Back for the fifth year, Talent Management Asia 2018, Malaysia saw more than 100 attendees gaining insight into some of the biggest talent trends and challenges through a series of keynote presentations, panel discussions, case studies, and interactive sessions.

Organised by Human Resources, the regional conference devoted to human capital strategy was held at Intercontinental Malaysia on 21-22 March. Produced by Priya Veeriah, the event was specially curated to bring together HR heads and business leaders to discuss updates in the talent marketplace and other HR trends. Here are the photos and highlights.

Day One

The first day kickstarted with Subhankar Roy, executive director of HR for Asia Pacific at Lenovo, sharing tips on how HR leaders can craft a win-win strategy with data science.

When setting up an analytics function, Roy advised HR to start with the business needs and business drivers before selecting metrics, collecting data, analysing findings, and sharing the findings.

Following that, Mawar Mustaffa, who looks after global people and organisation development at SWIFT, took the stage to give insight to building a future-ready workforce with disruptive learning.

Sharing about SWIFT’s onboarding strategy, she said: "We have a 12-month on-boarding track with three customised tracks for people managers, individual contributors, as well as for specific divisions and functions."

Mawar added that there will be a check list for employees fr the first three months so they are aware of where they have to be at. Onboarding has also been gamified to ensure maximum engagement.

[Check out photos from the event here]

Next, we had Guilherme Silva, managing director of JT International, shed light on the full reality and key challenges posed by a turbulent economy, as well as how to tackle those challenges.

He revealed: "After we know what our employees think, we need to start doing something about it – words mean nothing if you don’t act on it."

That was followed by a lively discussion moderated by Claudia Cadena, principal consultant of Thread Advisory. Cadena was joined by panelists Jacob Jacob, group chief human resources officer of Columbia Asia Healthcare; Peter Law, head of people development and performance at Mah Sing; and Sharifah Sarah, head of strategy and corporate development, and director of human capital at Maybank; who shared their thoughts about the Malaysia budget 2018 as a catalyst for human capital and enterprise transformation.



Subsequently, delegates were treated to a keynote by Dr Raymond Jambaya, lead consultant at People Potential, who gave insight on how HR can actualise human potential by leveraging on technology.

When it comes to driving behaviour change from training programmes, he says: "Technology alone, is not enough for behaviour change. What you need to support the technology is a robust science-based methodology to support the technology you are implementing."

Following that was Amarjeet Kaur, head of consulting at DDI, who shared tips on discovering the potential in people who might otherwise be missed.

She said: "We don’t simply need more leaders, we need more leadership from more people within the organisation or even throughout the organisation.

"Don't just focus on the high potential pool, cast a wider net and encourage people to step up."

[Check out photos from the event here]

The room then dived into an interactive session which saw delegates enjoying conversations right from their tables. Topics discussed included creating a high impact leadership environment, balancing the needs of high potentials and high performing employees, and scaling the employer-employee relationship construct.

Following those intense discussions was a presentation by Miguel Antonio Lorenzo, country head of Sutherland, on organisations can develop talent management as a competitive edge.

He shared: "The competitive edge that this area has that a lot of other parts of the world don’t have is the language diversity."



Next, we had Che Zulhaimee Abdullah, head of human capital and administration at Composite Technology Research Malaysia, with a case study on the organisation's specialist development programmes help develop niche and relevant skills.

He revealed to an attentive audience: "We have a skill matrix programme that assesses if an employee has the capability to do the job before placing them into different levels of training."

However, he warned that a development programme without engagement will not produce good results, adding ,"apart from our skill development programmes, we have various initiatives to engage employees including an engagement satisfaction index."

Suriahni Abdul Hamid, COO of MHTC, wrapped up the on stage presentations by sharing insight into grooming a versatile talent pool to tackle challenges posed by global career mobility, as well as capitalise on technology.

She said: "Once you set the structure, and the governance, you can then go on to equip the staff with the skills and knowledge to execute."

