Human Resources Singapore, May 2016

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May 2016

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May 2016 « CONTENTS

COVER STORY 14 Q&A Atul Khosla, VP of APAC human resources at Mondel z International, rounds up the leadership resources for the new operating model of the company via a focus on capacity, capability, and culture.

Features 18 What the best serviced apartments really offer Amid the wide range of serviced apartments available, how can HR leaders tell the difference between a great serviced apartment and a good one? Jerene Ang finds out.

24 Leading the way into the future Akankasha Dewan explores the top skills leaders need to survive in a challenging VUCA world, and how to optimise the leadership development process.



32 Learning & Development Tristram Gray, VP and head of HR for Ericsson Southeast Asia and Oceania, chalks out the four key campaigns that have driven above-average engagement rates at the firm.

34 Unconventional Wisdom ON THE COVER: Art Direction: Shahrom Kamarulzaman; Photography: Elliot Lee, Nikon Ambassador (Singapore) –

Find out how HR leaders from Hilton Worldwide, Digi, MasterCard, Sanofi and L’Oréal are encouraging gender diversity at their organisations.

36 Upwardly Mobile Explore HR’s digital direction with HR experts from AECOM, Philips Electronics and ABR Holdings.



40 Last Word Let’s face it, no one likes the management jargon HR is constantly guilty of using. Aditi Sharma Kalra finds out the five things HR leaders need to stop saying.




3 Ed’s note 4 In the news 6 Suite talk 7 Snapshot

8 Spacial awareness 10 HR by numbers 37 Personal growth 38 Shelf life

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The art of navigating change A company growing in the high double-digits, successfully merging a number of businesses in the past 10 years, and a culture that accepts the best of everything to create a space for everyone to co-exist. What could possibly slow things down? This gripping plot, involving a tribe of passionate change agents and a valiant transformation endeavour, formed the basis of our Q&A with Mondel z International’s Asia Pacific vice-president of human resources, Atul Khosla this month. This US$5 billion FMCG powerhouse in Asia has grown in scale and size since inception four years ago, and with this growth came complexity. Khosla, and the rest of the leadership team, assessed these headwinds to unveil organisationwide change resulting in one single way of working from a country-led to a category-led model; the nurturing of leaders fit to lead growing businesses in Asia’s emerging markets; and Mondelez’s associates becoming comfortable with the idea of working with ambiguity. We bring that story to you in this edition, where Khosla coherently and candidly details the change journey. “The three main pillars of our change strategy were capacity, capability and the right culture,” he said. This entailed a three-tiered leadership development agenda, a communication plan that systematically engaged people at each level, and the foundation of an in-house talent acquisition team (that managed 90% of the whitecollar hiring for this region last year). Head to page 14 for that conversation. While casting an eye over the strength of Mondelez’s in-house recruitment team, we were reminded of a series of successful awards nights this past month – the Asia Recruitment Awards, which were held in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The region’s only awards programme to recognise the best in talent acquisition, both inhouse and in agencies, saw winners walking home with prizes across 22 categories in Singapore. In a room full of recruitment royalty, ANZ took the Grand Winner’s prize for excellence by an in-house recruiting team, while the Grand Winner’s prize among recruitment agencies was won by ScienTec Consulting. The ANZ team excelled in a number of categories, winning gold for best diversity and inclusion strategy

(shared with Deloitte & Touche); gold for best onboarding experience; gold for best recruitment evaluation technique; silver for best regional recruitment programme; and gold for best inhouse recruitment team, before winning the Grand Winner’s trophy. Maybank, GroupM and Ericsson also posted strong victories, winning gold for best use of digital media (shared with Changi Airport Group); best inhouse recruitment professional (Michael Wright of GroupM); and best use of recruitment technology respectively. In the weeks to come, we look forward to sharing their winning case studies with readers of our daily e-newsletter, the HR Bulletin, as well as in the magazine. Our focus now moves to the annual HR Leaders Summit, where we will host 50 HR directors from Asia’s largest employers in the scenic Phuket for three days of group sessions, informal networking opportunities, gala dinners and leisure activities to create an interactive forum. Our team is thrilled to produce this unique retreat, not to mention the opportunity to work from surroundings more picturesque than our reporting desks, so look out for our updates. Keep writing to us with your feedback or just tweet us at @Mag_HR. Enjoy the issue.

Photography: Elliot Lee, Nikon Ambassador (Singapore) – Makeup & Hair: Michmakeover using Make Up For Ever & hair using Sebastian Professional –


Aditi Sharma Kalra Regional editor May 2016 « Human Resources «

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News Ne N ew ews wss ffrom rom hhu ro rom umanresourceso


According to the latest ManpowerGroup employment outlook survey, survey employers in the finance, insurance and real estate; mining and construction; and the services sectors, report the strongest hiring intentions of +12% each. This was followed by the public administration and education; and the transportation and utilities sectors with outlooks standing at +9% each. The lowest outlook was observed in the wholesale trade and retail trade sector, with an outlook of +6% as well as the manufacturing sector which only predicts an outlook of +5%. “The pockets of hiring growth are where either top talent or groundlevel workers are in short supply,” observed Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore. Hiring intentions for the next three months will be at their weakest since Q3 of 2009 after five consecutive quarters of steady decline. In the next quarter, only 14% of employers indicated they expected to increase headcount; 76% plan to keep their current headcount, while 4% plan to decrease staffing levels. When seasonal variations are taken into account, the net employment outlook is forecast to be at a conservative +10% – four percentage points weaker than the same period in 2015. “It’s a bearish sentiment we’re seeing as local employers face internal pressures of high operational costs, and business nerves continue to be frayed over China’s slowdown, which impact trade-dependent economies like ours.”


A study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, authors of Crucial Conversations and cofounders of VitalSmarts, found that 83% of employees have witnessed co-workers saying something that has had catastrophic results on their careers, reputations and businesses. More than two in three (69%) have admitted to personally committing that costly mistake. Polling 780 employees online, the authors found these mistakes cost 31% of respondents a pay increase, promotion or their job. More than a fifth said these were responsible for undercutting or destroying the working relationship, while 11% revealed it destroyed their reputation. Additionally, Grenny and Maxfield uncovered the five catastrophic comments bosses might fire staff over: 1. Suicide by feedback (23%): When bosses can’t handle the truth. 2. Gossip karma (21%): When staff talk about something in confidence with a co-worker only to have their bad comments made public. 3. Taboo topics (20%): When an employee says something sensitive about race, sex, politics or religion. 4. Word rage (20%): When they lose their temper and use profanities to make a point. 5. “Reply all” blunders (10%): Accidentally sharing somethingg harmful via technology. gy


Singapore’s Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat delivered the FY2016 budget statement in parliament, affirming that firms must restructure in order to remain sustainable. “We must aim for a virtuous cycle of higher productivity, higher skills and higher wages,” he said. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is expected to enhance employment support through the Adapt and Grow initiative. Wage support schemes will be expanded to encourage employers to hire those who are finding it harder to find jobs, such as those affected by retrenchments or restructuring. MOM will also commit an additional $35 million a year from the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund and Skills Development Fund to support skill building. Minister Heng also introduced the Industry Transformation Programme that will help firms create value in four ways: integrating restructuring efforts; a targeted sector-focused approach; deepening the partnership between government, workers and industries; and a stronger emphasis on innovation. Additionally, the government will proceed with levy increases of S Pass Holders in every sector, as well as levy increases for services work permit holders.


Google retained its top place among business students nts from Singapore’s four main universities – SMU, SIM, NTU and NUS – in the 2016 edition of Universum’s Singapore Top 100 IDEAL Employers. However, it slipped to second place among the responses from engineering and natural sciences students who now consider A*STAR to be the most desirable. While Singapore Airlines came in third among the engineering students, it took second place among the business students, closely followed by the Walt Disney Company. When evaluating employer attractiveness, Singaporean youth cited “professional training and development” (second for business and engineering students) and “high future earnings” (third for business and fifth for engineering students) among their most desired employer attributes. Neither business nor engineering students in Singapore ranked any of the employer attributes connected with employer reputation or image within their 10 most important. On the other hand, among the top 10 people and culture attributes, “a friendly work environment” is becoming a holy grail for employers in Singapore.

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A new study by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and found that employees, managers and HR often don’t see eye to eye on attributes that define company culture. HR and people managers thought that “a high-stress environment” and “company growth” had the maximum negative impact on workplace culture. On the other hand, employees felt “not having enough staff to support goals”, “unhappy/disengaged workers who poison the well” and “poor employee/ manager relationships” were the biggest barriers to a positive company culture. As a result, the study added that HR should place a greater focus on hiring the right people, appropriately staffing and ensuring that managers have proper management training to help their teams thrive. There were, however, again differing views across the board when it came to the culture attributes that matter most to employees. On the one hand, staff listed the three most important attributes as “pay” (50%), “co-workers who respect and support one another” (42%) and “work-life balance” (40%). Managers, on the other hand, thought that “managers and executives leading by example”, a “shared mission and values” and “emphasis on taking care of our customers” would top employees’ lists.

2015 proved to be a tough year for local employees with many of them losing their jobs due to the wave of layoffs. The latest Ministry of Manpower labour market report found the annual number of redundancies has been on an upward trend since 2010. The number of workers laid off added up to 15,580 in 2015, a significant increase compared with 12,930 in 2014. At the same time, the incidence of redundancy rose to 7.4 redundancies per 1,000 workers, up from 6.3 in 2014. Going by occupational groups, Singapore’s professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) were the hardest hit, forming the bulk of redundancies (71.1%). Next on the chopping board were workers in clerical, sales and service occupations, forming 13.4% of the redundancies, followed by production and transport operators, cleaners and labourers (15.5%). Sector wise, while layoffs increased across the board, the bulk of redundancies came from the services sector (55%) followed by manufacturing (33%) and construction (11%). “Based on Central Provident Fund (CPF) records, 50% of residents made redundant in the third quarter of 2015 secured employment by December 2015,, down from 55% from the previous quarter, and 59% from the same period a year ago,” the report stated.



