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hrm ISSUE 13.4

Suntec’s revamp: Behind the scenes Confessions of a corporate cheer leader Cisco Systems: Tech at work



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ISSUE 13.4

Strategies to motivate and engage your workforce

PLUS: • HR and the new CEO • Are leaders born or made?

HRM 13.4

Contents EDITOR Sumathi V Selvaretnam


JOURNALIST Shalini Shukla-Pandey

HR and the new CEO Hiring a new CEO heralds a fresh chapter in an organisation. Getting the person up to speed with the company’s culture and current challenges, in addition to gaining the trust and confidence of the workforce are just some of the areas that HR needs to focus on during those crucial early months



“The largest challenge for an incoming CEO is getting buy-in from the employees around his vision and mission”

PHOTOGRAPHY BY David Teng Photography PRINTED BY Times Printers Pte Ltd PUBLISHED BY Key Media Pte Ltd 121 Telok Ayer Street #02-01 Singapore 068590 Tel: +65 6423 4631 Fax: +65 6423-4632 Email:


MICA (P) 137/07/2012 ISSUE 13.4

ISSN 0219-6883



HRM 13.4


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FEATURES 10 | Renovated and reinvigorated

What is Suntec Singapore doing with its 162 employees during its eight months of renovations?

20 | Managing former peers

Once the spotlight fades and newly minted managers get back to work, unexpected challenges tend to crop up. One particular problem stands out most of all – managing former colleagues who may be bitter about not getting promoted. HRM finds out what HR can do to prepare the new leader

24 | Leaders – born or made?

Is someone destined to be a leader or developed to become one? Understanding whether people in your organisation think leaders are born or made is critical because these attitudes play out in their recruiting, promotion and development decisions.

28 | Confessions of a Cheerleader

Author and learning expert Julie Winkle Giulioni says corporate cheerleaders help to keep a team moving in the right direction

32 | Leading into the future

The constant growth of organisations is placing new demands on their leaders. HRM examines why it is critical for leadership development to be integrated with overall business strategy

36 | Work at Cisco is a slice of life

Yuri Wahab, managing director of Cisco in Malaysia, is passionate when it comes to flexible work practices and work-life balance. He’s also a firm believer in technology being the dominant tool that enables such a work culture

40 | Managing mobility

Mobility experts and authors David Clemons and Michael Kroth will be in Singapore soon for HRM’s 2nd Annual Mobility Congress. Here they share their views on ‘metaskills’ and their importance when managing a mobile workforce

44 | Tough cookie

Constantly ranked among the most influential women in India, Vinita Bali is well-known for re-invigorating Britannia Industries, one of the country’s biggest brands. In this exclusive interview, she tells HRM more about people-centred decisions that she made in her journey to success.

50 | Protecting your mobile workforce

Medical costs incurred abroad can be extremely high without global health insurance coverage. In an increasingly mobile work environment, such medical plans offer employers a piece of mind when deploying staff overseas.

54 | HR wins big with technology

Every day businesses are learning more about the ways HR technology can be used to increase their productivity and profitability. HRM looks at some of the key areas in which HR technology solutions are paving the way forward

58 | Fraud alert!

Fraud hits nearly one in four companies in Singapore. And inadequate knowledge on the red flags that staff should look for has been cited as one of the main contributing factors. Why is corporate fraud an HR issue and what does it take to detect and prevent it?

44 REGULARS 3 | Analysis 4 | News 8 | Infographic 9 | Leaders on Leadership 62 | MICE 66 | Talent Ladder 67 | In Person 67 | Twenty-four Seven 68 | Talent Challenge 69 | Resources 71 | Restaurant Review 73 | Talent Feature 74 | Executive Appointments

CONTACT US: Read something you like? Or something you don’t? Perhaps there’s some insight we haven’t considered? Have your say on HRM’s news, features, and contributions by emailing: 2

ISSUE 13.4



Work-life balance

Beating the early-morning rush By Sumathi V Selvaretnam Singapore companies are looking at new ways to help their employees beat peak-hour morning congestion. Some 12 organisations have come on board a Land Transport Authority initiative that encourages employees to travel to work during off-peak hours. Called TravelSmart, the initiative aims to reduce morning peak hour congestion on trains by at least 1015%. TravelSmart consultants are working with participating organisations to find the best means of avoiding the early morning rush, through alternatives such as staggered office hours and telecommuting. Incentives under the scheme include a 50-cent discount for train travel before 7.45am. The government is also studying the feasibility of raising the discount to $1 or even offering the ride for free, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told Parliament recently. Law firm Rajah and Tann joined the TravelSmart Scheme when it discovered employees were being negatively affected by crowded trains and traffic jams. “It takes a longer time to reach the office during the peak hours as compared to travelling to work before 8am,” Koay Saw Lean, Director of HR, Rajah and Tann, tells HRM. Consultants from TravelSmart have been assisting Rajah and Tan by sharing information gathered from surveys. “We were able to better understand the travel patterns that affect our employees,” says Koay. To create awareness on commuting initiatives and discounts, Rajah and Tann has provided Intranet links to Travel Smart initiatives, including the early travel discount and the Park & Ride scheme. In addition, the firm has included several health and environmentfriendly messages on its forum page to educate employees. “It is all about changing mindsets among our lawyers, staff, and their supervisors and educating them on how they can benefit physically by arriving early to work, and financially from discounts provided through TravelSmart’s initiatives,” Koay says. Accounting firm Ernst & Young feels that TravelSmart is in line with its own vision of building a

Plans to decrease congestion • Raising the off-peak travel discount in the morning from $0.50 to $1.00, or making the ride totally free • Six more city direct buses • Bus Lanes to be increased by 30km and the mandatory Give Way to Buses scheme to be extended by 150 more bus stops

Workplace of the Future – a trust-based and collaborative work environment. “We feel that there is an opportunity to review how our policies can be adapted to encourage and empower our people to work more flexibly and productively while minimising the need for peak hour commuting,” Max Loh, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, tells HRM. Through assistance from TravelSmart, Ernst & Young has undertaken a staff survey to gauge sentiments and preferences for smarter commuting. “We have also worked with them to conduct focus groups with our various business units, so as to assess and review, with the intention to pilot measures such as staggered office hours and increased use of telecommuting.” However, the challenge is in effecting policy and behavioral changes while ensuring that productivity and quality of work are not compromised, says Loh. To support the scheme, Ernst & Young offers fruit to staff who arrive early. “We have noted improvements in the arrival time. Our next initiative is to introduce free breakfast for the earlybirds who arrive before 8am,” Loh says. The efforts seem to be paying off. Employees at Rajah and Tann are now more conscious about how they can save on transport expenses by reaching the office earlier. “We have noted an increase in the awareness and queries on the flexible work arrangement options that are available in the firm,” Koay says. According to market research by LTA, there is still scope to shift travel patterns by further engaging employers to facilitate the off-peak travel of their employees. “For example, some commuters said that they would leave home for work earlier or work from home if workplace conditions permitted them to do so. Some others have not made the change because they cannot leave their office early even if they arrive to work earlier,” says Mr Lew Yii Der, Group Director for Corporate Planning and Research, LTA. ISSUE 13.4





Contract work now more attractive: Hays survey Eight out of 10 workers in Singapore are finding contract assignments an attractive option, given the current global economic environment. According to a new survey by recruiting experts Hays, 13% of workers say this kind of work is now less attractive to them, while seven per cent reported no change in their attitudes. “Contract work is not limited to entry-level office support roles. Professionals at all levels and various sectors are working on a temporary basis,” said Chris Mead, Regional Director of Hays in Singapore and Malaysia. “We are seeing employers engage contract workers as a long-term solution to their staffing needs and candidates are making the most of this trend as there are many advantages for them too.” Some benefits for candidates considering contract work include the ability to advance their skills and career on their own terms, attain work-life balance, and to increase their earning potential. Employers, on the other hand, are able to hire particular expertise when needed for special projects. This supports the business’s permanent workforce, thereby increasing productivity. Employers can also use contract workers on a trial basis to test their ability and assess their compatibility with the organisation. An added benefit of using contract workers is that they can be engaged and released at short notice, which can help organisations address challenging times in their business schedules.


ISSUE 13.4



Employers focus on investing in current and future talent Only

5% or less

of the top 100 most senior leadership roles across AsiaPacific are held by women Source: Mercer’s 2012 Asia Pacific Leadership Development Practices Study


of Singapore employers use online channels to perform background checks on potential candidates Source: JobsCentral survey

Hiring expectations in Singapore have fallen slightly this quarter, but remain at a high level on the back of recent positive economic news in China, encouraging many companies to shift their focus to the development of current and future talent, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends. More than four out of 10 employers (43.2%) intend to increase headcount this quarter, and a growing number of employers intend to keep their headcount steady, up 5.4percentage points to 51.5%, highlighting the high demand for labour and tight-talent market. Business and consumer confidence is also up on this time last year, and is expected to remain reasonably stable throughout 2013. The industries with the strongest intentions to hire are Manufacturing & Industrial, IT&T and Banking & Financial Services. A rebound in the Manufacturing

& Industrial sector has been particularly influenced by recovery in the global and Chinese manufacturing market. “Whilst the global economy looks set to stay sluggish, China’s economy is beginning to regain confidence, having positive flow-on effects for the Singapore economy and job market,” said Andrew Tomich, Executive General Manager, Hudson Singapore. The island-state is also becoming more serious about developing its resident workforce, with most employers now adopting Singaporeanfirst policies when recruiting, and the quota for foreign workers set to decline. “When it comes to hiring, employers are thinking local, local, local, however increasing restrictions on the available workforce are creating a shortage of suitable candidates in an already tight market,” Tomich added.


of women have used looks to their advantage in the workplace Source: LinkedIn survey


of Singapore workers cite good relationships with colleagues as the top factor creating a good work environment Source: Accenture research, ‘Defining Success’


Companies face a demanding and maturing workforce Managers and professionals in both Greater China and Singapore are increasingly unhappy with their current compensation levels. According to the 2013 MRIC Talent Report, employees are more motivated to change jobs for better pay over any other factor. However, they also want a balance of business and personal priorities as they pursue more sustainable, longer term career and life ambitions. The greatest number unhappy with their pay were working in Taiwan (61.7%) and Mainland China (57.8%). However, the number of staff actively seeking new jobs is significantly down from last year in both Taiwan (23.5%) and Mainland China (22.2%), reflecting a more conservative, risk averse and maturing workforce. “Last year, after a strong 2011 economy, the appetite for career development and

promotion was more prominent,” said Christine Raynaud, CEO of MRIC. “In these more uncertain economic times, it tells a story of the major commercial centres across Asia, where the cost of living, housing, education, healthcare, and even retirement are focusing minds on cash over career.” The report also found that work-life balance was a major retention driver across the region. Some 37.3% of the Singaporean professionals surveyed cited this as the major factor for them staying in a role. It was also the top driver for Taiwan’s talent (42.3%), while workers in Mainland China and Hong Kong placed it second. “Stress has taken its toll on a population of fast-tracked leaders with employers putting more pressure on higher revenues and better results from a more expensive workforce,” commented Raynaud.




The majority of Hong Kong workplaces have some way to go before achieving gender equality. According to the Randstad Workmonitor Report covering the first quarter of 2013, over 70% of Hong Kong employees report male than female managers in their workplace. Sixty-three percent felt that men were better suited to lead a company and over two-thirds (68%) said they would rather have a male manager than a female manager. Nonetheless, six out of 10 (65%) employees said they felt their company encouraged women to pursue leadership positions. Director of Randstad Hong Kong, Brien Keegan, says while there have been improvements in gender equality in Hong Kong, more work still needs to be done to ensure balanced boardrooms. Nearly 90% of Hong Kong employees believe that their workplace should be diverse and have a fair and balanced leadership. In stark contrast, employees said that 57% of females

The “born-mobile and alwaysconnected” generation is challenging traditional business operations, transforming the workplace with their lifestyles and preferences. Personal devices are increasingly being found in the workplace – an increase from 77% in 2012 to 83% this year. According to the VMware New Way of Life 2013 study, 80% of employees will use their personal devices, or a combination of personal and work-issued devices, for business purposes. Interestingly, more than half (58%) say that the use of personal devices has not affected their ability to “switch off” from work. “Evidently, the high penetration of smart devices in Asia-Pacific is transforming the way people live and work,” said Andrew Dutton, Senior Vice President and General Manager, VMware Asia-Pacific and Japan. “The connection between work and personal lives is being redefined and what was once considered an intrusion of personal time, such as a late night conference call on your personal device, is now becoming an accepted norm,” he added. The use of personal technology is also a major contributor to the efficiency of today’s workforce, with survey respondents revealing that it makes them more efficient in completing tasks (72%) and allows them to stay productive even when they are out of the office (75%). While improved efficiency and job necessities were noted as important, personal preferences were among the top reasons for staff opting to use their own devices at work. Functionality and familiarity with applications and choice of operating systems resulted in improved efficiency and overall happiness at work. Employees find that using their own choice of applications has helped with problem solving at work (63%) and has reduced work stress (57%). A third of respondents also said that they prefer working at an organisation that gives them the flexibility to choose their own applications and tools. “Cloud computing, mobile technologies and an application-rich personal life are all creating new challenges for IT departments to prepare for and to enable the ‘New Way of Life’ at work,” said Dutton. “Millennials are driving this trend but they will be the majority of the workforce before we know it, so organisations need to adapt now in order to attract and retain the best talent.”

Workplace gender equality still needs improvement

Flexi-work key to happiness and efficiency

have a harder time winning promotion within their company. “This shows that companies must work harder in rectifying outdated employment practices that hinder progress and encourage greater female participation in leadership roles,” said Keegan. “By providing and adopting measures such as self-development training, coaching, and overhauling outdated policies and practices, corporations can close the equality gap and help bring Hong Kong in line with other developed countries,” he added. “This will also help improve the company’s reputation which is vital for future talent acquisition.” The survey also found that 40% of Hong Kong employees believed women make less money than men in similar roles, which is lower than Singapore (43%), China and India (59%) but higher than in Malaysia (37%).


US$880 million lost through BYOD cybercrime Malaysia has lost US$880 million over the past five years due to cybercrime, especially through the practice of bring-your-own-device (BYOD). According to consulting firm Condition Zebra (ConZebra), organisations’ critical information infrastructures were constantly threatened by potentially risky access to vital data via employees’ personal devices, by intruders who take advantage of website vulnerabilities, and by many other security threats. “Web security risks have gotten out of control,” said ConZebra chief executive officer Drew Williams. Williams added that with the growing interdependencies, and with Malaysia having a wireless infrastructure to conduct business as well as secure its defence assets, employers must look into ready-to-use solutions to help organisations in Malaysia remain protected and connected to the rest of the world. 6

ISSUE 13.4




rank more investment in talent in recent years as “highly effective” Source: Mercer’s Talent Barometer Survey, Hong Kong

Toyota has raised employee bonuses to their highest level in

five years

Source: Financial Times


International US


More workers in the US may be spending their golden years at the office. A study from CareerBuilders found that 60% of workers aged 60 and above planned to look for a new job after retiring, up from 57% last year. According to the survey, almost three quarters of mature workers (74%) plan to retire within six years, but more than one in 10 (12%) of them do not think that they will ever retire. This trend in delayed retirement is in line with the surge in employers looking to hire more mature workers. Almost half of the employers (48%) surveyed for the research planned to hire workers aged over 50 this year, up from 44% in 2012. The survey revealed more positive statistics for silver talent, with 76% of employers surveyed open to considering an application from an overqualified worker, while over 50. 59% of employers said mature candidates brought a wealth of knowledge to an organisation and could mentor others. “We’re seeing more than three quarters of mature workers putting off retirement, largely due to financial concerns, but also as a personal decision made by people who enjoy their work,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America. “The majority of workers who have talked with their bosses about staying on past retirement found their companies to be open to retaining them. If you’re approaching retirement age but hope to continue working, an open line of communication is very important.”

Workers who underperform are the biggest drain on HR’s, according to research by law firm Speechly Bircham and King’s College in London. The study, titled State of HR survey 2013: Recovery in sight?, revealed that 38% of HR professionals allocated their highest level of resources to poor performers. This has a detrimental impact on the time spent on high potentials, as only 12% of HR departments spend most of their time grooming them. More than half (62%) of organisations surveyed said employee engagement was their top HR priority in 2013, but only 53% of respondents actually measured employee engagement in their organisation. Similarly, about a quarter (24%) said that presenteeism was a significant HR issue, but only 13% of respondents actually took steps to monitor it. Findings also showed that employees’ health and well-being would remain a low priority in 2013:

Workers hold off on retirement

Poor performers biggest drain on HR


of Aussie jobseekers rank competitive salary & employee benefits as the most attractive factor Source: Randstad


of employers use social media to recruit Source: 2013 XpertHR survey

only 26% of employers planned to focus HR resources on that issue. Robert Thomas, employment partner at Speechly Bircham, said: “The continuing pressure on employees to work harder and longer with no additional reward is clearly linked to significant people management issues for firms: stress, presenteeism, absenteeism, employment relations problems and grievances. “All of these issues have increased again this year, impacting significantly on productivity and causing a host of other complications in both the short and long term.”


