Knowledge Based Economy in Singapore

Modified: 25th Jul 2023
Wordcount: 3225 words

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To: Ms Irene Lee

Prepared by: Rachel Lim Ying Pei


Knowledge-based economy is the new ascending economy observed in the contemporary world. Knowledge-related activities are now recognized as the driver of productivity, economic growth, wealth creation and sustain employability across all trades of businesses. The modern economics have gradually transferred from material consuming economy to information and knowledge based economy that would promote the economic development in the present day.

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Knowledge-based economics are founded on increasing specialization, research, innovation and learning. The change towards the knowledge-based economy is happening on a global scale and had influence the existing competition between countries based on material resources are substituted by competition founded on intangible resources related to Human Resources, knowledge and new technologies. Knowledge-based economies require some critical requisites to become real and efficient economies. These are the four pillars: Education and training, innovation, information infrastructure, institutional regime.

Globalization has been a crucial factor for knowledge-based economies. The opening up of global markets and the internalization of trade in knowledge sectors have exposed the economies to an international competition level. The creation of global labor markets for highly skilled employees, the provision of investment capital and access to latest technology, information, ideas and knowledge flows from around the world have accelerated the transition to a knowledge-based economy.

Over the years, the knowledge-based economy has become vital to Singapore. Singapore’s ability to acquire, create, disseminate and applying of knowledge will be the key to sustain its economic growth. Further efforts that Singapore would need to work towards are enhancement on its national innovation system, entrepreneurship and education capability.

The emergence of the knowledge-based economy and the revolution in information and communications technology (ICT) are closely interrelated. Most features of knowledge-based economy are based on the rising use of information and communications technology. Information and communications technology (ICT) gives the knowledge-based economy an innovative and different technological base that drastically changes the conditions for the production and distribution of knowledge as well as its coupling to the production system. The rise of the information and communications technology (ICT) has produced new industries, created new areas of demand and transformed people ways of working and living.

As a multinational organization in the wine and spirits industry, Diageo has more than 36,000 talented people working and growing with its business globally. Diageo is a British multinational alcoholic beverages company headquartered in England and it is the world’s largest producer of spirits and a major producer of beer and wine.

Diageo seeks to maintain a diversity workforce in which the different contributions are made by all of their employees, through the variety of their experiences, personalities and perspectives, which creates a rewarding and inspiring working environment. Diageo believes that having employees from different background helps the organisation to gain deeper insights into consumer needs and at the same time enhancing relationships with all their stakeholders.

Maximizing employee growth is a crucial lever to achieve Diageo’s business growth and at the same time embedding its organisation’s values. Diageo strong beliefs in standing by their values which are:

  • Being innovative – constantly searching for new ideas that will drive growth and gaining more in-depth insights on consumers’ perspective.
  • Giving employees the freedom to succeed – being open in communication at the same time allowing employees to unleash their full potential.
  • Being restless and agile – always learning, always seeking improvements in the ways of learning.
  • Valuing each other – Seek to benefit from diverse employees and their perspectives and insights.

By embracing these set of behaviors in its employees, Diageo will be able to further its ambitions of business, people and communities.

In 1997, Diageo decided to establish one of its regional offices based in Singapore. During that point of time, Singapore was one of the affected countries struck by the economic crisis in 1997 – 1998. By early 1999, Singapore economy was already showing signs of recovery, however the challenge facing the economy as it enters the twenty-first century is to sustain its record of nearly four decades of high economic growth. Diageo has to continuously change its job processes, restructuring of the organisation to harness new technologies.

The transformations towards the knowledge-based economy are altering on ways how organizations are working. Although there are many changes in the ways of working, we will be drilling down into two main changes and issues of Diageo’s Human Resource Department: Recruitment and database management system.


For every organisation including Diageo, the recruitment of potential candidates and having a qualified workforce is critical to an organization’s ability to build its business and drive future growth. An organisation’s workforce typically drives the organisation productivity, level of performance and competitive advantages is largely dependent on the quality of its workforce.

The traditional methods of recruitment used by Diageo to source for potential candidates were newspaper advertising, employee referrals and recruitment agencies. Human Resource Manager and hiring managers would spend many hours poring over application letters and curriculum vitae.