No matter how satisfied staff are in their jobs and how well they fit in culturally, money still matters at the end of the day. According to a new survey by Moosylvania, only 3% of employees stated they would not leave their current jobs – if they are happy there and are a fit culturally – for a better sounding opportunity. So, how much better does an opportunity have to sound to persuade Millennials to hop jobs? Apparently, not that much. The survey found US$1,000 more per year, or roughly 50 cents more per hour, is all it would take for 36% of respondents to leave their current job – and that’s even if they’re happy and a cultural fit. Slightly under a third would leave for a US$5,000 rise ($2.50 more per hour), while 24% would for US$10,000 ($5 more per hour). Additionally, the survey found that when Millennials picked from 36 character traits best describing themselves, new values are emerging as the generation continues to mature. This includes being fiscally responsible, globally aware and health conscious.

A global executive survey released by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry found that while Millennials (born 1981-1995) are getting the most attention in the workplace, the generation is still one of the least engaged in the workforce (23%). On the other hand, Gen X (born 1965-1980) – who get about half the attention Millennials are given (27% compared with 58%) – make up the most engaged generation (52%) in today’s workforce. The survey found that 39% of the 1,070 respondents polled felt the “ability to make a difference in their organisation” is most important to Gen X in the workplace, more than double that of those who cited “job stability” (16%) or “development opportunities” (15%). Additionally, the survey found this generation is fairly easy to attract and retain. Almost half of respondents said it is “the ability to make an impact on the business” that makes a Gen Xer choose one job over another. This was followed by “belief in the reputation and vision of the organisation” (31%). “A sense of pride in their work” was cited as the top reason that makes a Gen Xer stay in a job (41%) with “financial stability” (24%) coming in second and “company culture” (23%) in third place.

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Thomas Holenia President Henkel Singapore Having been with Henkel for nearly 20 years, what is your proudest achievement? There have been several notable moments – from concluding successful contract negotiations to celebrating outstanding team achievements. They have all been very rewarding. Overall, I am happy that I have made many friends in the different countries that I have been lucky to live and work in. Since taking over this year to lead the Singapore operations, what were your priorities for the first 100 days? Being in Singapore for more than 30 years and having built a successful business footprint in the region, Henkel is preparing for the next phase of growth with the establishment of a new global supply chain hub here. My immediate priorities are to set up the organisation and hire the right people for the hub. We are looking for people with the relevant mix of local and regional expertise as well as a global mindset to join us – and we are working closely with the local universities on this. You’ve worked with Henkel across Austria, Germany, France, China and now Singapore. What differences have you seen in culture and its impact on employees? In general, Europeans tend to be more direct than Asians. Yet, this does not say anything about effectiveness or competencies. In the end, it is about personal interaction and relationships – the ability to listen and read people, the ability to appreciate, respect and collaborate with others, regardless of backgrounds. At Henkel, diversity and inclusion is strongly promoted among our employees from 125 nations and in more than 75 countries. We firmly believe that an inclusive culture brings out our employees’ full potential and is a key success factor.

defining expertise, headcount and ensuring smooth onboarding for new employees. Additionally, we work together closely on programmes to attract and develop talent (such as campus and internship initiatives), promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and positioning Henkel as an employer of choice. What are two or three of Henkel’s HR initiatives that you would like to call out for being unique? As part of our focus on developing strong leaders, Henkel’s five leadership principles convey our expectations from our leaders and they are used to evaluate and develop our leaders. The five principles are: lead myself, lead team, lead performance, lead stakeholders and lead change. These principles emphasise the abilities to adapt and innovate, manage changes and complex relationships, make decisions and inspire teams. Based on the leadership principles, the performance and potential of every managerial employee is assessed annually in a series of reviews called development round tables, and the results are shared and discussed during the development dialogue. These dialogues not only facilitate personal and professional development, but also enable targeted long-term career planning. For our top talent, we offer a leadership development concept called “triple two”, which is based on job rotation to two different roles, two countries and two business units. From these experiences, they gain an in-depth understanding about international business and sharpen their management skills by learning to balance cultural sensitivities with meeting job demands.

is actively promoted. The topic of diversity and inclusion is expressed in the company’s code of conduct, code of corporate sustainability and code of social standards. These codes and standards apply globally, including in Southeast Asia. In our 2015 diversity and inclusion campaign, selected employees from all regions demonstrated how they initiate change and interact respectfully with one another. Also, through the annual diversity week, employees in Southeast Asia participate in talks and activities to personally experience diversity. Also, Henkel has a corporate culture that rewards performance and evaluates the potential of each employee on his or her merits and performance, while respecting everyone as an individual. As a leader, what’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make? It is usually tough to make people-related decisions. For example, as we are serious about developing future leaders, it is necessary to make efforts in identifying the potential in our people and to invest in their development. This process is not easy and requires commitment amid day-to-day work demands. In an ever-changing landscape, it is no longer acceptable to rely on current expertise and performance to meet future needs.

Home to 2,200 employees in Southeast Asia, how does Henkel ensure diversity? Henkel has almost 50,000 employees globally from 125 nations. Furthermore, 55% of our employees work in the emerging markets. Given this context, diversity is a strategic asset for our company and

As the business head, how closely do you work with the regional/Singapore HR director, and on what projects? As Henkel develops Singapore into a key global centre of excellence with a new global supply chain hub, HR plays a critical role to support this by 6

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People « WORK LIFE


15 minutes with ...

Imre Vadasz

HR director for AMEA, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR FIRST HR EXPERIENCE? I was working as a sales operations manager at a US-based MNC with a commercial operation and sizeable factory in Hungary when I was offered to move into the HR function as the head in 1996. It was an interesting move because I did not have any previous experience in HR and that was also true for the rest of my team. We had lots of ideas on how to make our company a better place to work based on our own experience as employees and managers and our MD put a lot of trust in us. We also had access to our company’s well-founded robust HR resources. Those were great pioneering times with lots of freedom to develop the company culture. HAVING MOVED FROM EUROPE TO ASIA ACROSS YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST LEARNING? Working in a very different cultural environment helped me to rediscover the importance of the universal leadership qualities of openness, listening and empathy. As a leader, I try to understand the values, personality and strengths of everyone in my team as they are all unique in their own way. Working in Asia helped me to realise again the endless opportunity that lies in having a diverse team. At the same time, I also try to help my team benefit from me coming from a different cultural background by offering alternatives that may enrich their professional and personal repertoire. APART FROM GEOGRAPHIES, YOU’VE ALSO WORKED ACROSS HR FUNCTIONS. WHICH DID YOU ENJOY MOST? I liked all my jobs as they provided me with a great opportunity to make a positive change in the organisation. However, I find talent management

the most exciting. At the end of the day, the biggest impact you can have in any organisation is to develop and appoint the right leaders into the key leadership positions. Therefore, I believe talent management and succession planning is the most crucial and most strategic part of HR and is also the most complex and long-term to implement. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED? We had a debate with one of our professors at the university where I studied. We talked about the role of a professor and the role of a cleaning lady. He said: “It doesn’t matter if you are a cleaning lady or a professor. The only thing that matters is that whatever you do, you put your very best into it to become the professor of your job.” I have tried to follow this through my career and have focused on how to achieve the maximum results from my job. When I moved to HR in 1996 without previous experience, I was lucky to have two great mentors; two very experienced senior HR professionals. They had broad business and HR experience and helped me to learn to look at each situation in a business context while balancing the needs of the organisation and employees. They taught me through their questions and provided me the freedom to make decisions and choose the direction I thought was the right one for that situation. They also helped me to learn from my mistakes. WHAT’S YOUR REGULAR WORKDAY AT SONY LIKE? Most likely it is not much different from other companies – a mixture of face-to-face and virtual meetings, and on focused individual tasks. We try to balance time between progressing with our strategic priorities and being responsive to operational issues and employee concerns. Currently, we are working on the implementation of a global HR transformation in AMEA with many of my team members taking on extra responsibilities. This is a major stretch on top of our normal operation and it is also a great opportunity to challenge ourselves and learn new things. However, what I find specific about working at Sony is a genuine love of our brand and a friendly and co-operative working style that makes a lot of us enjoy working here. You feel you are in good company every day.

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WORK LIFE » People


Facebook believes that a connected world is a better world, and achieving this mission is at the core of everything it does. “We understand we can’t build an open and connected world unless we build an open and connected company, and if you look at our office it has been designed with connection in mind,” said Eriko Talley, head of human resources for APAC at Facebook. Each of the four floors in the South Beach Tower consist of open spaces and breakout areas to encourage conversation and collaboration. Large screens can be seen in all meeting rooms allowing employees based locally to connect with their counterparts in other parts of the world as if they were in the same room. Artwork by well-known artists also helps to embody the connection theme. “At Facebook, we are guided by our core values, and working in an environment that allows us to be open, be bold and to move fast reminds us each and every day what we are here to achieve.” The company has a rather unique approach to the office environment. Instead of keeping possible distractions such as food and beanbags hidden from employees, these things are kept in plain sight. “Our approach to the office environment and work culture is focused on making people’s lives as easy as possible so they can focus on the work they


love to do. From well stocked micro kitchens to comfortable collaborative work spaces we support productivity by encouraging a conducive work environment.” Other than helping employees focus on their work, beanbags and sofa seats scattered throughout the office help encourage discussions. “Common open spaces such as our café encourages people to mingle and interact which they would otherwise not have an opportunity to do during work hours.” One may also wonder why a company worth billions of dollars has piping visible on the ceiling and concrete floors and uses crates as seats. “The company just turned 11. We believe we are only at the beginning of our journey. That’s why our office space has an industrial feel with piping visible on the ceiling and concrete floors – it signifies our journey is only 1% done,” Talley explained. A piece of advice Talley has for companies looking to redesign their offices is: “Each company is different; it comes down to creating an environment where their core ideals can come to life.” In Facebook’s case, collaboration is key. “Our product is a core part of the way we work every day. We’re applying the same level of innovation that we use to create products to build a culture that redefines the way work gets done.”

