Career Paths, Advice

People are our greatest asset, pandemic or not. - Nevin Ong

Published 12 Nov 2020 by Ramya Ramesh

Nevin Ong, a Talent Partner at Singtel Group, loves being part of the Talent Management team in Singtel Group Human Resources. It lets him have his finger on the pulse of what is going on in the company, which is one of the perks of being part of this youthful and dynamic team. The team is involved in employer branding and managing the company’s talent pipeline; this gives Nevin the scope to make a difference to Singtel’s reputation as an employer and at the same time change people’s lives.

Currently, Nevin supports Consumer Singapore, International Group, Group Digital Life and Corporate Functions, while also overseeing the Singtel Management Associate Programme (MAP) that takes in pools of undergraduates each year. Find out more about MAP here.

Nevin’s typical day in this ‘new normal’ is one that maintains its speedy pace and edge. His day is always filled with discussions around how to attract, develop, progress and retain talents in the company. Given everything now has to be done virtually, he embraces this challenge with a cheeky smile.

‘’Contrary to the popular belief that HR is solely about recruiting the best talent, discussions held are also always facts based and data-driven.’’ he says.

Nevin also does regular catch up sessions with Singtel Talent to ensure that they are doing okay especially during this pandemic situation. There is never a dull moment in his workday as he constantly strives to improve the experience for all talent, as after all, people are Singtel’s greatest asset.

Going virtual with Group HR is the new normal

Nevin recalls his very first project to kickstart a HR Automation programme using Robot Process Automation.

This was during his stint with the HR Future of Work team in 2018. He had little to no experience or knowledge in coding - but this presented as an opportunity for him to pick up new skills and the necessary knowledge via digital learning and consulting his IT colleagues. Because of this, he had started going virtual well before this pandemic!

And it was Andy Goh, the Director of Group IT, Corporate Systems, who was extremely helpful in guiding him during this journey. Andy was patient in explaining how Robotic Automation works – which accelerated Nevin’s learning greatly. This is also a good example of how great teamwork and collaboration exists between different teams at Singtel.

Expectations have also been changing – millennials have different set of expectations for the workplace, compared to previous generations, and it is important to constantly move along with them. HR plays a crucial role in bringing the right spirit, skills and stability to the working environment.

‘’In a period like this, it is extremely challenging to get a sense of what millennials think - that’s why our team is young, fun and vibrant! And we want to retain this energy for our future candidates,’’ Nevin shares.

Welcoming the new rookies

Selecting and grooming cadre of rising talent requires good communication skills, empathy and most importantly, the heart to better people’s lives.  

Debunking the myth that HR is just about recruiting talent, Nevin says, “The Talent Management function is extremely crucial in this day and age. We are the link between the people who are seeking their dreams and the employers who need people to fulfill theirs. Companies are always fighting over the most valuable resources - and HR facilitates that to a great extent.’’.

It always warms Nevin’s heart to see how Singtel Management Associates have grown since they joined the company. It is particularly satisfying for him to see that they are learning at phenomenal pace, making strong contributions to their teams, and ultimately enjoying themselves.

This year was special for him as Nevin and his team had to transform the Management Associate (MA) onboarding programme into a fully virtual one. The recent pandemic and work-from-home arrangements gave the team the opportunity to rethink and redesign the (MA) onboarding programme. He, alongside his team, turned a 3.5-day programme (that has been so successful in the last few years) into bite-sized modules that were delivered virtually across the MAs’ first 60 days. They also took the opportunity to ensure that every module is interactive and experiential.

He is thankful for his colleagues as all this would not have been possible without their support – especially Yeo Hui Kee (MAP Manager) and Vinod Manogaran (MAP Associate)!

HR is a catalyst for personal growth

While scouting different projects, there is one takeaway that Nevin is grateful for - Stakeholder Management skills. His work requires him to work with different stakeholders like Singtel’s Talents, Business Leaders, external consultants and fellow HR colleagues.

‘’This creates opportunities for me to always look out for win-win outcome for me and my stakeholders. Outside of work, this skill has enabled me to expand my social network greatly!’’ he shares with enthusiasm.

In addition to this, exploring beyond his written job description also expanded his horizon. Part of his role in the HR Future of Work team is Change Management. He had to produce a music video to showcase Singtel HR’s digitalization journey to stakeholders.

It was an interesting experience as he had to work on the storyline, curate the script and eventually, cast for internal actors and actresses. They also had to go for several dance practices to pull off a massive dance scene in the music video!

When Nevin is not contemplating on new ways to attract talent, he can be found hunting for great food! He once took leave and queued for 1.5 hours for a bowl of Michelin Bak Chor Mee. Great news for foodies like Nevin, the Singtel Canteen is highly raved about by our Singtel family!

Keen to find out more about openings at Singtel or how it’s like to work in Singtel? Visit our social media pages (@singtelcareers) to stay in the know!

Want to know more about working at Singtel? Find out why Singtel is the Employer of Choice* and explore our opportunities here.

*Awarded by HR Fest Awards 2020, which recognises and celebrates outstanding achievements of the region’s top leaders, teams and organisations.

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