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hrm ISSUE 14.4

Jason Marine Group: Talent strategies for SMEs Mature workforce practices Pushing the boundaries at AB Sciex


Social Media Offensive The

Price inc. GST $9.95

ISSUE 14.4

HR tackles the online sphere

Plus: • Asian labour law update • Teambuilding activities: Maximising ROI

HRM 14.4

Contents EDITOR Sumathi V Selvaretnam JOURNALIST Shalini Shukla-Pandey Sham Majid SUB-EDITOR Paul Howell



The Social Media Offensive


Firms adopting social media tools are no longer a new proposition. However, an increasing number of companies are utilising social media techniques for more unorthodox purposes, in a bid to stand out from the pack

GRAPHIC DESIGNER John Paul Lozano SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Yogesh Chandiramani ACCOUNT MANAGERS Edwin Lim Jolene Ong GENERAL MANAGER Kaveri Ayahsamy PHOTOGRAPHY BY David Teng ( Frank Pinckers ( PRINTED BY Times Printers Pte Ltd

“In order to effectively manage the risks and maximise the rewards of social media, policy, governance and tools should be seamlessly integrated within your corporate strategy”

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) 206/07/2013 ISSUE 14.4

ISSN 0219-6883



HRM 14.4



Check out HRM online:



FEATURES 10 | Pushing the boundaries

Laboratory equipment manufacturer AB Sciex pushes the limits every day to produce cutting-edge products. Giving employees the tools and room to grow is critical to attracting and retaining the right talent, its Vice President of Global Operations KY Wong says

14 | Mature workers matter too

The process of population ageing is occurring much more rapidly in Asia than is the case in Europe or North America. HRM discusses how employers can tap into the strengths of the silver workforce and keep them engaged, whilst also boosting the national economy

ensuring they are aware of all changes, but complying with rules that apply differently in different jurisdictions. Fatim Jumabhoy, a senior associate director at Herbert Smith Freehills, takes a look at some recent and upcoming changes across the region, and how they might affect your business

32 | Protecting your mobile worker

As more and more employees travel around the world, their health and well-being are constantly at stake. Companies are increasingly stepping up their game to ensure comprehensive health coverage for all staff, no matter where they work

36 | Would you work for you?

Winner of this year’s HRM Award for SME Employer of the Year, Jason Marine Group, relies heavily upon its people. Serene Tan, HR Manager, shares how her team helps build trust and openness throughout the organisation

Are you aware of the impact of your words and actions in the workplace? Do you truly listen to and understand your employees? In this exclusive Q&A, Brenda Bence, Certified Senior Executive Coach, Leadership Author and STJobs HR Summit speaker reveals some undesirable workplace behaviours and how to avoid them

28 | Labour Law Landscapes: A View from Asia

42 | Getting the most out of teambuilding

24 | Jason Marine Group

The labour law landscape across Asia is constantly evolving. Employers are faced with the unenviable task of not only

How can HR avoid clichéd teambuilding activities, and still ensure maximum ROI from them? HRM discusses

42 REGULARS 3 | Analysis 4 | News 9 | Leaders on Leadership 47 | In Person 47 | Resources 48 | Talent Ladder 49 | Talent Challenge 50 | Twenty-four Seven

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 14.4




Anti-harassment laws: Impact on HR HR needs to ensure that its policies adopt a no-nonsense stance to undesirable behaviour, as outlined by new legislation By Sumathi V Selvaretnam Singapore has passed new anti-harassment laws that seek to protect people from harassment, distress, and anti-social behaviour. The public has been heartened by the enactment of the new Protection from Harassment Act. The National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) is has welcomed the new measures. “I believe this Act will provide a deterrent effect to would-be perpetrators especially or workplace bullies, and provide victims with recourse and closure to their fears, grief and distress,” says Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary-General, NTUC, who is also director of the organisation’s Legal Services Department and PME (Professionals, Managers and Executives) Unit. The Act will also add a layer of much needed protection to those working in the public sector, shielding the from threats, insults and abuse, Tay tells HRM. “This list of ‘public service workers’ will start with the public healthcare and public transport sectors. Hopefully, the list will grow to include other public service workers such as private security officers and enforcement officers,” he adds. Organisations need to be aware that the new Protection From Harassment Act will have an impact on HR issues at the workplace, says Lionel Tan, Partner, Rajah & Tann. “HR policies should ensure that employees are made aware of activities that may constitute harassment under the law, (and that) may result in criminal prosecution or a civil claim. HR policies should thus make it clear that the organisation has low tolerance for behaviour which may breach the Act,” he advises. In formulating policies, organisations could give guidance on what type of conduct are deemed as harassment (see box). “There could also be some training given to employees to better educate them on what type of behaviour would not be tolerated at the workplace, Tan says. Tay advises companies to establish a Code of Practice encompassing reporting, complaint procedures, and detailed guidelines to deal pro-actively with such issues. “Many companies that operate across jurisdictions with similar laws, like in the UK and US, would already have such procedures entrenched in their HR and staff policies. It is therefore useful for companies to pick a leaf from them,” he says. Some common forms of harassment in Singapore

Are you being harassed? According to the new Protection from Harassment Act, the following situations could constitute harassment: Example A:

Intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress “X and Y are co-workers. At the workplace, X loudly and graphically describes to the other co-workers X’s desire for a sexual relationship with Y in an insulting manner. X knows that Y is within earshot and intends to cause Y distress. Y is distressed. X is guilty of an offence under this section.” Example B:

Unlawful stalking “Y repeatedly sends emails to Y’s subordinate X with suggestive comments about X’s body” “Y sends flowers to X daily even though X has asked Y to stop doing so”

workplaces include verbal abuse and stalking. There is also sexual harassment, which includes unwelcome physical contact, sexual comments or requests for sexual favours. “Increasingly, in our electronically connected workplace, there are instances of online harassment. These could be conducted either through emails or instantaneous messaging systems or even through social media platforms,” Tan tells HRM. The new law also covers harassment in cyberspace, including online sexual harassment and cyber-bullying. Companies that have established their own Bring-YourOwn-Device (BYOD) policies should take particular caution, says Tan. The concern is that sometimes, the individual employee may be engaging in activities which are not consistent with the organisation’s policies. Hence, it is important that in the BYOD policy, there should be some explanation of the anti-harassment laws and in particular, how it applies to online issues, such as online harassment or cyber-stalking, says Tan. Employees should also be made aware that if they are using their own individual personal devices, whatever they may do online can still be considered subject to the anti-harassment law, Tan says. “This may not only impact the employee but may cause reputational damage to the organisation.” ISSUE 14.4






Expats receive pollution pay Japanese electronics giant, Panasonic, is believed to be the first international company to offer extra pay to expatriate staff in China, in compensation for polluted air. According to the Agence FrancePresse (AFP), the move is part of a wider deal reached in Japan’s annual labour talks, which saw major firms, including Panasonic and Toyota, agree to boost workers’ salaries for the first time in years, amid concerns about an economic slowdown after a rise in the sales tax. A Panasonic spokesman confirmed the pollution-linked pay premium for its expatriate workers but declined to give further details, or say how many such workers were employed in China, which has extensive trade and business links with Japan. A Panasonic document from the labour talks noted: “As for the premium for expatriates to compensate for a different living environment, the company will have a special review for those sent to Chinese cities.” Air quality in China was below national standards in almost all major cities last year. Only three of the 74 cities monitored by the government met the new air-quality standard. Levels of PM2.5 – small particles that easily penetrate the lungs and have been linked to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths – in Beijing have repeatedly reached more than 400 micrograms per cubic metre, according to a count by the US embassy there. That’s more than 16 times the World Health Organisation’s safety guideline of 25 micrograms.

Women in IT: Acute gender imbalance More than half of employers across Asia expect to award a bonus to


of their staff this year Source: 2014 Hays Salary Guide

Siemens will grant its 75,000 employees worldwide

25% more

free shares this year, with the total value coming up to €41 million (US$57 million) Source: Siemens

Professionals in Singapore are generally happy with their jobs, with


indicating that they are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their current roles Source: Linkedin Talent Trends 2014 report


of oil and gas employers in Singapore plan to increase their headcounts this year Source: Hays Oil & Gas Global Salary Guide


ISSUE 14.4


Singapore’s IT industry is facing severe gender imbalance among its workforce. Current statistics indicate that the participation of women in the IT industry in Singapore sits at only 15%. According to research from global specialist technology recruiter, Greythorn, career progression (76%) and a good salary (76%) were the two most important drivers for women when choosing a career. Third was flexible work options, illustrating the growing importance of this benefit. While 84% of women see their long term career in IT, this is simply because it was too difficult to switch career, rather than a choice they have actively made. Women leave the IT industry mainly due to family reasons (68%), followed by a lack of flexibility (52%). It is therefore unsurprising then that 70% of those surveyed believe that offering more flexible working conditions is key to inspiring women to pursue IT careers.

Some 30% of women who have been in the IT industry for less than five years believe there is gender inequality in pay. The disparity is viewed to be higher among senior IT professionals, where 68% of them believe there is inequality in terms of salaries. “Making gender diversity a priority this year will be key to high performance and securing top talent in the rapidly growing Singapore technology market,” said Dung Nguyen, Managing Consultant, Greythorn. Recommendations for closing the gender gap: • Offering flexible working conditions • Creating a family-friendly work culture • Providing ‘return to work’ skills upgrade programmes • Offering part-time or job-share opportunities • Profiling female role models in senior IT positions • Creating networking opportunities or forums for women in IT


Flexible work options below par Despite the Hong Kong Government’s efforts to promote family-friendly workplaces, the majority (60%) of employers say their organisation’s performance in creating flexible work options has been “average” or “poor”. The final chapter of the 2013/14 Randstad World of Work Report revealed that Hong Kong’s figure is one of the highest in the region, second only to Malaysia (64%). Australian employers provide the greatest flexible workplace options, such as variable work hours, job-sharing or working from home, with only one in four workers there expecting their organisations to do more. The single biggest barrier for Hong Kong employers to implementing flexible work options is management’s concern about productivity (34%). Team culture and communication (14%),

and lack of support from business managers (14%) also ranked highly when staff were asked what was preventing more flexible work options. Randstad Hong Kong Director Peter Yu said the results built a strong case for organisations to intensify their commitment towards greater workplace flexibility, as many of these employers cite talent attraction and retention among their greatest human capital challenges. From an employee perspective, the majority of workers surveyed said that having the option to work remotely was appealing (59%) which in turn would make them more satisfied at work. Half of all employees – the greatest number in the region – favoured a week where 70% of time was spent in the office and 30% working remotely.



Bosses who can communicate Good communication tops the list of what Australian employees crave for in a boss. According to a survey by the Clarius Group, one of Australasia’s largest recruiters, workers also appreciate bosses who are caring, understanding, friendly and personable. However, while communication is the number one trait favoured, bosses aren’t yet communicating what employees want to hear. The research shows while almost 70% of people think their boss has good communication skills, nearly half report they’re not getting the information and guidance necessary to do a good job. C Only 57% of employees say they receive timely and useful M feedback, and even fewer (55.6%) have received a detailed job description and Key Performance Indicators. Y Clarius Group CEO, Kym Quick, said the results revealed a CM disconnect in the staff-management communications dynamic. Employees like leaders with good communication skills because MY they want clear direction on what their roles and responsibilities CY are to achieve work objectives and be productive. CMY “People also want to be informed about new developments within their workplace, specifically changes that will affect them,” K Quick said. “This gives them certainty and comfort about their position and how they fit into the big picture.” The communication qualities employees admire are: • Relevant and constructive feedback, that enable them to improve • Listening and keeping employees informed • Explaining why things are the way they are, and what has been done to change them • Explaining things clearly • Clearly defining goals and describing tasks clearly and concisely. According to the research, bosses need to improve how they recognise and utilise the skills and experience of their employees, and acknowledge and reward their good work. Forty-three per cent of employees said their boss did not fully utilise their skills and experience while 42% said they weren’t recognised or rewarded for their good work. “Workplace communication is a two-way street. It’s critical to acknowledge a job well done – that’s just basic human decency,” Quick said. “If a person doesn’t think their skills and experience are being fully deployed, they need to tell their managers so opportunities can be developed collaboratively and they have a role they’re passionate about. “From the manager’s perspective, it’s in their interest to have engaged and fully utilised staff so their productivity potential is harnessed.” ISSUE 14.4




HR Tech

Why HR can’t ignore Big Data More global organisations are appreciating the business insights and value that can be derived from Big Data. However, HR in Asia is struggling to grasp its complexities and the potential opportunities that lie ahead, says a new survey by HRBoss


79% of HR claim that

76% of HR professionals

But have no Big Data strategy in place

a Big Data strategy is a priority in 2014

do not know what HR Big Data is

HR s 88%s+ofper month

2 day reports g creatin n ore tha spend m th % 2 2 s p er m on 6 d ay rts on repo


The reality:

We asked:

√ HR Reporting is stuck

Real time reporting, dashboards and mobile access. “What format would the end-users of the report ideally prefer to receive them in?”

85% 9%

Roadblocks for data-driven HR in Asia Top 7 reasons ... why HR struggles to manage employee data


Insufficient IT systems to manage HR data and reporting


Lack of in-house data analysis expertise


Data quality and processing of unstructured data



Insufficient time/ budget/resources

Lack of C-level/ management buy-in


Overwhelming volumes of HR data


Data ownership and corporate politics

Source: Asian HR Big Data Survey 2014 report by HRBoss 6

ISSUE 14.4


Paper/ Printed

8% Real-time

Dashboard, accessed from anytime, anywhere






currently delivered in the following formats

currently receive HR reports this way

3% Other


in Excel Hell, Email, PowerPoint and Paper

√ HR reports are

of end-users want reports delivered via real-time dashboards or mobile

But only

ly Montht R e p o r p en d


1% Mobile App



agree that ‘HR is frustrated by how long they spend on reporting’.

