News Recap

News Recap – 12 Sep to 18 Sep

18 Sep 2020

1. Guidelines on Rental Contracts for Singapore Dorm Operators and Employers

As migrant workers are rehoused according to new rules to prevent Covid-19 transmission, guidelines have been set to help dormitory operators and employers come to mutual agreement on existing rental contracts. 


The Ministry of Manpower, the Building and Construction Authority and the Economic Development Board said on Monday that they have asked that employers resolve outstanding rental arrears with dormitory operators even if contracts have expired, or if they want to terminate or modify existing contracts. 


During the pandemic, many workers were moved from their dormitories to other temporary accommodation as the authorities fought to stem the outbreak.

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2. Covid-19 has Made Firms Agile, Hastened Digitalisation: Panel

In the past, events like this week's Singapore Summit would have gathered participants in a large venue. But due to Covid-19, the discussions continue virtually. 


Citing this yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digitalisation, and Singapore is pioneering different ways to carry on running amid disruptions. "We are not planning on waiting out for the Covid situation to pass. Our priority now is really to learn to live in a Covid world while preparing for a post-Covid world." 


He was part of a panel on the topic of digital connectivity and cross-border flows in a post-Covid world on the summit's last day.


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3. Global Connections, Digital Readiness More Crucial Now: Iswaran 

The pandemic has made it even more important for Singapore to maintain its global connections while continuing to innovate and digitalise, said Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran yesterday. 


Mr Iswaran noted: "With lockdowns and safe distancing measures in many countries, the ways in which we live, work and play have also been altered permanently. 


"Covid-19 has reinforced the imperative for businesses and individuals to be digitally ready. Businesses must... lay the digital foundation for future growth and competitiveness. Countries must do likewise."


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4. Singapore Businesses Most Digitally-Ready in Asia-Pacific: Poll

Businesses in Singapore took the top spot in a DBS survey of the digital readiness of corporates in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, with 45% of local businesses indicating they have a well-defined digital strategy.   


Hong Kong came in second at 44%, while Japan - which came in first last year - was third this year at 41%. Businesses in the Philippines and Vietnam came in fourth and fifth, at 10% and 8% respectively.


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5. 7 Myths CHROs Must Debunk about Leadership Development in Asia

The past few months have brought about unprecedented disruption and, in the process, has challenged all of our assumptions on business models, workflows, technology, and people. 


As a result, HR and leadership functions are under extreme pressure not only to develop leaders to deal with the here-and-now challenges, but also to proactively prepare organisations for the long road to recovery. And with it, comes the opportunity to reset the leadership development function, and view it with an objective lens, without biases and prejudices. 


Through it all, it isn't uncommon to come across myths about developing leaders - be it about leaders in Asia, or that leadership development should primarily focus on top-level executives. 


This article summarises seven common myths uncovered in a recent report by the Center for Creative Leadership, titled Developing future-fluent Asian leaders – Myths we must debunk, based on a survey of 248 senior HR leaders across Asia. 


The seven common myths are as follows: 

  1. Asian leaders are harder to develop to take on senior global leadership roles
  2. Leadership development efforts should focus primarily on top-level executives
  3. Organisations can have one uniform approach to developing leaders across different regions, countries, and contexts
  4. Attending (only) leadership development courses will make you a better leader
  5. HR can lead and execute the leadership development agenda without top leadership team/board buy-in
  6. Effective leadership development can happen irrespective of the organisation's culture
  7. Online/digital learning is less effective than classroom learning



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6. HRUnplugged: 4 Ways for HR Leaders to Remain Adaptable and Agile

For Subhankar Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director & Head HR, Asia Pacific & Japan, Lenovo, being adaptable is not a choice but a way of life.


The 4 ways for HR leaders to remain adaptable and agile are: 

  1. Having a change mindset and understanding that ‘nothing is cast in stone’,
  2. Embracing ambiguity, and having the patience to adopt a positive mindset to find solutions to tackle any challenges,
  3. Thinking creatively and creating alternate options to address a situation,
  4. Having the ability to quickly shift focus, based on changing business needs. 


In the interview, Subhankar has also answered to the following series of questions: 

  • What is your take on the most-needed and least-needed skills currently? What are some jobs that will thrive, and jobs that will disappear post the pandemic, both in Lenovo and in HR?
  • What are some of the things on your job description that are brand-new and fresh?
  • How has the HR function at Lenovo helped to enable the company to navigate an increasingly digital future?


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7. Singapore Must Remain Open to Benefit from Asia's Growth: DPM Heng Swee Keat

Singapore can contribute to and benefit from Asia's growth only if it remains open and connected to the world, while forging new partnerships and evolving its approaches, DPM Heng Swee Keat said.   


In a keynote speech at the FutureChina Global Forum on Tuesday, Mr Heng noted that many workers are anxious about their jobs and the benefits of economic openness.   


"But we must not undermine what has made us successful, by closing ourselves off from the world," said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.   


In Singapore, the government is adjusting its employment policies, upskilling workers and strengthening its social safety nets to ensure they continue to serve the interests of Singaporeans, he added.

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8. Singapore and Japan to Launch Reciprocal Green Lane for Business Travel on 18 September

On 18 September, Singapore and Japan will be launching the Business Track (a.k.a. Reciprocal Green Lane), a framework to facilitate essential business and official travel for residents from both countries.


This comes after negotiations between Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Motegi Toshimitsu and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore Dr Vivian Balakrishnan concluded on Friday (11 September). 


According to a joint statement by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the first such framework that Japan will implement with another country, and will help restore connectivity and support economic recovery for Japan and Singapore.

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9. “I Truly Believe HR’s Moment is Now”

Boasting over 25,000 global employees, Rogers Communications is a giant in the media industry. Based out of Toronto, Canada, Rogers Communications was founded in 1960 by their eponymous leader Ted Rogers. 


At the HR helm sits Jim Reid, Chief Human Resources Officer, dedicated employee champion, and overall strategic genius. HRD caught up with Reid to talk through his personal career path, discover how he’s navigating the COVID-19 crisis, and reveal why now is the time to be in HR.


Key takeaways from this exclusive with HRD: 

  • HR leaders are able to wear a lot of hats, from negotiator to teacher to counsellor
  • HR can move so adeptly from crisis to crisis is because good leaders learn from their mistakes.
  • HR leaders understand what it’s like to have to transform as a result of disruption
  • HR has never been under such immense pressure as they are right now. Managing CEO’ expectations, maintaining a healthy culture, and dealing with anxiety-ridden employees


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