More support for HR professionals through upskilling, strengthening of firms' capabilities

SINGAPORE – Human resource (HR) professionals will get more support for upskilling as part of efforts to ensure that they are equipped to harness the benefits of tech transformation.

To do so, the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) will develop more and different learning avenues for HR professionals, with a greater focus on emerging skills, said Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on Wednesday (Sept 30).

This was one of the recommendations by the HR Industry Transformation Advisory Panel (HRTAP) to help build a stronger HR sector in Singapore to enable business and workforce transformation.

The panel was convened last year to come up with ways for HR professionals to use more technology as they help workers and businesses transform.

It aims to have more than 10,000 HR professionals take up IHRP or equivalent certification, and confer 10,000 skill badges in emerging skills such as data-led talent acquisition by 2025, Mr Zaqy shared.

“Through upskilling and supporting business and workforce transformation, we will continue to elevate the HR professionals into strategic business partners and leaders. In turn, this also means better jobs in HR,” he said, noting that there are some 47,000 HR professionals in Singapore, of whom 90 per cent are local.

Mr Zaqy highlighted that median wages for HR professionals has grown by about 10 per cent from 2015, and HRTAP aims to support these workers to take on roles with higher value-add and wages through HR transformation.

The panel has also recommended both targeted and broad-based initiatives to help companies build HR capabilities.

As part of its targeted support, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and IHRP are working with agencies to develop sector-specific HR playbooks, with curated tools and solutions.

The Government will also integrate HR capability building components into its enterprise support schemes, such as the Scale-Up SG programme which helps high-growth companies, said Mr Zaqy, who was speaking at the second day of the HR Tech Festival Asia, which ends on Thursday.

Broader measures implemented include providing businesses with greater access to more affordable HR technology solutions.

The MOM will also introduce an employer data portal to allow companies to access company-specific workforce insights in the fourth quarter of this year, which will help employers in manpower planning and assess how they could improve their hiring and employment practices.

“Companies become better places to work in and achieve stronger business outcomes when HR capabilities improve,” Mr Zaqy said.

He highlighted that the national Human Capital Diagnostic Tool (HCDT), which identified strengths and gaps in human capital processes as well as appropriate solutions, is a useful resource that businesses can tap on.

More than 1,000 firms have used the HCDT to date, said Mr Zaqy, citing local furniture Scanteak, which implemented a new HR system and e-learning platform for its sales staff after using the tool. The new systems have helped enhance their workers’ digital competencies since, he added.

The HRTAP aims to have 5,000 HCDT assessments by 2025, and 80 per cent of companies to have improved diagnostic scores by the same year, he noted.

In a virtual panel discussion, several members of the HRTAP spoke on how HR will support business transformation, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the role of HR professionals and the industry.

HRTAP co-chairman Poon Hong Yuen, who is deputy secretary for workforce at MOM, said: “Covid-19 has not slowed down what we need to do, in fact, it has accelerated what we need to do, which is having to take a leadership role in terms of business and sector transformation.”

This includes areas such as job redesign, digitalisation and building of new skill capabilities, he said.

IHRP chief executive Mayank Parekh emphasised the need for HR professionals to develop digital acumen, and utilise analytics to improve performance and employee experiences.

“It is critical now that HR leaders progress from just anecdotal approaches to convince business leaders to more evidence-based thinking (and) providing more data and decision science behind the recommendations that they are making,” he said.

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