Who owns employee data analysis agree that HR should own employee data & workforce analytics but they don’t know how to

HR want to be strategic BUT... believe they do not have the right tools to get there


International AFRICA


Hotel jobs spurt expected

Workers unaware of BYOD policies Nearly 70% of European and US workers would stop using their own devices for work-related issues if they knew their company could remotely lock it, a survey has revealed. The AdaptiveMobile study of 1,000 IT managers and 1,000 employees, administered by Harris Interactive, revealed that 83% of staff would discontinue using their own device, or use it with trepidation, if they had knowledge that their employer could spy on what they were doing. With 61% of firms already possessing such levels of access to devices accessing their networks, the issue could become a difficult one for both parties to negotiate. “Over 75% of enterprises surveyed were unable to meet eight out of ten of their current top security requirements,” Gareth Maclachlan, CCO at AdaptiveMobile, told Information Age. “Without a new approach to mobile security, employers risk losing the savings they would accrue with Bring-yourOwn-Device (BYOD) remaining responsible for providing the devices and connectivity to all employees.” There was also a distinct divide between staff awareness of employer procedures in the study. A staggering 91% of IT managers claimed they had structures in place to guard against mobile security breaches, but nearly half (48%) of those employees already using their own device had no knowledge that these policies existed. The increasing gulf between employer and employee has facilitated the opportunity for a new tactic towards enterprise security, with more than 75% of workers backing a third party mobile security management service to protect both parties. “To prevent employees rejecting BYOD and maintaining control over their personal device and usage, a solution is needed that maintains user privacy, whilst also keeping the enterprise free from exposure,” said Maclachlan.

£8.4 billion

of productivity is lost annually to cigarette breaks in the UK Source: The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)


jobs were added by US employers in February Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

One in five

French women has been subjected to sexual harassment at work

Approximately 136,000 new hotel jobs will be generated in Africa this year. Another 87,000 are anticipated to be produced in 2015, with 70,000 in 2016 and 27,000 thereafter based on present signed contracts from international brands and regional brands, a study by consultancy W H Hospitality Group has revealed. Nevertheless, demand for hotel staff differs across countries. North Africa, for example, is expected to generate 115,000 jobs across five countries over the next four years, while sub-Saharan Africa is expected to produce 165,000 jobs across its 23 nations. “The main reasons for the slower growth in North Africa include the opening of hotels in the 2012 pipeline, particularly in Algeria; a reduced investment focus on North Africa due to political concerns; and a greater emphasis on development in sub-Saharan markets,” W Hospitality managing director, Trevor Ward, told Travel Weekly. “Nevertheless, by comparison with the developed economies, where growth rates are struggling to exceed two per cent, Africa is positively booming, and in an industry which is as labour intensive as hotels that is very good news for job creation.”

Source: Défenseur des Droits


Women still working for free Turkish women spend up to 377 minutes a day on unpaid work, including household chores and shopping, the highest of any country in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Meanwhile, their male counterparts spend 116 minutes a day on such activities, an OECD survey has revealed. Norwegian men are the most hardworking when it comes to housework and other chores while Japanese men clocked up the least amount of time on unpaid work in the OECD survey. In a comparison of statistics from the majority of the 34 OECD member countries concerning how much time adults of each sex

spend on what the OECD calls “unpaid work”, the organisation deduced that “women are slowly closing the gap with men as more have careers”. “But there is still a huge gender gap in unpaid work, clearly showing that men are still struggling to lift much more than a finger from time to time in some countries,” the Paris-based OECD said. Meanwhile, the survey deduced that “northern Europeans are the queens of leisure”, with Norwegian women engaging in relaxation and entertainment more than anyone else, at 367 minutes a day while British women came in second, spending 339 minutes daily on relaxation activities. The OECD research was based on national time-use surveys from 2005 onwards, with representative samples of up to 20,000 people. ISSUE 14.4




International UK


Sexual harassment still remains a “significant burden” for female office staff, a survey of the 20 largest trade unions has revealed. The survey, published by Labour Research Magazine, found that many unions highlighted sexual harassment as a recurring problem for women, specifically in male-dominated sectors. The civil service union also shared varying examples of sexual harassment, including one where a male colleague had threated to rape a female colleague in an email. As a result, the woman was shifted out to another office while the man stayed put. A poll released last year by law firm Slater & Gordon revealed that six in ten woman admitted that a male colleague had behaved “inappropriately” towards them. It also showed that 60% had a male colleague trying to kiss them, 30% had an inappropriate comment made about their appearance or sex life, and 12% had been touched inappropriately at work.

Americans claim there are insufficient women helming powerful positions in workplaces, but a majority still prefer to see men in powerful roles, including lawyers, a new survey has deduced. According to the Harris Poll of more than 2,000 adults, 65% concurred that more women should be in powerful positions; while 71% claimed they would be at ease with working or communicating with female lawyers. Nevertheless, when requested to select which gender they favoured working or interacting with if forced to make a decision, 53% preferred male over female lawyers. There were also numerous gender disparities for other powerful occupations. When quizzed on which gender they preferred, 59% of the

Sexual harassment still exists in UK workplaces

getting connected…

Americans prefer male lawyers respondents said they would prefer a man as president, while 72% favoured a male engineer. In addition, 56% felt a senior executive at a Fortune 500 company should be a man. However, for customarily female occupations such as nursing and teaching, 93% favoured a female registered nurse and 87% preferred a female teacher. “When asked to choose between men and women with whom they’d be most comfortable interacting or working with directly for various occupations, Americans still gravitate toward traditional gender roles,” the report was quoted on the ABA Journal website.


Socially, Corporately, Globally We all know social media is key to connecting us with each other, but what happens when we are in the corporate arena?”

While many work places accept using social media at work, this may bring to mind, what can be the effects of exposing MY personal account? Yet, love it or hate it, you have to admit its formidable prowess in connecting people, should be leveraged on. Many companies are now turning to a platform that opens up a social realm for corporates. A place where staff can communicate openly and transparently, post their ideas and follow their colleagues’ posts. A tool to develop the leaders in them, fuel the team spirit and curate knowledge. Public or private groups can also be created online or as a mobile chat group, with the ability to share documents and track chat history.

This has opened up a new way for companies to get connected. New hires can be invited to a chat group where HR can share training schedules, be introduced to their team mates even before their first day of work. Customers can be impressed with exclusive updates and a direct connection to Sales and/or Customer Service. Initially a feature of its world-renowned CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) platform, this service is available as a standalone. For organizations using this cloud CRM platform, they have the option to combine this social realm as a complimentary feature. CRM, on its own, is used to efficiently manage various aspects of the business. From managing customers’ relationships, departments’ work processes to collaborating with partners and even subsidiaries; it’s all about efficiency, aka ‘I want more, asap’. With this power-packed combination of cloud technology meets social, ‘I want more, asap’ is now possible.


Join us

for a sharing session: CRM meets Social May 23rd 10 - 12 pm Suntec Tower 2 Level 40 Register here:

Faster collaboration and seamless connections… socially, corporately and globally. Learn it, speak it, live it. Because connections matter.


ISSUE 14.4



Talent Management

Accelerating productivity What new steps have you taken to ensure productivity levels remain consistently high?

Anders Peter Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Norbreeze Group

The effectiveness of productive effort is a key and constant focus of every high performing organisation and manager. High productivity is imperative to ensure a high growth rate and several steps have been taken within three critical areas. In the retail industry, people are vital to success and the scarcity of retail staff available in the market has been adding pressure on all retail organisations in an already challenging environment. An example of preparing for change is our in-house training department where we have three full time trainers that focus on training of both the front and back office staff within the following areas: products, customer service, recovery, sales techniques, visual merchandising and grooming. Another example of keeping productivity high within any organisation is to keep knowledge transfer constant between the various stores and brands. A Mystery Shopping Programme has been implemented to ensure consistently high customer service levels and to help identify areas of improvement in our stores. As part of the preparation for implementation and migration to our new ERP system, all processes and work streams were reviewed with the focus on optimisation and automisation, which lead to increased productivity as an economic measure of output per unit of input. To increase productivity further, we are in the process of implementing a Store Performance Solution (SPS), which will assist in tracking and analysing the traffic in the stores on a constant basis.

Donald Lim CEO, Digimagic

Kitson Choong

Chief Operations Officer, McDonald’s Restaurants

Digimagic’s business consists of providing digital event solutions to customers, an area in which many separate teams need to work autonomously and in a deadline-focused, goal-oriented way. Given that we also operate three different offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, often collaborating on the same client projects across international borders, this in itself is a considerable challenge for our HR and Operations departments. We firstly allow our staff the autonomy to estimate how many days are required to accomplish a given work task. This estimate is then further verified by their immediate superior and tracked through our proprietary internal traffic and project management system. If there are any foreseeable challenges or difficulties relating to that task, it will be highlighted and addressed at the very beginning of the project so as to minimise pitfalls later on, and to motivate staff to adhere to their self-prescribed estimates. This not only improves productivity but it also eliminates unreasonable top-down management expectations and so encourages mutual respect between our management and our staff. The estimated days required for any given project-related task are directly formulated to reflect in the original quotation to the customer. Furthermore, those quoted prices are reviewed regularly, both internally and externally for the purpose of competitive industry benchmarking. Our annual performance appraisal system is also based on this project traffic management system.

Here in Singapore, McDonald’s has grown to become a 24-hour business with a network of 128 restaurants, 15 Drive-Thrus, 33 dessert kiosks, 50 McCafé outlets, 85 24-hour stores and a “McDelivery” service. As we continue to grow to serve the next generation of Singapore customers, it is important that we maintain high productivity levels in our restaurants. The core of this lies in our People initiatives, supported by the implementation of technology Innovations. We believe that every employee who walks through our doors can be a future leader and we invest heavily in structured and continuous training and development for all 8,500 restaurant employees. The training they receive at different stages of their careers enables them to reach their fullest potential and to take on enhanced job roles and opportunities. For example, our University-Accredited programme offers our employees the opportunity to achieve nationally-recognised Diplomas or Degrees. Since 2004, more than 160 employees have achieved these qualifications and gone on to take on more job opportunities and roles in our restaurants. In 2013, 479 McDonald’s restaurant employees were recognised with Gold, Silver or Bronze awards at the annual EXSA Awards. We also continuously look at enhancing our processes, through implementation of technology innovations, to maintain high productivity. For example, we introduced a GPS system for our McDelivery riders in 2013. ISSUE 14.4




BIO-BRIEF KY Wong is the Vice President – Global Operations, AB Sciex. He is responsible for overseeing global manufacturing, planning, transportation and logistics, materials sourcing, and procurement functions for the company. Prior to AB Sciex, Wong held senior leadership roles at Advanced Micro Devices (Singapore), where he served as its Vice President. He also spent more than 30 years working at Fairchild Semiconductor, Compaq Computer Corporation, Berkley Industries and JDS Uniphase Singapore, in management positions of increasing responsibility. Wong currently sits on the advisory board for the Bachelor of Technology (BTECH) programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS). In addition, he is a volunteer board member at Bizlink, a social enterprise for the disadvantaged. Wong holds a Degree in Electrical Engineering from NUS.


ISSUE 14.4



AB Sciex

Pushing the boundaries

Laboratory equipment manufacturer AB Sciex pushes the limits every day to produce cutting-edge products. Giving employees the tools and room to grow is critical to attracting and retaining the right talent, its vice president of global operations KY Wong says By Sumathi V Selvaretnam The life sciences industry in Singapore is experiencing burgeoning growth, with more foreign companies expanding their operations and setting up new facilities here. In just five years, research laboratory equipment manufacturer AB Sciex has grown its workforce by 250% to its current 300 employees. Last October, it extended its footprint by opening a new Research and Development centre in Marsiling. As more companies set up shop, competition for good candidates in this sector is becoming stiffer, says KY Wong, Vice President – Global Operations, AB Sciex. The local talent pool is limited and graduates in the niche life sciences field are quickly snapped up upon leaving school, he shares. To counter this, AB Sciex has been casting its net wider and attracting talent from countries such as Malaysia, India, China and the Philippines. Wong says that his recruitment mantra is, “By all means, get some”. Internal promotions form a key part of AB Sciex’s recruitment strategy. Some 25% of its open positions are filled internally, Wong shares. For example, employees who start out in the operations department might be keen to switch to the commercial side of the business after some time. “The change of environment and job structure appeals to them,” he says. In turn, this leads to better retention rates. AB Sciex’s current turnover rate stands at nine to 10% while the industry average is about 15%. The company also reaches out to candidates through external recruiters as well as professional social networking channels such as LinkedIn, which Wong says is good for honing in on talent with specialised skillsets.

However, the recruitment process at AB Sciex goes beyond hiring for skills, says Wong. The company conducts multiple interviews to ensure that each successful hire fits well into the culture of the organisation. Once hired, AB Sciex believes in immersing new employees into the culture of the organisation before the actual work starts. During their first week, new staff learn about the organisational structure as well as the opportunities that exist within the company. When Wong joined the organisation last year, he spent his first two months visiting other companies in the business to gain a better understanding of the operations.

Boosting staff development Once the right talents are identified, ensuring that they are engaged for the long-run is another hurdle facing the HR and leadership teams. Upskilling employees and ensuring that there are continuous development opportunities for them is critical, says Wong. AB Sciex conducts a training needs analysis every year to determine skills gaps among employees and opportunities for growth. Employees generally fall under two different development tracks. Non-technical employees follow a managerial or administrative track. The company’s engineers and scientists follow a technical track, which motivates them to do more research and development work. “We encourage engineers to use their technical skills to re-design components and be more cost effective.” Soft skills training is another area of focus. Employees who are at the supervisor-level and above are sent for a ISSUE 14.4

In just five years, research laboratory equipment manufacturer AB Sciex has grown its workforce by


to its current 300 employees



AB Sciex three-day programme. Here, they gain a better understanding of their personality profile, and learn how to improve their interactions with others and reduce conflict at the workplace. “We have skilled technical people who are very focused on what they do but might not necessarily know how to interact. We do face challenges in terms of supervision, doing appraisals and how you communicate and build expectations in people,” says Wong. “We are not worried about skill sets because we hire right and people grow,” he adds. “What drives people out are the push factors such as poor interpersonal relationships. Employees tend to stay when there is good synergy within the team.”

Giving leaders that winning edge Launched 1.5 years ago, the Leadership EDGE training programme at AB Sciex is specifically targeted at senior managers and directors. Held in Toronto, Canada, the three-day programme promotes cross border interaction by bringing together employees from the various global offices of AB Sciex. Participants are broken up into three teams and assigned tasks to perform in a simulated business environment. Each day of the programme, participants are challenged with a different business reality that requires them to adapt their strategy, product positioning, marketing efforts, and contingency plans. “The energy level and enthusiasm is very high as participants get to work with people from around the world,” says Wong. The programme’s business simulation aspect also allows participants to experience different roles from their own and increases understanding of the challenges faced by their counterparts.