» Human Resources » May 2016

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WORK LIFE » HR by numbers

The highest paying HR roles Despite the tough economic times and slump in hiring intentions, HR directors in Singapore can still expect to take home a rather hefty paycheck. HR directors with either a diploma or degree and a minimum of five years of experience can demand a salary of between $10,000 and $25,000 per month. (All figures in S$).

HR business partners with a diploma or degree and five years of experience can earn between

$6,000 and $10,000 per month.

$6,500 to $12,000

is what HR managers with five years of experience and a degree or diploma can expect to earn per month. A compensation and benefits manager with five years of experience and a specialist degree or diploma in compensation can earn up to


Source: Adecco Singapore Salary Guide 2016

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WHITE PAPER » Leadership


Global – When relocating employees, bosses might be hesitant in sending their staff to Singapore as well as Hong Kong because of the high cost of living in these cities. In fact, Hong Kong was officially found to be more expensive than Japan and Europe, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). EIU’s biannual worldwide cost of living survey ranked Singapore as the world’s most expensive place to live. Hong Kong followed closely at number two, sharing the rank with Zurich. The ranking, which compares the price of a weighted basket of goods across 133 cities, including food, transportation, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, specified that it does not include the cost of housing rents in the study. The report found the up and coming South Korean economy has continued to drive up the cost of living in Seoul.

The city is now ranked ninth globally and the third most expensive Asian city to live, following Singapore and Hong Kong. The weak Japanese Yen had Tokyo fall out of the top 10. The estimated 480,000 people planning on travelling to the 2016 summer Olympic Games stand to benefit from a spectacular decline in the relative cost of living in Rio De Janeiro. The Brazilian city fell 52 places to 113th in the rankings and is now almost half as cheap as New York. However, with Brazilian inflation creeping into double digits last year, locals are not seeing the benefits that visitors are. Ironically, with Russia expected to host the next Football World Cup, Rio is now as cheap as Moscow. San Francisco, which had made headlines about being an expensive place to live because of the influx of technology companies, ranked 34 globally. This was a 25 place jump from last year, but

The 10 most expensive cities in the world 1





Hong Kong








New York City






Los Angeles

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit’s worldwide cost of living survey.

still quite far away from cities such as New York City, which ranked seventh and Los Angeles, which ranked 10th globally.

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Leadership « WHITE PAPER

ONLY 10% OF SINGAPOREANS WANT TO PURSUE HR-RELATED FURTHER EDUCATION Singapore – Business (34%) and finance-related courses (28%) are the most preferred courses of study among Singaporeans, given the nation’s base as a financial hub. As a result, only one in 10 respondents, to the 2015 JobsCentral Learning survey by Careerbuilder Singapore, would opt for courses in HR (10%), or arts and social sciences and psychology (11%). Even so, Singaporeans remain firm advocates of higher education, with most believing it will boost career prospects, and 73% noting intentions to further their education. Why Singaporeans want to pursue further education Career advancement




To improve employability


To fulfil job requirements


Source: 2015 JobsCentral Learning survey by Careerbuilder Singapore

Respondents comprised 2,932 individuals aged 16 and above, of which 54% are working adults holding full-time positions – perhaps a reason why 71% prefer part-time academic programmes – while 38% are satisfied opting for full-time academic programmes. The top reason for pursuing further education? More than seven out of 10 (72%) said it was for their career advancement, while nearly two in every three (64%) did it with an intention towards self-improvement. While 58% said they wanted to pursue further education to improve their employability, only 38% said they owed this decision to their job requirements. Among the naysayers to further education, 38% said they were satisfied with their current education level. However, a sizeable number were constrained by things such as their financial situation (33%), work commitments (32%) and family commitments (28%). Jessica Ang, director at CareerBuilder Singapore, analysed the report and noted the

Singapore government has been extremely supportive of higher education and in providing more financial schemes and grants both at the corporate and individual levels. She added: “Intentions to further studies should not be hindered by financial constraints. Workers must be able to make the best use of grants available to improve prospects, especially in recent times with the many subsidies available to Singaporeans.”

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PROFILE » Atul Khosla

Atul Khosla

Vice-president, APAC human resources Mondelez International Biting off a chunk of change By ADITI SHARMA KALRA

Art Direction: Shahrom Kamarulzaman; Photography: Elliot Lee, Nikon Ambassador (Singapore) –

Q What’s the context of the transformation journey Mondelez commenced three years ago? We call Mondelez Asia’s favourite snacking company, with brands which consumers love such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Oreo, Toblerone and Milka. In Asia, we are in the range of US$5 billion in revenue, with close to 20,000 people. Around three years ago when I joined, our businesses started maturing. From a single category business, we became a multi-category business. When you grow scale and size, it brings complexity. Our capability to build our talent and leadership to run a large business at the same pace as the growth of the business was challenged a little bit. The big businesses started to stumble a little because we didn’t have the right capabilities to run them. And that’s when the transformation agenda came into the picture – how do we build a strong core in the organisation which will help us to stay competitive and help us to win every day, while building capabilties for sustained success?

Q How did you contribute to this mandate early on? When I joined, we were in transition to creating Mondelez. We had been growing in high double-digits in the previous three years in this region, and had just started getting the first feel of the headwinds. If you look at our background, we have grown through successfully bringing together different businesses over the last 10 years – including Cadbury, Danone’s biscuit business, Kinh Do Foods. What struck me was our ability to welcome different cultures to create a space where

VITAL STATS Atul Khosla has been the vice-president of human resources in Asia Pacific at Mondel z International since January 2013. Previously, he spent 11 years in a range of roles at Novartis, most recently as the head of HR for the JAPAC region. Having also worked with Bharti Airtel and PepsiCo, his HR expertise spans the US, Europe and Asia.

everybody could co-exist. We just took the best of everything, and created a collective organisation. This worked till it worked – and then we started facing challenges. For example, our costing models were very different, or the way that we gathered talent information - which created complexity and impacted efficiency. So we made the choice to transform, with two aims – to stay on the growth track and continue to deliver results in the short-term; and fix our fundamental issues to build sustainability for the long-term. After assessing our challenges, we embarked on the journey in 2014, deciding to have one common operating model, and align it with the One Mondelez way of doing things. We moved away from our country-led model to a category-led model. I always felt this organisation was change-agile because we had merged multiple companies. But this was the first change which was not time-bound, it was about embedding a different way of working, embarking upon a journey that our people were not used to.

Q Broadly speaking, what were the biggest two or three changes? The three main pillars of our change strategy were capacity, capability and the right culture. As part of capacity, we looked at the right structural design that would enable this organisation to be successful. We scanned the region, markets, categories, and aligned each one with a new globallycommon consistent operating model, which included changes in reporting lines. The next step was to assess our

capabilities. Do we have leaders who can handle multi-category, complex large businesses? We filled those gaps both through acquiring skills which we didn’t have, and building capabilities which we could. We also put in place an end-to-end three-tiered leadership development agenda to prepare our talent for bigger, more complex roles. For example, if you have a successful marketing manager who becomes a mediocre general manager, you risk losing a great talent, while the business also suffers. So while we had global programmes to leverage, we created programmes to address the specific needs of this fast growing region. We collaborated with Singapore Management University to create a customised six-month intervention, under which we have already covered 100 early leaders who we feel will be part of our senior leadership team five to seven years down the line. We have since covered close to 500 leaders in the last two-and-a-half years. Once we figured out the capabilities required to be successful for our structure, we focused on the culture. What would define associates part of Mondelez? Earlier, we were bringing together different companies with their different cultures which made this place very vibrant – but it also created an untenable cost structure. We needed resources to pull out of our existing cost structure and deploy back into our brands and our people. We put in place consistent common policies, and brought in an awareness of things which we don’t need to do or have. The leadership development

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PROFILE » Atul Khosla programmes, for example, were a USD five million investment. So how do we take out some resources and deploy those back into building our leadership capability? This was a culture shift in the mind-set. You bring in a focus on costs, it has its implications, which we helped people with. Another big shift was working with ambiguity. People were very comfortable with what was expected of them, but we were now moving into a more dynamic environment where we wanted them to understand that the structure will not stay stagnant. Simplicity was the answer – making sure there is one way of doing things.

Q On the ground, what initiatives did these three elements translate to? Our new category-led model made significant roles location-agnostic, resulting in a significant number of people reporting to managers in another geography - close to 1,000 people reporting into different countries, for example, someone in Indonesia was now reporting to someone in Australia. Language was a barrier, as associates were uncomfortable calling up their supervisors. So we got them everything they needed to build connections remotely – for example, technology like video conference. We also created programmes on remote working, provided tools to break language barriers, and ran regular programmes to coach people through the change.

Q Reporting to a boss in a different country is a huge deal – how did you help employees cope with that? That’s the dilemma for an organisation with 20,000 people. Apart from costs, it’s not physically possible to have everyone bond in one place. We did kick-off meetings by function and category. We started off with the APLC (leadership council) meeting, where our top 100 leaders came together face to face in Bangkok last year. We onboarded these leaders, and we provided them with tools and data to take back to their teams. Then they went back and replicated that process with their respective teams. Each function and category leader pulled together their top teams, and led workshops, explaining new ways of

working, creating dialogue around what was changing and how we will enable the change. In my HR meeting, we addressed all the questions under the sun - how are HR solutions going to work moving forward, or how are we going to recruit moving forward? We encouraged our people to build connections using technology, by running remote team recognition events and meetings. In this way, people started getting comfortable with each other without the pressure of who they’re accountable to.

Q How did you keep the communication lines open throughout? One was over communication – we made sure people had a line of sight to everything we were driving. For example, when we announced the new operating model, we announced the AP leadership team first. Then we engaged the next level team to share further about how the organisation will be structured, and provided clear timelines on the next round of announcements. Then we engaged the next level similarly. We were also very transparent in our quarterly town hall meetings about our cost savings and where we had re-invested them. We have started our first employee services centre in Manila, which takes care of all back-end employee transactions for the region, which creates capacity for the organisation to focus on consumers.

Another initiative was coffee with the leader, where every week we set up a time for anyone to come and ask the leader any questions in the cafeteria – even what the change means for them specifically. And this made it very real for them, and us.

