossible if not for the fact that HR devotes a great amount of resources, and leadership attention, to recruitment. It is why the company is notorious for having one of the most elaborate and toughest screening processes today. Jayson breaks down the rigorous selection into three phases. At the initial stage, there is a series of “very well-qualified quantitative tests”, designed by industrial and organisational psychologists that assess candidates on their characteristics, leadership qualities and aptitudes. These are online multiple choice questionnaires aimed at measuring basic skills and abilities that generally do not emerge from interviews. Once candidates have passed this first round, they then have to undergo a behavioural-based and situational interview, where they are asked about previous accomplishments or how they might handle certain situations in the future. If they demonstrate the right behaviours, awaiting them in the next stage is a series of much more intense and comprehensive interviews with a diverse set of leaders probing for key characteristics. With so many candidates applying for roles each year, P&G knows that a large number of applicants will not make it to the finish line. Last year, the company received over 140,000 job applications across the Asia-Pacific region, hiring only 600. If they


are to stumble at the first hurdle, they will only be allowed to sit for another assessment test after 12 months. P&G continues to stand firm in its extensive hiring process, even as other businesses prioritise speed of hiring over quality of talent and organisational fit. Jayson says there is a method to its madness. “Our hiring process has been honed over generations, and has been effective at helping us find the type of talent we want,” she says. The layers of candidate screening, Jayson explains, have been based on extensive research with the aim of understanding what P&G people do when they’re at their best. “It looked at the characteristics that have historically driven growth in the company, as well as at external and business trends shaping the marketplace.” The findings were then distilled into three basic ideas that are used as judging criteria during all stages of recruitment: the personality traits of purpose, values and principles. These, Jayson emphasises, are mainly about integrity. They speak to the more subtle aspects of integrity that really reflect a person’s character: the ability to build trust by being open, honest, straightforward and candid, she says. “Our purpose, values and principles form our culture, and this culture is our secret sauce.”

Social media engagement As exacting, or even as tedious, as the qualifying process sounds, P&G consistently attracts hundreds of thousands of job applicants each year – that’s both here in Asia and around the world. The sheer volume of applicants means recruitment is not only HR’s lookout, but that of every employee as well. “Really, all our employees are our top ambassadors. Recruitment is not only done by HR,” says Jayson, adding that the function today primarily leads the strategy and builds the framework necessary for making good hires. “We expect everyone in the company, including our CEOs, to go out and hire.” In line with this inclusive style, HR has helped to design and introduce a number of

“Our purpose, values and principles form our culture, and this culture is our secret sauce.” – VINITAA JAYSON,

VICE PRESIDENT OF HR, P&G ASIA

alternative recruitment channels, including school outreach, unique competition-style internships, and social media platforms. Engagement with top universities, account for most of P&G’s avenues to hire here in Asia. This is managed by “School Teams”, filled with full-time employees who are usually alumni of a particular institution. It is a tool that has proven particularly effective, since most of the company’s targeted pipeline are fresh graduates. Besides marketing, these School Teams also have the power to screen and hire talent directly into their own business units and product divisions. The P&G CEO Challenge, an annual two-day competitive internship programme, is another key mode through which the organisation finds potential talent. The programme sees participants act, think, and learn to make business decisions like a CEO or other senior leadership role across brand management, sales, strategy, finance, and other functions, all while being coached by P&G mentors. They then have to apply these lessons into a given case study at the end of the two days. Some 500 university undergraduates are selected at the start for the programme each year, before 40 to 50 of the top performers are shortlisted for a traditional internship, or to be hired permanently.

“There is a lot of interest from students for the CEO Challenge because they are also looking for innovative companies to join,” says Jayson. “And we respect that and welcome them to do that.” While social media is not used as a direct hiring platform, it is a highly effective marketing and engagement tool. LinkedIn and Facebook are two social media avenues Jayson says P&G invests heavily in. And the results speak for themselves. There were 1.6 million click-throughs to the P&G career page in 2016 from LinkedIn, while Facebook campaigns cumulatively found an audience reach of 3.1 million individuals. In China, the company employs WeChat widely to engage with local students. One of its recent online seminars on the platform garnered some 780 million viewers. While other companies might not use social media as extensively as P&G, digital engagement is key for an organisation whose target hires are mostly still in school. “If you are hiring mid-career people from other companies, you don’t have to create whole sets of engagement based on the newest technology, but we do because of how young these hires are,” Jayson says. “How you engage them, even in the hiring process, is pivotal. In the past, you could just do interviews and they would already be happy to join you. Now it’s a twoway process – they’re also evaluating you.”

Precise placements But the most pivotal part of the employee experience begins when job applicants first become employees. That’s because P&G spends a lot of time thinking about how it can develop its people to become future leaders of the company SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

31


F E AT U R E

HR INSIDER

from the outset – a fact Jayson iterates several times. “We put in the same amount of insights and innovation into our people as we do with our brands,” she says. “Our leadership pipeline is just as important as our innovation pipeline, because businesses require different types of skill sets at each point.” The first thing P&G does is it promises every new hire a meaningful career at the company. What this means is the company carefully studies the strengths, weaknesses and interests of each individual, alongside the business’ needs, before placing them in the most suitable and exciting assignment. Jayson says this first assignment is extremely crucial because it will either “strengthen or weaken the bond” the employee has with the company. “The alternative for them is a fun start-up, so we have to show them that working for a big corporate entity is just as exciting.” This matching and planning of roles, however, does not only happen when employees first join, but also takes place throughout their lifespan at the company. Employees are given the opportunity to join short-term (three to six months) project teams and sent for international assignments that last a few years. For the capable ones, they are even tasked to take on crucible assignments (or stretch roles). Jayson says these placements are often tough, and sometimes risky, but P&G understands that they help employees grow their skillsets.

Developing future leaders To be selected as a high-potential talent in P&G is an exciting prospect. The company identifies these future leaders based on performance and results, and how well employees transfer their results from one assignment and business unit to another. Potential leaders are also scored on their EQ, and how they deliver outcomes. Very rarely does the company hire a senior executive externally, without first giving the opportunity to existing employees. This is its “build from within” philosophy in action, which Jayson says staff appreciate. “It does give a lot of transparency to employees that they have a fair chance of progressing in their careers here,” she says. The virtual P&G Leadership Academy, run by the heads of each country office, is then where budding senior executives and existing directors alike log on to undergo courses and modules that build their leadership skills. This learn and grow stance has served P&G well for generations. Last year, Universum ranked it as the top fast moving consumer goods company in Asia. “Employees here don’t sit on the sidelines. We empower them to go head-on into the business independently,” states Jayson. “We provide them with very challenging and meaningful roles. The fact that they get these very diverse experiences without ever having to send out a résumé is why many will stay on with us.” kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg


The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore | 2 March

• Do you have HR practices that have positively impacted your employees and the organisation? • Do you look up to a mentor or are you inspired by a colleague or business leader at work?

Everyone has a story to tell – no matter how big or

small the impact. Nominate your HR team, colleague or business leader who has influenced your work and career today!

Hurry, nominations close on 6th October 2017! www.hrmawards.com

Title Sponsor

Organiser proudly owned by

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

33


F E AT U R E

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

The microchipped workforce

BEN WHITTER, founder of the World Employee Experience Institute, shares why an implant is not quite what he has in mind when it comes to employee experience

A

company in Wisconsin, US, and others

around the world, are taking the employee experience to a whole new level. Not content with providing a company staff card or keyring fob to access various features of the employee experience, Three Square Market, an organisation in micro-market solutions for vending operators, is implanting employees with microchips the size of a grain of rice to provide more convenient interactions and transactions within the workplace. For something like this, I think we do need to hear directly from the company’s CEO. “We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office breakroom market to opening doors and the use of copy machines; logging into our office computers; unlocking phones; sharing business cards; storing medical and health information; and for payments at other RFID terminals,” Todd Westby said. “It’s the next thing that’s inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it.”

A bone of contention? I have been talking about the need for a much deeper connection between employees and organisations, but the idea of an implant for employees was not what I was immediately thinking of. But hold on. Let’s digest this development for a second, and contemplate whether or not this really is the next thing to do.

