Written by the AIMS International Marketing Team

28 May 2020

VP Sustainability, Leonie Pentz and EVP APAC, Jonathan Khoo joined forces to host the first ever APAC regional HR AIMS CONNECT COMMUNITIES on 15 May 2020.

This roundtable discussion moderated by Leonie and Jonathan included a panel of highly experienced HR professionals throughout the APAC region. The panel included Himal Tewari, Chief Human Resources Officer of Tata Power Group in India, Alan Jin, Human Resources Director of De Beers in China, Keith Goh, Chief Operations Officer of ShieldCov Medical Supplies in Singapore and Vivian Lee, General Manager of Euro Asia Holidays Ltd. in Singapore. Special guests Qingyang Zhu and Alice Xu from the Shanghai Human Resource Consulting Association (SHRCA), gave a short presentation about the Association.

Other participants present included AIMS colleagues Cindy Han, Ashish Dhawan, Kah Yan Li, Davy Goh, Jaydee Beneke and Lyndsay Hill.

Over the next few weeks we will be publishing a series of articles based around each of the challenges brought forward by the HR Leaders. The overarching topic of discussion was HR Challenges during COVID-19: How do we overcome and sustain business?

Key points raised were:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic is not an “HR issue”; instead, top leadership need to be engaged and aligned and become more accessible, showing their human side, showing that they care. All of a sudden, we are acutely aware that, through the rise of online meetings, it is possible for HR to engage frequently with even the most remote locations.
  2. Health, safety and security have become key focus areas for employers, consumers  and employees. Honest and transparent communication is important to help alleviate the high levels of anxiety in organisations. HR support now extends from the individual to families of employees and even to communities.
  3. Remote working has great benefits; we have seen productivity surge in many areas in the first weeks, however, after a few weeks we find that family and domestic issues get in the way.  How do we change our mindsets to accommodate a more integrated working style for parents, etc?
  4. Staff retention and engagement is a huge challenge; How do we retain and engage our staff, especially those who are working from home? How do we onboard new graduates when we cannot host personal workshops and training?
  5. Organisational Effectiveness (OE) has to be redefined.  Some realise that their business continuity plan (BCP) is changing from the traditional top-down method to a bottom-up methodology, in order to be more agile. Empowerment of local leaders is therefore becoming crucial.  Values which drive cultures and actions are changing – safety and health come first. What does this mean for OE in your business?

In conclusion, HR professionals face an unprecedented challenge due to this pandemic, needing to strengthen the culture and values of their organisations. Never has it been more important to communicate consistently and transparently, to be flexible, to show humanity, to engage staff across all platforms.  

We look forward to delving into these challenges with you and hopefully finding some answers to these and other questions raised by our APAC HR Leaders roundtable in the next episodes in this series.

As part of the AIMS CONNECT COMMUNITIES project, AIMS International’s Partners are hosting online  roundtables for business leaders in all regions.  To participate and get connected, please contact Leonie Pentz, VP Sustainability.

Written by the AIMS International Marketing Team