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Cathay cabin crew opt for extending retirement age

Cathay is poised to lengthen its retirement age from 55 to 60 in the coming years, as a proposal won majority support in an internal ballot, reported SCMP. 55% voted to raise the retirement age. This comes after different departments within the airline had varying retirement ages.  The company must now fashion a deal with […]

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EY employees encouraged to build future-focused skills

EY has announced that it will introduce a new programme that will enable its 250,000 people in over 150 countries invest in their own careers. This is achieved by earning digital credentials in skills that differentiate them in the market, such as data visualisation, AI, data transformation and information strategy. The new programme, EY Badges—which […]

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International commuters benefit from greater future prospects

New research from AXA reveals 98% of big businesses surveyed say a globally mobile workforce is important, with a third saying it is critical to their success  But staff working abroad want increasing flexibility with three-quarters of employers saying people want to commute internationally and continue living at home  Those working internationally reap the rewards […]

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Tackling modern slavery head-on

The hidden, hugely profitable crime of modern slavery will be tackled head-on with practical, regional solutions driven by business and government. On the eve of the inaugural Bali Process Government and Business Forum, business leaders gathered at The University of Western Australia (UWA) to discuss the complex challenges of modern slavery in the Indo Pacific region in […]

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Singapore calls for increased commitment of employers towards duty of care

The International SOS Foundation, supported by the Ministry of Manpower Singapore, has called for world leaders to add their e-signature to the Singapore declaration in support of the principles of prevention with regard to work-related travel safety, health and security. This follows the official signing ceremony, which took place on the opening day of the XXI World […]

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80% of companies not paying salespeople the right commission

WorldatWork has said that 80% of companies are paying salespeople inaccurate commission rates. The 2017 Sales Compensation Administration Best Practices survey by Xactly found that companies with complex compensation programmes had higher turnover rates among salespeople, lower rates for meeting sales quotas and more errors in commission payouts. The study also showed that 18% of employers do not […]

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Hong Kong’s best employers

Organisations looking to lower attrition rates and increase retention levels might look to look at five particular Hong Kong companies for inspiration. According to the most recent Best Employers survey by Aon, these companies have taken employee engagement to another level, with better business as a result. Their successes have earned them a spot on this year’s […]

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DLA Piper extends parental leave in Hong Kong

International law firm DLA Piper has announced that it has extended its maternity leave to 18 weeks and doubled paternity leave to 10 days both with full pay in Hong Kong. The scheme is also being extended to adopting parents. In order to further support staff, DLA Piper has also introduced a Maternity Coaching Program […]

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HKU begins formal collaboration with Cyberport to drive entrepreneurship

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Hong Kong Cyberport (Cyberport) was held recently to set up the HKU x Cyberport Digital Tech Entrepreneurship Platform. The Platform is the first-of-its-kind collaboration between HKU and Cyberport aiming to form a closer partnership to build a unique digital tech ecosystem for Hong Kong spanning the aspects […]

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Robert Mostert

Former Head Human Resources, Global SSSCs Standard Chartered Robert Mostert was until recently Head Human Resources of the Global ITO (Information Technology & Operations) function of Standard Chartered Bank, and of Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS). The latter operates from shared service centres in India (Chennai and Bangalore), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), and China (Tianjin). […]

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Jack Mak

Product and Customer Proposition Head, Pensions HSBC Jack Mak is the Product and Customer Proposition Head of HSBC’s pension business in Hong Kong, and is responsible for driving pension product design and holistic proposition that suit customer needs for both employees and employers. Prior to joining HSBC, he worked as an employee benefit consultant and […]

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Nightmare on L&D street—What the *beep* went wrong with L&D?

L&D, where did it all go wrong? HR tackles the tough questions at its Summer 2017 conference. Asking some of HR’s finest, we get down to the nitty-gritty of where L&D took a nasty turn, and how organisations are tackling those challenges. Calculated risk HR frequently needs to answer abstract and open-ended questions. As Jenny […]

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Effective reward & recognition strategies

Defining an organisation’s rewards and recognition policy can be complicated purely because there are so many factors to take into account. What will motivate your people to take one step further and turn good employees into exceptional ones? Enhanced benefits, bonuses, international postings. Sometimes all it can take it just a pat on the back […]

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Bernard Coulaty

Founder & CEO MOST Engaged Consulting Bernard is a senior global HR leader with over 20 years of professional practice as Vice President Human Resources in multinational FMCG organizations (Danone, Pernod Ricard) in Europe and Asia. He has developed an operational and strategic expertise in employee engagement, talent management, leadership development and leading HR communities […]

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Joanna Lee | Bauhinia Coatings | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Joanna Lee, Bauhinia Coatings

Bauhinia Coatings Group Group Head of Human Resources Joanna Lee is the Group HR Director for Bauhinia Coatings Group which enables organization in making better decisions about human resource management, strategic leadership, organization development, design and change. Overseeing human capital strategies across our group operations, She has grown and managed teams in different sizes of […]

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Kay Chen | Turner International | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Kay Chen, Turner International

Turner International Asia Pacific Limited Human Resources Manager, APAC Kay Chen is the Human Resources Manager partners closely with business to ensure their talent needs are met. Her diverse client groups cover from Content, Sales and Marketing, Finance and Accounting to remote teams in Seoul and Taipei. It’s unique combination of creative, client facing and […]

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Gwen Lockington | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Gwen Lockington, Turner International

Turner International Asia Pacific Limited Executive Director, HR, APAC Gwen Lockington is an HR professional who works with organisations to align their people strategy with the business. She is passionate about creating an environment where employees love what they do and believes that to deliver this, developing management capability is critical. For the past 16 […]

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Athena Ngai | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Athena Ngai, Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation of Hong Kong Limited Senior HR Manager Athena Ngai is the Head of Human Resources of Sony Corporation of Hong Kong Limited and managing all HR functions including talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, talent as well as organizational development. Athena is also playing key role as Talent Lead for the China region to […]

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Star Service HR

Hang Lung’s talent development successes as headcount doubles Janet Poon, General Manager – Human Resources, Hang Lung Properties has been with the Company since 2012 and helped transform their talent pool during a period of unprecedented expansion. She shares her innovative approach to talent attraction and retention to help fuel the Company’s phenomenal growth. Adaptive […]

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One in five APAC job applicants submitted false information | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

One in five APAC job applicants submitted false information

More than one in five background checks conducted on job candidates in APAC in 2016 identified inaccuracies in the information supplied by candidates. While the discrepancy rate has decreased from the previous year, it still remains almost three times higher than the global discrepancy rate of 9.7%. This disparity between APAC and global discrepancy rates […]

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Staying ahead of the tech curve

Stefan Reis, CHRO, SAP explains why HR must grab technology by the horns to engage and retain the best talent HR has to work hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to rapidly evolving technology in today’s workplace. HR Magazine recently spoke with Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer, SAP to get […]

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How to make networking less miserable | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

How to make networking less miserable

By Andrew Marder, Small Business Expert, Capterra The worst part of networking is every single part of networking. The free snacks are okay, unless you get stuck with crudité. Everything else feels challenging, painful, or unproductive. You step into a room of other small business owners and managers with a pocketful of business cards, and […]

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A family-friendly workplace | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

A family-friendly workplace

Recently the Kering Group announced our new Global Parental Policy. The framework provides Group-wide standards in terms of maternity, paternity and adoption leave for more than 38,500 employees in nearly 60 countries around the world. The new policy holds a single and clear purpose: to build a supportive and inclusive working environment for all our […]

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As skills shift, talent attraction and retention continue to challenge APAC employers | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

As skills shift, talent attraction and retention continue to challenge APAC employers

More than 60% of employers experience difficulty attracting and retaining top talent. As the world of work undergoes a digital transformation, employers in Asia Pacific are grappling with challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, according to two major surveys The 2016 Global Talent Management Survey and Rewards Survey by Willis Towers Watson. It revealed […]

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Community business: HR's D&I struggle | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

HR’s D&I struggle

HR faces many challenges, some of which cause a great deal of frustration. However, the solving of these problems can lead to huge advantages for both the business and the individuals it employs. A growing concern of modern day HR is in effectively managing and leveraging Diversity & Inclusion. HR Magazine media partnered the Community […]

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Verizon: HR & IT: Partnering for Success | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

HR & IT: Partnering for Success

Verizon may be a household name in the US as a wireless telecommunications operator, but here in Asia their presence is less obvious. Two of their senior HR managers spoke to HR Magazine enthusiastically from the local Hong Kong Verizon office in Tai Koo. The duo shared on their vision, credo and how IT is […]

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Here are top 5 tips to get your employment checks right | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Here are top 5 tips to get your employment checks right

  Deciding when and whom to check, and for what There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to background checks. They should be tailored based on: The nature of your industry The needs of your business The details of the position you’re hiring What local laws require or prohibit Knowing the components of background screening When you’re planning […]

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Legal Updates – August 2017

Government Bill gives employees right of reinstatement A new bill introduced into the Legislative Council this earlier year lays down new rights for employees who are illegally dismissed. The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2017 was introduced into the Legislative Council in May 2017. Notable among the Bill’s proposed changes is a new power for the Labour […]

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Hong Kong ponders discrimination law shakeup | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Hong Kong ponders discrimination law shakeup

The Hong Kong Government is considering four key changes to the existing anti-discrimination ordinances. The proposed changes have been brought forward following a consultation carried out by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) in 2014 and are presently being considered by the Legislative (LegCo) Council Panel on Constitutional Affairs.   The four major changes The proposed […]

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PRC Cybersecurity Law—What does it mean for HR managers? | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

PRC Cybersecurity Law—What does it mean for HR managers?