Foreigners banned from HR roles The Zambian government has instituted a ruling that bars all foreign workers from HR management roles. Foreign HR officers were found to lack the proper credentials for their posts. According to Labour and Social Security Minister Fackson Shamenda, this new directive was due to complaints that companies with foreign HR personnel do not understand the country’s labour laws. He also disclosed that his ministry has found many international HR leaders responsible for abusive language, ill-treatment, discrimination and terminating staff without cause. Shamenda added that the ministry was aware that some companies were not yet complying with the revised minimum wage. He warned that the government would not hesitate to act decisively in situations of bad practices. ISSUE 13.4




Flexible benefits Maternity leave around the world Many countries around the world offer at least three months of paid leave for new mothers

S 1 pa 10 12 d in 0% ay pa s y

1 Bra 10 20 d zil 0% ay pa s Ca y 11 n 55 9 d ad % ay a pa s y

na Chi ays d 90 % pay 100

France 112 days 100% pay Ger m 98 any 100 days %p ay

Me 84 xico 100 days %p ay

* At the federal minimum wage

Source: International Labour Organization

a esi on ys Ind 4 da pay 8 % Italy Japan 0 10 98 days 140 days 60% pay 80% pay

In 10 84 d dia 0% ay pa s y

e or s ap ay y ng d pa Si 112 % 0 10

Length of maternity leave (days) 280 126 120 90 90 112 98 84 84 140 98 84 140 70 90 112 112 98 112

a ssi Ru days y Saudi 140 % pa Arabia 100 70 days 50% pay

United Kingdom Australia Brazil Canada China France Germany India Indonesia Italy Japan Mexico Russia Saudi Arabia South Korea Singapore Spain Switzerland Turkey

Percentage pay (%) 90 Flat rate* 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 80 60 100 100 50 100 100 100 80 67

Australi 126 day a Flate ra s te*

South Korea 90 days 100% pay


UK ays ey s 280 dpay k r Tu day y 90% 2 a nd 11 7% p la s 6 r ze y it da Sw 98 80%

COMPANIES WITH FEMALE FRIENDLY BENEFITS & PERKS Asia Pacific Region Motorola Electronics (Singapore) • Providing flexible working hours • Has lactation room for nursing mothers • Family friendly environment is more about having both male and female employees harmonise their time and energy for work, family, and leisure


ISSUE 13.4



United Kingdom


American Express


• The establishment of the PepsiCo Pakistan Day Care Center • The Powerful Woman Programme, which included the participation of 100 women invited from across the region • A mentoring programme that pairs 12 high-potential women executives with Executive Committee members at PepsiCo Asia Pacific

• 12 weeks paid parental or adoption leave at full pay or 24 weeks at half pay if they will be the primary caregiver • Flexible working arrangements • Breastfeeding facilities • On-site childcare or childcare assistance

• Further enhancing maternity pay • Providing 1:1 coaching for senior staff and their line managers on transitioning on and off maternity leave, and free webinars for all staff • The ability to ‘buy’ more leave if required • Extended emergency childcare provision to include options for mothers with older children • A mentoring scheme connecting mothers and a single parents network to run alongside their existing parents group

Most popular benefits offered to mums returning to work: • Telecommuting Privileges / Keep-in-touch scheme • Phase-Back Hours • Paid Maternity Leave • Health Insurance • Child Care /Onsite nursery


Employee engagement

Connecting with staff Employees often see their leaders as people “high up there”. What can leaders do to connect with staff on the ground?

Russell Tham President, Applied Materials Southeast Asia

In today’s constantly changing business environment, leaders need to critically evaluate the trends that are reshaping our current and future workforce in order to connect with the employees effectively. Better education and greater connectivity has produced a new generation of talent who are forward thinking and eager to contribute. Leaders can harness this new generation of workers by creating a culture of open communication and encouraging them to contribute towards the building blocks of organisational goals. Additionally employee feedback is critical and it is important for senior management to acknowledge and respond to them. This makes them feel that their views are appreciated, and promotes a greater sense of belonging. At Applied Materials, we actively encourage an inclusive work environment to promote a “One Applied” culture where diversity is valued and respected, capabilities are leveraged and employees are fully engaged. These goals are also aligned with our overall mission to improve the way people live, in every aspect of our business, from the health and well-being of our employees and their communities to our sustainable business practices.

Debby Thio Director of Sales and Marketing, Regent Bali

For leaders, it is imperative to understand what is important to the team to be as effective as possible in their area of expertise. For instance, in sales, I will join sales calls and tackle daily problems together with my team. By joining in on the sales calls, the team will be able to see how I operate and I can then share with them best practices in doing business. I am also interested to know what moves them as well as their thought process behind the decisions they make. For instance, if I were to propose a certain criteria for the clients, I will also ensure that my team has a full understanding of those criteria. I go through brand exercises with them and ask them many questions regarding the kind of brands they like and what aspirations they have in life. Finally, with everything we do we should also never forget the more personal situations of each of our employees. Every now and then I would sit down with the team for some one-on- one time over coffee to see how they are. Our team members play a significant role in the success of the hotel, therefore it is very important to ensure frequent communication and be able to provide the guidance and support required at all times.

Quek Shu Ping

Partner, KPMG Singapore

Communication does not equate to making a connection. This is especially so in an age where technology allows us to communicate in rapid-fire succession. Our interactions at work can therefore be sometimes all too clinical. Communication using technology such as instant messages and emails can also result in occasional misunderstandings. This is because such communication may not allow emotions to be conveyed fully, and is open to misinterpretation. Good leaders go beyond interacting with their staff in order to get work done. They take the time to understand the aspirations, dreams and hopes of their staff as life does not only revolve around work for these employees. Team members therefore often see a good leader as someone who exhibits sincerity. They also value a leader who cares and makes the effort to make a difference in the lives of his or her team members. There is no substitute for a pat on the back, having a laugh together, giving words of comfort during trying times, and sharing an occasional inspirational battle cry. Good leaders should never forget that the human touch makes a difference. In the end, people connect with people.

ISSUE 13.4




At a glance • Total number of employees at Suntec Singapore: 162 (current) vs. 200 (when the centre reopens) • Size of the HR Team: Four • Key HR Focus Areas: Service excellence, training, empowerment of staff 10

ISSUE 13.4



Suntec Singapore

Renovated & Reinvigorated What is Suntec Singapore doing with its 162 employees during its eight months of renovations? By Shalini Shukla-Pandey

Having closed at the end of September last year, and re-opening only in June this year, Suntec Singapore will not be earning any revenue for a period of eight months. Typically, when there is such a closure, companies would engage in temporary lay-offs. However, the convention centre has retained 100% of its staff. Contract workers have also not been prematurely terminated. “We were able to do this through several means, such as letting staff clear leave and giving them an additional five weeks of paid leave stretched over five months so that they could spend more time with family while the centre is closed,” says Tan Ker Yuan, Senior Director – Finance and Administrative Services, Suntec Singapore. Another key HR initiative was providing intensive training opportunities so as to equip the workforce with the necessary skills to function in the new technologically-advanced centre. “We looked at the requirements of the new centre at the department-level and tried to see what skills were needed,” says Tan. “We then tailored our training programmes, (which are) mostly external through partners such as PSA Institute, BCA academy, Singapore Tourism Board and Temasek Polytechnic.”

Suntec Singapore has provided 103 hours of training per staff member over the past five months – an intensive schedule considering the industry standard is 24 hours per staff member per year. On average, each employee has taken 5.6 courses over the five months, more than four times the industry practice of 1.3 courses per staff member per year.

Towards service excellence The company is clearly ploughing a lot of resources into talent development. Tan says all the courses are geared towards delivering the best service possible. One such course that client-facing employees are being sent to is the 10-day YourSingapore Ambassador

Suntec Singapore has sent its staff for an average of

5.6 courses each over the last five months

Personal guided tours by the CEO Suntec Singapore CEO, Arun Madhok, has personally taken every team through the building on a guided tour to show them which areas they’ll be responsible for at the new centre. Tan Ker Yuan, Senior Director – Finance and Administrative Services, Suntec Singapore, says people returning from the tour are psyched about the new centre. “I’ve been on one of these tours myself and it was really fun. I’ve never put on a helmet and safety boots and walked in a place that’s under major renovation,” she says. “I appreciate the hard work that’s been put into the getting the centre up and running.”

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Suntec Singapore

Suntec Singapore has invested

103 hours per employee

in training over the past five months

programme at Singapore Tourism Board, where they ‘rediscover Singapore’ (see boxout below). “Our people need to know first how to sell Singapore and its MICE industry before they are able to sell Suntec,” Tan explains. “During the course, they were bought to the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Singapore Arts Museum, and other attractions. There was also an exam at the end of the programme.” Staff from different departments are brought together during the programme so they can interact in casual settings and engage in inter-department bonding. “When the centre opens, we can therefore have a very cohesive workforce,” says Tan. Upon completion, course participants will be certified as YourSingapore Ambassadors. Security and fire safety staff, on the other hand, have been sent to the Singapore Police Force so that they can increase their knowledge on security awareness, risk

Owning a slice of Suntec While employees may not actually be doing their main jobs while the centre is closed, they’ve all been involved in at least one of the 167 different projects running concurrently to get the new centre up to speed. Everyone, from junior to senior staff, has had a shot at project management. “When employees are personally involved, they can see themselves inside the change and help to contribute to make it more successful,” Tan Ker Yuan, Senior Director – Finance and Administrative Services, Suntec Singapore, explains. Projects include how to fold napkins, create bento boxes (takeaway boxes), designing new uniforms for various departments, and planning storage spaces. “We learn a lot of things in the process of doing the projects,” says Tan. For instance, those designing new uniforms have learnt the different types of fabric suitable for indoor and outdoor work while those working on planning storage spaces have learn about vertical storage designs. “We have even been picking out table clothes, chairs and carpets for the new centre together,” says Tan. “This has created a lot of team spirit, with people working outside their comfort zones to brainstorm and come up with new ideas.” “We empower our staff with projects to help them be part of the process, bring out their potential and enable them to contribute more to the company” Tan adds. “This means the company’s transformation is not something that’s happening to them, it’s something they’re participating in.”


ISSUE 13.4


assessment, and anti-terrorism strategies. “Here, we’re emphasising safety and security for customers and employees within the centre,” says Tan. No convention centre is complete without skilled banquet service staff. This group of employees are being sent to Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Hospitality where they learn the latest approaches to banquet services and dining etiquette. Ranked one of the top three countries in the International Wine and Spirit Research study of the Asian wine market, consuming an average of 2.3 litres of wine a year, customers in Singapore are increasingly demanding a better know-how of wine from banquet staff at events. “To cater to this demand, we are also sending our banquet staff to the basic wine and beverage course at Temasek Polytechnic to learn about food and wine harmony, and how to serve wine,” says Tan. Kitchen staff are not forgotten either. They are being sent for specially-tailored food presentation courses and culinary arts programmes at ITE College West (see boxout on next page). In keeping with Suntec Singapore’s belief in not being overly-dependant on external service providers, facilities management staff are required to know how to deal with toilet plumbing issues, effectively perform rigging operations, and use mobile elevating work platforms to clean high ceilings, amongst a host of other things. “These employees may not naturally be comfortable with working at heights so they need to be trained accordingly,” says Tan. “Also, they need to be imbibed with safety standards worthy of the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council.”

Bonding while rediscovering Singapore Stephanie Lee, Manager – Marketing and Communication, Suntec Singapore, recently attended the 10-day YourSingapore Ambassador programme, specially customised for the convention centre’s staff by the Singapore Tourism Board. People from different teams were picked to attend the programme together: banquet, operations, administrative services and, marketing and communications. “We don’t get to interact much during a normal work day so initially, it was pretty awkward but going along and discovering Singapore helped bond us,” says Lee. “We studied together and did exams together. It was like going back to school.” Upon returning from the course, Lee felt closer to the team. “For instance, if I need people to help me set up a banquet, I would look for my ‘friend’ in the banquet team,” she explains. “I’m new so this programme helped me get closer to the company culture and fellow colleagues.” Lee and her programme batchmates still meet for regular lunches and other gatherings.


Another new skill that is essential at the new centre is operating a forklift. “This is because we are now looking at vertical storage in order to maximise convention space. Staff need to be trained to use forklifts, something that wasn’t needed before,” Tan explains.

High-tech kitchen master While the convention centre, including the kitchens, at Suntec are closed for its refurbishment, Alfred Lee, Executive Chef, Suntec Singapore sits at a desk in an office, planning new menus. He is also managing the specific project of designing bento boxes (takeaway boxes), for the refurbished convention centre. In addition, he is being kept busy through extensive training. Lee was selected to undertake the customised Culinary Art and Food Presentation course at ITE College West. “The course has enabled me to meet up with lots of people and learn new things about the hospitality market, including new equipment,” says the celebrity chef, well-known for his appearances on Mediacorp TV. New equipment will be aplenty in the kitchens at Suntec when it reopens, costing the convention centre over $3 million. For instance, Suntec is investing in new intelligent combi ovens which are HACCP certified, ensuring food is cooked to a safe level. Lee is able to input cooking instructions into a thumbdrive and plug it into the oven, giving instructions as to how to cook a particular dish. The ovens can also print audit reports. “If a customer complains that his steak is not medium-rare, we can print an audit report from the oven which will tell us clearly if the 200 steaks that were made were indeed medium-rare or not,” Lee explains. The ovens will be linked to Lee’s computer and even tell him immediately when food is cooked. He and other kitchen staff will undergo manual training when the equipment arrives this month.

Retaining valued workers When one thinks ‘company-sponsored training’, bonds can come quickly to mind. However, Suntec Singapore is unique in that all its training is provided free of any long-term commitment from employees. Tan says staff feel that the company is taking an interest in their personal development, improving their technical skills and knowledge, and ultimately also improving their future employability. “By not bonding them, employees realise the company truly cares for them and shows a genuine interest in their development,” says Tan. “Staff are very appreciative of the company’s efforts and come back from training feeling more motivated and ready for the new centre’s opening.” When news first broke of the centre’s closing, some staff, particularly older workers, cried as they were sentimental about the centre closing after 18 years. But Tan says when they were put through the various training programmes though, they had a sense of direction again. “This helps in staff retention as well, especially in today’s tight labour market,” says Tan. “The fact that we’re not relying on foreigners makes it even more prudent to ensure our staff are retained properly and show commitment towards the company.” Indeed, more than 90% of employees at Suntec Singapore are local. About half of the workforce has worked for more than 10 years – testament to the company’s good culture and talent management processes.

With the convention centre’s closing, Suntec Singapore has had no source of revenue. Still, it is able to reward and retain staff by not only imparting knowledge but also giving them extra time with their families. During Chinese New year this year, for the first time, the company closed its Benoi warehouse, a temporary office space for some service staff, for a week. “Normally we never get to do this because during holidays, the MICE business is very busy. So for once, people could spend time with their families as well,” says Tan. But the hard work begins again from June this year. “Once the centre opens, it’s all hands on deck. For months, we’ll probably be living there.”


Tan Ker Yuan

Senior Director, Finance and Administrative Services, Suntec Singapore

Grace Yang

Senior Manager – HR, Suntec Singapore

Caterina Leong

Manager – HR (Learning and Development) Suntec Singapore

Julaiha Osman Officer – HR, Suntec Singapore

ISSUE 13.4



Leadership Special Strategies to motivate and engage your workforce • HR and the new CEO • Managing former peers • Leaders: Born or made? • Confessions of a cheerleader • Corporate learning: Leading into the future

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Executive onboarding

HR and the

NEW CEO Hiring a new CEO heralds a fresh chapter in an organisation. Getting the person up to speed with the company’s culture and current challenges, in addition to gaining the trust and confidence of the workforce are just some of the areas that HR needs to focus on during those crucial early months By Sumathi V Selvaretnam


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New CEOs often arrive in an organisation eager to implement new changes, drive the business forward, and stamp their own style of leadership. However, the most well-placed intentions to reinvigorate an organisation can still sometimes fall flat. According to the Harvard Business Review, two out of five CEOs fail within their first 18 months. So how can HR help the new CEO make a successful transition? The biggest challenge for a CEO is to balance the creation of a high level vision and strategic course with short term impacts - from financial, employee and leadership points of view, says Sjiva De Meester, Human Capital Manager, Deloitte. “From a financial perspective, this means that the board and investors are looking for short term results to confirm their choice of CEO.” The appointment of a new CEO can also create uncertainty in the workforce. For example, employees may be concerned about what’s happening to the company, how it will impact their job, and how their objectives might change, De Meester explains. In some instances, a new CEO is hired from outside because there are problems in the company and a new perspective or leadership style is needed. The new CEO must first get a clear understanding of where the company is at, from both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sources, says Barbara Fowler, a partner at specialist advisory firm

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Executive onboarding “Having a credible CEO is essential for people to believe in the future of the company, and crucial for employees’ motivation” – SJIVA DE MEESTER, INNOVATION AND CHANGE MANAGER, DELOITTE

Chief Outsiders. “(The word) ‘hard’ means looking at the data: the balance sheet, income statement, what the goals were in the past years and what the achievements were. Then, ‘soft’ is the people: their perceptions, opinions and analysis.” Another challenge for the CEO is to understand the different roles HR has within the organisation and to identify how HR can add value, says De Meester. At the same time, it is also a great opportunity for HR to strengthen its own strategic position in the organisation. For example, HR can show its business understanding and commitment to achieve company objectives as well as provide a thorough ‘organisation and people’ analysis and recommend actions, she says.

Getting buy-in One of the main concerns for a new CEO is earning the trust and confidence of the workforce. “Having a credible CEO is essential for people to believe in the future of the company, and crucial for employees’ motivation,” says De Meester. As a CEO, it becomes important to understand the on-the-ground sentiment and current objectives of employees, says Kensaku Konishi, President and CEO of Canon Singapore. “The largest challenge for an incoming CEO is getting buy-in from the employees around his vision and mission.” Generally, a three to six months period is needed to understand the initial sentiment and objectives, says 18

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Konishi. Once the CEO has understood the employees’ concerns, if any, the key to getting buy is communication. “Deep and honest communication helps employees understand both the management style and any changes to business directions that may occur under a new CEO.” According to Fowler, positioning is another critical factor. “So many organisations forget how people’s opinions are shaped by other people. They think the CEO can sell him or herself simply be being hired.” Properly positioning the CEO makes a big difference and HR can help the CEO put their best foot forward. “Gather stories about the CEO’s past successes, talk to the CEO about how he or she wants to be perceived, give advice and input into what would most resonate with the employees, and conduct CEO assimilation exercises after 30 and 90 days,” says Fowler. Communications channels can also be boosted with an employee engagement plan. While introduction emails and town hall meetings remain a tradition upon onboarding, it is also important to establish a connection between the CEO and employees for example through CEO blogs or lunches, De Meester says. HR can add substantial value in helping the CEO getting up to speed on the organisation’s intangibles, says De Meester. These include informal networks, key influencers, (perceived) leadership styles, team dynamics and decision making processes. “HR can frame these intangibles in known or used models or typologies,” she explains. HR can also act as a middleman or ‘spokesperson’ between the CEO and employees to convey the CEO’s messages on to company policies, plans, and reasons behind new initiatives, says Konishi. “These messages have to be conveyed at the right time and in a way that avoids any misunderstanding.” It is crucial for HR to have the right people issues on the table for discussion with the CEO and his leadership team, adds De Meester. She cites the example of an IT services company with different offices in Southeast Asia. “The company wanted to gain more insight into their high turnover. HR rolled out a people survey, followed by focus group discussions in all office locations. The CEO received in-depth analysis followed by short and long term (recommended) actions with cost and benefit indications.”