34

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

Employees have something inside their bodies that allows them to have a smoother, and more efficient and effective experience at work. Is anybody else slightly concerned about the path before us and where this potentially leads? We know the power of a well-intentioned idea being implemented, but an idea being iterated, built upon, or redesigned with different motives could ultimately take us to a place that we didn’t intend to go.

Not always on, but always in But so what? As we each go about our day, we are willingly and happily

(most of the time) carrying with us an incredibly powerful device that generates so much data and enables so much convenience within our life. The smart phone is increasingly guiding and informing our human experience and choices, personalising services and presenting us with adverts at just the right moments. Does it really matter if this smart object is inside our pocket, or inside our bodies? Maybe – just maybe – it does. Human and technology are still separate; not integrated. It is still our choice to pick up our phone, to carry it with us, and to utilise its many functions. In the 21st Century, we

We know the power of a wellintentioned idea being implemented, but an idea being iterated, built upon, or redesigned with different motives could ultimately take us to a place that we didn’t intend to go


SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

35


F E AT U R E

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

are beginning to realise and becoming more acutely aware of the many disadvantages of being “always on” in addition to the multitude of benefits our smart lives deliver. However, this microchip is not always on; it’s always in. Yet, it is already proving a hit at Three Square, with employees getting onboard with the programme as America’s first microchipped workforce. “In the next five to 10 years, this is going to be something that isn’t scoffed at so much, or is more normal,” said Sam Bengtson, a software engineer at Three Square Market. Reassuringly, not everyone is happy with this new future, as a very recent review on Glassdoor indicates:

Pros Working coffee machine, printers, free swag!

Cons Implanted microchips are a bit too invasive

Advice to Management Stop using microchips

Keeping a close eye It is reassuring because something like this simply cannot go unquestioned, unchallenged, or made to feel like just another remarkable advancement that technology has enabled.

Given the level of participation and enthusiasm from Three Square staff, I would suggest that a high level of trust has been established with the organisation and there is a low level of cynicism. This is no easy feat and to even suggest microchips as a good idea indicates that they are probably doing many things right as an employer.

HR innovation at Smart Workforce Summit THE GROUND-BREAKING technology now available to HR will be a key focus point of HRM Asia’s Smart Workforce Summit next month. Featuring a keynote session and exclusive workshop with “the father of modern HR” Dave Ulrich, this four-day learning opportunity

36

HRM ASIA.COM

will guide HR professionals through the complexities and interrupters of the emerging workplace. Smart Workforce Summit takes place in Singapore from September 19 to 22 this year.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Yes, it certainly appears that Three Square is a company that can roll this out successfully with good intentions and that it will surely enthuse a lot of people there. However, not all companies can, and not all companies have built the requisite employee experience foundation – one based on rock solid trust – to quickly mimic and replicate this development. So we have plenty of time to look at, dissect and deepdive into the experiences of companies experimenting with a microchipped workforce. That may be welcome news to some. No doubt, this is a historic moment. It is reported to be the first time that microchipping employees in the US has come into effect within any workplace, and it hasn’t started in one of the big-name tech companies. So, this is still delicate ground we are stepping on,

which perhaps means many more organisations will be watching with interest. But, how do you feel about this? If your company started to introduce microchipping as part of your employee experience, would you: Leave. Immediately Stay, but opt out Stay and complain loudly and regularly. Sign-up to Glassdoor and post a review Embrace this wholeheartedly as the future of our economy and companies Accept it as a pretty cool workplace development Other What actually happened at Three Square? According to Westby, the “overwhelming majority of employees said yes” at a staff meeting. In fact, Westby and his whole family are getting microchipped. Leadership by example is crucial within the employee experience, but for once, I am a bit on edge about where this role model leadership will lead us to.

About the Author BEN WHITTER is the Founder of the World Employee Experience Institute (WEEI), a leading employee experience consulting, training, and research organisation, operating globally. He hosts the Employee Experience Showcase forum on www.hrmasia.com


proudly owned by

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE & ENGAGEMENT 2017

SINGAPORE

28-29

NOV 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.

Featured Speakers:

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

Sharad Goyal Director - Human Resources, Asia Pacific RGA

Key Topics Include: • • • • • • • • •

Integrating engagement into key business performance metrics How to better engage with millennial, and gig employees Enabling shared ownership of engagement from business owners, and line managers Empowering managers with core competencies to lead and inspire Strengthening Total Rewards & Recognition programs that go beyond monetary benefits Re-engaging with disengaged staff Translating feedback insights into actionable programs INSTITUTE FOR Career development and mobility to retain key talent HUMAN RESOURCE Crafting a branded digital employee experience with new technologies PROFESSIONALS

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS

INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RESOURCE PROFESSIONALS

S E P T E M B E |R www.hrmcongress.com 2017 HRM ASIA.COM 37 REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: info@hrmasia.com.sg SPOT COLORS

PROCESS COLORS

RGB COLORS

Pantone 130C

40M 100Y

247R 168G

Pantone 3005C

100C 36M

130G 201B

Pantone Black 7C

80 Black

105R 106G 109B


#RECRUITME F E AT U R E

TA L E N T M A N A G E M E N T

HASHTAG

Recruitment experts have always been quick to adopt new channels for connecting with candidates. The latest campaigns over social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram show just how far the profession has come B Y YA M I N I C H I N N U S WA M Y

38

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017


MENT SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

39


F E AT U R E

TA L E N T M A N A G E M E N T

“T

hank you for your interest. We will check out your information and be in touch with any questions! You can always tweet me. Even better… SNAPCHAT me why you belong here.” Marketing firm Likeable Media snuck the above line into its boilerplate reply to candidates who emailed in their job applications. It might sound radical – that is, until you consider that more than 3 billion “snaps” are created everyday on Snapchat, by more than 160 million users around the world. Meanwhile, Facebook hosts more than a quarter of the world’s population on its platform. Even in Singapore, a report by Hootsuite has found that three out of four people use social media; a vast majority of whom also use it on the go. Given those numbers, any HR professional who isn’t using social media to aid the recruitment process is very much the exception, rather than the norm. Social platforms are especially important for anyone trying to attract young, tech-savvy millennials. “Generation Y and the millennials grew up with technology. Thus technology is one of the best ways to reach out to this generation and to the masses,” notes Diana Tay, Regional Marketing Manager at recruitment firm RGF. #EmployerBrand Social networking empowers organisations to shape their employer branding on their own terms. According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report, almost half of the near 4,000 hiring managers surveyed named social media as the most effective employer branding tool in their arsenal. Networks like Instagram, which are as much about presenting a certain lifestyle as they are about posting pretty photographs, are a potent platform from which businesses can give outsiders a sneak peek into their company culture. “With the convenience of accessing social media sites, naturally talent would use such sites as a means of gaining an insight into the company, their employees, and even HR or their potential boss,” says James Miles, Senior Director of RGF. “In fact, we have had potential talent who told us that their interest in us was sparked off by our social media postings, as we have a good brand, are serious about our corporate values, and seem like a fun company to work at. They have since become our employees.” As Tay points out, however, “One should not jump onto the bandwagon without creating a proper social media campaign or calendar. This allows for the right content, messaging, and targeting of talent. Time

40

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

is required to not only create the social media plan and content but also the full recruitment cycle which includes receiving of applicants, filtering, and negotiating.” Dell, which won a special recognition award for Best Social HR at the HRM Awards 2016, provides an interesting case study in the area of targeted social recruitment. Its talent acquisition team started an Instagram account @lifeatdell, where it posts and “regrams” (shares) everything from department “wefies” (team selfies) to pet pictures and office doodles. The team also created a hashtag under the same name, #lifeatdell, and encouraged employees from around the world to post to it. It currently has more than 2,400 entries. In China, on the other hand, talent acquisition leaders focus on the locally popular WeChat platform – a shrewd move given that WeChat has more than 700 million active users in that country, with the vast majority aged between 18 and 36. “In less than a year, Dell’s percentage of hires through WeChat [were] higher than any other social media source,” Yvonne Su, Talent Acquisition Analyst for Dell, writes. “We have found WeChat to be a great platform for our talent acquisition team to reach out to a broader and wider target audience easily through special postings exclusively to followers. We want our

followers to stay engaged and help us to expand by re-posting our posts to their friends and network.” As Dell’s experience demonstrates, even if you aren’t reaching the candidates themselves, you might be reaching their friends and family. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, given that social networking is essentially the digital equivalent of that most useful of recruiting tools: word of mouth.

