Archive | Success Mentor Series

The Changing Talent Landscape And What It Means For You (By Jocelyn)

Vinco Game Changers Education

Success Mentor Series

Speaker: Su-Yen Wong

21 January 2015



The Changing Talent Landscape And What It Means For You

*Click here to see more images of the event!*

In the dynamic world we are living in right now, everyone is feeling the effects of Globalisation coupled with the rapid rate of advances in technology. Having a wealth of experience solving companies’ problems for the past twenty years, Su-Yen Wong understands that while people are now hyperconnected (thanks to the internet), there is still a mismatch of jobs and talent around the globe. From the viewpoints of both employee and employer, she shares with us the changing talent landscape, and ways to evolve and keep up with the game.


How Has the World Changed?

Gone are the years where people held jobs in the same company for 20, 30 or 40 years. What used to be a business lifecycle of 20 to 100 years, following a gradual curve of rise and decline, has been shockingly compressed to an average of 5 to 7 years for most companies. Examples of Kodak and Nokia can teach us about the need to evolve.

Kodak developed the first ever digital camera in 1975, but today, almost all of Eastman Kodak has disappeared from the radar. Another company with a heritage of over a 100 years before its decline is Nokia. Our generation knows Nokia for its mobile phones – but now, phones have come a long way since, and Nokia has disappeared quietly.

What was one of the reasons that these two companies failed, even with their long histories and successes right up to the early 2000s? It was their inability to evolve to the rapidly changing business landscape.
How are Employees Affected?

Su-Yen brought to our attention the advent of jobs and positions that did not or barely existed 5 years ago: Social media interns, iOS developers, Zumba instructors, data scientists and the beach body instructor (read more here). The future will only be more uncertain – do you look forward to body part makers, time brokers, avatar managers and vertical farmers?

Technology is advancing on so many fronts at breakneck speed, and the truth is that our schools and work force cannot catch up as quickly. Increasingly, buzzwords like ‘alignment’ and ‘fit’ are being used. In big tech companies like Twitter or Facebook, a college degree does not guarantee you employment. Employees of the new future would have to stretch themselves and go beyond this traditional way of looking at employability in order to avoid structural unemployment.



Su-Yen talked about these three competencies:

Besides being qualified or having the necessary skills to perform the job, soft skills such as creativity, resilience, flexibility, collaboration, communication skills all add to your value. When companies look at employees in this holistic manner (all three) versus just one or two aspects, they will be able to make better promoting or hiring decisions. It is as important to hire for technical capabilities as well as fit within the team and other soft skills. Companies must be clear on the competencies they are seeking to begin with!


Attracting the Right People

An employee value proposition (EVP) is what the company offers in terms of rewards and benefits in exchange for the employees’ skills, capabilities and experiences (Minchington ,2005). Su-Yen pointed out four trends that are gaining more ground in companies: Employee health and wellness, alternate talent pools, workplace flexibility and interest in development. The Mercer 2011 survey shows an increase in perks and fringe benefits across surveyed companies; increasingly, companies are also offering previously unheard of (and fancy) lifestyle benefits in a bid to attract talent.

Su-Yen advises SMEs and startups to think creatively if they cannot afford to pay top dollar for talent. Perhaps give employees the freedom to choose their fringe benefits, allow flexible working arrangements and/or offer training and upgrading opportunities? What you can offer your staff beyond the monetary compensation will make a difference to an ever-evolving workforce who are seeking more than just a monthly salary.

When your EVP matches what the employee is seeking, you can expect engagement and commitment from the employee, resulting in a very desirable situation for both parties.


What Else Can Companies Do?

In Singapore, a third (~34%) of our labour pool is untapped, either due to disabilities, retirement or are unemployed. About 700,000 of these people are below 60, and this alternate talent pool is a good place to look for employees. Many of these people cannot or do not plan to join the workforce, but there is a percentage who want to work but cannot find suitable work arrangements (e.g. housewives). If some of your company’s roles or tasks can be fulfilled from home, consider allowing flexible work arrangements.

