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SYMPOSIUM 2013 Changing Face of Talent









































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THE CHANGING FACE OF TALENT The ASIAN INSTITUTE OF FINANCE’s International Symposium 2013 redefines human capital in the financial services industry. As diversity flourishes in the sphere of human capital within the financial services industry, it becomes increasingly important that the issues and challenges surrounding these developments are appropriately addressed. This is especially the case in Asia, a region that is fast becoming an important anchor to global growth. Whether in the form of intergenerational gaps, gender equality or multicultural diversity; the inevitable force of change is already shaping the workforce within the industry. As the emerging talent landscape is becoming more challenging and demanding, businesses are expected to change to reflect the new realities if they want to stay competitive. To address some of these developments and to create greater awareness within the industry, the ASIAN INSTITUTE OF FINANCE organised its International Symposium 2013 from 28 to 29 August 2013 at Sasana Kijang, Kuala Lumpur. With the theme of ‘Changing Face of Talent’, the symposium brought together cultural experts, business leaders, talent practitioners and Gen-Y participants from all across the globe to discuss these challenges. The two-day event focused on the global trends and challenges that are shaping workforce strategies in today’s fast-changing business environment. The line-up of speakers, panel discussions and keynote presentations saw experts sharing on how businesses are aligning their talent and business strategies, creating innovative cultures, developing human capital and attracting as well as retaining a new generation of talent to address the needs of an increasingly diverse and demanding workforce.

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Complete list of symposium topics: • Riding the Waves of Culture • Changing Business Environment • Entrepreneurial Talent: The Good, the Bad and the Talented • Talent Ecosystem • Talent Mobility: The Who, How and Why of Managing Gen Y • Gen Y and Resilience • 3Es of Talent Strategies • Gender at the Top • Learning and Development: Putting the Horse before the Cart to Lead Organisational Growth • Succession Planning: Be Proactive, Not Reactive • Reimagine the Future

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Dr Raymond Madden CEO, Asian Institute of Finance

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A NEW CONSTRUCT MAY BE NECESSARY TO MANAGE TALENT MORE EFFECTIVELY AS A RESULT OF THE CHANGES BROUGHT ON BY THE INFLUX OF GENERATION YS INTO ORGANISATIONS TODAY. In his introduction address at the AIF International Symposium 2013, Dr Raymond Madden, Chief Executive Officer of the ASIAN INSTITUTE OF FINANCE, stressed the importance for financial services institutions to recognise the growing impact that a Generation-Y workforce will have on the industry and how best to manage this latest addition to the workforce. With that in mind, the symposium aimed to look at the whole talent management ecosystem and explore the issues facing the industry within this space. Dr Madden also invited speakers and participants to engage in enriching debates that he hopes will help to move the industry forward. As such, he said, the event will see a sharing of ideas, thoughts and insights from captains of the financial services industry as well as business leaders from the aviation, petrochemical and professional services sectors. These thought leaders focused on current and future challenges in talent management facing organisations today, including issues on gender equality, succession planning and learning and development. The topic of Generation Ys dominated a large portion of his address. According to Dr Madden, Generation Ys make up 40% of the current workforce in many ASEAN countries and this number is expected to grow up to 75% within a relatively short space of time. Referring to a report published by Deloitte recently, he quoted that the first Generation-Y FTSE CEO is expected to be appointed by 2016.

In this context, organisations should not underestimate the generational differences between their current leaders and Generation Ys – especially their skills in the area of social media, their overall interconnectivity and how they gather information. He went on to say that this new generation is searching for what he calls the 3Es – engage, enrich and empower. Organisations that can build engagement through assigning challenging and enriching tasks and that are willing to empower their ambitious young people stand to remain competitive in the talent management space. As part of his address, he also called on organisations to discard old constructs such as poaching to embrace the idea of what he termed the ‘talent game’, which involves organisations moving talent into different roles and – in some cases – moving talent to customers and suppliers as well. He also challenged organisations to consider rehiring former employees as it is a great way to bring talented individuals into the workplace. He acknowledged that there is an unwritten rule in many organisations to not welcome back employees once they leave. But he urged organisations to look upon their return in a favourable light as they have now gained extensive knowledge and experience that could now be reapplied in their organisation.

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OPENING REMARKS Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia and Chairman, Asian Institute of Finance

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A greater focus needs to be placed on talent development and management if the financial sector is to stay ahead of the curve and meet the challenges brought about by a changing business environment. That formed the crux of Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s opening remarks. Tan Sri Zeti, who is the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia and Chairman of the ASIAN INSTITUTE OF FINANCE, outlined two significant shifts in the industry that have warranted new approaches to human capital development and management. These encompass the rapid transformation of the economic landscape that stands to have far-reaching changes on talent requirements as well as the changes in character and nature of the talent themselves. Failure to recognise these changes and implications that arise will significantly impact business performance and subsequently, overall economic growth.

The fifth challenge is to find talent with the necessary communication skills to operate effectively across diverse cultures and generations. This is in addition to the leadership skills needed in this new, ambiguous and highly uncertain environment. However, Tan Sri Zeti noted that talent with such capabilities tend to be in short supply. Factors such as the growing demand for risk assessment and management and rapid growth of Islamic finance have also added new dimensions to the talent requirement in the financial sector. These new dimensions have brought about greater emphasis on other skills that are normally not the focus of financial institutions. This includes skills such as change and crisis management and business recovery planning. She also reminded financial institutions to consider the impact and implications of these shifts and challenges on their workforce.

Globalisation and internationalisation, accelerated by liberalisation as well as the rapid advancement in technology, are increasing connectivity between economies and financial markets across borders. Tan Sri Zeti stressed that the dawn of the global financial crisis had placed greater emphasis on emerging economies as anchors for global growth. This is particularly true in Asia, where many of the region’s economies are huge consumer markets.

With greater mobility of talent within industries and even across borders, organisations no longer can rely on the old concept of ‘employment to retirement’. Retention strategies need to be rethought to reflect these new challenges. For starters, the motivation of the current workforce is very different from that of the older generations. Generation-Y employees view interesting, challenging and fulfilling job scopes favourably. They also demand an environment that fosters greater engagement with leadership, greater empowerment and better exposure for potential development. Tan Sri Zeti cautioned that failure to recognise these changes will result in organisations facing great challenges in the area of human capital management, which will adversely affect harmonisation, cohesiveness and performance in the workplace. In response to these challenges, talent management should take a broader, more forward-looking and strategic approach. This is even more critical in the financial services industry, given its central role within the economy.

