33rd HR Sharing – 14 May 2013

Can stress kill us? That was the most important question many participants at the 33rd HR Sharing were wondering about. Professional Counsellor Joyce Ling, was our anchor speaker at the 33rd HR sharing event. According to Joyce, stress can come from anywhere. An important job interview, a demanding boss and financial issues may put one under stress. Joyce highlighted that stress is a survival mechanism and that it is only a temporary stage, until the sense of danger or unease is over. The corporate world is a stressful environment, but socializing and enough of exercise can help manage stress. These points were highlighted in a video that was played for the HR audience. Stress is here to stay, and each individual will have to manager his or her own stress level. Corporations can seek the help of Professional Counsellors to ensure that mental health is also a priority for its employees. Mental health does have an impact on productivity and ultimately, how the employee performs in his job. Organizations that need help in providing counseling can approach HRmatters21 for assistance.

Kevin Lee, HRmatters21 expert in tax matters spoke about taxation in general. Kevin provided the various ways of interpreting financial statements. It was indeed a useful sharing as HR practitioners who are not too familiar with financial statements; begin to understand that there are indeed differences in definition, which is a surprise to many HR professionals, as most are likely….to be unfamiliar in financial matters.

A familiar face at all HR Sharing, Martin Gabriel, Senior HR Consultant spoke about the possible changes to the Employment Act. One of the issues discussed was the expanded scope of coverage, which will see more employees being protected by the Employment Act. Participants discussed ways to keep cost manageable as one of the amendments to the Act is the salary threshold of those who can enjoy protection related to working hours including overtime pay will go up, from the current $2,000 to $2,500. But there will be a cap on the amount of overtime rate payable at the salary level of $2,250, to help employers manage costs. This new amendment would be effective from 1st Jan 2014.

Stephanie Lim, a HR Executive rightly said that companies should be planning now, and not procrastinate any longer. “We have to act now or we will be struggling with increased cost” said Stephanie.

By Michelle Yeo

32nd HR Sharing – 31 Jan 2013

Most of us use Excel spreadsheet in our work, but very few are able to use most of its functions. We usually know bits and pieces, depending on what we are trying to achieve. Microsoft Excel, allows users to store, manipulate and graph data. It includes formulas, lets users make their own formulas and even uses programming (Visual Basic) to personalize every bit of the program. Jason Khoo, an expert with Microsoft Excel was the first speaker at the 32nd HR Sharing. Jason shared tips and tricks with Members and even added some humor in his presentation which was refreshing. Jason showed how the user would be able to increase productivity by over 10 fold, if adequately trained to use its many functions which lay hidden in the software. Adeline Woo, a HR Executive commented “now that I know more, I can’t wait to get back to the office and start using its various applications. I’ll certainly complete my task faster with what I know…now”.

More than 50 HR Professionals turned up for the 32nd HR Sharing, and coffee break was buzzing with chatter and exchanging of name cards. They came from various industries and they all wanted to know their peers, and discuss the various HR issues that are challenging to the HR practitioners.

The second speaker needed no introduction. Senior HR Consultant and founder of HRmatters21, Martin Gabriel presented the Marriage and Parenthood package, barely a week after the information was launched by the Manpower Ministry. “I had to scurry and hurry to get all the information and present it in a comprehensive manner’’ said Martin. Initially, the 2nd presentation was suppose to be entitled “possible changes to the Employment Act”, however HRmatters21 decided to present the Marriage and Parenthood package as it was current and generated much interest in the HR community. It was information that a HR professional must know (as it would be enacted into law with effect from 1st May 2013). The package was launched to encourage couples to start families earlier as Singapore’s fertility rate remains stubbornly low. Fathers will finally get paid paternity leave of one week. This is on top of the one-week leave they can co-share with mothers under the working mother’s maternity leave entitlement of 16 weeks. Couples who adopt can look forward to four weeks of paid adoption leave for working mothers.

HRmatters21 would like to thank all its Members for taking time to attend the 32nd HR Sharing. We look forward to the 33rd HR Sharing.

By Michelle Yeo

31st HR Sharing – 21 Sep 2012

Corporate training has different meaning to the many companies that operate differently. Some companies see it as a cost burden while others find it difficult to release their employees during work hours, and continue to pay their wages. It was therefore timely that HRmatters21 addressed the many concerns by sharing information about the PIC Scheme, which is also known as the Productivity and Innovation Credit. This scheme allow companies to claim up to 60% of cash grant, up to a maximum of $100,000 each year, for training and other expenditures. Kevin Lee, an associate trainer and financial expert with HRmatters21 explained the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the scheme. Kevin urged companies to take advantage of the scheme as it expires in 2015.

