Singapore has long cemented itself as a global hub for innovation, making technological advances across a number of industries, including HR. The widespread uptake of Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced collaboration tools, and SaaS-based workforce management software is transforming the HR operations of many local firms. In fact, technology is a cornerstone of the Ministry of Manpower’s HR Industry Transformation Plan, which aims to help companies digitalize their HR functions to boost productivity.

However, even as these technologies become increasingly indispensable, HR teams must balance leveraging technology’s efficiency and insights while preserving the human touch that drives employee engagement and satisfaction. But how can Singaporean businesses do this?

Technology as a tool, humans at the heart

As HR in Singapore businesses lean further into technology, leaders must constantly reimagine its impact on employee experiences. By innovating with purpose and keeping humans at the heart of the HR function, we can build thriving work cultures and drive greater efficiencies.

For example, HR leaders should embrace technology for manual or repetitive tasks, such as answering FAQs, so that team members can focus on more value-adding strategic work. This will not only allow for productivity gains, it also boosts job satisfaction, resulting in better employee retention.

Shaping a seamless global HR experience

Thanks to technology, geographical boundaries no longer confine businesses’ hiring decisions. In fact, a recent G-P survey found that 93 percent of Singaporeans were keen to work for global companies, indicating that we will continue to see workforces distributed across the globe.

Organizations across the world depend on global skill sets and talent to gain a competitive edge, however, a geographically dispersed workforce can also experience common challenges of cultural differences and a lack of emotional connection which leads to mistrust and misunderstanding.

According to G-P’s 2023 Global Growth Report, when it comes to working in global teams, Singaporeans value their leaders’ ability to adapt and remain flexible. Additionally, cross-cultural communication, creativity and problem-solving, and empathy and compassion are important values when working in global teams. HR leaders’ ability to walk a mile in another person’s shoes goes a long way towards building the rapport that is required to build strong multi-cultural and multi-geographical teams.

HR leaders must also note that every country and market has its own hiring rules – from setting up a legal entity to operate on the ground to navigating complex employment regulations. In some instances, it might make more sense to engage with new technology alternatives, like the employer of record model, to remove entity requirements and streamline onboarding processes.

By strategically combining growth technology with human expertise, HR teams can more easily ensure that new global hires have all the tools necessary to succeed from the beginning. This approach also benefits HR by reducing the administrative burden associated with maintaining entities and regional hiring practices, facilitating seamless employee onboarding and offboarding, and ensuring compliance with complex labour laws.

Embracing human connection to empower HR teams

Selecting the right technology to support and manage a remote team can be a daunting task. Moreover, by prioritizing the development and well-being of employees across diverse cultures and regions, companies can foster a sense of unity and shared purpose.

While frictionless digital experiences, robust insights, and hiring tools play a crucial role, it’s essential to complement these advancements with real-world expertise to navigate the future of work effectively.

Even as human insights and digital capabilities become seamlessly intertwined, HR will foster a more fulfilled and engaged workforce, driving outcomes for companies and individual employees. This approach paves the way for continuous evolution in the era of borderless business, facilitating global expansion and unlocking new opportunities for businesses in Singapore.

Charles Ferguson is General Manager – Asia Pacific at G-P.

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