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Change or be Changed – Adapting to Change

Hosted by: Diageo

‘Change or be changed’ was the catch-cry at a recent ChapmanCG HR leaders panel event in Singapore, which focused on how HR leaders need to adapt to an emerging cross-cultural, agile and multi-generational workforce.
Leesa Rawlings, APAC Head of Talent Engagement at Diageo, ChapmanCG led the panel discussion with Kamali Rajesh, APAC HR Head at Syngenta and Lim Zhi Rong, APAC HR Head at Twitter.

Back to Basics

HR needs to adapt itself to cope with shifting technologies and novel business models. As an important functional entity that impacts every single stakeholder in the organisation, HR plays a significant role in a company’s transformation.
Over time, firms with structural inertia tend to lose their operational efficiency and service orientation as they grow bigger. It becomes more critical, and inevitable, for HR to return to basics and position people at the centre of every endeavour. Most monitoring and measurement tools don’t speak to each other, so it’s critical that HR consolidates these tools in order to produce better data analytics and better solutions.
For HR to be the driver of business outcomes, practitioners need to drive balanced, evidence-based decisions. HR can build a strong chain of systematic and disciplined decision-making by:

  • gathering the necessary information
  • making the right inferences
  • drawing actionable insights
  • using the findings to influence accordingly
  • then finally moving into an initiative.

Forward to the Future

HR’s transformation journey towards being more value-driven will result in significant changes to the organisation too. Practitioners need to incubate creativity externally and innovate internally within the business.
In the past, HR has been more focused on upskilling organisational capabilities and technological readiness for the sake of flawless execution. In the future, it will be just as important for HR functions to be externally focused and constantly redefine relationships within the business to ensure relevance.
This change cannot be a one-off HR assignment, but instead must be a continuous systemic flow of business sponsorship. It requires a mindset of change and must be a corporate mission in getting the many moving parts of the business aligned. To embark on this HR journey, practitioners need to ensure their future leaders are well-equipped with the right experience and exposure to best add value to the business.

Four Flavours of HR Leaders

The discussion addressed the various career paths that a new generation of HR talent could consider for their own personal development in becoming future-ready HR leaders. Zhi Rong, APAC HR Head at Twitter, shared what he considers to be the different flavours of regional HR leaders:

  • Business Consigliere – a commercially savvy business leader who has transitioned to become a HR practitioner
  • Global Nomad – a practitioner with an international profile who has lived and worked across multiple jurisdictions
  • Local Guru – an HR subject-matter expert with deep country/regional market knowledge
  • Maverick – external HR consultants who have become corporate practitioners.

With Asia being a huge growth engine, there has been a greater focus on evolving a more globally-competent Asian talent pool. Practitioners need to learn from each other to maximise cross-cultural interactions and leverage on synergies. Being globally-ready also involves being self-aware and appreciative of different styles of working.
The consensus of the group was that success requires a combination of different factors plugged in at the right level of an individual’s career. The mental agility and technical ability to deal with impending challenges is just as critical. Ultimately, possessing the five E’s of good education, experience, exposure, environment and enterprise-enabling activities will shape an HR practitioner’s capability and competency, and in turn boost their confidence as a future-ready HR leader.

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Key Contributors:

Steve Brown

Managing Director

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Steve Brown

Managing Director

Steve Brown is a Managing Director with ChapmanCG based in Singapore. He specialises in HR search across Southeast Asia and Greater China. He has over 17 years experience in the search industry in the United Kingdom, Australia, Southeast Asia and China.

Prior to joining ChapmanCG, Steve worked for Profile Search & Selection, where he was responsible for the specialist HR practice in Singapore and Shanghai.

Originally from Scotland and now living in Singapore, Steve attended Glasgow Caledonian University, where he studied International Tourism & Hospitality Management.

In his spare time, Steve is an avid traveler and explorer who is passionate about photography.

EA Registration Number: R1216206 Licence Number: 08S3543

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Tracy Goh

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Tracy is a Hong Kong-based Director with ChapmanCG. Through significant in-depth research and leveraging regional and global HR contacts, she identifies HR talents across Asia Pacific for strategic HR appointments, with a spotlight on HR leadership roles across all sectors in markets including Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Prior to joining ChapmanCG, Tracy worked for a leading national education firm where she was responsible for client management and business development, with a strong focus on both regional and global hiring. She managed the end-to-end onboarding process of high-caliber candidates, while overseeing the consistency of corporate branding. Her passion to foster strong client relationships, combined with a focus on economics, helped to drive revenue growth across tangential markets in her previous employment.

Before relocating to Hong Kong, Tracy resided in Singapore, and she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the National University of Singapore. She is an avid traveller and has backpacked across Europe and the US, and has also visited other regions. Passion mixed with compassion aptly sums up her outlook towards life.

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