THE COMPETITIVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT THAT EMERGED, COUPLED WITH UNCERTAINTIES IN THE ECONOMY AND FINANCIAL MARKETS, HAVE COMPLICATED THE OPERATING ENVIRONMENT FOR MANY BUSINESSES – ESPECIALLY THOSE IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR. Rapid transformation taking place in the current economic landscape underscores new challenges facing economies today. The first challenge Tan Sri Zeti put forward was that the impact of connectivity on market interlinkages has increased contagion and interdependence amongst economies with the consequence of an emerging systemic crisis-prone financial system. This puts the burden on financial systems and can eventually result in a crisis-prone financial environment. Secondly, the recent global financial crisis – which is considered to be the most adverse in terms of scale and severity – has prompted many financial market reforms and transformations in all quarters. Thirdly, increased complexities and sophistication in global financial systems has fuelled the demand for suitable talent as the success of businesses and the effectiveness of governance and policy depend largely on having talent with the right capabilities. With significant changes in job complexities, talent with new competencies and higher skill sets such as analytical thinking skills as well as the ability to deal with multiple scenarios and manage wide-ranging trade-offs brought about by shifts in the financial services landscape will be the order of the day.

Tan Sri Zeti went on to stress the important role of education in helping the financial sector meet its challenges. There is now greater scrutiny on the ability of business schools around the world to produce the kind of talent that is required by organisations. Emphasis is now placed on producing able practitioners with not just practical skills and capabilities, but also values and attitudes. She referred to her own experience in dealing with graduates from some of the best schools and how they tend to be rigid in their approach due to their educational orientations. She urged for greater focus to be given to the graduates’ ability to appreciate the external environment of businesses, recognise international trends and developments and to contextualise circumstances. As such, educational institutions must place greater importance in developing what she referred to as ‘integrated thinking’, which involves the graduates’ ability to frame an issue and consider its multiple perspectives before delivering a solution or decision. In the face of a new challenging environment, development of human capital management capabilities must be a top priority. Human capital management can no longer be about the delivery of support services, but more of managing talent to enhance performance. In her conclusion, Tan Sri Zeti reiterated the crucial need to understand how the forces of change and the new environment is reshaping the demand and supply of talent and how the existing talent pool needs to be transformed to meet organisational objectives in a highly dynamic environment.

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ORGANISATIONS ALSO NEED NOT BE BOUND BY THE USUAL BIPOLAR CONSTRUCT OF JUST CHOOSING ONE OVER THE OTHER, BUT INSTEAD SHOULD STRIVE TOWARDS INTEGRATING BOTH SIDES TO CREATE A MORE HOLISTIC SOLUTION. Integrate opposites and reconcile dilemmas. This was the key message delivered by Dr Fons Trompenaars in his keynote address. Bipolar thinking that is entrenched in societies today essentially means that values are often based on half-logics. The failure of a bipolar way of thinking is that it forces people to consider problems with only two opposing alternatives – whether it is black or white, centralisation or decentralisation – when in fact the solution may require a combination of alternatives. Such mindset could lead to problems when corporate cultures clash. This is especially true in the current business environment where the workforce make-up has increased in complexity, with multicultural teams becoming the norm. Dr Trompenaars blamed many of the corporate crises witnessed over the past few years on bipolar mindset. He argued that current leadership paradigms don’t deal with multicultural environment but instead encourage organisations to oscillate from one pathology to the other. The key to working and thriving in a multicultural environment is to reconcile dilemmas. This is even more important as the world is more culturally diverse than it might appear. He remarked that dilemma is often shared across different cultures and each culture has different approaches in dealing with it. He went on to reference the example of how Western cultures sometimes find it hard to respect Asian ones because of its compliance. But both sides will inevitably share a dilemma when dealing with each other, namely the tussle between giving feedback and showing respect for the relationship. He offered a process for tackling dilemmas that includes the process of recognising cultural diversity, respecting the cultural differences and reconciling these differences. The basis of Dr Trompenaars’s theory is that innovation is the art of combining opposites. This implies combining contradicting ideas into some measurable actions to realise business benefits or values. But he argued that value cannot be added – only created. In the face of conflict, leaders must be able to reconcile opposites by reframing choices as dilemmas and combining competing values to come up with something entirely new. Here, wealth is created when dilemmas are successfully reconciled. Some of the popular dilemmas that organisations face today include whether to embrace globalisation or localisation, or to recognise team or individual achievements.

He also deconstructed another popular dilemma of individuals versus groups. Many companies face a conundrum of either rewarding individuals (which may create larger inefficiencies) or teams (which may create individual mediocrity). The solution, according to Dr Trompenaars, is to reconcile the dilemma by finding a way to reward teams for individual creativity and reward individuals for how they contribute to the team. For organisations to meet these multicultural challenges, they have to discard certain old constructs and concepts and embrace the idea of reconciliation. Dr Trompenaars illustrated how integrity carries different meaning across cultures and how culture affects ethics by proposing a dilemma. For example – having witnessed a friend commit a traffic offence, you are ultimately faced with the dilemma of lying to absolve the friend in court or to tell the truth no matter what the consequence. Depending on the cultural background of the individual, both actions could be interpreted as an act of integrity. One choice is made on the basis that integrity means telling the truth, while the other argues that helping a friend is considered a mark of integrity. He went on to say that national culture will invariably have some bearing on corporate culture. This example also illustrates the universalist and particularist thinking, which often results in dilemmas for many organisations operating in a multicultural environment. In Dr Trompenaars’s experience, Americans would fall into the universalist category, where the truth and the law take precedence over the needs of personal relationships. Those in South Korea, Latin America and Japan tend to take a more particularist standpoint by focusing on the peculiar nature of any given situation. By reconciling these cross-cultural dilemmas, organisations can begin to reconcile their cultural orientation. In urging financial institutions to start discarding bipolar constructs in favour of reconciliation, Dr Trompenaars concluded his speech by challenging the industry to combine half-logics into a higher logic. This can be done by first reframing problems as dilemmas and then creating a solution for it.

Dr Fons Trompenaars Founder and Director, Trompenaars Hampden-Turner

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Creating an engaged and entrepreneurial organisation is about having the courage to fail, increasing accessibility across the organisation and creating a compelling vision that is simple and easy to buy into. Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of low-cost long-haul carrier AirAsia X, delivered a passionate keynote address on this topic. He revealed that the success behind AirAsia X was down to high-level innovative talent within the organisation. The key to nurturing an innovative culture is to think differently, defy conventions and embrace mistakes. Among the innovations that AirAsia X has implemented include an empty-seat option, which allows passengers to reserve empty seats next to theirs at a nominal price. But the most recent innovation is the Quiet Zone cabin area, which features a new ambience with soft lighting and a more relaxing cabin atmosphere. Azran said that when they started introducing all these innovations, many were sceptical. But now, even premiumpriced airlines have started to adopt these ideas. He urged companies to be flexible enough to accept ideas – regardless of how unconventional they may initially sound. He went on to say that if an organisation is trailblazing its way within the industry, it will inevitably not get everything 100% right initially. As such, he said that part of the culture of innovation that he has worked hard to inculcate in the company also involves the culture of allowing mistakes to be made. He reiterated that it’s not always about being bold because good ideas don’t always work.

