Article: Keppel Corporation HR Leader, Meng Hin Yeo on ‘Adaptable HR’

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Keppel Corporation HR Leader, Meng Hin Yeo on ‘Adaptable HR’

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In the second episode of the exclusive video series, Adaptable HR - The future is now, Meng Hin, Director- Group Human Resources, Keppel Corporation shares that technology and a greater focus on analytics will be a key to turn around the game of HR Adaptability.
Keppel Corporation HR Leader, Meng Hin Yeo on ‘Adaptable HR’

“Like people and plants, organisations have a lifecycle. They have a green and supple youth, a time of flourishing strength, and a gnarled old age… An organisation may go from youth to old age in two or three decades, or it may last for centuries.

The need for organisations to continuously adapt to the external forces cannot be explained better by the above quote by John W. Gardner, the father of campaign finance reform.

To help you through these tough times and accelerate your adaptability quotient, it is our privilege to bring to you some of the key findings from Asia Pacific’s largest study on the State of HR Transformation conducted by Alight Solutions in partnership with People Matters and also insights from some leading CHROs on what ‘adaptable’ means to them in today’s context, in an exclusive video series - Adaptable HR: The Future is Now!

Continuing with our endeavour to help you craft your journey towards Adaptable HR, here is the second episode of Adaptable HR - The future is now which features, Meng Hin, Director- Group Human Resources, Keppel Corporation; Shaswat Kumar, Vice President & Asia Head - Payroll, Advisory, and Cloud Solutions, Alight Solutions, and Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, People Matters. Watch them reflect on “Why the next curve of business impact is Adaptable HR”.

Chapter-1: Adaptability in HR: A brief overview

In this rapidly evolving business ecosystem, adaptability plays a central role in helping organisations navigate the uncertain and ambiguous future. The third-edition of Asia-Pacific’s largest study on the State of HR Transformation, recently launched by Alight Solutions in partnership with People Matters, focuses on the theme Adaptable HR. As business, talent and the HR community at large, face unprecedented situations triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, the study shows how being adaptable is no longer a choice, it is imperative, it is inevitable. 

Everything at the workplace is undergoing a dramatic transformation and interestingly, what could have been a reality of the future, has now become the present. Kickstart your journey of Adaptable HR, in this first chapter of the episode, with Shaswat Kumar, Vice President & Asia Head - Payroll, Advisory, and Cloud Solutions, Alight Solutions as he decodes what Adaptable HR means and why it is the next curve for your business impact. 

Chapter-2: Insights from Asia Pacific’s largest study on the State of HR Transformation:  A deeper outlook

In the second chapter of this episode, Shaswat Kumar, Vice President & Asia Head - Payroll, Advisory, and Cloud Solutions, Alight Solutions answers the following key questions that might puzzle you when you activate your Adaptable journey:

  • What does adaptability look like?
  • What are the signs of adaptability?
  • What are the kind of outcomes one should expect from their adaptable HR journey?

Moving ahead, Shaswat delves deeper into the insights of the State of HR Transformation Study 2020 as Meng Hin, Director- Group Human Resources, Keppel Corporation, poses questions on how one can navigate through the following key milestones in the Adaptable HR journey which addresses themes like:

  • Enabling business transformation through HR transformation
  • HR Governance and the role of analytics
  • The top gaps in HR effectiveness agenda
  • Tipping points for HR

Chapter -3: CHRO’s take on adaptability in HR

Reflecting on the enablers of successful transformation from the Asia-Pacific’s largest study on the State of HR Transformation, it was found most of the success comes through when HR is willing to change itself. In fact, resistance to change from HR is the biggest barrier in realising transformation. In the third chapter of the episode, Meng Hin Yeo, Director- Group Human Resources, Keppel Corporation reflects on the findings of the study and shares how Keppel Corporation is approaching a logical, disciplined, and impactful strategy towards the art of becoming adaptable.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

Q1. What does adaptability mean to you in today’s context?

A: In a nutshell, if we talk about resilience in the current context, it means to be a lot more flexible and agile, and not being stoic in front of an obstacle. So, most HR leaders have learned a lot especially during this period of changes created by the pandemic. This has evolved the role of HR into being more business-driven than people-driven.

To elaborate further, if I may divide the situation of the overall pandemic into two phases:

Phase -I: Reacting to the pandemic: Quoting the example of Keppel, the CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine decided to shut down two parts of the yard as the cases of COVID-19 started emerging. HR had to be very adaptable by assessing the situation of overall projects which were mid-way, maintaining business continuity, and all this while making all the upcoming advisories and people policies by keeping people’s safety in focus.

Phase-II: Embracing the pandemic: Now, once we had assessed the situation, framed guidelines for the workforce, and released advisories for the functioning of people and work, our next aim was to engage people. Hence, we saw the HR team role changing to adapt to the current crisis and create an ecosystem where employees are engaged, are safe, and making them adaptable to the new normal.

Q2. Going through the State of HR Transformation Study 2020, what are some of the trends you relate with the most?

A: While, empathy, compassion, and resilience have emerged as critical people skills in times of uncertainty, forward-thinking HR leaders would need more than just these traits to manage talent in these unprecedented times. They would need to ask the right questions about business impact.  The compelling need to flatten the curve would come from acknowledging the power of data in a crisis.

Q3. What are some trends that will be relevant for tomorrow?

A: COVID-19 has made work from home a norm - telecommuting, shifting from traditional to more flexible structures will continue to be a big trend. Then, there will be far greater pressure on adopting people analytics. And like it was mentioned in the Alight and People Matters, State of HR Transformation Study 2020, the need for data would be centered around managing outcome rather than process. In the upcoming future, the greater questions about the analytics technology would be about how it can guide our decision-making process.

Q4. How are you looking at accelerating your HR function to make it more adaptable? 

Getting human interface technology can accelerate the HR function. The HR function has been subject to an array of stereotypes, from the complaint centre to the benefits specialists, to the hiring—or firing—department. New technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning continue to infiltrate the HR space and automate an array of processes, many employees fear that the “human” aspects are falling to the wayside, leaving employees alone to deal with cold user interfaces that offer facts without the personal human touch that gives HR its appeal. Hence, getting the human-interface digital tools in to manage the workforce can actually help businesses, not only by impacting the bottom line but by creating a more impactful, human experience. 

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Topics: HR Technology, #AdaptableHR

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