Q Now the journey is ongoing, but what key milestones have you measured so far? We track our ability to attract the right kind of talent - are we an employer of choice? We now have our own recruiting mechanism, which is maturing every year. A significant amount of hiring is done internally by us now, which enables us to know the candidate experience and the quality of candidates getting attracted. We also measure our ability to build a deeper succession pipeline. One example is our top 100 roles – what percentage of my roles will have a ready-now or ready-in-the-short-term successor? Over half of our top 100 roles have ready-now successors. Another thing I’m really proud of is our diversity in leadership – specifically gender diversity. Over 40% of our top 100 roles are gender diverse.

Q How did you go about setting up your in-house recruitment team? We were working through our external search partners, like many companies do, until we realised that at the pace of growth we have, the need to build an internal

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Atul Khosla « PROFILE pipeline is so strong, that we need to build our own hiring capability. We created a brand new talent acquisition function as well as infrastructure around it. We can now provide an outstanding candidate and onboarding experience, because we are directly in touch with the candidates. Over 90% of the white collar hiring last year was done internally – more than 1,500 people.

Q How do you evaluate the potential and performance of people once they are on board? Moving away from 2013, we replaced multiple country-based talent assessments with one way of assessing talent, consistent with what we do at a global level. We have a leadership commitment to our talent agenda, whereby six times in a year, our AP leadership team meets to review our top talent’s potential and development plans. We plan focused development interventions for our talent by creating right experiences and regular coaching in very diverse set up. That’s the beauty of this region, you can put people in multiple experiences across developing markets.

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The by-product of this development journey has also been we’ve got a critical mass today of 500 leaders who understand what Mondelez is all about, and who bring passion and engagement, because they see the investment in them, and they see themselves as part of this long term journey to drive this change. I am proud to say our AP leadership team, functional and country heads, own this talent agenda. HR only facilitates and enables. I take it as the biggest compliment, as the HR leader, when the talent agenda doesn’t belong to us anymore.

Q So now all functional or category heads are responsible for developing their own successors? Absolutely. We target typically in a given time that we should have ready-now, ready-short or ready-in-one-two-years successors for our roles. We are not successful all the time, because we are a fast moving organisation. Last year, for instance, we placed 60 people in new roles because of the new structure. The moment you have this big change, you deplete your pipeline. But that’s a good problem to have.

Q How do you track your metrics on the culture aspect of change? We run our engagement survey, “unleashment survey”, enterprisewide every year, where every single associate provides feedback on predefined parameters on how they see this organisation. It tells you right away how people feel about things. So we get very real feedback every year and to track it we do dipsticks. Once we have the results, we get 20 volunteers from our top 100 leaders in a room called the Hothouse. They pull out three or four big areas in which our people are telling us they need help. They present a plan to the AP leadership team, where they first get alignment, and then implement those actions. Then we communicate this back to the people – what they told us and how we are going to act on it, so they see the connection in this process. This has had an impact on employee retention as well. Employee attrition in the FMCG market in Asia is typically in the range of 15-16%, and we are on the lower end of that curve, so if the range is 12-18, we are closer to 12 rather than 18. For the first-year retention rate, we are closer to the market mid-point in terms of attrition, i.e. about 15-16%.

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FEATURE » Top Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments have today established themselves as essential forms of accommodation for employees worldwide. But amid the wide range of serviced apartments available, how can HR leaders tell the difference between a great serviced apartment and a good one? Jerene Ang finds out. 18 » Human Resources » May 2016

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Top Serviced Apartments « FEATURE ith more companies outsourcing and offshoring their business services, serviced apartments have become a real alternative to hotels and various other forms of accommodation. In fact, according to The Apartment Service’s Global Serviced Apartment industry report for 2015/2016, 81.48% of respondents prefer serviced apartments to hotels compared with 78.1% in 2013. Apart from the typical considerations such as cost, location and amenities such as Wi-Fi, various HR experts believe it is a combination of factors which have contributed to an increase in popularity of serviced apartments. But what differentiates a high-class serviced apartment from an average one? Sheila Teyu, senior advisor of global mobility and immigration for Asia Pacific and Japan at Dell, says that an average serviced apartment would meet expectations, but a superior serviced apartment would exceed them.

Going the extra mile She gave the example of an assignee staying in a preferred apartment who was rattled after receiving a random phone scam scare. “While this had nothing to do with the serviced apartment she was staying in, I did call the apartment to just make them aware of the situation and to make sure they screen her calls. The management staff not only promised to do so, they actually had their security team take the extra step to speak and assure this assignee of their security measures,” Teyu says. “Th is incident added to my peace of mind that our team members are in good hands with this apartment. I don’t think we would have gotten that level of support from an average serviced apartment.” Going the extra mile to take care of employees’ needs is among the factors which have resulted in the rise in popularity of serviced apartments. “Serviced apartments are a great option to keep the feeling of home so as not to lose your work-life balance,” believes Desiree Wu, director of talent and marketing for APAC/ Singapore at Possible. “They are generally larger than hotel rooms and so give the employee a feeling of home. It really is about having your own creature comforts wherever you go. “Hotels have been supplying it for a very long

time, but I think serviced apartments are really stepping up and taking over especially when it comes to the price comparison when it comes to a longer stay.” John Lackey, director of global mobility at Jabil, adds that “serviced apartments provide the option and flexibility to cook, not having to eat out or depend on room service so I think there’s a lot more employee satisfaction as well”. Leveraging on such benefits of serviced apartments are also the way top-tier serviced apartments can differentiate themselves from average ones. Wu adds it is beneficial if serviced apartments have “add-ons like a gym or swimming pool” as “health and fitness” are priorities which employees are increasingly trying to fulfi l. She highlights that “travel plans can also often get pushed out, so serviced apartments that have flexible start dates and early or late check-ins/checkouts” can also prove to be an indicator of better serviced apartments. “Some people might plan a midnight fl ight – and for a hotel it’s easy to get into – but when it’s a serviced apartment, you have got to look at getting keys and things like that,” she says. “The agents we have worked with are amazing and have done the 2am run to pick someone up from the airport to get them into the serviced apartment so we love the people we work with. I think it’s the agent that really makes a difference.”

High standards of quality and service T.J. Spencer, vice-president of sales and managing director for APAC at Oakwood Worldwide, notes that serviced apartments are able to empower assignees to achieve a good work-life balance by enabling them to set their own schedule and enjoy daily activities in a home-like environment. “By partnering with a serviced apartment provider, assignees can reach a sense of familiarity and comfort more quickly. They understand regional differences and provide on-the-ground support, helping to increase productivity in the workplace throughout the assignment,” Spencer says. But while it is common for serviced apartments to offer such benefits, Lackey thinks the differentiating factor between a good and great apartment lies in the fittings and fi xtures, May 2016 « Human Resources « 19

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FEATURE » Top Serviced Apartments Maintaining consistency in service Last, but not least, for a serviced apartment to be among the best, there has to be consistency in its service. Eddy Neo, regional human resources director for South Asia at Ingersoll Rand SEA, notes: “I have stayed in Oakwood in Jakarta, Indonesia and Pune, India and they are excellent properties”. “Though I haven’t stayed in very many serviced apartments, having stayed in Indonesia before going over to India, one thing I realised that was good is the consistency of the service they provide,” he says. He highlights that at least in “the context of Singapore, if everything else is the same in terms of facilities and comfort, I think budget and location will play a part” in differentiating various standards of serviced apartments. “If they have to pay for their daily commute themselves, then I would probably advise them to go for one that is nearer to the train station.”

Top considerations

Keying into the features of a great serviced apartment: Quality, consistency

amenities, size of the apartment and add-ons such as a free breakfast. Th is is mainly because these play an important role in enhancing the entire experience of the employee in question. From his experience, he notes “the high-end serviced apartments tend to be laid out more like five-star hotels in terms of fittings, fi xtures and amenities”. On the other hand, he points out that “while the medium to lower tier apartments aren’t considered bad, they just don’t have that kind of five-star luxury layout. At the same time, the sizes can also be a bit smaller”. To that, Wu adds the top serviced apartments don’t cut corners on the essentials and offer great add-ons that upsell their quality. “Quality inclusions include a well-supported mattress, comfortable linen and pillow choices, coffee machines with good quality coffee as well as books in your apartment for things like shortcuts to app downloads for taxis, and local area guides for best restaurants and downtime activity,” she says.

While understanding the benefits of a great serviced apartment have boosted their popularity, the wide range of such apartments today has also made the process of choosing one more complicated. According to The Apartment Service’s Global Serviced Apartment industry report for 2015/2016, the global supply of serviced apartments has increased by 14% since 2013. In just seven years, the number of serviced apartments has seen an 80.1% increase. With so many serviced apartments to choose from, what should HR leaders consider when selecting the ideal accommodation for their employees?

A solid reputation Teyu points out that serviced apartments should be reputable. “Th is is important because you do not want to put your assignees in an unauthorised serviced apartment,” she says. “In Singapore, serviced apartment providers are regulated by the country’s government, so it is especially important that we only use serviced apartments that have the necessary operating licence.” She adds that location should be a consideration beyond just proximity to the office or accessibility to transportation.

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FEATURE » Top Serviced Apartments “For Dell, our serviced apartment locations must be approved by our internal security team as well.” Neo adds the level of comfort and security of the apartment is also an important factor. “Though we are safe in Singapore, these days travellers have this heightened sense of safety and security so we have to ensure employees feel safe as well.” Lackey adds that for him, safety and security is defi nitely a point of consideration. “A lot of properties do need to go through a safety and security review for various reasons and I think sometimes that gets overlooked,” Lackey says.

fairly popular quickly and a lot of our expats and business travellers wanted to stay there. “While it wasn’t an expensive property, it did not have any washers and dryers and instead had a laundry room which it sold tokens to. “The tokens were something between $3 to $5 per token and by the end of the month, employees were racking up laundry expenses in the hundreds of dollars.”