Recruiting? There’s an app for that Of course, anyone with enough dollars can advertise jobs on Snapchat – and these days, it seems like everyone is doing just that. Even Wall Street titans like Goldman Sachs have jumped into the fray and are running recruitment campaigns on the app. But when that is the status quo, how can any single employer stand out? McDonalds, for instance, didn’t limit its campaign to posting ten-second video clips of employees discussing the benefits of working there. Its campaign also made it possible for intrigued candidates to simply swipe up and be led to the restaurant chain’s careers page. These “Snapplications” have launched in both Australia and the US, and the company says it might branch out onto Hulu and Spotify next. E-commerce business Zulily, which sells lifestyle products, brought social media into its recruitment process from a slightly different angle, by inviting candidates to submit an Instagram post that “best represents themselves and what they would bring to the company”. Digital marketing agency Fetch combined the best of both approaches when it created two Tinder profiles – one male and one female – to find interns located in the New York area. Interested “matches” were asked to send their best pick-up lines, and from there continue conversing


with the company’s recruiters. In crowded metropolitan areas like New York, a regular job posting can easily be buried under dozens or even hundreds of others. With its 50 million active users, who spend an average of 90 minutes on the app daily, Tinder isn’t as strange a platform as it may sound for sourcing candidates. Fetch says it did, in fact, find its perfect intern, and plans to repeat the experiment soon.

New ways of connecting Brian Murray, the director of Likeable Media who asked candidates to drop him a note on Snapchat, notes there is an increasing need to find new ways to identify outstanding candidates. Even though his company did not hire directly through Snapchat, a few people managed to get interviews. They included a candidate who was fast-tracked through the process, and received an offer less than a fortnight after their initial message. RGF’s Miles adds, “Competing against rivals at a time when there is a war for talent,

the company would need to either stand out from the rest or be more targeted in its talent acquisition methods.” He shares the example of software company Red 5 Studio, which used social media to source 100 high-potential candidates. Red 5 did not simply reach out to these with an email. Rather, it proceeded to send each a personalised iPod with a recorded message from the CEO inviting them to apply. 90 of the candidates applied, and three of those eventually left their existing jobs to join the company. As the Red 5’s experience demonstrates, the secret to social HR is perhaps in how well a HR professional is able to exploit it to reach and hook in potential candidates. As it stands, social networking is certainly not going anywhere – but for anyone who continuously strives to make real connections in an increasingly digital world, experience shows that the talent will come.

The best in diversity DO YOU KNOW an HR team or leader that is innovating across social media to enhance recruitment or diversity across their organisations? They could soon be sharing the stage with the best and brightest strategic talent in Singapore. Nominations are now open for the 2018 HRM Awards. Some 20 categories will be presented at the gala event on March 2, including the Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategies award. For more details, see www.hrmawards.com

yamini.chinnuswamy@hrmasia.com.sg

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

41


proudly owned by

SINGAPORE

26-27 SEPT 2017

Accelerating your People Strategy and Business Performance through Workforce Analytics

Join us for the 3rd Annual Workforce & HR Analytics, taking place on 26-27 September 2017 in Singapore, to learn from practical case studies, best practices on how organisations are transforming with better talent decisions driven from HR analytics.

Featured Speakers:

Alexis Saussinan Head of Organization Development and People Analytics, Group Human Resources Merck Group

Dheeraj Shastri Global HR Strategy, Workforce Planning, HR Analytics and Human Capital Research Abbott

Subhankar Roy Chowdhury Global Head HR Strategy, M&A and Analytics Lenovo

Key Takeaways Include: •

• • •

Deciding a clear business goals for HR analytics success Identifying the pressing workforce-related business questions to solve Translating analytics insights into actionable plans: data storytelling and visualisation Launching predictive analytics projects that signal emerging talent gaps, and guide informed talent decisions

Maximise Your Learning Experience:

Attend the post-conference Workforce & HR Analytics Masterclass, taking place 2-3 November 2017 in Singapore, facilitated by Mr. Dan Meyer, President& Founder, DMAIPH.

• • • • •

Travis V. Barton Head, Strategic Workforce Planning, Global Growth Organization GE

Sarajit Poddar Head of Workforce Planning & Analytics, Southeast Asia & Oceania Ericsson

Aligning workforce planning to business goals Breaking data silos to seamlessly integrate data Building and elevating a success-proven HR analytics team Shifting from Reporting, to Prescriptive to Predictive workforce analytics Real applications of HR analytics in compensation benchmarking, recruitment and retention, productivity measurement and headcount budget planning

REGISTER NOW to enjoy the maximum savings for our event packages: · 2 Day Congress Only - S$1,995 + GST INSTITUTE FOR • 2 Day Congress +HUMAN 2 DayRESOURCE Masterclass - S$3,850 + GST PROFESSIONALS • 2 Day Mastercalss Only - S$2,345 + GST (Early bird rate expires 13th Oct)

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS

INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RESOURCE PROFESSIONALS

S I A . C O M Tel: S E P T E(65) M B E R6423 2 0 1 7 4631 | Email: info@hrmasia.com.sg | www.hrmcongress.com 42 H R M ATODAY! REGISTER SPOT COLORS

PROCESS COLORS

RGB COLORS

Pantone 130C

40M 100Y

247R 168G

Pantone 3005C

100C 36M

130G 201B

Pantone Black 7C

80 Black

105R 106G 109B


CONGRESS INSIGHTS

That rewarding balance

Times of uncertainty call for a new look at the types of rewards that organisations offer their staff, and the mix between short and long-term incentives. ROB GOSNEY, Head of Rewards – Growth Markets at Philips Lighting says the individual context of the organisation and market will always play a key role

H

ow do typical Total Rewards strategies need to be adjusted during times of uncertainty?

They need to be adjusted in many ways, but it obviously depends on the company and whether the uncertainty is viewed as a risk or as an opportunity. Either way, it is generally important to ensure that reward decisions do not leave the company with a permanent fixed cost increase that is hard to remove should the market not follow suit. Temporary allowances and one-off awards are preferable to premature, acrossthe-board fixed pay increases or changes to benefits that may be hard to reverse. In some cases, if the company is well positioned, then uncertain times can be an opportunity to assist the company to grow and take market share and talent from competitors, and this may require a more aggressive strategy. In most other instances, uncertainty is a time for a company to become defensive and may require interventions such as retention awards or discretionary reward decisions on bonus pools and payouts that have been adversely affected by external events. SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

43


CONGRESS INSIGHTS

What opportunities become available with the new existence of big data and workforce analytics? The ability to predict outcomes and therefore make better-informed decisions is greatly enhanced through big data and workforce analytics. One of the challenges and goals of working in Total Rewards is ensuring that the money the company is spending on its workforce is generating an adequate – and where possible, aboveaverage – return on investment. Data available now can make these calculations much more informative. For example, we may now have data to show that: Top graduates hired from campuses in Country A stay with the company for a long time, perform well, and rise to senior roles locally and globally with the company Top graduates hired from campuses in Country B tend to like to move on and try other companies or industries after contributing a couple of years.

“You often hear that the new generations coming through are focused on cash and short-term rewards only, and this may mean HR places more attention on these with employees and candidates”

– ROB GOSNEY, HEAD OF REWARDS – GROWTH MARKETS, PHILIPS LIGHTING

Therefore we may decide to offer above market compensation in Country A, as the data indicates there is a very positive longterm return for us. But we may only offer market compensation in Country B, protect our costs, and accept graduates who may not necessarily be at the top level.

What will you be focusing on in your presentation to the Reinventing Total Rewards Congress at the end of October? I’ll be looking specifically at short term incentives, and ensuring maximum return on investment from these.

