It comes with no surprise that the turn out for the 37th HR Sharing was overwhelming! Everyone wanted to be present for the official book launch of “The Guide to the Employment Act and Its Practical Applications” written by Mr Martin Gabriel. With more than 20 years of experience as a HR Practitioner, Martin’s services due to his experience is very much sort after in the HR Community. Anergy Fun Engineers, a company that runs corporate activities, teambuilding and motivational games to bond staff and improve teamwork was also part of the 37th HR Sharing. They got everyone on their feet with fun games. Everyone was hyped up with full of smiles.
Make Health Connect (MHC) was also present to share about the services they offer. The 37th HR Sharing started off with a bang! Alvin from Anergy Fun Engineers, together with his team got everyone’s energy a notch up with really effective ice-breaking activities. Anergy started out with the mirror game followed by “pass down the message” accurately – game. Participants were supposed to digest a mouthful of words and repeat the same message down the line. It was hilarious listening to how the messages lost its originality and sounded ridiculous. Although the games were brief, it was a moment that was packed with non-stop laughter and fun.
Mr Lim Kai Chuan, the Head of Business Development from Make Health Connect (MHC), came in after to share with us on the services MHC provides. MHC taps on the possibilities of the continuous advancement of technology by creating a web-based medical claim system. MHC is the first in Southeast Asia to create such a system which has successfully linked up a network of 1000 clinics in Singapore and 550 clinics in Malaysia, and help companies, major insurers and medical providers improve their medical claims processing, efficiency, and workforce productivity by eliminating tedious paper work.
The Employment Act is not flawless. There are areas and provisions in the act which are unclear and contradict themselves or with other legislations. Mr Martin Gabriel who has a very vast experience in the Human Resource field and who is reputable for his knowledge in the Employment Act has spotted these numerous grey areas from the EA. Mr Martin discussed these grey areas with the participants in the 37th HR Sharing and also mentioned about the raising of employment standards in 2015, as well as possible new additions that may be implemented to the Employment Act. Mr Gabriel ended his very insightful discussion with his personal experience at the Labour Court and a brief outline about how rulings are conducted in the Labour Court, with reference to the act and his personal experiences. The session ended on a high note when participants approached Mr Gabriel for his personal autograph to be included in the book.
By Nigel Toh
How does an organization ensure that there is co-operation amongst its staff? You have heard of excellent service to the customer, but have you ever heard of excellent service to the internal customer or your fellow colleagues?
Zainal Abidin’s presentation touched on a challenging issue that confronts almost all organizations. How does the HR Manager get every employee to work harmoniously with one another? Zainal identifies the so called ‘roadblocks’ that hinders co-operation with one another. Coming from a military background, Zainal is aware of the importance of teamwork. According to Zainal, there are several ‘roadblocks’ which hinders co-operation. Telling your fellow colleagues that “I don’t have the time” or taking his or her task as less important than yours is another ‘roadblock’ that fester animosity among peers. Zainal explored alternatives in effective communication that could help a better understanding and thereby getting the task done. “Always explain why you need assistance before asking is a good way of getting co-operation” said Zainal. HR professionals found his presentation to be of great value. HR Manager, Valerie Chin said “We could tell that his experience has brought about a higher degree of EQ which is important when communicating from person to person”
Section 43(6) Vs. Section 43(2) of the Employment Act
The 2nd speaker was Martin Gabriel, Senior HR Consultant for HRmatters21. Martin spoke about annual leave entitlement. Martin made a startling discovery when one of his clients alerted him to the Ministry of Manpower’s website which indicated that for a new employee, the annual leave could be withheld for up to 12 months. This was MOM’s interpretation of Sec 43(6) of the Employment Act which states;
“The employer shall grant and the employee shall take such leave not later than 12 months after the end of every 12 months of continuous service and any employee who fails to take that leave by the end of such period shall thereupon cease to be entitled thereto”.
Martin however does not interpret the clause the same way as the MOM. Martin is of the view that the clause merely allows an employee to bring forward their annual leave to the following year. He said that there is no option for annual leave to be withheld for up to one year and this is substantiated by Sec 43(2) of the same act which clearly states;
“An employee who has served an employer for a period of not less than 3 months but who has not completed 12 months of continuous service in any year shall be entitled to annual leave in proportion to the number of completed months of service in that year”.
He emphasized some key words from the clause, which are, “in any year” and “in that year”.
Martin wrote an open letter to the Manpower Minister, Tan Chuan-Jin. However, he received no reply and was disappointed that the Minister did not see such matters which concerned his Ministry as important. The discussion was intense as more than 40 HR Managers and Executives discussed the merit of the two clauses. Most found the 2 clauses to be in conflict with one another.
Last but not least was Andrea Chan, a professional counsellor who had her fair share of handling the emotional aspect of a retrenchment. Andrea shared her experience of using the correct words in such an emotionally charged situation. According to Andrea, we should be delicate and sensitive when speaking to an employee whom she identified as separated and not to use the term retrenched. HR Managers found her sharing useful as it deals with the heart, and not just the letter of the law.
It was indeed a worthwhile HR Sharing. Participants found great value in just 3 hours. We look forward to the 37th HR Sharing.
