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‘Developing the Next Generation of CHROs in Southeast Asia’ Report: HR Background No Longer Critical to Securing CHRO Role
2017 Employee Engagement Trends: Malaysia Scores Fall for the First Time in 4 Years
Aon Acquires Leading Provider of Talent Measurement and Psychometric Assessment


  • More than half of CHROs surveyed had a career outside of the HR function before becoming the CHRO

  • Current Southeast Asia CHROs identify ‘Thinking Strategically’, ‘Driving Change’, and ‘Business Knowledge’ as their top 3 key improvement areas

SINGAPORE, 24 MAY 2017 – Over 50 percent of CHROs in Southeast Asia do not have an HR background, according to the ‘Developing the Next Generation of CHROs in Southeast Asia’ report from Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of talent, risk, retirement and health solutions.

Almost 40 percent within this group have a ‘Mixed’ background, having gained a majority of their experience in a variety of roles such as line HR, business, or consultant. 

On the other hand, global CHROs don’t have as much variety in their career experience prior to becoming the Head of HR, with only 24% having ‘Mixed’ experience.

According to the report, the evolving needs of the business, the volatile economic environment, and the rapid technological enhancements are catalysts for transforming the role of the CHRO.

Jeremy Andrulis, CEO of Aon Hewitt in Southeast Asia, said: “CHROs are now expected to be business-drivers, not just business advisers. With more non-internal HR professionals assuming CHRO roles, it’s critical that in-house HR professionals aspiring to be CHROs broaden their exposure and skills beyond the HR realm. This enables them to think from an outside-in perspective and speak in the language of business leaders. What’s essential is for CHROs to be critical stakeholders in defining the firm’s strategy, and apply critical thinking to drive the business strategy through people programmes within the organisation.”

Behavioural Competencies the Key to Developing a Business Mindset

With an increasing number of CHROs coming from non-traditional backgrounds, there’s a critical need for HR to develop business acumen and capabilities.

88 percent of CHROs identified ‘Thinking Strategically’ as the most important behavioural competency yet they only rated themselves 3.1 out of 5 on their own capability levels.

Other behavioural competencies in the top 3 are ‘Driving Change’ (64%) and ‘Business Knowledge’ (57%). Similarly, the CHROs only rated themselves 3.3 out of 5 for ‘Driving Change’ and 3.2 out of 5 for ‘Business Knowledge’.

Na Boon Chong, Senior Client Partner for Aon Hewitt in Southeast Asia, said: “Some of the most successful companies in ASEAN are state-owned or founder-managed. In that environment, there is a larger consideration beyond the immediate commercial ones. Other than professional and business skill-sets, acting as the ‘conscience’ of the organisation is key to a CHRO’s success. A CEO of a reputable state-owned enterprise calls it acting as an ‘honest broker’. That is, knowing the pulse and essence of the organisation, and having the courage to disagree and advise the board and/or the CEO when they steer off course in people issues.”

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2017 Employee Engagement Trends: Malaysia Scores Fall for the First Time in 4 Years

  • Aon study finds global uncertainty driving employee skepticism, with serious impact on Malaysia

  • Malaysia engagement levels are lowest among major Asian markets

  • Sharpest fall comes in the areas of ‘Say’ and ‘Strive’, and Senior Leadership perception

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, 8 May 2017 – Despite an upward trend since 2012, employee engagement levels declined by 2 points to 59 percent in Malaysia last year, according to the 2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report from Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions.

As employees in Malaysia anticipate better navigation of the organisation’s future and business decisions during a tough economy, ‘Senior Leadership’ comes under scrutiny as perception scores fell across all employees groups in Malaysia.

Scores representing the ‘Say’ dimension in the Aon Engagement Model fell by 3 points, with employees less inclined to recommend their organisation to a friend seeking employment. The ‘Strive’ dimension also suffered a 3-point drop, with employees admitting they are less motivated to contribute more than is normally required to complete their work.

Prashant Chadha, Managing Director, Aon Hewitt Malaysia and Brunei, said: “When ‘Say’ and ‘Strive’ scores fall as sharply as they did in Malaysia in 2016, the ‘Stay’ dimension will also be impacted—which means that the risk of losing good talent exponentially increases. Yet we know that only organisations that can effectively leverage on their critical talent will stay ahead in the game. So it is more pertinent than ever now for senior leaders to up their game, clearly communicate the organisation’s future direction, and most importantly, articulate where each employee fits into the bigger picture.”

While ‘Reputation’ remains the top scoring driver for employees when seeking an employer, the overall perception scores for organisational reputation among employees fell by 2 points. Employees’ sense of pride in their organisation also fell by 1 point.

Vernon Goh, Engagement Practice Leader, Aon Hewitt Malaysia, said: “Talent retention is just as challenging as talent attraction. Often, we see good talent leaving organisations because their potential and performance are hampered by workplace culture. Organisations that can provide strong work hygiene and inimitable working experience to the employees will promote retention.”

Employees in Malaysia join their Singaporean counterparts in being the least engaged among major Asian markets. Engagement scores for India are 69%, followed by China (67%), Thailand (65%), Philippines (65%), Indonesia (61%), and Malaysia (59%).

Overall engagement scores for employees in Asia Pacific dropped from 65% in 2015 to 62% in 2016. Aon’s analysis found regional variations in engagement are driven by regional and country-specific economic, political and cultural differences.



Aon Acquires Leading Provider of Talent Measurement and Psychometric Assessment

  • cut-e enhances Aon’s assessment and selection capabilities and strengthens its ability to help clients drive business performance through people

LONDON, 4 May 2017 – Aon plc (NYSE:AON) today announced it has acquired cut-e a global leader in online talent assessments based in Hamburg, Germany. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“At a time when the global workforce is shrinking, workforce engagement is on the decline and turnover among younger workers is accelerating, big data is changing the way organizations identify, select, deploy, engage and measure the effectiveness of their talent,” said Michael Burke, CEO Talent, Rewards & Performance at Aon. “Acquiring cut-e enables us to expand our assessment and selection capabilities into even more situations and geographies, providing even stronger insights and driving improved business performance and reduced volatility for our clients.”

With 35 offices around the world, cut-e assesses more than 12 million candidates across more than 70 countries in over 40 languages each year through its proprietary psychometric talent assessment tools and advisory services enabling clients to make better screening, selection and development decisions.
“In this tight labor market, organizations are keenly aware of the need to quickly fill their talent pipeline with qualified candidates who are the right fit for their organization and link talent measurement to an economically measurable business impact,” said Andreas Lohff, CEO, cut-e. “Combining with Aon’s advanced assessment tools and customized talent solutions will strengthen the value we bring to clients in the assessment and selection marketplace.”

With the addition of cut-e, Aon’s global Talent, Rewards & Performance  solution group  boasts nearly 400 assessment and selection professionals, including award-winning industrial-organizational psychologists who are helping employers use science and data to select and develop employees. Together, Aon and cut-e have more than 50 years of continuous operations in the assessment space. Combined, the organizations assess over 30 million job candidates using some of the most innovative and award-winning tests in the industry.

cut-e founders Andreas Lohff, Achim Preuss, David Barrett and Espen Skorstad will assume leadership roles in Aon’s Talent, Rewards & Performance solution group.