Range of services

Additionally, Spencer says: “With the recent international incidents of terrorism and international security concerns top of mind, duty of care should be high on the agenda for many serviced apartment providers. “If a company does not have a welldeveloped duty of care process to protect your employees and to communicate with you should something happen, you may wish to continue looking for a company that will be a stronger partner for you.”

Employee feedback is also pointed out as an important consideration. “While either our company or our relocation management vendor do conduct regular site visits to serviced apartment premises, it is not always the same as staying there. Hence, we take employee feedback very seriously, which has resulted in us having to re-evaluate the suitability of some properties,” Teyu says. She further reiterates the need for employers to remember the basic facilities and necessities needed to function in their everyday lives. “There are other considerations like cleaning services, in-house facilities with a good kitchenette and laundry facilities and let’s not forget Wi-Fi,” Wu says. Spencer also explains that when selecting serviced apartments, “organisations should feel supported with the booking process, billing issues and any legalities, and should been taken through the full range of accommodation solutions that fit with organisational culture and are compliant with all laws and ordinances”. “When evaluating companies, if they can’t provide you with a single point of contact they may not be the right fit for you,” she says.

Affordable pricing

Moving forward

In a unanimous agreement, cost is listed as a point of consideration when selecting an ideal serviced apartment. Teyu explains: “In today’s cost environment, keeping to a prescribed housing budget is important for us.” While keeping to the budget, she also points out that service and apartment quality should not be sacrificed. To that, Lackey adds that when selecting serviced apartments, one should be careful to avoid any hidden costs. “Years ago, in Singapore, a new property opened up in the Orchard area that became

In the future, as business travel evolves to include more global assignments and extended trips, the needs of business travellers will, similiarly, evolve. In line with that, Spencer says: “Serviced apartments will continue to thrive and be an integral accommodation solution, providing space, flexibility and a home away from home environment for organisations worldwide. “The success of the serviced apartment model has prompted providers to respond robustly to the world’s global workforce by expanding and diversifying their portfolios.”

“Quality inclusions include a wellsupported mattress, comfortable linen and pillow choices, coffee machines with good quality coffee as well as things like shortcuts to app downloads for taxis.” – Desiree Wu, director of talent and marketing for APAC/Singapore at Possible

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Akankasha Dewan explores the top skills leaders need to survive in a challenging VUCA world, and how to optimise the leadership development process.

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Leadership Development « FEATURE espite the economical, political and cultural differences between developing and developed countries, the greatest challenges of companies, whether private, public or non-profit organisations, in all countries are the same. All these businesses face and have to function in nebulous, constantly evolving conditions – in fact, the social, political, economic and cultural environment is constantly in flux. In the face of these changes, organisations and societies need to adjust and respond competitively, collaboratively and sustainably in today’s world. It is, therefore, of little surprise that industries and companies are facing critical challenges that are hampering their growth amid this climate of change. “The banking industry landscape itself is going through a challenging era,” says Li-Ki Khaw, head of HR for ANZ Banking Group. “These challenges are mainly driven by increasingly stringent compliance requirements, as well as changing business models in banking as we move into the digital environment. “Couple that with the geopolitical, natural disasters, and global economic uncertainties – we get ‘chaos’. One can sum it up with the acronym ‘VUCA’, which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.” But what is perhaps one of the most disastrous consequences of a changing working climate is the implications it has on talent supply and demand. “Asia is still home to the fastest growing populations and economies and a very important place for us to invest,” says Ilja Rijnen, regional HR director for Asia Pacific and India at Edrington. “From a talent point of view we are facing the same challenges as any other industry in Asia. There is a big talent gap in Asia, in particular around senior local commercial leaders and key specialists in supply chain and fi nance. “And it’s not unheard of that our talent gets offered 30% to 40% more in some of our markets by start-up companies that don’t have to comply with the many rules we have to deal with as an international player. “At the same time, the rise of the Millennial generation results in people expecting more flexibility and showing less loyalty.” Clearly, organisations are not easy to run

today. In order to make the best use of capital, human and material resources, they require sound systems, policies and procedures. In essence, they need to be not only managed, but importantly, led. Leaders of these companies have to make sense of information and knowledge delivered to them in different forms and by different means 24 hours a day. They have to listen, reflect and act in the present in a rhythm and pace and in ways that consider the past to shape the future. “The said environment translates into talent beyond technical capabilities. We look for talent with broader capability – people who can lead through thought leadership, change leadership and people leadership, therefore, creating followership to bring a positive outcome for the business,” Khaw explains.

The need for leadership development Indeed, it is precisely to deal with such a chaotic corporate climate that leadership development is becoming more and more important today. In fact, investing in talent management programmes to help develop leaders has become the primary focus for human resources professionals over the past few years. According to the Talent Management: Accelerating Business Performance survey by Right Management, 47% of HR professionals in Singapore stated 2014 was a year of growth marked by increased spending on talent management initiatives to help develop leaders and build talent pipelines. Th is focus on enhancing talent management strategies was a trend observed worldwide, with HR leaders in China/Hong Kong (88%), India (77%), Brazil (75%) and the United Kingdom (45%) also planning to increase investments in talent management programmes.

The greatest skills leaders need today However, a big unresolved issue remains – what sort of leadership behaviour should organisations encourage via such developmental programmes. Th is is mainly because of the fact that the very defi nition and core responsibility of a leader is a contentious issue. According to a survey by The Alternative Board, 46% of respondents thought accomplishing goals is the most important function of running a company. May 2016 « Human Resources « 25

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FEATURE » Leadership Development The survey – which included 336 entrepreneurs from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States – found 38% of bosses placed more importance on providing a vision for their business. Nearly one in 10 (9%) respondents selected establishing rules and structure in the organisation as important. Only 7% selected setting an example for their employees. The survey found North American companies placed more emphasis on providing a business vision and communicating that to staff, compared with New Zealand and UK businesses which placed the greatest weight on getting things done.

“From a talent point of view we are facing the same challenges as any other industry in Asia. There is a big talent gap in Asia, in particular around senior local commercial leaders and key specialists in supply chain and finance.” – Ilja Rijnen, regional HR director for Asia Pacific and India at Edrington

No matter which task one might choose as the most important responsibility of a leader, it is arguable that leadership has almost become so contextual that it defies standard defi nitions or development approaches. Instead, companies are now concentrating their efforts on priorities such as role modelling, making decisions quickly, defi ning visions and shaping leaders who are good at adapting. “Every organisation is different and leaders need specific skills depending on the business objectives of the organisation,” observes Vidisha Mehta, principal and talent strategy practice leader for Mercer Asia. “However, being able to operate in a complex global environment is becoming increasingly critical; and aspects such as an entrepreneurial spirit, catalytic learning, cultural literacy and sophisticated networking are a few factors that drive success.” For Khaw, however, one of the key skills leaders need today is learning agility. “I mentioned earlier we are operating

in a disruptive environment. A learning agile leader, according to research by Korn Ferry, demonstrates the ability to use his/her experiences and translates that into a new and/ or untested situation, which often is complex. The good news is learning agility can be developed,” she says. She elaborates on critical thinking skills – being able to exercise sound judgment and decision-making is a big component in being agile in learning. “Giving leaders more opportunities to learn and exercise judgment earlier on in the leadership ladder and giving them critical experiences in learning through failures helps position leaders for greater success when they assume bigger responsibilities,” she says. “However, in my view, possessing learning agility alone is only half the journey. In most global organisations, we run the risks of operating ‘silos’ in a matrix environment. To ensure it all comes together, leaders need to think ‘enterprise’. “It’s about thinking and acting for the enterprise fi rst, then the business units, followed by department/function. That includes the talent agenda which is as important as business outcomes.” Rijnen reminds leaders, however, that it is also integral for them to have “enough functional depth in at least one area”. In addition, he explains, it is key for them to have “transformational skills, understanding of end-to-end business processes and how to impact effectively”. Being able to “translate strategic objectives in one’s own role and function” is a last component he identifies, adding it is helpful for leaders to understand “how they can impact business performance effectively and how to inspire and enrol their teams in it”.

Why leadership development programmes are failing Unfortunately, merely being able to identify the types of skills needed to become an excellent leader in today’s workplace isn’t proving enough for companies to develop leaders effectively. In fact, for the third year in a row, leadership soared to become one of the most pressing talent challenges faced by global organisations. Despite a rise in leadership spending, nearly nine out of 10 global HR and business leaders (86%) in a Deloitte survey have cited leadership

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FEATURE » Leadership Development

Wading through deep waters: Only 6% of organisations believe their leadership pipeline is “very ready” – pointing to a staggering capability gap.

as a top issue. A full 50% of respondents in the survey rated their leadership shortfalls as “very important”. Yet, only 6% of organisations believe their leadership pipeline is “very ready” – pointing to a staggering capability gap. To make matters worse, this problem seems to be especially prevalent for companies in the Asia Pacific region. Mercer’s Leadership Practices Study found only 15% of businesses in Asia Pacific are identifying who is ready for the next move or position within their leadership pipeline. Th is was 5% lower when compared with fi rms in Latin America, which was leading the way among the 1,000 companies studied across Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East on the overall development of leaders in the organisation. Nearly three-quarters of organisations in the region had a defi ned leadership development strategy – significantly higher than companies in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Rijnen highlights several reasons why leadership development programmes are failing today. These range from not having “long-term, multi-year talent development plans” that are in place within businesses to “cultural clashes at senior level” when it come to leadership. Explaining the latter point, he says that in his opinion, many western MNCs would like to have local senior leadership in place, but

struggle to build a good rapport between their global board and local leaders. “Th is is causing a cognitive bias which should be addressed both at a corporate and local level,” he says. Another possible factor he highlights is the lack of interaction between leaders and organisations. “Talent development becomes a tick-in-thebox exercise. There are no real partnerships between the employee (future leader) and the company with clear and ongoing feedback,” he explains. He also highlights the danger of treating talent as entities with “a static trait instead of something that develops and changes over time”, just like the needs of the organisation. Adding to the possible causes of why leadership development programmes fail, Mehta adds that organisations rarely reach into their talent pipeline soon enough. “In a recent Mercer study on global leadership, we found that almost two-thirds of the organisations did not conduct leadership pipeline projections regularly. “Succession planning efforts are often focused on the senior leadership levels, hence, talent is identified and developed when people have already spent a lot of time in their roles and careers. Identifying talent earlier on ensures that organisations have a longer ‘runway’ to develop this talent.”