INSTEAD, WE SHOULD KNOW WHERE WE MAKE MISTAKES AND TURN THEM AROUND. THE IDEA IS NOT TO DWELL ON THESE MISTAKES BUT TO LEARN FROM THEM AND MOVE ON. AirAsia X fosters innovation by encouraging the culture of thinking differently. This was the reason offered by Azran as to why the company was able to challenge the dominance of established airlines. For him, creating a culture like this is really about four simple steps: having a very compelling sense of purpose, having an open and engaged organisation, a bias for action over failure and growth opportunities. To have a clear sense of purpose is doing away with complications and embracing simplicity when striving to create an engaged organisation. The key is to simplify the entire business into something everyone in the organisation can understand. This allows employees to remain focused on key goals. Secondly, it is important to be open and engaged. He also outlined the importance for management to be open and accessible in this current business environment.

At AirAsia X, Azran practises an open-desk system where any employee can come up to him with ideas for improvement. This not only creates an open and positive culture, but it also facilitates quick decision-making, as all employees are already sharing the same space. The third step is adopting a no-fear-of-failure philosophy. With fear comes the reluctance for talents to try different things because they are not incentivised to do things differently. He cautioned against large corporations who hide behind the need for justification because they have no courage to make bold decisions in this space. He also reminded participants that there is a danger in always being a follower if there is no courage to try new things. The final step in creating a culture of thinking differently hinges on growth opportunities. He challenged organisations to create a greater sense of purpose for their talent as talent today are not solely motivated by money, but also growth opportunities. What keeps talent motivated is the assurance that they are working for an organisation that gives them opportunities to grow. Azran called upon a story of a baggage boy in AirAsia X who was given the opportunity to professionally grow because he showed potential. Now a pilot with AirAsia X, his achievement allowed the rest of the organisation to see that people in the company are afforded opportunities. He also urged companies to stretch their talents and give them ample opportunities to prove themselves in a variety of functions. He considered himself to have failed if an employee does the exact thing as 12 months ago. AirAsia X looks for talent that won’t just see the organisation as just a business. Azran encouraged organisations to be brave enough to break rules, especially if it intends to venture into a new area or territory. He interestingly cited that many previous attempts to succeed within the airline industry had failed because people came into the organisation with preconceived notions. These people tend to stick to their old ways and restrictions. Many of the rule-breaking initiatives by AirAsia X have translated themselves into auxiliary revenue streams simply because they were willing to experiment. He also called on organisations to not waste any time on the blame game. Instead of spending years trying to pinpoint blame on specific departments, companies should work on finding an effective solution. Azran also added that he is not worried about his competitors emulating his ideas, citing examples of how some of them have replicated some of AirAsia X’s products over the years, because the one thing they won’t be able to emulate is the underlying organisational culture that drives these innovative initiatives. By the time others replicate AirAsia X’s products, the company would have moved on to something else. This, according to him, is the secret to AirAsia X’s success.

Azran Osman-Rani CEO, AirAsia X

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Communication between Gen Ys and their managers is the key to bridging the generation gap in the workplace. This was the conclusion of a study conducted by the Asian Institute of Finance in collaboration with the Ashridge Business School. The research results were based on a sample of 606 Gen Ys working in the Malaysian financial services industry and a sample of 611 managers (Generation X) who are managing them. Presenting results from the study was Dr Vicki Culpin, Dean of Faculty and Director of Research at the Ashridge Management Centre, UK.

GEN-Y TALENT CURRENTLY MAKES UP ABOUT 40% OF THE WORKFORCE. BUT AS THIS NUMBER WILL INCREASE MARKEDLY IN THE NEXT DECADE, DR CULPIN EMPHASISED THE IMPORTANCE OF BRIDGING THE GENERATIONAL GAP AND EXPLAINED HOW DOING SO CAN LEAD TO GREATER PRODUCTIVITY. The joint research revealed several significant disconnects between Gen Ys and their managers across many issues. It also provided unique insights into the expectations and attitudes of Gen Ys and their managers on working life expectations. She said that there is a mismatch of expectations between Gen Ys and their managers especially in terms of work expectations, responsibility, working relationships and speed of career progression. These are the key areas that companies should focus on when formulating talent retention strategies. The first point brought home by Dr Culpin was that Gen Ys and their managers want different work styles. Managers place a great amount of importance on worklife balance, followed by career advancement and high salary. Factors of working life that appeal to Gen Ys, on the other hand, include doing challenging or interesting work, independence at work and teamwork. However, Gen Ys often tend to not bring work home and prefer to separate their leisure spaces from their work ones. In contrast, she pointed out that managers have no qualms about taking work home with them. According to Dr Culpin, managers also underestimate the importance of several working life factors to Gen Ys. These include independence at work, teamwork, salary and social connections. All these factors were ranked very high by Gen Ys but were considered as the least important to them by their managers. The area of engagement also threw out another interesting conundrum.

Although Gen Ys are hardworking, motivated to succeed and very driven; 77% of them said they don’t feel engaged at work and 84% of these young professionals said that work has not lived up to their expectations. Based on these findings, she urged managers to revisit their management style and for organisations to re-examine their engagement strategies. There were also discrepancies in the area of relationships. Gen Ys favoured a coach or mentor relationship with their managers, but less than 10% of managers viewed the relationship this way. Interestingly, although managers don’t feel that they are being a mentor to Gen Ys, these young professionals thought otherwise. More managers considered themselves as friends, she emphasised. Dr Culpin interpreted such discrepancy as due to perception rather than behaviour and said that the only way to change those perceptions is to communicate. Touching briefly on how individuals look to their leaders for examples of acceptable behaviour or clues as how to behave, she said that this rings true to Gen Ys. While they may have different sentiments or motivations, they will inevitably emulate the behaviour of their leaders. Hence, managers must be able to exhibit the right behaviour. Stressing the importance of communication, she went on to say that although setting clear objectives is top priority for Gen Ys, managers don’t think this is what Gen Ys want even when they recognised its importance. Managers believed that providing regular feedback and being a motivator are the most important management behaviours to display. In contrast, Gen Ys don’t share their views and see these as relatively unimportant. The survey also indicates that Gen Ys want their managers to have strong professional expertise and support their career progression, but this is not something that managers rated highly. Managers believe Gen Ys require motivation, but in actual fact, this is way down on the list of Gen Ys’ needs. She said that Gen Ys are already motivated and as such do not see the value in that. Instead, what they want is support and encouragement in the space of career progression. They want to see meaning in their work. In terms of pace of career progression, managers took on a more conservative view. About 39% of Gen Ys expected to be in a management role within three years of starting work. Managers, on the other hand, cited a longer time frame of between three to four years before promotion to a managerial role. She pointed out that the high expectations of Gen Ys for greater responsibility does not match those of their managers as they believe these young professionals are not ready for promotion to management. Before concluding her presentation, Dr Culpin once again stressed the importance of communication in the workplace. However, in order to communicate effectively, both generations must learn to see how or why they each behave the way they do. By understanding motivations of each generation, possible cross-generational conflict may be avoided.

