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Why Not Split Global HR into Two Groups: One for Growth and the Other for Sustainability?

Hosted by: Medtronic

In April, ChapmanCG hosted a meeting of Taiwan HR Leaders in Taipei at the headquarters of Medtronic. It was a very well attended group with participants representing an array of multinational and Taiwanese companies including AkzoNobel, Bulgari, CIGNA, Citibank, Corning, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Fidelity, Fresenius Medical Care, General Electric, Morgan Stanley, NVIDIA, Pernod Ricard, Schroders, Standard Chartered Bank and Taikoo Motors. The conversation covered a number of topics, but the key theme centred on the common HR service delivery models in Taiwan. There was a healthy debate about what’s working and what isn’t, and the key points are summarised below.

It’s the Law

Among the usual complexities of working in a heavily matrixed organisation was the additional challenge of staying within the confines of Taiwanese law. The best example of this is the strong personal data protection laws, which mean that companies in Taiwan can’t share employees’ personal data outside of the country. This has been an issue when it comes to offshoring or outsourcing certain processes such as payroll into offices overseas in locations like India, China or the Philippines. However, in most cases the companies were able to put in certain safeguards which ensured that the data leaving Taiwan’s shores could not be attributable to individual employees, thus protecting their anonymity and data privacy within the confines of the law.

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Managing Complexity Through Relationships

The other challenges concerned the same issues that we see in other jurisdictions, regarding how to manage the complexity of the common HR service delivery model in Taiwan, consisting of local HR Business Partners (HRBPs) coupled with overseas HR Centres of Excellence (CoEs). Frustrations arise when the Taiwan-based HRBPs get the blame for something that goes wrong at the regional/global CoE level. The group agreed that this can be mitigated by building proper personal relationships between the Taiwan-based HRBPs and the overseas CoE team members. These relationships will help to ensure that the CoE understands the priorities in Taiwan, and can also reduce any previous ambiguity or vagueness in instructions. The example very much illustrated that HR service delivery models conceived on paper still require the strength of human relationships in practice, in order to make them truly successful.

Growth and Sustainability

In one unique case study, a company with a very dynamic CEO has decided to create an entirely new way to split the HR function, not between local HRBP and overseas CoEs, but into two global groups. In this model, one side of HR is to promote growth, and the other is to promote sustainability. The Growth HR team is based around staffing, with elements of talent and compensation included. And the Sustainability HR team is focused on more generalist elements of retention and career planning, employee relations, and HR compliance. We wonder how many other companies in the future might choose to adopt such a unique HR model.

The rest of the two hours was focused around case studies in other areas such as diversity, modern working practices, and new communications strategies between management and employees, and between employees from different generations. In this regard, the situation in Taiwan was no different from other smaller countries in the Asia Pacific region, but we look forward to keeping track of any future creative case studies coming out of Taipei. Many thanks go to our host, Medtronic for this lively, warm and engaging meeting, and we look forward to our next gathering in Taiwan in a few months’ time.

Here’s What People are Saying:

“I enjoyed the meeting and the discussion. It was valuable to share stories and best practices about HR business partnering and HR Centres Of Excellence.” – Daphne Li, CIGNA

“It was a very efficient platform to learn from others. Many insights, new ideas, and real practices were openly raised and discussed, which inspired me a lot. The outcomes and my takeaways were fruitful.” – Jacqueline Cheng, Fidelity

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