Cultural assimilation Another part of the transition process, involves the CEO getting familiar with the company’s culture or “how things are done around here”. Many companies have a defined set of values which are characterised as being timeless, says De Meester.

The ‘corporate values’ are probably the most known expression of the desired company culture. “Google famously used the phrase ‘Don’t be evil’ to describe its core values in its 2004 prospectus,” she says. Yet, in many organisations corporate values are not clearly linked with desired behaviour. De Meester shares the example of an IT firm which had ‘professionalism’ defined as one of its key values. During a strategic offsite training session, the CEO asked his executive team to give him their personal definitions of ‘Professionalism’. Participants were asked to write their answers on a post-it and paste it on the wall. The exercise revealed that everyone had their own interpretation of what ‘professional’ behavior was and further clarification was needed, explains De Meester. HR can help the CEO to glean insights on the company’s work culture. Some companies may have done a cultural assessment or have used one of many culture typologies to describe their company’s culture, says De Meester. “These assessments can be useful for the new CEO, especially when current and desired cultures have been described.”

Top 5 HR mistakes in CEO onboarding: • Not providing an opportunity for the CEO to meet with a cross-section of the organisation. Trying to “protect” the CEO from difficult issues or people in the beginning by “cherry picking” who the CEO meets • Not discussing HR’s role explicitly and assuming the CEO knows how it is done. The CEO may decide not to take some of HR’s advice but that doesn’t mean HR should wait to be asked • Not focusing on the transition from an employee perspective • Not providing information beyond what is on paper • Not providing analytics straight away, especially when there is a negative trend occurring

CEO transition at Canon Singapore Kensaku Konishi was appointed as the President and CEO of Canon Singapore in February, 2012. In this exclusive Q&A, he shares his thoughts on the transition period. You were the Managing Director of Canon Marketing Singapore in 2001 and then returned to become CEO last year. What were the changes that you experienced and how did HR help you assimilate? Previously, when I was in charge of the Singapore market, the staff strength was half of what it is now. On top of that, I now have a regional role which requires that I manage 17 other markets. It is more challenging now. HR informed me of the existing internal systems of the organisation and created various opportunities for me to communicate with the employees. Some examples include the regular ‘Breakfast-with-the-CEO’ sessions with all levels of employees, and Monthly Managers Meetings. It was during those meetings I got to hear directly from the employees and share my views. I believe in the exchange of information rather than operating from a top-down model. HR also encouraged communication through online platforms and town hall meetings. How long is the transition process? The first 90 days are crucial. It is during this initial period that employees form their first impression of their new boss. After first impressions are formed, it will be difficult to change the way employees view you as a CEO and this colours the way they work with you. This is why I emphasise open and two-way communication early in the relationship building process. What are some critical elements that need to be covered in the CEO onboarding process? The most basic thing is to have open discussions with a variety of executives and employees. These discussions can cover the company’s plans immediately and for the future, starting with a discussion on current trends, objectives, and strategies to meet goals. Essentially, these discussions are a necessary process to form plans which take into account the on-the-ground situation, yet form a roadmap to meet business goals.

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Performance management




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Once the spotlight fades and newly minted managers get back to work, unexpected challenges tend to crop up. One particular problem stands out most of all – managing former colleagues who may be bitter about not getting promoted. HRM finds out what HR can do to prepare the new leader By Vivien Shiao Shufen

The celebratory champagne has been drunk; the wave of congratulations has subsided; and it’s time for the newly promoted manager to get down to business. Becoming a leader is an extremely exciting transition, but it can also be a political minefield. This is especially so when the new manager in question is now the boss of their former peers. There is a fine line to tread – one needs to establish credibility and authority, while at the same time not acting as if the promotion has unleashed a power-hungry control freak. “Most people are happy for the individual if they have been seen as a good team player and someone they respect,” says Butch Clas, HR Director, Dow Chemical. “Sometimes, there will be competition and jealousy that plays into the scenario which may make it more difficult for the new manager to get the necessary co-operation and teamwork that existed before.” The “sour grapes syndrome” is probably the most obvious to spot. Being beaten to a promotion is never a good feeling, and some mau harbour ill-will towards the new manager. This could result in rumourmongering and frequent disagreements. “If left unchecked, the situation can spiral out of control and create a very divisive work atmosphere, a drop in productivity. and a loss of talent,” warns Byron Rienstra, Global Head of HR – Consumer Banking, Standard Chartered Bank. While it is easy enough to send the new manager for a leadership course and let the dust settle on its own, it is important for HR to plan ahead and ensure that the transition is a smooth one.

Back to the beginning Most HR professionals agree that the work of HR begins even before the promotion happens. According

A lesson in leadership Some of the best examples of teamwork and leadership can actually be seen in sports. In 2011, New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter learned a lesson that all people in leadership learn soon enough: Managing team mates who are also friends is not an easy task. Yankee catcher Jorge Posada refused to bat ninth, a position he seemed to think was beneath him, and chose not to play. Captain Jeter defended his friend and said there was nothing wrong. However, General Manager Brian Cashman did not agree and had a talk with him about the issue. Calling out Jeter might have ruffled some feathers, but Cashman did what was necessary. As a leader, Jeter has expectations to fulfill and responsibilities to the team. Posada later apologied for his actions, but it was as much a leadership lesson for Jeter as well. As HR, it is our responsibility to sometimes have to advise and “call out” new leaders who may have difficulties making the distinction between a friend and a colleague, just like Cashman did. While it might be awkward and difficult, it is a necessary act for each party to learn and perform to the best of their abilities.

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Performance management “If left unchecked, the situation [disgruntled former peers] can spiral out of control and create a very divisive work atmosphere, a drop in productivity and a loss of talent” – BYRON RIENSTRA, GLOBAL HEAD OF HR – CONSUMER BANKING, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

to K Thiveanathan, HR Director, Coca-Cola Singapore, the process of choosing leaders is an important part of the equation. “At Coke, we promote people after a calibration process by the cross-functional leadership team, facilitated by HR,” he explains. “This assists in identifying blindspots in performance that may not be visible to the direct superior.” Having such a structured approach to promotions ensure that new leaders at Coca-Cola are those who have already proven their ability beyond current roles and are role models to others, he says. “Through public recognition of employees’ performance in critical projects, the line manager prepares the potential employee for promotion. These observable actions of the line manager helps his team to recognise the selected employee’s credibility and superior performance, thus accepting their new leader without question,” he says. He also believes that meaningful HR support can be provided even before promotions. Development programmes, team projects with stretched targets, and situations where the employee is exposed to increased responsibility and the leadership skills required for the next role are some ways HR can work with the line managers to prepare potential leaders. “If these steps are taken carefully, peers are more willing to accept their new boss,” says Thiveanathan. Rienstra concurs with him on the significance of having processes in place to promote the right people. 22

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“We do a huge amount of succession planning in advance to ensure that we know it is the right person,” says Rienstra. “If the process stands up to scrutiny with respect to who is best qualified, who has demonstrated most impact, and who cares the most about people and progress, it helps the transition.”

Signalling the transition Once the promotion has been confirmed, it is important to signal the transition by making an official announcement. Short of sounding a gong, team members need to be clear about the manager’s change in role. It is often best for HR or the outgoing manager to announce the transition, instead of the new manager himself. “From an organisational perspective, having a well-honed process for communicating promotions can help ease the transition and manage expectations,” says Rienstra. “Aside from timing, a key part of this process involves communicating the rationale for a promotion. Having clearly defined, objective and measurable yardsticks for reward and recognition that are transparent will go a long way to addressing issues such as resentment, favouritism and credibility.” Following the announcement, one great way for a new leader to start is to meet up with the team, both as a group and individually, to talk about his or her vision. Although these are people that the new leader has worked with and knows well, it is important that the individual discusses his leadership style and plans to lead the group. It may also be useful to get feedback from the team. This would let the team members know that the new leader is now in charge, but also that the new leader is keen to support the team and help it to grow. Employees should also be aware of their own development plans and various career paths available so that they know where they are at in their careers. For former peers who might be feeling unhappy due to losing out on the promotion, HR should step in to address the areas in which these staff need to develop, says Jagdeep Thakral, General Manager, Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre. “Proper understanding of what and how they can grow in their career path and a clear explanation on the benefits that the new leader could bring to the team could help former peers cope with the transition,” he says. This will create high levels of trust and openness, and ultimately greater employee engagement and performance.

Supporting the new leader Aside from speaking to sore ex-colleagues, it is important that HR does not forget to support the new

leader. “A documented strategy such as a 90-day plan could be laid out so that the necessary competencies and skillsets for the new role are clearly defined and the support areas highlighted,” says Thakral. HR should facilitate in equipping the new leader through leadership development training, explaining how to deliver difficult messages and managing goal setting. It is also important for these new managers to know that the way they behave with their excolleagues will have to undergo a shift. For example, the new manager should not have close, personal relationships with their former colleagues anymore. New managers should instead remove themselves from social interactions as it might appear that they are playing favourites. When team members go out for drinks, it may be necessary to refrain. While the new leader does not need to be cold and aloof, it may be wiser to attend fewer social gatherings. One practical way that HR can support the new leader is to provide a network of mentors or coaches for the new manager. These more experienced leaders can provide strategies, and the support and inspiration needed to succeed. In addition, these same managers can share from their experience on what they have learned from managing former peers, and what mistakes they have made when they were in the same shoes. Having a network in place to help coach the new manager through such difficult situations can help them settle more quickly into the new role and avoid becoming overly focused on former peers.

Thinking win win As a neutral third party, HR plays an important role in ensuring the success of a transition and creating a win-win situation. “Being a neutral party, HR can help the individual moving into the new role to have a talking partner. It can also help the new manager identify where they need to focus and be successful in their leadership role,” says Clas. “For the team, HR should hold an informal team session to understand what the concerns are and how the two sides can handle the new dynamic.” If peer promotions are handled right, it can result in a more cohesive team and an increase in productivity. To make it work, HR should avoid taking a backseat and start taking the initiative to ease the transition. “If HR is not at the table to inf luence the principles of succession, you are already starting from a bad position,” concludes Rienstra. “If you are at the table and have a clear set of principles and a clear plan of execution, you inf luence a better result for everybody.”

Action plan for HR transitioning new managers

DO If peer promotions are

handled right,

it can result in a more cohesive team and an increase in productivity

• Be involved in announcing the promotion and signaling the transition • Have a talk with any disgruntled team members about their career development and how they can progress • Provide support for the new manager through training, coaching and a network of mentors • Come up with a plan to ensure that the necessary competencies and skillsets for the new role are clearly defined and the support areas highlighted • Get the leader to pro-actively share his vision, goals and leadership style with the team • Be there for the new manager for any support needed,


• Tell the new manager what or what not to do – advice and suggestions are good, but don’t undermine their leadership • Leave the new manager to handle the new team alone, especially if there are bitter former peers who are unhappy about the promotion

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LEADERS born or made?


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Is someone destined to be a leader or developed to become one? Understanding an organisation’s general views about the topic are critical as these attitudes will cascade into recruitment, promotion and development decisions. HRM finds out more By Shalini Shukla-Pandey

Leo Apotheker had significant success while leading SAP, implementing a number of significant changes including in research and development, technology platforms, business models and customer segments. Having been with SAP for more than 20 years, he also helped lead the company to 18 consecutive quarters of double-digit software revenue growth. Once he became CEO of HP though, he failed miserably, leading the company to a loss of more than $30 billion in market capitalisation and a drop of more than 40% in share prices. He was subsequently asked to leave by the board, after barely ten months on the job. How is it that leaders shine in one situation and fail in another, asks David Brookmire, co-author of ‘Coaching for Success: Reaching Your Potential While Achieving Greatness’. “Some people think leaders are born that way – naturally intelligent, strategic, visionary and charismatic, and able to articulate a plan and rally their teams around it,” says Brookmire. “Others believe that leaders are made – needing ongoing experience, training, development and coaching and mentoring.” Yet others say that leaders are both born and made – naturally intelligent and extroverted people, enhanced with education, training, coaching and experience, he adds. Zareena Brown, Vice President – HR, IHG Asia, Middle-East and Africa, agrees that leaders have a mixture of both ‘born’ and ‘made’ qualities, but is strongly biased towards leaders being ‘made’. “I think you are born with a helping hand of intrinsic leadership skills, such as ambition, charisma and

drive,” says Brown. “This alone is not enough though. You have to work hard at it and develop your level of experience, knowledge and competence.” Brown adds that one cannot afford to stand still or be complacent. “As a leader you have to continuously develop and learn,” she explains. “It’s a very competitive environment so you have to identify new skills that will ensure you stay on top.”

What does it really take? According to research by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), ‘Are Leaders Born or Made?’, important elements that create a leader include innate traits (20%), experiences (46%) and training (34%). Its research also found that those who believe


IHG – Making leaders IHG invests in selecting people believed to be “born” leaders and on developing people into becoming leaders. The selection process at the hotels company evaluates to what extent a potential leader demonstrates the behaviours that IHG know complements its values and culture. “We measure each candidate against our set our leadership competencies,” says Zareena Brown, Vice President – HR, IHG Asia, Middle East, and Africa. Once on onboard, IHG has a suite of development programmes and tools to sharpen leadership skills. This includes a ‘Leadership Framework’ tool which helps leaders understand what is needed at different levels as they transition between them. In addition, IHG provides an online platform for its leaders, the ‘Leaders Lounge’. This encourages online discussions, sharing of best practices, and is a virtual resource for e-learning. “Development centres continue to play a crucial role in identifying and developing our future hotel leaders,” says Brown.

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Leadership leaders are more ‘born’ are likely to be more supportive of individual actions and more leader- or authority-focused. Those who believe leaders are more ‘made’ will be more supportive of influencing and other people-focused actions. What’s important is to recognise when to draw on the element that will make the biggest impact, says Brown. “Personally, I draw a lot from my experience; it has shaped the way I lead my teams,” she describes. “Being in a company like IHG, which has a very strong people culture and programmes specifically aimed at growing and developing our leaders, has also impacted my leadership styles.” Ultimately though, it all comes down to passion. “People respond to passion. It doesn’t matter what your past is or how much training you’ve got – if you have passion and conviction, you can bring people along for the journey. And that’s what leadership is about – after all, you can’t lead unless you have followers.”

“People respond to passion. It doesn’t matter what your past is or how much training you’ve got – if you have passion and conviction, you can bring people along for the journey. And that’s what leadership is about – after all, you can’t lead unless you have followers”

HR’s role in the leadership mix As HR is a role that includes persuading others to invest in training or other developmental opportunities, it helps to know whether those people believe leaders are ‘born’ or ‘made’, or indeed created somewhere in the middle. The CCL research points out that this insight allows HR to frame the case for investing money and time in training and development. For instance, if the CEO believes leaders are ‘born’ rather than ‘made’, it could be argued that early identification programmes in combination with on-the-job stretch


Don’t miss out on leadership potential A regular occurrence in many organisations is the exit of a company’s best and brightest young talent in response to their employers waiting far too long to identify, nurture and develop them, says Michael Peiniger, founder and principal of international leadership training organisation Kameleons. “By the time most businesses consider leadership development training, the prospective future manager has left or (a potentially worse scenario) has stayed having developed poor skills, values and behaviours that have become ingrained and are almost impossible to redress,” says Peiniger. For new management appointees to meet the leadership expectations placed upon them, their first leadership experience can’t coincide with the appointment. It has to be early in their career. Five approaches that businesses can adopt to develop their leadership talent early are:


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• • • •

Praise good behaviour and correct poor performance Identify leadership potential early Provide leadership opportunities Provide leadership skills training and build relationships • “Train for war, not for peace” “Business cycles of boom and bust are well-known and yet businesses continue to get caught off guard when the answer to a company’s long-term success, viability and resilience is within,” says Peiniger. “By identifying a company’s future leaders early and then training, nurturing, and building and challenging their skills with development and mentoring programmes, an internal environment is created that builds a store of leadership talent. These attributes can address the economic and marketplace challenges of the future,” he concludes.

assignments would be valuable in developing everyone as much as possible. On the other hand, if the CEO believes that leaders are ‘made’ rather than ‘born’, a broad-based leadership development strategy may be well received. “You’ll want to be sure that opportunities for leadership development are more inclusive,” CCL says in its report. “By providing a larger proportion of the organisation access to development opportunities, a wider pool of people will have the chance to work hard, build skills, gain experience and exposure, and improve,” it adds. IHG’s approach takes both theories into account. “IHG is very much a people business,” says Brown. “Our Executive Vice President of HR sits on the IHG Board, which is a great testament to how much focus and importance is placed on HR.” Consequently, the role of HR at IHG is less about persuading others to invest in training but in facilitating and ensuring that training and development opportunities are open to everyone across the organisation. On this basis, IHG has ongoing programmes to support the development of leadership skills through the various channels of learning. “This includes addressing the needs of those who are first-time managers or leaders, and those who are continuing in their journey of becoming inspirational and transformational leaders,” Brown explains.

Lifelong learning is critical Once leaders reach the C-suite, some believe they are free of the need to continue with development and coaching. However, Brown says that is the “worst mistake they can make” because it means they have become complacent. “There is no stigma attached to showing a commitment to personal development,” says Brown. “In fact, it gives a positive signal to the organisation and more importantly to the team that they lead.” She explains that a leader often doesn’t get honest feedback once they have reached this level so it is important to find ways to gain that perspective. Having an executive coach is a positive way to facilitate this and stretch a leader’s development. “A belief I hold strongly to, and something I have also shared with my wider group of leaders, is the importance of setting aside at least 10% of your time weekly for self-reflection and learning,” says Brown. Brookmire agrees, saying CEOs that work with executive coaches are often regarded as eager to learn, ready to accept honest feedback, and willing to be held accountable for their actions – all qualities of a leader who will stay on top.

