Strategic planning

Vivien Shiao Shufen 04 Jan 2013

Juliana Ong

Director of HR, Royal Plaza on Scotts

With stiff competition for manpower in the hospitality industry, it is especially important to anticipate evolving market trends and implement strategies to respond accordingly. Retention is an important aspect of managing manpower.

Improving productivity through continuous training is one area to focus on. Multi-skilled employees increase productivity and generate higher revenue for the organisation. This leads to pay increments for employees. Besides investing in automation and technology to help ease the labour-intensive work, organisations should continue to focus on training programmes to ensure that the workforce is ready to take on multiple roles.

It is also essential to establish or continue to build on the organisation’s culture in the workplace as employees are also looking for an emotional connection with their employers. This includes upgrading the hardware in the organisation for the employees so that they feel at home. It has spurred Royal Plaza on Scotts to create a Chillax Lounge, which is equipped with a projector for employees to unwind while watching movies or television programmes and bond with each other.

Organisations can also improve their “heartware” by finding out what really matters to employees. Focus groups can be held to establish Employee Value Propositions that are directed at the needs of the employees. Employees will know that their comments are taken into consideration and they will feel appreciated knowing so.


Joy Roman

Head of HR, SEA, 3M

Any business plan is only as strong as the team that will carry it out. It is therefore critical that HR is able to understand and plan for the future. At a minimum, HR must be able to give the business leaders confidence that the right talent will be in place when it is needed. However, by taking the time to plan ahead, HR can do even more than enable the strategies; the function can help to shape the strategies themselves. For example, a “good” HR plan may lay out a plan to attract and retain the Gen Y workers that will be a necessary part of the future workforce while a “great” HR strategy may identify a coming shortage of workers in a critical function and then work with business leaders to identify opportunities for automation or redundancy. This leaves the company with a strategic advantage compared to others without that foresight.

To create any HR strategy – good or great – HR practitioners must first understand the company’s business, vision, and goals as well as the workforce that will be required to support the business in its future state. Next, they should use facts and data to identify potential HR barriers to achieving these goals. This includes peer benchmarking, keeping up on industry research, data analytics focused on the current workforce, economic reports, etc. By comparing the internal goals to the external realities, strategic challenges will become obvious, and future planning can start to take place.


Maurice Tan

HR Director, APAC, Tectura Singapore

With the fast changing economic situation and the fierce competition in the market place today, companies that neglect the importance of human resources, and human resources leaders who fail to play a strategic role in helping companies, will eventually be eliminated from the market place.

As a HR leader, I always participate and help the senior management to strategise and come up with the operational direction of the organisation so as to thrive and stay ahead of the competition. At the same time, I must remember to plan ahead for HR so that it is in sync with the company.

When I map out the HR plan, I always look at the following:

•        Economic situation – what areas or precautionary measures must HR be aware of should the situation change for better or worse?

•        Labour trends – how HR can attract and retain our employees, including balancing the diversity in one’s workforce?

•        Productivity – how to motivate employees to be more productive without high wage costs ?

•        Innovation – how we can reduce costs through technology, outsourcing, virtual operation, and others to help improve profitability ?

•        Learning & development – how to ensure continuous development of employees’ knowledge and skills to move ahead?

I believe every HR manager or leader must become well-rounded strategic thinkers with a business mindset in order to plan well.

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