On April 19th, The Chapman Consulting Group held its China and APAC HR Market Q2 Update at Husky in Shanghai, China. A diverse group of HR leaders attended including those assuming China, Asia Pacific, and Functional HR roles. Two speakers led discussions about current hot HR topics:
- Jacklin Zhu (HR Director, Greater China) from Accenture provided insight on the current challenges companies are facing with HR Transformations.
- Amy Chong (Sr. HR Director, COE Rewards, Greater China) from Philips shared her company’s path to developing their current rewards platform.
Both of these speakers generated a highly energetic round table discussion among the HR leaders who attended. Below are some of the ideas that were covered:
1) HR Transformation — Current Goals and Challenges
HR Transformations represent a fundamental shift in HR’s role, from a transactional and administration function to one closely aligned with the business. The more administrative HR work is then assumed by shared service centres, either housed internally or outsourced. In addition to freeing HR leaders from daily HR administration work so they can focus on driving strategy, shared service centres also support the development of uniform HR processes across geographies to achieve a lower-cost delivery model.
HR Transformation goals also include streamlining technology and information systems so that companies can more efficiently manage their human capital assets, providing managers with enhanced access to information and improving HR reporting. COE (Centres of Excellence) comprised of HR functional specialists (C&B, Organisational Development, Training etc.) are established so that these leaders can act as experts across geographies. Finally, HR Generalists who are viewed as being strategic thinkers and possessing business understanding are designated as HR Business Partners to work closely with the business leaders to drive human capital strategy. While the goal of HR Transformations is to achieve overall HR efficiency and closely align HR with the business, the following challenges were brought up as a result of the initiation of these transformations:
- HR Transformations often do not have an end date. As the global economic landscape continues to change, HR strategies must also continue to change. For instance, during economic downturns, companies have to change their HR transformation goals from business driving to more cost saving measures. Furthermore, as certain regions become more economically robust while others destabilise, companies have to continue to review their geographical HR transformation strategies.
- HR employees who join companies directly from university are often slated for shared service centres. As these graduates often desire a higher level of autonomy and exposure to the broader HR landscape and business, they may lose motivation within these shared service centres. As a possible means to combat this issue, several HR leaders suggested establishing a rotation program for junior HR employees so that they can be further exposed to other areas of HR and the business. However, other leaders felt that gaining further exposure and then returning to a shared service environment would likely result in further demotivation and that a certain level of attrition within shared services should be expected. Some felt that employees in shared service centres, particularly in third tier locations in China, were not motivated to work overtime or think strategically, thus measures to expose them to areas outside of shared services may not be worthwhile. Ultimately it was suggested that companies outsource their shared service centres since customer requirements are continuously changing and it is challenging for internal resources to quickly adjust to these changing needs.
Thank you to all of you who attended and provided input at this session. It is our network of HR Leaders that make these sessions meaningful and worthwhile. A big Thank You goes to Tracy Jiao (HR Director, North Asia) from Husky and her team for hosting this session. We look forward to our upcoming HR APAC Leaders sessions which will take place in China in June. Invites will go out soon!
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