Guest Editorial

Rethinking HR Tomorrow

HR is increasingly being acknowledged by corporate leaders as a partner in strategy execution and an agent of continual change within organisations. Companies operating in today’s highly competitive global market must possess and master competency in order to compete effectively and successfully, and human capital is one key asset, which serves a critical and strategic role in contributing towards organisational success.

Rethinking HR tomorrow is what has driven SHRI to rejuvenate The Singapore HR Awards, to establish the Singapore HR Accreditation scheme, to create HR Business Exchange platforms, to enhance SHRI Membership benefits, Certification programmes and many more initiatives.

The implementation of the Singapore HR Accreditation scheme is in line with our building of the Singapore HR brand. A brand is a product, service or concept that is publicly distinguished from other products, services or concepts, so that it can be easily communicated and helps in establishing a unique identity. It is a promise to the customers that a specific level of value, quality and service will be received.

For HR, the past few years have seen dramatic changes in its perception by corporate leaders. From a support function, HR today is viewed as a key player in driving corporate success and customer satisfaction. In today’s knowledge-driven economy, HR plays a strategic role in bringing in the right people into the organisation. So in a sense, HR is the first face of an organisation that a new prospective employee sees. Hence, investing in brand creation for HR is of paramount importance for an organisation, as market research has shown that strong brands contribute to strong competitive presence. Therefore, in HR’s new embodiment, the importance of branding HR follows logically, and inevitably. The role of today’s HR manager is more of applying public relations skills combined with strong problem-solving skills.

All these trends and developments are part and parcel of the continuous reinvention that businesses and organisations are undertaking these days to meet the challenges of a global business environment. The crux of any corporate reinvention lies in its people, who form the soul and mould the culture of the organisation. In addition, these same people are an organisation’s human capital, or human value. Human Capital, by its name, must transform into value for its stakeholders. Moreover, HR, as the function and infrastructure facilitating that transformation, is definitely poised for powerful strategic advantage.

It is thus critical that HR must effectively and vigilantly embrace its new mandate by breaking new grounds to create, deliver and sustain value. HR practices must create value in the eyes of investors, customers, line managers and employees. HR departments must implement strategies that create value by delivering business results in efficient and effective ways. HR professionals deliver value when their personal competencies deliver business results. Value is the foundation and premise of our HR architecture.

Thus, the first article by Koh in this Special Issue of the Journal explores the ‘Employability and traits of Singaporean workers’, Kishita discusses strategic HRM in Japan, and Wang, Zhang and Wang examine ‘Human Capital Accounting’ in Mongolia. The two articles by Ang and Hosie, and Choo and Ananthram, respectively focus on the roles of human resource development (HRD) and career development in human capital management. The final paper, by Coetzer, provides a bridge between learning and developing human capital.

This Journal is one invaluable time-tested channel that assists the HR professional to create, deliver and sustain value. It provides astute readers with valuable insights in order to be better equipped to increase their value in their organisations. It is a key to help HR contribute to the strategic growth and development of their organisation, and in so doing, serve to promote HR career growth and bring HR to the fore.

David Ang
Executive Director
May 2006