The Chinese Government passed the new PRC Cybersecurity Law on 7 November 2016 and it will take effect on 1 June 2017.  The Law is a clear indicator of an increased focus by the Chinese authorities on data protection and its broad scope and potentially wide-ranging effects may increase data protection and data security compliance […]

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DLA Piper: flexible workforces | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

DLA Piper: flexible workforces

By Julia Gorham, Partner, Head of Employment—Asia, DLA Piper Changes in the modern workforce are now happening more radically and rapidly than ever. According to a report published by the International Labour Organisation in 2015, informal employment, very short term contracts, contingent freelance workers, homeworking and irregular working hours are becoming more and more widespread. […]

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HK Competition Ordinance—Why HR needs to tread more carefully in 2016 | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

HK Competition Ordinance—Why HR needs to tread more carefully in 2016

The Hong Kong Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619) (Ordinance) came into effect on 14 December 2015. Anti-trust laws have been long-established in the US, Europe and Australia—they make for good business practice. In Hong Kong, the Competition Commission has stated that it is ready to be ‘an effective enforcer of the competition law which will support Hong Kong’s open economy by ensuring fair […]

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Claims of harassment: how far can they go? | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Claims of harassment: how far can they go?

By Anita Lam, Of Counsel, DLA Piper Hong Kong Harassment is generally associated with appreciably more conflict in work teams as well as with less team cohesion and less success in meeting financial goals. Eliminating harassment in the workplace therefore makes good moral sense, legal sense as well as business sense. It may now also […]

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Hong Kong’s mandatory paternity leave “disappointing” | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Hong Kong’s mandatory paternity leave “disappointing”

After years of debate, a mandatory 3 day paternity leave on 80% pay was finally passed by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council last Friday. Although many welcome the long-awaited law, others, such as Community Business, have expressed disappointed by the focus on operational cost which has led to this “baby step” for Hong Kong, an international […]

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Frisky Business: the dangers of workplace romances | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Frisky Business: the dangers of workplace romances

By Pattie Walsh (Partner) and Naveen Qureshi (Associate), DLA Piper Hong Kong Given the amount of time people in Hong Kong spend in the workplace, it is perhaps inevitable that personal relationships will flourish. Many people are more likely to meet a partner at work than anywhere else. This then raises the question as to […]

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Healing China’s expat headache | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Healing China’s expat headache

The opening of new markets in China in the past few years has created an explosion of job opportunities and a flourishing demand for skilled expatriate workers, with latest census figures revealing a leap from 74,000 to 220,000 foreign employees between 2000 and 2011. Sending expatriates to China, however, has proven to be a headache […]

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Hong Kong’s first ever ‘Community Service Marathon' | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Hong Kong’s first ever ‘Community Service Marathon’

HandsOn Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) will co-host Serve-a-thon—the city’s first ever ‘Community Service Marathon’ and largest collective volunteerism based event. In Hong Kong, 20,000 more people lived below the poverty line in 2015 than in the previous year—bringing the total number of impoverished people in Hong Kong to […]

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Mental Illness in the Workplace | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Mental Illness in the Workplace

By Henry G. Harder, Shannon Wagner, and Josh Rash Review by Amie Filcher Mental health in the workplace is becoming an increasing concern costing businesses billions of dollars every year in loss of productivity, poor treatments and employee retention. Mental Illness in the Workplace provides a comprehensive guide to identifying, understanding, treating and preventing individual […]

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Lead to Succeed | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Lead to Succeed

By Chris Roebuck “To deliver real success, people must be inspired to be their best.” Lead to Succeed promises to deliver success and provides fundamentals for leaders to transform their own and other people’s performances. Professor Chris Roebuck introduces the Mach 2 Performance Programme, which aims to increase people’s performance and engagement in the workplace. […]

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A Field Guide for Organisation Development | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

A Field Guide for Organisation Development

Taking Theory into Practice~ Edited by Ed Griffin, Mike Alsop, Martin Saville and Grahame Smith A Field Guide for Organisation Development offers a variety of perspectives and experiences from researchers and practitioners on Organisation Development, a concept that many organisations find difficult to tackle. The editors have created a practical and accessible field guide that […]

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Success through a healthier workforce | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

Success through a healthier workforce

The connection between health and job performance is widely known, and many employers are now realising that success can only be achieved by a healthy workforce. Many HR departments are taking steps to integrate healthy living initiatives to help motivate their workforce to stay healthy and safe at home and on the job, with the […]

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Keeping staff healthy, staying competitive | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Keeping staff healthy, staying competitive

With hundreds of thousands of working days lost to sick leave in Hong Kong each year, companies are understandably keen to keep their workforces healthy. But encouraging workers to take better care of themselves is not always an easy task, particularly given Hong Kong’s culture of long working hours and the multiple demands upon people’s time. […]

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Creating Balance & Finding Happiness | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Creating Balance & Finding Happiness

By Diane Lang, MA  This publication serves as a happiness toolkit—a handy-sized reference book on how to find harmony when faced with the mounting and often conflicting pressures of work and home life. It offers simple, realistic and easy-to-use tips for happiness. According to Lang, many employees work anywhere between 60 and 80 hours a […]

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Four steps to a 'good' day at work | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Four steps to a ‘good’ day at work

It is often argued that a happy workforce is a productive one and the secret to contentment in the office may be only four simple steps away, according to new research conducted among more than 3,000 Australian and New Zealand employees. When RedBalloon for Corporate asked participants what they desire to see at work, ‘More […]

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Workplace confessional | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Workplace confessional

You may love your job–but probably not everything about it. Even working in a cubicle doesn’t mean you’re walled off from office irritations. A new survey commissioned by Citrix reveals the top reasons why office workers say they need to break away. Colleagues from hell Workplace bonding can be a good thing, but some rituals […]

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Automation a positive catalyst of change within the HK workplace

72% of Hong Kong CFOs agree workplace automation will not cause a loss of jobs, but a shift in required skill sets is needed. The top skills finance professionals need to focus on as a result of automation are: problem-solving skills, strategic vision, flexibility/ability to adapt and communication. According to Hong Kong CFOs, the top […]

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Staying ahead of the tech curve

Stefan Reis, CHRO, SAP explains why HR must grab technology by the horns to engage and retain the best talent HR has to work hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to rapidly evolving technology in today’s workplace. HR Magazine recently spoke with Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer, SAP to get […]

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Automation: C-3PO took my job! | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

Automation: C-3PO took my job!

Break neck speed advances in technology are having an impact on those in IT. 62% of technology professionals in APAC believe a significant part of their job will be subjected to automation within the next 10 years, rendering their current skills redundant, according to the findings of the Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2017. 62% is […]

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Getting HR into the fast lane | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Getting HR into the fast lane

Cutting down time-consuming processes to help HR deliver accurate results quickly HR knows all too well that managing headcount is time-consuming and, at worst, convoluted and complex—especially in larger organisations. Pressure is on HR to become more strategic but balancing this with cumbersome operational roadblocks is a major challenge. HR Magazine recently met with Ashley […]

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Innovation to navigate recruitment minefields | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

Innovation to navigate recruitment minefields

Recruitment has long involved picking up the telephone, networking outside for candidates and screening the hundreds of CVs that pass recruiters’ desks every month. In recent years, tools such as LinkedIn have enhanced the ability of recruiters to accomplish such tasks—but the ground under their feet is fast-moving. Filtering out noise Simon Bradberry, Managing Director—Asia Pacific, Resource Solutions remarked at a recruitment […]

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Employees—greatest cyber security risk | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

Employees—greatest cyber security risk

Employees are the lifeblood of an organisation, technology helps facilitate ways in which they can work at their optimum. But is this always the case? According to 56% of nearly 2,000 information security experts worldwide in EY’s latest Global Information Security Survey 2015, employees are considered to be the most likely source of cyber attacks within organisations. What’s more, in Hong Kong and China, […]

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IT hiring and pay to rise globally | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR News

IT hiring and pay to rise globally

Despite a global economic slowdown, especially due to slower growth in emerging markets, the technology industry continues its rapid pace of innovation, disruption and creating new ventures, according to Aon Hewitt. In the next 12 months, technology companies globally are expected to increase the size of their workforce by 40%—internet, e-commerce and software sectors are […]

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AwardYourTeam web programme released | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

AwardYourTeam web programme released

Inadequate recognition for contributions is a leading cause of voluntary employee turnover, which means that effective employee recognition is key. Enter Terryberry’s new AwardYourTeam application—a new web-based programme designed to help busy managers recognise their employees’ contributions more consistently and effectively. The new module in Terryberry’s 360 Recognition Platform is specifically designed to increase managers’ […]

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Start-ups and ‘work 4.0’ storm HRM Expo | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

Start-ups and ‘work 4.0’ storm HRM Expo

Over 15,000 delegates and 650 exhibitors flocked to Europe’s annual HRM Expo in September, which came amongst the backdrop of new interactive features pioneered for this year’s show. The event, which took place in western German city of Cologne, focused on technology and the future encompassed within the theme of ‘work 4.0’. The expo touched […]

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HKMA Award for Excellence in Training and Development 2017 | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

HKMA Award for Excellence in Training and Development 2017

With the 26th HKMA Awards in the pipeline, organisations are clamouring to show off their commitment to L&D and how they have built their bespoke training programmes. The awards are a commendation to those who have worked extensively to develop training that is not only effective, but conscious of the human impact. Trainers from a […]

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The harder you fall, the higher you bounce | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

The harder you fall, the higher you bounce

We have all been there—trapped in a long, boring training session in a windowless office that is either far too hot or cold. It is quite often the norm for team building, and while it is sometimes necessary to be in the classroom, a more interactive approach demanding energy expulsion may be more beneficial. Sport […]

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NEBOSH revise H&S diplomas | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

NEBOSH revise H&S diplomas

The National Examining Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) offers a range of vocationally-related qualifications to meet workplace health, safety, environmental and risk management need in both public and private sectors. The body has just announced revised syllabuses for its National and International Diplomas in Occupational Health and Safety to better align the two […]

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Snow, ice and lost lifeboats—team building on the South Pole | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Snow, ice and lost lifeboats—team building on the South Pole