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Leadership Development « FEATURE She explains another key issue is around sustainability of the process. “Often organisations carry out a oneoff ‘talent identification’ exercise, with not enough follow up on how this talent will be developed beyond an immediate set of training interventions. Th is fragmented process delivers sub-optimal results due to a lack of continuous monitoring of where people are in their development journey.”

Getting past the hurdles To overcome such problems, Khaw adds that an organisation must be committed in their leadership programme through both the good and bad times. “Often at times, costs (versus being seen as an investment) become a common reason to pull back programmes, resulting in a disrupted and inconsistent experience, as well as messaging from the organisation,” she says. Underpinning the above, she adds a robust HR infrastructure, that is, recruitment, promotion, pay/rewards in driving the same purpose and outcome will be crucial in ensuring the success of a leadership

development programme in the long-term. “We take great pride in the fact that we have a structured learning pathway for the development of our leaders at every level of the organisation. “From fi rst-time fi rst-level line managers to leadership at the enterprise level, our courses aim at providing all the necessary knowledge and tools for our managers to perform their roles well,” Khaw explains. “ I am pleased to share there has been an overall significant increase in the employee engagement survey (MyVoice) results over the last five years. In addition, we have also seen our attrition rates decline in a big way. I believe our leaders play a large part in making our organisation a great place to work.” In essence, fi rms need to remember constantly that the nature of work is changing, and this is impacting where and how people work together. As such, bosses need to better understand how to lead in this environment – and properly structured, sustainable and flexible leadership development programmes are key in helping them do this.

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A packed house: Being able to adapt to changes in the workforce and workplace was a recurring theme among delegates as a cornerstone of success for HR leaders today.

Highlights from Talent Management Asia 2016, Singapore Two packed days of learning, case studies and networking – all the action from the conference, by Akankasha Dewan.

Being able to adapt to changes in the workforce and workplace; to aim for innovative solutions when managing talent; and to let go of old biases; are the three cornerstones for success for HR leaders today. This was the recurring message highlighted at Asia’s leading HR strategy conference, Talent Management Asia 2016 in Singapore, organised by Human Resources. Returning to the nation for the fourth year, the conference was held on March 30-31 following two hugely successful runs in Hong Kong and Malaysia. The event featured exciting keynote sessions, dynamic panel discussions and insightful case studies on attracting young talent and engagement from organisations such as Unilever and Singtel.

Listening and learning: Lots of networking and interaction allowed delegates to highlight issues and get answers to their HR concerns.

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From left: A gamification session in progress; Sydney Finkelstein takes the stage; and Unilever’s HR director Tricia Duran.

Plus, it offered an immense number of opportunities for networking, and was supported graciously by a host of sponsors and partners. Day one featured an exclusive opening keynote from Sydney Finkelstein, one of the world’s foremost thought leaders on leadership, strategy and corporate governance. He presented a whole new way of thinking about HR and talent development, with insights from his newest book Superbosses. “A superboss helps people accomplish more than they ever thought possible. What do these bosses do that’s different from other people? They break a lot of rules, for example, look for unusual talent, and create a very high-performance organisation,” he said. Another highlight of the day was an insightful panel which debated the top ways of building an effective change management model. Moderated by regional editor Aditi Sharma Kalra, the panel featured Jessica Tan, MD at Microsoft; Ravi Bhogaraju, global HR leader at Archroma; Prithvi Shergill, CHRO at HCL Technologies; and Mira Gajraj Mohan, practice director for talent management and organisation

alignment for APAC at Willis Towers Watson. The second half of the day was broken into three streams covering the topics of recruitment and retention, technology and talent management, and learning and development. All streams featured exclusive case studies and panel discussions on the latest trends and most pressing issues of their particular topics. Peter Wood, vice-president of talent management and global human resources at Schneider Electric, kick-started day two of Talent Management Asia with a case study on how the firm develops its talent with the use of integrated talent management processes. “Each review focuses on one level of the organisation at a time to ensure that potential assessments of managers are calibrated,” he said. Tricia Duran, HR director at Unilever Asia, also took the stage to shed light on driving employee engagement through talent management as well as how to bring out the best in your top talent. “Creating a virtuous cycle of talent development sets a rhythm of potential in the firm, resulting in a talent powerhouse,” she observed. The last panel of the conference featured

Front and centre: Debating change management were leaders from Microsoft, Archroma, HCL Technologies and Willis Towers Watson.

Suresh Kalpathy, director and VP at ServiceDott; Srikanth Chandrashekhar, regional talent leader for APAC at Pall Corporation; Gaurav Sharma, human resources director, bottling investment group, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei for Coca-Cola; and Eveline Noya, executive career management, and VP of human resources at Essilor. Moderated by Akankasha Dewan, senior journalist at Human Resources, the panel debated how HR and business leaders can alter their strategies to suit the new world of work, and in turn, equip their teams to cope. “Social media is definitely a tool to help us attract talent. But, when you look at Coca-Cola, we have a really big brand, so people come in expecting things to work very well, but the reality isn’t that. So we also have to let them know what they can really expect before they join the organisation,” Sharma explained. The conference closed after an exclusive round table discussion on topics such as succession planning, mobility, recruitment and retention, learning and development and employee engagement. These were led by moderators, who summarised the top three takeaways their respective groups had highlighted during the discussions. May 2016 « Human Resources « 31

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OPINION » Learning & development

Why Ericsson retains 93 out of every 100 employees TRISTRAM GRAY VP and head of HR for Southeast Asia and Oceania, Ericsson

There have been four key campaigns that have driven above-average engagement rates at communications technology company Ericsson.

A happy camp: In 2015, employee engagement at Ericsson was at 79% as measured through the dialog survey – way above the global benchmark.

In order to keep the best talent, Ericsson strives to foster a collaborative environment to ensure our employees are highly engaged. In doing so, the HR function for Ericsson Southeast Asia and Oceania supports more than 6,500 people in 14 countries who, in turn, support our many customers. Action: Dialog survey For the past four years we have had a targeted global focus on the level of employee engagement tracked via an annual survey we call dialog. This survey has not only provided us with valuable input on what we need to drive to improve employee engagement, but also allowed us to benchmark our performance with other leading companies, and track our improvements. Alongside, we have also tracked how high performing we are as an organisation through the performance excellence index, which measures employees’ views of aspects central to the execution of our networked society strategy: quality, feedback, involvement, development and improvement.

Action: Career and competence model The career and competence model, an internal career mapping tool, was launched in 2012 to ensure that every one of our 116,000 people globally can visualise how their career can progress in a consistent and clear way. It spells out the descriptions and expectations of all job roles, with corresponding stages of maturity of skills as well as responsibilities. Action: Flexible working policy In 2015, we released our regional flexible working framework that outlines options to balance work and personal commitments, thereby increasing motivation, without disrupting operating efficiency. The options we put forward to our people were: working from home arrangements, flexible time arrangements and part-time arrangements. Action: Diversity and inclusion programmes To help accelerate progress towards a better gender balance,

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Learning & development « OPINION

we set a goal that by 2020, women will make up 30% of our employee population, reflected in leaders and executives. Our global female workforce for 2015 was 22%, with the percentage of female leaders at 18% and percentage of female executives (top 250 leaders at Ericsson) at 22%. In Southeast Asia and Oceania, 25% of our regional leadership team and 21% of our current overall workforce is female. While the ambition level we set of 30% is challenging, we will continue our efforts to further strengthen our numbers and we are confident we are moving in the right direction. We do this not only by retaining and developing existing female talent, but also by collaborating with a variety of partners, such as TechWomen and Girls in ICT, to engage the next generation of women in ICT. No implementation is without hitches The diversity and complexity of the region has been our biggest challenge. We have countries with varying levels of maturity when it comes to technology adoption, regulatory and legal frameworks, and economic and cultural profiles. It’s never a “one size fits all”, so we usually have a regional-based approach, but we provide a lot of flexibility to make local adaptations based on cultural and legal requirements in each country where we operate.

“Our global female workforce for 2015 was 22%, with the percentage of female leaders at 18% and percentage of female executives (top 250 leaders) at 22%.” The results – why retention is good for the business In 2015, our employee engagement was at 79% as measured through the Dialog survey – way above the global benchmark – and a four point increase from 2014. In effect, this indicates eight out of 10 employees are highly engaged. The performance excellence index, which measures areas critical to maximising our success and to continue building trust in the future of Ericsson and further drive employee engagement, was at 80% in 2015, a 3% increase from the previous year. This also effectively indicates eight out of 10 employees believe we are doing a good job managing these elements. I think it’s worth mentioning that Ericsson – both globally and in Southeast Asia and Oceania – ranks in the top quartile globally when it comes to employee engagement which I consider to be a very good lead indicator of employee retention. This supports our current average tenure for Ericsson Southeast Asia and Oceania of 7.6 years. For a fast-evolving industry, this is a very good rate. Our retention rate stands at 93% as of year-end 2015. This means that we were able to retain 93 out of every 100 employees in the region last year. Moreover, Ericsson understands the potential the company has to help solve the world’s most pressing problems and the positive effect of the work we do. So we have a very strong sustainability and corporate responsibility strategy which is also a key part of our talent attraction and retention efforts. In fact, 71% of Ericsson employees feel the company’s efforts on sustainability and corporate responsibility have increased their overall job satisfaction – 15% above the external benchmark for most companies.

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OPINION » Unconventional wisdom

HR leaders take the pledge for gender parity What is your organisation’s pledge for ensuring gender parity – be it in the workforce, pay or culture? In January 2016, our new six-month paid maternity leave policy came into effect. It is our goal to attract and retain the best talent, male or female, and we are confident the revised policy will make Digi not only a very attractive place to work, but also a place in which women can build careers, continue to fill our leadership and support their families.

Balancing the unbalanced: The gender gap isn’t expected to close until 2133.

