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Highlights and photos: Talent Management Asia 2018, Singapore



Asia’s most renowned regional HR Excellence Awards is back in October in Singapore and Malaysia to sieve out HR’s finest gems. Are you a diamond in the rough? View the categories and find out more.

Two-days of intense conversations, more than 150 HR delegates, and insightful presentations on a range of topics – that sums up Talent Management Asia 2018, Singapore, held on 27-28 March 2018.

Organised by Human Resources as a flagship event for the sixth consecutive year, this year’s conference was produced by Nikita Erpini and featured power-packed speakers from and outside of Singapore.

Among the highlights of the conference were presentations on the data science behind HR, sessions on HR’s role in driving a culture of integrity, a case study on marketing HR initiatives in a noisy world, and an inspiring keynote on why more women in the workforce means better business results.

ALSO VIEW: Photos from Talent Management Asia 2018, Singapore

The conference was opened by Rob Briner, professor of organisational psychology, Queen Mary, University of London.

He started by asking, “Imagine going to see your doctor because you are ill and she tells you she is going to diagnose and treat you by only looking at your blood tests, MRI and CAT scans, and that she was going to completely ignore evidence from medical science, her professional expertise as a doctor, and what you as the stakeholder believe and feel?”

That is how Briner drove the point across – on why evidence-based practices are not a solution in itself for HR, but rather one of the tools that must be used in a whole toolbox for making better decisions.

In addition to the doctor’s anecdote, Briner cited further misconceptions of evidence-based management (EBM):

  • Practitioners can’t use their own experience and expertise in EBM- myth
  • Evidence tells you the truth and can prove things – nope, not by itself
  • It’s about making perfectly-informed decisions using all the necessary information – nope, only better-informed decisions
  • Gathering the evidence will give you “the answer” – nope, what you’ll get is a better-informed answer.

In fact, Briner affirmed that fads and fashions get in the way of evidence-based practice. “If it sounds cool, it’s probably a fad,” he says.

How to spot a likely management fad, in Briner’s words:

  • Buzzy and exciting
  • Massive claims with no good quality supporting evidence
  • Involve management gurus and academic superstars
  • It’s all good! No downsides considered
  • Presented as universal panacea – work everywhere for everything for everyone
  • Use of unverifiable anecdotes and success stories (usually from big well-known companies whose success is attributed to fad with no good evidence)
  • Involve new words which don’t actually describe anything new – e.g., metrics (=measures), analytics (=analysis), big data (=data), talent (=people), human capital (=people)

In response, he said HR practitioners must encourage solutioneering – i.e. identifying a ‘problem’ by the absence of the ‘solution’ (for example, the problem is our managers have low emotional intelligence, our engagement scores are too low).

ALSO VIEW: Photos from Talent Management Asia 2018, Singapore

Diving further into EBM, Briner says evidence-based practice is about using the best available evidence from multiple sources to identify problems and solutions. “HR as a profession is not very evidence-based yet – and not unusual for that,” he says, pointing out the barriers to evidence-based practice (EBP) such as cognitive biases, fads, fashions and (some) consultancies, etc.

What could you start doing differently today when it comes to evidence-based management?

  • Apply the EBM process to decisions you are making right now
  • Consider decisions you have coming up in a few months’ time: How can you start planning now to apply the EBM process?
  • Conduct an evidence-based audit of your key HR practices (e.g., talent management, performance management, engagement)
  • Think about the quality and quantity of evidence you have now and how it can be improved (experiential, scientific, organisational, stakeholder)
  • What extra knowledge, skills and abilities do you and your team/organisation need to become more evidence-based?
  • What are the main personal and organisational barriers you identified and how could they be tackled?

In addition to Briner, the conference also boasted of the following speakers:

  • Dr Raymond Jambaya, lead consultant, learning and development technologies, People Potential
  • Subhankar Roy, executive director, human resources, Asia Pacific, Lenovo
  • Dr Thomas Goh, chief client officer and managing director, APAC, Center for Creative Leadership
  • Frank Brown, head, HR, global integrity and compliance, TM, OD, global corporate function, Novartis
  • Marako Marcus, managing consultant, Right Management
  • Sushma Panikker, director of leadership development and talent management, Emaar Hospitality
  • Gaurav Hirey, group director, human resources and talent development, Teledirect
  • Alastair Procter, global chief human resources officer, IPG Mediabrands
  • Padmashree Santosh, associate director, talent and development, South APAC, Merck Group
  • Rahul Kalia, regional HR business partner (head of HR), Asia Pacific and Japan, crop science division, Bayer
  • Madeleine Price, head of talent management, diversity and inclusion, Asia, Manulife Financial
  • Gary Lee, global head of leadership and organisational development, Sivantos
  • Selena Huynh, deputy chief executive officer, Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP)
  • Eo-Kyung Moon, vice-president, human resources, Asia Pacific, ALSTOM
  • Merle Chen, chief talent officer, The Lo & Behold Group
  • Chhaya Dhar Sinha, director, inclusion and diversity, people operations and development, LEGO Group
  • Sebastian Hubert, head of strategy and technologies, global talent acquisition, Siemens
  • Dr Francis Goh, chief executive officer, HehSed Consulting
  • Norbert Modla, group head, human resources, JF Hillebrand Group
  • Richa Goswami, chief digital officer, Johnson & Johnson

Human Resources would like to thank all our sponsors and partners in the success of this conference:

  1. Gold sponsors –
    • Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®)
    • People Potential
    • Ramco
    • Right Management
  2. Silver sponsor –
    • Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP)
  3. Exhibitors –
    • KNOLSKAPE
    • People Psyence®
    • Prasetiya Mulya Executive Learning Institute
  4. Lanyard sponsor –
    • Zoho
  5. Event partners –
    • FranklinCovey Singapore
    • Impact


Asia’s most renowned regional HR Excellence Awards is back in October in Singapore and Malaysia to sieve out HR’s finest gems. Are you a diamond in the rough? View the categories and find out more.

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