HR Magazine was invited to join the ‘Shackleton Challenge’—a highly unique training day to stimulate team-work and facilitate team-building in a challenging, rewarding and exhilarating fashion. The day was organised by AETG and conducted by Colin Tan, Managing Director & Chief Executive Coach, MetaNoia Intervention. After being fed and watered, the participants were tasked with […]

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Nurturing talent | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Nurturing talent

AIA setting the pace for developing leaders of tomorrow In March, HR Magazine attended the opening of the brand new AIA Leadership Centre in Bangkok. The insurance giant is once again leading the way through its commitment to enhancing the quality, effectiveness and professionalism of its people. We spoke with Shu Khoo, Group Chief Human […]

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A chance for 50 ambitious youngsters to become Adecco ‘CEOs for One Month’ | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

A chance for 50 ambitious youngsters to become Adecco ‘CEOs for One Month’

A springboard to brighter career prospects, with one candidate proceeding to become Adecco Group ‘CEO for One Month’ alongside Alain Dehaze Adecco Group, a HR solutions provider, is giving 50 entrepreneurial and ambitious youngsters the chance to become ‘CEO for One Month’ alongside the Adecco top management in their home countries. Online applications will be […]

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Organisational Coaching: What it is, how it has evolved and the future | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Organisational Coaching: What it is, how it has evolved and the future

By John Raymond, Head of Coaching, IECL What is Organisational Coaching? There is still much confusion between different fields of coaching including organisational, life and business coaching. If one looks at the definitions, we see, Coaching itself is a goal-oriented, solution-focused, question-based conversation to support the development of the trainee and achievement of their goals. […]

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Lifting the vision: why organisations need to develop new generation leaders now | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Lifting the vision: why organisations need to develop new generation leaders now

Knowing the best way to manage and develop Generation Y and Millennials into the next generation leaders is often the subject of intense debate within and amongst organisations. Though what most are in agreement about is that managing the newer generations—who will make up the majority of the workforce by 2020—will require new skills and […]

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Building high performance teams: a formula for organisational success | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Building high performance teams: a formula for organisational success

The quality of a team’s performance is one of the best predictors of organisational success. Businesses that understand this and commit to building high performance teams are those most likely to thrive in challenging times. It doesn’t matter how large or small your organisation is – if you want to improve performance, create and maintain […]

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Robert Mostert

Former Head Human Resources, Global SSSCs
Standard Chartered

Robert Mostert was until recently Head Human Resources of the Global ITO (Information Technology & Operations) function of Standard Chartered Bank, and of Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS). The latter operates from shared service centres in India (Chennai and Bangalore), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), and China (Tianjin).

Robert joined SCB in 2008 as Head Human Resources of the Global Finance Area, followed by a period as Head Human Resources of the Global Risk Area. He spent his first 6 months at SCB in London, followed by a relocation to Singapore. During 2015-16 he was based in Chennai, followed by a relocation back to Singapore in January 2017.

Prior to his time at SCB, Robert worked as Global Director Human Resources of the Biochemical Division of CSM (based in the Netherlands), Director Organisational Development of Innodata Corporation (Manila, The Philippines), and as Senior Manager of KPMG Consulting (Hong Kong).

Robert holds a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, and is an MBA from the University of Bradford Management Centre in the UK. He recently completed the Senior Executive Leadership Program of Harvard Business School.

Jack Mak

Product and Customer Proposition Head, Pensions
HSBC

Jack Mak is the Product and Customer Proposition Head of HSBC’s pension business in Hong Kong, and is responsible for driving pension product design and holistic proposition that suit customer needs for both employees and employers.

Prior to joining HSBC, he worked as an employee benefit consultant and pension actuary for almost 20 years, advising a diversified portfolio of corporations on their employee benefit issues, including how to optimise their benefit strategies to achieve talent acquisition and retention.

He is a past president of the Actuarial Society of Hong Kong (“ASHK”) and a current committee member of the Pension, Benefits and Social Security Section of the International Actuarial Association.

Cathay cabin crew opt for extending retirement age

Cathay is poised to lengthen its retirement age from 55 to 60 in the coming years, as a proposal won majority support in an internal ballot, reported SCMP. 55% voted to raise the retirement age.

This comes after different departments within the airline had varying retirement ages.  The company must now fashion a deal with its labour unions so that its financial position is enhanced and staff get a positive outcome.

However, a spokesperson for the airline commented, “It is clear that different views exist among our people. We are sensitive to the fact that some of our people will view the outcome less positively.” Cabin crew found the result encouraging despite the narrow margin of support, according to Vera Wu Yee-mei, Chairwoman, Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants’ Union who also noted that 81% of those who voted supported the proposal.

A concern raised by some younger cabin crew was that their promotion opportunities may be worse with a higher retirement age. Wu rebutted, “The survey is bound to generate different opinions, but the bigger issue is we have to stop age discrimination against cabin crew at the company.”

The vote enables cabin crew to push for the extended retirement age, with the company looking to finalise details in 2018.

Several Hong Kong-based airlines offer earlier retirement than Cathay Pacific, with attendants of Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Cathay Dragon being able to retire at 45. Cabin crew of many other major Asian airlines can still work to 60 and even beyond.

EY employees encouraged to build future-focused skills

EY has announced that it will introduce a new programme that will enable its 250,000 people in over 150 countries invest in their own careers. This is achieved by earning digital credentials in skills that differentiate them in the market, such as data visualisation, AI, data transformation and information strategy. The new programme, EY Badges—which will be launched in the coming months—builds on the organisation's continued commitment to deliver an exceptional experience for its people by equipping them with the necessary skills to solve complex problems, lead the highest performing teams and stay relevant in today's rapidly changing world.

Nancy Altobello, Vice Chair – Talent, EY Global commented, "At EY we provide our people with an exceptional career experience that's tailored to the individual. EY Badges is another way we're delivering on this commitment. By using badges to recognize our people's skills, we are increasing their career value and professional visibility, as well as equipping them with the right skills and experience to respond to the changing needs of our clients and to deliver our purpose of building a better working world."

Badges will be earned based on the same standards around the world, through world-class learning, fulfilling required experiences and making a contribution to the broader community, such as coaching colleagues, presenting to clients or publishing an article that educates others about the acquired skill.

Riaz Shah, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP and EY Badges Leader, said, "We're in an era of sustained global disruption and this means all professionals will have to gain new skills and experiences. EY Badges provides our people with opportunities to develop these future-focused skills and be matched with relevant projects, which helps our clients overcome challenges, adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world."

The badges will be hosted by a third-party digital platform where credentials from EY and other leading organisations can be accessed. EY people will be able to display their badges on their social media channels. Information about badge verification and additional context about the earned skill can be accessed via these social media channels in one click, and this information will be accessible to everyone.

Nightmare on L&D street—What the *beep* went wrong with L&D?

L&D, where did it all go wrong? HR tackles the tough questions at its Summer 2017 conference. Asking some of HR’s finest, we get down to the nitty-gritty of where L&D took a nasty turn, and how organisations are tackling those challenges.

Calculated risk

Jenny Pong, Group Director of HR, JTH Group

HR frequently needs to answer abstract and open-ended questions. As Jenny Pong, Group Director of HR, JTH Group stated, “There were two questions posed to our team at JTH: how can we connect our people better? And how can we make people more innovative?” The HR department put their heads together and came up with a creative solution to increase both connectivity and innovation.

While most companies achieve connectivity through developing an intranet, doing so can be expensive and time-consuming. Besides, technological advancement has produced a newer and more interesting way of connecting people: social media. As for innovation, the team decided that the fastest route to innovation was to lead by example. HR could have brought in traditional trainers to conduct courses and L&D programmes focused on innovation, but, as Pong declared, “Actions speak louder than words. Rather than just using buzzwords, we needed to act as innovators ourselves.”

The HR team developed a company-wide social media app. Its most innovative component is the VR360 glasses which enable colleagues to visualise the organisation’s global community. The app also promotes connectivity through features like sharing happy moments and giving colleagues public recognition for a job well done. Employees are encouraged to share new ideas with each other, as well as like and comment on each other’s posts.

Rather than worrying about the challenges of taking such a game-changing step, Pong encouraged the trying of new things. For example, before releasing the platform, management worried about issues like how to inspire good etiquette and polite exchanges. But the team took a ‘wait and see’ approach and found that negativity on the app was really a non-issue. Pong emphasised, “Sometimes you just need to get something out quickly, learn from it, and then see how you can enhance it. If you want to inspire your employees to take more risks without fear of failure, HR must be leaders in that.”

Unlearn to learn

Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development, APAC, Michigan Ross Business Schoo

There has never been a more difficult nor a more exciting time to be in learning and development. So says Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development APAC, Michigan Ross Business School who explained, “We as a function have reached a tipping point where we must each decide if we will be brave enough to challenge the orthodoxy of what we as a profession have been doing for the last few decades. Are we ready to be open

to questioning what we know about leadership development, about learning and what it means to lead in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world?”

Much of what is taught today in corporate programmes is often decades old and has too often been recycled from company to company to company... These traditional frameworks can be important, but they are not nearly enough to prepare leaders to survive and thrive in today’s drastically different and complex world of work.

Roseborough argues, “We need to explore future skills, systems, design and critical thinking as well as decision making for VUCA environments. Positive leadership, mindfulness and mindsets for employee sustainability will likely be the new normal going forward.”

L&D might also want to rethink the when and how of learning by exploring flipped classrooms, M learning, building learning back in work and exploring how to leverage peer learning within your organizations.

Key to L&D's future as HR leaders is their ability to learn a new language: the language of business. Roseborough mentioned, “I am increasingly seeing CHRO roles going to people without a HR background because there are not enough senior HR talent with the level of business understanding that is now increasingly being required by the business. Some companies are deciding that it is easier to teach a business leader HR than it is to teach business to a HR leader.

