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Datuk Nizom, IRBM - TDA Malaysia 2017
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Roundup and photos: Training & Development Asia 2017, Malaysia

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A conference takes sweat, determination, and hard work – the results of which are content and discussions that are valuable and relevant to an eager audience.

Human Resources is proud to organise Training & Development Asia 2017, Malaysia, the second edition of our annual L&D conference hosted this year at The Westin Kuala Lumpur on 15-16 August 2017. Catch all the highlights and photos here.

This year, we were honoured to have a senior, respected leader for our opening keynote, Datuk Mohd Nizom Sairi, deputy CEO (management), at Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM), to talk about the importance of reforms in building a strong organisation. Datuk Nizom is a familiar face in the nation, having been with IRBM for more than 32 years.

Most reforms in any organisation, he said, would have to come from the top. “A total transformation has to be from the leaders who have a transformative approach. They need to have the charisma to inspire the people around them towards the new objective that they are introducing.”

Our next speaker was Prakash Chandran, president and CEO of Siemens Malaysia, the first-ever non-German president and CEO of Siemens Malaysia. He educated us on how L&D practitioners can influence others and collaborate effectively across boundaries, in order to drive change.

Chandran stressed on diversity being a key aspect for success with leadership. Pointing out that gender diversity is only one of the aspects of diversity, the other three in Siemens’ lens are diversity in age, experience and culture. “In Siemens, we ensure a big cross-section of age differences in a team,” he said.

[For photos from the conference, please visit our Facebook page]

The next speaker went in-depth into investing in learning and development in a slowing economy – John L.Y Kam, the co-founder and CEO of D Jungle People, a corporate training consultancy based in Kuala Lumpur. Two-thirds of Millennials plan to leave their organisations by 2020, Kam cited. “Then why invest in them? Or how can we get them to stick around longer so that we find returns on our investment?”

“The answer is that they are not loyal to organisations, but they are loyal to people. The training implications for L&D is that you have got to invest in managers, as they are the ones who will hold Millennials together in terms of mentoring, inspiring and coaching. Your managers are the secret to success!”

Citigroup’s wholly owned subsidiary in Malaysia, Citibank Berhad is in the safe hands of CEO Lee Lung Nien, a veteran Citibanker with 27 years of experience, who was the next speaker. “Training is not just HR’s job, it is everyone’s responsibility,” Lee affirmed to the room full of L&D delegates.

“HR, you cannot do this by yourself, you need to sit down with your leadership team, come up with a proposal, and talk this through especially with your CEO,” he said, adding that the best vision statement will still have problems if we don’t know how to execute it.

We then moved into a panel discussion on the topic of building resilient organisations, moderated by Ling Hsern-Wei, head of learning and development, PwC. He was joined by panellists Sri Vidya Nadarajah, country human resources leader, General Electric; Bala Pomaleh, chief executive officer, IPG Mediabrands; and Dr Henry Yeoh, vice president, people and culture, Loob Holdings.

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The HR leader at one of the largest construction groups in Asia then took the stage – Lai Tak Ming, director of group HR and administration at Gamuda. The first of the four levels of talent pipeline at Gamuda caters to entry-level graduates, and Lai shed light on what we need to look out for.

“One of the biggest challenges for young people- they may talk well, appear assertive – but many of them deal with their sense of self-worth. If you don’t help them with it, it can appear in various forms later, maybe through bullying or being territorial.” He provided a solution: “From the very beginning, we at Gamuda emphasise the need for them to be comfortable with who they are, and to love themselves.”

Next was a panel discussion on driving impact and measuring what matters in L&D, moderated by Vinesh Naidu, head of talent management, PwC. He led talks between panellists Clayton Tan, HR director – SEA, VINDA Group; Rosehaida Ab Rahman, general manager of HR, PETRONAS ICT; Wong San San, head of organisational development, Astro Malaysia Holdings; and Devanandan Palmer Batumalai, vice-president, head of talent and learning, Bangkok Bank.