• I love: Working with people than with things • I dislike: Being micro-managed • My inspiration is: My mother who gave up whatever she had so that I can be who I am. • My biggest weakness is: To be the first to own the latest IT gadgets • In five years’ time I’d like to be: Teaching my grandchildren how to ride bicycles • Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill


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Talking the same language AB Sciex was acquired by American science and technology giant Danaher in 2010. All companies under the group are guided by the Danaher Business System(DBS). This comprises a series of manufacturing improvements toolkits and management processes that enable the companies to excel in areas such as growth, leadership and lean manufacturing. People managers are sent for specific workshops to pick up skills that will help them improve their work processes. “The Danaher Business System allows everyone to speak the same language,” says Wong. Each company has an appointed DBS leader who mentors operations staff and facilitates training workshops. This person is also the link to DBS leaders in other companies within the Danaher Group. These leaders often exchange skills and training ideas in areas that their own organisations may be lacking, explains Wong.

Recognising and rewarding talent Employee recognition starts from the ground up at AB Sciex. The Silver Smock Programme is a peer recognition initiative that is entirely driven by employees. They form a committee that scouts for groups or individuals who have made a positive impact in the organisation. “The whole company cheers and applauds so you can tell that it is their choice. They see that their voices are heard,” says Wong. Winners receive cash vouchers. AB Sciex also conducts yearly surveys involving all employees and the participation rate is above 97%. It benchmarks itself against other companies in the Danaher Group. “Each people manager who has five or more employees reporting to them receives an individual report. Part of it looks at how effective they are as a leader. We place a lot of emphasis on following up on the feedback,” says Wong. In one of the surveys, employees indicated that they would like their supervisors to start planning their


development paths more closely. “People want it to be more personal,” says Wong. As a follow-up, AB Sciex is about to introduce monthly one-on-one dialogues between supervisors and their direct reports. These discussions will focus on the aspirations of the employees and the steps that they can take to get there. AB Sciex is also institutionalising skip level meetings so that leaders have free and frank discussions with less senior employees. “People are often very busy. You must have a structured programme to talk to employees. There is power in collective wisdom,” Wong says.

“What drives people out are the push factors such as poor interpersonal relationships. Employees tend to stay when there is good synergy within the team” – KY WONG, VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL OPERATIONS, AB SCIEX

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Mature Workers

Mature workers

matter too


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The process of population ageing is occurring much more rapidly in Asia than is the case in Europe or North America. HRM discusses how employers can tap into the strengths of the silver workforce and keep them engaged, whilst also boosting the national economy By Shalini Shukla-Pandey In the face of an ageing population in Singapore, mature and back-to-work locals form an alternative resource pool that companies can tap on to fill their vacancies and stay competitive. “By successfully integrating, managing and deploying both mature and younger workers, employers can create a productive, dynamic and experienced workforce to sustain and grow their business,” says Julia Ng, Senior Director – Workforce Growth and Development Division, Workforce Development Agency (WDA). The Singapore Government has been vocal in supporting mature workers in the country. Recently, it announced that CPF contribution rates for those aged between 50 and 55 would increase by two percentage points from the employer and 0.5 percentage points from the employee. Meanwhile, employer contribution rates for those aged above 55 to 65 have been increased by 1.5 percentage points. To mitigate the cost impact on employers, the government has made provisions for Special Employment Credits (SECs), a twice-yearly pay-out for employers who hire older Singaporeans at wages of

under S$4,000 per month. The scheme was launched in 2012, and is currently scheduled to end in 2016. As part of its 2014 Budget, the government also announced an $8 billion-Pioneer Generation Package to give some 450,000 elderly Singaporeans special benefits for life. Apart from medical benefits and assistance, there are additional factors and concerns that need to be addressed for people to enjoy the process of ageing, says Tan Bee Wan, executive chairman of Integrative CSR Consulting and co-founder of the Ageless in Singapore Movement. For example, one may ask questions such as: • How do I age purposefully and stay engaged? • Will I be financially adequate in paying for my retirement needs? • How do I stay gainfully employed and have a regular income?

What do older workers really want? The current group of older workers is diverse in educational and career experience, says Helen Lim, managing director of social enterprise, Silver Spring.


AJA Enterprise Angela Toh, founder and CEO of engineering company AJA Enterprise, wanted to increase AJA’s turnover by 10 times in 10 years. She realised that in order to achieve this vision, she would need to have a strong top team of people in sales, operations and finance, but finding such people proved to be very difficult. “For start-up companies and local SMEs, such as AJA, attracting and retaining talent is even more challenging as many young and mobile professionals prefer working in multinational corporations (MNC) or for more well-known brands,” says Helen Lim, managing director of social enterprise, Silver Spring. Angela reached out to Silver Spring to help her identify suitable candidates that could strengthen the management capability of her company. “We matched her requirements with two mature professionals who had substantial commercial experience and were looking to re-invigorate their careers with doing something different that could utilise their experience,” says Lim Bernard Tan, 49, joined AJA in 2012, after more than 20 years

of working with large MNCs. Within a relatively short period, he executed an organisational gap analysis for AJA, put in place a series of business processes to step-up the quality of various functional units and thereafter helped the company achieve industry-recognised standards, such as the Integrated Management System (IMS) and BizSAFE certifications. As Senior Manager of Strategic and Corporate Branding, Tan is now working towards building AJA into one of the most well-recognised and sought-after brands in its category, not just in Singapore but internationally. Philip Tan, 61, joined AJA in 2011at age 58. He brought with him over 30 years of sales and commercial experience with global brands. As Commercial Director for AJA, he has helped to remodel the business from a products distribution business to a solutionsdriven organisation with unique, world-class products. Working closely with him, Angela saw the company’s order-book jump nearly 10 times in just three years. The number of employees also grew from five to 50.

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Mature Workers “It ranges from those who need to stay employed for financial reasons, to those who desire to stay occupied meaningfully and be regarded with value and dignity,” she explains. These workers essentially want three ‘Rs’: Respect, Recognition and Reassurance. “If we consider these in our design and delivery of work to enable older adults to contribute, we will be tapping on their strengths, rather than their age,” says Tan. Regardless of age, employees join McDonald’s Singapore because of its known employee value propositions. These include the “McFamily”, an energising environment and teamwork in the restaurants, and full flexibility in terms of work schedules. For mature workers, flexibility in accommodating work schedules also allows them to pace themselves at work and meet their own needs. “For instance, we allow them adequate breaks during their shifts so that they can work well and productively,” says Audrey Chin, Director – HR, McDonald’s Singapore – winner of the HRM Award for Best Mature and Re-Employment Practices this year. “Managers are also trained to take care of their mature workers and manage them as part of the team,” she adds. With technological advances, companies require less manual work and value should be given to a more experienced and thinking workforce, says Tan. According to the Truth About Connected You study by McCann Truth Central, seniors in the East (Japan, China, and India) are in fact more technologically-savvy than their counterparts in the West. In these Asian countries, 70.7% of those aged over 55 used their mobile devices as their primary way of connecting with the world, compared with 32% in Germany, Spain, the US and the UK. At McDonald’s, touchscreen cash registers and hand-held order takers are designed with visual representations of menu items for easy order-taking and speedy service by mature workers.

JAPAN The Japanese Government says it will shelve its plan to extend the compulsory retirement age for national government employees from 60 to 65. Instead, it plans to increase the number of employees working until the age of 65 by rehiring workers who retired at 60 at lower wages. The eligibility age for mutual pension payments will begin to be raised to 65 in stages. The country is known for technology and this is also true in the realm of mature workers. A few years ago, researchers unveiled the HRP-4 robot, something that would replace ageing workers in doing repetitive manual tasks, hence easing Japan’s looming labour shortage.

SINGAPORE The government is looking to further raise the re-employment age, from 65 years old to 67. Since re-employment legislation was introduced in 2012, a government survey has shown that 99% of private sector local employees who turned 62 in June 2013 were offered re-employment, including 67% of retiring employees who were offered re-employment on existing contracts, with no change to their employment terms. Among those re-employed in the same job in the private sector, 96% did not experience a basic wage cut. And to enhance lifelong learning, the government is reviewing its Continuing Education and Training Masterplan, which is expected to give greater emphasis to selfinitiated upgrading. In addition, the government will review the issue of legislated parent or eldercare leave as part of broader efforts to address the challenges of an ageing society.

“Also, with medical advancement, older adults are now fitter and more agile, and their biological age is less than their chronological age,” says Tan. Employers must have open minds to see value in experienced talents. “For example, it would bode well for SMEs that plan to expand overseas to engage mature workers with specific experience and in-depth knowledge of different cultures,” Tan says. “They have knowledge that cannot be learnt through textbooks and besides, these seniors are generous to share their experiences with younger colleagues.” The CEO of one SME – engineering company AJA Enterprise – looked towards silver talent to propel her business forward. A relatively young entrepreneur with a background as a chemist, Angela Tan needed a number of qualified people to join the company’s management team and complement her strong technical skills (See box out on pg15). “I identified the right mature professionals to help her take her business to the next level and in just over three years, her business has grown from two million to 18 million,” says Lim. “Her preparedness to work with people more than 10 years older than her has paid off – I wish for many more SMEs to follow suit.” To encourage more companies to hire mature workers and back-to-work locals, as well as to build age-friendly workplaces, the WDA and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) launched the WorkPro scheme in April 2013. Under the scheme, companies that have existing mature workers aged 40 years old and over, or are planning to hire mature workers, can tap on the Age Management grant of up to $20,000. This provides funds to develop age management capabilities such as improved re-employment practices, performance management and job redesign. Other resources available to employers include the new Age Management online portal ( It provides employers with tips and case studies on the


of UK employers said that line managers are not trained in managing teams of different generations and that their organisation has no plans to change this Source: CIPD research: ‘Managing an age-diverse workforce’

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implementation of good age management practices, information on upcoming seminars and events and guides to funding programmes. Another useful tool is the Age Management Toolkit which helps equip companies with practical knowledge to develop capabilities to better manage an ageing workforce. It covers seven focus areas such as Fair Employment, Re-employment, Job Redesign, Flexible Work Arrangement and others. Employers can also consult WDA’s Age-Friendly Employment Practices Guide for examples of best practices and case studies that should help in better leveraging the skills and experience of older workers through the adoption of age-friendly HR practices. The guide provides practical tips and case studies in six key areas: Recruitment, Remuneration and Benefits, Job Redesign and Automation, New Work Arrangements, Re-employment Policy, and Managing Career Transitions. “Through the WorkPro scheme, learning platforms such as the Age Management Seminar and associated resources, companies will be better equipped to manage an aging and multi-generational workforce,” says Ng. Lim believes once society is focused on seeing value in older workers, SME leaders can come up with creative ways to fully engage a diverse multigenerational workforce. “SMEs will be rich in with innovative business solutions to take their companies way ahead of their competitors,” she notes. Chin agrees: “Age does not matter as long as employees want to continue working and employers recognises their value to the company and remunerates them based on their contributions, performance and experience.”

RETIREMENT AROUND THE WORLD Geography plays a role in determining at what age employees can take a permanent break from their jobs, according to the Mercer’s latest Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines. And sometimes gender, industry, and years of service are also factors in determining when that golden date arrives. “For example, a company envisioning a particular market for its experienced and ample supply of talent would want to know that workers could — and likely will — retire in their 50s,” said Samantha Polovina, the Mercer Principal responsible for the guidelines. “In a bordering country,” she added. “This same company could face a retirement age nearly 15 years older, which would introduce a different set of talent issues.”

CHINA China’s retirement age should be raised to 65 over the next 10 to 20 years for all workers, say top social insurance experts. The average age of retirement in China is now about 53, while life expectancy is 75. The gap is much wider than the 12 years that Wang Dewen, a social protection economist with the World Bank’s Beijing office believes is a reasonable period for an individual to draw a pension. The State Council says it will increase pensions by 10%, which have been set at a fixed rate for the past nine years. Still, the reality is the pension level has failed to match inflation, and workers’ salaries have surged in recent years thanks to rapid economic growth, Wang added. Feng Lijuan, an HR expert with recruitment website 51job, argues that raising the retirement age may lead to a situation where some in the older labour force become trapped in poverty as they lack new skills to find jobs while they have not reached the age to claim pensions. Source: Mercer’s latest Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines ISSUE 14.4



Employee Communication


Social Media Offensive HR tackles the online sphere

In today’s digitalised and highly-connected world of social media and Web 2.0 technologies, it is no secret that firms are devising social media strategies and platforms to engage with stakeholders, including in talent recruitment. However, a new KPMG report titled, “Human resources and social media” sheds light on several newer practices companies are increasingly utilising via social media outlets. While talent management and acquisition have long been championed as hallmarks of businesses’ social media policies, the KPMG report highlighted that “increasingly, social media is being offered as an innovative solution for internal effectiveness”. “Internal effectiveness” refers to how firms’ strategy and governance are aligned with social media tools. In addition, the KPMG report heralded the rapid rise of social media tools to engage in mobility and collaboration, as well as acknowledging that “social media tools make true 360-degree feedback a reality.” Miranda Lee, director of People and Change Management at KPMG in Singapore, says social media is redefining the way organisations In the midst of enhancing collaboration via social media tools and techniques, a new phenomenon known as interact and engage with their “crowdsourcing” is increasingly taking precedence on social media platforms. Crowdsourcing is the process whereby employees. ideas, knowledge, services and practices are exchanged and contributed from a plethora of people, particularly within the online sphere. According to Epi Ludvik Nekaj, founder and CEO of Crowdsourcing Week, social productivity is no She says they are designed to help longer about having a presence online. “We are moving away from the world of simply being on social media and engage employees and customers on saying who you are and what your actions are,” he says. “It’s about the work on demand, the types of talent such as key aspects such as performance, coding, design and development and the different standards of how they have built their social currency.” collaboration, culture and values. Epi says crowdsourcing completely eliminates the notion of exclusivity and champions participation of the “This collaborative approach of social masses. “The whole supply chain is changing and there is no more mass production,” he says. “You can have the best media will further enhance employee skills but if you cannot belong to the environment and if you are not a collaborator, you are going to screw up the engagement and help drives up the cycle.” Epi adds that firms must focus on adopting a “culture DNA”. “Companies must understand the culture very well in order to understand the complexities of crowdsourcing,” effectiveness and productivity of he says. Epi brainstormed the idea of crowdsourcing in New York in 2011 and Crowdsourcing Week was founded in your business,” Lee says. 2012. Since then, it has grown into a leading global conference, facilitating crowdsourcing conferences across three “In order to effectively manage the continents and championing the global phenomenon. risks and maximise the rewards of



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Firms adopting social media tools are no longer a new proposition. However, an increasing number of companies are utilising social media techniques for more unorthodox purposes, in a bid to stand out from the pack By Sham Majid social media, policy, governance and tools should be seamlessly integrated within your corporate strategy.” Telecommunications giant Nokia is a prime example of how firms can assimilate social media into their internal communications. Nokia’s Social Media Communications team was formed in early 2008 with the aim of improving inter-company communications and engaging employees. Three major social media tools of the Finnish telecommunication conglomerate include its BlogHub, VideoHub and Infopedia. Molly Schonthal, who worked on the company’s Social Media team in North America, says BlogHub is Nokia’s most efficient and powerful social media tool for internal use. This platform allows employees to comment on blog posts and bounce off ideas and expertise on matters that are important to them and the company. It also acts as a powerful collaborative tool and increases awareness of what employees are working on. “The BlogHub lowers barriers for employees to find conversations relevant to them,” Schonthal said. “In a massive company like Nokia, people can find out who inside this large organisation is doing something beneficial to them to make their jobs easier, and likewise, which colleagues can benefit from their own knowledge and experience.”

