Moving Towards HR Excellence by Lai Tak Ming on 20 January 2018

A group of thirty participants attended the 7th Encubator Coffee chat on Saturday, 20st January 2018 organized by the Encubator Entrepreneur Community, in collaboration with the Graduates Christian Fellowship and FGBMF Trailblazers. The aim is to encourage networking amongst entrepreneurs, investors and Christians alike. It was quite a mixed group from diverse backgrounds, ages and work experiences.

The speaker, Mr Lai Tak Ming, who was Head of HR in a major construction company shared his experiences on Moving Towards HR Excellences and his personal journey on managing Human Capital.

Some of the take-away pointers :

  1. Be certain of where you are going, set the principles and boundaries at the early stage of your business and not compromise. Make those ground rules clear to the people you are dealing with, e.g. bribery and corruption. It will be difficult if not impossible to reset if you wait until it grows big to decide on and to implement those principles.

  2. Find creative ways to stay true to your principles. But remember that HR management is not just a set of rules to follow but involve dealing with individuals. Be prepared to put your head on the line for standing firm on your decision to be fair to the employee when the employer disagrees.

  3. Your reputation follows you - be honest and be honorable. Ask if you are being fair to the employer as well as the employee. Companies have their objectives to meet shareholders’ expectations but employees are individuals with their own goals, needs and aspirations. Provide them with a dignified exit if they are let go. They are not just a resource or a number.

  4. Whilst we have earthly bosses to report to, we are ultimately accountable to God for our actions.

  5. Consistency vs Flexibility. Be consistent but don’t be inflexible all the time – there are HR systems, methods and processes but HR is not process management. No two individuals are the same and things are not always black and white. Be prepared to live with the grey.

  6. Choose to fight battles that are worth fighting for – some are legal but not moral, i.e. they are not illegal, but morally wrong. Bend it to fit the need, but don’t break it.

  7. There is no dichotomy between our private life as a Christian and our work or as an entrepreneur. Live our conviction 24/7. We lose our credibility and have no value in the marketplace if we live a double life – as a Christian in private and as the world does in public.

  8. With freedom comes responsibility.

  9. We are in progress and do fail. Often our ego stands in our way as a witness for Christ – we are easily offended when challenged. When there is disagreement, it is good to recognize whether it is due to our ego or due to principles. It takes courage and humility to recognize our failings and seek forgiveness from those we have wronged. It makes us genuine and willing to change and not pretentious.

  10. The powerful often forgets about humility. Meekness is having strength but choosing not to exercise it

  11. Key ingredients in managing human capital : Capacity, Capability & Quality, Culture & Value (change over time)

  12. Recruitment : It is important to invest in developing talent. Be prepared to lose some talent. As a rule of thumb, 1/3 of your talent leave. So, hire extra to allow for attrition. Hire new talent or from outside to increate your talent pool and grow them young which provides for longer term contribution.

  13. Retention : Build your own brand to attract the right talent. Retention is not only based on financial consideration and benefits. Consider discretionary power to allow employees to decide how they want to spend their compensation package, which carries a base plus a sum to be spent by the employees on a pool of benefits.

  14. Know your people, their needs and aspirations. Many employees leave because they are not understood.

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