Dr Vicki Culpin Dean of Faculty & Director of Research, Ashridge Management Centre, UK

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Have you ever wondered what the future of business would look like? What does it take to lead a 21st-century company? Mike Walsh, CEO of innovation research lab Tomorrow Ltd, took an anthropological approach in answering these questions. During his keynote address, Walsh challenged business leaders to rethink the way they do business. He urged them to think big, new and quick because the new generation coming through will demand it. He also suggested that one way to reimagine the future of business is to move from thinking about processes to thinking about platforms. Using a combination of effective images and engaging multimedia, he challenged companies to completely rethink the way they do business and to be open to embracing new ones. Walsh said that despite our 21st-century ideas, much of how we work is still based on ideas from the 19th century. Companies created departments because they thought of people as entities that had to be controlled. To be able to do things differently, companies have to be willing to go into the core of the business (business processes and structures) and change them. These old methods are at times the things holding organisations back. Change begins with finding ways to engage employees, not just managing them. Walsh gave some eye-opening examples of companies that have embraced new ideas on how to drive engagement. Valve (a gaming company that has no management hierarchy) and Atos (a company that banned the use of emails) were some of the examples he provided. Companies can no longer ignore the needs and requirements of the younger generation and these things have to be considered if they want their organisation to survive tomorrow. According Walsh, it’s going to be the next generation rather than an organisation’s HR department that is going to shape the modern workplace. Hence, companies should spend more time observing their employees, both in how they work and consume things. He believes that to understand and drive innovation, companies need to stay close to the pain points of their customers. Walsh urged companies to have a better understanding of the behaviours, needs and pain points of consumers. He presented a number of illustrations of why this is important. In Saudi Arabia, young Saudis face many challenges in finding romance. One inventive solution was to post their Blackberry numbers on the trunks of their cars. Another example was the story of how a washing machine supplier was asked to repair a machine in a village in China, only to discover that it was used to wash potatoes and thus had invited unwanted rats. So, the manufacturer designed a model that could handle the cleaning of potatoes and at the same time keep the rats away. These examples illustrate how crucial it is for companies to not only understand the way the new generation of consumers use technology, but also the social constructs that are changing the way technology is applied. Offering business leaders some reality checks on the future they are likely to face, he suggested that companies address the needs of the next generation of consumers and employees. Millennials don’t see the internet, smart devices, social media and emails as technology because they grew up with these things.

Companies need to find new ways of interacting with consumers of the future. This can be done by finding new patterns of consumer behaviour by taking a deeper look into consumer data on the internet and social media.

COMPANIES NEED TO FIND NEW WAYS OF INTERACTING WITH CONSUMERS OF THE FUTURE. THIS CAN BE DONE BY FINDING NEW PATTERNS OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR BY TAKING A DEEPER LOOK INTO CONSUMER DATA ON THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA. CHANGE BEGINS WITH FINDING WAYS TO ENGAGE EMPLOYEES, NOT JUST MANAGING THEM. Walsh also spoke at length about the far-reaching effects of social media and how that will inevitably change our business landscape. Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have embedded the idea of networking into our DNA and as such, have increased their overall value in business operations. Companies of the 21st century would compete on the speed of platforms that will allow their people and their partners to collaborate and make decisions to react to a new market of opportunities. Walsh also suggested that big data is not about investing in sophisticated technology, but using data to make better decisions. Companies that are able to capture and analyse such data will have a competitive advantage. Tesco and Amazon are two examples of companies that have used big data to predict the purchasing behaviours of their customers to drive sales. This approach can also be used in areas such as recruitment. On the subject of recruitment, he also touched on how some companies are finding new and innovative ways to attract talent. Some have taken to tracking skilled players in popular computer games to identify suitable talents for programming. This is because the mental capabilities required for both tasks are somewhat similar. He closed off by recommending that companies rethink and reconsider their model of engagement with consumers. “Think fast because the future is now.” This was the message Walsh conveyed to participants before ending his presentation.

Mike Walsh CEO, Tomorrow Ltd

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The financial business environment is changing exponentially – from the regulations that are governing organisations to the talent requirements that are needed to meet these new challenges facing the industry. This was the prevailing theme for the first plenary titled ‘Changing Business Environment’. All panellists – Takumi Shibata (Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nikko Asset Management), Faiz Azmi (Executive Chairman, PwC Malaysia) and Datuk Noripah Kamso (Advisor, CIMB Islamic) – took different approaches to convey these changes. However, the one point they all agreed on was that change is inevitable and that financial services companies will need to recognise these changes or risk dire consequences. Shibata focused his address on the regulatory reforms that are driving major changes within the financial services industry and how this will have an inevitable impact on talent within the industry. Current regulatory initiatives are creating a dilemma within the financial services sector. On one side, political leaders are encouraging commercial banks to lend more. Pitted against them are the regulators, who are discouraging these same banks from giving new loans to the general public by raising the cost of borrowing. These rising costs are forcing industry players to consider resurrecting the Glass-Steagall Act separating investment from commercial banking. He offered two positive consequences arising from the 2008 global financial crisis, the first of which is the emergence of stronger and more resilient financial institutions. The second positive outcome revolves around opportunities for talent in the Asian region to develop into global champions. Shibata closed his presentation by saying that change is the only certainty and that the pace of change is ever increasing. In order to meet these growing challenges and help spark recovery, talent in the financial industry will need to be flexible, creative and responsive. In keeping with the theme of the symposium, ‘Changing Face of Talent’, both Faiz and Datuk Noripah focused instead on the changes that are occurring within the talent space and how these changing requirements and values will no doubt drive long-term changes within the financial services industry. The topic of Gen Ys was at the forefront, as both speakers spoke at length about how their influx into the workforce is forcing organisations to rethink their business approach. Faiz shared his personal experience of leading a corporation where 70% of its workforce consists of Gen Ys, and how this is forcing his organisation to discard old autocratic constructs in favour of ‘people power’. As money is no longer the single driving factor in attracting and retaining talent, keeping them continuously motivated is a considerable challenge. Since Gen Ys want to be involved in the decision-making process, the business environment needs to be more collaborative in nature. He urged organisations to strive for consensus rather direction because Gen Ys do not fare so well in taking instructions. Organisations must also learn to recognise that Gen Ys are motivated differently and respond to their motivations differently. Faiz was also quick to caution organisations to not focus heavily on the new generation at the expense of the old. He cited that only 10% of CEOs have thought about what an aging workforce can do to their company and products. Companies have to start reconsidering their policies to ensure that the older generation is not marginalised.

Another critical area of focus is the leaking talent pipeline among women professionals, especially post-childbirth. Echoing Faiz, Datuk Noripah added that meritocracy is the best way to obtain the best out of this new and young workforce. Citing Brazil as an example, she pointed out that the country is a superpower in football even though it is only an emerging market. This is largely because Brazil practised meritocracy when recruiting football players but only focused on the middle class and high-income earners when it comes to recruiting people for economic development. Speaking on market trends, Datuk Noripah saw a bigger role for telecommunication providers as the world moves into a cashless society. However, this comes with the consequence of taking consumers away from banks. In a cashless financial system, the influence of banks will diminish as mobile banking and digital wallets are opening doors to software players. Speaking on the same issue, Shibata said that the increase in anti-money laundering requirements has forced financial institutions to invest more into compliance and IT infrastructures.