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then in 2015, just a year later, it estimated the current slow pace of progress meant the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2133. After this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, with the theme of “Pledging for Parity”, we asked HR directors across Asia – what is your organisation’s pledge for ensuring gender parity – be it in the workforce, pay or culture? Read their pledges here.

Mike McCarthy, group head of HR, Asia Pacific, MasterCard We value equality, diversity and inclusion, and we welcome men and women of diverse cultures, creeds and ethnicities to the table. However, we understand that women in many parts of the world remain significantly under-represented in leadership positions despite increasingly having the knowledge, skills and capabilities required. And we’re committed to changing that. We’ve partnered with UN Women’s HeForShe campaign to show our support for a representative workforce that supports women. It’s a great opportunity not just to support the advancement of women in our business, but equality in our wider communities as well. We believe that when you empower a woman, you empower everyone around her as well.

Brendan Toomey, vice-president of HR, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide Our target is that by 2017, women will represent 20% of all our general managers and hotel managers in Asia Pacific. In support, we have lined up a number of women in leadership workshops and conferences, which have to date, engaged more than 270 of our managers. In 2015, we stepped up our partnership with Room to Read in India and Sri Lanka to launch a first-of-its-kind job shadowing programme to introduce career opportunities in hospitality to 300 young female students over the following three years.

Julie Zhou, HR vice-president, Sanofi Asia Our mission is to create a Sanofi with excellent gender balance, and inculcate an environment and culture which can support our women employees in order to help them and our business to grow. Initiatives to do this are led by a regional women leadership council, comprising 16 passionate men and women. These members represent the different countries and business activities of Sanofi Asia Pacific and they sponsor initiatives deployed locally. At a regional level, the main initiatives are the catalyst programme, a work-life flexibility system, and mentoring opportunities. Catalyst is a three-day leadership programme targeting high potential women. Over the next three years, 200 women will be invited to attend this immersion, which aims at helping them overcome the barriers to their careers, and build self-awareness and confidence.

Haroon Bhatti, CHRO, Digi Telecommunications We encourage a balanced mix of candidates when recruiting, and this year have implemented several programmes to advance women in leadership. Digi welcomed its second female board member in July 2015, making up the 30% board inclusion strategy, with more in the pipeline. In November 2015, we introduced the Women’s Inspirational Network (WIN) as a platform to advance women through management levels through mentorship by top management, and exposure and networking opportunities.

Nora Mahbob, HR director, L’Oréal Malaysia Under the L’Oréal share and care programme, the objective is to provide all employees, regardless of gender, with the same social benefits in four areas – health, social protection, parenting and quality life at work. As part of this, we have introduced 14 weeks of maternity leave, maternity allowance, flexi-work hours, options to work from home, increased IT support for mobility access and provided a nursing room. Our pledge is to continue to provide the most innovative benefits and a supportive work environment to keep mothers in the workforce.

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CORPORATE TRAVEL TRENDS IN ASIA PACIFIC 2016 is a particularly interesting year to take stock of the corporate travel scene across Asia Pacific as predictions suggest the corporate travel market in China will surpass that of the US. With this in mind, corporate travel levels in Asia Pacific will continue to thrive and are projected to grow at a rate of 7.7% through to 2019. This follows a total spend of US$ $459 billion reported in 20141, showcasing significant growth despite the region’s economic fluctuations. Alongside the varying economic conditions across Asia Pacific, organisations are also dealing with the increased presence of Millennial employees (those born approximately between 1980 and 2000) and the region’s widespread differences from cultures, languages, laws and regulations to differing rates of development. Oakwood Worldwide® has identified emerging corporate travel trends in the region. Short-term assignments are increasing – 20% of assignments now last less than 12 months2 compared with 10% in 2002. Organisations need to plug skills gaps while employees are seeking cross-border experiences. More often, Millennial employees embrace flexible and short-term assignments – usually 12 months or less – which suits employees early on in their careers. The need to demonstrate cost effectiveness for international assignments is rising as employees are assigned more often and across an ever wider geography and as organisations look to control profit margins. Employers are looking across all aspects of travel to see where they can be more cost-effective, for example, utilising serviced apartments in lieu of hotels for lower accommodation costs, but also lower food costs because employees can cook some of their meals instead of always dining out. Monitoring the costs of international assignments makes corporate travel much more justifiable to an organisation in helping sustain a healthy bottom line. According to the 2015 Brookfield Global Mobility Trends survey, 46% of organisations now require a cost benefit analysis as part of the justification for an international assignment.

About Oakwood Worldwide® Oakwood Worldwide® is the premier provider of corporate housing and serviced apartment solutions through its well-known brands Oakwood®, ExecuStay® and Insurance Housing Solutions™. With a presence in all 50 states of the US and more than 85 countries, the award-winning company provides move-in-ready furnished accommodations to meet the needs of global organisations, individual business travellers, insurance clients and leisure travellers alike. Oakwood Worldwide® was founded in and continues to base its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles and operates regional headquarters in London, Phoenix and Singapore. It provides access to more than 850 properties and 55,000 units across Asia Pacific. There are 28 Oakwood® serviced apartment locations in the region, spanning across China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Thailand. Oakwood Worldwide® has claimed the following recent awards: • The Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) EMMA Award - 2015 Runner-up, Corporate Housing Provider of the Year APAC - 2014 Winner, Corporate Housing Provider of the Year APAC - 2014 Runner-up, Best Vendor Partnership Americas - 2013 Winner, Corporate Housing Provider of the Year EMEA - 2013 Runner-up, Corporate Housing Provider of the Year Americas • - “Top 25 Luxury Hotels in South Korea 2013” Travellers’ Choice Awards by TripAdvisor® • The Golden Horse Awards - 2013 – “Best Serviced Apartment in China” 1

GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast report PWC Talent and Mobility: 2020 and Beyond report 3 PWC Talent and Mobility: 2020 and Beyond report 2

Mobility patterns are becoming increasingly complex: The greatest cause is the demand for home-grown talent, particularly in Asia Pacific. Employers recognise the need for local talent to gain international experience to secure their future in the global marketplace and, as a result, are becoming more flexible in their approach to talent mobility. Serviced apartments, the preferred accommodation solution: As employers look for more flexible and cost-effective options to house their assignees, serviced apartments have become a desirable alternative to hotels as they are less likely to face challenges related to high occupancy levels and rate fluctuations during peak periods. They offer the best rates for varying durations and can add or subtract the number of available units via supply chain properties and partners to meet demand. Larger living spaces, home comforts, modern amenities and round the clock security, also make serviced apartments the preferred solution particularly in light of the rising Millennial workforce. In the past decade, demand for serviced apartments across Asia Pacific grew 25%3 and despite the prevalence of business hotels in the region, the outlook remains positive. As these trends take hold, talent mobility will prove to be a necessary tactic in global talent management strategies for organisations to attract, retain, develop and engage employees. Additionally, organisations will need to align their talent strategies with accommodation solutions that fit within the organisational culture, budget, role in hand and employee needs to ensure ongoing assignment success.

This article is contributed by TJ Spencer, VP of sales and managing director, APAC, Oakwood Worldwide®

For more information, email or visit

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OPINION » Upwardly mobile

The future of HR technology in Asia HR leaders from AECOM, Philips Electronics and ABR Holdings envision the future of HR technology, and how this is expected to impact the daily way of working.

While 64% of HR leaders indicate that a partial

automation of processes is in place at their organisation, a report by SilkRoad found that 72% of HR leaders still feel that a lack of automation is holding them back from business success. In Human Resources’ previous features, we have examined the various ways organisations are making use of HR technology as an enabler of their processes. However, with the rate at which technology is evolving, it is also necessary to plan for the future. Hence, we asked HR directors across Asia – what do you see as the future of HR technology? Wilfred Chan, director of compensation and benefits, Asia Pacific, AECOM For all those on the HR side, or even those from the business, I always live on the mandate that you should work towards making your current job obsolete and move onto things that are of more value. HR typically attributes its lack of strategic partnering to the workload of admin tasks. In that case, the solution is very simple – resolve all these admin tasks. I’m not saying to ship them over to other people, but to look for different avenues from a technology standpoint or streamline the process. Though it’s very comfortable doing things the old way, I would advise leaders to take the time to revisit practices and processes – it’s just part of the house cleaning to see if you can do things a bit differently. There’s always been this talk about HR being paper pushers, and the reality of that is because a lot of the manual processing is the nature of the job. However, if you’re doing payroll, there’s no reason why you can’t email it, or have a shared inbox, so people don’t always have to come over to the HR department, or they can drop a comment in the shared box and anyone in the team can answer them. You can make use of platforms to post information, and when all these things are done, then HR doesn’t have to run around doing these non-value-added admin tasks. Chris Major, head of recruitment marketing, Philips Electronics Singapore I think we’ll see technology usage increase across the board. Applicant tracking systems will continue to become more interactive and engaging. At the same time, online platforms, including social media, will open up new and exciting channels to communicate with candidates and employees. I also believe mobile technology will continue to impact the candidate experience. In that vein, we are exploring the development of an “interview app” that will provide candidates with all the tools they need to succeed at interviews straight

Assembly line: SilkRoad found 72% of HR leaders feel a lack of automation is holding them back from business success.

to their smartphone. And, of course, research into candidate drivers and behaviours will build on the Skype/video conference experience and online community platforms to generate critical talent acquisition data. James Foo, head of group HR, ABR Holdings I think the trends in the technology space are towards mobile and social media. I feel the future of HR technology will dramatically affect how HR performs. In the next six to eight years, we will look at three main areas. First, cloud computing. This will allow companies to carry out processes quickly and efficiently. There is also no additional hardware investment needed. From staff benefits to leave, time attendance and payroll, most things can be done on the cloud. Second, mobile and tablets. As the workforce becomes more mobile in nature, HR software has to evolve to meet the way employees connect with the office and HR department. Things like responsive design and mobile optimisation are likely to dominate the landscape. The interface is likely to create more employees as end users. When coming up with something, HR and tech designers should take this into consideration. Last, but not least, is social media. It is expected that HR will use social media as a way to engage employees. I think it provides a platform for the gathering and sharing of information as well as engaging employees in the process. Another benefit is it enables HR to notice staff responses and use appropriate measures to re-engage and refocus if required.

