HR Lessons on Millennials and the Power of Technology


The Asia CEO Forum-Asia HR Summit’s title this year easily piqued one’s curiosity. After all, “People Power” was a cute take on a phrase from Filipinos’ collective past. The summit for human resource heads, however, had nothing to do with politics at all.

People Power1 Instead, it was, well, all about p-e-o-p-l-e.

Unlike past human resource summits, this one also zeroed in on technology and how it could disrupt human resource recruitment and management for the good.

In a nutshell, It was a call for people personnel to start adapting to changing times.

Whether the 10 invited speakers intended it or not, four underlying themes ran through their presentations:

  • Millennials dominate the Philippine labor force, as 50 percent of the country’s population are below 30 years old. Likewise, Asia itself will hold 60 percent of the world’s millennials by 2020.

Kalibrr, a cloud-based recruitment platform, had acknowledged this fact. Its understanding of how this group of young people communicate is perhaps what differentiates itself from other established online recruitment companies.

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One of the reasons Kalibrr was touted in a TechinAsia article as “disrupting” the recruitment industry in the Philippines—aside from its purported low fees—is its use of artificial intelligence (AI). “Technology should be there to connect and not be intrusive. As a form of digital disruption, we use AI to understand what the candidates—and the companies—are like and what both sides are looking for, including the culture and values,” said Kalibrr co-founder Dexter Ligot-Gordon.

Dexter Gordon of Kalibrr. (Photo from Asia CEO Forum).

Dexter Gordon of Kalibrr. (Photo from Asia CEO Forum).

  • Learn the ways of the millennials to attract prospective employees. “Today’s generation has a totally different personality compared to the Generation X’ers,” said Nette Quianzon, chief human resource officer of A. Magsaysay Inc.

Savvy HR teams know that to recruit candidates, they ought to go where the millennials hang out. Yes, in social media, duh! This has therefore changed—or rather, expanded—the manner companies put out their brand visibility to potential employees. Companies are now more lenient about Facebook access during office hours than they were four years ago, for one.

Also, HR personnel now know that happy employees are the best ambassadors when it comes to referring their own companies to friends and peers via social media.


  • To embrace technology, let go of clunky legacy systems, and turn to more intuitive processes that will allow HR teams to mine, slice, dice data and create an accurate picture of their candidates and employees’ profiles and level of engagement.

According to Hans Montenegro, Manulife Financial’s HR Partner (Asia), sticking by one’s old processes and assets such as payroll systems that still require a handful of employees to manage daily just because it “ain’t broken” just will not cut it anymore. After all, the quantum leaps in technology has made it possible for forward-looking HR teams to make their work easier, faster, smarter.

  • Richard Branson’s “Put your employees first, customers second…” was an oft-repeated—and therefore popular—quote from the summit’s speakers.

The maverick billionaire once said:

If the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they’re doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, [if] they’re proud of the brand, if they’re well looked after, [and] they’re treated well, then they’re going to be smiling, they’re going to happy, and therefore the customer will have a nice experience.

Source: KissMetrics

It is commendable that HR heads and teams were consistently putting people at the heart of an organization. It has to be pointed out, though, that there is still a third line attached to Branson’s statement. His full original quote was actually “put your employees first, customers second, and shareholders third.”

Thus, while there is no doubt that HR teams do put people first in their values chain, do organizations—particularly the owners and directors—put employees ahead of shareholders? There is, I suppose, many takes on this question, and its exposition would therefore require a separate article of its own.

Now, does your own organization have significant achievements in talent management? If you have a story that your organization can share with others in your industry, nominate your organization for Top Employer of the Year.

(Photo source: Asia CEO Forum).

(Photo source: Asia CEO Forum).

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