ANOTHER ISSUE HIGHLIGHTED BY THE SPEAKERS WAS THE ETHICAL CONUNDRUM BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE INFLUX OF GEN YS IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES WORKFORCE AND THE IMPACT OF THEIR ETHICAL IDEOLOGY ON WORKPLACE. Faiz talked about the concept of profit-to-purpose and how the younger generation is more attuned to these concepts. As such, the burden is on financial services institutions to step up to a new role to tackle social and economic challenges. He also called on organisations to consider matters such as government regulations, technology, management styles and education and development when developing HR policies. This is important if they want to retain the right talent. Urging companies to recognise the changing requirements of the talents themselves, he said that he often encourages his staff to go on community outreaches and to develop sustainability programmes to attract the right talent. Datuk Noripah added to the argument by pointing out that the predisposition of Gen Ys to speed and success may potentially lead to them sacrificing integrity. She remarked that only organisations that can nurture talent and inculcate a sense of integrity in them will thrive in the next decade. Winning organisations will be the ones who can create global talents and not just talents that can thrive locally. She challenged financial institutions to look beyond old constructs such as qualifications and employability. Instead, she recommended that they try to identify individuals who have the necessary aptitude to meet the demands of this uncertain market landscape.

Takumi Shibata

Faiz Azmi

Datuk Noripah Kamso

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nikko Asset Management

Executive Chairman, PwC Malaysia

Advisor, CIMB Islamic

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THIS SESSION FEATURED AN ESTEEMED PANEL CONSISTING OF DAUD VICARY ABDULLAH (PRESIDENT AND CEO OF INCEIF, THE GLOBAL UNIVERSITY OF ISLAMIC FINANCE), PROFESSOR TAN SRI DATO’ DZULKIFLI ABDUL RAZAK (VICE CHANCELLOR, OF ALBUKHARY INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY) AND DATO’ MOHD KHALIS ABDUL RAHIM (CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL OFFICER OF TELEKOM MALAYSIA). ALL THREE SPEAKERS EXPOUNDED ON THEIR POINTS FROM THEIR DISTINCT PERSPECTIVES, BUT ALL WERE IN AGREEMENT THAT A GREATER EMPHASIS ON THESE MATTERS IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL IN THIS CURRENT BUSINESS CLIMATE. Building a talent ecosystem does not begin with well-structured programmes, but with companies and educational institutes placing greater emphasis on fostering the right attitude as well as a stronger values and ethics system. That point rang clear during the second plenary session of the AIF International Symposium 2013. Daud gave a personal account of his experience with interviewing some graduates from local universities and how many of them, while possessing the adequate qualifications, lacked what he called the ‘right attitude’. Many local graduates seem to lack the openness and willingness to demonstrate intellectual intent – qualities he feels are more crucial to succeeding in the business world today than merely having the necessary academic qualifications. The lack of participation from local educational institutions in developing soft skills such as presentation and communication skills amongst graduates further escalate the situation. However, he did not underplay the importance of proper education and accreditation, especially in the area of Islamic finance. According to Daud, the lack of universityrecognised accreditation for Islamic finance courses represents a barrier for graduates in this field when seeking employment. This point was shared and expounded further by Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli, who said that gone were the days where employees were told not to think beyond doing what they were told. Such expectations were symptomatic of the needs of a different time and may no longer be appropriate in this day and age. He said that at this point of time, there is severe lack of ‘heart’ in the business world. As organisations move up the value chain, they also unfortunately go down the values chain. This is because many organisations have become soulless and devoid of moral compass, which are equally important to success. The education system, according to Tan Sri Dzulkifli, is partly responsible for this as universities are dubbed as factories producing students akin to goods. Children are initiated into a worldview based on technocratic and mechanistic framework whilst students who pass through it are “manufactured to fulfil a pre-set purpose”. Under the factory metaphor, students are considered raw materials to be processed by the university. They are then streamed into assembly lines and through several conveyor belts where, at the end of each conveyor belt, there is quality control akin to final year examinations.

Daud Vicary Abdullah President and CEO, INCEIF, The Global University of Islamic Finance

Students who pass through each successive conveyor belt are ultimately ready to be sold at the marketplace that is employment. In concluding his presentation, Tan Sri Dzulkifli said that there is currently a disconnect between education and the talent ecosystem. Following that, he called for a deconstruction of the current factory metaphor that traps universities in a ‘me-first’ materialist ethos. Taking a slightly different path from the previous two speakers, Dato’ Khalis focused more on the ecosystem itself. He commented that the discovery of the purpose and philosophy behind an intended ecosystem is the crucial first step in building a sustainable ecosystem. Many organisations get caught up in wanting to build sophisticated ecosystems but fail to first consider important fundamentals such as its purpose, relation to business and how it would look like in the future. According to Dato’ Khalis, failure to do so will mostly likely result in a weak ecosystem, which will create more followers rather than believers in organisations. He added that supplementary to this, organisations need to develop the right policies, management infrastructures and recruitment frameworks to best support the philosophy they’ve chosen. Dato’ Khalis pointed out a common mistake HR practitioners often make, which is that they place too much focus on starting programmes. Such initiatives should instead be imbedded into the organisation’s leadership competencies. He urged organisations and HR practitioners to move away from placing too much emphasis on tools and to focus instead on inculcating a stronger passion and sense of purpose in organisational leadership. He argued that if organisations get the philosophy right, everything else will fall into place. In their concluding discussion, all three speakers touched on the growing gap between new talents entering the talent pool and the people who are managing them. Daud stressed that it is the role of business leaders to facilitate the generation of ideas from this new wave of talent. Dato’ Khalis called on both sides to respect each other’s strengths, saying that Gen Ys need to respect Baby Boomers for where they’ve brought the organisation to and Baby Boomers need to start understanding that Gen Ys are wired differently.

Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak Vice Chancellor, Albukhary International University

Dato’ Mohd Khalis Abdul Rahim Chief Human Capital Officer, Telekom Malaysia Berhad

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The Plenary 3 session at the AIF International Symposium 2013, which featured a panel of young professionals and entrepreneurs, gave some succinct and practical insights on how to manage and engage Gen Ys. The panel – featuring Dzameer Dzulkifli (Managing Director of Teach for Malaysia), Jason Lo (CEO of Tune Talk Sdn Bhd) and Kenny Choong (Partner of GRID 9) – tackled the topic of Gen Y and Resilience through a combination of personal and professional experiences. Many points raised by the panellists echoed some of the earlier sessions; with topics such as technology, values, engagement and education yet again coming to the fore. Dzameer expounded mostly on the topic of education, stressing that resilience should be fostered early and this forms the raison d’etre of Teach for Malaysia. His personal experience as a consultant previously taught him that the quality of training and education form the crux of many issues facing corporations today.

