3 things most HR Managers still don’t get

You will be surprised when you read this. Something so simple as knowing the Thai Labour law inside out. You would expect that from HR, right?

But here’s the sad news, the unexpected truth of the matter. During the last 15 years of interviewing HR managers, I have personally experienced that 80% of the candidates could not answer three basic labour law questions correctly.

Don’t shoot the messenger comes to mind. But I hope my critique will be taken in the right spirit and most importantly encourage the HR community to adhere to lifelong learning, to improve the HR profession by always being up-to-date, and to take pride in being the professional advisor to the management and colleagues.

No Sir and Ma’am, lifelong learning is not about how you live a long life (as too many managers conveniently think) – lifelong learning is about how you must never and never stop learning. Be curious, you must subscribe to free e-newsletters, read books, attend seminars, be proud of your functional expertise, and become the go-to-person for everyone else in your organization and industry.

Lifelong learning is the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for professional and personal reasons.

Becoming a Manager is not the end of your career and where you now have the right to lean back, to relax and enjoy that you reached the top. In fact, the promotion to Manager is the start and first day of the rest of your career. It’s time to show everyone that you deserved the promotion or appointment; and that happens by leading from the front and by example.

Test your Labour Law knowledge

  1. What does the Labour Law say about probation period?
  2. What is the notice period to terminate an employee?
  3. How do you terminate an employee during probation?

Answer to 1: The short answer is: nothing!

Imagine your boss is hiring a new manager he knows from a previous company where they worked together; your boss does not want to include a probation period in the employment agreement. He is now asking if you can issue an employment agreement without probation and still be in compliance with the Labour Law. What’s your answer?

Many candidates I have interviewed, and asked what the Labour Law says about probation, start talking about severance payments, that after 120 days a company must pay one month pay in compensation; after one year’s employment a compensation of three months’ pay. And you know the rest.

But the provision in Section 118 in the Labour Law is only about severance pay and not about probation period. Severance and probation are two different concepts.

  • The correct answer, Probation is not mentioned in the Labour Law.
  • The longer answer: There is no requirement by law to include probation in your employment agreement. It’s totally at your own discretion to decide if you want to.

But perhaps you are now thinking, why is it then customary in many companies to have a probation period of 119 days? The reason is to avoid paying an employee a severance payment, if the employee has worked for 120 days or more, and is terminated without cause.

Answer to 2: What is the notice period to terminate an employment?

If your answer is 30 days, you are wrong!

Section 17 of the Labor Protection Act requires the company to terminate an employee, even termination during the probation period, with a notice at or before payment of wage and salary, in order for the termination to take effect the following payday.

The notice from one payday to the next payday is called one-payment-cycle or one-pay-period’s notice.

The employer may also choose to deliver a notice of termination with immediate effect, provided that payment of wages in lieu of notice is simultaneously made to the employee.

There are several exceptions to the rule of giving advance notice. You are allowed to dismiss an employee with immediate effect for very specific reasons listed in Section 119 of the Labour Protection Act and actually also in Section 583 of the Civil and Commercial Code. Here are three of them, in short: dishonest performance of duties; intentionally causing loss to the company; and violation of work regulations if warnings have been given.

Generally speaking, employers can always provide better terms and conditions for their employees than what is required by the Labour Law.  Please note, even if the employee has signed the employment agreement, where the terms of employment are not in compliance with the Labour Law, such employment agreement may be deemed invalid and may not be enforceable in court.

Answer to 3: How do you terminate an employee during probation?

The short answer: See my answer above to Question 2!

The longer answer: Section 17 of the Labor Protection Act requires the company to terminate an employee, including termination during the probation period, with a notice on or before payday, in order for the termination to take effect the following payday.

The Labour Law does not mention the term probation period. So no matter how many hours, days, months, or years the employee has worked for you, and no matter whether you have set your own probation period in the employment agreement, the notice requirement for terminating an employee without cause is always at least one payment cycle in advance of the effective date of termination (in short called “one pay period’s notice”).

In other words, to terminate an employee without cause, the employer must provide one pay period’s notice or make payment of wage in lieu thereof. There is no difference in giving notice to an employee who has worked just weeks or months compared to someone who has worked many years for your company.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not legal advice, and should not to be acted on as such. It’s prepared for general information purposes only. You should not act upon any such information without first seeking qualified professional advice.

The content of this article has been checked by Ms. Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut, Partner at Tilleke & Gibbins International; Thailand’s oldest and largest independent law firm.

Dealing with an interviewer who won’t shut up – blah blah blah!

You are really in big trouble if you come across a job interviewer who just keeps talking.

What the interviewer really should be doing instead was asking questions, then listening to what you have to say about yourself and your work experience. You came for a job interview not to listen to a marketing presentation. Continue reading “Dealing with an interviewer who won’t shut up – blah blah blah!”

Get your staff pipeline ready for the war for talent

If you find it increasingly difficult to find new staff,  as you seek to grow your business or simply replace some who left you, sorry to say but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Why is this fact not keeping all business executives up at night? Most have their heads buried in the sand and are seemingly unaware or ignoring the challenges that lie ahead. Continue reading “Get your staff pipeline ready for the war for talent”

Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers

Did you ever think to yourself… “Been in my industry what seems a life time, too many years in my current position, I’ve been there, I’ve done that?”