On top of the new lifestyle benefits that you can offer within your budget, career advancement opportunities and helping employees to align their strengths to the passions will all lead to the retention of staff. Employees with the right core skill set, which includes most training and experiences beyond basic technical capabilities, will be able to grow with your company in the long-term.

Su-Yen mentioned these two books: The World is Flat, in which Thomas L. Friedman explains and demystifies Globalisation and how to adapt to it; and In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best Run Companies by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr. – The book has drawn lessons from the leading 43 American companies in the 1980s, and for years it was a widely read and well-received title. Thirty years on, the 8 principles have stood the test of time, and will continue to guide people in management roles toward excellence.
Question and Answer Session by Su-Yen Wong

(1) Hiring vs outsourcing staff?

Traditional hiring will still be the main staffing method, as permanent staff are still required in companies. There will likely be an increase in more free agents being employed, but this requires structure in order to be effective.

(2) Should the accountability of talent management shift to leaders (and companies)?

It works both ways. Some people choose not to adapt! But the best situation is where both employee and employer evolve together. Employers can do better by hiring based on fit and alignment.
(3) Will the sharing of staff between a few companies work well?

Job sharing will become more common, but it will likely be individuals working on a project until it is completed before taking on a new project – not one person working on alternate days at two companies, doing the same role. Also, there must be employment contracts in place to protect both parties’ interests.

(4) Aptitude tests – should we alter our answers to suit the job position?

Employee evaluation methods like the DISC test is usually never used in isolation, but it does provide information if the candidate is a good fit for the job and the culture. It is not foolproof to assume what the company and the hiring manager is looking for. It is better to find a job and company that is aligned to what you are looking for personally.

(5) How can employees help hiring managers?

Unfortunately, most hiring is done based on “feel” and the process may not be structured enough. As an individual, you should ask questions! Look out on the company’s website, job post and any news articles to help you get clues on what behavioural aspects are important. More importantly, know what is important to you (and what you want); you do not want to end up in a job where you don’t fit in.

Did you enjoy the talk by Su-Yen (Chairman of Marsh and McLennan Singapore)? We certainly hope that it has given you insights on how to be on top of the game in a changing talent landscape. Vinco Global has an exciting lineup of inspiring speakers and opportunities to meet new people. Check out our latest lineup of distinguished speakers and events!


Written by

Jocelyn Ke, Entrepreneur

The Changing Talent Landscape And What It Means For You (By Shawn)

*Click here to see more images of the event!*


My articles will focus more on opinions and some learning for the events, rather than detailed facts and lessons from the speaker. If you like to know more what our main soeaker Su-Yen shared, feel free to check out our Vinco Member Jocelyn’s post here.

This event marks a great start to the VGCE series of 2015. In 2014, we built a pretty good platform with an intake of 74 members. This year, we have switch our focus from building the platform to building the community


There’s a big reason for this, which I’ll cover in another post.

This session was great for many reasons, with much credit given to our 2 wonderful speakers and audience of the day.

Su-Yen is a really charming lady who amazes me with her determination to give nothing but her best. She tailored her topic well do the demographics of the event, and is so far one of the most giving speakers yet. She was not shy about sharing information and answered our many questions with gusto. She even stayed on for an hour after the event to talk to our members and share her insights, tailored to each unique circumstance. Totally awesome.

Our first Dream Spotlight of 2015 (and the lifetime of VGCE) is none other than Shahul. I met him mid last year and was impressed by his immense curiosity and desire to make a difference. He shared with me about his dreams of building a sustainable green world, and I was simply drawn into his passion. Unlike many, this is a guy whose actions resonate with his words. As a true tinkerer, he embarked on a project to create a sustainable watering system for plants. I knew I had to get him to share about his dreams, and true enoguh he did not disappoint! Shahul did really well and I sincerely felt that he lived up to the Dream Spotlight motto of ‘Inspire and be inspired’.
Jocelyn has also stepped up to volunteer as a blogger for Vinco events. So for all who have not attended the events and yet want to know what was covered, you have her to thank! She is a great writer with an even greater heart. I read her post and it’s incredibly detailed so it’ll be useful for those of you who wish to study it. Still, there’s no better way to learn and get more opportunities than to present. Written words are not able to capture the dynamics of the event in its entirety.
I really like the enthusiastic and warm environment brought forth by the audience.  They’re very supportive, with many linking up connections and advice to our Dream Spotlight Speaker Shahul. People like Chris came in early as well to help set up the space while about 7 members stayed back to clear up. Truly appreciate the support given and I know that the vinco community will be an exceptional one as we continue to build the culture and calibre of our members. In fact, I do know that several of the members are meeting up over the week to take their discussions furthur.
To our Collaborative Dreams,