THE IDEA BEHIND TEACH FOR MALAYSIA IS TO ERADICATE EDUCATION INEQUITY, WHICH HE BELIEVES IS PREVENTING THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN FROM LIVING UP TO THEIR FULLEST POTENTIAL. Dzameer presented several interesting statistics on the state of the education in Malaysia: 60% of Malaysian students fail to meet minimum benchmarks in mathematics whilst 43% and 44% of students don’t meet the minimum proficiency level in science and reading respectively. For Dzameer, education is an important factor in unleashing the potential in every child. But he noted that the root cause of the problem with the current education is the quality of teachers in the classroom. The problem can be solved if Malaysia’s best and brightest work together in schools to give every child the opportunity for an excellent education. But the challenge remains in attracting the best talents into the education space. This can be attributed to the general impression that teaching is unglamorous. When addressing the audience, Lo presented a clear message – organisations have to start plugging into technology or risk being left behind. Since technology is most definitely the biggest marker for Gen Ys, organisations need to start embracing the concept of ‘breakaway thinking’ more as it is fundamental to the resilience of Gen Ys. He spoke about Angry Birds and Candy Crush – two popular game applications for devices that probably never would have been developed under old sceptical mindsets. Much of his presentation evolved around the technology factor in regards to Gen Ys and how this generation is capable of using technology more efficiently. Choong divided his presentation into two main parts: myths and truths about Gen Y employees and strategies to attract and engage them. Breaking down some myths and truths about Gen Ys, he debunked the myth that Gen Ys lack loyalty.

In actual fact, their interest in exploring different career paths is often misconstrued as disloyalty. They will question rather than blindly follow the actions and approaches that have been handed down to them. Another misguided perception about Gen Ys is that they can and only want to learn through modern technology. The truth of the matter is that they are constantly searching for a good mentor or coach and want to engage their managers. Sharing his own personal experience of starting his own company, Choong – a Gen Y himself – would often seek advice from more experienced mentors. He stressed that Gen Ys are not motivated by material rewards, but by passion and what he called the YOLO (You Only Live Once) mindset. He further shared some key factors on which organisations need to focus if they want to attract and engage Gen Ys, as they have completely different barometers of success. While empowerment, recognition, flexibility and direction are all important factors to consider; many organisations fail to take note of the importance of honesty to this generation. Gen Ys value honesty and openness in communication above all else. As such, they expect open communication and honest feedback on their performance and development.

Lo also touched on this subject during the Q&A session when he was asked why some companies are reluctant to embrace social media. The fear of public backlash, he said, was the biggest concern in many companies. However, he also stressed that organisations cannot stop people from saying what they think. He then shared an example of how Tony Fernandes, Group CEO and Director of AirAsia Berhad and founder of Tune Group, would retweet complaints about the poor service customers receive from his companies. At the same time, he would reassure them that actions were being taken to improve problematic areas. As such, Lo urged companies to not fear social media as he explained that technology enables people to bounce back from mistakes. Lo also cautioned that organisations should not pigeonhole Gen Ys through these broad definitions as not all Gen Ys behave this way. He added that the Gen Y resilience is not something that is exclusive to just those in that age bracket as this mindset can be embraced by anyone. Adding to this point, Dzameer said that personality traits and strengths play a part in how a Gen Y responds to a particular situation. Referring to his personal experience in dealing with Gen Ys, he related that they are both diverse and individualistic. Some are eager to take on new initiatives and are constantly focused on getting things done, whilst others are only focused on raising issues.

Kenny Choong

Dzameer Dzulkifli

Jason Lo

Partner, GRID 9 - Hotel, Flashpacker, Gastropub

Managing Director, Teach for Malaysia

CEO, Tune Talk Sdn Bhd

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There are many ways for organisations to adopt the 3Es – engagement, empowerment and enrichment – of talent management. This was the general topic discussed by the panellists of Plenary 4. The panel – consisting of Wong Su-Yen (Senior Partner and Managing Director of Mercer ASEAN), Kala Kularajah Sundram (Head of Talent and Organisation Development for Maxis Berhad) and Aliza Knox (Managing Director of Online Sales for APAC Twitter) – spoke about how to drive these 3Es from their unique perspectives. Wong, who was first up, spoke about just how much the business landscape has changed in the last 10 years. Job titles such as App Developer, Social Media Manager and User Experience Designer were not even in existence just a few years ago. But they are now a feature for most international corporations around the world.

ANOTHER GAME CHANGER HIGHLIGHTED WAS A SHORTER BUSINESS CYCLE FOR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DUE TO HYPER CONNECTIVITY WITHIN THE MARKET AS A RESULT OF TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT. THESE TRENDS WILL INEVITABLY DRIVE CHANGES IN THE REQUIREMENT FOR TALENT. Sharing findings from a survey conducted by Mercer, Wong said that the survey identified four global drivers of employee engagement – opportunities for development, confidence and trust in leadership, recognition and awards and organisational communication. The survey also showed that non-financial factors play a more prominent role in influencing employee motivation and engagement. The most important factor is respect, followed by work-life balance, type of work, quality of co-workers and quality of leadership. However, scores for career performance management and giving timely feedback indicate significant room for improvement. She also highlighted that employees are placing greater emphasis on healthcare benefits. Wong offered four key success factors in implementing the next generation of talent management strategies – sustainable approach, populations, alignment and shared ownership. Elements of employee value proposition including healthcare programmes, understanding the change in market trends, career-building and recognising the evolution of talent are key factors in ensuring that companies successfully implement their talent management strategies.

According to Kala, her knowledge and experience in the talent management space has taught her that the only way to successfully implement talent management strategies is to have it driven from top management. The whole business proposition is changing at a rapid rate due to evolving customer needs and technological development. She proposed a mixed approach of combining institutional building and opportunistic talent management in driving the 3Es of talent strategies effectively. Kala provided several pragmatic guidelines that will help organisations build the necessary capacity to effectively implement talent management strategies. Firstly, it is important to have a nurturing and engaging corporate culture. Secondly, priority must be given to building talent communities, applying global standards in human resource practices and having a succession planning system in place. She talked passionately about the high-performance and service-focused culture at Maxis, where employee engagement is emphasised to ensure high levels of commitment. The latter often gets translated into a positive work environment. The second key HR focus area is creating opportunity – which involves having a targeted and personalised approach to retaining top talent, an accelerated development of leadership and differentiated career development prospects. Kala went on to talk about Maxis’s in-house career counselling programme that provides specific career counselling and conversations with staff. In summing up her presentation, she urged organisations to start looking past old-fashioned constructs and embrace the rehiring of talent. Companies should also place greater emphasis on developing strategies to attract unique talents that are outside the corporate system and to develop reverse mentoring programmes. She concluded that the best way to keep and engage young talent within organisations is to build trust, which will encourage retention. The third and last speaker built a case for integrating social media into talent strategies. Knox provided the audience with a sense of just how important social media really is and how it will invariably have an effect on all areas of business, especially in talent management. She presented some interesting facts and information about how Asia forms 25% of the total amount of global active Twitter users (which stands at 200 million at the moment). She also shared that 40% of college students or young employees would take on a lower-paying job if they are given access to social media at work and 50% said that they normally ignore company bans on the use of social media during work hours. With Asia’s social media scene gaining popularity and moving towards a mature phase, she called on companies to not fight this phenomenon but to leverage off it instead. Companies stand to benefit greatly from the connectivity that social media platforms like Twitter offer, especially in areas such as recruitment and knowledge sharing. She explained how employees can be brand ambassadors within this space as it offers them the opportunity to talk about their positive experience of working in the organisation.