Or have you suddenly and unexpectedly found yourself between jobs? Perhaps fired, cut from the payroll but still a family to take care of? Or at best, you called it quits yourself?

Welcome to the Club either way. The question is, how do you avoid being a permanent member of this Club of Wannabes?  When I look back at 15 years of headhunting candidates for management positions in Thailand, I have learned the following: Continue reading “Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers”

Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search

Totally not true that recruitment firms work harder if competing with another recruitment company.  Let me explain.

Most recruitment firms in Thailand compete on price and not on service or the quality of candidates. A “contingency” recruitment firm will only be able to invoice their client if their candidate is hired. Only then will the recruitment firm receive an income and the recruitment consultant a commission. Continue reading “Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search”

How you should dress for the job interview?

If you are old enough, you may recall the shampoo commercial, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

You must have heard the saying that a first impression can make or break a business opportunity or relationship. That includes anything from meeting customers, pitching your business to new clients, to dating for a romantic partner, and of course very much to job interviewing. Continue reading “How you should dress for the job interview?”

Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?

Are you one of the many employees in Thailand who willingly accepted a non-compete clause in your employment agreement? Or perhaps you were forced to accept a  non-compete as a condition for getting the new job?

In more and more countries around the world, the non-compete clause is illegal or it comes with a lot of restrictions. But unfortunately not yet in Thailand where employers can still demand that an employee cannot take work with a competitor for years. Continue reading “Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?”

Your CV is too long

Your CV is a personal Career Balance Sheet; like the Balance Sheet or Income Statement used in Accounting. The CV lists absolutely everything you have done since kindergarten, primary school, the first job to the current; it can include dates, periods, all training activities or articles, publications. You name it. It can stand the toughest of audits. Continue reading “Your CV is too long”

Talent Acquisition – Stop damaging your company’s reputation!

You have heard me talk about this before; the appalling service level to keep applicants and candidates updated on their interview process.

I met an executive the other day who was interviewed two months ago by a hiring company. So far, he has not received a follow up call or email, no thank you for considering a job with our company, nothing to say the job has been offered to another candidate (I’m just guessing because who knows?).

“Treat others how you want to be treated.” Continue reading “Talent Acquisition – Stop damaging your company’s reputation!”

Who are the leading executive search firms according to Forbes?

Who does not love lists and rankings;, think: Thailand’s 50 Richest List to the Best Countries for Business to the Top Weirdest Most Promising New Jobs.

Forbes ranked 250 recruitment and executive search firms in 2017, the first ever such list. Boyden was in the Top 10.

In their new ranking for 2018, yes, Boyden is still there in the Top 10. Other great firms in the Top 10 include Korn Ferry, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, and Spencer Stuart. Continue reading “Who are the leading executive search firms according to Forbes?”

8 reasons why you should hang-up when a headhunter calls

If you think that recruiters help you a find a job, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you: Executive search firms and recruitment companies find candidates for jobs – they do not find jobs for candidates. May I say, don’t shoot the messenger please (read: me).

When you call or email a recruiter, and ask if we can help you find a job, we can only do so if one of our clients has a job opening that matches your experience and skill set. Recruiters have to be focused on their clients’ needs. That is how the business works. Continue reading “8 reasons why you should hang-up when a headhunter calls”

Lack of feedback to candidates by today’s HR and recruitment professionals is quite appalling

If you want to know why recruiters in corporate Talent Acquisition departments and recruitment firms are considered in the same undesirable league as unscrupulous real estate agents and sleazy second-hand car salespeople, be ready for a blunt wake-up call.

Candidates complain to me that way too many HR people, Talent Acquisition departments, and Recruitment firms do not keep them updated on the hiring process. I just came out of an interview with a senior manager who took a day off to meet the multi-national industry leader about a big job; this meeting took place two months ago. Since then, no email nor phone call, no feedback or update what so ever. Continue reading “Lack of feedback to candidates by today’s HR and recruitment professionals is quite appalling”

Perfect Hires Don’t Exist

My old boss told me: “If you hang around the night club until past midnight, waiting and waiting for that spectacular love-at-first-sight individual who would sweep you off your feet, you would most likely end up going home alone “.

In any hire, you must find a good balance, and make a trade-off if necessary, between three things; they are: Continue reading “Perfect Hires Don’t Exist”

How you can compete with robots in the future job market

Any chance you have been to New York the last 12 months? Perhaps visiting McDonald on the corner of Third Avenue and 58th Street to get yourself a cheese burger?

So this is how it works at that particular McDonald restaurant; you go to a touch screen kiosk, click the food and beverage you want. You use your mobile phone to pay… then pick up your hamburger that has been grilled to perfection by a McRobot.

I was recently the key-note speaker at an event for the Young Professionals of the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce. I was talking about how the YP’s could possibly compete with the robots in the future job market.

What does McKinsey and World Economic Forum say Continue reading “How you can compete with robots in the future job market”

How a wrong handshake will eliminate you as a candidate

Perhaps the most important thing you must get right, to leave a good first impression, is to get your greetings right. Whether you are a candidate coming for an interview or a sales manager trying to impress a prospect customer.

But which one I may ask? It could be a wai if you are Thai, a bow if you are Japanese, la bise (cheek kiss) to good friends if you are French, or a firm handshake if you are American.

Screw it up and not getting your handshake, wai or bow correct, spells trouble ahead.

Handshake, wai or both? Continue reading “How a wrong handshake will eliminate you as a candidate”