HR as a profession needs to adapt to the shifting requirements. In order for us to move into the next stage of evolution they need to think of themselves as business leaders first who happen to be responsible for the HR or L&D function and develop themselves accordingly. Roseborough concludes, “They say every great journey begins with a single step so carpe diem (seize the day) my friends!”

Embracing the 70-20-10 rule

Bessie Chong, Director, Group Training and Talent Management, Esquel Group

Bessie Chong, Director, Group Training and Talent Management, Esquel Group shared how Esquel use the ‘70-20-10 rule’ (70% on the job training, 20% mentoring and coaching and 10% formal learning) to drive people initiatives and develop talent progressively. Esquel aspires to make a difference by setting new benchmarks and improve efficiency by integrating talent with technology. Chong offered, “Our people strategy is to groom people from within so we must use different training and development approaches to help them fulfil their potential.”

Esquel University provides talent with structured training by offering tailored programmes in the form of a learning portal to facilitate personal growth. Progress is transparent so talent can take ownership of their learning and monitor their progress.

A blended learning model is then adopted according to employees learning interests and needs. To get employees on board, Esquel have rolled out the ‘a date with HR campaign’ where line managers have a ‘date’ with HR managers to aid the building of long lasting relationships with employees. Chong explained, “A series of dating dialogues provide HR managers with the opportunity to share their thoughts and help line managers and employees understand more about Esquel’s HR and people-related initiatives and the importance of personal growth.”

Chong believes that buy-in from line-managers helps to champion the initiative and foster a peer learning mind set which is integral to the initiative’s success. Therefore a ‘date’ with HR is more about fostering a change in mind set rather than initially focusing on a changing skill sets. Chong concluded, “Learning culture takes time to build—HR needs to build critical mass through communication. Talent must know why training is necessary and HR must help them identify areas for improvement in order to boost performance and enhance their careers.”

Training through WeChat

Joanna Lee, Group Head of Human Resources, Bauhinia Coatings Group

In mainland China, WeChat is an extremely popular social media app. As Joanna Lee, Group Head of Human Resources, Bauhinia Coatings Group, pointed out, “Everyone is attached to their mobile in China, and particularly WeChat. Therefore there is a huge mobile learning potential.” As her organisation is based across mainland China, using WeChat for both formal and informal training methods has been a highly effective way of increasing uptake.

Some of the official training offered through WeChat includes modules such as Emotional Intelligence (EI) training. Lee clarified, “EI is a highly important skill for managers. You must be able to effectively set the tone for your employees.” By rolling it out on the app, managers are exposed to the same training, regardless of location. The app is also used as an official channel of communication, with groups for different departments such as HR.

As for informal trainings, there are a range of materials available that employees can choose to view at any time. Lee explained, “Employees must be able to check out what they are interested in, when they are interested. This helps them ease their way into changes.” Employees can scroll down a list of trainings ranging from about a minute in length to 15 minutes or more, viewing whatever they would like. They can even earn red pockets for participating in enough of these unofficial trainings. In addition, there are informal groups to increase staff connectivity, such as a group to share interesting reading materials.

Despite the utility of WeChat, there are also some challenges to using it as an official channel. Lee voiced, “One concern right from the start is getting everyone to use their official names rather than fake usernames. From there, we need to make sure communication is kept formal and simple enough so that different groups can all understand each other.” Another challenge is keeping the chatter down, such as not having twenty employees respond with a thumbs-up sign to a manager’s announcement. Lee added, “Teaching people how to use WeChat appropriately in an official capacity is an important step in this process, and ensures staff are learning and communicating effectively.”

HR problem-solver

Gayle Antony, General Manager, Global Human Resources, INFINITI Motor Company Ltd.

HR is under increasing pressures internally and externally. The business is looking at HR to solve all its people problems, thinking they are the solution. Gayle Antony, General Manager, Global Human Resources, INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. said however, “HR is the not the solution itself, but rather the guide to finding one.” L&D alone is not the solution, but must work with the board to deliver strategic, not transactional change.

Antony emphasised, “At this point we have the power to decide what role we want play. We can sit back and wait for the business to come to us. Or we can go to the business.” HR should in turn approach the organisation with a broader perspective. Do not just go on what the business has told you needs addressing. Often there is a root cause that can be identified, and when addressed can have exponential positive outcomes. It is down to HR though to take the initiative and discover that. She cited a case regarding enhanced fuel economy for vehicles she experienced. Staff came to HR requesting training to better understand fuel economy and efficiency targets were not being met. After investigation, the cause of the problem was however not a lack of technical understanding, but rather independent teams not talking to each other, thus inadvertently undermining each other and affecting overall business goals.

Furthermore, Antony discussed how L&D should be broken down into 70% on the job training, 20% mentoring and coaching and 10% formal learning. She noted, “You need a variety of solutions that aren't just training based. L&D is focusing all its time on the 10% of formal learning.” This leaves the other 90% often ignored or left as an afterthought. The balance is clearly misaligned and the time balance must be reinvested accordingly.” HR cannot make the changes alone though. The business itself needs to own change.

Employee experiences count

Athena Ngai, Senior HR Manager, Sony Corporation of Hong Kong

Athena Ngai, Senior HR Manager, Sony Corporation of Hong Kong described how Sony Corporation continuously strives to add the ‘wow’ factor as the inspiration behind their training programmes. Ngai explained, “We want to cultivate diversified learning and career development opportunities and engagement through inspiration.”

Enriching on-board experiences for new hires is a key stage in developing talent at Sony and it is important that they are provided with the necessary support to do so. “We must instil our company values and spirit at the start of the development journey. We provide a series of orientation programmes including role clarification, corporate values and career management to help talent integrate quickly.” It is important to Sony Corporation that talent know how they can be supported in their role to enable them to become architects of their own careers. A career website is made available to provide talent with the practical tools to enhance certain competencies combined with career coaching and global opportunities to gain exposure in different cultures and working environments.

After the induction process is complete, young talent receive on-going development. Ngai offered, “The LEAP curriculum helps to strengthen leadership perspective and skills for young talent and enables them to apply learning in the workplace.” Managers play an important role in promoting personal growth and advocating training programmes. Participants are invited to share their experiences about the training they received which helps to further enhance their engagement with the training process.

Post training assignments also offer up interesting insights into what talent gained from training as they get the chance to undertake challenging assignments which can open up exciting new opportunities for them. Ngai concluded, “We aim to engage young talent by not just focusing on knowledge. We care about their well-being and it is important to equip them with the tools to help retain composure in stressful situations.”

Turning instructors into facilitators

Kay Chen, Human Resources Manager, APAC, Turner International Asia Pacific Limited
Gwen Lockington, Executive Director, HR, APAC, Turner International Asia Pacific Limited

 

The only thing that stays steady during the years is the need for L&D. L&D is in a constant state of flux, thinks Gwen Lockington, Executive Director, HR, APAC, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific Limited who commented, “L&D is highly driven by changes in consumer desires and needs. As well as an explosion in different platforms for delivering it, the rate of change is accelerating.” Thorough assessment and analysis need to be conducted before committing to change. This implies HR must ask themselves some questions before taking next steps:

  • What is critical for the future?
  • Who can be retrained?
  • What roles need to be hired externally?

Fleshing out future goals is vital to keeping HR relevant. Predicting the future for L&D can be a daunting task, however, HR are a resilient bunch and will take any L&D challenges in their stride and come out the other side.

Discussing how L&D has morphed, Lockington described how things have changed, “Our organisation has moved from a structure of using instructors to one where learning is instead guided by facilitators.” This changes the learning dynamic entirely. As opposed to the previous cascade of knowledge, it has manifested into one that is more collaborative. Learning is guided by the facilitator who takes on the role of an advisor, allowing staff to direct their own learning more and come to their own conclusions.

As companies move towards utilising and making the bulk of training mobile and on-demand, Turner Broadcasting are somewhat shunning the trend. Learning is concentrated into two weeks annually which occurs company wide, throughout the globe. Kay Chen, Human Resources Manager, APAC, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific Limited explained, “The training takes a holistic approach. Rather than single skills, it examines how we act and interact, and how we learn together.” Focusing on culture, rather than just skills, these core two weeks of training yield exceptional results for the company as a whole.

Measuring ROI and business impact at the end should not be forgotten. Programmes must have been relevant to the CEO’s vision, and that overall the mindset and culture has seen a boost. Measuring holistically is much more likely to give a rounder outlook of the company. As Chen iterated, “Our annual culture survey also measures the volume and quality of innovative ideas which can give further insight into the development of an organisation.”

Panel discussion
The first question asked of the panel was to talk about the biggest L&D ‘nightmare’ (or, to put it more positively, ‘challenge’) they had ever encountered. Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development APAC, Michigan Ross Business School said, “I arrived in Malaysia for a week with the entire senior country leadership team only to find them basically in a cold war with each other. I knew it was pointless to continue with the scheduled leadership program and offered them the opportunity to spend our time working through their challenges in order to come together as one team. It was not an easy start. I just facilitated and they did the heavy lifting work. Thankfully, they all left hugging each other. What a journey!

Glenn Smith, Learning and Development Manager, Asia, The Adecco Group, also related an interesting story, “I was once asked if I could train an employee to stop burping! Of course, something like that comes down to an issue of manager to employee communication, which can in fact be addressed.”

Moderator:
Paul Arkwright, Editor-in-Chief, HR Magazine
The panel from left to right:
Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development APAC, Michigan Ross Business School; Glenn Smith, Learning & Development Manager, APAC, Adecco Group; Femi Oei, HR Manager, JTH Group; Steven Ng, Head of Learning & Development, Baker McKenzie

 

Secondly, the panel talked about how to identify employees’ needs. Femi Oei, HR Manager, JTH Group commented, “Enabling your middle management is the most important. Specifically, middle management needs to be trained on handling challenging staff.” Oei explained that most middle managers are excellent at handling employees who are already good, but benefit from training for how to motivate weaker employees on the team. In addition, Roseborough Tam suggested, “Sitting in on business meetings for other departments can be a big help in determining business challenges and training needs in different areas.”