Wong Su-Yen

Kala Kularajah Sundram

Aliza Knox

Senior Partner & Managing Director, Mercer ASEAN

Head, Talent & Organisation Development, Maxis Berhad

Managing Director, Online Sales, APAC Twitter

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WOMEN HAVE TO BE MORE PROACTIVE IN SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES AND BUILDING BETTER NETWORKS IF THEY ARE TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN TOP MANAGEMENT. THAT SEEMED TO BE COMMON THREAD GOING ACROSS THE ISSUE ON GENDER AT THE TOP BY THE THREE PANELLISTS – MEERA SANYAL (CHAIRPERSON OF INDIA SERVICES & FOUNDATION FOR ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND), JOLENE CHEN (CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER FOR PRUDENTIAL CORPORATION ASIA) AND PAULINE HO (ASSURANCE LEADER FOR PWC MALAYSIA). Women have to be more proactive in seizing opportunities and building better networks if they are to be more involved in top management. That seemed to be common thread going across the issue on gender at the top by the three panellists – Meera Sanyal (Chairperson of India Services & Foundation for Royal Bank of Scotland), Jolene Chen (Chief Human Resources Officer for Prudential Corporation Asia) and Pauline Ho (Assurance Leader for PwC Malaysia). They spoke passionately about the challenges women face in their rise to top management positions and outlined steps to be taken to ensure that they get there. The panellists all offered some alarming statistics on the state of gender equality in the Malaysian workplace. About 57% of university graduates are female but only 11% of these women make it to mid and senior management positions. The number of women in corporate boardrooms is further slashed to 6%. This is despite increasing evidence that having more women on corporate boards is indeed important for performance. ‘Opportunity’ was a word used repeatedly by panellists when addressing the issue of gender equality. Meera in particular stressed just how important it is that women are afforded equal opportunities as men globally. She shared a number of success stories of women in India who broke through barriers and stereotypes to become entrepreneurs simply because they were afforded equal opportunity to learn and apply themselves. Chen, in speaking about opportunity, also shared about the challenges women face in their career because of their additional responsibilities at home. She dubbed it the ‘dual-career track’, where women have to focus equally between their career and family. But more often than not, they are forced to choose between career and motherhood. This continuous struggle to balance the dual-career track often results in them taking a break from their careers to start a family. Adding to this point, Ho said that 65% of women in the workforce are forced to make this choice because organisations fail to provide enough flexibility to allow them to focus on both. She considered timing as the key, citing that the time when a woman may be progressing in their career also often happens to be the time they may be considering starting a family.

The panellists also spoke extensively concerning the importance of networking, with Ho in particular offering a pragmatic view on why it is so important. She said that progression in an organisation is often decided by those who have already arrived – and they are likely to be men. While men use their networks for career-building and elevating their status, women tend to use them for emotional support and affiliation. Since women network differently from men, they tend to miss out on the power of networking as their informal networking systems are often not as strong as men. This may be a factor in the under-representation of women in leadership. Meera stressed on its importance, saying that networking is a key lesson that women have to learn if they want to stay competitive in the market. Both Chen and Ho also spoke about how it is important that women do not attempt to mimic men just to rise to the top. “We sometimes take the human touch out and try to be more assertive and bold, but it’s not natural,” Chen said before adding that women, especially in Asia, have to learn to be assertive but not abrasive. Ho echoed this by saying: “Women need not act like men, as we bring different values to the table.” She said that this different perspective is something that board members have to start recognising, especially with women consumers increasing exponentially. All the panellists also spoke about the importance of doing away with a quota mentality when considering women for top management positions. Instead, they argued that it has to be based on merits and not government=imposed quotas. Although a quota system may likely break down the ‘old boy network’, it may end up simply displacing preferential treatment. Meera assured that the usual government-like mentality of fixing this issue, which is to provide handouts, is really not necessary. “In fact, these things will have negative consequences,” she said. A proponent of a merit-based approach, Ho agreed that it is more satisfying for the individual if they are able to get to the top based purely on their performance and merit.

Meera Sanyal

Jolene Chen

Pauline Ho

Chairperson India Services & Foundation, Royal Bank of Scotland

Chief Human Resources Officer, Prudential Corporation Asia

Assurance Leader, PwC Malaysia

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Panellists at the breakout session entitled Learning & Development: Putting the Horse before the Cart to Lead Organisational Growth’ shared their personal experience on how learning and development strategies can be more effective. They also deliberated on key issues and challenges that the industry is facing in this space. The panel – consisting of Nora Abdul Manaf (Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Group Human Capital at Maybank Group), Dato’ Dr Adnan Alias (CEO of IBFIM) and Ungku Haslina Ungku Mohamed Tahir (Head of Human Capital Management for PETRONAS) – all gave valuable insights on just how far the financial services industry in Malaysia have to go to be more effective in learning and development. Nora presented some alarming statistics released by The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). Globally, there has been only about a 2% increase in learning and development spending by organisations. A similar increase was also reported in the demand for qualified training professionals.

BUT THE GREATEST CONCERN IS THE PERCEIVED LOW EFFECTIVENESS OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES. WHILE 90% OF THE TOP 500 COMPANIES IN THE WORLD STATED THAT THEY HAVE A TRAINING UNIT WITHIN THEIR COMPANY THAT PLANS, SOURCES AND EXECUTES TRAINING PROGRAMMES; ONLY 25% SAID THEY WERE EFFECTIVE. Companies can no longer just be aware the problem, but they have to start acting on the information to implement effective solutions. While learning and development is evolving – with e-learning programmes on a sharp increase – Nora believed that there still needs to be a shift in some mindsets. She urged for learning and development departments to move away from a demand-driven mentality to a supply-driven one. They should periodically review job descriptions of the training department, re-engineer training processes and reskill people through the training.

Nora proudly shared that in Maybank, the efforts within the learning and development space is fully supported by the board. Hence, the organisation has allocated over 100 million ringgit for learning and development. The topic of Gen Y came into the forefront yet again with the ensuing two speakers, with Ungku Haslina stating that the workforce in PETRONAS consists of about 30% Gen Ys. She highlighted some of the educational frameworks that the company has invested in over the years and how this has helped build an internal talent supply line. Programmes to reach kids from underprivileged backgrounds as well as the many educational institutes that were founded by the organisation such as UTP, ALAM, Petronas Leadership Centre and INSTEP are just some examples. Speaking about how the company believes in the philosophy of fostering talent from a very young age, she pointed out that in order to retain talent, we must be transparent about how they can grow within the organisation and where that is going to lead them. She also said that it is somewhat unfortunate that generations are divided by year of birth and not classified by their traits and how they work with each other. She felt that there are many similarities in the traits of Generations X and Y as well as baby boomers. Dato’ Dr Adnan alluded to the vital role that Gen Xs play as ‘translators’ between baby boomers and Gen Ys. Because they are in a position to understand where both tangents come from, Gen Xs can act as intermediaries. Otherwise, he warned, things could get lost in translation. Using the horse-and-cart metaphor to offer some reality checks, Dato’ Dr Adnan walked the audience through the state of learning and development in the current financial services industry. He talked about how the cart is sometimes forgotten and he also spoke about the challenges in achieving commonality between industries and even in organisations within a single industry. Even with common regulatory bodies governing the process, the fractured needs within its members suggests that it is a challenge to achieve commonality across different organisations. Adding to this, organisations are generally impatient when it comes to learning and development. So, there is rarely a meeting point between learning needs and organisational strategy. Dato’ Dr Adnan applauded Bank Negara Malaysia for their efforts in creating accredited programmes to drive them closer, which in turn creates a bigger demand for qualified professionals. He also used the horse to symbolise talent and how that is also changing rapidly, especially culturally. He said that the increase in regulations and bodies governing them have also changed the traffic rules. But ultimately, the best way to combat these challenges is to foster believers within your organisation.