Shawn Yeo, Culture Builder 




Aldric Chang (Founder, MediaFreaks) – Creative Entrepreneurship


Sincere and down-to-earth, Aldric Chang, Founder of MediaFreaks and Swagsoft, shares his struggles and triumphant moments in entrepreneurship.

He gives his opinion on what he feels are the most important factors in entrepreneurship, and dispenses great advice to create a strong foundation for all budding entrepreneurs!

It was an excellent session and we’ll love to hear more from him again!

Check out our event pictures here.

Dione Song (Marketing Director, Zalora Singapore) – Adventures of Marketing & Ecommerce

IMG-20141004-WA0013Dione Song, Marketing Director of Zalora Singapore, impressed upon us the consistency and strategic thoughts required for marketing, by sharing with us some insights on how Zalora Singapore strives to achieve the best user experience and conversion.

Not solely focused on technical aspects, Dione left us with words of wisdom for anyone who wishes to live life and their business to the fullest!

Take a look at more pictures here!



Shariff (SG Blade Runner) – Living The Dream

IMG-20140904-WA0032Shariff has prevailed against all odds to become the inspirational person he is today, with accomplishments unmatched many abled-body people.

Indeed, it was extremely moving to hear his life story, and how again and again he has been tested to perform to his best. He has taught us that we are only disabled when we think we are, and we can achieve what others think is impossible when we set our minds to it. 

Held in NTU and supported by the NTU Entrepreneurship Society, it was a truly inspiring event.

Check out our pictures here!

Samuel Seow (Founder, Samuel Seow Law Corp) – Entrepreneurship

IMG_1860An exciting morning at SMU as Samuel Seow shares with us the must-have values of young entrepreneur, using his own personal story as a springboard.

Towards the end of it all he also took time to answer our queries of legal technicalities and what it means for the society.

Samuel was incredibly sincere and inspiring, We all left with strong take-away, both from legal and philosophical standpoints.

To view more of the event, click here.



Shiao-Yin (Founder of The Thought Collective) – Entrepreneurship for the New World

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHeld at AIA Tampines, we had an inspiring session with Shiao-Yin.

Shiao-Yin told of her entrepreneurship journey in 2 ways – a 40min one filled with challenges and obstacles and a 5min one filled with glamour and aspirations. Both are true, and both poignant and choke full of insights.

Indeed, being an entrepreneur is both glamorous and crazy at the same time.

Take a look at our event here!



Ben Seow (Founder of Red Dynasty Paintball) – Paintball Passion

IMG_0545While not every one can truly say to play at work, Ben Seow, Founder of Red Dynasty Paintball definitely does that! And he has earned it too. Sharing about the challenges and struggles of his entrepreneurship journey, he has inspired us to overcome our own.

Always one to think ahead, Ben shared how he utilised the natural elements of haze and SARS to develop his staff, worked hard to push for the removal of a rule that would change the face of Singapore paintball industry forever and positioned himself to take the largest paintball market share in Singapore!

A brilliant and inspiring session indeed, and we’re eager to meet him this time on the paintball field.

View our gallery of pictures here!


Low Cheong Kee (Founder, Home-Fix) – Of Beliefs & Innovation

14_06_21_vinco_cklow_homefix_62Mr Low Cheong Kee, Founder of Home-Fix shares 21 years of building a business empire through constant innovation. It was extremely exciting and eye-opening to see the depth and effort put into innovation and building a community of Makers and Hackers in Singapore.

Mr Low has indeed come a long way, from a charcoal store to an D.I.Y MNC, we’ll definitely be looking forward to see more of Home-Fix in the future!

Check out our pics here!