Change to HR policies means shift in HR business focus


March 17th, 2015

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shutterstock_145518796The Singapore Government, which until now has recruited university degree holders and non-degree holders into completely different career tracks at government ministries, is now scrapping this key tenet of its recruitment approach

This does not surprise me given the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally Speech last year calling for a “cultural change” in the way Singaporeans view success and value each other , which I wrote about in a recent article  for TODAY Newspaper

It is very positive that non-graduates will have the opportunity to compete with graduates for promotion, based on their job performance and readiness to take on larger roles as they have often been overlooked due to the emphasis on qualifications which Prime Minister Lee is now looking to shift.

As I mentioned in my TODAY article, SMEs which contribute nearly half of all Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product and employ 7 out of 10 workers in the country, are already adopting innovative hiring practices and looking to recruit on the basis of cultural fit rather than qualifications. Moreover enthusiasm, a positive attitude, passion for growth and the desire to win become more important attributes than formal qualifications.

So it is positive that the government sector is also taking the lead to move away from a more traditional view of qualifications as the key criteria for success to one where broader life-skills and experience become more significant.

What this means for HR professionals in particular, who are charged with implementing recruitment practices, is their focus will need to switch from one that has been very process-driven to becoming more pragmatic and solutions-focused and in line with cultural shifts that are taking place in Singapore.

Looking at talent in a different way and measuring the success of individuals on a wider range of attributes than just paper qualifications and experience will be key challenges for HR professionals and will require re-positioning in their businesses with their managerial partners.

More than ever HR has an opportunity to make a  key contribution  to the strategic success of the organisation in leading on this mind-set shift so it can coach and  challenge the business with the right questions and focus. At Roffey Park we understand the value that HR can bring as a business partner and through our programmes in Asia Pacific help HR professionals to develop the confidence, strategic nous, and influencing skills to succeed.

We welcome the government’s change in policy to ensure individuals with “the same performance and potential have the same opportunities for advancement and career development, whether they are degree-holders or not” (Teo Chee Hean – Minister-in-Charge of the Singapore Civil Service) and we urge HR Professionals to play a major role in working with their business colleagues to ensure this becomes a reality for Singapore as a whole.

Find out more about our HR Business Partner Skills programme which will be running in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong during 2015.