Welcome to Workforce Mobility Interactive 2017, Singapore, the regional invitation-only mobility event for HR leaders and senior mobility specialists! Today's conference will see speakers from Dow Chemical, Standard Chartered Bank, and more sharing their insights into some of the biggest challenges through keynote presentations, panel discussions and interactive roundtables.

On this page, you can catch live updates from the conference, brought to you straight from Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Singapore – from all the tweets on #WMI2017 to the top advice dished out by our speakers, and photos through the day.

#WMI2017 Tweets

As curtains close on this year’s edition of Workforce Mobility Interactive, Human Resources' regional editor Aditi Sharma Kalra takes the stage to thank everyone who made this possible – speakers, delegates and sponsors.

WMI SG 2017 closing

Here’s a list of our generous sponsors:

Gold sponsors

  • BGRS
  • Crown World Mobility
  • Nexus International School (Singapore)
Silver sponsors
  • Expat Insurance
  • Santa Fe Relocation Services
  • Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL)
  • Cartus
  • Frasers Hospitality
  • Goldbell Car Rental
  • Qxstate
Those sessions bring us to the end of Workforce Mobility Interactive 2017, Singapore. Hope all of you had a great time and managed to bring home a few key takeaways from the conference. Thank you once again to all our speakers, delegates and sponsors, and we do hope to see you again next year. 

As we round up an interesting day, this rapid-fire session is a way to refresh and reflect upon our top learning from the day. We'll pass around the mic to our 10 discussion hosts who'll leave us with some food for thought.

WMI SG 2017 rapid fire session


It's now time for our last interactive session. One the topics discussed is employee orientation - moderated by HR experts, Jenny Chong, head of executive talent acquisition, APJ, HP, and Vishal Sastri, programme manager – Google People Services, operations (APAC), Google.

WMI SG 2017 interactive 5


While delegates break for coffee and networking, check out cool insights from Workforce Mobility Interactive 2017 exhibitors, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL), Cartus, Frasers Hospitality, Goldbell Car Rental, and Qxstate.

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That buzzer marks the start of another interactive session. One of the topics discussed is getting your return on relocation - moderated by HR experts, Richard Willeter, director, corporate services Asia, Crown World Mobility, and Isaac Trallero, director of business development, Singapore and Malaysia, SIRVA.

WMI SG 2017 interactive 4


It's now time for another interactive session. One of the topics discussed is redefining the expat package - moderated by HR experts, Christina Ng, vice-president, client services, BGRS Singapore, and Danielle Warner, founder and chief executive officer, Expat Insurance.

WMI SG 2017 interactive 3


Moderating this panel discussion on innovating mobility programmes to build a talent pipeline within an organisation is Christina Ng, vice-president, client services, BGRS Singapore. Joining her on the panel are (from L-R):

  • Butch Clas, human resources director, SEA and ANZ, Dow Chemical Pacific
  • Elizabeth Keller, regional lead international mobility, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Martyna Wroblewska, international mobility centre manager, East Asia, Schneider Electric
  • Robert Day, acting head of global immigration, Santa Fe Relocation Services
Elizabeth Keller, regional lead international mobility, Standard Chartered Bank, reveals details about an upcoming mobility programme for transfer between 2 regions for 3-12 months. She explains: "The assignment will be based around a quantifiable project so we can see how successful they have been. It serves the dual purpose of tapping into existing talent from both regions, and also be able to get them out into another location."

Another expert on a mission is Martyna Wroblewska, international mobility centre manager, East Asia, Schneider Electric, who talks about the firm's regional programme for young graduates. "We put them on rotational functions for 6 months, then send them on an international assignment for 6 months," he shares. However, the one issue they face? "From an immigration perspective, it’s very difficult to get work permits as these are fresh graduates."

When it comes to ensuring returns on these assignments, many organisations turn to bonds.

For example, Keller from Standard Chartered Bank reveals that the bank implements bond where the clawback is dependent on the individual and the assignment they are on. "Potentially everything that is paid out could be clawed back," she reveals.

However, Butch Clas, human resources director, SEA and ANZ, Dow Chemical Pacific, warns that bonds can have an impact on employee motivation.

"Bonds are a double-edged sword", Clas says,"it is a way to protect your investment, but doesn't work as motivation for staff."

When using mobility as a career development tool, the ideal situation is one where the assignee already has a role to return to once the assignment is complete. However, Christina Ng, vice-president, client services, BGRS Singapore, notes, "if someone is going on a 5 year assignment, it might be difficult to define a role for them to come back as things would have changed by then."

