Companies should fully tap HR resources to emerge stronger from Covid-19: Tan See Leng

The report highlighted the importance of HR transformation in supporting businesses. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The human resource (HR) community has been pivotal in helping Singapore companies tackle the challenges of Covid-19, and businesses should make full use of available HR resources to emerge stronger from the pandemic, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said on Wednesday (Oct 20).

Dr Tan was speaking to reporters on the 26th Jobs Situation Report via teleconferencing after a visit to Sentosa's Tanjong Beach Club, a food and beverage establishment under the Lo & Behold Group.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which issued the report, noted HR's central role in helping businesses deal with Covid-19, from managing manpower disruptions and the changing nature of workplaces, to engaging staff and looking out for their mental well-being.

"They have also implemented fair and responsible cost-saving measures to save jobs," said MOM.

"As many businesses accelerated their pace of digitalisation and transformation amid the pandemic, HR's ability to drive strategic workforce planning, redesign jobs and develop talent will be pivotal in helping businesses and their workers to succeed."

The ministry urged HR professionals to take up the Institute for Human Resource Professionals' (IHRP) certification, which is a national certification framework that recognises the experience, skills and competencies of HR practitioners in Singapore.

More than 4,500 aspiring and existing HR professionals are currently IHRP-certified, MOM noted.

IHRP offers resources for companies to strengthen their human capital practices and support business transformation.

These include the Human Capital Diagnostic Tool (HCDT), which evaluates businesses' strengths and gaps within their human capital processes, and identifies solutions.

The HCDT Navigator, officially launched last month, is a free-to-use self-help version that can be completed within 30 minutes.

The Human Resource Jobs Transformation Map was rolled out in December last year to identify key technology drivers and analyse the impact on HR work over the next five years.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng and Lo & Behold founder Wee Teng Wen holding a virtual media conference at Tanjong Beach Club in Sentosa, on Oct 20. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

New technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things will redefine business models and jobs, said MOM.

For the HR sector, new and emerging roles such as "people strategist" and "head of talent enablement" will be created to better design and deliver talent solutions, it added.

Some existing jobs will need to evolve and expand to drive higher value.

For instance, an HR payroll administrator would need to manage automated processes and perform payroll analysis, while a traditional HR business partner would need to think about long-term workforce planning and use data-driven insights to customise talent management solutions.

Dr Tan added that in times like a pandemic, an enlightened, nimble and proactive HR system within the company, led by managers who are very forward looking, will be even more essential to protect the workforce.

He lauded "exemplary employers" who are Human Capital Partners - meaning they have implemented progressive workplace practices and invested in human capital.

(From left) Lo & Behold founder Wee Teng Wen, Tanjong Beach Club senior assistant guest relations manager Shamini Krishnan and Manpower Minister Tan See Leng at the club in Sentosa, on Oct 20. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

One such employer is the Lo & Behold Group, which built an integrated HR platform to automate tasks such as employee time-off management, among other functions.

By digitalising, the group's HR team reduced time spent on administrative tasks by 40 per cent and saved 30 man-hours per HR staff each month, said MOM.

This allows them to focus on higher value-added work such as strategic workforce planning and talent management.

Dr Tan said he met a senior assistant manager with the Lo & Behold Group on Wednesday who has been able to pursue a degree in psychology while working, thanks to the company's flexible working arrangements.

"She is one example of how progressive workplace practices can help attract and retain local talent," he added.

There are about 600 recognised Human Capital Partners employing more than 250,000 workers in total. Of these, more than 80 per cent are Singaporeans and permanent residents.

Said Dr Tan: "I encourage everyone to make full use of the measures available so that the HR community can be better equipped to lead workforce and workplace transformation for businesses to emerge stronger."

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.