The Snitch

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Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

HRTV: Engage employees through their senses

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Singapore – Learning programmes are getting increasingly creative, as companies strive to find interesting ways to engage staff while training them.

In an interview with HRTV, Gareth Poh, owner of The Training Company, said unique learning environments can help improve engagement levels in a class.

Poh said by providing a novel yet comfortable setting, participants would be more willing to take part in activities and “let their guard down”. That’s when the employee will be able to absorb the information presented best as the relaxing atmosphere allows them to be more receptive.

Likewise, his training facility has been decorated to look like the beach, complete with wallpaper designs, wooden lounge chairs and piped music. Poh also uses aromatherapy to create a holistic seaside experience for learners.

He shared that adding scents like lavender and oranges along with soothing ambience music to a training venue will trigger more senses which help participants retain their new knowledge better.

According to Poh, training programmes are becoming more interactive and many encourage employees to go on a journey of self-discovery and reflection.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

July 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm

HRTV: Best coaches on diverse cultures

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Singapore – Instead of using classroom training to help new leaders learn and manage intercultural differences across diverse offices, the best coaches are found within the company.

It is important that companies find the right coaches to help leaders on understanding cultural differences, according to Fons Trompenaars, one of the top 50 most influential management thinkers alive as identified by Thinker 50.

The good news is Trompenaars says the best coaches are already available within the company. They would be senior leaders who are familiar with the business scope, who understand the depth of cultures they have worked in, and had experience managing both intercultural and international teams. Pairing them up with new leaders will help the newbie learn far better than in a classroom setting.

However, the managing director of Trompenaars Hampden-Turner Intercultural Management Consulting says improving a manager’s intercultural people skills is similar to grasping a foreign language. Both require the learner to invest time and effort in to learn and practise the skills on a daily basis.

“You cannot learn a new language in half a day. For some, it takes a lifetime,” Trompenaars said. “[It is the] same with cultural differences.”

Trompenaars suggests using a “modular approach” to help leaders understand cultural differences when they are posted to a new country. Breaking up the learning process into bite-sized modules will give them opportunities to apply what they have learnt in their everyday life.

The module should also include a process that allows leaders to exchange feedback with their internal trainers and the local teams. Trompenaars says leaders can then create their own case studies and share that information with others when it’s their turn to coach on cultural diversity.

HRTV: The top three L&D challenges in 2011

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Singapore – With the talent war still raging in Asia, companies are focusing efforts on developing and retaining talent, but some are struggling to overcome challenges within the learning and development area (L&D).

Additionally, organisations that do not have a chief learning officer (CLO) will find themselves lagging further behind as they wi lose out on developing employees to help align their talent to the business goals.

Mary Sue Rogers, general manager at IBM’s global human resources (HR) learning and recruitment division, said the function of a CLO is just as important as payroll or compensation and benefits.

She added having a senior executive focused on L&D opportunities for employees will ensure the budget set aside for staff training is properly maximised.

Yet CLOs in Asian companies will face three top L&D challenges this year. They are namely budget issues, adapting to generations X and Y, and ensuring that the ageing workforce transfers their knowledge before they retire.

Besides predicting the learning trends for 2011 in the exclusive interview with HRTV, Rogers said companies based in different markets will face new sets of challenges in developing talent. According to her, hiring and managing talent are tough in hyper-growth markets such as China and Vietnam due to high turnover rates.

“Companies from those markets have the challenge of onboarding and skill acquisition, and if that employee is still there in a year, start thinking about leadership development,” Rogers said.

On the other hand, companies in mature economies like Singapore and Australia have to overcome the challenge of structuring professional development programmes and incorporating blended learning into L&D initiatives.

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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

June 15, 2011 at 11:43 am

Small Talk: Marketer’s HR challenges [Special 20th episode]

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Singapore – To celebrate the 20th episode of Small Talk, Sabrina Zolkifi sat down with group editor for Marketing Magazine Matt Eaton and discussed trends in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Based in Hong Kong, Eaton shared insights on how some recruiters there conduct team poaching, where entire divisions are lured over by competitors. He added this is especially true in emerging sectors such social media, where there is a clear lack of senior talent.

“People who have talent may realise that there is a shortage in the market, realise their worth and are going after some pretty big bucks,” Eaton said.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, there are people who switch for very little money, as the Hong Kong economy returns to pre-crisis standards.

To combat the problem of disloyal employees, Eaton shared advertising firms in Hong Kong are using training initiatives to retain their top talent. Because the advertising industry has to keep up with technology and be “on top of a lot of these new things”, he said it  “makes sense for them to continually train their staff and bring them up to speed”.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

June 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

The horse that nudged me into leadership

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When I got a call inviting me to breakfast at the Saddle Club and a media preview of the Equina Horse-Assisted Leadership Coaching, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t stoked out of my mind.

