If a firm plans to lay off workers as a cost-cutting measure, the HR leaders in Singapore should say “No” and look at different ways to deal with the crisis, said a member of the taskforce behind national certification framework for HR professionals.
Citing this scenario as an example in an interview with Today Online, Karen Blal, Member of the National Human Resource Professional Certification Framework taskforce said, “The professionals here lack the courage to speak up on key business decisions and this is the biggest challenge confronting the 43,000-strong sector.”
The Asia-Pacific regional director at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development stressed that while most HR leaders have made their voices heard in boardrooms, there is still need for more people to build courage and speak up.
The National Certification Framework for HR professionals piloted with more than 100 HR professionals last month is meant to boost confidence of HR professionals, to speak up by sharpening their competencies, said Ms Aileen Tan, Chief HR Officer of the Singtel Group and chairperson of the taskforce.
The framework piloted offers three levels of certification depending on the size and complexity of a practitioner’s role. It aims to raise the bar of the profession such that HR executives become key-enablers in their organisations.
Before its roll-out for Q2 the taskforce is seeking public feedback on the framework and competencies underpinning the certification through a one-month e-consultation commenced on the Workforce Singapore portal this week.
Given the large focus on human capital across all sectors, there is no better time than now to be in HR, Tan stressed. “HR leaders must earn the right to express their views. For example, they could show business leaders how HR practices, such as engaging employees, correlate with better staff and business performance.”
Blal added, besides the roles of COO, CFO and CEO, HR leaders must also have a role in charting out the firm’s direction. Tan said, “HR professionals here range from those who see themselves as key leaders in their firms to those content with taking a backseat, mired in administrative tasks.” There is an increasing need for HR professionals, who are able to quickly grasp changes in the manpower landscape and cater for emerging skillsets needed by firms down the road.
Proactive HR executives would, for instance, consider starting a scholarship or apprenticeship programme. “We’re hoping to see the next generation of HR people really stepping up to take on a very strong business-partnering role,” Tan added.
During the past few months, government leaders underscored the need for HR professionals to take lead in areas such as nudging workers to retrain as the economy undergoes restructuring. Further, HR professionals should identify workers who are at a risk of being laid-off since their skills have become obsolete to meet with the technological pace of advancements. They need to assess if these workers have the aptitude to be retrained in new skill areas.