When asked about catering to Millennials, the panel reiterated themes such as gamification and utilising technology to increase engagement. However, Steven Ng, Head of Learning and Development, Baker McKenzie shared an alternative approach, “Law firms do not have the same scalability as an international business and therefore do not always focus on technological innovation. Instead, we focus heavily on a personal approach with lots of one-to-one mentoring. Millennial employees actually really enjoy this aspect.”

Finally, the panel was asked how to measure training effectiveness, particularly for short-term interventions like micro-learning. Smith established, “Of course it is important to measure KPIs and check your targets. More importantly, after the training ends the boss needs to know what behavioural changes they are looking for and keep an eye on whether employees actually adapt those changes.” Ng ended on a philosophical note, “Do you really need to measure everything? The value of certain interventions, such as mentoring, is difficult to measure quantitatively. It is really more about an employee’s long-term, overall well-being.”

International commuters benefit from greater future prospects

  • New research from AXA reveals 98% of big businesses surveyed say a globally mobile workforce is important, with a third saying it is critical to their success 
  • But staff working abroad want increasing flexibility with three-quarters of employers saying people want to commute internationally and continue living at home 
  • Those working internationally reap the rewards with many workers boosting earnings and career prospects 

Despite the unstable economic climate, unexpected political change and the impact of technology on societies the world's biggest companies still view a flexible and globally-mobile workforce as key when it comes to building a successful business, according to new research from AXA.

The study revealed that 98% of employers see a globally mobile workforce as important to achieving their objectives with a third believing it to be critical. More than half of the businesses questioned said sending staff on global assignments has improved the performance of their international operations and 44% said it improved employees' skill level.

However, the research revealed that while employers see international working as key, their staff do not necessarily want to move permanently to another country. Three-quarters of employers surveyed said there is a trend for staff to accept jobs based abroad while they continue to live at home: They become international commuters.

More than a third of firms said staff increasingly want to work abroad on short-term contracts and commute from their home country, with 27% saying that staff do not want to relocate permanently. The rewards for working internationally do, however, appear to make the commute or relocation worth the effort. The majority of staff working on international assignments said they took global placements to gain higher pay and benefits with 47% saying they took roles to gain accelerated career development and improve their skills.

Tom Wilkinson, CEO of AXA's global healthcare team stated, "Having an international workforce is critical for businesses that want to capitalise on the huge opportunities available in our global economy.” He continued, “While we read much about economic and political uncertainty in some countries, the reality is that businesses that take a global outlook are able to flex their operations to take advantage of growth markets wherever they may be.”

While the Internet and improved communications technology has made it easier for businesses to work globally, the key differentiator remains the talent of the people that organisations employ. Taking a flexible approach to pay and benefits that allows staff to remain connected to family and home while also accelerating their careers and creating commercial value for their employers is vital if international assignments are to succeed.

The need to get the right people for international assignments may partly explain why big businesses are willing to be more flexible with staff around how they structure international assignments and pay and benefits packages but the survey reveals that these postings come at a price for employers. On average, the firms surveyed said it cost them USD 50,267 over and above an employee's base salary for each staff member they have working abroad, with three-fifths of employers saying pressure to manage international assignment costs has increased in the past five years.

Star Service HR

Hang Lung’s talent development successes as headcount doubles

Janet Poon, General Manager – Human Resources, Hang Lung Properties has been with the Company since 2012 and helped transform their talent pool during a period of unprecedented expansion. She shares her innovative approach to talent attraction and retention to help fuel the Company’s phenomenal growth.

Janet Poon, General Manager – Human Resources, Hang Lung Properties

Adaptive HR

Hang Lung Properties has always taken a very people-centric approach to its growth, and more recently this has involved Poon revamping many aspects of HR processes in order to keep pace with the Company’s growth and attract new and even more diverse talent pools. She explained, “Over the past seven or eight years, we have achieved unprecedented growth—the gross floor area of Hang Lung Group has more than doubled during this period from 16 million to 34 million square feet. To keep pace with this, we have significantly increased headcount from 2,500 in 2010 to close to 5,000 now.”

In response to rapid business growth and the dynamic nature of today’s talent pool, Poon at the helm of HR in the Company has championed a number of unique measures including innovative recruitment methods, a fully customised training and development programme and caring initiatives to boost work-life balance, employee wellness and CSR efforts.

Innovative recruitment & selection

Poon explained the importance of recruiting people who have the same values as the corporation. She commented, “At Hang Lung ‘We Do It Right’ and so we are looking for talent with a high degree of integrity. We welcome people from all business areas—not just the property development sector. We believe that bringing on board a diverse range of talent and ideas they bring from different sectors can help positively shape our culture moving forwards.”  She added, “We have some of the best building designs in the world, the best locations for our properties and so we need the best team to ensure we run our business sustainably.”

To get the best talent on board and better reach the younger generation, the Company has developed designated corporate pages on various social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and WeChat to help carry the employer brand and reinforce corporate values. The Company also has built up strategic partnerships with a selected group of recruitment agencies to help locate the best talent. Poon noted, “HR and Hang Lung places significant effort into strategic planning around manpower to best suit the Company's ongoing development. Poon noted, "In addition to our strategic manpower planning to ensure a continuous supply of high quality new talent, we also provide many opportunities for existing talent to move laterally throughout the Company.”

Hang Lung’s Staff Manoeuvre System facilitates excellent career development for its talent—in which they are proactively encouraged to move across the different functions and locations. Poon cited one example, “Some of our Management Trainees from Hong Kong choose to develop their careers in mainland China after their graduation. This breadth of movement throughout the Company helps give them a unique macro perspective of the property market through collaboration with contractors, consultants, investors, government departments in addition to project management interactions with their colleagues throughout the region and at different levels of the organisation.”

Poon added, “We do all we can to create a great candidate experience for new recruits and utilise AI, AR and Facebook throughout the recruitment process to enhance the process from the candidate perspective.”

Aside from this, the Company also organises TEAMS Days to recruit new management trainees which provide a light hearted environment in which to assess job applicants. Here around 200 candidates are selected from all the universities in Hong Kong and overseas, and are assigned strategic tasks to complete within the day. This involves candidates working in teams around several of the Company’s properties across Hong Kong and gives a very ‘real’ indication of how they perform different challenges and interact with others in the group. During the day, candidates are expected to come up with marketing strategies and plan projects based around limited budgets and resources. Poon explained, “Aside from our usual interviews—where candidates tend to be sometimes over prepared—the TEAMS Days allow us to assess their performance under much more realistic scenarios and in a more holistic manner. The days also provide an excellent opportunity for two-way communication between the General Managers (GMs) concerned and the candidates. The GMs get to know if the candidates are in tune with the culture of Hang Lung and at the same time the candidates get to learn a huge amount about the business—so both sides can assess if they think it’s a good fit.” The initiative received over 1,500 applicants in 2016 alone—15 of whom were selected to join the Hang Lung family.

Customised Star Service T&D

Star Service delivery is a key focus for the Company, and so significant resources have been channelled into staff development in this area. Poon explained, “We spent around three years thoroughly assessing and evaluating the service standards of our staff to identify key areas for further enhancement. From this the Company established four key stages of training programmes including its ‘four manners’ and ‘eight points’ as fundamental building blocks of the Hang Lung Star Service training programme. She added, “We take a developmental rather than a training approach to help staff self-develop and progress their careers through the Company.”

Stage 1

Four manners key to great service

The Hang Lung Star Service training programme was developed as a tool for frontline staff to help them better interact with customers including staff from the customer service, security, environmental protection and engineering teams. The Hang Lung Star Service training program is the tool for our frontline staff. Every colleague at every level may be interacting with our customers, so selected service delivery team supervisors in all of Hang Lung's mainland malls have already been trained as certified trainers to introduce the programme to all local staff.

Creating a great image is the first thing taught in the programme and advice to staff goes beyond basic grooming to include the wider concept of customer service—based on four manners:

greeting politely—welcoming customers with a warm and sincere smile

answering enquiries—showing kindness and effectiveness

value-added services—going the extra mile to proactively offer help to customers

ending with a warm farewell—leaving an impression of star service and a great image

Stage 2

Handling complaints

The advanced level of the training programme introduces talent to eight key points to help them better deal with complaints. The Company has always stressed the importance of listening and analysing complaints and feedback, with staff approaching and solving problems with a positive attitude. With the eight points, the Company has taken things a step further and created a 180-degree mind shift concerning complaints—so that instead of viewing complaints negatively, staff members actually see them as a gift. Customer feedback is a gift to the Company and our staff —allowing us to pinpoint our weaknesses and gives us valuable chances to further improve our service standards.

Engagement of talent and driving business are critical HR functions. You can’t just roll out items you have planned; first you have to also understand exactly how these actions will drive business results.

Stage 3

Reassuring and motivating

The Company launched its CS3 programme in 2015 which, initially pitched at supervisory grade staff, aimed to deepen understanding of the service standards in the areas of grooming, languages, knowledge and behaviours through a wide range of formats including: trainer sharing sessions, discussions, role-plays, mini-movie shoots and games. Lily Zhang, Senior Officer of HR & Administration, Parc 66 noted, “The interactive activities in the programme heighten the participation by staff members. The mini-movie shoots have been particularly effective in allowing colleagues to review what they have learned in class as well as better understand their own strengths and weaknesses by watching the play backs.”

The first pilot programme was held in Jinan in November 2015 and was later rolled out across all mainland projects in January 2016. Frontline supervisors from Concierge, Security, Hygiene, Cashier and Technical teams were selected to attend the first stage of the programme. The Company plans to implement the programme for all frontline staff in the near future as well as to make it as a compulsory course for new joiners.

