Organised by Human Resources, the recent Recruitment Asia 2017, Malaysia saw more than 100 attendees sharing and learning on the top recruitment concerns.

Produced by Priya Veeriah, the two-day conference held at Aloft KL Sentral saw a series of comprehensive and insightful case studies, keynote presentations and interactive panel discussions from top-notch HR leaders across industries in Asia. Here are the highlights! 

Day One

Hanie RAMY 2017

Playing host for the conference, Hanie Razaif-Bohlender, general manager and executive director of Dragonfire Corporate Solutions kickstarted the event as she welcomes delegates on the first day.

In her opening speech, she said: “Some of the highlights this year apart from the fiery on-stage case studies and keynote presentations from MNC’s, SME’s and startups, are two panel discussions, as well as presentations from winners of the recent Asia Recruitment Awards 2017 showcasing their milestones.”

With that, she welcomes the first speaker on stage - Dato ‘Aliyah Karen, CEO, MAA Medicare Charitable Foundation, Malaysia. In her presentation, she shared her expert opinions on recruitment in the backdrop of talent management for business decision.

Covering topics on graduate recruitment and more, she said: “Maturity and loyalty can be groomed. You can send your staff to groom their skills. If they know the culture of the organisation – that itself is an asset.”

Check out photos from the event here.

Following that, we had a panel discussion on rising above the talent war; and identifying whether your hire is an asset or burden.

Moderated by Hairuzzaman Sagi, head of HR, Sime Darby Plantation; the panelists include Serene Tan, HR director, Antah Schindler; Jacqueline Chue, group HR, BIV Global; Danny Yong, general manager, human resources, Munchy’s; and Ling Ming Choo, HR director, Unilever.

Jacqueline Chue, group HR, BIV Global, said: “Different industries and companies define talent differently – such as how some would consider hi-pos as talent. Talent management is a tough job, it’s about communication – not only with the talent, but also with the leadership.”

Additionally, Serene Tan, HR director, Antah Schindler, commented: “In the service industry, talent is definitely an asset. However, when we don’t hire right in the first place; that’s when it would dampen the process and become a burden.”

Ling Ming Choo, HR director, Unilever, remarked: “The leader that understands the Millenials, and applies one-to-one, are the people with a very strong generation – and that’s when it becomes an asset.”

Meanwhile, Danny Yong, general manager, human resources, Munchy’s commented: “We at Munchy’s look at talent as people who are loyal to the organisation, able to perform and adapt to the culture – these are asset to us.”

Karin Clarke RAMY2017

Next, Karin Clarke, director, global solutions, APAC; presented her keynote on how firms can achieve business outcomes in a cost-efficient manner – especially in a time-sensitive environment. She reminded: “It’s been shown that when you lose a staff, you lose about one and a half times of the salary. Which is why, the number one priority is still managing talent.”

Delegates were then presented with a case study from Ramya Balakrishnan, senior human resources business partner, Unilever. Highlighting how the firm addresses employability among digital natives, she said: “Millenials are not different from everyone else. It’s just that their approach is different because they’re accessibility natives.”

Diving into a series of case studies, head of recruitment from Maxis, Jo-Ann Low took on the stage to share on tracking staff progress and best practices that relieves HR from burdensome recruitment processes. Simply, she reminded: “HR needs to be an enabler to drive the business faster.”

Check out photos from the event here.

Keeping the energy high, the next speaker was the employer branding and talent acquisition lead from PwC - Sherriza Nor Rashidi. On the topic of an effective onboarding programme, Sherriza shared: “At PwC, we have what we call the connectors. As the name suggests, these are the ones that warmly welcome new hires on the first day of work. Then there’s the hiring managers, recruiters – we need to know that HR is not solely responsible for the experience.”

As we move on to the topic of local talent pipeline, Bee Hong Tan, HR director of Alcon Manufacturing spoke more on aligning onboarding with organisational goals. On the topic of pairing the right buddy with new hires, she highlighted: “They (buddy in office) really need to know the new hire. You also need to check that the production time is productive. Of course, they must be patient and willing to extend the support.”

Tracy RAMY 2017

The next speak then revealed how to upskill the local workforce to match employer needs. With that, Tracy Yap, ASEAN organisation and talent development manager, General Electric remarked: “The best practice of GE is to go out (in attracting young talent) and meet the talent – such as campus engagement.”

Welcoming the vice-president of human resources, T-Systems Malaysia, Vaclav Koranda as the next speaker. At Recruitment Asia 2017, Malaysia; he shared more on building the local talent pool for T-systems.

Introducing the firm’s 4-step process, he reminded HR professionals to “look at the bigger picture, see closer for detailed information, imagine what is not visible to the eye, and show findings based on analysis.”

