From 27 to 30 July, Wantedly was invited to be part of Young NTUC’s LIT Discovery 2021. This 4-day virtual symposium saw over 2000 attendees visiting the marketplace power packed with an exciting line-up of C-suite leaders' keynote sharing, masterclasses, career profiling, coaching, networking, career resources and featured job vacancies for young PMEs and graduating students.

As part of the event, Wantedly was also presented with the opportunity to host their very own webinar session on Wednesday, 28 July. Managing Director of Huggs Coffee, Lee Haoming, was invited to be part of the panellist, along with companies like First Wave and Morpheus Labs, where attendees gained insight into how we are preparing our organisations to build the next generation of talents for the future of the workforce.

Building the Next Generation of Talents

Moderated by Mae Noor, Wantedly’s Senior Marketing Lead, we sought to find out from our guests, Pei-Han, Founder and CEO of Morpheus Labs, Haoming, Managing Director of Huggs Coffee, and Don, Director at First Wave, how they each manage their workforce in this new normal, what it means to attract the right talent and what they’re doing to build the next generation of talents – millennials and Gen Zs.

Hailing from diverse industries ranging from Food & Beverage, to Blockchain, and Events Management, the panellists also let us in on how they have pivoted their respective businesses to keep up in this ever-evolving landscape, which is actively spurred by the on-going pandemic.

While preparing their respective teams to meet changing trends and consumer demands, Don, Haoming and Pei-Han are also looking to expand their talent pool. During the session, we hear more on how they each approach their hiring, and the skills and qualities they look for in new hires to equip them for a pandemic-proof workforce.

Session Highlights

The current situation has been tough on graduating students and youths. What drives them now is different than what it was 2 years ago. There are safety nets such as government funding, SGUnited initiatives but it’s no longer enough. So what do you think of the next generation of workforce? Or what comes to mind when you meet younger jobseekers today?

Don: What kind of skillset are we looking for? We are looking away from just core jobs specialization. More than just digital, social media or even gamification, "awareness" is a desired key trait, with cross-functional knowledge across all digital aspects. Candidate cannot be complacent in terms of digital knowledge.

Mid-career switchers are highly encouraged today, including by the government through learning and development resources, in order to adapt to tech job opportunities - do you think that there is a big hurdle to the switch, how would you encourage them, is there a too late moment to enter the tech industry? Pei-Han, being in blockchain, what do you think?

Pei-Han: Morpheus Labs has five mid-career switchers in the team. It is not about age, it is about mentality! You must be willing to take that first step (or for mid-career switchers, take a step back), and be willing to learn and adapt. Experience + Attitude is key. It is easy to be a problem identifier, but can you be a solver? Solvers create value.

The F&B industry is highly impacted with closures and no dine-in rules. How have Huggs Coffee adjusted your business and its people in line with this? Has everyone in the team suddenly had to become e-commerce experts to meet demands of online consumer purchases and delivery? What were the changes made to meet this constantly changing landscape?

Haoming: We’re no longer looking at specific job scope - attitude and mentality is equally important. Because roles can become obsolete, everyone is wearing multiple hats in the business. The past year has been challenging for F&B operators, we’ve had to adjust ourselves to government mandates very quickly – and sometimes under 48 hours – which includes even seating arrangements to accommodate dine-in rules. We’ve had to do some restructuring also in terms of manpower, taking the opportunity during lockdown to reskill and send them for training courses, from Baristas taking customer service excellence workshops, and our frontline servers taking digital marketing and e-commerce courses to equip them with skills on using various digital payment tools and e-platforms.

Aside from of course technical experiences, what do you look for in a candidate for these hires? Function vs Culture, or Adaptability? Is there anything you’re doing or looking to do with these new hires and even importantly existing ones to groom them to ensure a pandemic-proof workforce?

Pei-Han: We don’t really look at your education background. It’s similar like finding a partner, the chemistry is important. Can you fit into our corporate culture? This is a learning for myself as well. Previously, I did not believe in company culture and this changed when I had to start my own company, where I realized the importance of building a team that can add value for themselves and the organisation.

Don: Are you delivering value to your organization? If so, your organisation will value you? We cannot underestimate the concept of value. Jobseekers should change your frame of mind on how your approach jobseeking from "I am here to learn from you" to "I am here to learn WITH you". Display signs of resiliency - it is not about your education but your attitude. To assess this, one of my interview questions is: "Give me a situation on how you overcame a difficult situation".

Haoming: The basis of our hiring is that we look for candidates that have chemistry with the existing team, and personality that fits the core values and DNA of Huggs Coffee. We don’t need coffee-drinkers, it is not a pre-requisite. We are not bothered if you don't come from an ivy-league education. To get a sense of an individual, we ask, “what are your hobbies and interests?”, “what do look out for and want to achieve out of this role?”. The course may change but with this, it shows that the candidate cares and show interest in something, is passionate and motivated to take initiatives to grow, learn and adapt.

View the full webinar session here:

View the Live Q&A session here:

We would like to extend our gratitude to Wantedly for inviting Haoming and Huggs Coffee to be part of LIT DISCOvery 2021 by Young NTUC, along with fellow panellist from First Wave, Morpheus Labs!

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