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An intense session on applying workforce analytics and five interactive sessions each facilitated by a table moderator were among the highlights of HR Tech Interactive 2016, Singapore, outlines Aditi Sharma Kalra.
An intense session on applying workforce analytics by Eugene Lam, regional HR director, Kimberly-Clark, to start the day; five interactive sessions each facilitated by a table moderator; and panel discussions led by HR practitioners – these were some of the highlights of HR Tech Interactive 2016, Singapore.
Held on 15 September 2016 at InterContinental Hotel, this fourth edition of the annual, invitation-only HR technology event, produced by Human Resources’ Sammi Zhang, saw more than 100 HR leaders discussing the state of HR technology in Asia.
The conference was opened by Eugene Lam, regional HR director, Kimberly-Clark, who has more than 20 years of HR experience, having led HR teams across the US, Latin America, CEEMEA and APAC.
He inaugurated the session with a demonstration on the application of workforce analytics and statistics to our talent and leadership processes.
The fundamental starting point for workforce analytics, he said, is the workforce plan. “Nothing is more important than the business strategy for 2017. Once financial and business plans are locked in, the next step is where HR gets in and measures two implications: Do we have the right headcount to drive this growth? Do we have the capability to drive this growth?”
Following him was a panel discussion to explore what role the HR function is playing in the age of digitalisation and the roadblocks we’re facing. Moderated by Susan Chen, chief HR, organisational development and compliance officer, Viva Generik; the panelists were: Sapna Saxena, head of country HR APAC, Telstra International Group; Priya Shahané, chief human resources officer, AXA; Suresh Kalpathy, entrepreneur and software evangelist, ServiceDott; and Teofilus Ponniah, HR director, regional office; and regional head, transformation, DHL Supply Chain.
Shahané made a point about the adoption rates of HR technology: “Today if we buy a tool or an application, we think our problems are solved. Well they’re not – this is where you have to get started! If we really want acceptance and people to use technology, we have to standardise our processes, and make tech really easy to use. We have to provide an answer to everyone asking – what’s in it for me?”
Kalpathy added that technology is ubiquitous. “Three decades years ago, technology was simply for the sake of technology, but today it is impossible for you to remain untouched by it. Today I see HR playing much bigger role – the high tech versus high touch. While organisation is moving towards high tech, the high touch from HR is very important – it is not just about the HR organisation imbibing a payroll or automation system, but also about how HR will change the way recruitment is done, and what kinds of people are necessary for the digital revolution in the organisation.”
Another valid question came from Saxena: “When we look at an organisation, whether we lock steps with it or not, the digital revolution is happening. When you see customer interacting with virtual reality, if we do the same for employee experience, that’s when HR can add huge value. We need to ask ourselves – how many of our HR team is digital immigrants versus digital natives?”
Chen agreed with her, adding that we cannot expect our employees to engage in the digital conversation if they don’t experience this internally.
For Ponniah, one of the biggest pieces in technology at the moment is automation. “The biggest thing for us is the advent of robotics in the workplace. The implication for us as an employer is about steadily growing robotics but at the same time being responsible to the community and taking steps to ensure that people still have access to jobs. We are mindful that we have a larger responsibility to the industry and the people, who work for us, to make this sustainable.”
We then made way for the day’s first interactive session, an aspect that makes the conference unique. Throughout the day, delegates get the opportunity to break out into five on-table interactive discussions, each facilitated by a moderator.
The topics up for discussion were: big data talent analytics; mobile HR; HR cloud; social media and collaboration; and next generation recruitment tools.
With that, we moved into a networking tea break, where delegates not only got to know each other better, but also took the opportunity to interact with sponsors and exhibitors.
The post-break session saw a keynote on the four paradoxes of organisational performance and how HR can move the needle on each one, presented by Sarah Forbes, vice president Asia, PageUp. With more than 10 years of in-depth experience in the technology and human capital sectors across Asia Pacific, the US and EMEA, Forbes lives in Singapore but works with clients across Asia.
She took a stab at the future of the function: “The scorecard of how HR is being measured will drastically change – HR will be measured on markets, finance, people, and other performance criteria. Not on administrative tasks, but looking to the future around developing a proactive pipeline.”
After that presentation by the duo, we dove straight into another interactive session, for which table moderators included Anitha Ramakrishnan, director talent management, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise; Tarun Gulrajani, head of human resources, Asia Pacific , Rehau, and Neil Solanki, country manager, PageUp.
Interactive sessions were held consecutively during this pre-lunch session, wherein the discussed was led by experienced facilitators, such as Anita Zuo, HR director, reward and recognition and HRIS, Electrolux; Alok Kumar, CEO cloud services, Excelity Global Solutions; and David Tan, head of HR technology and HR analytics, Mondelēz International.
The post-lunch session saw two speakers in the spotlight, with both presenting a case study on the impact of SMAC – i.e. social, mobile, analytics and cloud on the HR leader’s task list.
First up was Alok Kumar, CEO cloud services, Excelity Global Solutions, a role in which he is responsible for broadening Excelity’s cloud services’ spectrum to the marketplace. Before joining Excelity, he was part of the talent function at Aon Hewitt where he consulted in corporate university platforms, performance management, and transformation and process effectiveness.
Joining him on stage was Anil Vijayan, practice director, Everest Group, where as an HR and talent services leader in the business process research programme, he assists clients on payroll, benefits, multi-process HR outsourcing and talent management.
Since they both are passionate about the SMAC phenomenon’s impact on HR, they took the delegates through a case study on the theme.
We then dove straight into another interactive session, with table conversations managed by Susan Chen, chief HR, organisational development and compliance officer, Viva Generik; Sandy Tsang, commercial director, Avado; and Chris Welch, vice president of Talentstream Technologies, CareerBuilder Singapore.
The post-lunch session was ably concluded with a panel discussion on how to incorporate technology within talent frameworks such as performance management, moderated by Tarun Gulrajani, head of human resources, Asia Pacific, Rehau.
Joining him were eminent panelists, Chris Welch, vice president of Talentstream Technologies, CareerBuilder Singapore; Anitha Ramakrishnan, director talent management, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise; and Michael Wulff Pedersen, head human resources APAC, Sandoz.
The on-stage discussions carried over well into the final interactive session of the day, which was moderated by Suzie Custerson, head of talent acquisition, Asia, Manulife, among others.
All 10 moderators then came together for the final session of the day, a rapidfire round in which they summed up their key findings from hosting discussions on five topics across five delegate tables. With that, the Human Resources team closed the conference, seeking the feedback of all attendees via an online feedback form.
Human Resources would like to thank all sponsors and partners that contributed to the success of HR Tech Interactive 2016, Singapore:
- Gold sponsors: CareerBuilder | Excelity Global Solutions | PageUp
- Silver sponsors: Avado | ServiceDott
- Exhibitor: Ramco Systems