Dr Loo Leap Han, Head of Group Human Resources and Administration, KMU Eiscon Holding, shares his vision of the new normal as well as the three key ways HR’s role will evolve in line with it.

As we emerge into a new normal, what do you expect the total rewards landscape to look like?.

As we emerge into a new normal, some of the changes I expect the total rewards landscape to include are the following:

  • A heavy focus on base salary or fixed income. There is likely to be a reduction of about 15% to 20% from the planned pay-structure, especially the SMEs. Followed by variable pay, usually in the form of annual cash incentives and allowances.
  • The implementation of hybrid C&B packages which consist of the conventional pay structure as well as an adaptability reward or incentive. The adaptability incentive would be used by organisations to incentivise the right behaviour based on the skill sets relevant to the new normal, and an employee’s capacity to acquire the new skill set and contribute to the organisation.
  • Reinventing performance appraisals by shifting to continuous performance management. This would be intrinsically linked to short-term business outcomes and realtime feedback.

As organisations need to be increasingly agile, the rewards function needs to move away from hierarchical organisational structures towards team-based structures that can manage the agile project-based needs.

Additionally, organisations will look towards personalised rewards, and recognition should move towards being given in real-time.

Organisations will look towards personalised rewards, and recognition should move towards being given in real-time.

In line with the change, how do you expect your role to evolve?

I expect my role as Head of Group HR and Admin to evolve in the following three ways:

First, from HR strategic partner to HR strategic collaborator. This entails focusing on people first and business second. It also requires real-time data collection to precisely identify compensation problems and to work hand-in-hand with functional managers to seek interventions. At the same time, it would be necessary to assess what jobs are going away and start to align people toward new roles, and formulate their C&B packages quickly.

Second, from policy making doer to policy making advocate. The pandemic has required us to come up with a new approach to the C&B rules and practices that guide the organisation. In line with that, new C&B benefits policies or written FAQs must be developed quickly, with broad input from stakeholders to provide for consistency and clarity to employees.

Third, from ‘people and culture governor’ to ‘people wellbeing nurturer’. In times of crisis where decisions are being made on the go and financial survival takes top priority over almost everything else, people and culture are especially vulnerable. As HR leaders, we need to treat employees’ wellbeing with great sensitivity and provide clarification as and when needed.

Given that a reduction in allowances will directly and indirectly impact employees’ emotions and lifestyles, a greater attention to their mental health and financial wellbeing is needed. It is also our responsibility to ensure the voice of every employee is listened to and advocated for in each decision made by the company.

How will you be preparing for this?

I will be preparing for the change by formulating an agile compensation framework during this period of transition. This is to ensure objective and non-biased thinking and actions when it comes to getting the best results out of C&B decisions. To enable responsive and agile total rewards in the short and long term, I plan to set up a core leadership team for decision making. At the same time, I will also look into digitalising performance management to enable real-time incentives according to performance, as well as revisit the job evaluation, pay-structure, and job profiles at a micro level.


 This interview has been published exclusively in the Jul-Aug 2020 issue of Human Resources. Read this edition of Human Resources, Singapore:

hrsg jul aug20


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