The Chapman Consulting Group's (ChapmanCG) APAC HR series has moved ‘Down Under’ this week to Australia with three sessions held in Sydney hosted by Wrigley Mars, Wesfarmers Insurance and JP Morgan. Directors Dale Cosgrove and Felicity Gray of The Chapman Consulting Group facilitated the energised and positive group sessions across two days.

Attendees from Bankwest, IBM, Electrolux, Hyundai, ING Direct, Boehringer Ingleheim, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, Bayer, Twentieth Century Fox, Qantas, Energizer, QBE, American Express, Cisco, Hasbro, Leighton Holdings, Thomson Reuters, Unisys, Rothschild, NSW Transport, Mirvac, Premium Wine Brands - Pernod Ricard, PGi, TAL, Bloomberg, Origin Energy, Atradius, Attachmate, Chubb, Cochlear and CB Richard Ellis enjoyed the open and lively discussions that followed our guest speaker’s presentations of their topical case studies. These included:

  • “Wrigley's Recent 'Best Employer' Award: What Was Done to Earn it” - Wrigleys
  • “Hyundai's Switch to Social Media as its main Recruitment Platform in Australia” - Hyundai Motor Company
  • “ING Direct as a Top Employer: Trying to Achieve a Bold and Different Culture” - ING DIRECT
  • “Reducing HR Headcount at the Same Time as Increasing Business Satisfaction with the HR Function” - Unisys
  • “Cisco's Use of Social Networking Tools to Improve Employees' Experience” - Cisco
  • “Bayer's Recent Experiment in Change Management” - Bayer
  • “A Recent Example of Creative HR Best Practices at JP Morgan” - JP Morgan
  • “Successes and Failures in Implementing a Standardised HR Service Delivery Platform in ANZ and Asia” - Electrolux
  • “Putting HR at the Centre of Business Strategy” - Energizer

With these broad subject matters, many consistent themes and common challenges were identified in our groups. Some of the key learnings and takeaways were:

  • Understanding employee engagement and recognising its importance across all areas of the business is required to ensure higher productivity and business profitability, as well as lower staff turnover.
  • An organisation needs to encourage and celebrate employee lead initiatives.
  • The company will benefit from taking a collaborative approach to innovation from all employee levels within the organisation.
  • Reminding employees to consider the overall benefits of working for the organisation, both financial and non-monetary, will make the “whole package” more visible.
  • The organisation must never lose sight of the value of the “brand(s)” in business and should ensure the work environment reflects this value.
  • Simplifying strategy so that all levels of the business are aligned and familiar with the strategy will get results.
  • Driving performance culture through principles and values is important. Similarly, continually refreshing and revamping existing values without needing to introduce new ones is a useful approach.
  • Utilising technology platforms to keep values and success visible to the business is key.
  • Never underestimate the importance of recognition of a job well done with a personal one-on-one acknowledgement, not just monetary reward and annual feedback.
  • Introducing social networking can improve the employee experience. A great example was given where individuals were given the opportunity to recognise one other using internal social media platforms to a company wide audience. This reiterates the theme of recognition outside of monetary benefit.
  • A common theme discussed was reducing HR costs by bringing the recruitment function in-house and minimising agency assistance. This can be very effective, however an on-going challenge can be managing the natural peaks and troughs, as well as “balancing” a pipeline of potential employees.
  • LinkedIn was discussed as an important tool, not only to assist with sourcing and connecting with potential future employees, but also as a project resource for ongoing candidate and job management. It was recognised as a valuable connection into the passive candidate market. One group agreed that LinkedIn was now a key part of their talent acquisition strategy.
  • Significant cost reduction in HR can also be achieved by the obvious decrease in HR to overall head count ratio. However, a challenge in taking out some of the “middle” layers in management can result in limited opportunities for career development for graduate hires and HR Advisors progression within an organisation. Secondment, not only to other areas of the business but also to other companies experiencing similar challenges, can work in a positive way to overcome these challenges. The importance of transparency and honesty around career development at the selection / interview stage and on-boarding stages of the recruitment process was highlighted as key. The idea of moving to external opportunities to gain further experience, and then returning to a business at the senior level, was also enthusiastically discussed.
  • Costs can be minimised with the introduction of a recognised tiered approach to resolution with offshore lower cost service centres managing the lower level transactional HR tasks and process. However, there was an emphasis on the awareness of non “face to face” management, particularly in regards to grievance cases.

Similar ChapmanCG APAC HR Leaders gatherings have taken place over the past weeks in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand over the last three weeks.