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Positive change through adversity: Stories from PKF International’s people

14 May 2020

We spoke to John Lim, HR Partner at PKF-CAP in Singapore

PKF’s John Lim hopes that a positive impact on the future will come about as a result of the myriad of changes to working patterns and lives when the coronavirus crisis passes.

John, an HR partner at Singapore firm PKF-CAP, has borne witness to two major changes in the way the firm operates – both due to online communication.

Firstly, the lockdown in Singapore has pushed the firm’s training online. Some may have concerns that e-learning can be a passive experience, but running technical and ‘soft skills’ training through the Microsoft Teams platform has worked well for John and the firm’s ‘pupils’.

“Some of our people have found they have more time available by working from home, and it’s focused their minds on wanting to make the most of their time,” explains John. “They want to do something productive.

“Because of that we’ve found our training to be highly subscribed and popular.”

About 50 (more than 50% of total staff) people have attended the online courses. While some prefer to run the course without their camera on, John has found that asking questions of attendees “always brings a response and good feedback”.

John believes that sharing PowerPoint presentations to accompany the discussion means the audience has a better experience absorbing information, alongside the ‘grouped solitude’ that an online meeting brings.

“They say that their concentration is better because they can see and hear clearly, whereas in a physical group and in an office, you can get distracted and lose concentration.”

Online training also provides the opportunity to record the presentation. This means it can be used to share with others where required, or can be accessed again by those who attended in the first instance. “They’re available for catch-up or repeat, it’s an advantage.”

The firm ran a virtual recruitment session with students in their final year at Nanyang Technological University – one of the most prestigious learning institutions in Singapore.

This Zoom-run session included a presentation, video, discussion (including talk by a post-graduate PKF member) and then a Q&A session. It was the first time online with the university.

“Students wrote to me and said they were motivated and inspired. We immediately received resumés.”

The future, John believes, will look different following these experiences.

“We should be able to engage with students in the way that we have been doing, certainly from time to time,” he explains.

For the firm’s staff, he expects remote working to become more prevalent – this would also increase the amount of online training.

Face-to-face learning, where brainstorming and much sharing of ideas is required, will still form the majority of sessions, although online may take the place of e-learning modules, in certain situations.

“I’ve been conducting online training every Friday since the lockdown – the difference compared to other e-learning is that this is contextualised for my local situation. Therefore, those learning have been able to appreciate it better.”



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