Bosch Southeast Asia’s long-term investment in talent

In the second part of this exclusive interview, Bosch Southeast Asia's HR Director explains how the company looks to the future.
By: | November 14, 2018

Be sure to check out the first part of our exclusive HR Insider interview with Jane Tham, HR Director for Bosch Southeast Asia. 


Bosch’s talent development focus is one of its strengths – but it can also cause the engineering and appliances company to become a victim of its own success.

“Our competitors often try to poach our people, because we’ve been able to work with them and help them realise their potential. So our competitors can just bring them in and have a ‘plug-and-play’ situation because our employees would just be able to hit the ground running,” says Tham.

A person would be well within their rights to shift over for that US$50 per month extra in Vietnam, of course, but Bosch continuously looks at the small pressure points that can strike an emotional chord, and contribute to talent retention in that way.

This story first appeared in the October-November 2018 edition of HRM Magazine Asia. Check out the rest of the issue here.

Nonetheless, it is inevitable that in a disruptive process such as transformation, there will be casualties.

“Logically, from a business standpoint, it’s about becoming more efficient, and providing more value. Unfortunately, that sometimes means people will not be needed, and will thus have to be dropped from the overall game plan.  It’s not all rosy stories, unfortunately – that’s just the reality of any business,” Tham admits.

“But one thing I’ll say about Bosch is that even in such situations, our family-oriented, family-owned values really come through,” she adds.

“Myself, I actually come from the oil and gas industry, where people were just bumped up and down along with how the business went. Everything was about productivity.

“But Bosch is actually the longest I’ve stayed at any organisation, and I have seen for myself that they truly value their people. As long as you’re willing to get along with the change, they will find a use for you. There is great amount of empathy.”

Indeed, this philosophy has led the company to persist even in loss-making markets.

“The books may not look very good, but it’s all about the long-term investment in our talent, and the business,” Tham says.


Impacting society with technology

Google Home and smart doorbells are just scratching the surface of the possibilities that exist with the Internet of Things. Even as Bosch looks to evolve into a company that doesn’t just provide solutions for life, but connected solutions for life, it’s actively bringing the next – and current – generation of talent along for the ride.

In Singapore, the firm has partnered with Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to launch two innovation labs located within the tertiary institution’s campus. The S$800,000 labs, with a combined area of almost 260 square meters, are equipped with high-tech Bosch equipment and technologies.

The collaboration also extends into the realm of lifelong learning. Bosch is working with SP to develop short courses and advanced diplomas for industry professionals to enhance their understanding of advanced manufacturing technologies and processes using the new facilities. About 400 industry professionals have been trained in smart city technologies and digital transformation so far, and it is expected that an estimated 1,000 industry professionals will be trained in advanced manufacturing by the end of next year.

“As we lend our expertise to budding talent, we hope that it will enable them to shape the future with new innovations that are truly ‘Invented for Life’ and in turn, accelerate Singapore’s digital journey towards a Smart Nation,” says Martin Hayes, President, Bosch Southeast Asia.

For more exclusive interviews with HR leaders from the region’s top organisations, head over to our HR Insider microsite