Leaders are born

Those who believe leaders are more


are likely to be more supportive of individual actions and are more leader- or authorityfocused. Those who believe leaders are more


will be more supportive of influencing and other peoplefocused actions

Genetic differences predispose some people to take on managerial responsibilities, researchers say. A study by University College London has been the first to identify a specific DNA sequence associated with the tendency for individuals to occupy a leadership position. Using a large twin sample, the international research team, which included academics from Harvard, New York University, and the University of California, estimate that a quarter of the observed variation in leadership behaviour between individuals could be explained by genes passed down from their parents. “We have identified a genotype called rs4950, which appears to be associated with the passing of leadership ability down through generations,” said lead author JanEmmanuel De Neve. “The conventional wisdom – that leadership is a skill – remains largely true, but we show it is also, in part, a genetic trait,” he added. Leadership behaviour was measured by determining whether or not individuals occupied supervisory roles in the workplace. The team found that although leadership should still be thought of predominantly as a skill to be developed, genetics – in particular the rs4950 genotype – can also play a significant role in predicting who is more likely to occupy leadership roles.

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Talent management

CONFESS of a Cheerleader

Author and learning expert Julie Winkle Giulioni says corporate cheerleaders help to keep a team moving in the right direction


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How many leadership books and articles are built around the metaphor of the team and its coach? You know the story. The coach encourages and makes things happen from the sidelines. The team, having practiced its drills, is prepared to collaborate seamlessly, under pressure, overcoming all odds to win the game. It’s impressive; but let’s take a step back and look at the game from a different vantage point. The players are on the field, advancing the game through their personal actions. So of course they’re enthusiastic and passionately engaged. But, what about the hundreds or thousands of spectators who aren’t making the plays directly but are supporting the effort from the stands, as excited and committed to the outcome as anyone

game: sales, profits, margins, market share. This blocking and tackling work can’t be overlooked. But that’s only part of what’s required for success today. Cheerleaders in the workplace can deliver bottom-line results by building positive emotions and inspiring enthusiasm among their team members. These emotions are powerful fuel for the discretionary effort that helps teams and organisations distinguish themselves in the marketplace. When employees are energised and enthusiastic, they volunteer more: more brainpower; more time; more creativity; more effort. And all of this contributes to the bottom-line through productivity, efficiency, innovation, greater customer service, and more. Meet Nancy, a self-described

on the field? Who’s responsible for that phenomenon? It’s the cheerleaders. They contribute to the game from the sidelines, working consciously to: • Expand the game to include those not on the field • Keep everyone engaged • Encourage broad participation • Get people on their feet • Amplify successes • Bond the group together to generate support when the team is behind • Create one loud, unified, harmonious voice What about “cheer” leadership as a new and maybe more powerful leadership metaphor for business? So much of a manager’s focus is on the ‘harder’ side of the business

corporate cheerleader who has made a career of leading individuals, groups, and organisations to success. She’s a sought-after mentor because of her ability to help others tap into the best they have to offer. Others clamour to collaborate with her on projects because she has a way of helping individuals and groups coalesce around a vision. But Nancy takes it all for granted. “It’s just how I’m wired. I’ve always been positive... could see the silver lining in any cloud. That kind of energy and outlook just creates possibilities and progress.” What exactly does Nancy do to create an effective cheer-leadership style? No pom-poms or gymnastic feats are required. Just three practices.




Talent management Play to the strengths Nancy has an eye for talent; but more importantly, she quickly recognises and discovers the unique strengths of anyone with whom she works. She uses this understanding to ensure that each individual is positioned to tap into the best he or she has to offer. People gravitate toward Nancy because when they work with her they feel capable and skillful. According to Nancy, “It doesn’t take any longer to give people an assignment or role that will really make the most of their talents and let them shine. And, it’s good business. We get better results this way.” It pays to figure out who’s good at what and deploy people accordingly. Using one’s strengths is energising. And like muscles, the more you use them, the stronger they become. Leveraging strengths promotes an upward spiral of positive emotions that drive learning, development, performance, and results.

Spotlight successes Nancy’s positive point of view keeps her always looking toward what’s working, who’s succeeding, and how her

“It doesn’t take any longer to give people an assignment or role that will really make the most of their talents and let them shine. And, it’s good business. We get better results this way” Julie Winkle Giulioni is a learning and training consultant with DesignArounds and author of the Amazon bestseller, Help Them Go or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want


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projects and teams are moving forward. This doesn’t mean that she ignores problems. But when she addresses them, it’s always in a constructive context. Nancy is known for saying, “Capable, successful people can overcome any challenge... especially when they remember how capable and successful they are.” Cheerleaders address but don’t dwell on losses and setbacks. With their people, they keep their focus squarely on what’s going well. There’s as much to be learned from positive outcomes as from failures; and mining successes is more energising for employees. Keeping accomplishments and successes front and centre reminds everyone that they’re on a winning team... and builds the resilience required to deal productively with reversals or challenges.

Appreciate others Appreciation and recognition are a foundation of Nancy’s effectiveness as a leader. Yet, sometimes this can create a short-term challenge. Nancy recounts: “Saying ‘thank you’ is like breathing to me. It just happens... and a lot. Years ago, I was working on a project and had an IT professional added to the team after we’d launched. Two emails into an exchange with him, he let me know that I could drop all of the ‘nice-nice’ stuff at the beginning and ending of the email and just cut to the chase. He ‘got’ that I was let’s move on. Apparently he thought it was some sort of management ploy. So, the next time I corresponded with him, I tried. But after struggling for 30 minutes with a two paragraph email, I picked up the phone and explained that the appreciation was sincere and I wasn’t willing to edit it... but that he could just delete those parts if he preferred. Months later when we were shutting down our work together, he admitted that he’d saved the emails and that the sense of being appreciated was the best part of the project for him.” Authentic appreciation is a powerful - and underappreciated - force. We crave being recognised for who we are and what we do. Appreciation honours the individual, builds strong connections, boosts confidence, and fuels higher levels of contribution and performance. Genuine and effective appreciation takes many forms beyond giving compliments and saying ‘thank you’. It plays out quietly through listening and other demonstrations of respect. It can also take more overt forms like formal recognition and celebration. Nancy’s example and these three practices inspire a sense of enthusiasm and positivity that’s infectious. Enthusiasm seems to generate more of itself. Before long, the leader’s modeling can change the culture as employees begin to play to their strengths, spotlight team successes, and appreciate each other. Given the challenges facing business today, having the right team and the right coach may not be enough. If you’re looking for big and long-term wins maybe it’s time for some cheer-leadership.


Corporate learning

LEADING into the FUTURE The constant growth of organisations is placing new demands on their leaders. HRM examines why it is critical for leadership development to be integrated with overall business strategy By Sumathi V Selvaretnam

Most leadership development programmes offered tend to focus on the growth of the individual. However, such an approach is becoming less relevant in today’s complex and highly-networked business world. A new leadership paradigm is emerging, where one-way hierarchical, organisation-centric communication is being replaced by a network-centric and collaborative leadership style, says Suriesh D. Nathan, Vice President, Asia-Pacific at the Center for Creative Leadership. “Many methods, such as contentheavy training that was being used to develop leaders for the 21st Century have become dated and redundant.” Over time, some organisations have also overcomplicated leadership development at the risk of missing out on the basic requirements of being a good leader, says Mark McCutcheon, General Manager, Singapore and

What are your leaders being assessed for? • One of the biggest mistakes that organisations make is confusing performance, potential, and readiness. It’s important to understand that each has a distinct definition, says Mark McCutcheon, General Manager, Singapore and Malaysia, DDI Asia Pacific. • Performance is how an employee is performing in their current role. • Potential is one’s likelihood for leadership growth. • Readiness is one’s fit with a specific role, job, or job family. 32

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Malaysia, DDI Asia Pacific. He asks: “What good are strategic skills learned in executive programmes if a manager can’t have good interaction or conversation with his or her direct reports?” According to Professor Sattar Bawany, Strategic Advisor, IPMA Asia Pacific, the business environment has also become more competitive, complex, volatile and unpredictable. At the same time, the skills and competencies needed have changed. “We are seeing that more complex, adaptive and critical thinking abilities are needed for leaders to be successful,” he says. At Fonterra, a multinational dairy company, key leadership challenges include bullet-proof succession planning and the speed of developing next-in-line leaders, says Beng Cortes, Regional Head, Talent and Leadership Development, ASEAN/ME (Middle East), Fonterra Brands. “To support a successful process, there needs to be a good re-thinking of new and emerging competencies in order for leaders to adopt and adapt in an uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.” Motivating employees, creating unity within teams, and encouraging innovation are some of the other leadership challenges facing organisations today. “This has become more challenging along the years due to virtual team environments, the change of pace in communications, and transnational activities,” says Sujay Suvarma, General Manager, Southeast Asia, Carestream Health.

Assessing your leadership development needs As there is no one-size fits all solution to leadership

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Corporate learning

A good leadership evelopment plan should also involve


development, companies need to be forward-thinking in their identification of the needs and competencies they require. “Companies need to focus not just on the content of the programme but more importantly, how to structure the learning programme so that it is integrated with their business strategy, in order to garner the biggest impact for their organisation,” says Nathan. McCutcheon from DDI concurs. “A development programme should include robust assessment tools that can provide awareness and insights into the strength and areas for development,” he says. Factors such as organisational culture and motivational fit, as well as savvy, appropriate interpersonal skills, are critical considerations for successful leadership development, says Bawany. “In other words, it’s not what leaders know, but how they fit in to the culture, (how they) are motivated by opportunities within the organisation, and (how they) interact with those around them that result in high performance.” Learning and Development (L&D) professionals, together with HR business partners, can play a crucial and pro-active role in creating an infrastructure that supports and encourages employees to partake in training programmes, says Nathan. “HR also needs to chart out how their participation will contribute to real behavioural change and organisational benefits in the long run.”

to this. ‘Collective leadership’ has become the new leadership buzzword due to globalisation and shifting competition bases, says Nathan. “This means that leaders need to be able to collaborate across boundaries to implement strategies, solve problems, respond to threats, and adapt to change.” When implementing a training programme focused on collective leadership skills, companies need to develop individual participants as co-leaders, says Bawany. “Partners must be willing to learn from each other, build on their complementary skills, and facilitate each other’s growth.” Such programmes also create a climate where participants are willing to make themselves vulnerable by sharing their personal stories, strengths and weaknesses, says Bawany. Another trend is the need for leaders to go beyond horizontal development, which is the acquisition of new skills, abilities and behaviours. Growing vertically is just as important, says Nathan. Vertical development refers to the “stages” people progress through in how they make sense of the world. Here the leader’s mind expands and adopts a wider perspective, allowing him or her to make more informed decisions and raise influence in the organisation.

Ongoing trends

Training providers are also finding new and innovative ways to help time-starved executives advance in their leadership journey. Learning and development is becoming more blended through programmes that offer a combination of traditional classroom and web-based training. Some providers, such as DDI, offer mobile applications that enable learners to access course content on their smartphones while on-the-go. DDI also offer coursespecific guidance on how to use social media as part of the training mix. Jeremy Blain, Managing Director, Cegos Asia-Pacific, feels that adopting the “70-20-10” approach is critical to ensuring the successful outcome of any learning and development programme. Here, 70% of learning is provided through challenging assignments and on-the-job experiences, and 20% is developed through relationships, networks and feedback. The last 10% is delivered through formal training procedures. A good leadership development plan should also involve follow-ups. “Training providers could include interventions such as conducting interviews or informal check-ins with participants every couple of months to see how they’re progressing, or conduct a follow-up meeting six months and one year after the programme to see how participants are applying the concepts,” adds Blain.

A growing number of leadership development programmes are taking a more collaborative approach


Growing leaders at Fonterra Brands Fonterra has developed a learning platform called “Fresh Thinking”. Under this initiative, the company offers Functional Colleges, which are driven, championed, and developed by its internal functional experts. Examples of these include the Marketing and Finance Colleges. “These colleges are focused on developing and building the functional competencies of the employees,” says Beng Cortes, Regional Head, Talent and Leadership Development, ASEAN/ME (Middle East), Fonterra Brands. For more targeted groups of people and managers, Fonterra Brands offers both internal and external leadership programmes at every transition point. Some of the programmes that employees attend include the Center for Creative Leadership’s “Fundamentals of Leadership” programme as well as Fonterra’s own “Good to Great’ programme. Cortes feels that a formal environment or classroom setting gives leaders the best opportunity to reflect, refresh and enhance their leadership skills and capabilities. However, 70% of learning in Fonterra comes from on-the-job experiences, says Cortes. “We believe that giving our talents actual experiences will accelerate their development, as well as provide the avenue for which they can apply their learning.”


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Training delivery

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BIOGRAPHY Yuri Wahab is the Managing Director for Cisco’s Malaysia operations and is responsible for all of Cisco’s sales and marketing activities in the country. An industry veteran of over 25 years, Yuri is well known in the technology and networking industry. He has acquired regional experience across AsiaPacific as part of his career progression and has had the opportunity to work with many of the global information and communications technology leaders in various spaces. Before joining Cisco, Yuri was the country general manager of Dell Malaysia, where he was focused on building strategic relationships with key industry sectors including the smallmedium business, large enterprise and government sectors. Together with his team, he was able to dramatically increase market share for the company within the country. Prior to that, Yuri was with a networking technology provider for five years, where he built a strong team and ran the business as Managing Director in Malaysia and Brunei. In this role, he was responsible for developing relationships with government ministries and agencies, building sales and marketing channels and driving key customer engagement across the carrier and enterprise portfolios.


Cisco Systems

Work at Cisco is

a slice of life Yuri Wahab, managing director of Cisco in Malaysia, is passionate when it comes to flexible work practices and work-life balance. He’s also a firm believer in technology being the dominant tool that enables such a work culture By Shalini Shukla-Pandey

With an average of six devices per employee, Malaysia currently leads the world for the highest number of devices accessing the Cisco corporate network. According to research by technology solutions-provider, Citrix, Malaysia is streets ahead of its counterparts in other offices around the world, with the global average for Cisco being 4.43 devices per employee. Yuri Wahab, managing director of Cisco in Malaysia, says that’s no accident. “At work, I have a Blackberry, a Cius tablet and a Cisco notebook; at home, I have two other notebooks and a desktop – all connected to the internet,” he says. “I’m one of the statistics!” Indeed, the majority of the workforce at Cisco is made up of people who are naturally IT-savvy and social media-oriented. “Facebook has 1 billion users, a seventh of the world’s population,” says Yuri. “If it were a country, it would be the third most populous in the world.” Employees at Cisco naturally take their social media seriously. In light of this, the company has an internal social media handbook outlining its social media policy and guidelines. While there is a fine line between work and social media, employers now have to incorporate both, Yuri says. “Almost all major companies have their own Facebook account now,” he explains. “This is the same with employees. Social media is something they can’t live without.”

Tech at work Technology is truly a big part of the corporate culture at Cisco. Employees have access to a corporate virtual private network, video conferencing equipment, and other such technology on ‘Bring-Your-Own-Device’ (BYOD) platforms, including their own smart phones and tablets. “They know how to utilise technology to help in their work and work-life balance,” says Yuri.

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The average number of devices per employee in Malaysia is expected to rise to almost

eight devices by 2020

Source: Citrix report, ‘Workplace of the Future’



Cisco Systems Training and retaining talent At the start of the year, managers at Cisco communicate goals for their employees to achieve. Different sets of goals are set, says Yuri Wahab, Managing Director – Malaysia, Cisco. There are “hard” goals like sales targets, and “soft” goals like feedback from their subordinates. “We also focus on personal development,” says Yuri. “The employee can recommend what he or she wants to do in the next couple of years and share that with their manager.” A case in point is an account manager who was recently promoted to become a sales director. The manager was honest with Yuri and shared his concerns about how he has always been an individual contributor but now has to manage a team. “He asked how he can develop himself to be a good people manager,” said Yuri. “So I started looking around for a good internal or external training programme to help develop him.” One of the things the new sales director did was spend some time with Yuri every month to talk about the challenges of managing people. Yuri himself has personal goal discussions with his superiors as well. When asked what his personal goal was, he said, “In my 28 years of experience, I’ve only managed staff in Malaysia. Perhaps in two years or so, it’ll be nice to broaden my horizon in Southeast Asia.”

Me-myself-I • I love: my family. I have a wife and five kids. I work for my family first, then Cisco. • I dislike: procrastination and indecisiveness. • My inspiration is: my son. He’s 20 years-old and he’s autistic, but he has a lot of artistic talent. • My biggest weakness is: chocolate, especially dark chocolate. • In five years’ time I’d like to be: in a senior regional management position within Cisco. • Favourite quote: “You have to look far to see things clearly” – General Charles de Gaulle, president of the French Republic from 1958 to 1969.


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“As an employer, you have to cater not just to the work needs of the employee but also to his or her social and mobility needs as well” – YURI WAHAB, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF CISCO IN MALAYSIA


“Everyone at all levels of the organisation can work remotely,” he adds. “However, I do encourage my staff to come into the office at least once or twice a week, especially on Fridays when we have sales meetings so as to promote engagement and teambuilding.” Technology also facilitates training at Cisco. For instance, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) giant has put Yuri on a global country manager training programme conducted online. “During a session at 11pm a couple of weeks ago, I was online simultaneously with country managers from the Czech Republic, Russia, Spain, Hong Kong, China and Japan with a live trainer via video conference,” says Yuri. “We could see everyone’s faces and I got to interact with global teams.” With the availability of video conferencing technology, staff at Cisco can indeed do more things in a global community. “As an employer, you have to cater not just to the work needs of the employee but also to his or her social and mobility needs as well,” says Yuri. “That’s the most drastic change in the last five years or so, not only for the ICT industry but for any industry in general.”

