With Hiring Down, HR Firm Adds Value Instead

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Jolin Nguyen, General Manager of AYP Group provides her view on how AYP Group managed to stay afloat despite the economic downturn and how employees are an important asset in driving and accelerating the business.

A slowing economy has meant less job-hopping and more employees staying put - which is not great news if you are a human resources company.

But one firm, AYP Group, has added another string to its bow to morph into a professional services company as well.

While it is seeing challenges with the economic downturn, general manager Jolin Nguyen says the firm has managed to stay afloat because it also offers workforce management solutions such as payroll processing for its clients.

Ms. Nguyen says the company's human resource consultancy has experienced a 20 percent drop in the number of new leints these past few months compared with the same period kast ear.

This is because the uncertain economic conditions have caused people to stay with their jobs rather than look for new positions. Companies are also cutting down on hiring during the downturn.

Ms. Nguyen says: "The workforce is more stagnant, productivity has slightly weakened and hiring has slowed down. There is less demand for such consultancy work because of the economy. People would rather tgave stability, especially now when the job market is dry."

The company, in preparation for about a decade, has a presence in seven countries in the region.

It still has a stable number of existing clients for its other services, although acquiring new clients is a challenge now.

Ms. Nguyen says: "The economic downturn means that everyone is more competitive in terms of pricing. Clients are also more price-sensitive than before"

AYP's strategy is to offer more value-added services to differentiate itself and attract clients regardless of price point. For instance, if a client who uses the payroll processing software needs help in other areas, such as human resources or work pass applications, AYP can provide a one-stop solution.

"It is about providing flexibility in our service offerings, with diversification and transformation. We also have to keep up with technology because that will take us forward," Ms. Nguyen says.

Another strategy is to train staff to ensure they are future-ready leaders.

The company has around 50 employees in Singapore and 120 in total across the region.

Ms. Nguyen says: "We believe a lot in training so we can ensure people can drive and accelerate the business. That is necessary for any organization to be successful in this rapidly changing business world."

- Sunday Times Paper, written by Sue-Ann Tan

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