Expanding the social media scope “Internal Social Media” (ISM) is now a key buzzword among firms looking to exploit the spurt of social media tools. ISSUE 14.4



Employee Communication NOKIA In a league of its own In its attempts to collaborate and nurture knowledge among its estimated 125,000 employees globally, Nokia has fostered several tools into one of the world’s most envied internal social media juggernauts. Three of Nokia’s more famous tools are BlogHub, VideoHub and Infopedia. The BlogHub is primarily the voice of employees, with staff at Nokia allowed to communicate with anyone within the company and learn new ideas and information. This adds a sense of dynamism and creates a powerful collaborative tool. From a management viewpoint, the BlogHub serves as a valuable method to collate employee feedback and monitor conversations that are occurring within the company. One of the major ways that is done is through a built-in voting system, whereby employees rate blog posts, with the most popular blogs reaching the top. Externally, the Nokia Conversations blog is also an efficient way to enable workers to be aware of the latest Nokia product news. “We track the number of readers who read the blog at work and there is a substantial amount of people who are reading it,” Phil Schwarzmann, Editor-in-Chief, Nokia Conversations, has said. “To see what’s going on in company, there is no better way than to read the blog. What we do is give a big overview of all the topics going on at Nokia.” Internally, the company has unveiled VideoHub, an outlet that has quickly struck a chord with employees, with postings able to be updated every day. Furthermore, Nokia’s Infopedia wiki also facilitates easier collaboration and knowledge empowerment among workers in the firm.

APCO Worldwide, an independent, global communication, stakeholder engagement and business strategy firm, together with Gagen MacDonald, a strategy execution consulting firm, polled adults in the US who work at businesses comprising of more than 1,000 US employees. The report revealed that 58% would prefer to work at a company that uses ISM, while 61% of workers said their firms’ social media tools allowed them to effectively collaborate. Reinforcing this notion that social media has extended beyond the usual platforms, the report highlighted that besides the internet, the most used tools are blogs, wikis and “Facebook-like” sites. Closer to home, firms are broadening their social media horizons to beyond only recruitment aspects. It is no surprise that telecommunications firm SingTel is at the forefront of those actively championing and implementing the use of best social media practices. For example, it has introduced “Espresso”, an internal knowledge platform for collaboration and communication across the group with blogs, wikis and communities of practice, says Cara Reil, Vice President – Talent and Leadership Development, SingTel. Reil says that with SingTel operating in a fast paced industry, the telecommunications firm “actively leverages the contributions of the 22,000 employees across the globe”. “It not only keeps colleagues updated on what is happening across the business, but they can also search for people with knowledge or skills they may need and collaborate on projects through the site,” Reil says. 22

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SingTel recently won the coveted “Best Use of Social Media” prize at the recent HRM Awards 2014. At genetic research firm Illumina Singapore, social media policies are closely streamlined towards talent performance and management. Foo Wah Teng, Associate Director – HR, Asia-Pacific says that social media has great potential to transform talent management and performance management “as it focuses on niche recruiting”. The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) first started adopting social media platforms to attract, retain and develop talent in 2010, says Zareena Brown, Vice-President – HR, Asia, Middle East and Africa. She says Instagram is the most recent platform to be launched “as a way to recognise and celebrate IHG colleagues who had completed courses we run in partnership with Harvard University”. “Since then, our Instagram page has grown to become a platform where IHG colleagues share and celebrate each other’s achievements and initiatives, no matter where they are across our Asia, Middle East and Africa region,” she says. Over at Red Hat, a multinational software firm, the social media programme is embedded in a plethora of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Weibo. LJ Brock, Vice President – Global Talent Acquisition and Infrastructure says Red Hat is engaging in a variety of social media platforms geared at enabling its associates to share and discuss via blogs, documents, video and comments. “Interaction is key – people want to forge real relationships and feel a connection to others,” says Brock. “Red Hat is set up and operates as a community – we have a lot of communication and feedback, but that doesn’t mean we’re not always looking for new and better ways to encourage collaboration and sharing knowledge.”

360-degree feedback Companies are also using social media to provide 360-degree feedback and enhance communication with both internal staff and external customers. Illumina’s Foo says, the company’s sales and commercial colleagues are utilising a business app to manage the communication and feedback channels with customers. “We are certainly keen to explore using social media tools as one of the feedback channels from our candidates or potential candidates as well,” says Foo. Reil says that SingTel has also made 360-degree feedback a core aspect of its communication frameworks. “We have very active discussions with our customers on Facebook where we have 260,000 followers,” explains Reil. She cites an app called “Starfish” which enables employees to become true ambassadors for SingTel. “If they meet a friend or family member who has a question on SingTel, they can log the details in the app and the customer service team will quickly contact the customer,” she says. Reil believes that employees and managers appreciate it when technology can be utilised to simplify a process and allow people to engage more effectively with each other.


However, while she affirms that SingTel uses social media to improve this experience, she believes that “nothing can replace a face to face discussion” when it comes to notions such as talent and performance management. Brock agrees that 360-degree feedback is an essential component of Red Hat’s communications arm. He says it can see in real time what customers think of their products and gauge how they are using them, before giving them the priceless opportunity to zoom in and demonstrate a commitment towards delivering a superior customer experience via different ways of engagement. “In a company like Red Hat, where open source is a way of life and collaboration with our customers is highly valued, it is necessary for our company to be able to interact with our customers in an open, real-time way through our multiple social channels,” Brock says.

Social recruitment: the proverbial agenda While firms are admirably delving deeper into seemingly endless realms of social media, it is no secret that perhaps the most common objective of adopting such platforms constitutes the need to recruit highly-skilled candidates. A Social Recruitment Poll 2013 conducted by the Institute of Systems Science at the National University of Singapore, lends credence to this theory. The survey found that a sizeable 63% of firms polled utilised social media for recruitment. For firms that did engage in social media for recruitment, LinkedIn was the most popular platform used. A staggering 73% of surveyed firms had successfully hired candidates from social media platforms. The power of social media to drive recruitment is certainly not lost on Reil. She says SingTel launched its “Robo G” app as part of graduate and scholar recruitment last year. “It is an app that enables us to create awareness about our graduate and scholar programs and to keep candidates informed and engaged throughout the recruitment process,” she says. “Within the company, we have also gamified learning and have launched Robo apps for a number of programmes.” Reil says the company has been pleased with the results, with both potential candidates and staff, and it is now actively sourcing for new ways to use the app. LinkedIn has also struck a chord with SingTel in its social recruitment strategies: Reil says SingTel has been successful in recruiting qualified candidates via that channel. Adding that the company has also set up LinkedIn groups to engage with alumni of SingTel, Reil says it has close to 70,000 members on its group sites. Brown says IHG received 5,000 applications directly via the company’s social channels last year, with figures increasing year-on-year. “Our dedicated social team also uses these channels to tell our employer story and engage people in why we’re a great company to work for and the right place for them,” she says.

She adds that IHG talks about its new hotel openings across the world, the extensive number of employee engagement activities taking place across that network, and the real-life success stories of colleagues who have built their careers with IHG. Brock says that Red Hat’s use of social media in hiring is “multifaceted”. He estimates that about a third of applicants find the company through outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. “The other side of this equation are our referral numbers and we’ve consistently had over 50% of our hires come as a referral through a current associate,” Brock says. “The way Red Hatters share open jobs and get their contacts to apply relies heavily on social media – using those tools to make the application process accessible and easy.” According to Foo, Illumina is also ramping up its efforts in social recruitment, particularly in “niche recruiting.” “We use social media to mine data in order to determine exactly what we should be looking for in a potential hire, and then use social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to find candidates that match that,” says Foo. Adding that about 10% of Illumina’s recruitment is done through social media, Foo explains that the company is at the early phase of “riding on this social media trend”. “We will be embarking more actively given the sophistication and dynamism of the talent pool,” he adds. Reil concurs that SingTel sees its social media recruitment numbers increasing year over year, saying it is a particularly effective way to attract and engage with the younger generation. “We all have our mobile devices with us all the time, by using social media, you really can connect with candidates anytime, anywhere,” she says.

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of firms polled utilised social media for recruitment Source: Social Recruitment Poll 2013 by Institute of Systems Science at the National University of Singapore



Jason Marine Group


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Jason Marine Group Winner of this year’s HRM Award for SME Employer of the Year, Jason Marine Group, relies heavily upon its people. Serene Tan, HR Manager, shares how her team helps build trust and openness throughout the organisation By Shalini Shukla-Pandey

AT A GLANCE • Total number of employees in APAC: 190 (150 in Singapore) • Size of HR team in APAC: 3 • Key HR focus areas: - Compensation - Development - Career

Today, 99% of all companies in Singapore are small and medium enterprises (SMEs). They employ seven out of every 10 workers, and contribute nearly half of national GDP. One such enterprise, Jason Marine Group, has made a name for itself in Singapore’s SME space, winning the inaugural SME Employer of the Year Award at the HRM Awards this year. Not being as large as a multinational company (MNC) and with limited resources, Jason Marine Group taps on resources such as SPRING Singapore initiatives to help with its talent management policies. The award is an honour for SMEs, says Serene Tan, HR Manager, Jason Marine Group. “While we do not have a big HR team like MNCs, we are still able to emulate some MNC practices in the HR sphere such as through rewards strategies,” she adds. The company’s HR team has helped Jason Marine Group to apply HR practices such as performance management to the organisation. “This has allowed us to be more transparent in rewarding and recognising staff, instead of coming across as practising favouritism,” Tan explains. A key strength that comes with being small in size is that management, staff and HR within the organisation can build better and stronger bonds with each other, Tan says. “This personal rapport helps in retaining talent, especially in light of the limited labour pool available today. “Ultimately, it is important to share with the HR fraternity that an SME, no matter how small, can also adopt good HR practices,” says Tan. ISSUE 14.4



Jason Marine Group Diversity and inclusion Even though Jason Marine Group is a small to medium enterprise (SME), its growing overseas network has enabled the company to tap on both skilled local and foreign talent. “In our stringent selection process, we focus on the candidate’s capability and experience, and choose the best from a wide pool of applicants locally and from overseas,” says Serene Tan, HR Manager, Jason Marine Group. “Important to us is that the candidates have a value match for our 3 Cs (Character, Competency, and Commitment) and are a good job fit. “In fact, we have eight different nationalities with various education backgrounds and ages working with us here in Singapore.” While globalisation has allowed skills and talents to move around the world easily, and the rich diversity of culture, race, language, age, and educational background, has proved positive for Jason Marine’s talent pool, such a situation can also be a recipe for workplace discrimination. “Every individual deserves an equal career opportunity regardless of their personal attributes,” says Tan. “Recruitment and career advancement are purely based on merit and performance, not on any subjective or personal judgement, stereotype or seniority in the company. “We are more than aware that the actual bottom-line victim of workplace discrimination is none other than the employer itself,” she adds.

Keeping it in the family With a successful history of more than 30 years, older employees are proud that the company has demonstrated resilience even in tough economic times. “Employees know that the company is reliable,” says Tan. “If they do their work diligently, they will be treated, well recognised and experience growth. “Jason Marine has shown consistency in putting its staff’s wellbeing as a high priority long before HR management became an important subject,” she adds. Jason Marine cultivates and promotes a family culture and environment where every employee within this ‘family’ is valued. For instance, key managers will take time to work through job challenges with their employees, and discuss their individual career aspirations as well. “This care and concern from our top management and key managers has not gone unnoticed with our employees,” says Tan. “A significant number have stayed on to build rewarding careers with the group.” This thrust to champion employee growth has helped Jason Marine to build a strong team that works together to overcome challenges, meeting goals, and enjoys the hard-won success thereafter. In the building of the Jason Marine family, HR focuses on fostering three core values: Character, Competence, and Commitment. These have come a long way to build a strong team spirit that has helped Jason Marine overcome operating challenges and achieve results. “This family unit is indeed important to Jason Marine and we champion the growth of each individual staff member, regardless of where they are based, taking time to understand their issues and needs,” says Tan. This is also evident with Jason Marine offices outside of 26

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Singapore. A dedicated country manager is based in each major office, ensuring that local cultures are adopted to stay relevant.

Listening to the masses The most common problems employees bring to Jason Marine’s HR department revolve around salaries and work-life balance issues. “People who joined the company as fresh graduates often complain that their salaries have not kept pace with their experience and contributions,” Tan explains. “Others with young families and ageing parents have found it difficult to achieve work-life balance due to their demanding jobs.” These problems have not gone unheard. HR initiatives to focus on compensation, development and fast track career plans have helped to minimise such concerns and issues. Jason Marine is also open to flexible hours and part-time employment arrangements. “We are certainly open to offering flexible and part-time working arrangements for employees who need more time to handle their personal family commitments.” To help employees strike a good work-life balance, Jason Marine takes a three-pronged approach: • Policy intervention – offer flexible and part-time work to employees going through stressful family situations. • Skills Empowerment Programme – teaching employees how to maintain good health and manage stress through health talks and seminars. • Activities – a committee has been set up to organise various recreation activities even involving family members. “We focus on the key areas of: compensation – to bring salaries competitively to the industry average; development – to develop the skills set through a structured training programme; and career – to meet the aspirations through a planned development path,” says Tan. As a result of these initiatives, the turnover rate has improved these two years, falling from five per cent previously to two per cent currently.

