Emerging Leaders, June 29, 2017, Singapore

4 Minutes

On Thursday the 29th of June we hosted our second award-winning Emerging Leaders event of 20...

On Thursday the 29th of June we hosted our second award-winning Emerging Leaders event of 2017 in Singapore.

Emerging Leaders is a platform for junior and mid-level HR professionals, providing networking opportunities as well as career advice from some of Singapore’s most-renowned HR leaders. Our guest speaker was Jean Poon, Talent Acquisition Director of APAC at Johnson & Johnson.

Jean shared insights from her career, as well as innovations that Johnson & Johnson are developing within the business. One highlight of her career, she says, was working at an organisation’s headquarters in Boston and having exposure to the global heads. It was an experience that taught her to be politically savvy. An important piece of advice she received early on in her career was to translate her direct and confident approach into a positive manner of communicating.

Her new role at Johnson & Johnson was to be part of what she describes as the “revolution of talent acquisition,” where the candidate experience is at the centre of everything they do. What it means is a shift in thinking, treating the candidate like a consumer, by understanding what messages appeal to them, and what attracts them to the brand. Johnson & Johnson are developing new systems for attracting and screening candidates that involve not just behavioural based interviews, but also explore other assessment methods using AI etc.

When it comes to the biggest challenges she sees facing the HR function, she points to digitalization, and how technology is now in every part of that process. HR’s value remains in the “human touch”, however, in the candidate and employee experience.

“The technology can only do so much,” she says, “and we are the ones that make the difference.” 

In looking at what the future of HR is, Jean explains that this starts with talent acquisition. Johnson & Johnson use a new web-based tool called Textio, which screens for gender bias in job postings, highlighting phrasing and making suggestions to help attract more — and more diverse candidates. They have found it has increased the number of quality candidates applying for their roles. Johnson & Johnson are also kick-starting the HR strategy for Future of HR, which they will be co-creating with the participation of their employees and HR team combined.

 With experience working across the globe in six different locations, Jean has a unique perspective on the global HR landscape. She believes that while Europe/US has some of the most pioneering practices, it’s Asia which has the most dynamic and diverse talent pool globally. What she looks for in Emerging Talent within HR are those who have business acumen. People who are true business partners that really understand the business, and can bring that to the table in their HR practices is vital. An understanding of data analytics and the ability to translate that into insights which will help the business to grow is a skill-set which she also looks out for. 

 One key takeaway, she says, was to think of HR’s role as a function to sell ideas and engagement, not products. A sales skillset is what will differentiate you from others, so broaden your knowledge and invest in ongoing career training. 

 If you are interested in attending our next Emerging Leaders event, visit our events page to find out more.