I love animals (my six visits to the zoo in the last year is testament to that) and the thought of spending the morning hanging out at the stables while still being able to get some work done seemed to be the ideal “killing two birds with one stone” situation.

Nancy introducing me to GG

However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the depth and eye-opening experience I was about to go through. Hosted by Nancy H. Verhoeven, founder of Vincere Coaching, she explained how herd and hunted animals such as horses can sense a person’s energy, and their reactions to humans can be very telling of the person’s personality and leadership style.

Walking up to the arena with GG the horse, I was rather sceptical. Nancy had explained one of the activities we would have to do was to try and make GG walk around the arena with us without touching her.

“How are we supposed to do that?” I thought. Was I supposed to tap into telepathic abilities I did not know I possessed?

I decided to sit out the first few rounds and observe the other reporters have their go at interacting with GG. As Nancy stood watching like a hawk, she began pointing out traits and personality styles of each reporter – and nailing them all on the head.

Commenting on how GG kept gently nudging and pushing one reported, Nancy said the horse was disrespecting the reporter’s personal space. “Is this something you find happening in your life as well?” Nancy asked the reporter, and to my surprise, he said he did find that sometimes, it was hard from him to assert his authority, and preferred to be a peer, rather than a leader.

After most of the other reporters had their time with GG, and were clearly just as surprised and overwhelmed at the accuracy of the comments Nancy was giving, I decided it was time to step up to the plate. As I approached the arena, Nancy said she was going to bring it up to the next level and have me do a more challenging activity.

Oh boy.

“I am going to make a circle and have you stand in the middle,” Nancy explained as she led GG towards the centre of the sandy arena. “What I need you to do is to try and get him to walk around you without coming into the circle, because that is what he wants to do.”

As she handed me the reins, I began gently tugging at it to make GG move forward. No such luck as he kept insisting on standing in my circle.

Trying to keep GG out

“No GG, stay out,” I said, wondering internally if horses even understood English. But GG was adamant we hang out together in the circle.

“Assert your authority,” Nancy said.

“GG, stay out,” I said in what I thought was my most commanding voice. But GG had other plans. Feeling slightly uncomfortable as I remembered everyone was watching, I was beginning to feel more disheartened by the second.

Sharing a personal moment with Nancy

Nancy picked up on that and pulled me aside, making an observation I wasn’t expecting to hear from someone I had just met over breakfast an hour ago. “You don’t get angry often, do you?”

“No, I don’t,” I told her honestly.

“Everyone has anger and I need you to find that from inside you and use that assertiveness to make GG stay out of the circle.”

I closed my eyes and tried to summon anger – or at least something close to it. After a few moments, I stepped back into the circle, and to my amazement, GG walked around me outside the circle, maintaining a comfortable distance between us.

That felt pretty darn awesome.

The sweet, sweet taste of success

A while later, over a quick debrief with the rest of the group, Nancy shared that she was once unable to do some of the activities as well, and found that her lack of authority was causing her to be over-accommodating to people. Hearing that hit a nerve for me, and I made a mental note to stop thinking about having super powers to communicate with different species, and work on communicating better with humans instead.

Looking at the other reporters who had gone through that brief assessment by both GG and Nancy, I knew they were taking more away from the experience than they had expected at the start of the session.

I like to think of this as GG giving me a hug

Who would have thought 15 minutes in the arena with a retired racehorse would allow us to learn a little bit about ourselves to better our working and personal relationships? I’m not saying everyone should rush out to find a horse and try to lead it around a circle, but if you do have the opportunity, I would suggest you have a go at it. You’ll never know what you can learn.

Those interested to find out more can head on over to

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

June 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm

HRTV: Always place employees before customers

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Singapore – If companies want to drive growth and innovation, they have to put their employees before the customers on their list of priorities.

“It is our employees who create the differentiation advantage,” Vineet Nayar, chief executive officer of global IT firm HCL Technologies, said. He added companies have to realise that it is the employees who set a company apart from its competitors, and by placing the staff on the “centre stage of investment”, organisations can grow faster.

Nayar sat down with HRTV and shared how the human resources (HR) team’s responsibility is to design creative programmes that help managers come up with new ideas to better manage the employees. Inspiring the troops should not fall only on HR’s shoulders’. Instead, everyone should be held accountable.

“The day we delegate the responsibility of motivating our employees to HR, we make a huge mistake,” Nayar said. “HR can only innovate on how [managers] motivate [employees], but they can’t motivate on [the manager]’s behalf.”

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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

March 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

HRTV: Inject some speed at corporate events

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Singapore – What better way to build up employee team spirit than pitting them against one another on the race track?

Corporate activities just got a whole lot more interesting with activities like go karting getting in on the action. More companies are choosing to go off the beaten track when planning for corporate events these days. OCBC Bank was one of them, launching the inaugural Corporate Karting Challenge earlier last month.

