Emerging Leaders, November 10, 2016, Singapore

4 Minutes

The Emerging Leaders series is hosted by an Elliott Scott HR employee, engaging in a firesid...

The Emerging Leaders series is hosted by an Elliott Scott HR employee, engaging in a fireside style chat with a senior expert in the HR industry.

Targeting junior to mid-level professionals within the industry, the guest speaker shares career insights and advice based on their experiences in a relaxed and informative environment.

On Thursday 10th November, we held our second Emerging Leaders event of 2016 in Singapore. It was facilitated by Vincent Romano, Managing Director of Elliott Scott HR South East Asia with Lee Nallalingham as our guest speaker. Lee is Regional Talent Acquisition Manager - CEEMEA & SEA at Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth.

The event kicked off with a Q&A between Vincent and Lee where Lee shared his top tips on HR consulting and views on the wider HR function. What was prevalent throughout the discussion was the importance of HR adding true business value through its processes and being innovative.

A key skill Lee looks for when hiring emerging talent is the ability to find solutions. Consultants fix and assist with company problems and he meets so many people that just follow policies and processes. This is fine for corporate HR but HR consultants need to think outside the box and see how things can be improved. This way of thinking is inherent to a successful HR consultant. As Lee is a big advocate of change he’s frustrated when someone in HR hands in their notice and their reason is that they’ve been ‘given the opportunity to do X,Y,Z elsewhere’. He thinks consultants should come forward and take the initiative and accountability for their own careers, if there’s something you would like to do or a process you could improve, tell your boss. Most businesses would love to help with progressing the company and you.

Relating to being innovative, Lee sees one of his greatest achievements as the implementation of a video interview solution. A more efficient, one way video interviewing technique for junior candidates, featuring their usual screening questions which can be answered anytime the candidate wants in a one week period. It was an effective, time efficient way of creating a shortlist, with all completed interviews sent through to relevant managers for review. It freed up $12 million billing hours a year. Relating to this video implementation example it was asked how HR might evolve in the next couple of years, one day could AI do interviews? Will HR be redundant?

Lee thinks we will still need HR as it’s a people function and the ‘human touch’ is an area which cannot be eradicated, at least not in the next couple of years. However with the transaction side, areas such as on boarding, payments and day to day admin, he will be amazed if people are still doing that in 10-15 years. Technology will allow HR to become more efficient for the betterment of the business.

The current HR trends Lee is most excited about is analytics and data, specifically salary data. Current processes used are outdated and there’s a circular argument in HR on analysing salaries, where a company will determine how to be in the 75th percentile and define the pay rise employees should receive to achieve this. This process is repeated the next year and companies just end up chasing each other. When working with a Thai client, a logistics company, Lee sat down with them and they decided to really work out why people were leaving. Was it really due to the pay rises offered elsewhere, was that the issue? The employees were under skilled drivers so they decided to provide smaller salary increases and invest the extra in their skills and career paths so they felt more valuable. Salary increases went from 5.9% to 2.4% but employee retention increased. The lesson here is to find a way to be smarter and more efficient rather than copying everyone else.

It was questioned how HR has changed in Singapore compared to the rest of the world and Lee stated that there’s a trend in Singapore and the whole of Asia where they are starting to wake up to their own importance. So many multinationals roll out decisions made in the UK or US which don’t work in Singapore/Asia. They are now starting to push back and say that they need their own policies that apply to their market. Lee sees that this will increase as by 2025 as the majority of fortune 500 will be Asian based companies who are going to want more control. You can have global guidelines but need local policies and practices.

To close we will share Lee’s top piece of career advice – ‘Start everyday as if it’s on purpose’ a self-proclaimed ‘cheesy’ quote learnt from a previous manager of his which he has taken on board and found his own meaning for. As the perpetual late guy at work in his early 20’s ‘start everyday as if it’s on purpose’ to him means to plan your week, plan your day, be on time and be productive. You know what you have to do so get it done!

We hope all attendees felt inspired by the event and left having learnt something new.

If you’re interested in attending a future Emerging Leaders event, keep an eye out on LinkedIn, Twitter and the events page of our website.

For further information or to reserve your seat at the next event, contact us at info@elliottscotthr.com or on +65 6493 1873.