Security concerns This mobility comes with a price. From an IT perspective, it’s great to have connectivity as it improves productivity and other business parameters. However, the dilemma a Chief Information Officer naturally has is how to make it all secure. “You have no idea what’s being downloaded and what’s coming in and out of your network,” says Yuri. “So you have to give this luxury or leverage to employees but also manage and secure it as well.” Being an IT company, Cisco is obviously concerned with security as well. According to its Incidents and Response team, the malware filtering web proxy for Cisco handles six million transactions a day – which is only 1% of all transactions. Also, for everyday Cisco is in business, the ICT giant collects information on 2.65 trillion security events that may or may not be malicious. Intrusion detection sensors detect 1.5 million attacks a day. “Sometimes, it’s not about the location of the attacks. It comes down to human behaviour,” says Yuri. “You can set up all the technology and firewalls you want but if that one person in your office anywhere in the world decides to do something, it’s down to them. It becomes a global issue because we’re all connected.” He cited an example of an employee who was caught downloading an explicit movie on the Cisco network. The IP address was flagged. It turned out to be the employee’s first day of work.

The work-life pie With all the connectivity and accessibility available to a Cisco staff member, he or she can work from anywhere and at any time. For instance, at the new Cisco office at Changi, Singapore, staff are 100% mobile. “They can plug their laptops into the network and work from anywhere in the office,” says Yuri. “There is a ‘kampong’ spirit because of the accessibility and communication that staff have with each other.” Amidst the connectivity and convenience, it is easy for employees to get caught up in a 24/7 work culture. “Work and life are not halves of a circle. It’s actually alternate slices of the circle – work, life, work, life,” says Yuri. “Hence, work-life harmony is ensuring all the slices of the pie can converge.” He aims to lead by example, scheduling his own work and life. On Monday mornings, his secretary places a sheet on his table, detailing his whole week’s plans. However, if he needs to be home early one day, he excuses himself and takes calls at home. “It all boils down to discipline,” says Yuri. “The weekend is the one that I cherish and dedicate as quality time for family. During weekdays, I balance my time between office and family.”

Every single person in Cisco is


and can telecommute

Training future talent There can sometimes be a mismatch between the skills that graduates entering the information and communications technology (ICT) industry have, and the specialised skills required by the industry. Bodies such as Malaysia’s Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) work with multinational companies such as Cisco to help bridge that gap. “We work with the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources and MDeC through the Cisco Networking Academy to develop Malaysia’s next generation of IT professionals,” says Yuri Wahab, Managing Director of Malaysia, Cisco. “We have a dedicated individual within Cisco who manages only the academy and helps develop and implement educational programmes.” The Cisco Networking Academy programme delivers ICT training to help improve career and educational opportunities for individuals in communities, not only in Malaysia but also around the world. “Through the academy, we work with public universities to come up with IT industry certifications, curricula and training, which helps the younger generation with employability not only within Cisco but also with Cisco’s customers and other IT companies,” says Yuri.

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HR Mobility Congress


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mobility Mobility experts and authors David Clemons and Michael Kroth will be in Singapore soon for HRM’s 2nd Annual Mobility Congress. Here they share their views on ‘metaskills’ and their importance when managing a mobile workforce

Do you know what kind of communication tools will be available five years from now? Do you have any idea what new collaboration systems you will be using? Will you be checking in on your employees via telepresence or will you actually be able to watch them in action, even sitting next to them virtually for some on-the-job training via a hologram? The truth is that none of us know. When we were writing Managing the Mobile Workforce (MMFW) just three years ago iPads were being introduced. Now they are ubiquitous and, with the proliferation of other tablets, have changed the way we communicate and work. We can’t imagine how the next kind of discovery, invention, or product might equally shake up the way we work, but we can predict that something will. If that’s the case, what’s a manager who wants a highly productive workforce to do? We think one answer is to develop “metaskills”. Metaskills are something we can count on even when everything else is whizzing by so fast we think we just can’t keep up.

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HR Mobility Congress What are metaskills?

The foundation for high performing virtual work environments is


In his 2012 book, Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age, Marty Neumeier says “Metaskills act more like guiding principles than specific steps.” They are a “higher level of understanding”. A metaskill is also, he says, “reflexive”, which means it can be applied to itself. “While the ability to learn is powerful, the ability to learn how to learn is unstoppable”. We use the term simply to describe expertise or abilities that transcend a given situation and which can be applied to new and evolving circumstances. They are the abilities mobile managers will need that go beyond changes in technology and they will be valuable in a mobile workplace no matter whether people are using cans tied to strings, smart phones, or teleportation. We wrote MMWF to be “evergreen”; we wanted to share concepts that we thought would stand the test of time and go beyond rapidly changing technology. There we described metaskills – such as becoming a learning organisation, ongoing renewal, collaboration, and assessment. We don’t pretend to know all the metaskills managers of mobile workforces will need, but we want you to consider which of those you’ll need over time.

The consequences of not developing metaskills The penalty for not building key metaskills could be severe. The tools tech managers use today may be replaced. The systems and technology call center managers use today will surely change within just a few years. Service center managers, dealing with

Catch David Clemons & at Michandel Kroth ‘liveil’ ity Mob the 2 Talent Congress! 15-16 May 2013 Hilton Hotel, Singapore 42

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both remote vehicles and remote people will have different hard and software at their disposal. The specific skills needed to use these might change with the latest device or software on the market. Perhaps worse, if your competitors have identified key metaskills for their business they will be able to adapt more quickly to change and potentially leave you struggling to catch up. Will the development of new skills be needed? Absolutely. On the other hand, some strategic skills should have legs for a long, long time and can evolve as the savvy manager learns how to master them even more completely. These are the metaskills you’ll need. We would like to give you a required list of metaskills every mobile manager needs but you will have to ask yourself which ones will be key for your continuing success. Here we offer three we think will be important for just about everyone leading people.

Developing presence “Presence” is having that sense that someone is close by, even if he or she is a thousand miles away. We usually think of presence in physical terms – someone is sitting next to you or across the table. Looking at it that way someone who is not in the room is not present. But we know people who are sitting right next to us who are not present as well. Their attention is far away. We can also remember that the phone call from across the country with our best friend seemed like we were back in school together. The “distance” between us is not only geographical, it can also be cultural or emotional. And it can be reduced not only


by available technology but also through skills like communication, relationship building, and emotional intelligence. How “present” do your employees perceive you to be? Do they think of you impersonally or as a real person?

Building trust The foundation for high performing virtual work environments is trust, and effective managers know how to build and maintain it. Trust is even more important in virtual environments because it’s so easy for little things to become big issues, grinding productivity to a halt. You have to depend on people miles away to solve problems, make decisions, and take initiatives. We said in MMWF that “breaking trust is the one thing that can immobilise a mobile workforce faster than a dropped call”. Building trust is a higher order skill involving communication, relationship building, feedback, and more. It’s the most indispensible of metaskills for mobile managers. Without it you might as well roll up the virtual sidewalks and go home.

Motivating This seems almost too obvious, but too many people think that setting big goals and paying people to achieve them is enough. The reality – and one of the harder parts of mobile leadership – is that if you really want to motivate people to do their best work you have to have a profound understanding of both the human situation and human nature. Everyone has hopes, dreams, desires, and wants. Great leaders also know that each person is unique, with different circumstances, different personalities, different experiences and views of the world, so they know just what each person wants and needs. The motivation metaskill is built on listening and understanding. Doing that at a distance, through all the distractions and changing conditions, is a metaskill of universal importance. Metaskills are a source of sustainable competitiveness in the midst of change. Developing presence, building trust, and motivating are three we think are important. Which ones are critical for your business as you lead an increasingly mobile workforce?

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STJobs HR Summit speaker

Tough cookie Constantly ranked among the most influential women in India, Vinita Bali is wellknown for re-invigorating Britannia Industries, one of the country’s biggest brands. In this exclusive interview, she tells HRM more about people-centred decisions that she made in her journey to success


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When Vinita Bali took over the reins at biscuit giant Britannia Industries in 2005, the company was facing troubled times, amidst a competitive business landscape. Leadership instability and a lack of clarity had led to many employees leaving the organisation. There was an air of caution among those who remained. Yet Bali took it in her stride. “Challenges present opportunities to re-energise and re-focus the business. There was a very competent group of people but they were performing below standards,” shares Bali. One of her early challenges was, “How do you pull people together and energise them with a common vision?” To restore confidence in the organisation, Bali had to make some swift decisions. She let go of underperforming employees, focused on getting the right talent and established a new leadership team. “We focused on the key elements of enhancing capability which included the decision on right people, right processes, right structure, right metrics and the right environment and culture that would bring about the business model transformation we were seeking.” In just seven years Bali more than doubled the company’s market cap to $1.1 billion.

An employer brand that resonates Under Bali’s leadership, Britannia Industries has been at the forefront of several initiatives to address malnutrition, both as a part of its business model and through the Britannia Nutrition Foundation. Several of its products now come enrich with micro-nutrients. “We thought about Nutrition as part of our Corporate responsibility and to make it sustainable, we incorporated it as part of our business model.” In 2008 Bill Gates cited Britannia as one of 8 examples of creative capitalism and in 2011 Forbes named Vinita as one of Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen. This positive publicity has certainly boosted Britannia’s employer brand. “The business is palpable and gives people a sense of purpose,” says Bali. The employer brand is critical in attracting and retaining talent as it symbolises the values and beliefs of the Company and how those are reflected in every action the Company takes, says Bali. “ In our case it was about bringing innovative products to the market that were accessible and affordable and offered the highest quality standards.” Britannia also has a number of other initiatives centred on corporate citizenry, says Bali. It is constantly

Cracking the whip In 2011, Britannia industries sharpened the performance parameters for its staff amidst soaring costs and hypercompetition. Employees were categorised under the categories of “Great, Good or Gone.” A number of under-performing employees were let go in the process while high-performers received bonuses of up to 150%, reported the Times of India. Britannia is also placing greater emphasis on the internal development and promotion of talent to reduce attrition. Highperforming executives have been promoted to senior positions. While the attrition rate was high at 18% in 2011, it is now in the 14-15% range, which is within the industry average, reported

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STJobs HR Summit speaker finding ways to reduce waste and use greener forms of energy. Efforts like these attract young people into the workforce, says Bali.

Work culture Britannia Industries adopts an open and performancedriven culture. This is underpinned by driving for greater accountability and ownership for results that then get adequately rewarded, Bali says. Performance bonuses are aligned with company results, Bali says. “The performance management system at Britannia is enhanced every year to drive greater transparency and foster empathetic dialogue based on data and facts,” she adds. The company drives collaboration through its work processes. Employees are given common deliverables so that they are not focusing on isolated functions. “Delivering cost effectiveness and efficiency involves people from every function,” Bali says. There is a lot of emphasis on talent development at Britannia Industries. “It is important to get the right people in the right job and motivate them to do their best,” says Bali. Staff development initiatives include crossfunctional projects, job rotation and formal classroom training . The work culture supports continuous

learning. Every two weeks, the company conducts a “Lunch and Learn” session where employees are educated on topics ranging business issues to personal health and well-being. Employees at Britannia attend sessions known as “Tea or Breakfast with Vinita.” This gives them the opportunity to discuss company values as well as any business concerns that they might have. The company also gathers people around sports like cricket, which is wildly popular in India. “It allows them to come together and bond over a reason other than work,” says Bali.

“It is important to get the right people in the right job and motivate them to do their best”

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Corporate health

Protecting your

mobile workforce Medical costs incurred abroad can be extremely high without global health insurance coverage. In an increasingly mobile work environment, such medical plans offer employers a piece of mind when deploying staff overseas. HRM investigates By Sumathi V Selvaretnam


ISSUE 13.4


Globalisation is fuelling an increasingly mobile workforce with companies deploying employees to their offices in vast geographies for both short and long term postings. According to the 2011/2012 Benefits Survey for Expatriates and Internationally Mobile Employees, the need to develop global leadership talent and the growth of new business ventures abroad has prompted a rise in global mobility. The survey, by Mercer, revealed that the number of global nomads has increased from six to 10% of the expatriate population, while the percentage of short-term expatriates (projects of less than a year) has fallen from 17% to 11%. Long-term expatriate as a percentage of total assignee population increased from 21% to 40% between the 2008/2009 and 2011/2012 surveys. Nearly all employer respondents in the latest Mercer survey said that they provide private medical insurance for their globally mobile workforces (98%) compared to only 57% in 2005. As medical benefits and the quality and standards of medical healthcare vary significantly from country to country, the main challenge for companies is to


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Corporate health “It is necessary to have good access to medical facilities where the employees are posted to, and the continuity of coverage is important so as not to result in the exclusion of pre-existing conditions developed between the postings” – WONG WENG HONG, CEO OF ASIAMEDIC

Not all plans cover extreme sports Do you have a daredevil employee who participates in extreme sports such as quad biking, skydiving or hang gliding? Then be sure to read the fine print in your medical coverage plan. An online poll conducted by healthcare insurance provider, MediCare International has revealed that close to half of travellers are likely to be involved in extreme sports whilst abroad. Yet, many insurance providers rule out sports such as mountaineering, scuba diving and bungee jumping. While others, provide extra coverage for such activities for an added premium. If you have a particularly adventurous group of employees, it might be worth your while to shop around for a plan that covers such scenarios.


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provide expatriates with a broadly equitable system of healthcare whilst managing costs, the survey found. The location of the overseas deployment also has a bearing on employee health. Analysis of over 4.6 million business travellers to 223 countries by healthcare provider International SOS revealed significant travel to destinations with more medical risks. Some 23% of business travellers are going to countries with “medium and high” risks, including Brazil, Russia, China and India. Ensuring that the health and well-being of these employees is well taken care of is a critical consideration for HR when approving such assignments. “It is necessary to have good access to medical facilities where the employees are posted to, and the continuity of coverage is important so as not to result in the exclusion of pre-existing conditions developed between the postings,” says Wong Weng Hong, CEO of AsiaMedic. Global insurance also gives employees and their families a peace of mind when they are posted overseas, says Cedric Luah, Head – Corporate Clients, Singapore, Swiss Life. “The value in the coverage is not the reimbursements but more importantly the advice from the local representatives in the foreign country on the most appropriate doctors and medical facilities to visit when medical help is needed.” Getting a reputable and and proven global insurance plan removes one of the many hurdles in the minds of the staff accepting overseas postings, and their families, says Wong.

Choosing the right plan International medical coverage provides equality among expatriates and helps HR reduce administration effort and time resource constraints. However, with a host of international medical plans available on the market, the challenge for HR is to find a comprehensive plan that provides sufficient protection, yet does not break the bank. Wide geographical coverage, medical facilities where cashless transactions are possible, and 24-hour accessibility for emergency (including emergency medical evacuation and repatriation) are some of the factors to consider, says Luah. “For the employer, ease of underwriting, and ability to extend coverage to pre-existing conditions when group size is sufficiently big would also be key,” he adds. According to the study by Mercer, challenges in service provision remain, particularly around costs. “53% percent of respondents had experienced increases of 6% or more in their international medical plan premiums at their last renewal. 20% of


companies have seen their premium increases by between 11–15%,” says Mark Price, Principal in Mercer’s International Consulting Group Traditional cost-containment options remain popular, with a large proportion of respondents adopting the use of cost-sharing approaches such as employee deductibles, co-insurance and annual benefits limits, the survey found. Costs very much depend on group size, geographical coverage and the types of benefits required, says Luah. “The necessity of such coverage is quite clear from management’s perspective, especially since many are beneficiaries of such coverage. The ability to also include family members in the cover is an important element for the posted employees.” To get the best value, HR needs to assess its insurance priorities by looking at the countries of assignments and the availability of reasonable quality healthcare, and then work out a budget, Luah advises.


Top things to look out for

• Coverage for both public and private healthcare facilities, and preferably with third party billing. • The availability of round-the-clock advice and assistance from multilingual, local representatives. • The ability to conduct a safe and effective medical evacuation back to the home country.

Typically, international medical plans are provided for postings that last six months or more, says Luah. However, there is also a trend that such coverage is provided to senior staff members or employees that have frequent business travel requirements,” Luah says.

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HR Technology

HR wins big with

TECHNOLOGY Every day businesses are learning more about the ways HR technology can be used to increase their productivity and profitability. HRM looks at some of the key areas in which HR technology solutions are paving the way forward By Shalini Shukla-Pandey

Technology for HR has transformed from administrative software to workforce wide applications that provide staff with information about the company, goals, performance, pay, benefits and even what they can do to advance in the organisation. Businesses also already recognise the significance of how HR management systems (HRMS) can benefit their productivity, and more importantly, their profit margins. “We foresee that many businesses will begin to outgrow plain HRMS solutions that solve HR administration tasks,” says Lim Say Ping, Co-founder and Director, iqDynamics. “There will be a strong surge towards sophisticated talent management solutions, such as the HRiQ Human Capital Management Solution, which combines strong administrative solutions for core HR tasks, and advanced talent management tools for managing employee performance appraisals, learning and development and leadership and succession planning.” Talent Management Systems will be much sought after, says Ho Chee Tiong, Sales and Operations Director, UNIT4 Prosoft HRMS. “This is due to several trends – the tightening of foreign labour supply, a low unemployment rate, and more Generation Y staff coming into the workforce.” More companies will also be adopting HR solutions and technology hosted in the cloud, more commonly known as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Teams and departments do not sit together in a single room anymore. More often than not members of a team can span the globe, and HR managers and directors find themselves having to travel a lot more often to maintain that face-to-face contact with their talent. “Cloud or SaaS solutions will provide the most elegant and efficient method of providing company and employee information ‘at the touch of a button’,” says Lim.


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of US companies will most likely use technology to better position their HR functions to help fuel workforce productivity over the next two years Source: ‘Human Capital Strategies in a Slow Recovery’ – CFO Research sponsored by Paychex, Sep 2012


Companies locally and internationally will continue to source for HR Software vendors who offer established and secure cloud computing services as a convenient alternative to defray the conventional total cost of ownership. “The trend is for companies to look for vendors that offer more configurable and scalable functionalities that actually suit their HR polices without hefty customisation costs,” says Charles Liaw, managing director of Times Software. “Also, the need to integrate all systems – be it accounting, HR management, payroll and talent management – shall be the single driving force of IT evolution within every thriving company for 2013,” he adds. “Total integration will enhance better response and accuracy to questions from the C-suite.”