Academy 66, the learning and development division of Hang Lung, formulates the ‘eight points’ for the training programme, specially designed them to equip frontline staff with eight key skills to handle complaints:

1. positive attitude

2. self-introduction

3. restate the problem

4. sincere apology

5. appreciate and comfort

6. clarify the situation

7. resolve the problem and follow up

8. service recovery

Stage 4

Belonging & engagement

The final phase of the training programme helps inculcate a sense of belonging, engagement and most importantly fostering two-way communication between talents across the organisation. This has been achieved through multiple efforts including coaching, demonstrating senior management commitment, the Hang Lung Challenge and recognising great performers within the organisation. On-going coaching helps ensure that core concepts learnt during the entire L&D programme are effectively transitioned into the workplace through on-going coaching of talent. Rolled out in every department of the Company, regular coaching sessions also ensure consistency across different business functions and help maximise the effectiveness of the entire T&D programme.

To help provide a positive influence on a more macro scale, the senior management team regularly travels to mainland China to conduct town hall meetings with talent across the country. This facilitates cross-departmental communication and further motivates staff who can see the tangible involvement and commitment of their executive leaders. Following the announcement of the 2017 interim results on 27 July, the Company held staff briefing sessions in Hong Kong, Shenyang, Tianjin, Wuxi and Shanghai. Chairman Ronnie C. Chan, CEO Philip Chen, CFO HC Ho, Executive Director Adriel Chan and other Management members explained the results and answered questions from the team. Colleagues from other mainland projects were also able to join via video conference to learn more about the Company's operations, management, financial performance and the business outlook in general.

Recognition—little actions matter

In terms of recognising employee efforts and great service, Hang Lung holds an annual ceremony where it presents its Emerald Award to frontline staff members who each demonstrated extraordinary excellence in customer service. Now in its third year, the Award helps recognise the efforts of frontline staff members who pursue service excellence with heartfelt conviction, one of the essential elements of Hang Lung’s corporate culture and in line with its ‘Go the Extra Mile’ spirit.

The Company views customer service as the very heart of its operations throughout the portfolio, from leasing to operational strategies, which enhances our corporate culture and provides momentum for our business to grow. The Emerald Award was launched to inspire frontline staff and reinforce Hang Lung’s longstanding focus on service excellence as well as to establish the award as an outstanding icon of the value the Company places on recognition of our team’s contributions on service provision.

In addition to receiving a certificate and a platinum emerald pin, each winner also takes part in a four-day exchange tour of service excellence, during which they will have the opportunity to find out more about how customer service works in other service industry sectors.

Caring initiatives

To help employees achieve a better work-life balance Hang Lung launched its employee wellness programme which includes a wide variety of activities ranging from stretching and sports classes, to a wellness day and health talks—all aimed at relieving stress and pressure on talent throughout the organisation.

The Hang Lung Social Club also organises activities including sports, cooking and family outings to help staff unwind in a relaxing environment outside the usual work context.

In terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Poon noted, “Team spirit and teamwork are very important, so we organise numerous CSR work for our teams. We actively encourage staff to bring along their family to participant in CSR projects to further boost engagement and maximise the effectiveness of the work we do as a team.”

Poon concluded, “At the end of the day engagement of talent and driving business are critical HR functions. You can’t just roll out items you have planned; first you have to also understand exactly how these actions will drive business results. The role of HR is developing rapidly and their role is no longer simply about pushing policies, HR is now the key stakeholder in leading and engaging staff at all levels in the organisation. Moving forwards it’s crucial that HR involves all business units in this process and constantly garners and acts upon feedback from talent at all levels.”

The Hang Lung Challenge

The Hang Lung Challenge was launched in Hong Kong in February 2017 and was rapidly extended to cover colleagues working across mainland China. The full-day course begins with the Legend 66 Game Board, which plays a key role along with other interactive games to introduce the Company background. One of the most interesting modules is the Hang Lung Adventure in the afternoon where colleagues are divided into groups to complete missions at various key properties. Poon commented, “The challenges have proven extremely popular and they not only help familiarise colleagues with the Company's portfolio, but also significantly train up and boost team spirit.”

It’s crucial that HR involves all business units in [driving engagement] and constantly garners and acts upon feedback from talent at all levels.

Skills revolution shall forge the new HR

Structural changes within organisations and the entire economy, like aging demographics and digitisation, have placed a huge demand on skilled talent in order to leverage ever more productive modes of work. Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO, ManpowerGroup believes that a skills revolution is now necessary to meet this demand which will, in turn, require organisations to completely re-imagine the way they think about human capital, employment and HR functions. HR Magazine interviewed Prising at the ManpowerGroup Greater China Summer Summit held on 16 August in Shenzhen and we share his take on why HR needs to continually upskill talent to thrive in the skills revolution.

Future of work bright— with the right skills
In contrast to the usual concerns about digitisation destroying jobs, Prising argued that the future for employment looks incredibly bright. In fact, a recent survey by ManpowerGroup of 18,000 employers globally indicated that over 83% of organisations would maintain or increase their headcount over the coming years as a result of greater automation. The research further found most employers in China expect automation will bring a net gain for employment. The majority expect to maintain or increase their headcount and upskill their people. This is echoed in latest research conducted by Robert Half which found that 72% of Hong Kong CFOs agreed workplace automation would not cause a loss of jobs, but that a shift in required skillsets was needed. The challenge as Prising sees it is not that jobs will be destroyed, but rather the nature of jobs will evolve and continue to change in the future.

Thus the focus of the Skills Revolution is in ensuring that individuals are given the training, support and opportunities they need to develop and adapt to the world of tomorrow. Prising cautioned HR, “The biggest risk is the temptation to think about this as a cyclical change that will eventually go away. This is no short-term project, but rather a necessary paradigm shift in the way that HR professionals view training and upskilling as part of their overall offering.”

Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO, ManpowerGroup

The notion of learnability—an individual’s desire and ability to learn new skills—will be one of most important things that HR leaders need to cultivate in the future. Rather than seeing skills growth as a medium-term one or two year investment, Prising noted, “HR’s ability to upskill in an environment that is more global, more dynamic, more volatile and where technology is starting to shift the way work gets done is a long-term process.” Estimates by McKinsey suggested that 65% of the jobs that Generation Z will perform do not even exist yet, further highlighting this need for organisations to shift their HR culture into one where skills are constantly developed in a far-sighted manner.

Prising commented that no matter what objectives a business has, success will depend on the proper deployment of human resources and acquisition of skills. Therefore, for individuals in HR the true measure of success during this culture shift will lie in the number of individuals who are able to bridge the gap between today and tomorrow. He explained, “While the magnitude and scope of change required can be daunting for organisations, and the pace of change is certainly picking up compared to what it was before, it won’t have to happen overnight. The most important thing is that organisations make a concerted, deliberate and purposeful effort to make the transition.”

There is a mosaic of ways in which employees can engage with employers and employment.

Skills-based employer-employee relationships
One effect of the increased demand for skills is that the traditional way of thinking about the employer-employee relationship is being challenged. Prising said, “There is a mosaic of ways in which employees can engage with employers and employment and this is a rational response to a world that increasingly demands higher skills. In the past employees had a job for life (where there was little movement between companies) or a job for now (where a job was held for decades rather than for a lifetime), increasingly nowadays employees are now looking for a so called ‘career for me’.” He added, “Individuals are recognising that job security has shifted away from the traditional pay, benefits and a company pension offered by old work models, and are focusing on staying competitive and relevant in the job market. Career growth is no longer driven by company loyalty or experience, but rather by the skills that an employee can bring to organisations.”

Thus, career hungry employees are more likely than ever to put a premium on their own development. This has manifested in the attitudes that Millennials hold towards their jobs, being more willing to take on additional responsibility and more likely to leave if stretch opportunities do not present themselves.

In the past, graduate employees typically changed jobs around twice in the first decade after leaving university, nowadays they will change employers around four times over the same period.

Contentious candidates

Research by ManpowerGroup found that 57% of Millennials recognised that in order for their careers to progress, their skills also need to develop. Over a quarter also said that the key to having job security in the future lay in gaining marketable skills—highlighting the importance that Millennials place on development. This shift in ethos has led ManpowerGroup to define a full third of present day workers as ‘contentious candidates’, who are driven to advance their career and update their skills by changing jobs frequently.

As a result, individuals will increasingly seek out a mixture of full-time, part-time and freelance work throughout their working lives as they prioritise maximising the skills and experiences they need to grow. This is reflected in data gathered by both Princeton and Harvard Universities in The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, which suggests that the number of employees in alternate work arrangements in the US (including independent contract arrangements, on call and temporary work) has risen from 10.7% to 15.8% in the past 10 years. This trend is set to continue. The recent report Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision highlights that half of all Millennials would be willing to work in a non-traditional employment arrangement in the future.

Employers will have to have a clear value proposition.

Developing in-house talent safest way of securing skills
While it might be tempting for HR leaders to respond to the increasing flexibility of employees by doubling down on a spot hire strategy, where skilled talent is found on an as needs basis, Prising believed this approach was short sighted. He noted, “One of the main drivers of talent shortage is an aging demographic, so it’s going to be much harder to find individuals just based on the available talent pool.” He added, “Since organisations on a global level will be competing for the same, increasing footloose talent only—relying on the spot market to find the talent that you need to execute your business strategy—is a very risky choice.”

Prising instead argued that farsighted companies will not only develop skills and talent through their own internal pipelines, but that they will use those pipelines as a means of attracting and holding onto external talent. If an employer can shift their value proposition for employees to one that offers skills and growth, they are better able to tap into that recognition and secure a strong pool of talent to recruit from. He summarised, “Employers will have to have a clear value proposition that says ‘look we understand that you’re not going to work for us for 40 years and in actual fact we understand that we can’t make that promise to you either. So a fair trade is that when you come to us and spend time here we will guarantee you that we will continue to evolve your skills—that’s why you should join us’.”

