Future Of HR

Preserving Dignity, Diversity and Development in the Era of Disruption and Digitization

The 3Ds

The humanization of HR is an increasingly important consideration given that the New Normal has significantly limited our ability to engage our organization’s most prized assets. In a period where uncertainty continues to loom, the noble tenets of our profession will remain firmly centred on our “humanness”. I summarize these in HR’s most important goals - the 3Ds.

o    Dignity – we help create livelihoods for people as work gives dignity and meaning to their lives, families and communities they belong.

o    Diversity – we help create a rich tapestry of talent to come together to solve problems. Problems which impact the organization, country and humanity at large. Given the issues we see in the world today, being in business purely for profit is no longer enough, or importantly, doing the right thing.

o    Development – we help foster an environment of growth, mobility and actualization. This must be our core proposition if we truly believe people are our most precious assets.

Advancing the Trust Agenda

The active ingredient to seal the deal is to inspire TRUST and PURPOSE.

The World Economic Forum in August 2020 believed that 2020 is the dawn of the Trust Economy. Why is TRUST so important in the New Normal?

o    Successful remote working demands a greater level of trust, both in and between employees and employers

o    In the long-term, organizations that cultivate greater levels of trust will be better placed to thrive in this new era where trust will be the differentiator when it comes to achieving success in business and people.

o    Doing what’s right will be a mantra for any thinking and/or progressive organization. Leaders who do not inspire this and only look towards profit motives will put their people and organizations in danger.

Many organizations we have worked with has put trust at the top of the boardroom agenda. In a recent KPMG research on Pathfinding organizations, it was reported that more than 60% of organizations globally are aligning their business and HR strategy around higher-level goals such as trust and an having an enabling culture. This was true even prior to the pandemic.

People are demanding for a higher purpose vision to what they’re doing whether it’s for the environment or humanity as a whole.

“Culture is a living, breathing organism. HR should endeavor to position itself as a thought leader, a guardian and enabler of culture “ says Jacqueline Welsh, the CHRO of Freddie Mack.

COVID19 has certainly hastened us to adopt the new normal by at least 5 years. The World Bank estimates that COVID 19 has thrown around 100 million people into extreme poverty. This has resulted in a devastating situation as it pertains to livelihoods, income disparity and all kinds of economic woes.
COVID19 is an equalizer. Whatever generation you may belong (baby boomer, Gen X, millennials, new millennials and Gen Z), let me state again that COVID19 has made a consequential impact on the lives of everyone, resulting in poverty, unemployment, suicide and the unprecedented rise of mental health issues.

Opportunity of Change

Many opportunities abound from tragedy:

We have instantly become Catalysts for Change.

HR has previously been seen as a backoffice function and ensuring that the processes are well managed.
Our risk of adhering exclusively to purely operational goals may have landed us with the ultimate predicament of all – HR has become process owners and we are held accountable for equally static KPIs such as:
1) Recruitment rankings or quality of recruits;
2) # of training hours achieved; and of course:
3) Staff retention statistics.

These are not by any means unimportant quantitative measures of success or failure. It is the amount of time we spend on these processes is what keeps us as a backoffice function. At the same time, we get criticized for not being strategic enough.

Because of COVID19, however, we are thrust into a new world of strategy and insights. We are now well on our way to become true PATHFINDERS.

We are expected to accelerate our insights on something never seen or experienced before. Managing change becomes the everyday grind and challenges are dynamic – everyday it’s a new set of challenges and realities to work around.

Crisis has added depth and credibility to our profession.
So as PATHFINDERS, our key priorities have revolved around the following:
•    Shaping the workforce
•    Shaping a purpose-led culture
•    Shaping the employee experience
•    Shaping insights through data

Many of these insights have been accelerated through the use of technology.

Technology can support us immensely by analyzing massive amounts of data so that we can provide the best guidance and advice to better optimize the skills, experience and expertise in the quickest, most effective, and most importantly, proactive basis. This is the dawn of evidence-based or data-supported HR management.

We all want to work for profitable companies but we also want our companies to have a long-term plan to do good for the people, clients and communities we serve as ultimately we should remind ourselves what we are here.

In conclusion, I believe that it is in these unprecedented times, we find the greatest opportunities. HR may become the most valuable influencers in a period where uncertainty, anxiety and unrest are an everyday occurrence requiring a daily response. More importantly, as enlightened pathfinders, we need to be prepared for what’s to come our way.