Why HR technology? Using technology, HR administrations are more structured as policies are implemented with timeliness and effectiveness. “HR technology solutions such as HRiQ allow better and quicker report generation of HR information, leading companies to become more agile in their decision-making processes,” says Teo Teong Ho, also co-founder and director of iqDynamics. “Customers utilising HRiQ Leave and HRiQ Payroll have reported cuts in losses with employee leave, overtime and expenses being accurately tracked and paid out.” Using HR Technology solutions will almost certainly help companies to save cost, time and reduce manpower. “It also provides the greater employee satisfaction,” says Liaw.

Current HR technology trends Business collaboration Cloud computing

Business analytics Current HR technology trends

Mobile technology

Big data Social media

Source: Ventana Research

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HR Technology All processes are done online with just a few clicks rather than via the tedious administrative way of requiring the employee to fill a leave application form. The form would have to be submitted to the supervisor for approval after which it would need to be passed back to the HR department to be manually updated into the leave system. “By implementing a total HRMS such as e-Leave, a job that requires two or more persons could be performed simply by one person and more effectively, resulting in huge savings for the company,” says Liaw

Driving productivity Increasing productivity is one of the most critical goals in business, and for the HR function in particular. An integrated HRMS solution with web-based features such as e-recruitment, e-claim, e-leave and e-HR will help to increase productivity as it provide the employees, managers and senior management with the ability to work and access HRIS data anywhere, anyplace and anytime, says Liaw. In a rapidly moving business environment, HR is at risk of becoming swamped by needless paperwork created through leave applications or employee appraisals. “With


Times Software Previously, hotels such as The Ritz Carlton Singapore, Hilton Singapore, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Capella Singapore and The Fullerton Hotel Singapore used to manually handle casual workers on its payroll. “After the casual worker finished the job, he or she would come back at the scheduled time to the finance department to collect cash from the pay master through a window,” says Charles Liaw, managing director of Times Software. Times Software’s ‘Times E-Casual Labour 8.0 module’ allows HR to leverage on the internet to plan, organise events such as wedding banquets and company dinner and dance parties, and book the right number of casual staff required. “The whole process, from requesting casual workers to the approval stage, followed by assigning the casual staff to events and arranging payment for them is done online,” says Liaw. “Casual workers are also paid via Giro, instead of in cash.” Features of the new technology include: • Casual labour requirement forecast Times E-Casual Labour module will assist operations managers of the respective cost centres on the forecasting of the number of casual staff required. This is done by simply calling out the events. The actual number required may be requested for GM approval. • Real time available status of casual workers The operations managers will be given default login details of their respective cost centres. The available lists of casual workers can be called out for actual confirmation and easy selection. Double entry selections are eliminated. • Email approvals of casual labour HR can send requisitions via email and be truly paperless. The stand-in personnel can be set or copied in the emails for approvals. Emails will be automatically re-routed to the next concerned approval personnel if no action is taken by first approver. • Casual labour costing with export features to Microsoft Excel Labour costing is quickly and efficiently generated by employees of each cost centre. The reports are then printed to PDF or exported to Excel spreadsheets for further data manipulation or management analysis. The weekly payments to casual workers are done via interbank Giro based on the reports.


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the correct technology solution, repetitive administration tasks are easily automated and rendered within the shortest amount of time,” says Mahendra Bodduluri, Director, iqDynamics A solution such as iqDynamics’ HRiQ allows the HR manager or executive to disseminate company announcements, payslips and even appraisal results immediately, be it across geographical locations, time zones or offices, thereby increasing productivity. While the use of self-service technologies is not new, the prevalence of mobile devices has enabled employees to better manage business processes including those of HR metrics. “One good example will be the use of eRecruitment system that allows filtering and sorting of résumés, saving HR many hours and manual effort,” says Ho. “At the same time, they are able to get better ROI out of the recruitment processes.”

Not losing the ‘personal touch’ Ultimately, HR is a people profession. By implementing HR technology solutions, some might see the profession as risking the loss of that ‘personal touch’. On the contrary, HR technology solutions are just tools that free up HR personnel to walk the ground more, says Ho. “If HR professionals are able to leverage on technology, they can achieve more.” Indeed, with an integrated HR solution, many administrative and time-consuming HR tasks can be automated easily, thus freeing up HR to carry out their ultimate task, the management of ‘humans’. “Instead of clearing stacks of paperwork or hundreds of emails a day, HR can better spend their time talking and communicating what matters most to any organisation, the talent,” says Asheed Kumar Velluva, Director of iqDynamics. “HR can also better understand the human needs, wants and requirements that often get lost in an environment which is too focused on technology.” HR technology also enhances inter-colleague communications and synergy. With e-leave for instance, the applicant could simply trust that the leave request is notified without wondering if the approver needs further reminders. “By sending well-wishes or messages of congratulations when responding to an approval for marriage leave, you can certainly add an element of care and concern for the employee,” says Liaw. HR can channel this new-found convenience into more strategic decisions such as on succession planning and staff development. This allows leaders to better align employees with the culture and mission of the corporation. “Such ‘human touch’ cannot be replicated by technology, hence it can never be the ‘Master’,” says Liaw. “Technology is a tool that will always enhance the work of HR, the real ‘Human Master’.”


Workplace fraud

! t r e l a Fraud hits nearly one in four companies in Singapore. And inadequate knowledge on the red flags that staff should look for has been cited as one of the main contributing factors. HRM finds out why corporate fraud is an HR issue and what it takes to detect and prevent it By Shalini Shukla-Pandey 58

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Fraud has become a persistent threat to corporates in Singapore. According to the KPMG Singapore Fraud Survey Report 2011, while the proportion of companies experiencing fraud has remained relatively stable since 2008 (23%), the average number of incidents reported by victims increased by more than 100% in the three years to 2011, from 3.8 in 2008 to 9.0 in 2011. The total estimated cost of these incidents increased from S$5.3 million to S$6.5 million over the same period. “Because of the greater emphasis on corporate disclosure and transparency, as well as the introduction of whistleblowing rules, more frauds are being discovered now,” says Jason Law, Senior Manager – Management Development and Consultancy, MDIS. “Many companies also now have (official) whistleblowing channels.” For instance, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has an independent hotline service that gives employees the opportunity to raise occurrences of illegal or unethical conduct of IDA staff for appropriate investigation and action.

Modus operandi of frauds It certainly comes as no surprise that, according to the KPMG survey, 64% of frauds are ‘inside jobs’. Employees (47%) accounted for the largest proportion of fraudsters identified by the research, followed by external parties such as customers or vendors (35%), and then company management (17%). The most common type of fraud is asset misappropriation, which includes disbursement fraud schemes, purchasing fraud schemes, abuse of payroll and HR functions, travel expense fraud, and fraud in revenue and cash receipt functions, as well as theft of inventory, equipment and assets, says Law. In terms of specific fraud trends for Singapore companies, procurement and IT-related fraud remain top concerns, says Owen Hawkes, Director, KPMG Forensic in Singapore. “Procurement fraud is especially hard to detect when there is collusion between employees and third parties,” says Hawkes. “As a number of recent incidents have demonstrated (see boxout), procurement of IT is especially challenging because of the technical nature of the subject matter.” “For example, it can be difficult for non-IT procurement staff to identify whether a genuine need for procurement exists, whether the tenders received are truly comparable, and whether the goods invoiced are actually those delivered,” says Hawkes. “For these issues, reliance tends to be placed on the IT department requesting the purchase.” KPMG’s 2012 Global Data Loss Barometer found that data loss incidents have increased by 40% since 2011 and that hacking is the leading cause of data loss. Losses to external threats doubled between 2011 and 2012. “Employees’ unfamiliarity with IT systems and controls can be a key weakness,” says Hawkes. “We are also seeing abuse of IT systems taking a more organised form. Rather than being opportunistic, specific companies are targeted for specific data.”

HR and IT: partners in managing fraud Companies should also look towards improving IT security, as proper authorisation and access controls and staff training are essential to combat IT-related fraud within the workplace. Also, monitoring and detection are critical in keeping systems safe from external threats. “Real-time monitoring of networks and hosts enables an appropriate response at an early stage,” says Owen Hawkes, Director, KPMG Forensic in Singapore. “Analysis of any anomalies and a swift response are also key to defending against outside threats.”

Warning signs Some common behavioural red flags which may lead to fraud occurrence include staff having close social relationships with vendors, and employees who avoid communicating with others, sort out all problems personally even where it is ‘below their pay grade’, and rarely going on holiday, says Hawkes. “As with all ‘red flags’, however, these are indicators of risk, rather than evidence that fraud is actually occurring,” he adds. Still, fraud activity is hard to detect simply from judging character, as many employees who have committed fraud were perceived to be trustworthy, loyal and hardworking. One possible sign could be employees leading exceedingly lavish lifestyles beyond their salary or means, says Law. Other red flags to look out for include the lack of transparency in the employee’s dealings, and the usage of complicated procedures that congregate power or access with only a single manager. Situational pressures can also increase the possibility of fraud. These include unrealistic performance expectations on staff (including tough budgets and profit targets), poor internal control systems, and poor IT security systems. Some common red flags which may “Personal greed or financial troubles, indicate fraud occurrence include: • Close social relationships with vendors job dissatisfaction, and disgruntled • Procurement or front-line staff who employees who want to harm the are possessive over particular business company are other typical situational areas requiring procurement motivators to commit fraud,” says Law.

Common red flags

Fraud on top Top managers and executive leaders can sometimes be fraudsters themselves. According to the KPMG survey findings, 17% of fraud is carried out by senior members of a company. It has also been observed that top management defrauders are typically males from the ages of 36 to 45, working in a finance-related role.

• Lifestyle and income mismatches • Frequent use of non-approved vendors or service providers • Frequent payment of expenses for third parties • Staff who rarely go on holiday • Staff who avoid communicating with others • Employees who sort out all problems personally, even where it is “below their pay grade” Source: KPMG Forensic, Singapore

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Workplace fraud

Fraud hits nearly

one in four

companies in Singapore Source: KPMG Singapore Fraud Survey Report 2011

“These individuals set the ethical tone for the organisation and are in the position to do the greatest harm,” says Law. A key red flag is when senior management gets away with breaking rules. “Many of the best-known corporate leaders who have been exposed in fraud scandals have succeeded in carrying out their activities simply because nobody dared to stop them or question them,” says Hawkes. He explains that the traits that often characterise errant senior management and are indicators of fraud risk include: • A flamboyant or ostentatious personality • Being ill-tempered or aggressive when questioned on small issues • Drowning disagreement with volume or by “expert” opinion • Possessiveness over interaction with certain employees or suppliers • Making business arrangements that are unsupervised or deviate from regular terms

The most effective way to manage fraud risks is to develop a holistic framework to address the organisation’s prevention, detection and response to fraud. “An effective framework to counter fraud risks extends beyond the realms of internal controls,” says Hawkes. “It is not possible to totally eliminate fraud, but implementing a comprehensive and robust fraud risk management framework is vital to mitigate fraud risks.” Internal audits are the most common means of detecting internal control breaches. These assist by detecting fraud earlier and providing a deterrent effect, making it more likely that fraudsters will be caught. Another common tool is a fraud and misconduct reporting service (or ‘whistleblowing’ channel). This takes advantage of organisations’ most effective fraud-fighting asset – their staff.

Procurement fraud, collusion between staff and vendors, is a common type of employee fraud, and constant monitoring of these relationships is required. A recent case in point involved the National Parks Board (NParks) in Singapore. It procued Brompton bicycles costing $2,200 each for its officers to use on patrols. An internal audit by the Ministry of National Development found some discrepancies which suggested the possibility of bias in the procurement. The NParks officer involved in making the purchase of the 26 foldable bicycles, totalling $57,200, was suspended. Applicable policies need to remain under periodic review to remain effective, says Owen Hawkes, Director, KPMG Forensic in Singapore. “The policies and procedures that worked five years ago might not still work in a changing business environment.” Additionally, the effectiveness of procurement anti-fraud controls depends on the people carrying them out. “The most restrictive controls will be of little use if they are not applied in practice, says Hawkes. “This is where management oversight and Internal audit are invaluable to check on compliance with and the effectiveness of controls.”

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Preventing fraud completely is difficult, but HR can work to establish a culture that makes it rare and unseemly. Several strategies can help, including: • Establishing a code of conduct in the organisation to encourage and improve observance to high ethical standards • Putting in-place a whistle-blowing mechanism • Conducting regular audits and fraud risk assessments and strengthening the organisation’s IT systems and other internal controls to detect fraud more effectively • Providing fraud awareness training to staff or management so that they can identify and manage incidences of fraud. • Designing and implementing a fraud incident response plan so that proper procedures are in place to address the problem Source: MDIS

Preparing defences

Procurement fraud




“Employees who believe that misconduct may have occurred thus have an internal channel to resolve issues in a timely fashion, helping ensure that issues can be addressed early,” says Hawkes. “Senior management needs to ensure that employees are aware that there is an established avenue to report fraud and misconduct.” Data analytics is also an increasingly popular tool to identify failures in internal controls. “The vast amounts of data that organisations generate as part of their business has huge value in enabling organisations to identify red flags and anomalies and even control weaknesses and failures,” says Hawkes. For example, manual journal entries made on Sundays and public holidays can indicate that accounting staff members are trying to avoid scrutiny of such entries.

Taking the next step When fraud occurs, HR can respond effectively by taking action immediately to minimise further losses. The matter must be investigated methodically and evidence must be preserved in case it is needed for litigation or provision to regulators, says Hawkes. “HR should also communicate as transparently as possiblewith stakeholders and demonstrate that the organisation takes fraud seriously by reporting or taking other action against the fraudsters and recovering proceeds where possible,” he adds. Prevention and management of fraud in organisations ultimately requires strong management commitment to high ethical standards and the cooperation of all in the company. “The management and staff must work together to ensure that incidences of fraud are minimised (if not eliminated).” Hawkes adds that an ethical corporate culture and continuous employee education are necessary to ensure that staff take the risk of fraud seriously and speak up when they suspect something is wrong.

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Corporate teambuilding

Ensuring the returns on

TEAMBUILDING Teambuilding can be seen as a bane for companies because of a lack of perceived reward for the interruption. HRM looks at how some companies are achieving measurable returns on these activities and some of the latest teambuilding options out there By Grace Koh


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An old Kenyan saying goes: sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. Teambuilding activities are an exemplar of this – because effective teams are also stronger together than when working as individuals. Teambuilding activities bring a slew of benefits, such as motivation and rapport, development of creativity, and improved productivity and problem solving skills amongst employees. Moreover, teambuilding can be a way for employees to enjoy some bonding time with colleagues. The DBS’ Asia Dragons, DBS Bank’s dragon boat team, is one ongoing example. It has its own Facebook page to gather photos, videos, training tips and words of encouragement from employees across the wider organisation. This bonds employees together with shared experiences and good memories. Not only does teambuilding build up team skills, but it has the potential to equip employees with skills applicable to their individual lives as well. As Alexander Blyth, founder of Megazip Adventure Park, elaborates: “With the opportunity to learn skills, deploy and practice, report back and repeat; life skills with an EQ focus can be meaningfully developed to the benefit of the employer and the employee.”

The right fit Yet, as easy it is to rattle on about the benefits of teambuilding, it is only through the right marriage of teambuilding activities to the suitable organisational needs that these benefits are realised. That’s why many facilities providers are now promoting the customisability of their programmes. For example, Sentosa offers different packages for teambuilding activities according to the desired experience. For those looking for a true blue island experience, Sentosa has designed an ‘Amazing Race’ called “The Imbiah Challenge”, which takes challengers through a cluster of obstacles and attractions at Imbiah on Sentosa Island. Moreover, customisability allows organisations to design their activities for the maximum comfort for employees. This could further enhance the buy-in for such activities, as the initial audience may be reluctant to participate at first. Secondly, the best teambuilding activities do not have a one-off impact on employees. Rather, they are sustainable and make a real change in the way employees carry out their daily work. This ensures a development in human capital, rather than simply an improvement which could be watered down over time. Human capital, as an organisation’s most vital asset, needs to constantly upgrade to keep in line with the never-static business environment. Megazip, which offers a zip line with activities such as freefall parachute jumps and flying fox, recognises this issue and has changed its focus to longer-term programmes. “After four years of delivering entry level and foundational programmes, we now aim to develop human capital with long term objectives in mind through new programmes,” Blythe says.

Quirky activities for the win Sentosa’s exclusive brand of teambuilding activities exploits the myriad of attractions and leisure facilities all over the island. With indoor and outdoor attractions incorporated into the design for teambuilding activities, this offers participants a good mix of some fun in the sun as well as exciting indoor games. “With the constant stimulation through the different activities, participants can have fun as well,” says Sentosa’s Senior Assistant Director of Sales, Steven Chung. Megazip, meanwhile, boasts an individualised brand of specialised long-term leadership and team development programmes called “Lynchpin Leadership”. This programme arranges a slew of activities which bring employees progressively from simple team bonding to developing critical thinking and analytical skills in teams. Such a progression is useful for the individual employee to learn the various levels of teamwork skills sequentially, which cannot be captured effectively in a one-off activity. For those serious about long-term teambuilding development, Megazip also offers a “Team and Leader

“With the constant stimulation through the different activities, participants can have fun as well” – STEVEN CHUNG, SENIOR ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF SALES, SENTOSA LEISURE MANAGEMENT

Some teambuilding fun in the sand and sun at Sentosa ISSUE 13.4



Corporate teambuilding DBS Marina Regatta:

Rowing together for success The inaugural DBS Marina Regatta saw a range of corporate dragon boat teams paddling against each other in the waters of Marina Bay, Singapore. With the advent of this event, the DBS Asia Dragons, DBS’ very own dragon boat team, was formed. With more than six gold medals and one silver medal now under their belts, the DBS Asia Dragons are poised for further success. DBS Asia Dragons racing for the win Yet, they did not start off with a bang. Team leader Andy Chen recalls, “Initially, we only knew of one competitive dragon boater.” However, one lead was all it took to ignite the spirit of teamwork within the organisation. Soon, the team found itself some other seasoned dragon boaters and a few novices who were willing to train. The teambuilding nature of dragon boating embodies the essence of DBS’ culture. The nature of synchronised rowing highlights the need to value relationships


ISSUE 13.4


Consolidation Course”, which offers a mix of theoretical and experiential exercises every four weeks over a period of between three months and a year. “This allows for employees, managers, and our facilitators to assess the effectiveness of training by monitoring the team’s performance and progress over a period of time,” Blyth notes. Returns from teambuilding are not just about improving teamwork – they are also seen in the opportunity for employees to come together and relish in their friendships. As Andy Chen, team leader of DBS Asia Dragons, says: “The DBS Marina Regatta is a great community and staff bonding experience. In addition to bonding with colleagues from other parts of the bank, we get to meet and develop friendship with other members of the community.” These friendships are also, an investment in greater organisational citizenship and therefore better team spirit.



