Two jam-packed days of learning, case studies and networking - here's your guide to all the action from the annual C&B conference, reported by Aditi Sharma Kalra.

Keynote presentations with perspectives on HR from an MD and a CFO, case study on implementing an on-site health and wellness programme, facilitated networking sessions, and two days of ideation with more than 150 HR leaders and benefits specialists - all at Employee Benefits Asia 2016, Singapore.

The fourth annual edition of the region’s biggest conference dedicated to compensation & benefits annual signature summit, organised by Human Resources, was held at Shangri-La Singapore on 02-03 August, 2016.

Welcoming delegates on day one was a keynote by Martin Hayes, president and MD, Bosch SEA, responsible for the Bosch business in this dynamic growth region - around 900 people strong in Singapore, and close to 7,000 in all 10 ASEAN countries.

He addressed three major points to set the pace for the conference - factors that impact compensation; what we can do to address rising salary costs; and balancing salary with performance.

"No one company’s culture is the same as another, and therefore no one size fits all. That’s important to bear in mind when developing a competitive pay structure that suits your organisation," he said.

He added on Bosch's culture: "Our company is also a deeply-rooted in the values of our founding father Robert Bosch... he once said this: 'I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages'."

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Liana Attard, Asia consulting leader - employee health and benefits, Mercer Marsh Benefits, broke down the impact of current economic headwinds, and ways to cope with these changes.

She cited research wherein 65% of employers believe their benefits meet the business goals as well as employee needs. But just 12% of employees appreciate these benefit offering. "Are your benefits not good enough, or are you not communicating their value effectively," Attard questioned.

Up next was panel discussion on strategies for devising a locally-relevant yet globally-aligned remuneration framework, moderated by the head of rewards for Philips ASEAN Pacific, Carlo Felicia.

The panelists were Eddie Lee (regional director of HR, ethics, compliance APAC, Bollore Logistics); Harpreet Singh Chhatwal (senior director HR APAC, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group); Charles Keh (compensation, benefits and global mobility manager, Sembcorp Marine); and, Mayur Chaturvedi (associate director APAC, Zimmer Biomet).

Following them was a session by Elliott Webster, head of flexible benefits, Asia at Aon Hewitt, with a case study on maintaining effective C&B framework to boost staff morale.

In his view, the best place to start is by asking staff what they view as an attractive remuneration package. "Employees are usually motivated by more than just money. Ask them key questions, for example, about the office environment."

This personalisation, he said, is highly valued in today’s workforce. "How you discriminate your benefits package on a personal level will be linked to how you are able to reduce irrelevant costs," he pointed out.

Photos from day one:

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Rachel Tay, chief of benefits strategy at CXA Group took the stage next, addressing the issue of rising health and wellness costs in Asia, and providing pragmatic solutions for the modern workplace.

“Employee health is worsening – owing to rapid urbanisation, stress, long periods of work, expanding waistlines. We need to rethink employee benefits,” she highlights. Not only to employees don’t understand insurance enough to really value it as a benefit, she explained, for employees what’s most important is if they will get their money back quickly when they make a claim.

Following her presentation was Tarun Gulrajani, head of HR Asia Pacific at Rehau, with a case study on the challenges that one can expect to face if you're redesigning your healthcare benefits strategy.

In rolling out Rehau's new wellness campaign, he explained how the team surveyed and identified different segments in the company, to ensure wellness is provided in all its components. For example, employee assistance programmes, social aspects like volunteering, dance and bake-off sessions, as well as letting employees take 20% of their time to work on special projects.

Day two concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Molly Ang, executive director C&B, Seagate International, bringing out ways to measure the ROI from health and wellness programmes.

On the panel were Eudora Choo (vice president benefits and governance APAC, Deutsche Bank); Samarth Kasturia (senior associate, consulting and workplace strategy, Jones Lang Lasalle); and, Tarun Gulrajani (head of HR Asia Pacific, Rehau).

More photos from day one:

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Day two saw an opening speech by Clarence Chua, finance director, BMW Group Asia, who brought to the table a cost-benefit analysis on the the importance of engaging talent through non-cash rewards.

"30-year work anniversaries are very common in BMW," he said. "People start and end their career with BMW." The reasons why employees stay with employers? He cited career growth and L&D, exciting and challenging work, great people, good boss, and fair pay, giving examples from BMW's culture.

Following that keynote was Anita Zuo, HR director, rewards, recognition and HRIS, Asia Pacific, Electrolux SEA, tackling the issue of getting buy-in from internal stakeholders.

Action and review, she explained, is key to getting your initiatives through to stakeholders. "Your actions must be quick, and reviewing can help us to learn from our mistakes. We do not really need to ask a question that we do not need an answer to. Review on time, and take action quickly regarding review."

Dr Jaclyn Lee, senior director HR, Singapore University of Technology & Design, then took centrestage presenting a case study on leveraging HR analytics to improve the efficiency of the C&B function.

The first step in starting your predictive HR function is isolation of the true cost, via causal analysis, she affirmed. For example, does a bonus pay-out lead directly to retention? Does the leadership have more correlation with engagement than real base pay. Further, she advised, "Set up in-house training programmes for your team to learn how to run regression models."

Photos from day two:

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It was then time for another panel discussion, this one moderated by Eudora Choo, vice president – benefits governance, APAC, Deutsche Bank, on developing a flexi benefits scheme.

Paul O’ Malley (director of total rewards APAC & MEA, Franklin Templeton Investments); Verena Chua (head of compensation & benefits, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific); and Chetna Singh (vice president, APJ total rewards, SAP Asia Pacific) presented their views and anecdotes on this panel.

Delegates then saw an engineer turned lecturer turned HR practitioner take the stage - Koh Chee Keat, deputy director HR, Republic Polytechnic, who revealed family-friendly policies to support working careers in the workforce.

“It is not about the count of benefits, but about benefits that count. More benefits does not result in more staff engagement. We work intentionally on our organisation culture,” he said.

The next session heralded an intriguing discussion on crafting an employee value proposition, driven by Joon Tan, vice president of talent management GSC, at Schneider Electric Singapore.

This was following by two TED style talks on the topic of employee engagement, by Samarth Kasturia (senior associate, consulting and workplace strategy, Jones Lang Lasalle), and Irene Leng (director of HR, National Kidney Foundation).

Rounding off the conference was Human Resources' Aditi Sharma Kalra, who thanked all delegates, speakers and sponsors for their support through the successful event.

More photos from day two:

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Human Resources would like to thank its generous sponsors and partners, without whose support the conference would not have been possible:

  • Gold sponsors - CXA Group | Mercer Marsh Benefits
  • Exhibitors - AIA | Management Development & Consultancy | Mega Adventure | Montigo Resorts, Nongsa | Pacific Healthcare | Power2Motivate
  • Event partners - Aon Hewitt | Expat Insurance | O.C. Tanner
  • Association partners - International Professional Managers Association | Association of Chartered Certified Accountants | British Chamber of Commerce Singapore | European Chamber of Commerce, Singapore | Japan HR Society | Vietnam Human Resources Association
  • Media partners - Centre of Executive Education | | Chief Learning Officer Middle East | | EIN Presswire | HR MONK | ResearchSEA | Voices of Leaders |
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