44

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

A new look at Total Rewards ROB GOSNEY, Head of Rewards – Growth Markets at Philips Lighting, will be one of more than 15 speakers and panellists at the Reinventing Total Rewards Congress, taking place

in Singapore on October 31 and November 1. Delegates will receive first-hand, best practice case studies on how organisations – including Philips Lighting – have

Has the mix between short and long-term incentives changed for organisations today? This is likely very dependent on the country and industry, and the maturity of the company. In financial services at senior levels there has clearly been a big shift to long-term incentives driven by regulatory changes in the past 10 years. Start-ups and new companies will also offer more on the long-term incentive side to help preserve and reinvest cash in to the business, but that is not a new phenomenon. You often hear that the new generations coming through are focused on cash and short term rewards only, and this may mean that HR places more attention on these when talking with employees and candidates. However I have not yet seen any clear evidence that the global market is changing the approach and the mix of short and long-term incentives for their employees. At a regional level, Asia has grown in importance for many companies in the past 20 years which means more senior roles are based here and there are perhaps more long-term incentives as a result. However, I have not seen any data showing trends over a long period.

What are the basic goals of shortterm incentives, that are in addition to structured pay and bonuses? In think the key is in the word “incentive”. The money you are spending on a short-term incentive (STI) should incentivise something

adjusted their compensation and benefits programmes in light of the volatile business environment in Asia-Pacific and globally. Along with Gosney, delegates will hear from representatives of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, DHL Global Forwarding, Shell, Intel, and Deutsche Bank. For more information, visit www.congress. hrmasia.com.

specific that is aligned to the short-term business strategy and creates value for the company. If spending money on a STI does not positively affect business results or not by enough to justify the investment, then it is not achieving its primary goal and should be changed. In order to achieve this primary goal, the STI should also be simple, transparent, well-communicated and understood by employees. The business case for a new STI should show how it effectively funds itself through the positive impact it has for the company.

Is it difficult to align these strategies with the longer-term direction of the organisation? Yes, it can be. Longer-term the organisation will have more complex strategic goals and it is very hard to design a STI that is aligned in the right balance to all the strategic priorities, and is also simple for employees to understand. Sometimes STIs and goals can conflict with the longer-term strategy of the company. For example, a simple, sales-driven STI may successfully boost sales on conventional products, but negatively impact the growth in new that are complicated or slow for sales employees to sell – but which might ultimately be where the company believes its long-term future lies. Conversely, a STI to drive the strategic shift to new sectors or products may negatively impact sales in conventional products if the plan is not well designed and balanced.


19 - 22 SEPT

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

YOUR LAST CHANCE TO GET SMART!

Speakers Confirmed Include:

A New World of Work: Emerging Trends in HR Value Creation Prof. Dave Ulrich Management Expert & HR Guru

Designing the Onboarding Experience @Google Nandini Jayaram HRBP Lead Google Asia Pacific

Preparing For the Future and Equipping for Skills Needed in the Digital Economy Dr. Jaclyn Lee Senior Director, HR and OD Singapore University of Technology and Design

Transforming the Experience of Work - Secrets from Co-working Jonathan O’Byrne Founder & CEO Collective Works

Getting Started On Your Digital Transformation Journey – A JLL L&D Story Karina R. Cuello Director L&D, Asia Pacific JLL Singapore

A New Culture For A New World Philippa Penfold Senior HR Manager Infosys Consulting

Inspire me session: How I Changed From Having A Career To Having A Purpose. My Personal Story With 4FINGERS.

Bridging the Gap Between People & Technology - The Role of HR in Digital Transformation

Embracing Digital and Setting HR Free!

Joint Opening Keynote Welcoming AI To HR – OCBC’s AI Powered ‘HR In Your Pocket’ App

Joint Opening Keynote Welcoming AI To HR – OCBC’s AI Powered ‘HR In Your Pocket’ App

Transforming “legacy” companies into adaptable organizations that stay relevant and grow over time

Interactive Mini-Workshop: Building the Employee Experience with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®

HR’s Secret ‘Lever for Success’ - How the Physical Work Environment is an HR Enabler

HR’s Secret ‘Lever for Success’ - How the Physical Work Environment is an HR Enabler

Steen Puggard CEO The 4Fingers Group of Companies

Jason Ho Head, Group Human Resources OCBC Bank

Angela Koch Innovation Co-Creation Facilitator Invitro Innovation

Vivek Kumar Assistant Director – General NTUC & U Startup, U Associate, U future Leaders, U PME

Praveen Raina Senior Vice President of Group Operations and Technology OCBC Bank

Shobhit Choubey Director - Advisory & Transaction Services CBRE

Summit Only (19 & 20 Sept 2017): $1,095 Summit + Masterclass (19-21 Sept 2017): $2,950 Summit+ Site Tours (19,20 & 22 Sept 2017): $1,300 Summit + Masterclass + Site Tours (19-22 Sept 2017): $3,200

Please note - Site tour seats are limited to two per organisation.

Organised by

Samuel Obin Change Management & Transformation, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa Mondelez International AMEA

Gurveen Khurana Change Management and Workplace Strategy CBRE

PLUS Exclusive Workshop with:

Prof. Dave Ulrich Management Expert & HR Guru

+ more soon to be confirmed

REGISTER NOW! • • • •

Laurence Smith Former MD & Group Head of Learning & Talent Development DBS Bank Global Head of Talent & Learning, SmartUp.io

proudly owned by

• Masterclass Only (21 Sept 2017): $2,800 • Site Tours (22 Sept 2017): $800 • Masterclass + Site Tours (21 & 22 Sept 2017): $3,400 Please note - only a limited number of places are reserved for masterclass and site tour only attendance. Places will be reserved on a first come first serve basis and subject to approval by the organiser. For speacial Earlybird discount, please contact us.

Contact info@hrmasia.com.sg for more information www.smartworkforcesummit.hrmasia.com SEPTEMBER 2017 HRM

ASIA.COM

45


EVENT REPORT

H R T H I N K TA N K

Championing change The 2nd HRM Magazine HR Think Tank saw HR managers get together to discuss upcoming challenges and goals for the profession

B

e a champion for change, and HR professionals can help their employees, businesses, and HR teams enhance their value and experience – even as technology and digitalisation disrupt the broader landscape. This was the key takeaway from HRM Magazine’s second Think Tank event, which saw almost 80 HR managers converging on CulinaryOn in Singapore on July 27. The free event kicked off with a networking breakfast, followed by three different brainstorming sessions -- all visually recorded by professional illustrator Gene Whitlock of Up2Speed in a colourful mind map mural.

All in the experience The first session, facilitated by Sam Neo, HR Business

46

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

Partner at Changi Airport Group, saw participants discussing the employee experience and how to perfect it. A common challenge, for example, has been navigating the minefield of existing organisational structures, resources, and senior management expectations. Technology was raised several times as a possible tool to tackle that obstacle, including keeping new hires engaged while they serve notice at their preceding employer. One way to avoid having staff go “missing-in-action” on their planned start date could be to give them access to IT portals before they actually step inside the door, one participant suggested. This would allow them to learn about the business and their role, and to hit the ground running on Day One.

Upskill, or be obsolete The theme of technology continued through to the second session, which centred on digital skills for HR. Facilitated by HR veteran Laurence Smith, this session saw participants brainstorming how to digitalise HR – and how to start treating it as a new type of literacy, rather than yet another box to be ticked.


Tasty teamwork AROUND ONE THIRD of the HR Think Tank delegation stayed on after the event for a special, team cooking experience, designed by the team at CulinaryOn. This unique 7,000 squarefoot venue in the heart of Singapore has hosted more than 2,000 events since opening in 2015, bringing people together across the kitchen bench in the first instance, and then across the dining table. General manager Liubov Vdovina says working together to create a meal that is then shared socially among the team makes for some powerful

Smith encouraged participants to step out of their comfort zones and make an effort to understand the disruptive technologies and innovations that are on the horizon. This alone would stand them in great stead relative to others in the profession. “I spent three years going to every startup, think-tank and technology event I could find, including events specifically designed to bring start-ups and corporates together,” he noted. “I met a lot of business and IT people, but I never ever met another HR person at those events.” One point raised by participants during this session was the philosophy of continuous learning. Digital, after all, is not learned once and then never again. Rather, a digital mindset must be built because technology is

connections – even among colleagues that already know each other well. “Our guests quickly learn that everyone has different skills in the kitchen,” he says. Some are good at organising; others have the patience to cook something to a ‘just-right’ point. “Every group will learn something new about their colleagues.” Teambuilding events at CulinaryOn are fully customisable. The venue provides the ingredients, equipment, and aprons, and an experienced team to guide the process. The rest is up to the participants themselves.

constantly changing. “You need to get in the habit of learning – be curious, be open,” Smith advised. “You can’t ignore technology, because denial is not a viable long-term strategy for digital.”

Don’t keep calm The third session saw Ravi Bhogaraju, Global Head HR and Talent at Archroma, lead participants in an intense discussion on the evolving role of HR in the age of digitalisation. “What is HR’s purpose,” he asked. “How does HR re-think, pivot, and accelerate?” Bhogaraju had one key suggestion. “Don’t keep calm, go crazy,” he said, noting that it would be important to keep looking forward, rather than driving while looking

A comprehensive menu of dishes, featuring more than 12 different cuisines, is available. Italian is the flagship cuisine, in line with Brand Chef Giuseppe D’Angelo’s heritage, and participants can even make their own pasta. Groups can also work as a team to create the favourite and best-known dishes of Singapore, Thailand, and France, among others. CulinaryOn boasts four individual kitchen studios, complete with plenty of bench space and commercial-grade ovens and stovetops. The studios can also be combined for larger events, such as the HR Think Tank.

only at the rear-view mirror. A recurring point brought up by participants was the concept of HR professionals being change agents to help employees upskill and move up the value chain, especially with the prospect of automation looming large in the near future. HR could evolve from a function to an eco-system, it was suggested. In this hypothetical eco-system, the role of HR might then be to manage “human transformation” – empowering staff to become “freerange agents” who would carve out their own roles. Lastly, participants agreed that with the rapid speed of technology change, “insideout” coaching and reverse mentoring (from younger generations of employees) would become increasingly vital to survive and thrive.

Returning in 2018 The HR Think Tank series is a free, peerto-peer development programme for HR professionals working in Singapore and around the Asia-Pacific region. It will return with new events and new formats in 2018, but will remain free to join, and free of sponsored, sales-driven content. Look out for more details at the start of the new year. SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

47


UPCOMING EVENTS

CALENDAR Fourth quarter of 2017

12-13 SEP ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN CONGRESS

Changes in the competitive landscape can substantially impact a company’s strategy and operations. This is where innovative organisational development strategies can propel resourceful businesses forward. The Organisational Development Innovation Congress will highlight how HR can fully leverage technology and analytics in their capacity-building initiatives, identify key stakeholders for successful HR transformation, and unwrap the complex relationships between recognition, employee engagement, and high performance.

26-27SEP

HRM ASIA.COM

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 3, and check out the finalists in the December issue of this magazine.

31OCT-1NOV 19-22 SEP SMART WORKFORCE SUMMIT

Back again in September, Smart Workforce Summit takes a holistic view of the technology and disruption-led changes affecting businesses and workforces today and into the future. With “the father of modern HR” Dave Ulrich as the keynote presenter and workshop leader, this event will provide a vital blueprint for HR to navigate this new world of work.

WORKFORCE & HR ANALYTICS CONGRESS

Building and understanding data is an essential tool in every business function today. The Workforce & HR Analytics Congress showcases the vast pool of workforce data that HR now has access to, and will guide delegates on how best to analyse, interpret, and take full advantage of changing demographics.

48

06 OCT

SEPTEMBER 2017

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.

28-29NOV

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGEMENT CONGRESS

The 2nd Annual Employee Experience & Engagement, 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”.

29-30NOV

HR FOR SMEs CONGRESS

The HR for SMEs Congress will focus on understanding how disruption is changing the landscape of HR in SMEs and explore HR trends, initiatives and technologies innovations that drive productivity. Attendees learn how to: design creative and practical talent management strategies in SMEs, transition HR into a more strategic role, and leverage on technological innovations for automation.


HR CLINIC 52 UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL 53 READER ADVICE 56

MY HR CAREER

“Take ownership of your own development. Think carefully around how you can build your skills to get you closer to your goal”

50

LYNNE BARRY,

Global Head of Learning and Development and Diversity and Inclusion, Telstra

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

49


READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

MY HR CAREER

LEARNING IN A CHANGING LANDSCAPE LYNNE BARRY, Global Head of Learning and Development at Telstra, shares how HR professionals can learn and develop the skills needed in an era of change

N

o matter which state of career we are in, I believe that being a life-long learner will ensure that you continue to invest in yourself and develop your skills. That’s one of the things that has been

50

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

important to me as I have grown in my own career. For me, this is borne from a genuine spirit of curiosity. I want to know how things work, or why they don’t. I like to know the history of people and things, and also of the future. I am probably always thinking about

the things I have to learn versus the things I already know.

Practice makes perfect Learning is a practice – a continuous journey that we need to invest in. It is no doubt that


shifts in demographics of our workforces. The need of acquiring new skills and adopting new ways of working will never go away. The organisation you work for plays an important part in your journey of learning and development. A lot of times, organisations have policies and initiatives to guide you through your journey.

Much more than education At Telstra, learning is critical for us to enable our vision of being a world-class technology company. We were guided by the Bersin model of continuous learning, and we see that learning is so much more than education or what many people call training. Learning is also about the experiences that you have ‘’on the job’’, the exposure you have to different people and relationships, and the environment that you are in, such as the tools and systems that support you to do your job. We adopt a holistic approach to help our people build their skills and thrive in their career, and we have some exciting changes coming which will enable a greater line of sight for our people so they can better navigate their own development journey.

Onus is on oneself

we are facing a more competitive market now, with the rapidly-evolving technology and changing customer expectations. Internally, there is also the challenge of managing and engaging colleagues of different backgrounds and mindsets, especially with the

While organisations can be supportive, it is up to you to drive your HR development and I have found the following approach helpful for me: Start with a level of self awareness about your strengths. It is useful to identify feedback sources which can help you best understand the areas you want to amplify and some of the areas which might be holding you back from being the professional and colleague you want to be; If you don’t feel you have a good idea of that, you should start to proactively ask for feedback from your colleagues. You can also look within your organisation to see if there are tools to help you get this insight. It is also helpful to build a sense of the kind of work you want to be doing, and in what environment. If you are, or aspire to be, a leader of people, you need to consider what ways you can develop your people leadership skills. Then, take ownership of your development, and think carefully around how you can build your skills to get you closer to this goal. You are going to build these primarily through the work that you do, so you should take the initiative to look for opportunities to stretch, and to be part of projects where you have a lot to learn.

You should also communicate with your one-up manager on a regular basis. You should be clear with your manager on your goals and how they can support you, and keep seeking feedback across the year to help get you there.

Inclusion drives development In addition to learning, I believe that being an inclusive leader brings great opportunity for learning and growth. For me, there are two key dimensions. Firstly, I try to surround myself with people that are different to me: different backgrounds, different career histories, different thought processes, and more. The diversity within my team constantly challenges me and keeps me fresh. We are more innovative and creative when we are diverse. The second dimension is around inclusion and belonging. As a people leader, I want everyone around me to be able to bring their whole selves to work. They can’t do that if they feel that they have differences that are not being embraced in the team, or if they fear they will not be included. The commitment to inclusion and diversity that we have at Telstra, means that everyone belongs in Telstra. This completely resonates with our vision of creating a brilliantly- connected future for everyone. As a leader in Telstra, it’s my joy to embrace a diverse team, to value their differences and to gain strength from them. As you become a great colleague and leader, think about how you personally value and embrace differences, and how you can learn from that diversity and contribute to everyone in your team’s sense of belonging and their ability to thrive and grow with you.

About the author Lynne Barry is the Global Head of Learning and Development and Diversity and Inclusion for Telstra, where she oversees the learning for employees across 23 countries. This includes Telstra’s Leadership and High Potential programmes, and the full spectrum of its professional and technical learning and development. She has over 20 years’ experience in senior HR roles in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

51


MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

Balancing the business’ and employees’ needs BHAWNA GANDHI Head of HR, Singapore Danone

AN HR BUSINESS PARTNER is someone who is elusive to many. So don’t be surprised when employees ask you what you do! The HR function has its own complexity. HR, in the early days, was responsible for administration. And then the world changed: industrialisation, automation, globalisation, financial crisis, war for talent, digitalisation, and many other events in recent years have shaped the HR function of today, and are continuing to change its future. HR professionals can balance organisational objectives with the demands of functional and individual teams by focusing on the following three aspects:

Connect: HR professionals should have a wide network to stay connected with business and functional teams. We should have conversations at all levels, on a regular basis. Most often, decisions are made and HR is involved to manage the operational work. This only happens when we wait for the information instead of asking, challenging and seeking opportunities to get involved proactively. Be flexible in developing positive chemistry with stakeholders and translate that into influence that leads to business results. Co-build: HR is the link between a company’s business goals and its line managers. In 1997, the HR Business Partner model was introduced by Dave Ulrich. He emphasised that HR should act as strategic advisor, catalyst to drive change, functional expert, and lastly, employee champion to put the employees’ agenda on the table. The ability to co-build is directly proportional to the ability to connect.

People are inherently creative and want to engage with organisations; they don’t want to have policies, processes and organisation designs imposed on them. You must connect and engage to create stakeholder-focused strategies which positively contribute to business. Contribute from the outside in: HR professionals should look outside their organisations to customers, communities and competitors to define success for HR, and to sharpen their business perspective. To strengthen your partnership with business, do not offer HR-centric solutions. Rather, focus on finding a win–win solution for both employees and the business. To conclude, I would say HR Business Partner is not a title, it is a competency which all HR professionals should develop.

ASK OUR HR EXPERTS Email your questions to kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

Enabling an agile learning environment MUKTA ARYA

Head of HR, Southeast Asia Societe Generale

TO BE relevant in the dynamic environment of today’s finance industry, we need to adapt to changes in regulation and digitalisation. We have to continuously upgrade our skills, knowledge, and attitude, in a focused and cost-effective manner. At Societe Generale, we believe in preparing our employees for the future by enabling a learning environment that is nimble. We believe that development cannot be imposed on anyone. Our strategy is to address their individual needs as far as possible. Hence, instead of prescribing a training path or curriculum for each department, we encourage employees

52

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

to assess their unique needs with their managers, and then seek advice on solutions. Societe Generale has been investing in development initiatives for employees on a consistent basis. We enhance each employee’s competencies related to our values of Teamwork, Innovation, Commitment, and Responsibility, as well as our focus on “Client-Centricity”. Several modes are available to them, including: Executive coaching Classroom training Public seminars Customised one-on-one sessions Reimbursement for professional association memberships Subsidies for professional certifications and degrees Language training Professional certification courses related to Project Management, Six Sigma, Information Technology Infrastructure Library, and coaching skills help employees

enhance their employability. With a geographical spread and a multi-generational workforce, we also provide mobile learning, live virtual training, corporate-level Massive Open Online Courses, in addition to traditional e-learning. Furthermore, there are regionwide programmes like the CEO Club (for high potential employees) and regional mentoring. Within departments there are specific programmes such as: Sales negotiation for capital markets Managerial skills Communication skills for traders and financial engineers Creativity and innovation programmes Team building Vision workshops One-on-one communication skills for senior management These initiatives help to enhance the momentum for a future-focused organisation that relies on the skills, knowledge, attitude, and agility of its employees.


MY HR CAREER FEATURE HR CLINIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL CONGRESS WRAP HR PEP TALK READER ADVICE

Iwan de Leeuw HR Director, Singapore General Electric (GE)

W

ho is Iwan de Leeuw? How would you describe yourself?

I am an “extroverted introvert” who is fuelled by making a difference, however big or small, for both business leaders and employees that my team and I support.

Complete this sentence. HR is… a critical strategic partner in determining a company’s success, and is helping transform the workplace to deliver global, simple, transparent, and personalised employee experiences.

What are the best parts of your job? The sheer diversity of GE, the ever changing speed of change, and the intricacies of human behaviour – in the workplace and beyond - never make for a dull moment. They enable me to learn something new every day.

What’s the worst part? Dare I say the advent technology? I’m a strong supporter of digital transformation in the workplace. However, sometimes I worry that our need for and dependency on technology is eroding basic human interaction.

DIGITAL IMAGING BY MUHAMAD AZLIN

What has been the highlight of your career? I derive great satisfaction from making a difference to the employees I support. One of my proudest achievements to date is also helping build GE Capital Bank, an on-line savings deposits platform.

What would you be doing if you were not in HR? I’d love to be an underwater archaeologist.

That’s too cool! Why that choice? I have always been fascinated by history, especially with antiquity, and have been diving since I was six years old. Being able to combine these passions into a job would be awesome.

WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

My mother once told me that if I struggled with or worried about something, I should simply sleep on it and I would be able to manage it the following day. Mothers clearly do know best; it never seems to fail.

How do you unwind after work? I have to be honest – I’m a little bit of a workaholic and besides catching up with my daughter I simply do too little unwinding on weekdays. On the weekends and days off, I try to spend as much time with my wife and daughter as I can. I also read, travel, snowboard, and scuba dive to address the thrillseeker in me.

Your daughter is a very lucky girl! My daughter, eight years’ old, is a total character. She seems to have the same type of humour and interests I have, which always make for interesting exchanges. I am enjoying it while it lasts.

If you were stranded on an island and could only keep three items, what would they be? A magnifying glass, a heavy duty knife, and a copy of the Homer’s The Odyssey. SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

53


MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

Winning credibility by starting small GO FOR THE SMALL WINS. This was a key message imparted by HR thought leaders during the HR Transformation 4.0 Congress, which took place on September 15 and 16. The event saw HR practitioners converge at One Farrer Hotel in Singapore to share experiences and best practices for building business-driven HR competencies to thrive in today’s landscape of disruption. Transformation starts with small successes stories. Technology is not a panacea that will result in a transformed business, but a tool for enabling experimentation, delegates heard. During a panel session, Angela Law, Senior Vice President of HR at Mizuho Bank, shared that her team had implemented a new platform, called “Project Sandbox”, where new ideas can be tested in small, contained environments. “We wanted to try staggered work hours, but we were worried about how that would work – for example if the front office wants to come into the office earlier, but the back office is still not at work because they want

to come in later. Through Project Sandbox, using e-learning solutions, was originally instead of having instead of having 80 or shot back due to timing issues within the 90 bank departments business. taking part in the scheme, But that did not stop we just had eight. We HR. Instead, using the ended up having all eight resources the team did departments telling us have available, it built a it worked very well, and basic in-house system, and we’re now rolling it out implemented learning and bank-wide,” she shared. development solutions The panel agreed that internally – certifying a some projects will fail, but few people in the relevant the triumphs will achieve programmes, and also – SUREASH KUMAR, leveraging tools such as buy-in not just from senior GLOBAL LEARNING/ORGANISATIONAL management, but from DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, UTAC video-based courses. the rest of the business “Demonstrate your as well. capability, publish your Sureash Kumar, Global Learning and small success stories internally, and win your Organisational Development Director at credibility,” he advised. UTAC, added that HR needs to do its part to “We have to be resourceful in HR. Don’t create success stories. wait for the perfect solution or the perfect He highlighted that his own team’s time. That may never arrive. But that should proposal for a fully-fledged learning system, never stop you from setting sail.”

“WE HAVE TO BE RESOURCEFUL IN HR. DON’T WAIT FOR THE PERFECT SOLUTION OR THE PERFECT TIME. THAT MAY NEVER ARRIVE.”

At The Scene with... What brought you to the HR Transformation Congress today? My manager suggested I attend this. He’s a strong believer in transformation and continuous change, so he wanted his team to be aware of what’s out there, what the trends are, and what we’re getting ourselves into.

Can you describe your role at DHL? 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.