HR & Staffing Solutions Expertise in 2013 The world of work is everchanging, dynamic and increasingly demanding. This year will present both opportunities and challenges for HR professionals in Singapore and it’s clear that the environment will continue to change at a rapid pace. That’s where Adecco comes in. For over 27 years, Adecco Singapore has been supporting international and local organisations to find the right talent at the right time. Adecco consults with its clients to identify the best and most appropriate staffing solutions to meets their specific needs. It’s this comprehensive understanding of strategic ways of working that has supported the company on its journey to becoming Singapore’s leading provider of talent. Adecco Singapore is part of the Adecco Group, a Swiss-based Fortune Global 500 company with over 33,000 employees and more than 5,500 offices in over 60 countries and territories around the world. Globally, the group connects

more than 750,000 colleagues with over 100,000 clients every day. Throughout Asia Pacific, Adecco puts people to work every day in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The Adecco Group in Singapore includes Adecco, LHH, Spring Professional and Judd Farris – with each business complementing the others and allowing the group

to offer comprehensive HR and staffing solutions to its extensive client base. Adecco Singapore’s General Staffing offices are conveniently located in Tampines, Jurong and in the city on Scotts Road. Adecco Specialty Staffing offices offer positions in Banking, Engineering, Events & Exhibitions, Hospitality & Retail, Information Technology, Medical & Science and Technical as well as roles for Japanesespeaking candidates.

For further information, please reference, or find Adecco on Facebook at EA licence Number: 91C2918

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New appointments Shawn Tan

HR Manager, Robinson & Co. (Singapore) Shawn Tan is the HR Manager at Robinsons, part of the Robinson Group of Stores, an Al-Futtaim Group Company. Tan has over six years of HR business partnering experience from his previous employment with the National Trades Union Congress and Resorts World Sentosa. He has specific expertise in areas such as industrial relations, labour laws,

employee relations, talent management and acquisition. At Robinsons, Shawn is the key HR business partner as well as the HR lead for Robinsons’ store expansion plans. This year, Robinsons seeks to strengthen its presence with the opening of two new stores. It will roll out its first suburban outlet at JEM shopping mall in Jurong, followed by the new flagship store at Orchard.

“Robinsons is undergoing a very exciting transformation with its tremendous growth plans and I am proud to have joined an incredibly strong HR team to help build on Robinsons’ success in Singapore. I look forward to working closely with the business leaders to bring Robinsons to greater heights, setting new benchmarks in Singapore’s retail industry.”

Atul Khosla

Vice President, Human Resources, Mondel z International, Asia Pacific Atul Khosla has recently been appointed as Vice President, HR for Mondel z International, Asia Pacific. Khosla brings more than 20 years of HR experience across Asia, Europe and the United States. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Human Resources and Personnel Management, as well as a Bachelor of Commerce from Punjab University, India. Having led large scale integrations and acquisitions across markets, Atul’s wealth of experience will definitely be an asset for Mondel z International.” As a relatively

new company, Mondel z International is comprised of the global snacking and food brands from Kraft. It is a whole new company with a brand new focus to match: creating delicious moments of joy. As a Vice President of HR, Atul is well poised to assist in the company’s HR issues.” Prior to joining Mondel z, Khosla was with Novartis, where he held several senior leadership roles including Head of HR in Asia and Japan for Alcon, Global Head of HR for CIBA Vision, and Head of HR

(OTC Business) for Novartis Consumer Health in Europe, Middle East and Africa. There, he was responsible for leading the integration of CIBA Vision, Alcon and Novartis. Based in Singapore, his new role will see him responsible for developing and implementing HR strategies. Moreover, he will also support business growth in dynamic and rapidly evolving multicultural markets where talent acquisition, retention and development are of critical importance.

Shaun Ee

Human Resources Manager, Kimberly-Clark Singapore Shaun Ee has recently joined Kimberly-Clark Singapore as its Human Resource Manager. He oversees and provides HR functional leadership, business partnership and process delivery for business units across Singapore. Prior to joining Kimberly-Clark, Ee was with McDonald’s Singapore for close to five years. Also taking on the role as a HR Manager, he led the team in the strategic planning and implementation of the recruitment cycle and resourcing process. He


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collaborated with internal stakeholders to identify people strategies, ensuring that implementation was fully aligned with business and staffing goals. Ee also oversaw the company’s people engagement, internal recognition and employer branding initiatives. In his new role, Ee is focused on the planning and successful execution of the 2013 K-C People Strategy initiatives, which include driving the global engagement survey and subsequent development

and implementation of action plans. This role also sees him handling internal movements and facilitating accelerated development movements for top talent within Kimberly-Clark. As Kimberly-Clark continues on its path of growth, Ee is motivated to achieve person-job fit across the organisation, and also in improving the employee value proposition. “It’s about upgrading the talent in our teams, and keeping every employee highly engaged and motivated to reach for greatness together”.


HR talent Benson Sim

Senior HR Manager, Aggreko

How many years HR experience? About 15 years mostly in Human Resource Development roles. It was only in the previous year that I took on a full HR manager role, moving on from Human Resource Development. Why HR? I enjoy working with people. Being in a position to be able to recruit and train the right folks gave me a tremendous sense of achievement. This is especially so when I could observe their growth process with my own eyes, and watch them contribute to the company’s achievements. Why Aggreko? We know that the demand-supply gap for power continues to be a major driver for economies. This is a gap that has the potential to become wider in the future. Working for a global leader in the power rental industry, I take pride in partnering with our clients, mostly from utilities industries, in bringing both power and employment opportunities to the countries we work with. To offer both power solutions and jobs to organisations achieves a great sense of satisfaction for me.

Biggest out of work achievement last year? I successfully completed the 2012 Standard Chartered Marathon last year, all 42.195km of it. Biggest challenge? Regional HR work is dynamic and complex as it involves a myriad of people across a variety of cultures and different timezones. Therefore, the biggest challenge for me is getting home on time to spend some quality time with family. Priority goes to my wife first, then my two boys later, of course. After hours? I adhere to 3”B”s - Basketball, Beer and my Boys. Family? Growing a young family is somewhat similar to building a new team, both of which I am involved in at the moment. To be in a position as a father and husband, as well as part of a team in the company is a privilege. Both “teams” can leverage upon the learning points from one to the other, and hopefully being good in one, makes me better in the other.


HR at work 9.00am I arrive at the office and start my day with a cup of tea. I begin by checking all my emails and following up on outstanding issues from the day before. 10.00am I meet up with my COO/CEO to update them on the issues that our employees are facing. We also have a weekly CEO breakfast session for employees of all levels. This enables them to communicate directly with our CEO.

Jesserina Li

HR Manager, GroupOn Singapore

11.00am I have a conference call with other APAC HR Managers to report and share interesting happenings in our respective countries. Recent happenings include the bonding sessions that took place in the various countries, the sharing of issues faced by different HR units and brainstorming to solve any pertaining issue.

I also spend time talking to our staff to see if there are any issues or measures we can implement to improve their work processes. I pay attention to the wellbeing of our colleagues from foreign countries as well, and ask if they are able to adapt to things like the local weather and their accommodation. 4.00pm I hold a discussion with my business partners in HR and we discuss any outstanding operational issues and recruitment matters.

12.30pm I catch up with colleagues over lunch at Seah Im Food Centre or Food Republic VivoCity.

5.00pm I attend a meeting with managers of different business units within the company to discuss grievance handling matters. We then participate in a quarterly bonding session. We will discuss on who is selected to be a committee member for the next bonding session and the budget allocated for the session. Most importantly, feedback is gathered to know what sort of events they are interested in.

2.00pm I head down to our Henderson Service Centre to ensure that all work safety measures are adhered to.

6.00pm I reply to my emails for the day and review any necessary documents before leaving at 6.30pm. ISSUE 13.4



Corporate culture

Managing stress at work Long hours and heavy workloads are associated with workplace stress in Singapore. What can HR do to manage this issue and ensure that employees perform at an optimal level?

Moira Lynam

Managing Director, Human Resources, Citigroup Singapore

Indeed, work-related stress is a growing problem that is affecting not only the health and well-being of employees, but also the productivity of organisations. Halimah Yacob, Minister of State, Ministry of Social and Family Development, recently said, “Work-life harmony is about people having the flexibility to integrate their work, family and personal life to achieve the best outcomes in these areas.” At Citi, we recognize the importance for employees to be able to meet their personal needs while contributing to the organisation. The Citi Work Strategies (CWS) Programme offers four work options: Flextime, Compressed Workweek, Job Sharing and Part-time or Reduced Schedule. These work strategies offer employees the option to work in nontraditional spaces and more importantly, the flexibility to work at different times. Employees also enjoy the benefits of participating in a range of activities organised by Citi Club, a social recreational club run by ‘Citibankers’. The Club organises various activities, childcare services and much more. In addition, employees get to enjoy a “Citi Treat” monthly, such as time off to participate in ‘healthy’ activities, work-life balance seminars and discounted deals on medical check-ups. We also give time off for employees to spend them with their family and loved ones on special occasions. Citi believes that successfully achieving work-life balance will create a more satisfied workforce and ultimately, it will support employees in achieving optimum productivity. 68

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Ronald Tay

Executive Director, APAC Leadership and Talent Development, UBS

In the midst of the heavy workloads employees face, HR’s function is key to support and encourage employees to maintain a balanced approach to life, ensuring optimal work performance. At UBS, we also recognise how flexibility and mobility in our workplace contributes to work efficiency. We introduced Workplace for the Future (WFF) in 2010. WFF offers employees a modern working environment with greater flexibility and mobility yet also achieves the requirements of long hours of day-to-day working life. This is especially beneficial to commuters. Employees can remotely access their desktop from any technological platforms, ranging from smartphones to laptops. Flexible working arrangements are provided wherever possible, for employees to meet their individual requirements as well as business needs. Besides work-life flexibility, UBS also organises a suite of initiatives for employees such as sports activities, an annual health and wellness month (consisting of health fairs, UBS Singapore Vertical Race etc.), annual events such as our Appreciation Dinner and ad-hoc movie outing events. We also provide personal counselling sessions conducted by external counselling professionals for employees who may have troubles in their personal or professional lives. Providing flexibility and providing work-life balance initiatives are two of the many approaches organisations and HR can take, with the aim of not only reducing the stress of our employees, but also instilling the proposition that we are an employer of choice that cares.

Yuen-Mei Woo

HR Director, AkzoNobel, Decorative Paints, South East Asia and Pacific

Employers are recognizing that workplace stress affect not only the health and well-being of employees, but also productivity of organizations. HR can help by implementing effective wellness programs that help employees manage this stress in their work life. At AkzoNobel, we have had a dedicated Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) program since 2008. Managers are trained to look at what is required to motivate, accommodate and balance the needs of different groups of employees. Alongside, flexible work arrangements are implemented to allow the employee more control over his or her work day. Also, our well-established AkzoNobel Community Program, launched in 2005, encourages employees to make suggestions on how they can contribute to their local communities, with financial support from the company. With passion, employees can derive self-fulfilment from benefitting the wider community with the knowledge and resources they bring. Lastly, it is equally important to develop employees to their fullest potential in order to increase their work satisfaction and motivation, and company performance. The company’s “Leadership Journey” gives people the time and space outside of the office to question meaning in their lives and the future ahead for them, allowing them to strive not only for personal endeavours, but attain organisational performance as well.


Book reviews

Motivate your employees like Steve Jobs did Infamy followed Apple’s Steve Jobs throughout his career with the media portraying him as a slave driver and penny-pincher who never gave money to charities. Yet, Jay Elliot, former VP of Human Resource at Apple, reveals the flipside of Jobs’ eccentric management style through his book Leading Apple with Steve Jobs, where he describes how Jobs led Apple with a team of brilliant, strongly dedicated employees supporting him. While the book offers a typical laundry list of management strategies in recruitment, interviewing techniques and employee rewards, Elliot enriches these discussions with personal insight and examples of Jobs’ behaviour and management strategies at work. He shows how different it is from the typical style of management. One pertinent example which might interest managers would be Jobs’

interesting interview techniques. Unlike many recruiters who insist on having a copy of the interviewee’s resume, Jobs never looked at paper qualifications. Rather, he assessed the candidate’s ability to add value to the company’s future direction, the level of honesty they would give to him and allowed them the freedom to speak their mind. Learning about Jobs’ unique management style through Elliot’s clear-cut and straight-tothe-point writing is a breath of fresh air in a world of hum-drum management. This book will give managers fresh insights into empowering your management strategies to truly inspire and compel employees to greater heights.

Title: Leading Apple with Steve Jobs: Management Lessons from a Controversial Genius Author: Jay Elliot Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons Price: $27.30

It’s all about leadership Morton Mandel’s new book, It’s All About Who, contains leadership wisdom from the former CEO and self-made billionaire packed in less than 200 pages. Still, this is not your typical CEO biography or management book. Anchored in real-life experience, HR professionals will find this book to be an enlightening treatise on the key imperative of leadership: attracting, developing and retaining talent. Mandel explains that getting the best people into key roles is more important than anything else when it comes to running a successful organisation or even changing the world. He shows how improving the quality of leadership can lead to other components for success. While corporations now are increasingly associated with greed and unethical practices, Mandel illustrates how a commitment to values such as integrity and honesty in the pursuit of excellence can deliver as much impact in the social world as in the corporate world. In the first part, Mandel describes why it’s all about having the right people in the organisation. He explains how to hire the best talent and why having ‘A’ players attracts other A’s into the company. He also describes valuable lessons learnt through his work with management sage, Peter Drucker about using B players in the light

of a limited supply of A players, while fighting hard to keep out the C’s. “The most important thing is to make sure that the major opportunities (positions) are staffed with your best and most productive people rather than try to worry about staffing everything perfectly, which no one has ever been able to do,” Drucker told Mandel. Finally, HR leaders can refer to a list of ‘some beacons to steer by’, ideas and principles that Mandel subscribes to himself. These include: • running a meeting, • living a stress-free life, • the value of long-term relationships, • stretching people beyond their comfort zone, and • 90% budgeting. The book provides HR with both inspiration and lessons on leadership that make for an insightful read, especially since it’s told through Mandel’s personal story.

Title: It’s All About Who Author: Morton L. Mandel Publisher: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub Price: $40.61

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Sabio by the Sea

Seaside respite Located in scenic Sentosa Cove, stepping into Sabio by the Sea was like entering another world. With an exceptional view of yachts moored to the harbour and the jade-green sea, the grill restaurant and tapas bar is the perfect place to escape the daily hustle and bustle of the mainland. Inspired by the original Sabio on Duxton Hill, the Spanish concept has been given a nautical twist, in terms of both its décor and its cuisine. With décor like nautical ropes, marine ply and a lighter palette, the eatery complements its surroundings with its laidback and breezy ambience. The food at Sabio by the Sea features both grilled meats and seafood together with tapas. Using charcoal ovens specially flown in from Spain, Executive Chef Damien Le Bihan serves up outstanding dishes like Esparrago (grilled asparagus, Serano ham, soft egg, paprika and sherry vinaigrette), El Cerdo (herb marinated pig shoulder with sautéed potatoes) and El Pulpo (grilled octopus leg, “viola” mash potato, sauce paprika” and La Carne (grilled ribeye, cheese sauce, grilled pimentos). GMPRS1045 GMP HR Magazine 186x119.5mm pa.pdf


The use of the Josper oven encases the food with a smoky, perfectly-charred flavour that is still succulent and tender. One cannot leave the restaurant without trying some of their desserts. Two that stood out were the Espuma de terron (Spanish nougat mousse) and Churros (Crunchy fried dough Spanish doughnut). The nougat mousse was fluffy and sweet, but not cloying. Fried to perfection and sprinkled with brown sugar, the Churros were served with a dark chocolate dipping sauce. Companies can book the entire restaurant for a private event or even just half of it for corporate dining. It allows 100 seated guests and standing room for 250. With its sharing dishes, casual atmosphere, and excellent location, large bookings are easily managed. Reservations are highly recommended to avoid disappointment. 14/1/13

Sabio by the Sea 31 Ocean Way #01-02 Singapore 098395 (Next to W Hotel Singapore) Tel: 6690 7568 Email:

11:13 AM

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Abundant job opportunities a win for professionals Employers in Singapore are increasing staff headcount— but what does this mean for professionals? Jerome Bouin, Managing Director of PageGroup in Singapore, tells us more

Jerome Bouin Managing Director, PageGroup, Singapore

According to the newly released H1 2013 Michael Page Singapore Employment Index, 46% of surveyed employers expect to increase their headcount in the first six months of 2013. As Singapore remains a primary base for multinational companies to establish regional operations in Asia, business conditions in the country are positive, which is creating more industry activity and stimulating a need for professionals across the country.

Where can jobs be found? New job opportunities are expected to arise across the professional sector as just over half of surveyed employers (53%) in Singapore are likely to boost staff numbers by up to five percent, while a further 33% will look at making an increase of between five and ten percent. The additional headcount in these companies will provide extra job opportunities across a range of industries. The majority of these new positions are likely to be within procurement, retail, construction, engineering and supply chain as 47% of surveyed employers report they will focus on building their teams within the operational functions of their business. Second to this, revenue generation roles, such as those that require skills in sales and account management will also feature on the job market with 40% of surveyed employers looking to hire professionals with this expertise.