By Michelle Yeo
Everyone knows that Singapore is a booming multi-racial country with substantially numerous organisations’ from (small & medium enterprises) SME’s to multi nationals. Singapore has been enjoying such a privilege in peace and to maintain this peace, we must do our best not to discriminate against anyone in anyway. Who better to guide us than TAFEP (Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices)? At the 35 HR Sharing, Ms Jessie Wong graced the event and spoke to more than 40 HR professionals about being a fair employer. She started off with a few facts about our shrinking labour force and untapped women talent before explaining the benefits that businesses can reap from being a fair employer. Once this was done, she swiftly moved on to give various tips to adhere to for job advertisements, job applications and job interviews. Ms Jessie Wong then concluded by mentioning that employers can pledge themselves to practice fair employment. By doing so, employers are given access to TAFEP’s services and training.
The other speaker was C.J. Ng, who came down to speak about How to Measure Attitude in Interviews and Pitfalls to Avoid during Interviews. A recent study has shown that 46% of newly-hired employees will fail within 18 months, while only 19% will achieve unequivocal success. And by failure, we mean not being able to meet the expectations set when hiring them. He then talked about Suitability and Eligibility – mentioning that Eligibility, such as qualifications, is more tangible and easier to measure as compared to Suitability, such as attitude, is harder to measure due to the nature of the criteria. He then focused on how to identify suitable candidates by avoiding pitfalls in the conventional questions like “You have good teamwork skills, right?” and asking the right questions by Leaving it open and how to identify key words or phrases in answers that suggest the right attitude for the job. He closed by giving us some examples that will show certain characteristics of a person.
Besides having the speakers present their share, the 35 HR Sharing had an extra segment participants did not expect. Mr Martin Gabriel, the Chairman of HRmatters21 himself took the floor for a short period of time to highlight and discuss the changes that are happening in the Employment Act. The participants eagerly listened and gave their thoughts and shared with one another on the issues brought up. After the discussion, there was a short interval where refreshments were served and the participants took opportunity of this time given to network.
The 35 HR Sharing was very lively and is one of the biggest HR Sharing’s to have taken place since HRmatters21 started this event and can be summed up in a word: Successful!
By Darren Kang
The 34th HR Sharing kicked off with a presentation by Kevin Shepherdson and Celine Chew. What is a mindset, and how does a mindset affect productivity? Kevin a mindset & transformation strategist, shared with participants on how fixed mindsets are formed and what HR, management leaders and individuals can do about it. “It was indeed an eye opener; I did not see the human mind in such a manner. The mind and emotions are such complex matters” said Ms Sharon Neo a HR Executive. Kevin said that each one of us does perceive memory with a reference point, and such reference point can be positive or negative. When we do have negative thoughts that play over and over again in our minds, we are actually re-enforcing negative energy which is bad for a harmonious work relationship with our colleagues. “As HR practitioners, it is indeed important that we are people oriented and refrain from typecasting individuals in a certain way, just because our first impression of them was based on a specific characteristic” said Martin Gabriel, Senior HR Consultant of HRmatters21.
After having light refreshments, the participants were sort of ‘entertained’ by renowned and reputed lawyer Samuel Seow. Samuel is indeed a versatile personality. There is no denying that he is an accomplished lawyer, however the participants had a good laugh when he delivered his presentation with a touch of humor. Samuel presented an overview of the Personal Data Protection Act. Companies that have acquired personal data from their employees must abide by certain regulations and ensure that such information are not shared for other purpose. Sales personnel too would have to ensure that information they had obtained from clients cannot be shared for other sales purposes unless consent was given. Samuel took pains to explain what private information is, and how it should be treated and what can be considered to be public information. The PDPA has already been enacted; however the authorities are giving a grace period before it would be enforced.
The PDPA takes effect in phases starting with the provisions relating to the formation of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) on 2 January 2013. Provisions relating to the DNC (Do not call) Registry will come into force on 2 January 2014 and the main data protection rules will come into force on 2 July 2014. This allows time for organisations to review and adopt internal personal data protection policies and practices, to help them comply with the PDPA.
It was indeed a worthwhile HR Sharing. Participants found value in just 3 hours. We look forward to the 35th HR Sharing.
By Michelle Yeo
HRmatters21 have moved to a new spanking office at 184B Joo Chiat road. We now occupy an office space of almost 300sqft. Our new office boast of a meeting room equipped with a 40 inch plasma TV with full mio cable channels. We have also acquired a state of the art printer which our staff could control by using a smart phone, just about anywhere in the world. A fax need not be viewed by its hard copy, but could also be downloaded to the smart phone (via online which is sync to the printer cum fax machine). HRmatters21 believes in utilizing technology to its fullest capacity and would continue to upgrade its desktop and notebooks. Our objective is to expand our service capacity, so that we are able to serve our Members better. HRmatters21 is delighted to announce that we now have clients in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, all thanks to our Malaysian and Indonesian based Consultants. In view of our expanding business, it is only practical that we upgrade to a better office. Members are welcomed to visit us. Cheers!!
By Michelle Yeo