Key talent strategies As an SME, one of the key challenges for Jason Marine is the retention of good people, as many often pursue their bigger dreams and career aspirations at larger MNCs. “As an employer in the maritime industry, safety at sea is always another challenge,” says Tan. To provide a safe work environment, Jason Marine regularly reviews its work practices and policies to ensure they are compliant with local regulations, especially those pertaining to safety. For example, employees conduct comprehensive workplace safety inspections on a regular basis. Corrective actions are taken immediately on any unsafe practices or risks identified during the inspections. “On top of the issue of safety in our industry, we require talent with very specialised skills,” says Tan. “We therefore have the problem of finding the right people in an already limited pool.”


Good growth in the industry has meant that Jason Marine is now able to offer more jobs and a greater variety of positions. This has allowed the company to rotate employees to different departments, increasing their exposure and allowing them more choices in developing their career paths. When an individual starts working at Jason Marine, they are immediately put into an on-going buddy programme, with an assigned mentor who is often the direct supervisor. This mentor regularly coaches the new employee, and also reviews the individual’s career prospects on an annual basis. “We also take time to discuss and understand the concerns and aspirations of our key staff, and address these into their career development programmes,” says Tan. “For instance, we are now in the process of transferring an engineer who does not enjoy working in a harsh and taxing environment on board a vessel to a desk-bound job.” Compensation packages have also been brought in line with the industry, to retain the best talents.

Developing talent Another key talent strategy that Jason Marine employs is identifying potential talent and sending them to leadership development programmes, as well as for further education such as MBA programmes, regardless of their nationality. “For those identified as potential leaders, they will be put on a development plan which will include courses like the Next Generation Leaders and High Potential programmes that are geared towards honing their leadership and people management skills,” Tan explains. “For a small organisation, we really emphasise training as we feel it is crucial to plug the gap in skills and performance,” she adds. “Yearly, we have a training budget which is pegged at two to three per cent of salary costs.” Training and development at Jason Marine first focuses on the individual, where training will address a lack of

technical skills required to help the employee perform their job well. For instance, an employee in customer service would be sent for communication courses to increase their effectiveness in handling customers. Those in supervisory or leadership roles, may be put on mentorship programmes, or go on people management courses to improve their ability to relate and motivate their staff. “We also rotate and transfer staff to different departments, enabling individuals to develop their careers with the company,” says Tan. “As we continue to grow, new jobs and positions are also created, which offer even more opportunities for our employees.”

Reviewing and rewarding talent An important part of the talent development process at Jason Marine is performance appraisals. Open appraisals are conducted with all employees. These are then followed up by a one-on-one dialogue with each staff member and their direct supervisor. After all the appraisals are received, the HR team calibrates to ensure fair and equitable assessments. The company will then take steps to recognise and reward the top performers in accordance with a transparent reward and salary scheme. During the appraisal, the direct supervisor will also discuss career prospects and the training plan to be implemented in the following year. “As a company, we are indeed committed to championing the growth of all our employees, as their accomplishments and achievements will underpin the company’s success,” says Tan. “We look forward to building an even bigger company with our committed employees whose passion for their work will reinforce the integrity of all that we are doing.”


Joseph Foo

Chairman, Jason Marine Group

Foo Hui Min

CFO, Jason Marine Group

Serene Tan

HR Manager, Jason Marine Group

Lily Kok

HR Officer, Jason Marine Group

ISSUE 14.4



Employment Law

Labour Law Landscapes:

A View from Asia

The labour law landscape across Asia is constantly evolving. Employers are faced with the unenviable task of not only ensuring they are aware of all changes, but complying with rules that apply differently in different jurisdictions. Fatim Jumabhoy, a senior associate at Herbert Smith Freehills, takes a look at some recent and upcoming changes across the region, and how they might affect your business

SINGAPORE Changes to the Employment Act Phase I of the Employment Act review will be in effect from April 1 this year. The new rules require employers to look again at their pool of employees, as both the categories of workers and wage limits for eligibility to the protections of the Employment Act have changed. • More for Managers and Executives The old rules excluded managers and executives from protection under the Employment Act, save that those who earned less than $4,500 per month who had limited protection in relation to the payment of their salary. Since April 1, managers and executives who earn less than $4500 per month are now covered by the general provisions of the Employment Act; 28

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they have protections not only in relation to the payment of their salary, but also in relation to sick leave, annual leave and unfair dismissal. • Part IV Extends Its Reach Part IV of the Employment Act provides additional protection in relation to hours of work, rest days and overtime. Under the old rules, Part IV only applied to workmen who earned less than $4,500 per month and non-workmen who earned less than $2,000 per month. The wage limit for the latter category has increased to $2,500 per month. Employers with staff who regularly perform overtime will need to take particular note of this change as a larger pool of employees are now entitled to overtime payments. To ease this burden, the government has capped the salary relevant for calculating overtime payments at $2,250 per month. • Business Transfers Under the new rules, staff whose employment is

transferred to a new employer will have the terms of any collective agreement honoured for a period of at least 18 months after the transfer. The position under the old rules was that preexisting collective agreements only bound the new employer until they expired. The additional period of protection is intended to give employees more certainty through the transfer process. • Retrenchment Payments? The amendments have not gone so far as to make retrenchment payments compulsory for any employees. However, under the current rules, Part IV employees with less than three years’ service were not entitled to a retrenchment payment. From the April 1 in 2015 (a year later than other Employment Act amendments), the qualifying period will be reduced to two years. • Unlawful Deductions As of April 1 this year, an organisation that deducts the cost of employer-provided accommodation from an employee’s salary will




Labour Dispatch Regulations

Personal Data Protection

• The 10% Rule From March 1, the Provisional Regulations on Labour Dispatch took effect, further clipping employers’ wings in their use of dispatch (agency) labour. The new regulations restrict the number of dispatch workers to no more than 10% of the total employee population. A grace period of two years has been granted to employers who have previously used dispatch labour.

Malaysia’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) came into force on November 15 last year. Although it is still not clear whether the Act was intended to cover the employment relationship (it applies to “commercial transactions”), prudent employers will already have taken steps to ensure compliance.

• Let’s Talk About It Employers may only hire dispatch labourers if they fall within one of three categories: auxiliary, temporary and substitute workers. Under the new regulations, before a role can be defined as “auxiliary”, an employee consultation process will need to be followed. • Equal Pay for Equal Work Employers must also ensure that any benefits offered to directly hired employees are the same as those afforded to dispatch labourers; the regulations prevent discrimination against dispatch workers. As it becomes increasingly difficult to satisfy the strict dispatch labour rules, employers will need to look again at their labour strategies, and consider whether it possible to hire directly for particular roles.

have to ensure that the deduction does not amount to more than 25% of that worker’s salary. This is a significant change from the previous position, which allowed an employer to deduct up to 50%. • Still To Come Phase II of the Employment Act review is still afoot. It is likely that there will be some significant changes for vulnerable workers, including changes for fixed term employees, contractors and lower paid staff.

Fair Consideration Framework

• Recruitment Requirements From August 1 this year, employers recruiting foreign staff who require an Employment Pass will have to ensure that they have complied with the Fair Consideration Framework. Intended to make hiring locals a more attractive proposition, employers are required to ensure that all Singaporeans are considered fairly: all roles must be open to Singaporeans

• The Seven Principles The PDPA establishes seven basic principles covering the collection, storage, use and destruction of personal information. Similar to other jurisdictions, the underlying principle is that of consent: employees should know what information is being held, the purpose it is held for, who else will see it, and how they may access and correct any inaccuracies. Under the Notice and Choice Principle, advice must be given, in writing, as to whether the supply of data is voluntary or obligatory, and what consequences are attached for not providing the information. This notice must be in both English and Malay. As the grace period of three months for existing data has now expired, it is important that employers review their data protection processes and ensure that they have clear, consent-based procedures in place for handling personal information.

and, prior to making an application for an Employment Pass the relevant role must have been advertised on the Workforce Development Agency’s jobs bank for at least 14 days. This change comes hand in glove with a change to Employment Pass thresholds: from January 1 this year, employees have had to be earning at least $3,300 per month to qualify for an Employment Pass (up from $3,000 a month previously). • Subject to Scrutiny Employers who comply with the recruitment requirements may still find themselves subject to unwanted attention from the Ministry of Manpower and other government agencies, if the number of Singaporean employees remains below their industry average or if they are the subject of repeated discrimination allegations. Employers should ensure that recruitment processes are transparent and well-documented, and that there are mechanisms in place to

properly deal with discrimination grievances. If investigated, employers may also be asked to provide details as to how (Singaporean) employees are able to progress within the organisation and what plans are in place to develop Singaporean employees to make them more suitable for higher level roles. • Exceptions to the Rule As always, there are exceptions to the Fair Consideration Framework. Employers with less than 24 staff will be exempt from the recruitment requirements, and the rules will also not apply to roles with a salary of more than SGD$12,000 per month. The Government has announced that intra-and inter-company transfers will also be exempt. Although the exact parameters of this have not yet been finalised, it is likely that the transferring employee will need to be a manager or specialist and have been employed by the affiliated company for at least 12 months. ISSUE 14.4


Find us on:



Take a look at our upcoming congresses: 7th Annual Employment Law Congress 7 & 8 May 2014 Back for the 7th consecutive year, HRM Asia’s magnum opus - Employment Law Congress – is the guide for HR and Legal practitioners to navigate through the complexities of managing a regional cross-cultural workforce. This congress will shine the spotlight on 15 jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific to provide an accurate, timely picture of critical employment issues in the region and how these laws work in practice.

HR in Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals Asia 21 May 2014 This congress brings together the sector’s high performing organisations for an exclusive, closed-door industry networking and HR strategy forum. Join us as we deep dive into proven-successful ways to overcome the biggest challenges facing HR functions in oil, gas and petrochemicals and take your organisation and its people to new heights.

HR Shared Services & Outsourcing Congress 28 May 2014 Gain tools and knowledge you need not only to cut costs - but to gear up the full potential of HR related services and transform your HR organisation into a strategic heavyweight. Whether you’re in the early stages of HR transformation or looking to revamp your current delivery model, this is a great opportunity to exchange lessons learned and solutions with corporate leaders and industry experts.

HR People & Strategy Congress 18 June 2014 The Human Resources profession has been increasing the sophistication and effectiveness of its capabilities in the past few years – hence, more aptly known now as the people business. This congress will offer insights into the next step in the evolution of HR as an internal consultant and effective business partner through Strategic Partnerships, Leadership Development, Organisational Effectiveness and Technology.

To register, write to or call us at 6423-4631

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7th Annual




Social Security Reforms

7 & 8 May 2014 | Marriott Singapore

Under new rules, employers in Indonesia are required to enrol their employees into a government social security programme that provides coverage for both health and employment. The initiative is intended to extend the reach of social security benefits among the working population in Indonesia and will incorporate and expand upon the existing Jamsostek scheme. The rules apply to all employees, including foreigners, who have been employed in Indonesia for at least six months. Employees must be covered by both programmes, and must be registered with both the Badan Penyelenggara Jamain Social (‘BPJS”) of Health and the BPJS of Employment. • Staggered Start The implementation dates for these reforms have been staggered; employees currently covered by Jamsostek had their health coverage transferred to the BPJS of Health from the start of this year. For those employers who have contracted out of Jamsostek by providing company health benefits, that coverage can continue until 2019. New employees, however, have had to be registered with the BPJS of Health since January 1. Employees must be registered with the BPJS of Employment by July 1 in 2015, when any existing Jamsostek employment benefits will transfer to the BPJS of Employment. The coverage under the BPJS of Employment will be expanded to also include pensions. • The Devil in the Detail It is not yet clear what will happen to employer’s existing schemes, including those which offer greater protections to employees than the BJPS. Larger employers may wish to run parallel schemes, keeping their employer-funded benefits whilst concurrently contributing to the BPJS. There are also no clear rules as to whether foreigners will be able to withdraw their contributions upon leaving Indonesia. Although the detail is yet to be fleshed out, employers must start to look at their current social security offerings, including whether they have the right to cancel or vary, and start to make provisions for transferring into the government schemes by the relevant implementation dates. Failure to comply may lead to employers having their business licenses and applications to hire foreigners refused. Employees who are not registered with the BJPS will be unable to obtain certain official documents, including driving licences.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Fatim Jumabhoy is a labour law specialist with a focus on cross border and multi-jurisdiction Asia employment law. Her practice covers a wide range of matters including: employment termination and transfer issues; trade union activity; compensation and benefits; discrimination; redundancies and restructures; drafting and implementing industry and client specific employment contracts; disciplinary and grievance processes; employee handbooks; outsourcing and the use of contractors; and workplace risk management. She regularly acts for multinational corporations with a presence in one or more Asian jurisdictions and has experience acting for clients across the Asia Pacific region.

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Back for the 7th consecutive year, HRM Asia’s magnum opus – Employment Law Congress – is the guide for HR and Legal practitioners to navigate through the complexities of managing a regional cross-cultural workforce. Join us as we shine the spotlight on 15 jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific to provide an accurate, timely picture of critical employment issues in the region and how these laws work in practice.

Day 1:

Day 2: Australia



Hong Kong





New Zealand



South Korea




Learning Objectives: Explore latest developments, updates and the future direction of Employment Laws and how these changes will affect your business operations in Asia-Pacific Address people issues and staff migration challenges of cross-border business transfers and the rising mobile international workforce Mitigate legal risks from hiring to firing by avoiding danger zones of contracting, employee termination, unfair dismissals and compensation issues Discover effective ways to prevent trade secret infringements and enhance the entity’s ability of resolving trade secret disputes Understand disciplinary procedures in each country and take away solutions to your specific employment law questions from top legal consultants

+65 6423 4631


Corporate Health

Protecting your mobile worker As more and more employees travel around the world, their health and well-being are constantly at stake. Companies are increasingly stepping up their game to ensure comprehensive health coverage for all staff, no matter where they work By Sham Majid A terrorist attack at an Algerian desert gas plant in January last year provided the world with a stark warning of the dangers presented to mobile workers employed in faraway areas around the globe. Forty oil workers from countries such as the US, the Philippines, Japan, and Britain were killed during the attack. As well as international condemnation, the attack also shone a spotlight on the everyday perils and uncertainty plaguing mobile employees, especially those working in dangerous terrains and politically uncertain markets. Mobile workers are fast becoming recognised as an important part of the overall global workforce. The International Data Corporation (IDC) anticipates the number of mobile workers to hit a massive 1.3 billion in 2015, representing 37.2% of the total workforce. Furthermore, a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report titled “Talent Mobility 2020� has revealed a projected 50% growth in overseas assignments by 2020 (see box). With the anticipated surge in mobile workers over the next decade or so, attaining global health coverage for them in light of the global political, economic and social uncertainty has become an imperative, says Danny Yap, principal officer and general manager of Raffles Health Insurance (RHI).


