The Chapman Consulting Group co-hosted a vocal and energised HR leaders gathering with UBS in Singapore yesterday. We were joined by a fantastic group of regional and global HR heads to discuss and share thoughts on the HR challenges faced today in the financial services industry. Representatives from a range of organisations were present including Standard Chartered, HSBC, Chubb, JP Morgan, ANZ, AIG, Swiss Re, AXA, Deutsche Bank and UBS.
The initial debate centered on the challenges financial services organisations now face with the increased regulation around ‘local’ versus ‘foreign’ employees and how this affects the talent agenda. With the MOM and TAFEP introducing directives around requests for data to back-up hiring decisions, it has become more challenging for organisations to maintain the levels of mobility previously enjoyed. With increasing subsidies for local hires, the group touched on the changing definition of ‘local’ versus ‘foreign’ talent and the need to balance this. The value of post graduate and MBA sponsorship for Singaporeans and parenthood packages were also hot topics. One area highlighted was the need for unconscious bias training and the power of animated virtual training, rather than the classroom environment, to really gain impact.
The group debated the difficulties of encouraging some ‘local’ talent to move overseas and how this impacts succession planning strategy. Some organisations were clearly better than others at long-term planning, identifying high potentials at the right time in their careers and taking them out of their comfort zones and into another geography in order to develop them. If done well, this can lead to a strong group of emerging leaders with international experience. Others still struggle with this long-term view and remain reactive. It was agreed that this short-term approach could ultimately be harmful not only from a talent perspective, but also to the bottom line.
We then moved on to discuss the benefits of virtual working and a more progressive culture. It seems that some organisations are really embracing this in the financial services world with more flexible working arrangements and an enhanced infrastructure to increase connectivity outside of the office. This not only helps to increase diversity in the workforce, but also improves retention. There does still remain a culture of ‘face time’ in some organisations which drives some people away and can lead to disillusionment and disengagement in the work place. The group agreed that a lot can be learnt from the technology industry where virtual working is ingrained in the culture and utilised effectively. One counterpoint, however, was that an over reliance on virtual working can create a tendency to hide behind technology at the expense of developing face to face relationships and tackling issues head on.
We finally touched on bullying and abuse in the workplace following a recent ChapmanCG survey and how effective relevant policies are. All organisations present had robust policies in place but agreed it still remains difficult to change some attitudes in the industry. Having a ‘thick skin’ is often perceived as being one of the requirements to be successful in a competitive culture.
It was a great group with some really interesting sharing of best-practice approaches from across the financial services industry and we look forward to bringing the group together again soon.
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