Curriculum vitae received were input by the Human Resource administrative assistant using the Microsoft excel spreadsheet. The Microsoft excel spreadsheet also serves as a database for all curriculum vitae. The storage of physical copies of the curriculum vitae would be store in ring files, making retrieval of applications difficult to access and sort through. Sometimes, there would be a wrong fit of the selected incumbents for the role offered and this would resulted in cost, time and effort wasted. This is because the Human Resource Manager does not have a clear understanding of how the role will fit into the overall work picture of the organisation and unable to guide the hiring managers on the selection process that should be aligned with organisation objectives.

In order to upkeep with growth of Information and communications technology (ICT) and gain a competitive edge over its competitors, organisation needs to strategize in Human Resource functions to enable and support the business functions. Therefore, it is vital that Human Resource and business functions have become interrelated. Diageo’s present recruitment processes have improved tremendously and evolved to a model of talent network as compared to the past. Recruitment is one of the specialized functions in Human Resource Department. A resourcing manager role has been created to drive the identification and recruitment of the highest caliber candidates and provide the full cycle of recruitment processes. Hiring managers play a major role in the recruitment process and partnering with resourcing manager to work on sourcing and assessment aligned with the organisation’s strategic plan and overall business needs.

BrassRing, a web-based recruitment-technology system has been introduced to the business to drive performance and upkeep with the increasing demand on talent management. Features of BrassRing includes requisition creation, processing and posting, resume searching, sorting and filing, applicant workflow, interview scheduling and tracking, candidate communications and reporting. The integration to BrassRing web-based recruitment-technology system enhance the speed in recruitment processes, incorporate managers into the hiring process, cost effectiveness are achieved by the business and reduction of 70% in non-strategic administrative tasks allows Human Resource Department to have more focus on business strategic issues. BrassRing will pre-populate most of the required fields in the system when an electronic version of curriculum vitae is uploaded. Key advantages of storing curriculum vitae electronically are it is not as time consuming as paper-based filing, candidates’ profile can be easily accessed by anyone who require it and Human Resource can determine quickly who has applied for which positions previously rather than having to dig through the pile of files. Generating and customizing of reports from BrassRing for business strategies and talent management analysis can be accessible at one’s finger tips, the data enables the top management to make recruitment decision.

From an organisation level point of view, the introduction to this new system not only contributes and value add on improving processes but driving optimal levels of success by acquiring high performing potential candidates in the organisation.

With the implementation of BrassRing, recruitment processes have been streamlined and integrated with other functions of Human Resource with broader business functions.

Decentralizing and relooking at the functions of Human Resource Department were the initial integration towards the modern recruitment processes. Preplanning for the migration to the web-based recruitment-technology system, BrassRing, had to be made at least two years in advanced. The programmer and the Human Resources business partners will work closely to ensure that the system had met all the specific needs and aligned with the business objectives. Each and every stage of the project was equally importance and contributes to the overall success of the new system. Although the new system may offered a clear return on investment, however there were several challenges faced on the changes of the recruitment processes.

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Human Resource Department’s employees felt uncertainly and insecure on the new changes, as they had concerns that their role might be made redundant or have difficulties in coping with the new ways of working processes and obsolescence of their existing skills. In additional of all these changes, Human Resource Department’s employees felt pressurized and worn out having to run through each individual physical file on top of their daily work cycle.

Diageo’s management had concerns on the employees’ resistance to change in the new technology system and recognizing behaviors that indicate possible resistance will raise awareness of the need to address the concerns. To ensure that the change is accepted, people’s attitudes and behaviors need to be influenced. The first measure that the management had taken was to ensure that the employees in the Human Resource Department have the necessary skills to cope with the new system, by sending the employees through training on the functions new system. As the training plan is composed of a single session prior to the software use, employees may forget how the functions of the system work before they have a chance to practice them. Therefore, Elearning was introduced to make the training program more effective, employees can take the refresher modules that they require and practice until mastery is achieved.

Having an open and effective communication from the management to the employees to build the case for why these changes are needed and helping the employees to indentify the benefits that the change will bring to them as individuals and positive impacts on their career. Diageo’s management had engaged and empowered the Human Resource team to contribute to the aspect of the change that they can manage.

