Dec 2017
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Human Resource Management Is All About Being Grounded

Human Resource Management lays the groundwork for an organisation’s growth, longevity and success. Serene Lim, Head of Human Resources at London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) in Singapore, discusses her role in engaging employees and keeping the LSBF culture alive with Julailah Wahid.

The role of the Human Resource (HR) department today encompasses a diverse range of responsibilities. Beyond assuaging employees’ fears and concerns, HR professionals are heavily involved in ground work. For Serene, the past two years have been jam-packed with activities and new initiatives.

On top of the quarterly town halls and monthly birthday blowouts, Serene actively organises activities throughout the year to cultivate inclusiveness and empower staff to contribute to society. Among these activities are annual blood donation and charity drives, health screenings, and sporting events. 

    

 Health Screening in Aug 2017 and Cross Country Run in Oct 2017

The latest initiative to be introduced at LSBF is gathering employees to participate in the National Steps Challenge™ Corporate Challenge organised by the Health Promotion Board. Serene believes that “people are the company’s greatest resource and hence, ensuring that they are in the pink of health can go a long way in fostering a sustainable business”.

Apart from staff activities, Serene also strives to boost staff retention by introducing new initiatives that can ease an employee’s load. This year, the HR team implemented the Parent Care Leave to benefit employees, especially those who are the main caregivers of their parents or parent-in-laws.

“We want to help our employees juggle their work and family responsibilities better. As HR, it’s necessary for us to really listen to our employees and adopt strategies to meet their needs,” she said. 

Overcoming Employee Turnover

High employee turnover can result in high costs for the company. More time and money might be spent hiring and training new employees, and overall morale and productivity within the company can be adversely affected.

In the current economic climate, HR personnel thus have to be mindful about hiring the ‘right’ people. This also minimises the risk of new recruits resigning early into their employment.

Speaking from experience, Serene explains that she would “first find out from the hiring manager what the ‘must-haves’ are for the people they want to hire”. During the face-to-face interview, she would “pose open-ended questions to the candidates to get them to talk about themselves more”. This will enable her to understand their thought process and evaluate how keen a candidate is to join the company.

“Apart from aptitude, the right attitude and drive are also a critical consideration. Usually, the interviewee’s body language, tone of voice, and choice of words can demonstrate their enthusiasm about the job,” she said.

Beyond that, a candidate’s attitude is a good indicator of whether he or she would be a good fit in the company’s culture.

“The LSBF family is very close-knit. Generally, we have a warm and friendly culture where people care for each other. We want to welcome employees who understand and want to be part of this vibrant culture,” she said. 

As for existing employees, Serene ensures that she keeps lines of communication open for them to provide feedback, concerns and suggestions, which will be shared with top management for review and improvements. These channels include notice boards, surveys, and regular department meetings.

“HR is also a key driver in enabling career development and progression for staff. I work with the other department heads to craft practical career roadmaps for their employees,” she said.

As a small enterprise, Serene admits that there are limitations to what HR can do. Two common gripes she hears from employees are the lack of training opportunities and physical space.

“Tackling these issues require financial resources. HR’s approach is then to lend a listening ear to employees and relay their thoughts to top management,” she said.

Looking ahead, Serene hopes to leverage on technology to automate and digitise processes, such as harnessing eLeave software and e-Document and Record Management Systems.

“Technology enables HR professionals today to computerise paperwork and minimise manual work. This can help us to focus on being a business partner to the business units and a strategic partner to the organisation,” she concluded.

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