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Up the ranks: IHRP appoints Aslam Sardar as Deputy CEO, with direct oversight of HR

Up the ranks: IHRP appoints Aslam Sardar as Deputy CEO, with direct oversight of HR

One of Aslam's priorities is to ensure that IHRP transits colleagues safely and confidently back to work, while concurrently adapting its practices for a hybrid working world.

Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) has appointed Aslam Sardar as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

In this role effective 23 May 2022, Aslam will provide strategic leadership and managerial oversight to corporate functions that include HR, IT, finance, and marketing, as well as IHRP certification and customer experience. 

[scroll down for an exclusive conversation with Aslam on the HR responsibilities he will be taking on, the L&D trends he foresees closer than the horizon, and more]

Commenting on his appointment, IHRP CEO Mayank Parekh said: "Aslam brings a broad range of L&D experience in corporates and start-ups. He will build upon IHRP’s extensive network of HR professionals, partners, and other stakeholders to achieve our vision of HR as a key enabler to help employees adapt and businesses to transform in a changing world of work."

Aslam comes to IHRP having previously undertaken management positions at ST Engineering, APL Logistics, and Neptune Orient Lines (renamed to CMA CGM Asia Pacific). Along these tenures, he has developed experience in large transformation projects, change management, business development, process improvement, and commercial performance monitoring and reporting.

He has also worked extensively in learning and development, having previously co-founded a boutique training and consultancy firm which went on to have a regional client footprint.

On the new role, he shared: "The role of HR is increasingly pivotal as evidenced over the last few years by business disruption, the need for transformation, and not least the pandemic."

"I am grateful to be given the opportunity to work with the Board, CEO, and the team to take the vision and mission of IHRP to the next level,” he added.

Bringing several HR specialisations to the table, Aslam is a WSQ Advanced Certificate in Learning and Performance (ACLP) Certified Adult Educator, Certified Scrum Master® by the Scrum Alliance, Prosci® Certified Change Practitioner, and is trained in the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) Technology of Participation (ToP) Group Facilitation.

Besides serving in Taman Jurong as an active community volunteer, he is also a District Councillor at the South West Community Development Council. He was presented the Public Service Medal in 2016. In addition, he takes a personal interest in green initiatives.

In an exclusive conversation with HRO, Aslam talked about the HR responsibilities he will be taking on, the L&D trends he foresees closer than the horizon, and more. Read on for interview excerpts:

Q Congratulations on the appointment! Can you share more on your HR responsibilities, and your top HR-specific priorities in the year to come?

As HR is one of the corporate functions under my charge, my responsibilities go beyond ensuring key HR functions are well run. Most importantly, the needs of both the organisation and our staff are met, especially in the areas of culture development, talent management, and resilience.

With Singapore gradually returning to normalcy, one of my priorities is to ensure that we transit our colleagues safely and confidently back to work, while concurrently adapting our practices for a hybrid working world.

Globally, the physical and mental pressures have taken a toll on the workforce after two turbulent years. As a result, people are experiencing fatigue and companies are starting to see an impact on work productivity.

Essentially, C-suite executives need to consider two key factors that are vital for shaping our transition to endemicity: having an energised pool of workers and cultivating resilience in them.

The perfect formula for success varies for each organisation. As a management representative, I hope to build a healthy and sustainable workplace for everyone in IHRP by balancing productivity and compassion. Be proactive in supporting my colleagues’ wellbeing by fostering sustainable work behaviours and extending individualised care for moments that matter to them.

Q Bringing a broad range of L&D experience to the role, what are some learning trends that you have identified as imperative for employers going forward?

Employers today are contending with a post-COVID endemic world rocked by supply chain difficulties, the climate crisis, and expectations to change. Faced with a labour crunch and spiralling costs, L&D has now become an important competitive advantage to corporate leaders and employers as they find ways to not only retain their talent and workforce but also to upskill and reskill them to seize new business opportunities.

From an employee perspective, to remain employable, they need to stay current and relevant. The specialised knowledge they possess may no longer be enough to tackle the complex problems they face at work. Increasingly, knowledge from multiple disciplines may be needed. That means employees cannot take a passive approach toward learning and instead must view learning as a continuous cycle across multiple domains.

Within these contexts, I see several important trends in the future of learning that are imperative for employers going forward.

First, employers need to broaden the definition of learning beyond the formal and into the informal. Employers need to recognise the importance of performance-based credentials such as Skills Badges and micro-certificates over traditional academic transcripts.

As a learner accumulates Skills Badges, these become a lifelong learning ledger of stackable qualifications that demonstrates the learner’s competence and potential capabilities. For example, in IHRP, we have our Skills Badges, which allow HR professionals to acquire knowledge on-demand so that they remain current on the latest best practices in the HR field. (Such) micro-credentials can become a competence signal to hiring managers and employers when recruiting.

In parallel, I’m seeing a trend toward micro or bite-sized curricula where learning content lasts several minutes. Unlike traditional learning where learning objectives are numerous and can take several hours or even days to complete, microlearning typically contains one to two learning objectives. As the learning content is bite-sized, it becomes more focused and less cluttered, making it easier for learners to absorb and retain information.

There are studies that suggest bite-sized learning improves knowledge retention by close to 80% and learning engagement by as much as 50%. Microlearning typically takes the form of short videos, tools, and tips or 'playbooks' that can be easily repurposed and potentially gamified.

Together with micro-credentials, employees now have the means to acquire knowledge and skills quickly, on-demand, and signal competence. Employers benefit because they cannot only deploy knowledge quickly to upskill or reskill their employees, but also improve hiring through better skills assessment.

The learning landscape today has many new and emerging capabilities, thus broadening its transformative possibilities. Enlightened employers who appreciate this will deploy L&D strategically to not just meet their business objectives but also as a tool to retain and develop talent. 

Image / Provided by IHRP (Aslam Sardar)

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