They say one really needs to move up the ranks to gain a solid knowledge of an organisation, and our next speaker was one such candidate. Currently the HR director at British American Tobacco in Malaysia, Samanmali Chandrasiri joined the company 16 years ago as a management trainee.

[For photos from the conference, please visit our Facebook page]

With her presentation, we concluded day one of the conference. Our opening speaker on this second day of the conference was Marieke van Raaij, director of solution consulting APAC at KNOLSKAPE, who recently relocated to Singapore to help clients address talent transformation needs.

“When mobile technology and gamification marry, you have some great advantages, which can offer you bite-sized pieces of learning from anywhere, and those can be pushed out to specific people,” she shared.

For our next session, we found someone who brings a ton of experience in designing the customer experience and improving processes, before moving into HR – Bilal Waris, the head of organisational development for group talent management at Axiata.

He took the audience through a fascinating, detailed case study on implementing a relevant e-learning platform. “The first thing for us was to really change our mindset,” he said. Citing a Harvard Business Review article, he stated that HR needs to act more like marketing. “HR to us is all about the messaging, communication – understanding what our consumer wants, i.e. our employee. We develop a go-to market plan just like marketing does.”

Theresa Lim, the founder and CEO of Play2Lead, a SaaS gamified mobile micro-learning and micro-practices platform headquartered in Singapore, then took the stage. Passionate about building skills relevant for the 21st century, Lim presented the four facets of emotional intelligence – emotional awareness, somatic awareness, cognitive awareness, relationship awareness.

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Another powerful personality went up next, Wan Ezrin Sazli Wan Zahari, chief people officer for TIME dotcom, where his role is to maximise employee performance. How does he do this? Maximisation of resources, low costs, lean management and of course, creative solutions, all of which he presented on.

Next on the agenda was a discussion on integrating a training experience to retain and build leadership pipelines, with Dr Henry Yeoh, vice president, people & culture, Loob Holdings as moderator. He was joined by panellists Nadia Shamsuri, head of learning and development, Maxis; Danny Yong, general manager – HR, Munchy’s Group; and Joseph Koh, learning manager – upstream and integrated gas, Malaysia and Philippines, Shell Sarawak.

The area of personalised training is what we touched upon next, relying on the experience of Joseph Koh, learning manager, for upstream and integrated gas, Malaysia and Philippines, at Shell Sarawak.

[For photos from the conference, please visit our Facebook page]

From personalised training, we then looked to the future – this time by a visiting thought leader all the way from the UK – Gill White, commercial and capability director at Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Her session suggested some changes a learning practitioner may wish to make for themselves, their function and their organisation – given that just keeping up is no longer an option today.

Post a quick break we then moved into the first of the Accelerator series, where we had a quick-fire case study on engaging talent with Domino’s seven “pride” values, by Rayyan Irwan, operations training manager for L&D at Domino’s Pizza Malaysia and Singapore.

In sharing the seven values, Irwan took an example: “If one of our riders is living the pride values, where they continually attend training and develop their communication skills, let’s say, then the manager has a certificate to thank the employee for demonstrating the pride values.”

He added: “Every month in the management meeting, we display these – which creates a sense of recognition as well as competition. It also creates awareness on what the ride values are about.”

The second quick-fire case study was presented by Devanandan Palmer Batumalai, the vice-president of HR and head of talent and learning at Bangkok Bank, who shared how Bangkok Bank has created varied leadership development programmes. Read the full case study here.

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With that presentation, we came to the end of Training & Development Asia 2017, Malaysia. Human Resources would like to thank all speakers, panelists, moderators, and delegates for their support. We would also like to thank all sponsors and partners:

Gold Sponsors:

  1. D Jungle People
  2. KNOLSKAPE
  3. PLAY2LEAD

Exhibitors:

  1. Disprz
  2. Hearts&Minds
  3. Prasetiya Mulya Executive Learning Institute
  4. Thunderbird School of Global Management

Event Partners:

  1. Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)
  2. Melbourne Business School

Co-organiser: Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM)

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