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Singapore HR Leaders Discuss Key Talent Development Programmes

Hosted by: Unilever

More than 30 Talent & Development HR Leaders met in Singapore at Unilever’s world class Four Acres facility on 25 April to discuss talent management and development. Unilever and NXP Semiconductors provided an overview of their talent development programmes, which was accompanied by a compelling discussion around how to attract and retain talent in a multi-generational workforce.

Leaders from a variety of industries and organisations were present including: Adidas, Allergan, Allianz, Barclays, Credit Suisse, DBS, Deutsche Bank, Ericsson, Fonterra, General Electric, GIC, GlaxoSmithKline, GroupM, Groupon, Johnson & Johnson, Jones Lang LaSalle, MasterCard, McDermott, McGraw-Hill, Mondelez International, NXP Semiconductors, Philips, Rolls-Royce, Schneider Electric, Seagate, Shell and Standard Chartered Bank.

Unilever

Our host, Unilever’s Global Learning Director, Betty Lau, gave an introductory presentation on Four Acres in Singapore, which is Unilever’s first and only global leadership development centre outside of the UK. Lau spoke passionately about the company’s Leadership Development Programme, which involves participants focusing on first discovering, then refining and finally enacting their individual purpose as a leader. This ‘purpose-driven leadership programme’ is designed to lead employees to identify and define what differentiates them as a leader, in addition to focusing on what it will take to succeed in Unilever.

According to Lau, the programme, “’Unilever Leadership 2020’ came out of a body of research with a diverse group of Unilever senior and young leaders, as well as external leadership experts, who helped define success criteria for 2020 and beyond. It helps to develop the next generation of Unilever leaders by connecting their individual purpose to the overall Unilever Compass Strategy, in order to deliver positive business, societal, and personal impact.” Essentially, ’Unilever Leadership 2020’ establishes the next generation of leadership development that will help Unilever to achieve sustainable success in the VUCA world (VUCA = Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity).

Coutts

Peter Raar, Regional Learning Development and Talent Management Head at Coutts, facilitated a group discussion on attracting and retaining talent in a multi-generational workforce covering the ‘Traditionalists’, ‘Baby Boomers’, ‘Gen X’, ‘Gen Y’ and ‘Gen Z.’ The following four key trends affecting the Multi-Generational Workforce were identified:

  1. Increased use of technology to communicate, and the need for leaders to embrace new communication approaches in a way that engages all employees;
  2. Increased expectations for work-life flexibility and the need for leaders to embrace work place mobility;
  3. Increased need for new ways to recognise and reward employees, and for leaders to understand and manage the unique characteristics of each generation;
  4. Increased need for diverse teams to enhance creativity, innovation and success of an organisation.

NXP Semiconductor

Lawrence Goh, Senior Director for Management and Organisational Effectiveness at NXP, detailed the Management Development Programme, which he designed and rolled out across the organisation. The programme is aimed across the board at first time managers, managers needing a refresher and experienced managers who are new to NXP. The programme was developed at a time when NXP had very aggressive business targets but lower than desired employee engagement, and the company needed to up-skill managers quickly on a global scale. Lawrence and his team developed an eight module global programme, focused on developing business-critical managerial skills.

The programme adopts an interactive blended approach consisting of a variety of learning tools including classroom modules, pre-assigned eLearning courses, interactive discussions, videos of business leaders and educators, group work, as well as personal reflection and action planning. After each module participants reflect on and apply what they have learned, sharing this learning at the start of the following module. As a result of this programme, NXP has seen employee engagement scores increase, as well as positive behavioural changes in managers. Lawrence identified the following takeaways that have worked well for NXP:

  • Positioning the talent solution not as an end in itself, but as a means to achieving sustainable business growth;
  • Allowing local adaptations to the corporate programme enhanced its relevance and applicability to local challenges;
  • Modular design was highly favoured for its re-usability;
  • Bite-sized modules meant less time away from work and gained strong support from business leaders;
  • Inter-module practice made it very clear to participants and their managers, that what the participants were learning could immediately be applied to work.

Overall the discussions provided much food for thought and many thanks go to Unilever for hosting this fantastic group in a stimulating and insightful discussion. We look forward to bringing this group together again later in the year.

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Key Contributors:

Graham Tollit

Senior Director

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Consulting Team

Graham Tollit

Senior Director

Graham is a Senior Director with ChapmanCG based in the United Kingdom. He is passionate about building long-term partnerships and his current focus is on European and global search mandates, working with the team to identify high-calibre HR talent across EMEA and internationally.

With over 20 years in executive search, Graham has a successful track record delivering across multiple industry sectors and specialist functions with many of the top global multinationals. He has a deep interest and knowledge of the HR profession, future of work, and is a big advocate of the importance of mental health and wellness in the workplace. Before a return to the UK in 2017, Graham spent seven years based in Singapore.

Graham’s personal interests revolve around his family, and you could find him either on the golf course or exploring a new city or coastline somewhere.

Ringo Lau
Ringo Lau

Managing Director

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Ringo Lau
Consulting Team

Ringo Lau

Managing Director

Ringo is a Managing Director with ChapmanCG based in Hong Kong. His role involves in-depth research and analysis to seek out high-calibre HR talent across the Asia Pacific region, with a particular focus on Hong Kong and North Asia. He also assists the group in the design and delivery of strategic internal projects involving process and operation development.

Before joining ChapmanCG, Ringo did several internships as a business analyst and photographer. He holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Organisational Analysis from the Warwick Business School, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

Outside of work, Ringo enjoys travelling, outdoor activities and photography. Prior to his move to study abroad, he was one of Hong Kong’s top competitors in athletics.

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