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Corporate Health


planned to alter their approach towards global mobility

Ray Bond, Head of Sales and Distribution Development, Asia-Pacific, Bupa International, agrees. “Therefore, it is important that employees and their employers know that wherever they are, they have health coverage that ensures that they have access to healthcare if they need it,” he adds. Yap and Bond say international health insurance can also provide reassurance that employees can be ushered to a quality-assessed medical facility when they are in an unfamiliar place. They note there is a growing recognition from employers that a healthy workforce leads to healthier profit margins. “Moreover, global health coverage is becoming an important part of an attractive employee benefit package, especially for mobile workers, to help increase retention,” Bond says.

Dowling Jr, an international employment law partner with White & Case LLP says specific safety guidelines and insurance requirements depend entirely on context. In a White Paper titled “Global Workplace Health and Safety Compliance: From the Micro (Protecting the Individual Traveller) to the Macro (Protecting the International Workforce)”, he says this could mean “supplying gloves, machine guards and emergency-stop buttons” in a factory, while an office environment might require an employer to be “supplying keycards, ergonomic keyboards, and staircase hand rails.” On the other hand, Dowling says that for employees working in war zones, “it might mean supplying guards, body armour and evacuation services.”

Health plans for mobile workers

Scope of healthcare coverage

RHI and Bupa International have formed an ongoing partnership to offer a range of coverage levels that provide flexibility and choice to best suit each client organisation and its employees. The plans feature in-patient and out-patient cover, while providing options for geographical coverage and benefits, such as evacuation assistance. In addition, the fears of mobile workers can be allayed with the availability of 24/7 multilingual support and advice. A second medical opinion service also assists members in making an informed medical decision when there is any doubt over a diagnosis. Yap says their collaboration allows them to deliver a tailored service for customers. That’s important because worker safety needs will also differ according to a wide range of variables. Donald

There is no denying that companies are often unsure of the various types of coverage required for specific sets of workers. For example, Yap says that firms may find it difficult to choose the right health coverage for mobile workers, given the many options available, and that some may be unsure if travel insurance or international health plans are better for this unique category of staff. Bond says the scope of medical coverage of international health plans in general is wider than that of standard travel insurance. “For mobile workers who need to travel frequently, an international healthcare plan may be the best option as it will ensure long-term global medical cover, meaning they can access healthcare wherever they may be,” he says. This is where insurance and healthcare providers can offer professional advice for firms to enable them to construct a suitable healthcare package not just for mobile employees, but also for different levels of staff within the business, Bond explains. RHI and Bupa emphasise the importance in considering the healthcare needs of an international workforce, which is dependent on a range of factors such as existing health conditions and the nature of the jobs they do. “Therefore, we aim to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible for both the company and individual employees on healthcare coverage, considering the specific needs of the industry and various levels of employees,” Yap notes. Dowling also acknowledged that “multinationals’ workplace health and safety concerns increasingly transcend national boundaries.” “Proactive multinationals are now starting to take steps toward aligning, across their worldwide operations, those aspects of health and safety with a cross-border dimension,” he wrote in the article.

Talent mobility: the phenomenon The PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) report “Talent Mobility 2020” provides an interesting snapshot of talent mobility trends over the next decade. Its data reveals that “assignee levels have increased by 25% over the last decade”. The rising trend of global mobility was epitomised by the PwC annual global CEO Survey, which showed that 55% planned to alter their approach towards global mobility. Technology is also anticipated to become a bedrock of business collaboration, with the report deducing that companies will become much more dependent on technology and the management of the end-to-end business cycle. That is in part because of the need to better manage the increasingly global workforce. PwC’s data shows that in 2009, the average organisation had 22 host locations for their staff. However, come 2020, there is expected to be growth of at least 50%, with an anticipated 33 host locations per multinational employer. The composition of the diversely spread workforce is also changing. By 2020, it is expected to comprise of Baby Boomers (a group that will have already achieved most of its career goals), Generation X (those who will be at the peak of their earningpotential) and the new generation of Millennials (those who will take on the majority of international assignments by 2020). According to PwC, a staggering 80% of Millennials want to work abroad, with 70% anticipating the need to use non-native languages in their careers.


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Cost pressures As it is the case in all aspects of business, health coverage for employees is also influenced by cost measures. According to Yap and Bond, cost is a frequently crucial factor for firms


“For mobile workers who need to travel frequently, an international healthcare plan may be the best option as it will ensure long-term global medical cover” – DANNY YAP, PRINCIPAL OFFICER AND GENERAL MANAGER, RAFFLES HEALTH INSURANCE (RHI) when selecting whether to purchase international health insurance and the required level of coverage. “Companies want to know that they are spending their money wisely,” Bond says. “Those that purchase international health insurance realise that choosing the right health coverage for their employees will ultimately better help them manage their costs, as they will not need to pay for medical bills and will be able to help employees get back to work faster if they fall ill.” Nevertheless, employees should also be prepared to pay higher premiums for better workplace coverage, a situation that US workers can now attest to. According to a recent report unveiled by Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health, US workers are forking out a sizeable 28% more for workplace health benefits in 2014 as compared to just three years ago. US employers are now coughing up $2,975 in premiums for 2014 while they shelled out $2,491 in 2011. Employees are witnessing their premiums increase year after year, rising up by 19% on average since 2011. US firms meanwhile, are spending 14% more for their premium contributions that they did in 2011. Premiums amount to an average of $9,560 per worker in 2014, rising from $8,364 three years ago. ISSUE 14.4



Brenda Bence

Would you

work for you? Are you aware of the impact of your words and actions in the workplace? Do you truly listen to and understand your employees? In this exclusive Q&A, Brenda Bence, Certified Senior Executive Coach, Leadership Author and STJobs HR Summit speaker reveals some undesirable workplace behaviours and how to avoid them


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What are some damaging behaviours that you’ve observed at the workplace? While shadowing executives in the workplace, I regularly see 15 behaviors that hold leaders back from achieving greater success. Here are three: • Focusing more on building business than building people: Leaders often tell me they don’t have time to develop team members. But those same leaders end up working long hours with no end in sight and with no successor who can take over their position. Building people is building business, and the best leaders recognise that. • Telling, instead of asking: The best leaders also don’t tell others what to do. Instead, they ask questions that challenge direct reports and empower team members in ways that help them to develop and grow. In short, success is not about being an expert; it’s about being a great leader of experts. • Talking, instead of listening: A popular leadership myth is that the higher up you are in an organisation, the more you should be doing the talking. The most successful executives know that the truth is just the opposite. Active listening is a skill that often needs to be re-learned at senior leadership levels.


What are some top reasons for unwanted employee turnover?

Based on my experience as an executive coach, the Number One reason for unwanted employee turnover is “a bad boss”. Employees don’t leave an organisation; they leave their immediate supervisor. So, the best way to keep valued team members is to strengthen your people leadership skills. How? Make a list of all the traits you think make a great people leader, then self-score yourself against each trait. How well do you embody those attributes? Choose the two most important traits that would make the biggest difference to your effectiveness, and focus on improving in those as a start. Another important reason for employee turnover is not being clear about what motivates direct reports. Many leaders assume that all team members are

motivated by the same thing, mostly money or title. But that is never the case. Talented people quit jobs when they aren’t motivated, so leaders need to know which of 11 primary motivators will keep each direct report engaged and moving forward.


How does a person’s leadership style affect retention? What styles are the most effective? Leadership styles have an important impact on retention, but which styles are considered “most effective” depends on the situation. With so much cultural and generational diversity in today’s workplace, a one-size-fits-all approach to leading simply doesn’t work anymore. It’s critical for leaders to display “leadership agility,” alternating among the four primary styles of leadership depending on the circumstances and the individuals involved.


How important is delegation?

Delegation is key to building people and thus to the long-term success of an organisation as a whole. A lot of senior leaders complain that they haven’t been able to move forward in their careers due to not having capable enough successors. But it’s no coincidence that those same complaining leaders are not great delegators. Not delegating effectively is what keeps many executives stuck at their current level. I’ve found that it’s less about what you delegate and more about how you delegate. Just as there are different leadership styles, there are three distinct and different delegation styles as well. The best leaders need to have all three of those styles in their repertoire.


Why is it important for leaders to establish their own unique leadership brand? Why do some senior-level leaders continue to excel in an organisation and others don’t? I’ve discovered through coaching hundreds of executives that the answer isn’t necessarily because they have the most experience or the most education. The truth is: Leaders are more likely to be selected for increasingly responsible positions based on how well others ISSUE 14.4



Brenda Bence perceive, think, and feel about them. I call it “The Trademarked You”. It is the art and science of branding yourself a leader that will keep you achieving increasingly higher levels of responsibility. Because others have perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about you right now, you already have a brand as a leader at work. The question is: Do you have the leadership brand that you want? If you don’t take charge of it, defining and communicating it successfully, you will likely lose out on important career opportunities.


What are you looking forward to the most at your Summit presentation in Singapore? As a former multinational executive myself, I really enjoy working with like-minded individuals at the highest levels of organisations. These are the leaders who have the capability to influence entire companies and to become catalysts for positive, lasting change via the “trickle-down” effect. Yet I also know all too well how lonely it can be at the top. So, the Summit will provide a terrific opportunity to learn, share, and grow from each other, and I look forward to being a part of it.

“Leaders are more likely to be selected for increasingly responsible positions based on how well others perceive, think, and feel about them”

ce Catch Brenda Ben ‘live’ at the it 2014 STJobs HR Summ 28-29 April 2014 Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre

Top three takeaways • Learn many simple and practical tips that you can use immediately to help you be a more effective leader. • Get clear about what you want your executive leadership brand to be, and how to define it and communicate it for greater success • Understand the importance of staying coachable - no matter how high up you are in your career - and make sure you are the kind of boss others want to follow.

Find out the most damaging behaviors that happen more regularly in the workplace than you might think. In this interactive and eyeopening session, Brenda Bence will show you how to build an executive leadership brand that inspires loyalty and drives employee performance. Based on her vast experiences gathered from working with more than 700 senior leaders from over 60 nationalities across 70 industries, Bence will share simple yet powerful tips, tools and techniques that you can apply immediately to get better results, motivate, inspire and improve productivity throughout your organisation. Bence is an internationallyrecognised branding expert, speaker and author. She spent the first 20 years of her career building brands for companies like Procter & Gamble and Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she was a senior executive responsible for billiondollar businesses across four continents and 50 countries.

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Teambuilding A good teambuilding session doesn’t just make a team today. “It can also have a strong impact on individual perspectives in terms of how staff pursue their daily tasks, and how they can add further value, not only to the organisation, but to their own lives as well,” says Benson Lim, Chief Trainer, Awetones, provider of Singapore’s first ukulele team-building programme. Experiential team activities are especially impactful when developed for and presented to multinational teams from around the region or world, says Francoise Lourdes, programme manager of Asia Ability. “They are a highly effective way of breaking down silos across country offices or functions, and create higher levels of trust, communication and collaboration.”

How can HR avoid clichéd teambuilding activities, and still ensure maximum ROI from them? HRM discusses By Shalini Shukla-Pandey

Ensuring maximum ROI Teambuilding activities don’t have to be purely for fun. “Before embarking into the next teambuilding session, HR should first identify the aims and objectives,” says Lim. “Clear objectives help us to plan the activities.” While teambuilding activities providers may be the experts in their respective programmes, the clients are the experts in matters related to their people. A survey to the staff can give deep insights. It is also critical for HR to be clear about how the measurement should take place. For example, if the objective is to increase staff understanding of the company’s goals and values, Awetones will then create an activity that allows staff to express that through song writing. Through the song, the client will be able to see if the alignment of understanding has been achieved. Sometimes, unexpected information can be gathered. “For example, during a song-writing activity with the theme of ‘recent happenings’, a group of staff in a security firm sang of exhaustion and fatigue,” Lim explains. “While yes, the singing and song-writing are all done in the name of fun, it can sometimes bring significant insights to the management team to look into operation protocols and improve work allocation.”

Getting the most out of



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As well as the actual costs of setting up and managing the event, the client is making a major investment of the time of the delegates to be involved. In order to ensure maximum ROI, it is vital that the teambuilding activities provider works closely with the client from early in the bid process to ensure the objectives are defined and clear, says Lourdes. “This enables a teambuilding activities provider, such as our professional team consultants and programme managers, to design both the activities and the way these are presented,” she adds. Asia Ability often conducts evaluations after its team events to get immediate feedback on the activity itself and how it matched expectations and objectives. Some regular clients also engage Asia Ability Consulting (the Training and Development arm of the business) to design and conduct team- or organisation-wide Alignment Surveys. “To be most effective, these are repeated on a biannual basis and can statistically measure team alignment, thus generating focus areas as well as

“Every bit of information you can share about the profile of participants will help lend context and makes for a better event experience for all” – AMANDA PHAN, DIRECTOR, CLIENT SERVICES, COOKYN INC




Teambuilding TOP TIPS for effective teambuilding • Be clear on your objectives, time available, possible venues and profile of the participants in the first discussion with teambuilding companies. • Activities need to be carefully designed and presented so as to fully engage every delegate and have powerful learning that can be transferred directly back to the organisation. • Safety should be a priority during all team activities – whether indoors or outdoors. • Use unique, creative activities to avoid the “we have done this before” comments from delegates. Source: Francoise Lourdes, Programme Manager, Asia Ability

measuring the impact of specific teambuilding interventions and initiatives,” says Lourdes. To ensure that the teambuilding activity is a successful one, don’t be afraid to seek help from an external service provider, says Amanda Phan, Director – Client Services, Cookyn Inc. “You also should have an open mind and be willing to be transparent about the profiles and team dynamics with the partner of choice. “Every bit of information you can share about the profile of participants will help lend context and makes for a better event experience for all,” she adds. It is also good to create a forum for participants to reflect on the activity past upon their return to the office. “In the forum, have staff generate associations or draw parallels to their work situations,” Phan explains. “When these ideas originate from participants, it makes for a more personal and meaningful experience for them.”