A weekly Human Resource meeting had been set up to gather feedback and seeks any continuous ways of improvements. By displaying leadership’s skill of listening deeply and showing empathy from the management towards the employees, it increases morale and loyalty and letting the employees expressing their point of view in a non-judgmental environment will reduce the resistance to change. Part timers were recruited to lighten the workload of the Human Resource team by helping the employees to vet through the documents and ensure that all the required information were accurately key into the excel spreadsheet.

Database Management

Diageo’s traditional method of filing its employees’ personal data record was stored by paper-based filing system and there were no electronic copies of records saved. Each Diageo’s employee had their own individual file with their personal documents, employment contracts, leaves application and mandatory compliance forms in the folder. Time taken to access the files were very time consuming as the Human Resource administrative assistant would need to locate the file before retrieving it from the filing cabinet.

There would be discrepancies between the mandatory compliance forms and the tracking list if the records have not been updated timely and accurately. Sometimes, if there is a misplacement of the compliance form, Human Resource would need to request for another signed copy from the employees and these would result in inefficiency and unproductively. Updating of information from employees would be difficult as there were no system to capture their details.

Tracking of employee benefits’ such as leave management can be a very taxing as every updates or changes had to be amended on the excel spreadsheet. The tracking list was not up to date because sometimes Human Resource was not informed of the leave application.

Keeping and maintaining these paper-based documents were unnecessarily cumbersome and costly. There are many wasted man hours spent on filing, searching, retrieving and re-filing of documents.

With rapid growth in Information Technology, it had drastically impacted the way organizations handle documents. By converting from paper-base filing into electronic filing system, storage and retrieval issues inherent in paper-basing filing systems have been resolved while simultaneously reducing business costs. Following up on missing documents is at the user convenience as time is not wasted on locating the information as compared to paper-based filing system.

Diageo has also implemented a customized Human Capital Management system, HRIQ, which provides a unified secured platform for employees and managers with personalized content to their role. HRIQ is also integrated with other core management modules such as leave, benefits and claims and overtime and timesheet. The system also captured employees’ personal information including their educational levels, marital status and dependent information. Employees can update the system by providing an attachment of the supporting document and Human Resource will look at the document provided and validate if the updating of information should be approved. Reports that are generated from HRIQ, can be used for monitoring of leaves utilization for reimbursement purposes from the Central Provident Fund Board. Leave application for Diageo’s employees is not a hassle, employees will just select on the dates they want to apply for leave and an email will be automatically trigger to inform their line manager of the request for leave application. Line managers and employees in the same department will be able to have calendar view of the leave schedules in the department. This function allows Diageo’s employees to manage their project and deadlines more efficiently and avoid conflict with other co workers’ leave schedule during peak seasons.

One of the greatest challenges that Diageo’s Human Resource had encountered during the transition to electronic filing system was the loss and misplacement of personal document that was not transmitted to electronic copies. Human Resource administration assistant had frustrations as she was overwhelmed at work and uncertainties in incomplete documents of employees in the electronic filing system contributed more stress on her. She has concerns on managing HRIQ system and her adaptability towards the changes.

After addressing the concerns and issues of the Human Resource administration assistant, Human Resource manager rectify and resolve the issues by reaching out to Diageo’s employees and requesting them to provide Human Resource scanned copies of their personal information such as employees’ employment pass and their dependant pass for mass updating of information in the new system. A temporary part timer was hired to work along with the Human Resource administration assistant by ensuring that all the employees’ personal folder in the electronic filing system was complete. Human Resource manager will do the final auditing on the employees’s personal folder to be assured that all documents required are in place.

Human Resource administration assistant went through a one day training course on how the system works. HRIQ has delegated two of their employees to manage Diageo’s account and assist to resolve any technical issues or troubleshoot problems that the Human Resource administration assistant had encountered. It was the start of a new fiscal year during the implementation of HRIQ and there were no implications on the annual leave migrations as any unutilized annual leaves will be forfeited.

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One of the important factors that contribute to Singapore’s economic competitiveness is the effective harnessing of Foreign Direct Investment.

It is essential for foreign organisations to introduce advanced and sophisticated technology and know-how through the foreign direct investment processes


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