Compliance is an incredibly important part of any mobility assignment. Even when these assignments are just short term business trips.

"For business travel, be very careful of legal issues," warns Robert Day, acting head of global immigration, Santa Fe Relocation Services. "It depends not just on period of time, but also the activity and its purpose."

"It is difficult to manage the legislation as you have to be compliant across the globe when you travel," Day adds.

WMI SG panel


Delegates take a lunch break, and thank our silver sponsors Expat Insurance, Santa Fe Relocation Services, and SIRVA. Please meet them while you're at Workforce Mobility Interactive 2017!

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It's now time for our second interactive session. One of the topics discussed is building a talent pipeline - moderated by HR experts, Eddie Lee, regional chief human resources officer, APAC, Bollore Logistics, and Ritu Chaudhari, APJ talent acquisition lead, Hewlett-Packard.

WMI SG 2017 interactive 2


The next topic on today's agenda is the critical decision of choosing the right school for an expatriate's children, and tackling that issue is David Wade, the deputy principal at Nexus International School (Singapore).

David is a highly respected educator with many years of senior management and leadership experience in two of the UK’s most prestigious independent schools. He has worked closer home as well - in Malaysia and Brunei - in the process developing extensive knowledge of international school curriculum.

On his checklist today are the key differences between a local and an international school - and listing out what expats can consider as good outcomes and expectations from schooling in Singapore. Please give a warm welcome to David Wade.

A piece of advice Wade has for expat families is to visit the school before making a decision.

"Do not base decisions on reputation alone. As much as possible, involve the child in the process," Wade says.

"Encourage the families to talk to the kids and teachers to understand what their child will be doing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Prepare questions in advance to ask the school."

WMI SG 2017 Nexus


We take a tea break, and gain some interesting insights from Workforce Mobility Interactive 2017 gold sponsors, BGRS, Crown World Mobility, and Nexus International School (Singapore).

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Here to make sense of the mobility landscape for 2017 is our next speaker, with nearly 20 years of experience in designing customised mobility solutions across industries.

Richard Willeter is the director of corporate services for Crown World Mobility in Asia, where his work centres around developing practical solutions that strike the right balance between cost reduction and talent strategies. He joined Crown in France in 2009, transferred to Hong Kong in 2012, and has since become a member of the group’s senior leadership team, talent review board and an active member of AmCham’s human capital committee.

Here to present a bird’s-eye view of the influence of trends such as patriotism and the gig economy on mobility - please welcome Richard Willeter.

Sharing some common mistakes to avoid, Willeter says: "The more policies you put in place, the more complex it is. Make sure technology is a help not a hinder. Have a long term strategy for technology."

"DIY vs Duty of Care. By giving the choice to assignees, you do have a risk. Duty of care is not only about safety, it is also about them making the right choice for the assignment to be successful."

WMI SG 2017 Crown


We welcome you to our very first interactive session. One of five topics discussed is compliance and risk navigation - moderated by HR experts, Robert Day, acting head of global immigration, Santa Fe Relocation Services, and Tarun Gulrajani, head of HR – Asia and Pacific, REHAU.

WMI SG 2017 interactive 1


Our speaker joined Henkel, i.e. the German chemical and consumer goods company, 21 years ago, and has since been instrumental in directing its global sourcing and purchasing business.

Before relocating to Singapore as president, he was based at Henkel’s APAC headquarters in Shanghai. He brings with him 20 years of international experience, including tenures at Italy and Austria.

Today, he presents a case study on Henkel's approach to workforce mobility, and the opportunities and difficulties of moving talent within the Southeast Asia region.

Let us welcome on stage, Thomas Holenia, president of Henkel Singapore and managing director of the global supply chain hub in Singapore, Henkel.

Holenia says: "At Henkel, we provide our employees with five levels of support - relocation, allowance, benefits, moving support, miscellaneous."

WMI SG 2017 Henkel


To inaugurate day one of Workforce Mobility Interactive, Human Resources' regional editor Aditi Sharma Kalra takes the stage to welcome all delegates, sponsors and speakers.

She says: "In Asia Pacific one of the current trends we are seeing is the continued shift towards shorter-term assignments, as there is a rising number of Millennial employees in the workplace. Organisations are using temporary assignments, as well as younger workers on developmental assignments to plug international skills gaps. This trend is one of the many that provokes us to organise this conference for the third consecutive year."

WMI SG Aditi


The registration counter is open and our team is all set to welcome today's delegates at Workforce Mobility Interactive 2017, Singapore.