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Transforming Taiwan

Hosted by: ANZ Cabot Microelectronics

The Chapman Consulting Group hosted two meetings for Taiwan HR Leaders this week, as part of the Asia Pacific Series of HR Leaders Meetings that were held throughout the month of November. One meeting was held at the Taipei headquarters of ANZ Bank, where there was a particularly lively group in attendance. The other meeting was hosted by Cabot Microelectronics in Zhubei, near the city of Hsinchu, where much of the country’s semiconductor and high tech industry is based. In both meetings, attendees included senior Taiwan-based HR decision-makers from a wide range of companies across multiple industrial sectors. The discussions honed in on two predominant market issues for HR Leaders in Taiwan today, as detailed below.

Size and Scalability

One of the key points raised across both meetings was that the size and scalability of the HR function within multinationals in Taiwan can affect the way that HR transformation has an impact. In the last ten years, many multinationals have decreased their presence in Taiwan, preferring to move headcount to China and other strategic parts of Asia Pacific. This has meant that many HR Leaders in Taiwan look after smaller numbers of employees, and thus find themselves more on the ‘receiving end’ of global or regional changes, without having much say in how these changes should be designed from the outset.

Most participants agreed that they needed to work hard in managing up to Regional HR Leaders to ensure that local factors were taken into account. The consensus was that it can often be down to company culture, or indeed the leadership style of a particular Asia Pacific HR Director, that can influence whether or not this is done successfully.

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North vs. South

It may also be interesting for outsiders to Taiwan to recognise the stark difference between the Northern and Southern parts of the island. In one case, a Taiwan HR Director explained the difficulty that she had in explaining to overseas stakeholders that their manufacturing facility in the south needed to allow extra prayer breaks for factory employees, and that the employees tended to speak Hakka rather than Mandarin. In general the more traditional and hierarchical south have a harder time accepting changes in business and management styles, so attention needed to be taken to ensure that these facilities can be treated as ‘special cases’ where possible.

In both discussions there was a sense of moving forward and working to embrace change at an organisational, as well as a personal level. Many thanks go to our hosts, and we look forward to reconnecting to see how the country has progressed in future.

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Here’s What People are Saying…

“I enjoyed the meeting so much. It was so valuable and inspiring to exchange knowledge and share experience with other HR leaders. The best part of it was to get best practices about HR transformation and change leadership across different top-tier companies in the market. It was a great experience for me and my team, too.” – Chiung Hui Huang, Taiwan Head of HR, ANZ Bank

“I think the subjects covered and the experiences shared were very meaningful to the current HR situation. I really appreciated everyone’s open discussion and the ability to share real stories and experiences. The Chapman Consulting Group’s leadership and comments in the meeting very much impressed me.” – Jeffrey Tzuoo, Taiwan, Head of HR, DuPont

“This meeting is a great opportunity to build my HR network and to exchange knowledge and best practices. Today, I was inspired by other HR professionals’ experiences in HR change and transformation management. I look forward to discussing more subjects in future meetings.” – Julie Wu, Asia Pacific Head of HR, Teradyne

It’s an awesome meeting where HR practitioners from different industries shared experience and practices on change and transformation in HR. The meeting was very interactive and all participants shared their opinions without reservation and with high engagement.” – Vera Kuo, Taiwan Head of HR, GlaxoSmithKline

“It was fantastic to meet HR associates in similar industries. The most valuable part of the meeting is not only the sharing of best practices, but also the learning from mistakes that each of us made in implementing changes.” – Venus Hu, Asia Pacific Head of HR, ATMI

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