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Personal development « CAREERS

uptheranks Tracking HR’s industry moves Who: Cilia Rasasegram From: Head of people and culture for Tune Protect To: General manager of people and culture, iCar Asia iCar Asia appointed Cilia Rasasegram to the role of general manager of people and culture, effective February 2016. In this role, she will be based in Kuala Lumpur and will manage iCar Asia’s people and culture strategies, including organisational development, employee relations and internal communications. With more than 17 years of experience under her belt, she was most recently head of people and culture for Tune Protect where she grew the company from 11 employees to 500 in just over four years. In her new role, she revealed to Human Resources that she aims to lead the team to exceed employees expectations on quality and speed. “Currently, we’re focusing on how we can harness and consolidate the fantastic energy and passion that our employees have across Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, with a strong internal communications strategy covering formal and informal lines as well as building peer-to-peer support and strengthening our relationship with each other,” she said.

Who: Carlo Felicia From: Director of total rewards, Asia Pacific, BD Singapore To: Head of CoE rewards, APAC and Japan, Philips Singapore Philips Singapore appointed Carlo Felicia as its new head of CoE rewards for APAC and Japan, effective 1 February. He will lead Philips HealthTech’s compensation and benefits programmes, policies and processes for ASEAN Pacific and Japan. Based in Singapore, he told Human Resources he is focused on connecting with key stakeholders and learning as much about Philips as he can. “I’m very focused on making sure Philips provides a very compelling package both to prospective hires and current employees so it is important to have very good market information, stay connected with the countries, be open-minded and innovative, over communicate our value proposition and ensure our employees are satisfied.”

personalgrowth THREE WAYS TO TELL IF YOUR STAR EMPLOYEE IS SET TO QUIT Don’t be fooled that your top talent won’t quit just because they’re performing and earning well, says Akankasha Dewan. They’re performing well. Their colleagues love them. They’re being paid well. Yet, they leave their jobs. Such a situation is bound to shock even the best of managers, more so because managers have been so taken aback from these resignations, that some have described it as the equivalent to a “kick in the guts”. So, how do you know if your best employee is thinking about moving on? 1. They’re constantly performing well Sure, excellent results and a solid track record prove the employee in question is doing well, is a good cultural fit and is highly engaged in his or her role. But it is dangerous to assume this is a guarantee the star performer will always stay in his or her current job. Top performers are unique in that they will begin considering a new job simply if they feel “underused”. Almost all top performers want to be continually challenged. As a result, managers need to be aware that once a top employee feels their skills are either eroding or that their talents are being underused, they will likely begin considering leaving. 2. Talk to their colleagues And here’s how you can tell if they feel they aren’t being challenged enough – their colleagues. Criminals frequently leave behind a string of hints – angry

emails, threatening phone calls, etc – before they commit their crime. Similarly, dissatisfied employees drop hints that they’re looking to make a change – and the easiest ways to drop these hints is through the grapevine. Talk to other members of your team to check how he or she feels about the current role, and what their future career plans are. Chances are, you’re bound to pick up on subtle hints of their impending departure – or at least feedback on how their colleagues perceive them. 3. Conduct “stay interviews” Many firms use exit interviews to find out why an individual is leaving their job. A superior approach is to be proactive and to use what is known as “a stay interview,” which helps you understand why someone stays in their job by simply asking them this in an informal one-on-one meeting. This meeting doesn’t have to be as detailed as an appraisal. Rather, by just casually asking your employees why they love their job can allow you to judge their level of enthusiasm about the job and predict in advance whether they are happy in their role. Be it having casual stay interviews, or asking other members of a team how a top talent feels about their job, it is important to always trust your employees to tell you the truth regarding how they’re feeling about their job. Resorting frantically to scrutiny and paranoia that your top talent will leave will perhaps push them to hand in the pink slip.

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Good reads to improve your business life


Bulletproof: Building Better Employee Benefits

Pick of the month

Andy Bounds, Richard Ruttle Wiley S$24 A big part of a HR leader’s job is to interact and negotiate with people. This can range from convincing business leaders to buy into their next big initiative or keeping employees satisfied. Having to be in countless meetings and negotiations throughout the work day can be exhausting, especially if the conversations don’t go the way one wants. It makes one yearn for the secrets of having the upper hand in professional negotiations. And such secrets are exactly what Top Dog: Impress and Influence Everyone You Meet reveals. By exploring the ways professionals can steer conversations in the direction they want, the book allows readers to gain an edge in dealing with people. That means no more feeling like the underdog, no more “losing” in conversations; but instead getting more of what one wants.

In this book, authors and communication experts Andy Bounds and Richard Ruttle will help readers achieve more from their conversations with others in every type of interaction – from socialising, networking, interviews and even negotiating a pay rise – through instructive and thought-provoking content, relevant to both beginners and seasoned professionals. In nine short chapters, readers can expect to gain awareness of the bad habits that hold them back during discussions, acquire the skill sets needed to gain a competitive advantage from the get go and learn how to nail the final presentation via insights from some of the world’s largest companies. Bookmark this! It’s easy to talk too much. Especially when you’re nervous. Annoyingly, it’s also easy to talk too little, and become a nod-along beta dog. Especially when an executive uses your meeting to expand on her achievements. Neither approach works. One of you bores or frustrates the other. So it’s best to have a broad plan as to how you want the meeting to run – page 76.

Bookmark this! There is a dual responsibility here and both employee and employer must own their part. It is the responsibility of an employer to educate and engage so people are able to consider the impact. It is the responsibility of an employee to demand enough information to understand the protection being provided. – page 110.

Photography: Fauzie Rasid

Top Dog: Impress and Influence Everyone You Meet

Danielle Warner Artemis Speaks S$24 In today’s situation of talent shortage, organisations are increasingly including staff benefits as part of their value proposition to attract employees and retain top talent. As the workforce becomes more diverse and mobile, it becomes clear that a onesize-fits-all employee benefits plan no longer makes the cut. So what can HR leaders do to build a benefits policy that caters to the diverse needs of the workforce? In Bulletproof: Building Better Employee Benefits, Danielle Warner sheds light on how HR leaders can create a sustainable and strong employee benefit proposition, which will not only pay back in dividends and generate incredible return on investment, but also increase the retention of top talent, drive team morale and elevate the organisation’s employer brand. Neatly divided into four sections with 20 chapters, Bulletproof: Building Better Employee Benefits will take readers through a five-step blueprint to build an employee e benefits programme.

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Aditi Sharma Kalra’s list of HR jargons to do away with.

It’s no wonder everyone hates

management jargon, typically reflective of deeprooted thinking styles. So to get HR professionals to start speaking a little left of the norm, we put together a list of phrases we need to do away with. 1. Thing to stop saying: “You can’t do that.” “Too often, HR sees itself as a policing function – one that makes sure everyone behaves and follows the rules,” says Dr Peter Allen, VP of people and organisation development at “Unless something is actually illegal, that’s not the best way to go.” Try this instead: “What’s your goal here? Let me see if I can share some ideas/information/new approaches.” You’d be surprised how much of a difference this can make. Getting on the same side of the issue as your client will give you far greater influence, explains Allen. “And encouraging both managers and employees to own policies, rather than just implement them, creates a far more productive environment than just trying to compel everyone to follow the rules.” 2. Thing to stop saying: “There isn’t enough talent in the market.” Bear with me before you bring out the torches. There is no doubt that some technical skills are lacking in Asia, owing to slower industry life cycles. There is also no denying that leadership skills are hard to find, especially people experienced in remote working or across Asia’s complex. But in my view, there is a fair bit of scope for us to rewrite our people processes to accommodate a more diverse pool of candidates – be it part-timers, new mothers or mature workers. Try this instead: “Let’s recreate some of these job descriptions to attract more candidates.” 3. Thing to stop saying: “This is the problem we face.” “Instead of focusing on ‘problems’ which are naturally present, and the reason why we are hired, we should pay more attention to ‘solutions’,” says Wendy Koo, head of HR and corporate partnerships at Hong Kong-based charity, AIDS Concern. That’s

not to “avoid” the issue, she says, rather, it’s a way to move forward. Try this instead: Once the immediate issue is addressed, HR in partnership with the management team, must think about how to tackle the issue to change its unsatisfactory status for the long-term, suggests Koo. 4. Thing to stop saying: “We need to find ways to motivate and engage our people.” “It’s a widely held assumption that engagement is something that happens to people at work – as if companies need to do something to people to cause them to be engaged,” points out Lewis Garrad, MD of Sirota Asia Pacific. “But a lot of science shows the vast majority of people are naturally motivated – they want to contribute to the best of their ability.” He cites that when new employees are asked about this, more than 90% say they are motivated to go above and beyond to help their organisation succeed. “The remaining 5% to 10% probably shouldn’t have been hired in the first place.” Following the first 30 days, motivation of new hires often diminishes very quickly. Adds Garrad: “The challenge then is not raising the motivation of people in the workplace, but rather to find a way to maintain the natural enthusiasm that people bring to work. Rather than trying to motivate them, we need to stop demotivating them.” Try this instead: “What are we doing that gets in the way of engagement and performance?” 5. Thing to stop saying: “Time for training.” This is a pet peeve of Agoda’s Allen. “Training is good when you want someone to do something automatically, without thinking. It’s necessary for soldiers, pilots, dogs.” But most of the time at work, we should not be “training” people – instead, we should be helping them learn, he points out. “Using the word ‘learning’ puts the emphasis not on the trainer, but on the learner; it helps employees become autonomous, curious, empowered.” Try this instead: Turn your focus around: change your language, and see how it changes your attitude and makes L&D more effective.

Photography: Elliot Lee, Nikon Ambassador (Singapore) –; Makeup & Hair: Michmakeover using Make Up For Ever & hair using Sebastian Professional –

5 things HR should stop saying (and what we can try instead)

40 » Human Resources » May 2016

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