Nora Abd Manaf

Dato’ Dr Adnan Alias

Senior Executive Vice President & Head of Group Human Capital, Maybank Group


Ungku Haslina Ungku Mohamad Tahir Head, Human Capital Management, PETRONAS

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SUCCESSION PLANNING SHOULD BE BASED ON AN ORGANISATION’S PRIORITY AND PLAN. AN EFFECTIVE SUCCESSION PLANNING INITIATIVE CAN REALLY ONLY HAPPEN IF YOU HAVE A CLEAR AND STRONG LONGTERM STRATEGY FOR THE ORGANISATION. THIS IS ON TOP OF HAVING THE RIGHT ASSESSMENT TOOLS AND FRAMEWORKS. Both panellists for the breakout session entitled Succession Planning: Be Proactive, Not Reactive strongly urged companies to develop long-term strategies to drive business growth, especially in the area of succession planning. They also spoke at length on the importance of building the right assessment tools to identify the right skills and qualifications. These factors will form the key components in developing a succession planning framework. According to Hamidah, one way in which organisations can be more proactive within the succession planning space is to identify a long-term strategy. Succession planning should be based on an organisation’s priority and plan, which in turn will help to identify the talent pipeline and skill sets needed to achieve the desired vision. Referring to her own organisation, she said CIMB’s vision to be the leading ASEAN company is dependent upon three factors: diversity, a multicultural workforce and ASEAN-centric leaders. As such, the bank’s training programmes and talent management policies are structured to support this vision. Strategic planning was the first of the six-step process for effective succession planning presented by Hamidah. The other five steps include identifying key roles to meet current and future business needs, identifying leadership and technical competencies, creating and maintaining talent pools, creating a succession plan and implementing succession strategies. Some of the proactive measures taken by CIMB in achieving its vision is leveraging on diversity by developing an ASEAN workforce and grooming ASEAN leaders amongst the bank’s employees. The bank is also proactively on the lookout for talent and key to this is to access internal talent databases to identify suitable talents. She said that these talents can be identified based on three basic assumptions – ready now, ready in one or two years and ready in three to five years. She also called on companies to not be bogged down by formalities but to be open to moving people across a variety of roles to see which encourages the best performance. Hamidah also spoke on CIMB’s ‘2x2x2’ framework on building leaders. This involves exposing them to two different job functions, two different areas of business and two different geographies. The aim is to foster the kind of broad-minded leader that will be suitable to grow within the organisation. Armin reiterated Hamidah’s point on leadership as a key factor in executing effective succession planning strategies. He stressed the importance of having the right assessment frameworks to effectively identify suitable talents to fill roles.

The key to designing an effective succession planning framework is knowing what to assess. Relating his own experience working with other organisations, he said that while most leaders are confident of the succession planning tools and frameworks they have, most of them are sceptical on the quality of the people who are assessing talents using those tools and frameworks. Armin also spoke at length about some of the measures his company has developed, which are based on four areas – curiosity, insight, engagement and determination. Organisations that put their potentials through these measures would be able to clearly identify the people who can potentially assume leadership positions in the future. Defining ‘curiosity’ as someone who is curious about their surroundings and themselves, he said these are also people who constantly seek feedback on how to improve. ‘Insight’ relates to them having the genuine ability to extract more value out of the same information as compared to others. ‘Engagement’ is about how they are able to collaborate with people around them to achieve results. Finally, ‘determination’ is the ability to recognise the roadblocks ahead and to find ways to work around the issues. However, he cautioned that this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Rather, it has to be tailored according to the needs of the organisation. In order to do this, he suggested that organisations recognise what these different types of thinking are and understand which ‘type’ fits into different situations without losing sight of the current and future needs of the business. Both panellists also offered some tips on how succession planning can be more efficient. Hamidah stressed on key factors in identifying suitable talents, such as building a strong recruitment database, designing training programmes that are suited to draw certain skills and traits out of them and to have a good appraisal rating system that will help assess someone’s performance effectively. She also urged organisations to be bolder in seeking suitable talents by looking beyond the top as she believes that the talent pipeline really begins at the entry level. Armin stressed on the importance for companies to have frameworks that will allow them to easily seek talents both internally and externally. However, to do this, companies must know what they are looking for, put the right assessors in place as well as keep up-to-date and refresh their views of the whole framework every six months.

Hamidah Naziadin

Armin Effendi

Head, Group Corporate Services Division, CIMB Group

Egon Zehnder International

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CLOSING REMARKS: Dr Raymond Madden CEO, Asian Institute of Finance

In his closing remarks, Dr Raymond Madden (CEO of the ASIAN INSTITUTE OF FINANCE) summed up the events of the last two days and outlined some of the things participants can look forward to next. He reiterated that the theme of the symposium was chosen to reflect changes in the talent landscape. Dr Madden also listed the many broad areas that were discussed and debated by the 27 speakers (hailing from seven countries). Issues such as the changing landscape of financial services, tighter regulatory requirements, competition for top talent, diversity, culture, gender and of course Gen Y were discussed at length. He thanked all 450 participants who attended both days of the symposium before adding: “We need to take these debates further.” He said he believed that the symposium had achieved what it set out to do, which is to “enrich participants with new ideas, latest findings, best practices and future trend in talent management; engage participants by providing them a platform to share ideas and network; and empower participants with a better understanding of some of the key underlying issues in talent management”. The active participation of Gen-Y professionals from ASEAN countries throughout the two days was another testament to the success of the symposium. Dr Madden said he was very encouraged to see the interest of these young professionals in the future of the industry and how they would like to see these changes accomplished. He also showcased some upcoming round-table discussions that will be organised by the AIF on topics such as gender and diversity, the professionalisation of HR and professional ethics.

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DISCLAIMER: The Asian Institute of Finance does not represent nor warrant the completeness, accuracy, timelines or adequacy of this material and it should not be relied on as such. The Asian Institute of Finance neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility or liability whatsoever for any data, errors or omissions that may be contained in the material or for any consequences or results obtained from the use of this information. This publication does not necessarily reflect the views or the position of the Asian Institute of Finance.

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