Activities to consider AweTeam specialises in creating teambuilding experiences through music. “Music, simply put, is a universal language,” says Lim. “Participants can become musicians in a short period of a few hours, performing and singing a song written by their own ‘band’.” “We believe that we first must impact our participants on a personal basis first, before we engage them as a community,” Lim says. Hence, our activities must first affect the individual’s beliefs and state of mind, making them feel that the impossible is possible. This will open the mind to accept and try the many activities that happen after.” Depending on the objectives, AweTeam plans out a second activity revolves around forming a band. More activities such as ‘song-writing’, ‘music superstar’, or even composing a ‘company anthem’ are then organised to cater to different needs. Asia Ability offers a wide range of creative teambuilding events for groups as small as 10, and as large as 3,000 participants. Venues and durations are flexible too. “Some of the most effective team events are carefully integrated with a client’s conference theme and agenda – including for example, two or three themed energiser activities within the meeting agenda and a half day creative team event – as a powerful finale to the session,” says Lourdes. Unique Asia Ability creative team events include building F1 cars from flat sheets of cardboard, painting a customised giant team artwork,


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assembling the complex wooden parts of an amazing giant “Rat Trap”, and exploring cities around the region with the very latest iPad driven events. For something even more different, there’s Cookyn Inc. Since its inception four years ago, the most sought-after programme (14 - 66 participants on-site) is the Kitchen Challenge activity. “It is a highly energetic and exciting programme for corporate groups,” says Phan. “The programme is run such that it promotes team bonding by using cooking as the interactive tool.” For teams with a smaller group size, the programme has been adapted for a cosier gettogether known as the Cookyn Challenge. “Ultimately, teambuilding activities can be jazzed up with custom themes and other such methods to not only get the best ROI but also celebrate business milestones and make team bonding truly meaningful,” says Phan.

Cooking together to bond Every Cookyn Inc team bonding event features: • Practical hands-on cooking experience for all ages and culinary skill levels - Participants are engaged with the use of a tried-and-tested menu that is fun and with practical dishes that can actually be recreated at home. • Teamwork through preparation and presentation - The preparation of food allows team members to get to know each other better, as it is a natural conversation starter. - Set in a neutral environment outside of the workspace, the activity breaks any communication barriers existing at the workplace. All participants are viewed as equal in our kitchen studios, removing the intimidation of workplace social constructs during the activity. • Fun team bonding activities during cooking session - When teams are involved hands-on in execution, it allows them to communicate and work together to solve problems creatively under time pressure. • Communal dining of teams after cooking - A team meal is an intimate shared experience that reinforces bonds forged during the team challenge segment.

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Snow City



with Snow City corporate teambuilding and membership programmes! Elevate your corporate and team building experience to greater heights at Snow City, Singapore’s only indoor snow playground. Have fun sliding down our three-storey high snow slope or be surrounded by 20 ice carved dinosaurs at the Dino World Ice Gallery while being immersed in sub-zero temperatures. With the help of our snow professionals, we are able to incorporate a winter theme into your corporate team building programme or event and deliver a fun-filled and enriching team bonding session that they will remember for a long time.

Customise your event and experience Snow City will help make each event and experience unique. While the sub-zero experience is memorable in itself, a range of activities and packages can be customised to suit your specific needs. We have special in-house corporate training programmes that can be adapted to bring out the best in your company and our snow activities and facilities can be explored and personalised to fit your themed parties too. You get the additional choice of adding a


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Science Centre visit or IMAX movie experience to your visit here as well.

Corporate Membership Reward your employees by signing up for our corporate membership that will allow them more visits to the Science Centre, Omni Theatre and Snow City, as well as enjoy discounts on merchandise and booking of facilities for corporate training and team-building.

Coming soon: The Cliff Science Centre Singapore and Snow City are launching a brand new adventure for Singaporeans- one of the country’s largest rock walls. Called The Cliff, the climbing facility is being jointly developed with Nphibian Outdoor Consultants, who are leading experts in wall climbing facilities and a member of the Singapore Mountaineering Federation. The Cliff will have 12 lanes of various difficulty levels, offering both Lead and Speed challenges. The wall will be accessible to some 30 climbers at any given time. Catering to everyone, regardless of their age, gender or physical ability, The Cliff’s basic and intensive programmes are suited for climbers from different age groups. There are specially designed programmes for kids and young adults, while some certification courses are available to professional and trained climbers. The Cliff will also offer corporate team building programmes aimed at enhancing team building and trust among colleagues. Built against the facade of the Snow City building, The Cliff is a perfect destination for an exciting outing for families. After a successful climb at the wall, children and

parents can head out for an hour of snow play at Snow City.

List of products available for groups:

• Workshops • Teambuilding Programme • Corporate Membership • Family Day • Packages for children • Customisation of packages to suit each group’s needs

Snow City 21 Jurong Town Hall Road, Singapore 609433 Opening hours: 10am – 6pm 10am – 7pm (School and Public Holidays) Tel: +65 6560 2306 For booking enquiries, please email us at:


HR talent Shweta Mishra HR Lead, Dell Singapore

How many years HR experience? I have over eight years of HR experience. Why HR? HR offers great career options and a view of various functions within the business. Talent is a key asset to any business today and HR leaders create and enhance this human capital pool through a company’s people strategy. HR leaders wear many hats. Besides being a coach and talent leader, they play a marketing role when working on employer branding, a finance role when working on head count costs and compensation matters, an operations role when running the day-to-day HR processes, to name a few. HR is an exciting world. Why Dell? Dell offers a stimulating fast paced work environment with a culture of ownership. I really appreciate the focus on career enrichment for team members and the support and opportunities it offers. In the four years I’ve been at Dell, I’ve played many different roles that have enhanced my professional growth and competency.

Biggest achievement? Supporting team members to realise their potential is very satisfying. One of the achievements I feel excited about is being able to retain, assimilate and inspire team members that join us through acquisitions, which can be a long drawn and often intimidating process. Dell has been acquiring a number of companies in the last few years and it’s been fulfilling to drive these transitions successfully, and help these new team members accomplish great feats. After hours? I normally spend my free time with friends and family. I enjoy writing and in my free time help a number of my friends and family with their business plans, statement of purpose essays and résumés. Family? I live with my husband in Singapore and both of us are avid travellers. We enjoy planning for our vacations as much as we love traveling. Most long weekends, we’re out exploring new locations and experiences.


Book reviews

Brain science and employee engagement Ever wondered how you can utilise the secrets of the brain in the workplace to further advance and promote the development of a high performance workforce? If that’s your calling, then The Brain-Based Boss is a must-read. The book is a compilation of practical workplace-ready essentials for leaders who are aiming to motivate their staff to motivate themselves and achieve personal and professional success. Bu utilising the brain secrets at work, leaders can foster a group of motivated and engaged employees. Author Terry Williams sheds light on the five key

principles of brain science: self-awareness, master, autonomy, purpose and influencing others. Employee engagement is another key area of focus. The book shows leaders how to work with their staff to develop greater self-discipline, foster a growth-oriented mind set and adopt a goal-directed theme in their professional lives. In particular, the little snippets titled “Brain-Based Boss Seed Of An Idea” provide simple examples of firms who have adopted different techniques and methods to deal with issues such as employees, productivity and forging relationships. Peppered with a wide assortment of research from an array of experts and written in a user-friendly and interactive fashion, The Brain-Based Boss is the essential guide for leaders looking to tap into the rich secrets of the brain.

Title: The Brain-Based Boss Author: Terry Williams Publisher: Brookers Ltd Cost: US$ 34.55

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New Appointments Andreas Sungaimin

Senior Vice President – Human Capital and Development, Pan Pacific Hotels Group Pan Pacific Hotels Group has appointed Andreas Sungaimin as Senior Vice-President, Human Capital and Development. Based at the corporate headquarters in Singapore, Sungaimin will lead the Human Capital and Development team to focus on Pan Pacific Hotels Group’s leadership talent and capability development as the group expands its global portfolio under its “Pan Pacific” and “Park Royal” brands. Andreas will also be responsible for enhancing employee engagement and service

excellence standards across the group’s 38 hotels, resorts and serviced suites in Asia, Oceania and North America. Andreas joins Pan Pacific Hotels Group with more than 30 years of HR experience in the hospitality industry as well as from private and public sector organisations in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and North America. Prior to his appointment, Andreas was Head of HR and Organisational Development at Raffles Hotels and Resorts for six years. During this time, he successfully drove the company’s

employee engagement as well as talent acquisition, development and retention strategies, and led the refinement of the Raffles service culture. Andreas has previously held senior management positions in HR with Hilton, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Group and the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Early in his career, he also served as a Principal Consultant in the areas of HR, Change Management and Organisational Design for PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Consulting, Asia-Pacific.

returned to the HR business professional in Singapore. At Unilever Asia, Greuter was placed in different roles, working with all functions at the same time, helping employees and business leaders achieve their objectives. He has amassed close to a decade of experience working as an HR professional within a diverse set of industry sectors. Based in Singapore, Greuter will oversee talent management across the 10 Wunderman network offices in

Southeast Asia. Supporting all divisions, he will manage and drive talent initiatives such as Z Academy, the Learning Management System (LMS), Stretch Factor and talent reviews. “Building on the huge success we have had with the Wunderman Z Academy and Z Graduate talent programmes to attract and retain innovative individuals, I look forward to spearheading our concerted effort in bringing clients nothing short of an A team,” says Greuter.

new career opportunities for the entire HR team in China. His stint offered him the “China” experience and allowed him to see HR in action in one of the world’s largest economies. Teng has more than 17 years in mostly highly matrixed HR environments with close to half of his experience dedicated towards Organisation Development. His current role is primarily in Business Partnering where he will work with HR Operations to support

the Regional Business President and his direct reports in delivering HR services throughout the organisation in APAC. Teng is also currently working to strengthen the HR shared services organisation in the Asia Pacific region. “I have been performing operational country specific roles over the past four years and my new role will allow me to continue to tap on my prior regional experience in delivering HR Services to the business in a regional capacity,” says Teng.

Juan Greuter

HR Manager – Southeast Asia, Wunderman Juan Greuter joins Wunderman from Unilever, where he held various HR roles in China and Singapore over a span of four years. He joined Unilever Asia in February 2010 on a contract as an Assistant HR business professional, supporting the Regional HR Director. He then ended up moving into Unilever’s People Mobility function in Singapore, taking a one-year stint in Shanghai looking after the North Asia region, and then

Andy Teng

HR Director – Asia Pacific, Flowserve Andy Teng was appointed HR Director of Flowserve in January 2014. He was previously the HR Director, China, with Vishay General Semiconductor based in Tianjin, China. In his previous role, he managed China HR operations in Shanghai, Tianjin, Xi’an, Zhuhai & Danshui. During his term, the team transformed from a traditional HR model to one that is Shared Services, in an effort to increase productivity and effectiveness, while providing 48

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Moving across borders How do you facilitate talent mobility at your organisation? Mark Leong Director of HR, UBS AG

At UBS, we recognise that building and maintaining a workforce of highly talented individuals demands an open-minded, diverse and inclusive and respectful working culture as well as merit-based career advancement. As an example, we have recruitment-related trainings targeted at hiring managers (but also open to employees in general) on “Unconscious Bias” to help them understand the nature and occurrences of bias and to show them techniques on how to challenge biases in the workplace. UBS recognises that reputation and word-ofmouth are two of the most powerful communication avenues and we have been successfully using iHire, an internal employee referral program, to attract some of the top talents internally and externally in the market that we operate in. Talents who are moved are also onboarded to their new roles or locations via various avenues. Foundation Programmes typically consist of mandatory training programmes and tests to ensure that all UBS employees meet the minimum standard in location for delivering the UBS Client Experience and appropriately managing risk, key components of our UBS business strategy. Learning Pathways, developed by the UBS Business University in consultation with the business, consist of a chronological series of training activities, events and experiences that ensure consistent training across similar business roles worldwide. Key Talent Programmes are implemented to provide tailored development experiences for the firm’s key talent.

Alex Kershaw

Director HR – Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia Market Head, American Express

Encouraging our employees to realise their potential at American Express and build a meaningful career with us is a core part of our Employee Value Proposition. Due to the diversity of our organisation, employees have the opportunity to develop their career with a range of business units and roles; and we encourage our talent to move laterally across different business units and into new markets. Last year we launched a new initiative in Singapore – MyCareer@Amex, which aimed to do exactly that. Over the course of a week we had a range of career focused activities running in each of our three offices. These included a careers fair, where employees could learn more about different lines of business, the roles available in the Singapore market, what a typical day of certain jobs would look like, as well as the skills and knowledge they would need to move into these roles. We also ran a number of workshops aimed at helping employees build their networks and their personal brand. Leader Series sessions were organised for employees to hear from leaders on how they have navigated their own careers, and their first-hand experiences on moving to different geographies and lines of business within American Express. American Express has an internal job posting platform where vacant roles are advertised internally, so that all employees can view and apply for roles posted both within their home market, but also across the globe. This transparency empowers our employees to seek new career opportunities, and our talents are encouraged to discuss roles interesting them with their leader openly before making an application.

Tricia Duran HR Director, Unilever Asia Singapore

If you stop to consider that in the FastMoving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, products, processes and systems can in theory all be copied by competitors, the one unique competitive advantage are its people. Development plans are hinged on a 70/20/10% approach. Seventy per cent is about ensuring the right work experiences are provided, 20% is about mentoring support, and 10% is about ‘classroom-style training.’ Facilitating talent mobility is important to ensure the 70% is delivered, and each line manager has regular conversations with their people to support them in making better career choices. Business led resourcing committees are institutionalised and run regularly. From there, a variety of developmental roles are identified which can be done short-term (up to 18 months) or long term (3+ years) depending on the individuals need. To ensure an employee’s move goes smoothly, a personal mobility adviser is assigned to them, whereby he or she acts like a ‘concierge service’ in providing a one-stop shop for all move-related needs. On-boarding practices go beyond work-related programmes and include cultural immersions, language training, spousal support for job hunting and education. Various reward approaches are tailored to recognised different individual circumstances and family needs. This holistic approach has resulted in external recognition for Unilever, most recent of which is the prestigious Best Leadership Development Award at the HRM Awards in February. ISSUE 14.4



HR at Work 7:00am I scan through any important business emails that may have come through overnight. 8:30am – 9:00am In the office, I go through my work calendar for the day and for the next two days, while having some coffee. I make mental notes on work plans.

Chee Nian Tze

Group General Manager - HR, Robinsons & RSH Group of Companies

9:00am – 12:00pm First round of phone calls, meetings with the business, vendors, and candidates. 12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch – I try not to lunch in the office and use the time to catch-up with business partners, colleagues as well as my team in Singapore. As we are in the retail and food and beverage business, I also use the time to check out what is new in the market. 1:00pm – 2:00pm This is normally the time that I have conference calls with my head office.

