On 17-19 March, Human Resources welcomed more than 200 of the region’s top HR professionals for the second annual Talent Management 2014 conference.
Held at the InterContinental Hotel in Singapore, the conference was hosted by editor Rebecca Lewis, who welcomed all 24 of the senior HR speakers and panellists for the two-day conference, which looked into best practices, case studies from well-known local, regional and global MNCs, and more in-depth information aimed at helping delegates implement the best talent management strategies.
Across the two days, delegates were treated to multiple keynote sessions and panels focused on some of HR’s biggest talent concerns. They addressed topics such as a look inside Asia’s talent management strategies, developing talent for innovation and growth, preparing a pipeline of tomorrow’s leaders, technology and talent management, the talent marketplace, assessing, hiring and developing the best, embracing diversity and cultivating loyalty and employee engagement.
Day one kicked off with an engagement panel discussion about the navigation of the Asian talent landscape – giving an overview and talking about key challenges facing HR in Asia, and how we can innovate to stay ahead of the pack. This panel featured top HR leaders such as Cliff Taylor, vice-president of HR for APAC at Mead Johnson Nutrition; Syed Ali Abbas, CHRO at Pacnet; Shahrukh Marfatia, vice-president of HR, global commercial downstream, at Shell Eastern Petroleum; and Lennard Boogaard, vice-president of HR, SEAA, at Unilever.
“Different countries are moving at different speeds in different environments,” said Abbas during the panel. “These things put different pressures on your companies, and navigating through these differences from a people perspective and a talent perspective is very challenging.
“That is why there is a need for us to become more systematic, more research-driven and more design-focused rather than just have individual programmes lumped together to be known as talent management.”
Following this, Boogaard gave a compelling opening keynote speech about the all-important topic of attracting, retaining, developing and engaging talent in Asia. This focused on the importance of aligning talent management to the business strategy and closing talent gaps by accelerating talent readiness.
Day one also featured a session with CEOs of various companies, who spoke about transforming HR into a real business partner.
This panel included Richard Owens, executive vice-president of customer solutions and innovation at DHL Asia Pacific and Edmund Kwok, chief executive officer at the National Kidney Foundation. Susan Lansing, vice-president of global learning and development at DFS group, also gave a presentation about developing talent for the service industry – something which many companies in Asia struggle with – which was followed by a dual presentation by Resource Solutions and Fujitsu, who explained the ins and outs of a strong RPO partnership from concept to delivery.
Moving onto succession planning, Abbas spoke about preparing the next generation of local talent for future leadership roles, which was followed by a presentation from Renee van der Burg, vice-president of HR operations at NXP Semiconductor, who built on this by giving her thoughts on developing a healthy pipeline of visionary leaders in Asia.
The day finished with two panel discussions – one on getting ahead of the curve by removing succession roadblocks; and another on using HR technology to connect business imperatives with talent management.
Other companies featured on day one included Maybank, Accor, American Express, DDI, NBC Universal, AIG, Towers Watson and PageUp People.
Day two kicked off with a bold discussion on Singapore’s ongoing efforts to tighten foreign labour, and how this may affect the way organisations attract the best talent. In this panel, Alex Kershaw, director – head of HR Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia at American Express, and Srikanth Chandrashekhar, HR director of APAC SSO and operations at Bombardier Transportation, spoke about their experiences in helping their organisations become future-ready for labour law changes and talent challenges.
“It has had a significant impact on how we think about our talent attraction strategy,” Kershaw said. “The changing policies forced us to look harder and sharpen our attraction strategies, building out our channels and brand.”
Atul Khosla, vice-president of HR APAC at Mondelēz International, then gave a presentation about going beyond talent for organisational growth, with a good look into the company’s own talent management strategy.
The topic of internal mobility came next, with an in-depth presentation from Jérôme de Grandmaison, vice-president of HR APAC at Alstom Group, who spoke about making your internal market your priority to fight talent gaps. Two solid panel discussions carried on in day two – one on the secrets of recruitment excellence and another on getting diversity right to gain a competitive edge in Asia.
These fantastic panels featured companies such as Charterhouse, ANZ Bank, Mitsubishi Corporation, Agilent Technologies, AIG and Applied Materials.
The day closed with a robust discussion about engagement, loyalty and employer branding. Greg Morley, vice-president of HR APAC at Hasbro, gave a compelling presentation about driving your brand through engaged employees, while Jenny Ooi, senior director of HR Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam at Agilent Technologies, further focused on driving business goals though engaged staff.
The conference ended with a strong panel discussion about earning long-term employee loyalty. Other companies featured throughout day two included Talent2, AchieveGlobal and AIG.
Sponsors for the event included: Talent2, Resource Solutions, Towers Watson, DDI, PageUp People, AchieveGlobal, Charterhouse, Ramco, Roffey Park, ELMO talent management software, Sirota and Harvard Business Publishing.