HRTV managed to sit down with the managing director of Kartright Singapore, Dato’ Jude Benny, and asked him why it is important companies choose events or activities their employees would enjoy.

Professional go kart racers Richard Bradley and Yuey Tan also weigh in on how racing can improve your work life.

Watch the video for exclusive footage of the launch event, as well as a chance to see Human Resources editor Lee Xieli having her go at go kart racing!

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

February 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

How Disney leaders create magic

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At Walt Disney’s children theme parks, every customer’s experience is critical to its success and employees play a huge role in making sure each experience is “magical”. Inspiring employees to enjoy what they do on a regular basis is key. The world’s largest media and entertainment conglomerate shares how its leaders bring magic to the workplace.

Benjamin Reed, a facilitator for Disney Institute, a professional development and external training arm of The Walt Disney Company, reveals some tips on how business leaders can inspire their employees at work. In the video, he talks about a successful five-step approach used by his organisation. Reed also shares some examples of Disney leaders help their employees, more popularly known as cast members, derive real job satisfaction.

Reed will be facilitating a three-day training programme “Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence” organised by SIM Professional Development from 28 to 30 September 2010.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

September 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Embarking on an HR career path

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The road less travelled for HR

By Joanne Chua

While HR professionals could come from various educational backgrounds, the most highly regarded route into the profession would be possessing a bachelor’s degree in HR, personnel or any other related disciplines. Such related qualification offers you the best training for an HR career, and would successfully place you on more hiring shortlists.

Other indirect routes include internal transfers within the organisation. If you are already working in a different department and would like to make the switch to an HR-related position, earning certifications in an HR-related field could help smoothen your transition. Some large organisations would also consider hiring internal resources for new HR positions. Employees with majors in business, sociology, social sciences or psychology could very well find themselves considered, especially for entry level HR positions.

What do employers look out for?

Employers typically look out for relevant market experience, as well as, specific role experience. While there is a higher level of acceptance to hire atypical HR profiles, candidate selection varies according to the different levels of employers’ expectations and open-mindedness.

Large organisations may find it easier to hire non-typical profiles for junior HR positions since they have access to more resources and are therefore better positioned to be able to train such new hires. Smaller companies, on the other hand, may have lesser resources to work with.

Making a transfer

An example of a very contrasting role switch could consist of a high-performing sales professional who wants to move into the HR profession. He or she could face more difficulty in terms of various factors – the most obvious factor being compensation differences. Instead of being rewarded based on a commission scheme, this person could very well find an eventual drop in annual salary since his or her performance is no longer tied to sales targets.

Faced with the realisation that HR roles are regarded as back office support, such professionals looking to make the switch should derive job satisfaction from other factors such as the personable aspects of the role.

That said, a sales professional with an excellent understanding of the business function in a sales environment would make an exceptional HR business partner, focusing on sales roles.

Conversely, a recruitment consultant who is tired of meeting sales targets but is still interested in recruiting could consider moving into the HR profession. An in-house HR role allows them to continue hiring people, but without the stress of having to meet sales goals.

Holding the key traits

But more importantly, budding HR professionals should possess a genuine passion for people development. It is all about soft skills, as well as, having a high level of emotional intelligence. Equally as important would be the ability to build and manage relationships whilst networking with different levels of people within the organisation.

It is also imperative to distinguish between the parameters of judging a right from a wrong, and to customise policies in appropriate circumstances. In addition, a sense of conscientiousness and integrity would help you build your relationships with employees based on trust and faith. It is absolutely important to maintain personal credibility while handling confidential people records.

Another essential would be the ability to deal with downsizing and restructuring, as well as, being able to handle ambiguity.

Having a keen sense of empathy and awareness is also crucial to becoming an effective business partner in an organisation. These qualities would help you develop the interpersonal skills and flexibility in making the toughest decisions and deal with the most difficult staff, whilst continuing to maintain organisational interest within the constitution of individual interests.

To be an effective HR person, it is paramount for you to recognise individuality instead of looking upon employees as a mass.

Joanne Chua is the manager of the HR recruitment division at Robert Walters Singapore.

Written by Human Resources

August 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Recruitment, Training

Five tips to motivating employees

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Following the recent announcement of a possible wage increase to triple productivity in Singapore, organisations are now striving to achieve higher productivity levels more so than before. Thus, HR professionals may want to pay more attention to the different ways they can use to boost employees’ motivation levels if they want to attain optimal yield.

In the video, Roger Collantes, former vice president and regional learning and development director for financial giant Citi’s Asia Pacific Global Consumer Group, shares his tips on how organisations can further motivate employees at work.

Also a motivational speaker and leadership coach, Collantes recently wrote his latest book Beyond Survival on teaching professionals how to thrive under the trying circumstances of a global financial crisis. He also spoke at the Human Resources insights event on “Managing a multigenerational workforce” last week.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

July 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm