Editor’s Note: Asean – United In Diversity




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During the time I worked for an NGO (non-governmental organisation) in Cambodia, my Swiss boss remarked that he found it interesting that “culture shock” affected people like me – Asians moving just a few time zones from home to Phnom Penh – more than it affected people coming from all over the world.

Coming from Malaysia, we certainly have grown up with diverse groups of friends and colleagues – but I do see what Pierre’s point was. Even as we identify with the large and important market of Asia Pacific, we do realise that every country is unique, and how absolutely fascinating the process of discovering each other is!

This week, in recognition of Malaysia’s Chairmanship of Asean 2015, we dedicate this issue to our Asean neighbours – looking at the opportunities that the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will bring to employees, human resources (HR) practitioners and organisations alike.

Mark Ellwood looks at the impact of the AEC on employment patterns across the Asean region, highlighting the opportunities as well as challenges that organisations may face, and some important considerations to benefit fully from the regional integration.

At a kick-off meeting a few years ago where I so very rapidly met over 600 colleagues from Johnson & Johnson offices across Asean, I remember vividly how everyone shone with pride sharing their cultures and accomplishments.

While we celebrate Asean diversity, Salika Suksuwan focuses on diversity in all workplaces – regardless of where we are in the world. She highlights the need for organisations and leaders to understand and address the needs of a diverse and changing workforce as ultimately, diversity drives better business performance.

Zooming out a little, Marshall Goldsmith makes the case for creating a positive global community – stressing the need to meet three key challenges.

Before you suffer from vertigo, we zoom right back in again to hear the account of one expat who is overwhelmingly convinced that Malaysia is the place to be for one’s career and future. Christopher Moore shares his first impressions of Malaysia, and the reasons he chose to stay.

This week, Joseph Tan really means business and aims immediately at holes in the HR strategy that some companies may unwittingly perpetuate. From pinpointing the superficialities (which people will eventually see through), Tan then shares his manpower sustainability strategies.

On a related note, Brian Fielkow reminds us of the realities of the connected world we live in – and that “the cameras are always rolling”. With regard to HR-related issues, Fielkow provides sound advice on how to tackle them, as well as how to prevent them from the start.

Have a fabulous week!

Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 18 April 2015

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