Were there any sessions that you found especially relevant? Quite a few, such as the

54

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

RAJASEGARAN RAJAGOPAL

HR Business Partner Head, Asia-Pacific Regional Office, DHL Global Forwarding Asia-Pacific

one by Chye Har Er from the Singapore Land Authority about their HR digital transformation roadmap. What impressed me about their story was that the HR function had taken complete ownership of what they wanted to do [in terms of building future ready capabilities], and in doing so, they set the example for the rest of the business. I found it quite inspiring to hear how they implemented it, and it’s definitely an example I can take back to my team to share.

What were the biggest takeaways for you? That digital transformation is not the same as digitalisation. Just putting something on an app, and getting people to use it, does not mean you’ve actually transformed. You need to understand the purpose of doing digital, and how it will serve your business and employee needs. Another big thing I’ve learned over these last two days is that human connection is still important. With all the changes that are happening, we still need people-to-people contact and for some cases, we also need in-person communication. We must make sure that human touch doesn’t get lost in all the disruption.


proudly owned by

REINVENTING TOTAL REWARDS CONGRESS 2017

SINGAPORE

31 OCT-1 NOV 2017

Striving Towards Sustainability with Dynamic Rewards Strategies

At HRM Asia’s Reinventing Total Rewards Congress taking place on 31 October - 1 November in Singapore, learn how leading companies use innovative rewards strategies to attract & retain staff, keep employees motivated & engaged, as well as lowering the employee turnover rate amidst economic uncertainty.

Featured Speakers:

Eudora Choo Vice President – Benefits Governance (APAC) Deutsche Bank

Madhumita Banerjee SVP, Regional Compensation & Benefits, APAC Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Yeo Meng Hin SVP Human Resources APAC DHL Global Forwarding

Wan Ezrin Wan Zahari Chief People Officer TIME dotCom

KEY THEMES INCLUDE: • • Rob Gosney Head of Rewards Growth Markets Philips Lighting

Mayur Chaturvedi Regional Associate Director C&B, AP cum HR ASEAN & India Zimmer

Best Practices In Total Rewards During Times Of Uncertainty Reimagining the Link between Performance Management and Total Rewards Leveraging on the Power of Data in Total Rewards

Maximise Your Learning Experience:

Attend the post-conference Total Rewards Masterclass 2017, taking place 14-15 November 2017 in Singapore, facilitated by Tom Farmer, CCP, SPHR, ACTA. REGISTER NOW to make the most of our Early Bird Rates ending on 29th September: · 2 Day Congress only S$1,795 + GST · 2 Day Congress + 2 Day Masterclass only S$3,650 + GST · 2 Day Masterclass only S$1,945 + GST (Launch rate expires on 15th September)

SUPPORTING SPONSOR

INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RESOURCE PROFESSIONALS

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS

INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RESOURCE PROFESSIONALS

S E P T E M B E |R www.hrmcongress.com 2017 HRM ASIA.COM 55 REGISTER TODAY! Tel: (65) 6423 4631 | Email: info@hrmasia.com.sg SPOT COLORS

PROCESS COLORS

RGB COLORS

Pantone 130C

40M 100Y

247R 168G

Pantone 3005C

100C 36M

130G 201B

Pantone Black 7C

80 Black

105R 106G 109B


MY HR CAREER READER ADVICE HR PEP TALK CONGRESS WRAP UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL HR CLINIC FEATURE

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

Q

I HAVE HAD A successful 20-year career in corporate HR, and have been approached for a well-known, national level non-profit. It has a mission that I believe in quite strongly and that I would be happy to contribute to. But it obviously means a big step down in terms of pay and conditions. My worry is that while I would be happy to work in this way for perhaps the next five years, I don’t want to completely close the door on my old higherflying life. Is it possible to return to the corporate world after an absence with a non-government organisation? Ready to volunteer, Singapore

Q

I HAVE BEEN AN HR generalist with an SME for three years since graduation, and would like to now try a specialisation. I particularly would like to work in recruitment. However, my company really only hires three or four people in any given year. I like the work I am doing at the moment, and my colleagues, and almost everything else about this job – but is it still time to move on? Stuck in limbo, Malaysia

A

Generally speaking, I think my advice would be to go for it. Because I believe progressive corporates – and given that you’re a purpose and values-driven person, you wouldn’t want to work for any other type of corporate – would value and appreciate the different perspective that you would gain from working with a non-government organisation (NGO) and bring back into the corporate world. I guess the one question I would ask before you take this step – because there is always some risk involved – is: is this a one-off, one-time opportunity, or might an opportunity like this come along five or 10 years later when perhaps you are more ready to leave the corporate world and embark on something like this more fully? While I think that the type of corporates you would want to return to would appreciate and respect the knowledge and experience you’ve gained, there is a risk that some corporates would not. If you do it now, I think there is a small degree of risk. But I think you should follow your heart and passion and work with what best aligns with your purpose. Still, also just think if the right timing is now, or perhaps a few years later. As an example, I can think of a very good friend who was a very senior HR leader and did indeed take a couple of years ago to work with an NGO in a field she deeply believed in. After a couple of years, she returned to Singapore and took on an equally senior HR role. But to be honest, I can’t think of too many corporate people that have done that. Perhaps, that’s because when they do experience life outside that world, they don’t actually want to return to the corporate way of life – even with the higher salaries and higher flying.

56

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

A

This really depends on your personal level of ambition. On the one hand, having a job you enjoy and colleagues that you get along with is important for your wellbeing. Don’t throw that away just for the sake of “trying out” a specialisation. But if you are convinced that this is the way forward for your career, the truth is that building a specialisation in recruitment can only happen in another, larger organisation – and so it may indeed be time to move on to a bigger pond. If your ambitions lie somewhere in the middle, it is time to start researching some best practice methods that you can implement in your current organisation. Adapt these to the small number of hires your employer does make in a year

and use that to test how you enjoy the recruitment function – and if you do indeed want to experience more of what it has to offer.

LAURENCE SMITH

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


Opportunities for Life Talent & Development Director

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

Manager – HR Business Partner and Operations

• Asia Pacific coverage • Interesting and exciting role

• Singapore leading organization with global footprint • Strategic, highly operational and challenging role

Our client a US MNC, is an established leader in its market and trusted name in its industry. They are hiring a Senior Talent & Development professional to join their corporate head office.

A fast-growing Singapore incorporation with global footprint, our client has an immediate requirement for a consummate and dynamic HR professional to join them and play dual roles as HR Business Partner and HR Operations Lead.

Reporting to the Global Talent & Development Director, you will manage a team of more than 5 direct reports. You will be a trusted advisor and internal consultant to senior management; lead overall people development strategy such as talent management, learning and assessment for key talent; effectively influence and work with stakeholders to drive organizational development initiatives to create a high performance workforce and develop HR programs that propel organizational effectiveness.

Reporting to Global Head of HR, you are responsible for managing HR operations team in the full gamut of HR deliverables such as and not limited to recruitment, payroll, compensation and benefits, performance management, HRIS, engagement, learning & development. As an advisor to leaders and management for assigned business units, you will counsel and recommend solutions to employee issues and HR strategies.

You are degree qualified and have worked minimum 12+ years in a progressive and dynamic environment, preferably in a sizable MNC. You have strong leadership skills to lead organizational change; strategic with broad based perspective and operational. It is critical to be an effective communicator with a drive for excellence and flexibility. Role is based in Singapore with some regional travel.

You are degree qualified in HR or relevant with minimum 10 years HR experience including 5 years as people manager within multinationals. You have solid knowledge of local legislation, sound project management expertise, strong leadership and communication skills, experience managing different levels of individuals with coaching, influencing and conflict management skills. You are resourceful and self-driven with a high degree of integrity with excellent presentation skills, and ability to operate in a fast-paced and demanding environment.

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Li Li Kang at lili.kang@rgf-executive.com.sg or Audrey Chong at audrey@rgf-executive.com.sg

To submit your application, please email your resume in word format to Maureen Ho at maureen@rgf-executive.com.sg or Audrey Chong at audrey@rgf-executive.com.sg

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

SINGAPORE VIETNAM INDIA INDONESIA MALAYSIA PHILIPPINES THAILAND CHINA HONG KONG TAIWAN JAPAN

THE NEXT BRIGHT SPARK

IS RIGHT HERE!

