Enabling Transformation was the hot topic at last week’s ChapmanCG HR leaders meeting in Kuala Lumpur, hosted by Accenture’s Global Talent Strategist Anubhav Shrivastava. ChapmanCG’s Foo Siew Chin and Matt Boardman were in attendance along with HR leaders from PWC, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, KPMG, British Telecom, Mondelez, Dell, DHL, Shell and Honeywell.

The group was treated to some great insight from guest speakers Salika Suksuwan of PWC, Natalia Navin of HP Enterprise, Sharon Foo of Johnson & Johnson and host Anubhav Shivastava of Accenture. They highlighted the top 3 lessons learned from major transformation challenges they recently tackled in their respective organisations.

1.Communication is key

Aside from the complex strategic organisational issues that HR leaders must address during any significant period of transformation, it became clear that one of the most prevalent issues the facilitation of clear and honest internal communication—something that often becomes side-lined. Change inherently brings uncertainty, and if the internal population becomes too volatile, it can have a negative impact on attrition levels. Amongst all the complex organisational changes that have to be coordinated internally, visibility and an over-communication with the internal population must remain at the top of the agenda. Ensuring that effective communications channels are in place for business leaders to manage expectations must remain a priority in any period of significant transformation.

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2.Impact and a growth mindset

Suksuwan of PWC highlighted the importance of developing a culture of accountability within a modern organisational context. At the heart of this is a refreshed approach to performance appraisals, linked directly to what Suksuwan refers to an individual’s ‘differentiated impact’ on the business, rather than being driven by effort alone. By using performance management as a holistic tool for development and directly linking an individual’s variable remuneration to the impact they have on the business, you can begin to instil a mindset promotes growth and accountability.

3.Diversifying the HR talent pool

When looking explicitly at HR talent in the region—in what is still a talent-short market—the group discussed the challenges of attracting a broader range of talent into HR. This was explored at both the graduate and experienced levels with a focus on attracting those from non-traditional HR backgrounds. Furthermore, at a more experienced level, periods of transformation can offer opportunity to explore potential HR talent options from other business functions. With the continued need for more “business-savvy” HR business partners who can effectively engage business leaders at a strategic level, companies can benefit from exploring talent options from elsewhere in the business to supplement the existing pool of HR talent. It was widely agreed that diversification of experience can add significant value to the level of effective engagement and strategic impact HR has on the wider organisation.

Shivastava from Accenture shared an inspiring account of how they have exemplified this belief through their recent Hackathon where they brought together top graduate talent in India from a range of academic disciplines for an interactive program of addressing some of the current “people problems” prevalent in global businesses. The overall aim was to create a wider awareness and an interest amongst a far broader entry-level talent pool to bring a more diverse skillset dynamic into the modern HR organisation.


It was apparent from all those in attendance that periods of transformation create both opportunities and threats to any organisation. It is fundamental that HR leaders ensure transparency and develop strong internal communication channels. Asia presents an evolving business landscape, which means that organisations must continue to adapt their HR functions accordingly. However, whilst transformation is key to staying relevant, organisations need to be very vigilant about “change fatigue”, both with the wider employee population and within the HR team. This is often overlooked and its impact underestimated. Both HR and business leadership teams need to build an environment where employees continue to feel engaged even during tough times.

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Here’s what participants had to say

This was a great opportunity to understand the challenges organizations are facing in their unique transformation journeys. It was fun to be around diverse minds sharing their unique experiences resulting in great collaboration and learning!

Anubhav Shrivastava, Global Talent Strategist, Accenture

It was a great opportunity to learn from some of the best across various industries. The networking session has proven to be a great platform to learn from each other and to get to know other HR practitioners.

Monsy Siew, Executive Director, KPMG

Lovely to have like-minded professionals in the same room sharing and making a positive impact on the HR scene.

Chai Ping Chua, Head of HR Malaysia, Mondelez

I truly enjoyed the session on Enabling Transformation & Building Organisational Agility. We had a robust sharing and discussion with our peers on the topic which was very useful. Thank you ChapmanCG for organizing!

Natalya Navin, HR Director, HP Enterprise

The meeting was a delightfully unassuming, real and encouraging.

Sharon Foo, Head of HR Malaysia, Johnson & Johnson