2:00pm – 3:00pm If I am not engaged in conference calls, I will spend time catching up with my HR teams that span across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia either via phone or in person. 3:00pm – 5:00pm More rounds of meetings. 5:00pm – 6:30pm I find this is the best time to do any work that requires a high-level of thinking, planning and writing as I am at my most relaxed. 6:30pm – 7:00pm I normally leave the office before 7:00pm so that I can have dinner with my family. 7:00pm – 10:00pm After dinner and up till 10pm, I check through my work emails intermittently as I have a habit of clearing emails on the same day.

Regional Human Resources Manager

Head of Human Resources and Administration, Singapore

Compensation and Benefits Lead, ASEAN

› Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry › Exciting start‑up role › Make a difference today

› Financial Services Industry › Strategic HR Business Partnering › Rewarding, challenging and hands‑on role

A key player in niche field in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry, our client is seeking an experienced and dynamic Human Resources Manager to play a strategic and hands‑on role in a growing business.

A respectable and growing organisation, our client has an immediate need for a consummate HR Professional to lead its people agenda and the administration function for its Singapore operation.

› Global Industrial Giant › Centre of Excellence function › Locations: Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam or Thailand

Partnering business heads, you will develop, lead and implement overall HR strategies for the region. You are accountable for the HR deliverables in areas of Recruitment, Compensation & Benefits, Training & Development and Employee Engagement and other related Policy and Legislation.

Dual reporting to Regional Vice President, Human Resources and Country Manager, you provide advice and assistance on a range of HR matters including recruitment, compensation & benefits, employee relations and employment law, training and development. As a HR Business Partner, you will work closely with Country Manager and the leadership team, playing an Advisory role and driving change in the business.

You are degree qualified with minimum 10 years of solid hands‑on HR generalist experience preferably in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry. You must have demonstrated capability in performing a hands‑on regional role and stakeholder management in a start‑up environment. Highly operational and strategically‑minded, you are a strong communicator with the ability to work independently in a demanding environment, and possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Reference number: MH/JD45022

You are degree‑qualified in Business Administration or Human Resources with at least eight years relevant experience in senior strategic HR roles. Demonstrated ability in stakeholder and vendor management, and dealing with ambiguity in a highly matrix and fast‑paced work environment is preferred. Those with merger & acquisition HR related experience coupled with strong project management skills will be ideal. You are a leader with coaching and mentoring skill, are hands‑on and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Reference number: MH/JD42250

A global industrial player, our client is seeking for an experienced Compensation & Benefits Lead to join and perform an integral role within its Centre of Excellence team. You will be lead in the review and development of Compensation & Benefits strategies, policies and programmes to ensure competitiveness. Partnering with Country HR leaders, you will recommend and enhance related plans, programs and initiatives to contribute to the overall success of the business through its people agenda. You will participate and may lead region wide program and projects, and ensure compliance with local laws and governance processes. Degree qualified with Compensation & Benefits professional certifications, you have minimum eight years of relevant experience including five years regional exposure gained within MNC. Ideally you have worked within a HR shared service model with experience integrating related programs and policies. You are a hands‑on team player with high influencing ability, have strong analytical, project management and presentation skills, and have worked in a highly matrix and fast‑paced environment.

Reference number: MH/JD45026

Your Human Resources recruitment specialists To apply, please go to and search for respective reference number. For a confidential discussion, you can contact Maureen Ho in our Singapore Office on +65 6511 8555 



Talent2 Singapore Pte Ltd. Company Reg. No. 200511940M EA Licence No. 11C4535

Recruitment Manager

VP, L&D (Bank) Established International Bank Attractive Remuneration

Local coverage Exciting career growth opportunity

Our client, a leading international bank is looking for a Senior Learning and Development professional. You will be responsible for the entire spectrum of Learning and Development process from design to delivery. You should be a pro in planning, designing and developing training modules as well as in conducting stand up trainings for industry experts in the banking domain. You will also continually evaluate training effectiveness and make recommendations for improvement of training quality. You will possess a relevant degree with at least 15 years of banking experience and 8 years of Learning and Development experience. You should be hands on in different aspects of training from designing of curriculum to delivery. Candidates with regional exposure in L&D and the willingness to travel will be preferred. Email your resume in word format to EA Personnel Registration No. R1325491

Our client is a leader in its market and a trusted name as a facilities management provider. You will report to the Senior Manager and is responsible for the end-to-end recruitment function. This role will require you to work closely with line managers to understand workforce needs and provide proactive recruitment through direct hire/ vendors for current and future vacancies. You will participate in the development of overall talent acquisition strategy and activities, providing corporate advisory to the various businesses. You will be degree qualified and possess at least 7 years of relevant experience with recruitment companies/large corporations. You should have sound knowledge of business processes and recruitment best practices. Email your resume in word format to EA Personnel Registration No. R1108467

Kelly Services, Inc. is a leader in providing workforce solutions. For more than 35 illustrious years, Kelly has been partnering Singapore’s leading companies to deliver the best the sourcing of specialised professionals across technical disciplines such as Engineering, Technology and Science, as well as functional specialities for Finance, HR, Sales & Marketing, Procurement and Banking.

Kelly Services (Singapore) Pte Ltd | EA License No. 01C4394 | RCB No. 200007268E


HR Manager

Talent & Development

› Reputable European MNC › Newly created SEA role

› Good vibrate culture › Fast growing business

› Fortune 100 US MNC in the Chemicals space › High visibility to senior management

Our client is an European MNC in the Management Consultancy Industry. In this newly created role, you are responsible for leading a team in the full spectrum of HR responsibilities and you are expected to partner the business with its expansion plans in the region. Key to your success will be your ability to engage with business stakeholders. The successful applicant should have excellent interpersonal skills and a Degree in HRM with at least 9-11 years of relevant experience.

Our client is a Silicon Valley startup technology company with rapid growth across Asia Pacific. Reporting to the HR Director, you will be responsible to setup Singapore entity, work closely with the management team, taking on a leadership position to partner them with talent planning, implement HR strategies, compensation and benefits review and any other HR matters/projects. The successful applicant should have excellent interpersonal skills and a Degree in HRM with at least 7-8 years of relevant experience.

Reporting to the Global HR Leader, you will be required to manage interventions to drive organizational effectiveness and have full responsibility to proactively plan and support the delivery of L&OD projects across Asia to ensure successful completion. You will design long term HR strategies and provide practical medium term solutions to meet business goals. The successful applicant should have at least 8 years of experience in L&OD and Change Management role with Regional MNC experience.

Please contact Eugene Wong (Reg no: R1331128) quoting ref: H2169630 or visit our website.

Please contact Ashley Wong (Reg no: R1434529) quoting ref: H2154770 or visit our website.

Please contact Sean Tong (Reg no: R1110029) quoting ref: H2108730or visit our website.

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

Human Resources

Get Connected. Stay Ahead.

Specialists in human resources recruitment

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#14770 Licence No.: 98C5473 Business Registration No: 199804751N



Returning the Human to Resourcing

HR Business Partner Oil & Energy Industry

HR Business Partner (Asset Management Industry)

Regional Training Manager Manufacturing Industry

Global Prominent Oil & Energy Organisation

Prominent Global Asset Management Firm

Fortune 500 Company

Regional Scope

Excellent Career Progression Opportunities

Newly Created Role with Regional Scope

Attractive Remuneration

Up to $120k Base p.a. Plus Bonus

Competitive Remuneration

This prominent organisation has recorded impressive business growth in the region.

This is a leading international asset management firm. It is seeking a dynamic and seasoned HR Business Partner (Senior Manager Level) to support its growing business in the region.

This global organisation is one of the world's most recognized and respected manufacturing organisation. Due to continued growth, there is now an exciting opportunity for a dynamic individual to be part of its training and development team, based in Singapore.

Degree qualified, you will have at least 10 years of strong HR generalist experience gained within the energy or commodities trading industry. You are a proactive, mature, credible and tenacious individual. You are able to influence priorities and build relationship at all levels.

To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT6528\HRM, or call (65) 63338530 for more details.

Reporting to the HR Director, you will work closely with senior business leaders in aligning business and people strategies through appropriate advice and intervention. You will influence and co-ordinate the development of a performance culture through effective implementation of integrated people management strategies and plans, including performance management, talent acquisition, rewards and talent management.

You will be responsible for designing and organizing a range of programmes in organizational development. You will play a proactive role to work closely with the business units to identify staff learning and development needs, and developing strategic initiatives for continuous improvement.

You will play an integral role in business transformation programs and support the achievement of their overall strategic objectives. Degree qualified, you have more than 8 years of relevant experience working in a global bank or asset management firm. You have a proven experience in managing the Annual Compensation Review process and dealing with senior management, and possess strong ability in influencing and implementing change. You are commercial, driven and will thrive in a fast paced environment.

We are looking for individuals with strong training setup background in manufacturing industry. You have experience in setting up training departments and possess strong experience in innovation and L&D, including stand-up delivery. You have good people skills and able to connect well with people with all levels. You have a keen interest in curriculum design and programme. You must also possess strong analytical and interpersonal skills and organizational ability. Traveling up to 20% is expected for this role.

To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT6488\HRM, or call (65) 63338530 for more details.

To apply, please submit your resume to Finian Toh at, quoting the job title and reference number FT6446\HRM, or call (65) 63338530 for more details.

Financial Services I Commerce I Engineering I Human Resources I Legal I Sales & Marketing I Technology 52

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

You will provide HR advice and services to the energy trading segment for Singapore and Asia Pacific region. Working closely with the global HR team and HR product specialists, you will engage the business leaders and functional managers in delivering HR agenda. You will provide support on diverse matters including performance management, reward and talent management so as to achieve people objectives with business strategies. You will also participate in strategic HR projects.

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

Talent Management Deputy Director/Director

HR Business Partner

Global Business Practice Manager

Newly Created Role

Financial Services Organisation

Project Management

High Visibility with Senior Management

High Calibre Team

International And Dynamic Organisation

Dynamic Environment

Head Office Environment

A Market Leader In The Electrical Energy Business

A prominent public organisation is seeking a Deputy Director/Director to develop and implement a robust Talent Management framework.

This organisation manages country’s reserves through investment in various asset classes and supervises activities within financial services.

A global specialist in electrical energy management and they are looking for a strong project manager to join their stable and growing organization. This individual contributor role will report directly to the Director of HR Application Services.

You will be responsible for developing and executing talent management philosophy and practices to develop, retain and deploy talent to meet the organization goals. You will partner with senior management and line managers in driving successful talent strategy and assessing talent development needs. You will develop and implement customized talent programs to develop high-potentials, future leaders, successors and management associates. Degree qualified, you will have relevant 15 years of progressive HR experience including 5 years of talent management. Strong interpersonal and communication skills, you are able to relate with senior management. With strong influencing and negotiation skills, you are strategic, proactive, dedicated and a self-starter.

To apply, please submit your resume to Priscilla Chen at, quoting the job title and reference number PC6708\HRM, or call (65) 63338530 for more details.

You will be part of a team that partners the management and staff to supports their needs in the entire HR spectrum including employee relations and 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 possess good Degree with at least 5 years’ relevant experience. You are an effective communicator with strong interpersonal skills. You have a strategic mindset and able to customise HR solutions to address business needs. You are proactive dedicated and able to work independently as well as in teams. To apply, please submit your resume to Priscilla Chen at, quoting the job title and reference number PC6741\HRM, or call (65) 63338530 for more details.

You will establish strong relationships across all HR functional areas and coordinate work across diverse project and application management teams globally and working with IT vendors that support HR business functions. As the key person, you are managing the Application Strategy, Landscape & Roadmap for the HR Domain including analysis of existing business processes, current systems and recommending change. You have at least 15 years of experience in HR, of which minimum 8 years’ experience with implementing HR Applications with an expert understanding of HR business processes & applicable business systems and technology. Strong understanding of Project Management, Process Design and Specification tools & techniques. Travelling will be required.

To apply, please submit your resume to Priscilla Chen at, quoting the job title and reference number PC6767\HRM, or call (65) 63338530 for more details.

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

Multi-award winning recruitment firm with specialist practices in: Banking, Finance - Commerce, Engineering, Human Resources, Legal, Sales & Marketing, and Technology. ISSUE 14.4


Human resources professionals speak to tHe experts Hr manager (plant operations) ensure effectiveness & continuation of all structures

Hr Director apac Drive talent management and retention plans

This organisation within an established manufacturing plant is looking for a HR Manager to partner with line managers and implement HR strategies that are aligned to business objectives. Reporting to the Senior HR Manager and leading a team of HR specialists, you will ensure effectiveness and continuation of all structures and policies, as well as oversee all matters of HR operational work. With more than six years of experience in a managerial capacity, ideally in the manufacturing environment, you will have strong leadership competencies with solid experience managing the operations in a plant premise.

This is an exciting opportunity for an HR Director to join a European based company specialising in the oil and energy sectors. The organisation employs 1000 people across the APAC region to include Australia. You will be involved in the full spectrum of HR from L&D, OD, recruitment and C&B and there is a very strong focus on talent management and retention. If you are from a global MNC background with strong HRD and talent and retention focus with the ability to engage, influence decisions with senior stakeholders then this will be a great opportunity for you.

senior Hr Business partner Drive the people agenda across large headcount

Hr Business partner sea Become a leader with regional scope

A global brand and Employer of Choice, this multinational organisation in the FMCG/Consumer industry has an exciting role for a Senior HR Business Partner. This is an outstanding opportunity to join the HR leadership team in a key position, working closely with the business, translating their strategic objectives into specific HR programs. Reporting to the Head of HR with a dotted line into the business lead, you will drive the people agenda and practices to develop and build a high performance culture, as well as ensure all people management programs and processes are delivered in a consistent manner.

This well known brand in professional services is seeking an exceptional individual with eight to ten years of relevant experience to step into a leadership role and manage a team of HR professionals. You must have strong stakeholder management skills and prior experience working in a partnership environment. With a solid grounding as a generalist who doesn’t mind rolling up their sleeves when necessary to get things done, you will also be a trusted advisor and a subject matter expert in talent management. Regional and management experience is essential, as you will be looking after a team across SEA and mentoring direct reports.

please contact ash russell, mamta shukla, chris lui or tamara sigerhall at or +65 6303 0721.


ISSUE 14.4


ISSUE 14.4



ISSUE 14.4



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HRM 14.4 The Social Media Offensive  

– HR tackles the online sphere

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