[Check out photos from the event here]

After that was another round of discussions - this time on topics such as moving from hard skills to soft skills; balancing culture, while bringing diversity to the organisation; and the main challenges in growing your workforce’s competencies for the future.

The first day ended with a summary of the two interactive discussions through two polls.

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Day Two

The second day started with a case study by Serene Tan, human resources director at Schindler, on deducing the elements on a HR scorecard that bring about change at an organisational level.

She shared: "Our performance review process is different from our development review process. When we do an appraisal, it is just for discussing the performance of the person.

"We then have another development review shortly after that to discuss the development plans for each employee. This includes a standard development review for individual contributors and a leadership development review for people managers."

Next up, we had Michael Lee, general manager, human resources and administration, MKH, touch on the neuroscience of the feedback system and talent management and rethinking leadership to support organic growth in the future.

He said: "When we have performance reviews, it is usually negative feedback because we look for your shortcomings. I think we should adopt a more positive way of feedback instead, to encourage and support so employees will not have the fear of being terminated."



Delegates were then treated to a lively presentation by Thanes Chelliah, training consultant at K-Pintar, with tips on aligning employees’ adaptability and capability towards achieving successful business change.

She pointed out: "The more you set boundaries, the less you are able to have improvement and innovation."

On getting employees to move with business change, she advised: "If you want an employee to move with the change, you should show them the big picture in the organisation, rather than give employees one piece of a 3000-piece puzzle. If you only give them one piece of the puzzle, you are already setting boundaries for them. Make sure they know they are part of the solution and not just a piece of work."

That was followed by an insight-filled panel discussion, moderated by Bob Halperin, the chairman of academic board at Eruditus. Halperin was joined by panelists - Peter Leong, head of group technology at Kenanga; Sainursalwa Sani, head of strategic human capital management at Malaysia Airlines; and Zahira Sughra Zainuddin, head of senior vice-president’s office, group human resources management at PETRONAS - who shared their thoughts on the determinants of successful talent management to scale workforce competency.

[Check out photos from the event here]

Next, Lim See Peng, senior general manager at Dancom Telecommunications Malaysia, took the stage to share tips on bringing different business functions together to win as a team alongside HR.

He warned: "Try not to hire too many people from the same company. When a team is comprised of too many people from one company, it will be difficult for them to move away from how they used to do things in their previous organisation."

Following that was an interactive presentation by Mohamad Roslan, general manager of human resources at Denso, on how the HR function can act as a change agent to transform the organisation.

He told an engaged audience: "When managing complex change, you need to give your workforce incentives – and that doesn’t necessarily involve money, sometimes you just have to give them a reason for the change."



The next session saw Ramya Balakrishnan, senior human resources business partner at Unilever, sharing how HR can groom employees to become brand ambassadors of the organisation.

She said: "It's all about the 'why'. A survey by Deloitte showed that 70% of people are more engaged if they know the purpose of the company. For example, in Unilever, our purpose is making sustainable living commonplace and we make that known to the employees."

Up next was Rudy Malik, chief executive officer of iM4U, on personifying the brand value through employees as well as balancing expectations between stakeholders and employee needs.

He shared: "When we did our brand audit, we came up with a 360 brand promise – 'Growing you for a better us' - that applies to all stakeholders, including employees."

[Check out photos from the event here]

Day two ended with a presentation by Ahmad Risdan Abdul Rahman, head of talent management and development at CMC Engineering, who talked about designing HiPo programmes throughout the employee cycle.

He said: "For high performers and top talent, we have various programmes to identify them as part of the succession management plan. We also have a performance based reward exercise which includes an annual bonus or project completion bonus."


Human Resources would like to thank everyone who made this possible – speakers, delegates and sponsors.

Here’s a list of our generous sponsors:

Gold sponsors – DDI – K-Pintar – People Potential

Silver sponsor – Eruditus

Exhibitor – Asian Institute of Finance – KNOLSKAPE – OfficeWork Software Asia – People Psyence – Prasetiya Mulya Executive Learning Institute – Ramco

Association Partner – International Professional Managers Association

Media Partner – Centre of Executive Education