Check out photos from the event here.

Moving on, Clayton Tan, HR director, SEA from Vinda touched on the topic of employer branding as a key enabler for recruitment. He said: “In the past, recruiters traditionally fell into four groups – the advertisers, the processors, the hard sellers, and the gatekeepers. And all four of these have a key challenge in recruitment today.”

Before the first day of Recruitment Asia 2017, Malaysia ended.  Rasidah Kassim, group CHRO, Affin Hwang Capital took the stage to unravel salary components, aligning expectations between employers and employees, as well as cost optimisation. She enlightened: “Recruitment packages never end. However, it is only part of the strategic compass.”

“This is why we should move from recruitment packages to information packages,” she concluded.

Day Two

Mary RAMY 2017

Mary Barton, head of people and strategic operations for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), kickstarted the second day of Recruitment Asia 2017, Malaysia with a very insightful presentation on charting succession planning with an employee-centric focus. Making a very relevant point, she highlighted: “Sometimes we forget that we only have 24 hours a day, with us working about 10 hours a day. Which is why we (at WWF) really look into work-life balance.”

“Hence, we create a work environment where a positive work culture shall be prevalent.”

Next up, we have a case study presentation from iFlix. Daniel Ward, global recruitment, iFlix, dispensed some very wise words on positioning HR as an enabler for workforce optimisation and retention. In fact, on the topic of building culture, he said: “Be playful, but not careless.”

Check out photos from the event here.

Delegates were then engaged in the first panel discussion of the day. Moderated by Mohammed Parish, group head of human resources, Sapura Resources; the panelists include Koljit Singh, head of department organisational and cultural excellence, BASF Petronas; Laurence Yap, head of human resources, Dexon Electrical Engineering; and Roine Gabrielsson, senior vice-president and managing director, StrongPoint APAC.

In the discussion, the leader were sharing their insights on maximising employee value as part of the business plan.

Gabrielsson commented: “I certainly value my team, and they value each other as well. However, I don’t think you can put a number on it.”

When it comes to core values, Yap said: “After learning from my ex-employee, now I try to incorporate them into performance management and recruitment. What does it look like when it’s below, mid and above-expectation. But the core values must be first demonstrated by the core leaders.”

Meanwhile, when it comes to communication platforms with employee, Koljit commented: “It’s quite interesting when it comes to transparency. We’ve created a platform where employees can share comments – a safe ground to engage with each other.”

“However, after a year plus, we notice there weren’t much constructive feedback. From there, we realise that transparency is needed, but not workable. From there, we offer anonymous feedback and noticed more constructive comments.”

RAMY 2017 panel

The next speaker is responsible for driving the end-to-end people strategy and operations for Nokia Malaysia. Jackie Chan, country head of human resources, Nokia shared a case study on planning the employee life cycle post hire outcomes. He reminded: “When we talk about employee life cycle, it all comes back to the company’s core values.”

We then saw a case study by Chen Fong Tuan, head of people, Mah Sing Group next.  Believing that the future of work is now, he shared: “Technology is changing the way we see, think, and do. If you’re afraid of Millenials… be very afraid of Gen Z.”

Next up on the series of case studies, Simon Flint, CEO, Evolution Wellness was sharing the effective tools to bring strategy to life. On what new hires and candidates look out for, he commented: “When people join an organisation, they want to know what the organisation do. But more than that, they want to know the people behind the organisation and the values they share.”

Check out photos from the event here.

Before delegates head for the last coffee break, we unraveled the next case study with two HR leaders from BT - Monique Yong, head of human resources; and  Arvind Sidhu, senior talent acquisition.

Together they’d shared how BT takes on diversity, mobility and innovation in their case study.

Hearing from Farah Othman, vice-president people, Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) next, she proposed the debate between organisational needs vs. the need to innovate. She pointed out: “What is cultural transformation? We try to identify our (unique) way of work. At MaGic, we think beyond, charge up and step forward!”

“You must be willing to take feedback from your employees, and the willingness to take that feedback to change,” she added.

With the future of recruitment always on our minds, the next speaker shared a case study on how iFiber attracts the right talent. On that note, chief executive officer of iFiber, Shaharin Saman concluded the series of case studies on iFiber’s journey in the space of recruitment.

RAMY 2017

Human Resources would like to thank all speakers, and panelists in pulling together facts and case studies for insightful presentations. Of course, thanks also to all delegates for their active participation in the event and leveraging on the various networking and interactive opportunities.

Finally, but not the least, we thank the following sponsors and partners:

Gold Sponsor

Kelly Outsourcing & Consulting Group (KellyOCG)

Event Partner

Talent Cap


Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM)