Recently, ChapmanCG and AIA co-hosted another HR Leader Networking Section in Hong Kong. Chaired by Ben Davies, the group discussed how HR leaders can generate the highest level of influence and impact on the culture of an organisation in the context of Generation Y. There were contributions from Regional HR Leaders across various industries, like Asurion, Bupa, CBRE, Crown Worldwide, General Electric, Generali, Husky, Jardine Matheson, MetLife, Moody's, Morgan Stanley, Munich Re, RGA, Telstra, Tesco, and ZIM.

There were many comments on how HR could influence the culture of an organisation, but these were the three main themes:

  • Strategies around people capability and culture must be supported by Exco and CEOs. Organisations should not only chase after numbers and results, but focus on growing and developing their people through empowerment and human capital strategy.
  • Work culture should be led by leaders at different levels, and also by leaders who were groomed internally. Your employer brand can be differentiated through bringing in the right people and allowing them to grow.
  • Exco and CEOs should own talent management projects and initiatives that allow high potentials to be visible to the board and to top levels of organisations. Generation Y talent wants to challenge themselves and it gives opportunities for top management to understand leadership evolution and innovation from this particular talent pool.

There were also discussions on Generation Y’s impact on culture. Most of the comments centered around these three ideas:

  • While some selection processes can be quite rigorous, the right processes help to bring in the right talent for a particulare culture. The use of assessment tools, behavioural interviews and role-play interviews are becoming more common. And most agreed that this was a good thing.
  • HR leaders said they are seeing Generation Y talent who want more than just a “job” from an organisation. They want careers, experiences and are comfortable with leaving one organisation to gain that experience, only to return at a later point. While this may seem odd on the surface, it provides a rich opportunity for the returning employee to contribute a different way of thinking to a specific organisation.
  • Creating a culture that suits millennials is vital. It’s impossible to provided everything to everyone—millennials are demanding a stronger work/life balance, more growth opportunities, and fast-track careers—however, organisations and and should prioritise. Most HR leaders in attendance agreed it should be providing growth careers as deepening talent pipeline has proven to be critical and useful.

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Impacting corporate culture in the context of Generation Y has been a hot topic and we truly appreciate the contributions from the attendees. Companies are putting more attention to future talent and, for Asia in particular, nurturing local but international leaders is a top agenda item for most companies. Thank you again to our hosts, Wei Wei Watson and Annie Lee for a fantastic session at their Group Office. We look forward to seeing everyone again at our next HR roundtable in Quarter Four.