Which HR Practices in Singapore Need to Evolve to Meet the New Needs of Jobseekers?

In this fast-changing digital age, it’s crucial to ensure local HR practices help connect companies and jobseekers efficiently. Here’s a closer look at some improvements.

Let’s be fair to our hardworking human resource (HR) managers — theirs is a relatively thankless task, toiling behind the scenes as an in-between for employers’ and workers’ interests.

In addition, their roles have gotten even more complicated, considering the big changes in the marketplace Covid-19 and digitalisation have wrought, and the fast-moving changes that have ensued.

Of course, the pace of change also means that for many Singaporean workers, there are concerns that outmoded HR practices and habits in Singapore can be an impediment to making their recruitment fairer and more efficient.

HR managers themselves also have vested interest in making sure their companies snag the talents they need for the right roles.

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Khoong Chan Meng, chief executive officer at National University of Singapore’s Institute of System Science, believes that ultimately, HR hiring practices must rapidly move in tandem with the changing nature of digital work and digital business models.

He shared: “Measurements of success are increasingly shifting from employee inputs to business outcomes, recognising that in digitalised enviroments, there are many new ways to get a job done that a traditional organisational structure may not effectively support.”

Human resources needs help too

To assist companies in pivoting, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) launched resources, such as HR playbooks, as well as free online tools which firms can use to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of their existing human capital processes.

For example, MOM’s recently-launched Food Services Playbook highlights human capital strategies and solutions for food and beverage businesses, and according to a report in the Business Times, more sector-specific and thematic playbooks are also in the pipeline.

Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng urged Singapore companies to tap these resources to improve their HR capabilities, saying: “The government and our partners will continue to roll out programmes and grants to help companies adopt emerging technologies, redesign jobs, and curate courses to help HR professionals acquire emerging skills.”

One key bugbear by Singaporean jobseekers is poor candidate engagement, communication, and hiring practices, according to a poll involving 500 local jobseekers by recruitment firm Robert Half.

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Managing director of Robert Half Singapore Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard said: “Singaporean companies would benefit from balancing their recruitment process against the expectations and frustrations of jobseekers, whilst simultaneously streamlining their application and interview process.

“This will help them ensure that delays and other frustrations are not costing them top candidates.”

What is our definition of talent?

Skills and talent come in many forms — and it’s wise for both employers and jobseekers to look beyond just paper qualifications when considering the future of work.

Trevor Yu, an associate professor in organisational behavior in the division of leadership, management and organisation at Nanyang Business School, said: “I think we are slowly recognising that hiring simply based on grades and qualifications may not be the best talent acquisition strategy.

“However, many organisations still do it because it tends to be the most efficient strategy.

“I think that employers can benefit significantly from taking a more critical look at the nature of their culture and specific types of jobs they are hiring for, and subsequently spending more time and effort to identify the right candidate profile that fits into the nature of the position.”

Read More: How Many Rounds of Interviews is Normal?

Too many HR processes for jobseekers — where is the digitalisation?

Another outmoded practices and habits include onerous interview processes. It can be awfully frustrating for jobseekers to have to spend 15 to 20 minutes filling up job application forms in specific templates from companies, especially if this is for several applications.

What’s even more inefficient is because much of that information is already on the prospective employee’s resume, or on their LinkedIn profile.

Wilson Chia, an employer engagement manager at MAXIMUS Asia, a career matching provider under Workforce Singapore, shared: “Extensive interviewing and selection processes tend to tire out prospective candidates, and this can range from multiple online professional or personal assessments, to meeting with every decision maker within the business, to panel interviews, to extensive background and clearance checks.

“The lack of clarity in the process to candidates may also be a factor to interview fatigue.”

Ultimately, as Wilson concluded, interviews should be more streamlined to be able to quickly identify in the candidate what the business needs – beyond what is on paper and also the potential that a person can be.

“They should be focused on not just the immediate fit but the candidate’s potential growth, evolution and impact, beyond the context of the current job!”

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