The coffee break in between the 2 presentations was indeed a welcome change as it allowed participants to exchange name cards and network with one another. Legal expert Dravida Maran made a surprise appearance and discussed legal issues with participants during the coffee break.

Next up was Martin Gabriel, Senior HR Consultant of HRmatters21. Martin shared valuable tips pertaining to writing a corporate policy. Having written over 200 policies for various companies, Martin shared his insights into crafting a strategic approach that supports business objectives and at the same time, benefits the employees. According to Martin, a dollar spent can encompass a dual purpose of supporting business objectives and at the same time, that very same dollar is spent on something that benefits the employees. Such strategy stretches the budget and could lead up to substantial savings for the organization.

HR Executive, John Tee said “I’ll certainly be back for the 32nd HR Sharing. Half day is just right for me and both speakers get straight to the point, which is what I like” Well John and all other HR professionals, see you at the next HR sharing.

By Michelle Yeo


30th HR Sharing – 5th Jul 2012

In today’s business world, social media plays a big part in defining how businesses operate. Businesses and social norms are being shaped by an environment that is increasingly being influenced by social media.

Ben Liew, a HR Consultant recognizes this new normal and has embraced LinkedIn as his tool to market himself and get new contacts. Ben Liew shared his experience in forming various HR interest groups and participating in the online forum.  Ben showed HR participants, how he benefitted in keeping up with social media which is also changing at a very quick pace. In other words, adaptability and flexibility could be a winning formula for the Executives of the future.

The 30th HR Sharing was indeed fortunate to have 3 renowned speakers grace the event. More than 30 HR Professionals turned up to hear it from the experts and network with their fellow HR practitioners.

HRmatters21, Senior HR Consultant, Martin Gabriel updated Members about the changes to the Work Injury Compensation Act which takes effect from 1st June 2012, and discussed about a predicament all HR practitioners face, and that is the tightening of quota for foreign workers. Recently the Ministry Of Manpower announced that it would reduce the numbers of foreign workers by tightening its quota. Martin urged Members to raise productivity by optimizing manpower. Redesigning of jobs could also help as simpler work processes means a shorter learning curve, and a shorter learning curve would reap positive results for newly recruit workers, who are able to perform with less mistakes. Members were indeed engaged in a controversial topic of “are there too many foreign workers in Singapore?” Clement Puah Neo, a long time participant and Member was enthusiastic about the topic as he spoke his mind, and gave valuable ideas.

Our last speaker was Kevin Lee. Kevin is no stranger to HRmatters21 Members, as many of them had already attended his workshop which imparts knowledge and technical know-how in matters pertaining to Finance and Accounts. Kevin shared his thoughts about taxation and benefits-in-kind. One Member commented “Regular HR sharing is good for our community as we don’t just discuss serious matters on the internet forum but take time to meet each other face to face and feel each other’s warmth and sincerity”. We look forward to the next sharing.

By Michelle Yeo


29th HR Sharing – 24th Feb 2012

The Indonesian employment act was indeed a success pilot run, and there were request from Regional HR Managers to invite Indonesian Labour Law expert Mr. Hendri Gemilang as a guest speaker for the 29th HR Sharing. Hendri was no stranger to many of the participants as the workshop in January had an encouraging turnout. To Hendri, saying ‘no’ was not an option as he is enthusiastic about being a consultant, serving Singapore based companies that operate branch offices in Indonesia.

Hendri shared numerous case studies about how Unions operate in Indonesia and what influence their decisions to stage strikes or why do they resort to “work to rule methods’’.

A substantial number of participants found Hendri to be knowledgeable in his approach of handling Unions in Indonesia. His suggestions clearly demonstrated that Hendri boast of enormous experience in the field of industrial relations. One participant even commented “With Hendri to fall back on whenever I have problems in Jakarta, it is indeed a feeling of great comfort”

The second speaker, Terence Lim boasted a substantial number of years in the HR profession. Terence spoke about the pros and cons of a performance appraisal and highlighted the many pitfalls made by HR as well as non HR personnel. An example he gave was the recency effect. This is when the appraiser only remembers what recently happened and thus the evaluation is only based on what he can remember. Employees know this flaw and will only step up performance when nearing the appraisal period, which are only once a year as practiced by most companies. HRmatters21 consultants have always encouraged companies to have their appraisal at least twice a year to minimize the recency effect.

Terence also touched on the halo and horn effect, which is generally about the lasting effect of first impression. It was another good HR sharing with members exchanging business cards at the end of the session. HRmatters21 would also like to invite, anyone who wants to come forward and share a HR topic, even non-managers are welcome to share.  We certainly look forward to the 30th HR Sharing as we bring to the stage 2 more speakers with 2 more topics at hand. Cheers!!

By Michelle Yeo

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