Demand for this kind of development offers great opportunities for HR professionals. While SMEs might not have the resources or expertise to provide these shifts in HR culture internally, the increasing demand for highly skilled labour will create spaces in the market for HR providers who are able to provide a strong, steady pipeline of flexible but skilled talent which is ready for deployment in SMEs.

Women to benefit from changing approaches to work
Just as employers better attract skilled Millennial talent by re-thinking their value proposition, employers also have the opportunity to improve their attractiveness to skilled female talent. With women generally holding higher levels of education, but participating between 25 – 35% less in the workforce than men, Prising says that one of the fastest ways to catalyse organisational growth is to better include women, and the skills they hold, in the workforce.

Prising predicted, “Organisations that are able to make accommodations for women by offering flexible working arrangements— giving them more time to develop skills and/or look after their families—are going to disproportionately be able to attract and retain women in the future.” Additionally, such arrangements offer benefits to employers beyond securing skills; in some contexts flexible working may allow for improvements in productivity. For example, work done predominantly on the computer does not require physical presence if the work is done on the Cloud. Prising theorised that as measurement of things like actual output become more precise and accurate, such benefits will be obvious.

Flexible employment is the future
Employers can also respond to the shift in employee values by broadening their conception of the way that work gets done. Prising said, “Relying solely on traditional employees in static offices is no longer the only way to complete tasks: crowdsourcing, offshoring and the use of virtual teams are examples of opportunities that can flatten organisations and improve agility. Instead of trying to predict the future, being responsive is much more important.”

A case study of this in action can be seen in the employment patterns in China. In the late 20th century, many Chinese workers were relatively low skilled and on low incomes, producing products at an incredibly low cost. The emphasis for employers was on getting large numbers of workers physically into their factories to keep their industrial concerns expanding.

Nowadays, China’s industry is becoming one of the world’s largest consumers of AI and robotics, as manufacturers seeks to expand their offering to become competitive in terms of quality, not just price. Such a transformation requires higher skills but fewer hands on the factory floor, and a swathe of additional employees to support this tech-focused way of producing goods—forging a new HR. In the new era, HR managers throughout China are completely rethinking the shape of their organisations and how they utilise their employees. Prising cited a typical example, “If a factory produces goods that are sold worldwide, offshoring sales functions or integrating overseas employees with virtual design teams might be appropriate, and give the company greater flexibility in case geo-political winds change direction.”

Get close to the business and truly understand what levers within the business make it more or less successful.

HR must be commercially focussed
The importance of HR in meeting the challenges of the skills revolution cannot be understated. Prising highlighted, “The importance of HR leaders will be much greater tomorrow than it was today because access to skilled talent pools will determine the success of the organisation that they work for and for whom they recruit.” He added, “And as organisations must adapt to the changing business landscape, so too must HR. Perspectives need to shift from the transactional and tactical to become more business focused and strategic. A hire and fire mentality, while working beautifully for the past 30 years, is an inadequate mindset for providing real success in the future.”

Increasingly, individuals are coming from outside of HR into the profession. According to the recent report Developing the Next Generation of CHROs in Southeast Asia by Aon, almost 40% of CHRO’s emanate from a non-HR background. Such a background invariably gives these individuals a broader practical understanding of how organisations make money and what HR functions can best drive performance within that context. From a C-suite perspective, placing such talent within HR makes perfect sense. Prising noted, “If access to skilled talent is the key to the future success of the company, CEOs are going to make sure that they have individuals running those functions that help them achieve that very objective.” He advised, “Current HR leaders must get close to the business and truly understand what levers within the business make it more or less successful. Existing transactional functions within the HR industry will be significantly technology driven, if not automated, within the next decade.” Such change is yet another reason for HR to evolve to become closer to the commercial side of organisations.

The traditional ways in which HR measures success can also be re-designed to better reflect changing attitudes. With employees more likely to pursue opportunities elsewhere, markers such as attrition will become less important. Prising commented that other tools, such as an employee net-promoter score that tries to gauge the mood of the workforce more responsively, are more effective because they give an up to date snapshot of how employees are feeling. This means HR managers can then be pro-active in responding to shifting moods within the workplace instead of acting after an employee leaves, as is the case with attrition. Prising advised that HR departments look into redeveloping feedback tools so that data gathered can be acted upon in a shorter time frame—replacing an annual review with a pulse review that happens monthly, or improving the frequency and quality of manager-employee interaction.

Policy changes coming
The demand for skills and changing way that we work poses challenges for policy makers as well as HR professionals. Prising suggested that the way that labour legislation is written across the globe is increasingly unfit for the future of work. He said, “Most of the labour legislation in Europe is built around the notion of job security, as opposed to a notion of employment security. Instead of simply protecting an employee’s right to stay in a job, I predict that legislation in the future will increasingly offer skills development and the opportunity to compete within the breadth of the job market.” He cited examples of the UK Government’s review of the gig economy and France’s proposed notion of Flexicurity as ways in which modern governments are responding to this need. He added, “A modified system requires flexibility combined with security, whether that is providing individuals with subsidies for training, or providing additional mechanisms to help employees transition from one employer to another.” He concluded “No matter what the industry, or location in the world, securing and developing skills is going to be the defining challenge of our time.”


The skills revolution: 3 questions every HR leader must ask

As a practical response to such workplace volatility, Prising puts forward three questions that HR leaders must consider:

  1. What are my future talent sources? Assess the strengths of your current pipeline and look for any un-accessed talent pools to provide additional skills or experience.
  2. What work models are best suited for my organisation and its business strategies? Evaluate the way that your current employees do work and see if they can perform their roles more effectively through alternative arrangements.
  3. What are the people practices I will use? Determine how to increase your value and exploit institutional strengths to leverage interest from prospective employees.

 

Effective reward & recognition strategies

Defining an organisation’s rewards and recognition policy can be complicated purely because there are so many factors to take into account. What will motivate your people to take one step further and turn good employees into exceptional ones? Enhanced benefits, bonuses, international postings. Sometimes all it can take it just a pat on the back for a job well done. HR leaders shared their reward and recognition policies and how they are making them work for the organisation as a whole.

Workplace of the future

Ramesh Gopalkrishna, Head—APAC, Workplace, Facebook

Discussing the world we currently live in, Ramesh Gopalkrishna, Head— APAC Workplace, Facebook described it as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Competition between businesses is tough, and is made tougher by constant evolution. Fifty years ago, hotels simply competed against other hotels; now, hotel chains compete against disruptors like Airbnb. In these uncertain times, Gopalkrishna insisted, “The only way for us to compete is by building the right culture in our organisations.”

How can we build ‘the right culture’? Gopalkrishna pointed out that disruption, reliance on mobile phones and evolving communication methods are all major global trends, but too often businesses fail to embrace this and continue using old methods. Many of us use tools such as WhatsApp to efficiently complete projects, yet almost no one considers it an ‘official’ channel of communication. Why not? Gopalkrishna offered up Facebook’s Workplace platform as one way companies can choose to work with these trends. The platform is like a private Facebook that is only accessible to the employees of a company. Along with offering a familiar social media format, it allows workers at all levels of an organisation to directly share ideas with the upper management. It also enables employees to publicly acknowledge each other for hard work through posting positive thank you messages on each other’s pages.

Making sure everyone’s voice is heard is extremely important to building a strong organisational culture, and technology can help facilitate this. Gopalkrishna emphasised, “When we create an environment where it is safe to speak up, we can make magic happen in our organisations.”

Tearing down the traditional workplace

Peng Hui Lim, Regional Head—Talent Attraction, Culture & Strategic Initiatives, AXA Asia

Peng Hui Lim, Regional Head—Talent Attraction, Culture & Strategic Initiatives, AXA Asia took to the floor to discuss the planning and implementation of a modern working environment. As well as having the vision for something contemporary, strategic and meticulous, planning must be done to ensure a smooth transition.

Behaviours today are vastly different from those in the not so distant past, largely driven by the digital disruption occurring all around us. Around 20 years ago, your parents would warn you about people on the internet and getting into strangers’ cars. Now, everyday millions of trips are made by booking stranger’s cars via the internet. Such vast technological changes and dynamic interactions need to be reflected in the workspace. What may have been sufficient a decade ago will no longer be enough to maintain a competitive edge.

At AXA, tearing down the traditional workspace to build a cutting edge, interactive and digitally enabled environment is the order of business. Initiatives at AXA include Flexi-hours, Flexi-location and Activity Based Workspaces (fluid workspaces that are utilised based on different types of work activities, at different times of the day—small meetings, brainstorming sessions and quiet focus booths). Lim interjected, “Your office becomes your backpack, or handbag!”

When developing a new workspace, letting your employees have a hand in guiding the re-designing process assures a successful transition, to know what your employees need by directly involving them. After all, staff will have the best insight into themselves and what would facilitate a productive working environment. Lim commented, “Letting the employees have a say in the blueprint is important, and taking feedback from them at the preliminary design and especially during the early stages of the implementation helps you quickly identify and address any gaps.” She also added that gathering lots of data on people’s habits before design can pave the way to a successful outcome.

Management must be open to ongoing feedback, because that is what is necessary to ensure the blueprint realizes its full potential. She concluded, “There is no one size fits all.” Listen to feedback, collaboratively work through the potential challenges and build a culture of continuous improvement in both the working space and with the staff.

 

HR meet finance, finance meet HR

Rupert Purser, CEO Gereord (Renewable Energy), AMEA Operations, Burford Capital

Rupert Purser, CEO, Gereord (Renewable Energy) AMEA Operations, Burford Capital believes that one of the most important factors for an organisation when trying to add value and deliver on strategic goals, is communication between HR and finance teams. Purser advised, “HR and the CFO must be bilingual to prevent a disconnect—the key is effective communication with your finance team.” For this to happen, Purser recommends putting measurements in place for finance teams to see definable results and highlight successes. Purser stated, “You need to talk in terms of financial facts to CFOs. Make sure hard numbers reconcile with the numbers the CFO deals with and explain how you can help achieve KPIs.”