Conference video link: https://yadi.sk/i/hlq2laiUZWJORQ

 Kenneth Kang

For any organisation to have good HR strategies, policies etc is one thing, to have a HR head who is able to constantly innovate and deliver effective HR strategies that transcend, as demographics and workforce behavior changes is another. I have known Stephen for 15 years, and his uncanny ability to connect and empathize with people from all walks of life his stethoscope to hear and feel the pluses of any organisation workforce. Stephen's flexible and approachable nature makes him a great leader who can identify, harness and put together a team of talents that can drive any organisation to greater heights. Looking forward to have a chance to work with you again!

Kenneth Kang
Managing Director at Value Consultancy (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Tat Liang Koh

Stephen has a wealth of experience in wide areas encompassing best practices in especially HR, leadership and management. He is highly respected for his professionalism, tenacity, great interpersonal skills and a strong passion to drive excellence. His commitment in volunteering in numerous capacities is another impactful accomplishment. Being helpful and empathetic to people in need, he is known to go the extra mile.

Tat Liang Koh
Chairman at Intel Wise Group (IWG). Supply Chain & Operations Management Professional

I had the privilege to be part of Stephen’s team since I moved into the HR specialization many years ago. Stephen is a very creative individual who works with the team to bring many (ahead of its time) initiatives to life. Stephen has an uncanny ability to engage individuals as well as groups. This allows discussions to be open and candid with staff and management alike. Through Stephen, I also had the opportunity to work on talent development and employee engagement projects in our organization. Indeed, these were valuable experience that I thankful for.

Grace Loo
Associate Director, Human Resources Business Partner
Mamie Cheong

Stephen holds talent development very close to his heart, both for the professional community at KPMG as well as for tertiary students participating in Enactus. He was instrumental in helping Enactus Singapore set up the Responsible Leader's Programme. He is a supportive Board member and always had time to meet with me, whether to catch up or and to give guidance on various aspects of running our non-profit organisation.

Mamie Cheong
Former CEO at Enactus Singapore

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stephen for some 10 years in my role at CPA Australia and have known him for a way longer period. He’s a great people person – always listening, championing and thinking through professional collaborations from a people perspective. He has also always had a heart for education and developing leaders. With this approach, he has supported CPA Australia with many practical ideas that have energised our annual International Accountants Day event which seeks to raise the profile of the accounting profession and encourage professionals to give back to society. At the core, Stephen is an inspirational professional of people and leadership development.

Melvin Yong
Country Head - Singapore at CPA Australia

Stephen was an active member of the Board of Enactus Singapore for over 8 years when I was Chair. Representing KPMG, he was highly supportive of the program and made many contributions, one of the most significant was developing the Responsible Leadership model. He was also a mentor to many student members and projects. Stephen is a pleasure to work with - he is grounded, always willing to lend a hand, measured and composed. His views and advice was certainly much appreciated.

Gerard Chai
Chairman - Singapore and Asia Pacific Leader, Technology Officers Practice at Korn Ferry

I worked with Stephen in the first 3 years of my role in HR. He was a good friend, a trusted colleague and a great mentor given his 20+ years of experience in HR. Stephen was undeniably a great listener, and at the same time, he was full of ideas. One of his best qualities was his communication and writing skills. His choice of words was always genuine and positive. Every announcement he created was always creative and persuasive, regardless of how challenging the messages he wanted to send across. I learned a lot from Stephen and I look forward to an opportunity to work with him again.

Ivana Arlianto
Head of People Performance & Culture - KPMG Indonesia

I've had the pleasure of working with Stephen Tjoa for more than 20 years. It was Stephen who introduced me to KPMG, recognising that I could play a role that I couldn't even envisage in the early years. And that's one of Stephen's strengths - identifying people and helping them to be successful at what they do. He's a great listener too and has undoubtedly played a part in the career development of many.

Dawn Westerhout
Head of Marketing & Communications, KPMG Asia Pacific
ISPL Clients

Singapore Civil Service College
Make My Trip
Indian Express
Western Union
Korn Ferry
Birla Sunlife
Estee Lauder
NUS Business School
Goodrich Global
Credit Suisse
MSD Pharma
State Courts
Connect With Stephen