Adapting digital transformation in HR to every industry

Digital, digital everywhere but are we doing it right? A panel of experts looked deep into the question on stage at HR Festival Asia today.
By: | May 9, 2019


The first-ever HR Festival Asia, brought to you by the combined experience of HR Technology Conference & Exposition (US) and HR Summit (Asia), takes over the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on May 8 and 9.

With a line-up of more than 100 speakers across six dedicated streams, and an Expo Hall with more than 100 exhibitors, there’s a little something for everyone at the event.

Check out our HR Festival Asia tag for more coverage direct from the event.

The public service sector, the manufacture of massive turbine engines, and even banking: these three very different sectors are facing remarkably similar HR challenges. The uniting factor is digitisation, and HR influencer Dr Tanvi Gautam deliberated on the challenges during a panel discussion at HR Festival Asia’s CxO Symposium this morning.

Her guests were: Low Peck Kem, Chief HR Officer and Senior Director with the Singapore Public Service Division within  the Prime Minister’s Office; Dr. Bicky Bhangu, Southeast Asia, Pacific, and South Korea President for Rolls-Royce; and Dean Tong, Managing Director and Head of Group HR with UOB.

Gautam first broached the topic of “solutions diversity” within the ambit of digital transformation.

Low, who oversees more than 145,000 public service officers across Singapore agreed that the spectrum was indeed diverse. She cited the nationwide ERP system and immigration management systems under her purview, which both illustrate that diversity perfectly.

Rolls Royce’s Bhangu added to Low’s comments by revealing that the engines his company produces today have the ability to communicate with each other and to sense their surroundings. The direct interaction between man and machine has now has given way to digital interfaces, he said.

The banking sector is perhaps facing the most severe digitisation challenges of all, said Tong. The steady departure from traditional banking customers towards fintech alternatives has rattled the industry. With the government now considering digital-only bank licences, more shock waves are sure to follow.

“We are still leaders, though, because we keep the ‘soul’ of the organisation intact,” he added, alluding to HR professionals’ traits like empathy and tact which digital solutions cannot master.

The panel agreed that communication with employees during times of change is crucial to facilitating a smooth digitisation transition.