Purser explained how ‘looping’ can help refine assumptions over time by starting with financial assumptions before turning them into real data rather than the preliminary estimations. He commented, “Looping can be used to provide reassurance—you can relate KPIs to an activity and convert to a number before looping back to measure progress.” Purser went on to emphasise the need for HR to be involved with strategy and encourage disruption or it can become dysfunctional. He suggests that disruption is inevitable so it is important for organisations to embrace it in order to grow. “Encouraging disruptive ideas can be extremely healthy when managed in a controlled way. Start at the top, convince leadership and work down to get buy-in.”

Purser pointed out that culture is considered intangible as a measurement tool for CFOs and it is HR's responsibility to enhance their understanding of HR. He stated, “In order to execute strategy you must have the CFO on-side and it is HR’s responsibility

 

Downsizing: preparing your staff for their future

Michelle Lacey, Former Country Head of HR & Regional HR Head of China, RBS

Managing a wind-down of business is a challenge to newcomers and veterans alike. When faced with that exact challenge, Michelle Lacey, Former Country Head of HR & Regional HR Head of Change, RBS, expressed how she turned initial panic into strategic action. Downsizing from 3000 to a mere 250 staff members and succinctly managing this hefty task was a challenge, and it had to be done right.

Lacey reassured, “If you’re faced with a daunting question, it’s okay to panic and think ‘I have no idea what is happening next’ because either way you will get through it.” Allowing oneself to take stock of the situation, getting over the initial shock and then regaining composure is a big part of the process when getting ready to manage a transition. Creating a plan is the primary action to be taken and must be done to prepare for the first steps.

Engaging employees is just as important as engaging the other heads of HR. Everyone is affected, including HR, as often it is their own jobs as well that are in question. More often than not, first on everyone’s mind is severance. Lacey commented, “A fair and reasonable severance package must be formulated.” This is especially important in terms of special cases, such as those with long term illness or on maternity leave. She continued, “These issues unfold as the process develops and HR has to understand they are having a massive effect on people's lives, especially the most vulnerable.”

Non-financial elements must also be a consideration. A benevolent HR department will not leave their charges out in the cold. Preparing your staff for the next career steps demonstrates a great deal of empathy, a key trait of any leader. As an example, Lacey cited, “In our Malaysia office, there was the prospect of a Chinese buyer of the business. To encourage confidence in this, we offered Mandarin to those who would like to continue their career in the same place.” Supporting and training staff, and then facilitating their moves for the future demonstrates HR’s willingness to help people develop. She added, “Make your employees’ future your mission.”

 

Defining what your people need

Andrew Bishop, Chief of Staff—Asian Markets, Regional Head of Human Resources—Asia Pacific Markets, RGA Reinsurance Company

Overseas assignments—while being fantastic growth opportunities—are suitable rewards for those who excel within the company. Though temporary excursions to foreign countries may not be to everyone’s taste, for those who want it, it can be thrilling and recognition of a job well done.

Andrew Bishop, Chief of Staff—Asian Markets, Regional Head of Human Resources, Asia Pacific Markets, Reinsurance Group of America, discussed the Short Term International Rotation Programme (STIR) that offers opportunities for exceptional staff to take a temporary placement overseas for development purposes. While the programme can be costly, venerating those who have stood out and driven success and rewarding them with international placements, it will have a valuable return. Staff receive recognition and the organisation invests in someone who will be a key player in the future.

On the topic of remuneration, Bishop cautioned though, “Compensation is an art, not a science. Every employee has their own compensation story.” When the organisation’s total reward package is aligned with employee’s need, long-term success is achievable.

 

Reward and retain

Pattie Walsh, Partner and Co-Head of Asia-Pacific, International Employement Group, Bird and Bird

Pattie Walsh, Partner and Co-Head of Asia Pacific, International Employment Group, Bird and Bird shared how technological change in the workplace today brings about both challenges and opportunities. Whilst technological change has undoubtedly made our lives easier, there are associated risks and HR does not always embrace change readily enough. Walsh stated, “Today, 45% of activities people are paid to perform can be automated by current technologies. Whilst around 50% of companies have devised a strategy to address workforce digitisation, fewer than 25% have deployed it.”

Walsh suggests that countries such as China value tech highly and many companies plan to fully automate their workforces in the future, which poses a huge threat to employment. Walsh commented, “There is going to be a lot of change which we have to accept. Some industries will be more automated than others however elements of everyone’s roles will change.” As a result, Walsh believes there are important trends to be picked up on such as an ever increasing need for flexible fit-for-purpose staffing arrangements to maintain a sustainable workforce. Walsh offered, “Going into the future it is important for HR to think about how to structure reward in terms of retention.”

Walsh stressed the importance of HR becoming more sophisticated in order to analyse risks and control them as issues around individual contracts, flexibility and the gig economy still need to be addressed by the law. “The less control a business has over the actions of others engaged on its behalf, the more difficult it is to control risks.” According to Walsh, staffing arrangements should therefore be organised into a legal framework. Walsh advised that the only real way to properly mitigate risk with the changes coming in the future is to have appropriate contracts and policies in place— structured for maximum flexibility—not just traditional employment relationships.

 

Panel discussion

Moderator: Paul Arkwright, Editor-in-Chief, HR Magazine
The panel from left to right:

  • Pattie Walsh, Partner and Co-Head of Asia-Pacific, International Employment Group, Bird & Bird
  • Angie Sung, Head of Human Resources, Hong Kong & Macau, Hilti (Hong Kong) Ltd.
  • Joanna Lee, Group Head of Human Resources, Bauginia Coatings Group
  • Michelle Lacey, Former Country Head of HR & Regional HR Head of Change, RBS
  • Flora Chan, Head of HR (Hong Kong), UOB Group
  • Andrew Bishop, Chief of Staff—Asian Markets, Regional Head of Human Resources—Asia Pacific Markets, Reinsurance Group of America

The first question asked during the panel discussion was on what key challenges businesses might face in aligning very different demographics for compensation purposes. Flora Chan, Head of HR (Hong Kong), UOB Group emphasised the need for cohesive communications across multinational organisations. She stated, “The same values must be shared across all countries, but in-country reward packages must also be customised.” Joanna Lee, Group Head of Human Resources, Bauhinia Coatings Group reported that priorities differ among generations, and millennials often desire more recognition along with a higher salary. Lee continued, “People don’t want money, they want a way to shine. They want you to know who they are.”

Next, the panel was asked to talk about what platforms can be used to help keep employees engaged. Andrew Bishop, Chief of Staff—Asian Markets, Regional Head of Human Resources—Asia Pacific Markets, Reinsurance Group of America suggested that offering challenges such as mobility opportunities to younger employees is important to feed their ambition. Bishop joked that most millennials expect to be managers by the time they are twenty-four, and added, “Managing their expectations is important… and so is giving them the chance to move around. Our under-30 employees really like to see the world.”

When questioned about how benchmarking data is implemented within their respective organisations, initially Michelle Lacey, Former Country Head of HR & Regional HR Head of Change, RBS talked about how during difficult times like downsizing, benchmarking employees against the market is important to ensure fair compensation. She added, “When we couldn’t afford to pay out bonuses, salaries were raised to stay competitive.” Pattie Walsh, Partner and Co-Head of Asia-Pacific, International Employment Group, Bird & Bird added a lawyer’s perspective, stating that young lawyers often know how much they are worth, but that beyond the beginnings of a legal career, benchmarking is quite difficult. The problem is compounded in Asia where the market is smaller and there is less basis for comparison. Therefore Walsh suggested, “All employees must be considered individually, based on factors such as linguistic capability and international experiences.”

Lastly, the panel was asked to talk about what types of non-monetary rewards are most useful. Angie Sung, Head of Human Resources, Hong Kong & Macau, Hilti (Hong Kong) Ltd explained that getting employees engaged in activities like sports promotes team culture and allows people to shine in areas other than just job performance. She insisted, “Culture is more important than compensation, because culture is something that cannot be paid for.” Joanna Lee wrapped the discussion up by explaining how in her company, older employees engage in a mentoring program with younger employees. She declared, “Everybody likes learning, everybody likes being nurtured, and everybody also likes to be a teacher.” This process of mentorship contributes to a positive culture, and that can be a form of reward in itself.

Tackling modern slavery head-on

Australian Foreign Minister, The Hon Julie Bishop MP and Business Co-Chair, Andrew Forrest AO addresses the media at the Bali Process Government and Business Forum in Perth.

The hidden, hugely profitable crime of modern slavery will be tackled head-on with practical, regional solutions driven by business and government.

On the eve of the inaugural Bali Process Government and Business Forum, business leaders gathered at The University of Western Australia (UWA) to discuss the complex challenges of modern slavery in the Indo Pacific region in the 21st century. Following a keynote address by Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, the Australian Business Co-Chair of the Forum, Mr Andrew Forrest AO led a group of panellists to explore the nature of the crime, and implications and responses for the business sector.

Mr Forrest said regional collaboration, across sectors, was the only way to infiltrate the complex web of criminal activity that caused the suffering of tens of millions of people. Forrest commented, "This is the first year of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum, and we have more than 30 companies and businesses coming together to strategise, partner and tackle these issues like no other forum has done before." He continued, "Two-thirds of the estimated 46 million people trapped in slavery are in the Indo Pacific region—the hideous practices of modern slavery are on Australia's door step as well as in our country, as the majority of supply chains bringing us the goods we purchase and consume come through the region."

Dr Eddy Sariaatmadja, Chairman, Emtek Group and Indonesia's Business Co-Chair of the Forum, said of modern slavery, "It involves source countries, transit countries and destination countries. It therefore needs a regional solution, which is where the Bali Process comes in."

Previously a regional governmental initiative, the Bali Process has expanded to include the private sector. The Bali Process Government and Business Forum bring together Bali Process Ministers and senior private sector leaders from the Indo Pacific region to exchange views on ways to prevent, combat and ultimately eradicate modern slavery.

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