Discussions around “Workplace of the Future” kickstarted ChapmanCG’s first HR Leaders meeting of 2018. Hosted by DSM’s Regional Total Rewards Strategist Sarah Ng in Shanghai, ChapmanCG’s Steve Brown and Tracy Goh were in attendance along with other HR and Total Rewards Leaders from organisations such as Bayer, Bosch, Deutsche Bank, Diageo, Eastman Chemical, Ferrero, GE, GSK, HSBC, JLL and Levi Strauss.

Organisations have been functioning in a certain fashion and most have also gone through massive transformations to become what they are today. It is more important now than ever to take a step back to reflect upon these revolutions in order to stay ahead of the trends in a fast-changing market.

Shifts in the Marketplace and Workforce

  • Technological advancements — digitalisation and automation, coupled with increased data analytical power and artificial intelligence
  • Organisational transformations — agility, innovation and simplification amidst volatile and competitive environments
  • Demographic and skillsets changes — Millennials’ expectations on diversity and inclusion, as well as individualisation
  • These changes are not new, but we need to do more in embracing them and taking the lead in transformations with greater speed to be better positioned in tackling future challenges.


The Future Workplace

  • Collaborative and inclusive DNA — drive the ownership concept where everyone is a leader (One purpose, one team)
  • Agility and flexibility — greater urgency and more autonomy (Whoever owns the decision, owns the consequences)
  • Flat organisations and lean teams — empower individuals and give them more dispersed job responsibilities
  • Innovative and entrepreneurial environment — open and vibrant spaces/activities to stimulate creative-thinking and experimentation
  • There is a big focus on understanding the organisation’s profile while prioritising the user orientation and employee experience. We need to look at the business objective and use data analytics to provide more predictive HR solutions to drive bigger impact in the market.

Talent/Rewards Strategies to be ‘Future-fit’

  • Digitalisation — think digitally to attract like-minded talents, equip them with the digital resources to develop digital capabilities and create a digital employee experience
  • Build an HR ecosystem — no longer self-contained, engage people to support and inspire one another via stories, events and activities
  • Collaborate and connect — have internal and external platforms to encourage innovation and problem solving
  • Differentiated rewards with focus on business impact — “one size fits all” does not exist, have flexible segment schemes
  • Continuous performance development — do not focus on individual performance ratings but put some rigour in encouraging daily feedback till behaviours change
  • Non-monetary programmes — the soft side of rewards can be useful in energising the organisation to be more agile
  • Remember to review — not always about creation, move resources from lower-perceived programmes to those that give higher value to internal customers

It is always a two-way process in this journey. Top-down; leaders play a critical role in being forward-looking and ensuring the readiness of the company. They need to believe and take responsibility in driving the purpose, instead of communicating it as just another HR programme. Bottoms-up; employees need to take ownership of their own development plans, have open and frequent feedback to value-add and drive synergies in the teams. There should be increased conversations across the business as no function operates in silo now. With the right talent and reward strategies, more possibilities can be created for the organisation’s future growth and sustainability.

Here’s what participants had to say

Thanks again for inviting me to the meeting. I really enjoyed the discussion we had on the topic of Future of Workplace. It’s great that Chapman organized this forward-thinking event for us.

Iggy Qian, Greater China C&B Head at Bayer

The topic of the “Workplace of the Future” is really attractive to join, the meeting discussion and sharing are so valuable that even above my expectation for practice learning and knowledge exchange.

Shirley Zhou, China C&B Director at Bosch

It was great to have many HR professionals from different industries and different roles to have a roundtable discussion to exchange the ideas of Workplace of the Future, it’s really helpful to help us think out of box on how to lead the future from our own industry or company.

Joy Zeng, SEA and Greater China Rewards Head at Diageo

I am very glad that I made the time to attend the session. It was good time invested. I enjoyed the sharing and the discussion. It’s important that HR practitioners spend the time to look at the world outside their remits and more, to look into the future workspace. Very good session!

Monica Sun, APAC HR Director at Eastman Chemical

I enjoyed the meeting, and it was valuable to exchange knowledge and best practices about Workplace of the Future.

Vikram Cardozo, Greater China and Mongolia Senior HR Director at General Electric