How Saint Valentine would select his HR Director

  • Post published:13/02/2014
  • Reading time:22 mins read

The overwhelming demand for HRD talent clearly outstrips the supply. Thailand is simply not producing and graduating enough HR development people. Take Chulalongkorn University as an example. HRD is not in the faculty but available only at Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration as an additional course. Sasin offers a seven-month graduate diploma program and an 18-month Master of Science Degree program in HRD. The Master degree programme became available less than ten years ago. Today, Sasin graduates some 15 students a year with the diploma and less than 10 people with the Master Degree.

In reality we are talking about a missing generation here. On one hand, we have Gen X (over 35 years of age) who has the years of experience in HR but with no theory of HRD and OD, because the curriculum was non-existent when they left university. Then there is Gen Y (below 35 years of age) who brings the theory but not yet the ten years of work experience. I reckon it will take another ten years or so before we see an abundance of HR talent who graduated with a degree in HR Development and also now has real life and work experience. Hence the “missing generation”.

There is no doubt in my mind why the demand for really pro HR talent has surged. International companies can see in other countries, where they operate, how top HR managers and directors work as real business partners to the Managing Director. These companies realise how much more value are coming from the HR desks nowadays. Thailand should be no different, right?

So did Saint Valentine have an HR Director? Well, I don’t think so. But since we are celebrating Valentine’s Day the 14th February, what an opportune time to wonder what if? Valentine’s Day is associated with romantic love and has evolved into a time where lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, greeting cards and confectionery. To complete a successful hire there must be some kind of affection in the air between the two parties, employer and employee.

But you tell me why so few HR experts do not take more pride in their profession? Why is it that most candidates I meet at managerial level have not continued their interest in HR and continued to study, reading books, following the trends in Europe and USA? Let me give you a few examples of the sorry state of affairs in this functional area.champagne glasses_black

My personal stats show that 90% of the candidates I meet for Director Human Resources or HR Manager jobs, do not know the correct answers to the most basic of basic labour law questions.

Now check yourself; here’s the first HR question: What does the labour law say about probation period? The second question: If you wish to terminate an employee’s employment, what advance notice must you give according to the labour law? The third question: If the person you wish to terminate is still in the probation period, what is the advance notice?

The correct answers are at the end of the story. Now, let me explain why I pay so much attention to how candidates handle these questions. And I don’t care and I don’t buy that you have subordinates in charge of these things. Here is why.

Admitted, there are many complicated rules and regulations in the labour law and it’s difficult to remember every single detail. Fair enough. But on the other hand, Managing Directors expect that HR can provide immediate advice on the most basic principles regarding probation and how to fire people with proper notice. But to me, not knowing the correct answers to the questions say so much more about the individual. To me is shows complete lack of interest in the HR profession. It’s neglecting duties; it’s taking a laid back approach and not give a darn about being up-to-date. This is about attitude and ambitions.

Helloooo? Where have you been the last 10 years?1006_blurb_red

Answer to HR question 1: The Labour Protection Act no longer mentions anything about probation period. There is no requirement by law and it’s at the employer’s discretion to have one or not. Severance payment is compensation to employees whose service are terminated and has nothing to do with probation.

Answer to HR question 2: Section 17 paragraph of the law states that the employer or the employee can terminate employment by notifying the other party on or prior to wage payment, for the termination to take effect at the day of the next wage payment.

Answer to HR question 3: Since the law has no mentioning of probation, there is no difference in termination notice as probationary period is also considered a part of the employment contract. Notice to terminate is always the same no matter how long the employee has been employed.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.