For HR professionals, employment opportunities will continue to be available, particularly for HR Business Partners and professionals with skills in talent management, learning and development, as well as compensation and benefits. Professionals can give themselves the best chance of securing a role by exhibiting strong technical competencies and being a dependable, hard worker. Individuals looking for a new job can also consider using internal networks to secure a transfer or promotion. An up to date CV along with a solid performance in interviews are also important for any job seeker.

Remuneration and benefits Employers are focused on offering new employees a competitive salary with survey findings revealing that 47% of employers expect to put forward above market wages to attract top talent for their business. Employees looking to stay in their current role can expect performance-based rewards, with 46% of respondents indicating they will offer rewards, such as salary, non-financial benefits and change of title for their best performers to keep them in the company. Professionals are also likely to receive a range of benefits, with healthcare and health insurance the most awarded incentive according to 92% of employers that responded to the 2012/13 Michael Page Salary & Employment Forecast for Singapore. In addition, work-life balance options are on the radar for employers in Singapore, and 61% will offer flexible working arrangements to their staff.

For more information and to view these reports, visit the Michael Page News & Research Centre at

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Theresa Hall Singapore

HR Roles Strategic Business Partner

Consumer Brand

Headquarted in Europe, this client is a global leading consumer brand, with year on year growth and now has major expansion plans for Asia. This is a true HR business partner role that requires a strong influencer to support its business across Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam, by implementing, driving and embedding global HR best practice in all countries. This newly created role covers the full spectrum of HR, from recruitment through to leadership development. This is a fun, energetic and young organisation with an exceptional employer brand. Ref: FN/190191 SG$150,000

Regional SVP/VP HRBP

To discuss HR roles across Asia, please contact Theresa Hall on +65 6420 0516 or Fiona Nesbitt on +65 6420 0515. Alternatively, email or | EA Licence No: 12C6222. THE SR GROUP: BREWER MORRIS . CARTER MURRAY . FRAZER JONES . SR SEARCH . TAYLOR ROOT LONDON . DUBAI . HONG KONG . SINGAPORE . SYDNEY . MELBOURNE

Searching for HR professionals? Look no further than HRM Singapore

Number 1 Media for Reaching HR Audited at 15,235 copies per month - HRM Singapore’s HR job listings reach more HR professionals each month than any other media. And with our competitive pricing you can increase the number of quality responses - whilst saving money!

Please contact us on (65) 6423 4631 for full details


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This banking institution is vigorously growing its presence in the Asia Pacific region. An opportunity has arisen for a seasoned HR Business Partner to support, and play a major part in, the transformation of its business and HR function. You will manage the delivery of professional HR consulting services that contribute to the growth and profitability of the business. Working closely with senior stakeholders, you will focus on advising and guiding the business on best practice HR, as well as cultural, business and process change. Ability to subtly influence and previous experience in the banking sector will be critical. Ref: TH/188330 SG$280,000


Head of Talent Acquisition, Asia

L&OD Senior Manager, Asia Pacific

Vice President, Compensation & Benefits

Regional role Blue chip multinational

Top 50 Best Companies to work for! High visibility to the business

High visibility Business partnering responsibilities

Our client is a global brand in the information services sector with over 150 offices worldwide. In view of continued business focus in Asia, they are now looking for an experienced recruitment leader. You will be responsible for driving the recruitment strategy and ensuring that both talent pipeline and critical hires are filled with the shortest turnaround time. The ideal candidate will come from a professional services or banking industry with at least 15 years of regional recruitment experience.

Our client is a Fortune 500 multinational. Their continued interest and rapid growth in Asia Pacific has resulted in the need for a strategic HR professional to join their expanding operations. You will be responsible for partnering business leaders at a strategic level, playing an advisory role on all human capital matters with 80% focus on talent management. You will also spearhead the designing and implementation of development and training programs for key management. You possess a tertiary degree in HRM with at least 12 years of regional experience and the ability to engage the senior leaders on a strategic level.

An established brand in their industry, our client has built a strong name associated with quality and excellence. With a fast expanding business, there is now an opportunity for a Vice President, Compensation & Benefits to join their inclusive team. You will be involved in the review and development of both compensation and benefits strategies, policies and programs to ensure total compensation competitiveness. To succeed in this role, you would own at least 10 years of compensation and benefits experience and achieved a high level of proficiency in analytical and statistical work.

Please contact Sean Tong quoting ref: H1664620 or visit our website.

Please contact Cherry Wu quoting ref: H1577200 or visit our website.

Senior HR Manager

Associate HR Director

HR Advisor

Reputable multinational Group level role

Solid brand Sustainable growth momentum

Oil & Gas industry Impressive global footprint

Our client is a rapidly expanding organisation with a strong brand name in Asia. This role is designed to drive the integration of the IT teams from different business units into one strong and synchronised team. You will report to the Head of HR and be accountable for effective planning, delivery and communication during the process of change and transformation. You possess 8 years of experience of which at least 3 to 5 years are gained handling an OD/ Change portfolio.

Our client is a market leader offering a wide range of technology products and services globally. The Associate HR Director will partner with Business Unit Heads to ensure alignment of HR policies, practices within the Group. You will also work with the COE and SSC teams to implement strategic HR initiatives pertaining to recruitment, compensation, talent management and succession planning. To be successful in this role, you shall have 12 years of experience with at least 5 years in leading a team with Managers.

Our client is an industry leader in the Oil and Gas sector and is in fact one of the largest companies in the world. As a part of their growing business needs, they are looking for a dynamic HR professional to join them. You will act as an advisor for talent and performance management, mobility, recruitment amongst other HR functions. You will also be responsible for organisation wide employee relations and the alignment of employee practices with HR principles and policies. You are a degree qualified HR professional possessing excellent communication and stakeholder management skills.

Please contact Peiwen Teo quoting ref: H1669310 or visit our website.

Please contact Lucia Deng quoting ref: H1674770 or visit our website.

Please contact Lucia Deng quoting ref: H1674760 or visit our website.

Please contact Nupur Agarwal quoting ref: H1651320 or visit our website.

Licence No.: 98C5473 Business Registration No: 199804751N

Comprised of the combined operations of Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Executive, Page Group is a worldwide leader in specialist recruitment. The Group operates through 164 offices in 34 countries worldwide. First established in London in 1976, we’ve been bringing job seekers and employers together for more than 30 years. Our presence in the Asia Pacific region extends across Singapore, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.




To apply for any of the above positions, please go to quoting the reference number, or contact the relevant consultant on +65 6533 2777 for a confidential discussion.

Human Resources

13903-AC_SG_HRM April 2013.indd 1

Specialists in human resources recruitment

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Regional HR Manager

HR Business Partner

APAC HR Business Partner

Fortune 500 Company


World Leading Media & Entertainment Company

Global Payment Industry

Supporting Sales & Marketing function

Creative and Highly Motivated Environment

Salary Circa Up To S$100K

Salary Circa Up To S$120K

Salary Circa Up To S$125K

Our client is a fortune 500 company covering over 200 countries and territories providing various payment services. This is an opportunity for a regional HR Manager to manage the HR operations.

Our client is a global FMCG company and is seeking to recruit a dynamic Business Partner for Singapore. Singapore is the strategic hub for the Group's operations in the Asia Pacific region including manufacturing, supply chain, distribution, and sales and marketing activities.

This client is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies with strong development in production, and marketing of entertainment/news, to a global audience. This Company owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks.

Reporting to APAC HR Director, you will partner with the management and staff, to support their needs in the entire HR spectrum for Sales & Marketing. You will manage manpower planning, employee engagement, performance management and compensation. Other key areas of involvement include the implementation of HR initiatives and programmes in HR information system, organisational development, talent management and learning & development.

You will cover HR processes including recruitment process, performance management, training & development, employee relations and employee engagement. This is a good opportunity to participate, lead or engage in new projects and initiatives generated by businesses and/or the organization.

Reporting into APAC HR Director, you are responsible across Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. As an individual contributor, you are a strategic HR business partner supporting the growth of the business and ensure global HR strategies are effectively implemented. You will act as an advisory in employment law, talent identification and acquisition, performance management, training & development and compensation. Degree qualified, you have at least 8 years in a HR generalist role with direct hands-on experience in a full HR spectrum. You have excellent understanding of employment law in Singapore preferably including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. You will have the ability to strategically influence stakeholders and work independently, a self-starter and proactive problem solver. Prior experience with strong project management and good conflict resolution skills is preferred. To apply, please submit your resume to Priscilla Chen at, quoting the job title and reference number PC5202\HRM, or call (65) 6333 8530 for more details.

You will have at least 8 years of experience with a solid track record in business partnering and developing initiatives to support business goals. You have excellent in-depth knowledge of the full range of HR policies and procedures. Prior experience in supporting Sales & Marketing will be preferred. You are confident in supporting the business independently. You have an inquisitive, curious mind, a natural ability to question when relevant and willing to work in the Eastern part of Singapore.

You will have at least 8 years of experience in business partnering, with a solid track record in recruitment, business partnering, and developing initiatives to support business goals. Excellent in-depth knowledge of the full range of HR policies and procedures. You are confident in supporting business in multiple territories. You have the ability to conduct projects and work across the organization. Other than an inquisitive, curious mind and a natural ability to question when relevant, you are also creative in thinking and possess the ability to engage with all levels. Previous experience in a TV and/or Media Business is desired.

To apply, please submit your resume to Priscilla Chen at, quoting the job title and reference number PC4916\HRM, or call (65) 6333 8530 for more details.

To apply, please submit your resume to Priscilla Chen at, quoting the job title and reference number PC5059\HRM, or call (65) 6333 8530 for more details.

Financial Services I Commerce I Human Resources I Technology I Legal I Sales & Marketing 78

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Business Registration No: 200307397W I Licence No: 03C4828

Returning the Human to Resourcing

6 Best Headhunting awards in Asiamoney Headhunters Poll for Asia since 2009

Manager - Talent Management, Internal Recruitment

HR Business Partner, Global

HR Director

US MNC, Financial Services Industry

Global Exposure

Country Role

International Platform

HR Process Improvement

MNC Environment

Open to Sgency Recruiters

Business Partnering

Salary Circa S$150k

Our client, listed on the NYSE, is a global information services provider serving the financial and commercial markets. There is now a role within the organization as an Internal Search Manager for Asia Pacific region.

Our client is an established multinational with a strong global footprint. An opportunity now exists for a strategic business partner to join them in this corporate HR role.

Our client is an established company in energy efficiency with a strong global footprint. An opportunity now exists for a seasoned HR to join them in this director role.

You will work in partnership with colleagues in Talent Development and Talent Acquisition, and perform an internal search function, targeting existing employees within the organization. You review all positions for the development of internal employees. You will also develop internal talent pools to identify talents in functional areas. You will bring visibility and integration to global openings at all levels, mobility strategies, and process made through effective reporting and metrics. You will drive all facets of internal mobility process leveraging a variety of internal and external resources.

Reporting to Vice President, HR, you will contribute in designing and developing HR strategies, programs, tools, and processes, to provide clear and systematic communication and direction for local HR partners and regional team in global implementation. In order to improve the current HR deliverables, you will constantly research on best practices throughout the global HR community, and bring in new ideas and concepts to the organization. You will manage ongoing HR projects as well as embark on new projects. Besides designing, developing and managing the projects, you will also do data analysis, conduct survey and prepare pitch book for key stakeholder buy-in.

Working with a team of professional and energetic colleagues, you will report to the VP HR for East Asia and be responsible for effective and efficient delivery of the entire country HR functions in Singapore. This includes providing strategic and tactical advice to business leaders in the areas of learning and development, general C&B and talent management. You will partner closely with business to create a better workplace, competitive workforce and high performance culture. You will also support business in change management. You will collaborate with SEA HR business partners to provide end-to-end HR programs and services and support critical business needs.

You have significant HR experience required for talent acquisition, those with broader HR scope a plus. You demonstrate capability to influence and lead. You have ability to effectively collaborate across organization boundaries. You are able to translate business requirements into strategic talent acquisition actions.

Ideally you are degree qualified with a minimum of 10 years HR experience. You have had project management exposure in a global environment. You possess strong working knowledge of HR practices and have a broad overview of HR processes. You are analytical and have in-depth experience in HR process improvement.

You are HR qualified and have worked a minimum of 12 years in a progressive multinational. You have great organizational skills, including the ability to prioritize and anticipate the needs of multiple clients groups. You are hands-on, have strong knowledge around local employment practices and are overall, an excellent team player.

To apply, please submit your resume to Yolanda Yu at, quoting the job title and reference number YY5129\HRM, or call (65) 6333 8530 for more details.

To apply, please submit your resume to Yolanda Yu at, quoting the job title and reference number YY5206\HRM, or call (65) 6333 8530 for more details.

To apply, please submit your resume to Yolanda Yu at, quoting the job title and reference number YY4862\HRM, or call (65) 6333 8530 for more details.

Business Registration No: 200307397W I Licence No: 03C4828

Multi-award winning recruitment firm with specialist practices in: Banking, Finance - Commerce, Human Resources, Legal, Sales & Marketing and Technology ISSUE 13.4



ISSUE 13.4


ISSUE 13.4


Human resources professionals speak to tHe experts resourcing manager Develop innovative sourcing and selection strategies

regional Head of Human resource Be instrumental to the expansion of the sea region

This leading financial services organisation has a global network spanning over 40 countries. They are looking for a Resourcing Manager to develop innovative sourcing and selection strategies that meet business needs and create a pipeline of talent for the organisation.

A well known and established multinational within the technology industry is growing their Asia footprint and looking for a Head of Human Resources for their South East Asia region.

In this newly created position you will partner with the HRBPs and Business Heads in fulfilling the talent requirements and overseeing the end-to-end recruitment process. You will also drive the graduate recruitment program and other talent management initiatives in order to build a strong talent pipeline.

You will play an integral part in the senior leadership team and be responsible for all HR activities in the region with your main focus being the development, implementation and review of strategic human resources initiatives to meet business objectives. In addition you will also help with the substantial short and mid-term growth within region due to acquisitions and shared services set ups.

Hr manager establish & implement the human resources strategy

Hr Business partner (regional) roll out regional Hr initiatives

This leading information technology company has offices around the globe. Expanding their already well established office in Singapore, they are seeking a HR Manager to join their senior leadership team.

With an established reputation as an industry leader, this global multinational is looking for an HR Business Partner for their global operations. This generalist role will specifically support stakeholders based in Europe as well as Asia Pacific.

You will be responsible for implementing the human resource function for South East Asia. In addition, you will work closely with senior leaders across the business to devise and implement the human resource strategy for their teams across South East Asia.

Your key focus will be to interface with business leaders, guiding and advising them in all aspects of HR. As a strategic Business Partner to senior management, you’ll ensure that decisions made are aligned with policies and procedures. The implementation of global and regional HR initiatives will be part of your responsibilities.

please contact Vargin Yeke, ash russell, mamta shukla or Brylee neyland at or +65 6303 0721.


ISSUE 13.4


ISSUE 13.4


Great people are at the heart of every successful business. It is this belief to invest in our team at Charterhouse that makes it possible for us to provide our clients with professional, specialised and tailored executive search services and the best possible talent for each company.

People are our business

Our client list spans across multi-national companies and global enterprises with a vested interest in people and talent development. These companies are currently searching for HR professionals to develop a rewarding professional career for and to value add to the following professional and executive roles.

HR Manager

Learning & Development Manager

A prominent leader in the retail industry, this established company is looking for a strategic HR Manager to spearhead strategic initiatives in the region.

A leading business in the retail industry, this growing establishment is looking for a dynamic Learning & Development Manager to spearhead the expansion plans within the region.


• drive business results through effective organisation and people strategies aligned to the business • partner with business leaders to facilitate organisation and culture change and provide solutions and recommendations on issues and HR trends • develop and implement core HR programs, policies and procedures while leading a team effectively


• minimum degree quali�ied with strong experience in change initiatives preferably in the retail/FMCG, hospitality/service industry • proactive and in�luential with excellent business partnering, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively under pressure to drive multiple deliverables in a fast-paced environment


• develop and deliver learning programs or interventions with a focus on customer service • review existing programs against changing needs and recommend appropriate measures for relevance • develop roadmaps across levels including managerial and non-managerial • manage external vendors in developing and delivering training programs • provide support in training projects and related matters


To apply, please email your CV to

• degree quali�ied and ACTA certi�ied with experience in the service, retail or F&B industry • pro�icient in spoken and written English • con�ident and eloquent with excellent interpersonal and communication skills across levels

Regional HR Business Partner

HR Business Partner

A global leader in the FMCG industry, this reputable organisation is looking for a strategic business partner to drive the business forward across the APAC region.

A leading brand in energy transportation, this global MNC is looking for a strategic HR business partner to drive its business plans and strategies within the region.


• business partner to the regional, country and senior business heads to ensure strategic support and delivery of key HR and global/regional initiatives for APAC and Africa • develop and facilitate effective people plan and strategies to ensure the right people at the right time and place • ensure an optimum talent pipeline and driving the �inest talent management and development programs including succession planning for all key roles • support development and implementation of effective reward strategies aligned to the business • provide thorough leadership and guidance to all HR business partners within the region


• degree in HRM/business management with strong regional experience in OD/change management, preferably in fast-paced industries • professional, mature and eloquent, with strong business acumen, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills

To apply, please email your CV to

To apply, please email your CV to


• develop people strategy including competency, organisation and leadership development • develop global recruitment and deployment strategy and process in a timely manner • develop effective approach to employee relations and shaping of culture by providing the right framework, values, processes and systems • engage in best practices and continuous improvement though QMS


• minimum degree quali�ied with a minimum of 5 to 8 years of HR business partnering experience • experience in the logistics industry would be an added advantage • independent, mature, con�ident and proactive with strong interpersonal and communication skills To apply, please email your CV to

For more information on your career and recruitment needs, please visit Charterhouse believes in investing in people. If you want to join a company that provides more than a job but a rewarding career call Gary Lai at +65 6435 5601 or email EA Licence Number: 06C3997


ISSUE 13.4


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HRM 13.4 The Leadership Special  
HRM 13.4 The Leadership Special  

– Strategies to motivate and engage your workforce