With a reach of more than 40,000 relevant professionals across online, print, and weekly newsletter, job listings can connect you directly with your next big thing in workforce management

Call Kelly on

+65 6801 4572 for more details THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST IN HR FIND THEIR NEXT BIG ROLE AT

only is Asia’s urce o mediatsed to HR dedicfaessional pro opment devel

SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

57


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. Regional Talent Acquisition Manager – Global industrial Organisation

Country HR Shared Services Manager Financial Services Group

• Established global organisation • Regional scope • Dynamic work environment

• Global Financial Services Group • HR Lead position • Progressive environment

This fast-growing multinational organisation has a number of global offices, and is well-known in the industrial sector. The company has a large footprint across Europe and Asia, and due to a recent transformation, is looking for an experienced APAC Talent Acquisition Lead to be based in Singapore, to help manage the recruitment needs of the business.

This is a leading financial services group with a strong presence in the Asia Pacific region. The organisation has a strong track record of stable growth and profits. It has now embarked on a journey of people transformation to prepare the company for its next lap of growth.

You will be responsible for Talent Acquisition (TA) function for APAC. Working with the Regional HQ in Singapore, you will partner with senior HR and business stakeholders and ensure the TA function is able to support the on-going and dynamic needs of the business. Key to success in this role is an ability to work in an intense and fluid environment where business objectives are adjusted regularly to adapt to ever-changing market conditions. We are looking for a resourceful and pragmatic TA professional who can not only think ‘big picture’, but can also roll their sleeves up to deliver a global strategy in the region. This person should have a track record in talent acquisition which can be a mix of search and in-house experience. Strong regional experience in APAC is critical to succeed in this role. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at finian@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title. We regret that only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Reg No: 16S8060

This role will report to and work closely with the Country Head of HR to drive the transformation agenda and to lead a HR Operations team. Scope includes project management, HR systems administration, mobility, vendor management. You will build the processes, team capabilities and necessary infrastructure to deliver high quality and consistent HR guidance, resolution and services to HRBPs and employees with a focus on enhancing employee experience. You will also be responsible for ensuring compliance in daily administration with all applicable regulatory requirements. You will have a minimum of ten years of HR experience in Financial Services environments. You should have relevant experience in starting and managing an HR shared services team of 2. You are a self-starter who is highly self-motivated, resilient and tenacious with a good track record in change management and leadership development. You should have the gravitas to influence the business in a commercial sense and be willing to ‘roll up your sleeves’ if needed. To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at finian@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title. Due to high volume of responses, only shortlisted candidates are notified. Reg No: 16S8060

HR Manager, South East Asia

• Major Investment Corporation • Strong project management experience • Success Factors

• Newly Created Position • Strong HR Operations • Project Management

Reporting directly to the Head of Shared Services, you will lead the team that builds and manages the HRIS and Data Analytics function. You will be responsible for the business functional needs for the entire end to end project life cycle towards the planning, development, implementation and documentation of the new HRMS.

Our client is an European MNC within the Pharmaceutical industry is looking for a HR Operations Manager to join their HR team. Reporting to the Head of HR for South East Asia and partnering with local business heads, you are responsible as a trusted HR Operations Manager to support the business. You are responsible for all aspects of human resources business partnering for several business units covering areas such as performance management, talent selection & management, HR Processes, resource planning and payroll.

You are the focal point working with both internal and external stakeholders to gather and crystallize the business functional specifications of the system requirements for all areas in HR. In addition, you will be responsible for data analytics while working closely with the HR Shared Services team. You would have a minimum of 12 years of experience in a multinational company, preferably within the financial sector. You would have experience in project initiation, planning, execution, controlling & monitoring, closing. Good understanding of all Human Resources Functional Service processes. High level of self-motivation and independent thinking, strong business understanding linked to strategic insight & perspectives. Strong interpersonal skills with the maturity to work with different stakeholders. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at joy@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title and reference number JS12493. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates are notified. Reg No: 1107886

58

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

You will be degree qualified with minimum of 10 years HR generalist experience, including the capacity as a business partner. South East Asia regional experience is preferred with experience in harmonization will be an advantage. Excellent interpersonal skills with strong adaptability into a dynamic environment. Knowledge in HRIS systems such as Workday or Success Factors will be an advantage. Preferably have worked in a Manufacturing, Medical Devices or High-Tech organisation. To apply, please submit your resume to Joy Seow at joy@kerryconsulting.com, quoting the job title and reference number JS12327. Due to high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates are notified. Reg No: 1107886

Licence No: 03C4828

Associate Director, HRIS & Data Analytics


SEPTEMBER 2017

HRM ASIA.COM

59


TWO CENTS

THESE DAYS, I can barely contain my excitement, and it’s not just because Will and Grace is making a comeback. You see, a war of words – sort of – has erupted in Silicon Valley between the lauded architects of two of modern civilisation’s most celebrated entities. In late July, Elon Musk, the flashy CEO of electric car maker Tesla, and his more reserved contemporary – Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg – traded blows on the subject of artificial intelligence (AI) and its future impact on society. At a national gathering of US state governors earlier that month, Musk had told attendees that AI, in its most realised form, would threaten the existence of mankind. “I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” he said worriedly. Well. Colour me worried then. This is not the first time Musk has struggled so heroically to warn the public about humanity’s impending doom in the face of robotics. “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal,” he cautioned, adding that governments need to start regulating AI immediately. A week later, Zuckerberg took part in a 90-minutelong live stream on heavyweight topics such as barbeque technology and meat-grilling tips. He also found time to suggest that people who “drum up doomsday scenarios” were “naysayers”, “really negative”, and “pretty irresponsible”. “I don’t understand it,” he groused in a speech most believed was alluding to Musk’s admonition, before turning his attention back to marinating tenderloin. Musk, not one to shy away from a riveting

60

HRM ASIA.COM

SEPTEMBER 2017

B Y K E LV I N O N G

argument, took to Twitter after, and utilising all of 76 characters, wrote: “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.” I’ve also spoken to friends about this, and their understanding of the subject is, likewise, limited. But as someone with some interest in androids, I can’t help but weigh in on this. When the initial excitement of seeing two business moguls go at it Kanye-Taylor style settled, I find myself agreeing with Musk. While Zuckerberg is right that AI is here to make our lives and jobs easier, not take them away, it’s almost careless, and in some ways, delusional, not to imagine Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film Artificial Intelligence and his predecessor Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, becoming a reality. Zuckerberg’s downplaying of AI’s danger is curious, especially since Facebook was forced to shut

down two of its robots when they recently started communicating in their own language. If this had gone on any longer, the possibility of them disobeying and frustrating their human creators would no longer just be the work of fiction. It’s not that machines will suddenly, overnight, gain consciousness and raise an army of humanoids to destroy all of us heart-beaters. Last year, the Centre for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence found that the real risk was not so sensational, but far more “insidious”. Insidious because these systems, if left unchecked, will make the lives of programmers, cybersecurity officers, robot trainers, bio-statisticians and whatever other impressive-sounding yet-to-exist job title, a living equationsolving and decoding nightmare. Rather than AI complimenting work, there is a very real threat of it complicating basic tasks. Privacy and security are also going to be an issue – no firewall will ever be strong enough to keep data safe. Given this risk, governments will need to step in. Given they are regulating scientific, life-enhancing processes like artificial insemination today, why have they not been as quick to restrict the potentially damaging aspects of AI research? Very few of Musk’s colleagues have backed up his opinion. Which leads me to wonder if that’s because he was revealing too much about the true depths of what these highly intelligent gadgets will be able to do. Truth be told, while I joke about a peaceful “post-human” world, I do so badly look forward to co-existing with robots. But only if they make my life genuinely easier and not harder than it already is. kelvin.ong@hrmasia.com.sg

ILLUSTRATION BY MUHAMAD AZLIN

AI: doom or bloom?


HRM September 2017 Need For Speed  

In the September 2017 edition of HRM Magazine, Nick Walton, Head of Southeast Asia for Amazon Web Services, shares how a zealous focus on cu...