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Zurich Demonstrates Strong Global HR Links to Asia and Emerging Markets

Hosted by: UBS

UBS hosted The Chapman Consulting Group’s Global HR Briefing Series in Zurich today. Paul Greene, a Managing Director HR with UBS, and previously a close contact of the company from his Singapore stint in 2008-2010, welcomed participants to the meeting, joined by Matthew Chapman and Oscar Fuchs. Over the two-hour meeting, Matthew Chapman lead a lively discussion on Emerging and APAC Markets HR talent trends, and participants shared their own personal examples of how these trends were being applied to their organisations. Global HR Leaders were in attendance from companies such as Syngenta, Swiss Re, Alstom Power, Hilti, Covidien, Roche, Julius Baer, Credit Suisse, Merck, Nobel Biocare, Novartis, Panalpina and many more.

Some of the highlights included:

  1. Talent retention planning is vitally important in Asia and Emerging Markets. Companies who can really drill down and have resources that can tailor-make talent plans around not only what the company wants for the individual, but also what the individual really wants for themselves, will be at a competitive advantage. Many organisations are hiring talent experts that are at the same seniority as the Head of HR. Others are integrating Talent Management and Talent Acquisition functions to get it right at the very start of the person’s career with the company!
  2. It is vital that companies move HR talent (especially the good ones!) fast up through the company in Asia and Emerging Markets. This can create headaches, especially when comparing the slower speed that talent is moving up in developed markets, but the group agreed that there is often no choice. Companies that can hire HR talent who don’t necessary need to always move ‘up’ to achieve perceived career success and who can move them ‘sideways’ or ‘diagonally’ to get new HR technical skills or market experience, will have a better runway to retain good HR talent.
  3. More and more foreign and expatriate HR talent wants to be in Asia. The key is to only hire in those who have a positive contribution to make to the Asian landscape, in terms of skill transfer. Avoid transferring those whose only selling point is that they ‘want to live in Asia’ or ‘want to be in a growing region of the world’. Also if financial incentives are needed to move foreign HR talent, avoid this unless it’s a high-potential individual and the assignment will have medium and long term benefits for the company.

Being in Switzerland and also looking around the table at the HR Briefing showed us that Switzerland is increasingly becoming an international hub for multinationals. It is not just the Swiss companies that are clustering their headquarters in Switzerland – more American and other Europe-headquarted located companies are seeing Zurich, Basel and other parts of Switzerland as attractive locations to hire and base international talent. As a result we expect to see Switzerland-based Global and International HR Leaders linked even more with Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets HR talent issues in future years.


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Key Contributors:

Matthew Chapman
Matthew Chapman


Global Management
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Matthew Chapman
Global Management

Matthew Chapman


Matthew (Matt) Chapman is the Founder of ChapmanCG.

He has also created the Thrive HR Exchange, a global community platform for people leaders and HR professionals to find and exchange inspiration, ideas and insights. Discover some of his interviews with HR leaders here.

Matt has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Business Law from the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is a Singapore Citizen and divides his time between Asia Pacific, the Americas and EMEA.

Matt is a wellness, self-improvement and fitness addict. He has completed six desert, 250km ultra-marathons in Chile, China, Egypt, Antarctica, Namibia and Madagascar.

EA Registration Number: R1111550 Licence Number: 08S3543