Having good grades is not all it takes to succeed. It is important to widen the definition of talent beyond educational performance and to include individuals with different and diverse skill sets and expertise. This was the view shared by DBS Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Director, Mr Piyush Gupta, at a public lecture organised by YSA on 29 November 2014 at Singapore Management University.

“If DBS hires only toppers, then I would not be here today, because I certainly wasn’t a topper in school,” Mr Gupta said in his address on the issues of talent attraction and management, and challenges of integration at the public lecture. Titled “The Issue of Talent and Integration – Global Competition, Local Challenges”, the event attracted about 130 participants.

When he first took over at DBS, Mr Gupta said that he instructed his human resource management staff not to hire top educational performers for the next one year so as to change this cultural mindset and to introduce more diversity in the organisation. However, he added that there needs to be a balance between having high academic performers and people with different expertise and work experiences.

Mr Gupta also shared his thoughts on the dynamic and evolving workforce, where artificial intelligence and technology will further change the nature of work. The skills and talents required for a workforce of the future will differ somewhat from that of today. When hiring, Mr Gupta predicted, employers will focus not on academics alone, as people with the ability to connect things together and find ways to solve problems will be much more valuable than good grades alone.

Mr Gupta shared the 4 ‘I’s that he looks for in employees – Initiative, Innovation, Inspiration and Impact. These require having a change in mentality, thinking differently and inspiring those at all levels around you. DBS always tries to bring in talent that can embody these types of skills, who can be change agents and make a positive impact to the organisation.

Mr Gupta also stressed on the need to build a platform to support development and integration of talent. While the Singapore government can introduce policies to promote integration, civil society too should engage and integrate newcomers into the country. At the same time, it is important for new arrivals to adapt to their new environment and assimilate into the system. This creates a responsibility for them to give back to society. The focus then shifts from shareholder value to shared value.

“It was important to have one of Singapore’s most prominent business figures weigh in on this public discussion on qualifications versus skills. It is refreshing to note that Mr Gupta focuses on a broader definition of talent, which is in keeping with the demands of a modern workforce. As he alluded to, knowledge these days is available at the touch of a button via Google, so the new corporate executive will need to offer something more – to succeed in the workforce,” Malminderjit Singh, YSA’s President, said.

Entitled the Seventh Khwaish Lecture (Khwaish means ‘Aspirations’ or ‘Hope’ in Punjabi), the lecture series fits in well with YSA’s mission of creating world-ready young Singaporeans, enhancing mutual understanding of issues of common concern and fostering friendships across ethnic groups so that young Singaporeans continue to remain engaged with the rest of Singapore society and the global community.

Under this Khwaish Lecture initiative, YSA invites eminent and distinguished personalities to speak on local and international affairs. It hopes to provide the platform for young Singaporeans to gain a further understanding of local, regional and global issues and developments.

The seventh lecture was supported by the Lee Foundation, Tote Board, Singapore Pools and the National Integration Council.

Provinus Solutions Wedding Collections