Industry Insider: Sylvia Koh, Chief People Officer, CrimsonLogic
Sector spotlight: Information technology & services
Based in: Singapore

With this organisation gaining more than 30% of new joiners from employee referrals, it makes for an insightful case study on collaborating closely with employees to solve challenges.

The number one talent challenge this sector is facing

Like many IT companies, it’s about finding the right talent with deep knowledge, not just in respective technologies, but also domain knowledge which are unique to our business. To overcome this talent challenge, the industry and stakeholders have been exploring different ways to build up the capabilities of talent.

Developments that are intensifying this challenge

Artificial intelligence (AI), data science and cybersecurity, for instance, are cutting-edge technologies which are still relatively new. While the industries, government and educational institutes have been working closely to equip our young talent with these skills, it takes time to roll out programmes to meet the growing market demands and hence, we would need to explore other ways that allow us to plug in the gap in the meantime.

Furthermore, the advent of these technologies would require employees to continuously reskill. The IT ecosystem and business leaders definitely play a part by coaching, training and equipping employees with the right skills.

We are collaborating closely with our Chief Technology Officer and our Chief Architect Officer to build new tools to engage our people, such as leveraging platforms for e-enabled learning and on-the job learning.

Best practices: Strategies that have worked in tackling this challenge

We have been rather successful in attracting young talent from both polytechnics as well as varsities through our Global Technology Internship Programme (GTIP), and our Global Technology Associate Programme (GTAP). By working closely with them on their development journey, we have successfully developed and retained talents in some of these areas – especially in data science and cybersecurity – in the last five years.

To embed greater depth in tech capabilities for our company, we have also leveraged and tapped on the government’s schemes and grants. For instance, with the Tech@SG programme by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore, we are able to explore hiring senior foreign talent from the respective technology domains to further augment our company’s talent pool, while at the same time to groom and nurture Singapore’s next-generation of IT leaders.

Besides, working with higher institutions of learning, we partner closely with ITE colleges on the mentoring of ICT students, co-creating curriculum on Work Study Diploma tracks, such as in cybersecurity and in infrastructure operations.

While we groom young talent from local and overseas institutions, we collaborate closely with our employees to refer their network of potential candidates to join our company. We are pleased to say that more than 30% of our new joiners come from employee referrals.

The next big priority for HR professionals in this sector

To meet talent demands in our industry, we would need to work closely with our teams to understand the current tech landscape and identify the skills required. We can then refine and implement relevant programmes and workshops to coach and train our employees. We need to do more creative thinking as one industry to manage the complexities ahead. For CrimsonLogic, it means working more closely with government institutions, leveraging new schemes such as ESG, WSG and SSG to better manage our talent and plan for the future.

How CHROs are proactively preparing for the future workplace

Looking at the various challenges ahead, it requires my team and I to be more agile in learning new ways of working. It is also an opportunity for us as HR practitioners to continually build our resilience and to get ourselves prepared ahead of time.

We are collaborating closely with our Chief Technology Officer and our Chief Architect Officer to build new tools to engage our people, such as leveraging platforms for e-enabled learning and on-the job learning. It is also about collaborating with our local institutions to influence the learning curriculum on technology, while grooming the next generation of IT leaders for Singapore.

While the embracing new technology is key, we are also reviewing skills that are important for the organisation in 2020, such as enhancing critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, creative and innovative thinking, and agile thinking.

Photo / Provided

This interview has been published exclusively in the Mar-Apr 2020 issue of Human Resources. Read this edition of Human Resources, Singapore:

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